Whether you’ve got money to spend or not a cent to spare, there are a lot of different ways you can increase traffic to your website. From increasing usability and improving your overall website look, to focusing your efforts on improving your internet presence, there is no shortage of tactics you can use to drive more traffic to your site. Here are the top five ways to increase website traffic:
Overall Site Appearance and Usability
You want to be sure that your website it up to date as far as look and usability go. You want people to come to your website and not feel overwhelmed with a lot of text, or be distracted by how busy your site is. There is certainly a balance when it comes to the appearance of your site. You want to have a clean look without a bunch of unnecessary text or graphics clogging up your site. Make sure that whatever you choose to have on your website, the important elements stand out allowing your site to be easily navigated.
Some other elements of your site that you want to be sure you have are:
- A clean background – You don’t want to use colors or patterns that are so distracting that it’s the only thing people can focus on while they’re on your site. While it may seem boring, the best color text to use for your site is black as it stands out and is easy to read.
- Toolbar – It’s always convenient when a website has a toolbar at the top of their homepage with tabs that indicate different areas of your site that people would likely want to go. i.e. if you have a blog, you’d want to have a blog tab.
- Clean text – No one wants to go to a website just to be smacked in the face with tons of text. Try to stick to key points and break blocks of text up with bold headings and subheadings and consider possibly making those a different color to stand out.
- Quick loading time – There is nothing worse than going to a website, only to click on something and have to wait 10 minutes for the page to load. This will not only turn people off, but it will likely prevent them from coming back to your site. Eliminating Flash graphics will cut down on page loading time on your site.
- If you have an older website and your budget allows, you definitely want to spend some money revamping your site to make it more visually appealing as well as user friendly. You don’t need to change everything, just give it a fresh coat of paint, if you will. This will encourage new people to visit your site and by keeping the functionality close to the old version, you won’t scare your current users away from the new look.
Improve Your Presence on the Internet
Once you’ve decided that you’re happy with the overall appearance on your site and you wouldn’t be embarrassed to tell people about your site, you need to focus on your internet presence. Your goal should be to offer a level of high quality, unique content that people wouldn’t want to go elsewhere for. Here are a few ways you can do this:
- Create useful and helpful content – How can you make someone’s life easier? You want to produce content that will answer questions your users have as well as anticipate any problems they might want solved. You don’t have to do this in a dry way; you want to try to be entertaining as well. Don’t bore your readers to death.
- Update your site regularly – In order to drive new traffic to your site and to retain your current users, you want to update your information regularly to keep up with repeat visitors. If you can, try adding new content every few days.
- Submit a sitemap – If you want your website to show up in search engines such as Google, you need to submit a sitemap.xml file. There are tools you can use (such as http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/) that will inspect your website to make sure you don’t have broken links or missing tags that will also create a free site map for you.
- Article writing – No one knows your business better than you and your employees, but if no one on your team is writing-savvy, you should consider outsourcing article content. You can purchase articles for as low as $5 USD depending on the length and quality that you can use for your site.
- Video – People love to watch videos, more so than reading text. If you don’t already have video on your landing pages, add them. They will improve your conversions and page ranking more than any other method of content.
Big No-No’s on Your Site
- There are some things you could be doing that could potentially prevent increasing traffic to your site. You might be doing them inadvertently as shortcuts or to cut down on time and money, but they will only hurt you in the long run.
- Do NOT copy and paste content from a site over to yours. Search engines such as Google and Yahoo can detect duplicate content and will send your site to the bottom of search results.
- Avoid spelling and grammar mistakes on your site. Whether it’s the landing page copy, a blog, or even headlines, you want a proofreader to go over the text on your site to make sure you don’t have any mistakes. Poor spelling and grammar will reflect badly on your business and garner negative attention.
- Do NOT use content generators. The best practice is to write your own content and try to utilize your own team’s creativity.
While it may seem like SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is constantly being shoved down our throats, there is a reason for it. This is how people will find your website when they’re searching specific things on the Web. So how can you improve your SEO?
Here are a few good tips:
- Utilize keywords – You can do keyword research for phrases that pertain to your business. You want to include these keywords in text making sure they flow naturally and don’t sound forced. Use them in headlines, your body of text, and meta tags.
- Don’t overuse keywords – You don’t want to sound unnatural in your writing like someone is holding a gun to your head forcing you to use 20 different keyword phrases in the first paragraph of your writing. This could result in low search ranking.
- Don’t use text in graphics – Graphics are great to use on your site, but be careful that you’re not placing keywords inside the graphics as search engines will be unable to pick up the graphics.
Link Sharing and Social Media
A great way to drive more traffic to your site is to trade links with other websites. Your site doesn’t need to be entirely self-serving, contrary to popular belief. Find other sites that are related to your business and share their links on your site. You want to make sure these sites are credible and have high traffic in order to benefit from link sharing. You don’t want to go too heavy with the link sharing where it looks like that’s all your site is about, but find a balance that you’re comfortable with that isn’t overwhelming.
By now, you should be aware that social media is one of the best ways to market your website and content. You want to follow and share with people who could potentially reciprocate your follow and drive traffic to your site. Social media is a mutually beneficial medium that it seems every business uses these days.
Yes, social media is certainly a form of advertising, but there are a lot of other ways to advertise your content and drive traffic to your site. There are ways you can do this for free and ways that cost money:
- Pay per click – This method requires a bit of cash and it’s when advertisers pay you each time your ad is clicked.
- e-zines – You can submit your articles or blogs to e-zines or writing sites that accept article submissions. You can incluse your web address at the end of the article and this is a great way to create backlinks to your site. It is the most effective way to get listed on a search engine.
- Print advertising – You can advertise your website in local newspapers, magazines and brochures. You should also consider leaving cards with your website on them in coffee shops or local places where your audience would hang out.
- Word of mouth – Be sure to tell everyone you know about your site, and tell them to tell everyone they know. It’s the easiest form of advertising and can also be the most effective.
Increasing the traffic to your site isn’t going to happen overnight, but as with any marketing efforts, if you work hard and maintain consistency, you’ll start to see the results you’re looking for over time. Just be patient keep at it.
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Penelope Brady says
I have been making websites for personal use for many years and it really is amazing how much the industry has changed. There use to be a time when colorful pages and making your hyperlinks pink was a good idea. Today, so much is minimal, many of the websites start to look the same.
Great list of tips! Thanks!