There are around 357 million websites (Netcraft, July 2011) in the world. Around two thirds are inactive, but that leaves over 107 million that are ‘active’ and competing for the attention of your target audience.
That’s one website for every single person in Mexico.
What are you doing to stand out from those other 107 million? Nice pictures? A few keywords? A Facebook page with 16 ‘likes’?
With new sites popping up every day, the competition for visitors is fierce, but if you’re doing all the right things and publishing good quality content that people want, then you should get good quality traffic.
Here are a few ways to get those web stats up (for the first eight ways, see last month’s 8 ways to bring traffic to your website).
9. Social networking
One of my personal favourites.
But what is social networking? Facebook, Twitter, blogging, YouTube and LinkedIn are some of the best known networks that businesses use to get more web traffic.
Build better online relationships, find potential new clients, research your audience, improve your customer service, grow your email list.
And drive traffic to your website.
Social networking can be a hugely effective marketing tool. Find out how to use it for your business at my next 1/2 day social networking session in Cornwall on Thursday 21st July.
Publicise your social networking sites on your website, in your advertising, and on your printed materials (business cards, invoices, receipts, posters, etc.) and encourage your audience to tell you what they want and think.
10. Include quality outbound links
You are of course the oracle on your niche – you know everything there is to know about waterproof widgets, or hand-sewn bunting, or custom-designed jewellery or tourism in St Ives.
But your website isn’t going to be the only resource that your target audience uses when they’re online. Maybe they want to look at reviews of your products (link through to your Google places listing – where all your reviews are brilliant of course).
Or they want to see which attractions are nearby if it rains while they’re on holiday in St Ives, Cornwall.
Or they want the perfect outfit for a night on the town to go with their new earrings (that they’ve bought from you).
By being generous with your links you add value to the experience on your website, giving visitors a reason to come back, to trust you, and to believe you know what your customers want.
11. Keep in touch
Tell your customers what you’re working on – send a short email or postcard, highlighting the new features of your site.
Keep focused on how the site benefits them – have you added some special offers, or some articles that give them tips, or a free download or video?
If you follow customers on Twitter, reply to their tweets and use the insights they share to understand more about their problems and how your business can help them.
12. Build a database
The other week I attended a brilliant email marketing workshop run by Stafford and Anna from Mail Away, which explained the value of emarketing in building relationships with potential customers.
Stafford was clear that the first step to marketing by email is to have a good list of potential customers – perhaps it includes previous clients, enquirers, or anyone who’s downloaded your special report.
But if your list isn’t all that great, you can build one from scratch quite easily.
Offer something that your target audience would like, and in return for their email address give it to them (perhaps an ebook, or a free download).
13. Be the first
Do you remember The Million Dollar Homepage? Alex Tew, its 21-year-old founder, charged advertisers $1 per pixel which made him an impressive million dollars to pay his way through university.
Others heard about his entrepreneurial website, and followed his lead, but none made the same impact or the same money as Mr Tew. It had been done.
Being first at something doesn’t mean you have to be an amazing inventor (or Alex Tew) – you can innovate by offering exceptional customer service, or a water tight guarantee, or a unique package of complimentary products.
14. Submit articles
There are plenty of online directories where you can submit your well written posts – they have to be original and of great quality but normally they are free and can help bring traffic back to your site and credibility to your brand.
The best known are:
15. Create newsletters for your target audience and add your own adverts in the sidebar
This is so easy but very under-used.
If you’ve built an email list, and you send them regular communications with updates on new products, special offers, behind-the-scenes at your business, why not add unimposing banner ads in the sidebar?
It’s free and if the content is relevant to your audience,
16. Keep it relevant and up-to-date
Google loves blogs because new content is added all the time as new posts are published. This shows that it’s topical and worth listing in search results.
Even if you don’t have a blog, keep the homepage of your site fresh with seasonal copy. Tie in any offers with monthly marketing themes and introduce new seasonal product ranges.
I find it helps to take a step back every month or so to make sure I’m not drifting off topic or losing focus of my customer. It also helps to have a picture of your customer in your mind whenever you’re publishing anything new so you’re talking directly to them.
Have you used any of these effectively? Which works best for you? Share your experience and tips in the comments below.
PS For more ideas, check out another 8 ways to bring traffic to your website.