Of All The Questions I’m Asked By Customers And Prospects Alike, This One Ranks In The Top Three.
Even people who don’t check their analytics and barely know what analytics are have the presence of mind to ask how to get more people to visit their website.
I’m going to tell you one of the best kept secrets of increasing website traffic:
I’m also going to share some tactics for doing it but there’s a twist at the end, so stick around.
Let me start this simply by telling you that if you’re not blogging for business then all bets are off. Getting traffic to your site is no longer so easy. Building an audience or an email list or getting listed in search results is no longer so easy.
Blogging is about as close to a secret recipe for success as you’re going to get.
Sites that don’t publish regular content are at a distinct disadvantage in the battle for attention and traffic.
In fact, if you’re not blogging for business then you can probably stop reading because most of what I’m about to say depends on you having regular content.
So what does that mean?
It means you know who your audience is and what they want. You know what their questions, fears, problems and concerns are and you address them honestly. It means you infuse your personality into your writing in a way that helps people put a face on your business.
If you think you’re doing that but still feel like you’re getting nowhere, read this.
If you’re not doing it then sit down and come up with a plan to start.
Having a blog with content that speaks to your audience is the foundation you’ll need to draw traffic to your site. Days of simply having a “great website” are gone. Maybe in two or five years we’ll be talking about something else but right now, content is your biggest ally.
Now that you have a blog you can’t sit around and wait for people to discover it. You’ve got to promote it. And one of the most effective (and fun) ways to do it is to join a community.
I hesitate to say “a blogging community” because there are still a lot of people out there who associate bloggers with guys in their underwear eating Doritos out of their moms’ basements. Even people that I know who blog for their business don’t consider themselves “bloggers”.
It doesn’t matter what you want to call yourself but it does matter that you promote your content.
Online communities can help you build an audience by aligning yourself with like-minded people. This does mean to some extent that you have to embrace the competition.
Here’s a perfect example. I enjoy a community of marketers at Triberr. We all do very similar things but we all connect to cross-promote and share each other’s content.
For people who are not immersed in the online world this can seem like an abomination. Imagine your local car wash teaming up with other local car washes to promote each other. Or your favorite contractor partnering with other contractors to share an audience.
Yet that’s exactly what I’m advocating. If you’re afraid of the competition it just means that you’re not strong enough in your own skills or convictions. Work on that first.
Then you’ll be poised to take advantage of the benefits of teaming up with the competition.
You may find a Facebook group that works as a community. I’m also part of the Word Carnival and although we are business people of various industries, there is overlap in our services. We still share, brainstorm and cross-promote.
There are plenty of options out there and the communities you find will depend on your industry. And if you don’t find any? Start your own.
Building online relationships is one of the single most effective ways that you can start to expand your audience and increase traffic to your website.
Tackle The Questions Your Prospects Ask
Yes, this also involves having a blog. But instead of wondering, “What should I write?” you should be asking, “What did my prospect want to know before buying from me?”
We wrote an article here called “How Much Should A Website Cost?” Do you know why? Because whenever we pitch someone on a website it’s the first thing they want to know.
That article is now nearly three years old and to this day it’s the single most trafficked page of our site. I could go into our Google analytics on any given day and that page will be in the top three most visited.
If you really want traffic to your site and you really want to be found in search results, then write about what people want to know. Instead of obsessing about keywords and keyword variations and “long tail” keywords, just listen to what people are asking every time you meet with a prospect or close a sale.
This post right here is a perfect example of my advice in action. It’s quite literally a question I’m asked repeatedly. One that people search Google for. And one that I have no doubt will show up in my analytics as a high-traffic page.
What are the top questions asked in your line of work? Pay attention to your conversations with people, the emails they send, the comments they make on your blog posts and then create content around them.
This is the one bit of advice you can use even if you don’t have a blog. Of course, it works better with one but you can still be everywhere even if you haven’t taken that step yet.
What do I mean by “be everywhere”?
I mean be on every social network you can get your hands on. Don’t listen to people who tell you to “focus on one network”. There is a different audience on Facebook than on Twitter than on Pinterest than on Instagram. You want them all.
Not every one of those networks may be relevant to your business but be sure you’re not dismissing one just because it’s “too much work” and not because your audience isn’t there.
