Once your website is done, how do you spread the word and get more visitors?
Here is a list of ten strategies to help you get more traffic for your site and boost your business online, many are free.
1. Business Directories
Register with as many business directories as you can. Spread the word about your business and create links back to your site. Even if there is no link, they provide citations or ‘mentions’ of your business name and address. Citations can help you rank higher in search engines than businesses with fewer citations.
2. Word of Mouth
Small businesses rely heavily on networking and word of mouth. Tell family and friends about your website, and consider joining your local business networking group or Chamber of Commerce. This will help raise your profile, keep in touch with what’s going on locally and make new contacts. Make sure you have plenty of business cards on hand to give out to people you speak to!
3. Email Marketing
Send out newsletters to keep in touch with existing customers, or advertise new products and services and special offers. This is a great way to develop brand awareness and build future business. Carefully crafted emails will drive traffic back to your website, and email marketing software makes it easy to track results.
4. Social Networking
Facebook and Twitter offer an opportunity to meet and network with people who may be good contacts and/or new customers. They’re also a great way to keep in touch with existing customers. Avoid spammy sales pitches. Rather than signing up and promoting your business straight away, take a while to listen to the conversation and get to know people. Build up a following and you can direct your posts and your tweets back to your website.
5. Search Engines
Search engines cannot read Flash sites and images, so make sure your site has plenty of text to boost your search engine rankings. Your pages should be coded to contain keywords relevant to your site’s content, but be careful not to overdo it by stuffing your pages with repeated keywords or your site could be penalised. Once your site has been search engine optimised register it with major search engines such as Google and Bing.
6. Email Signatures
Place your website address in your email signature. Most email programs allow you to designate a ‘signature’ to appear at the end of each message you send. Company name, address, phone number, URL, email address, and a one-phrase description of your unique business offering should be plenty. Each person you email will then have an easy way to find your website.
7. Good Content and Layout
If your site contains high quality content it will attract more visitors. People scan web pages rather than reading them from start to finish, so make sure your writing is clear and concise. Don’t use background colours and images that make the text hard to read. If people can’t find the information they need quickly, they will move on to another site. Consider using a professional copywriting service to improve your site’s content.
8. Local Search
97% of consumers search for local businesses online, and this is playing an increasingly important role in search engine rankings. Make sure your address appears on your website, and list your business with local search sites such as Google Places, Yahoo! and Bing Local.
9. Press Release
Press releases are a powerful, but frequently overlooked promotional tool that can be valuable for just about any type of business. Just about anything you do in your business – from launching a new web site, to offering new services, to volunteering for a local charity – can be newsworthy. They can be one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to get the word out about your services.
10. Print Advertising
Finally, don’t forget the old fashioned methods! Include your website address on all your printed materials including business cards, stationery, brochures and literature.