You’ve spent countless hours, or what feels like countless dollars for a small business owner, building a website and it’s finally ready to launch. You’re excited. You finally reach the moment where you get to announce to the world that you have a WEBSITE, and you can’t wait to see customers roll in.
But, you finally make your site live and … crickets.
We have bad news: unfortunately, traffic to your website (even if it IS the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen) isn’t going to come naturally. The issue may not be that your website isn’t good enough, but rather that you don’t have a plan in place to drive traffic to that website.
Like most aspects of running a business, it’s important to have a plan in place. Here are 6 simple strategies for driving traffic to your website:
SEO: Search Engine Optimization
SEO is a strategy designed to help your website rank higher in relevant searches on search engines like Google. The goal of search engine optimization is to increase your website’s visibility in search engine’s results by optimizing your pages with the keyword phrases people are likely to search for.
Most free and inexpensive website builders (Wix, Squarespace, WordPress) offer great templates that are structurally sound for SEO. Nonetheless, it’s important to create interesting, original content regularly.
Attracting more backlinks—links from other sites to your site—can also amp up your SEO. For example, Business Link is linked to from the Government of Alberta’s Small Business resources page. Backlinks are valuable for SEO because they indicate the popularity or importance of your website. It’s the internet’s way of vetting your business’s website.
Know what keywords you are targeting—the more specific your keywords, the better. For example, if you specialize in selling engagement rings, instead of “jewelry”, use “engagement rings” or “wedding rings.” Start by thinking about what your ideal client will be typing into the search bar to find you.
Blogging and Guest Blogging
Blogging increases the number of indexed pages and keywords used on your website, allowing search engines to rank your website higher—i.e., you are more likely to appear on one of the first pages when someone does a Google search. It’s important to know the keywords and phrases that bring visitors to your website and use them throughout your blog post.
In addition to the actual writing part, have a strategy in place for sharing your blog. You can start by simply sharing that you have a new blog post through an email marketing campaign or newsletter and on social media.
Guest blogging—writing for another prominent blog—can further drive traffic to your site by linking to your site at the end of the post (this also helps increase the number of backlinks to your site). Business Link frequently harnesses local experts to write posts for our blog.
Social media allows you to connect with millions of people for free. When creating social media content, look for opportunities to drive traffic back to your website. You can create social media posts based on blogs, events, services, products, or your story: give them a teaser but leave them wanting more so they have to go to your website for more information.
Ensure social media profiles link to your business website. If you have more than one site that you want to link to (e.g., your business website and a page where they can buy tickets to an upcoming event with a partner) use a tool that allows you to share more than one link in your profile like Linktree, Shorby, or Lnk.bio.
Utilize calls-to-action (CTAs) in your social media posts. Give people a reason to click through to your site on social media, such as advertising a new product. Examples: “Learn More”, “Register Now”, “Read More”.
A mailing list allows you to connect with potential customers or clients directly, in a way that social media may not (rumour is that only about 10% of your followers on Instagram will see your post).
Use email marketing campaigns to encourage readers to return to your website regularly by showing them what they’ve missed since they last visited—perhaps a new product, blog posts, upcoming events, or a new service offering.
MailChimp is a popular email newsletter provider that your business can use for free up to 2,000 subscribers.
Network in person! Go to networking events, conventions, and other in-person events so you can tell people about your website and business in person. At Business Link, we host monthly networking events for FREE.
YOU need to believe in you before someone else will. Nail down your elevator pitch—a quick and succinct description of what your business is—and get comfortable with promoting your business and yourself.
Purchase Advertising on Social Networks
Paying for promotions and ads on social networks can be an effective and inexpensive way to connect with potential clients. Determine which networks are most popular with your target market and focus on paid promotions on those platforms to start.
Social media advertising on social networks like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn allow you to get specific on who you connect with and the goals of your ad. You can target users at a specific location, with certain interests, based on age or gender, and much more.
Facebook Ads are a great place to start. They allow you to target people from a specific location, friends of your current fans, or even folks who like other pages, among other options such as age and interests. Additionally, it’s a cost-effective way to bring in new traffic, as you can set a daily budget, pay for clicks, or pay when people see your ad. If you’re new to the Facebook Ad game, you can even connect directly with a team member from Facebook Ads team to get you started.
Simply having a website isn’t enough to connect you with potential clients. You need people to actually visit that website so that they can get to know your company and its offerings. Once you start to implement the strategies above, don’t forget to spend some time on evaluation—what worked? What didn’t work? We suggest taking a look at your website’s analytics regularly (once a month is a good starting point) so that you can put your effort where it counts. Good luck!