Write blogs as a guest author for other websites. Even if you have your own blog, you can tap into someone else’s audience by creating content for them. Get yourself interviewed on podcasts. Write something on LinkedIn Publisher. Record videos and host them on YouTube. Comment on other people’s blogs.
If that sounds like a lot of work, well… it is. But it’s not rocket science. It’s just good planning, good content and persistence.
Just remember that I’m not giving you an either/or choice and telling you to pick your favorite idea. I’m literally telling you to do them all. As many as are relevant to your business, which I bet if you get creative really can be just about all.
By building an “everywhere” presence for yourself you’re doing a few things.
You’re making yourself known which is part of getting attention and generating traffic to your site.
You’re establishing yourself as an authority that people will turn to when they need your product or service.
You’re building relationships, which is also part of developing a recognized brand.
And you’re constructing roads into your website so that people can get there from wherever they may be.
No matter what kind of site you have, whether you blog or not, you need to be thinking in terms of mobile.
Did you know that on Thanksgiving Day this year, mobile browsing accounted for more than half of all online browsing? It was the first time that mobile surpassed desktop. And nearly half of all Black Friday browsing was done on mobile, too.
That’s no small statistic. The number of people using their phones and tablets to search for and visit your site is increasing every day. And what that means for you is that if your site is not mobile friendly – I don’t care if you sell video games or duct cleaning services – then you’re missing out on a huge chunk of audience.
Sites that are not mobile friendly are given less authority in Google search, so your site is going to be harder to find right out of the gate. And even when people do find it, they’re more likely to hit your home page and bounce right off.
If your site isn’t responsive it’s time to rethink and work on a plan to upgrade. If your site is in Flash… I would like to slap you with a wet rubber chicken. Please, please make a plan to upgrade.
And Now, The Twist
The real answer to how do I increase traffic to my website is…
If you’re thinking in terms of traffic there’s a good chance you’re approaching the issue all wrong.
The question isn’t how can I get more traffic but how can I get more leads out of the traffic I have?
Unless your business model is to drive as many eyeballs to your site as possible so you can sell as much advertising as possible then traffic is not the metric to hang your hat on.
Yes, you need traffic. Sometimes you need more of it. If you’re getting three visitors a day to your site then you probably need a few more to build a critical mass of people you can sell to.
But for most people who obsess over traffic reports and lament their few hundred or few thousand a day, it’s time to stop and ask yourself if traffic is what you want or if sales are what you want.
If you have a hundred visitors to your site every day but no sales, the question isn’t how to get another hundred visitors but why you can’t sell to the hundred you have.
The day your Google chart starts paying the bills is the day you can obsessively stare at the peaks and valleys of traffic.
Until then, focus on conversions. Focus on targeting the right people, so whether you have three or three thousand visitors a day, those are the right visitors. Focus on providing the content, information, products, services and experiences that your visitors want. Focus on moving them to a sale.
If you can do that then the traffic will follow. And you’ll make better use of it when it does.
Join the discussion 3 Comments
I know my numbers are a whole lot smaller than yours, Carol Lynn. I usually average about 500 website visitors a month. The past month? 303. Given the holiday season and the fact I haven’t blogged in a while, the drop doesn’t really surprise me. Your post brings up a highly valuable point. Traffic is pretty much worthless if you’re not making sales or converting your visitors to subscribers. So why is the internet rife with all those lovely marketers who can’t wait to sell you their magic potion for getting MORE TRAFFIC?! I can’t fault them too much, though. After all, they’re selling you HALF the answer to your question and dilemma. (Yes, I’m being sassy.)
Oooh you and the snark! I bet if you were blogging more… and promoting it more… you would get a ton of traffic. (the good kind, of course). You already have a great community and plenty of fans so with a little writing you would be everywhere. See, I’m giving you homework. We have less traffic than we did a year ago but more leads so that is proof in the pudding. It’s pure psychology to want those big numbers. If I had thousands of visitors a day I’d be happy, too, in spite of my own advice 🙂 But logically it’s about the results and not about the numbers.
“Promotion” is the key. What I find surprising sometimes is how many bloggers I bump into who don’t understand you have to market your posts. Hitting the publish button is just the beginning of the process. No one lands on your pearls of wisdom by magic.
It’s definitely about the results and not about the numbers. And results come from doing the work. (You know –That thing nobody wants to do.)
Wonderful post, Carol Lynn, and I’m really enjoying your audio versions.