Tips to Get More Website Visitors
5th August 2011
Tips to Get More Website Visitors
We use a number of different techniques to build traffic to the websites we build for our clients. Some of them are used all the time, others are used for special purposes for a limited period. Some are a one-off activity and others are ongoing. Here are some of them that can work particularly well.
Target the Niche
Nowadays, unless you have the budget of a small country at your disposal, you are unlikely to be able to compete for search engine position for general keywords and phrases like "restaurant" or "clothes" or "building services". With that in mind we find that doing some serious work and lateral thinking about a client's business usually means that we can come up with a series of niche marketing approaches that can bear really significant fruit if done well.
The sort of thing I'm thinking about is "ethical clothing in Chepstow" or "B&Bs in Fife" or "restaurants in Weymouth". These niche combinations of words (which is often what people actually search for) can be targetted accurately and successfully within the sites that we build and can lead to some really good pre-qualified leads for our clients. Someone who has typed in this sort of phrase is already much further along the path to making a purchase than a casual browser looking for random "restaurants".
This niche targetting is done through the application of good Search Engine Optimisation principles.
Search Engine Optimisation Principles
There's loads written about this topic on the web, so I won't go into very much depth here, but basically the core idea is to "tell it like it is" and "provide helpful content for your visitors".
Gone are the days when you might be able to fool search engines with fake content to drive additional traffic to your site by pretending to be Tesco when in fact you run a small travel agency.
Now the search engines have achieved a much more human-like method of evaluating the content of a website, and so if your site doesn't convince a human, it won't convince the search engines.
This means you need to write carefully and aim at communicating real people, not with search engine spiders and robots.
If you can make it good and useful to humans then the search engines will usually love you too.
Paid Advertising - PPC
The question of Pay Per Click [PPC] advertising (usually Google Adwords) frequently arises in discussions with clients about driving more traffic to a site. In the majority of cases we don't find that it will serve our clients' needs for the budget they have available. Instead we focus on optimising for natural search results performance on the search engines.
In some cases it can be really useful though. A particular instance when this is true is when a site is being launched. In order to build brand awareness (as well as a few extra site visits) it can be useful to pick some niche keywords to target with a modest and time-limited Adwords campaign.
Although it seems that UK internet users are more skeptical about clicking on paid adverts on search engine results, it can still be important to create awareness of your site if you have an advert on the search results listings, or on other related websites using the network of other sites that display Adword adverts.
We can explain some of the basics to our clients in this case and work our a strategy for the campaign. If needed we can also run the campaign on our clients' behalf.
Inbound and Outbound Links
It's lovely to get a referral from someone, especially someone trustworthy. This is true online too.
If your site is mentioned on other trustworthy or important websites (like the BBC for instance) then your site can bask in the reflected glory, as well as possibly receive a few visits as a result of them clicking on the link.
Search engines love these quality inbound links and there are lots of companies that can provide them for you. We don't specifically target this method in our approach but often find that local or related websites will provide links to our clients' websites if we ask them nicely.
The other type of link that can be important is outbound links, where you refer to someone else's website and provide a link to it. This might sound counter-intuitive; why would you want to send visitors to someone else's site? Well that's true, a bit, but as far as the search engines are concerned, it demonstrates your connection and importance in your chosen market.
Think about it. The BBC links to millions of other sites and as a result we believe that the BBC is a good place to go for information as they know so much. If your site has similar useful and related links you'll probably be thought of in the same way.
The final major strand that is important in increasing traffic to your site is giving people a reason to return to it again and again. They're unlikely to do this if the site is static and unchanging. They're more likely to pop and see you if they can read something new every time they visit.
We build news and blogs into all our websites now to give them this fresh and lively quality. It does rely on clients keeping them up to date which does involve some planning and ongoing effort, but the effects of doing so can be remarkable. Tieing the stories into Twitter too can lead to many repeat visits from those who follow you.
Getting it Done
The changing internet means that these tips will probably need to be updated in the next 6 months, but the trend in web evolution is basically stable. The key is to provide honest, useful information that is well written, engaging, up-to-date and of real interest to visitors. Build it and they will come!
If you'd like us to help you with your site then please get in touch with Jon on 01300 320076 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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