Promoting your website can be a minefield of missteps and etiquette lessons harsh enough to scare off the unwary. What seems like an innocent message board post can get you run out of a forum on accusations of spamming, while your endless stream of tweets haven’t brought you a single click.
Here’s some practical advice on promoting your website and increasing traffic:
One of the most important rules of traffic, and one that is chronically ignored by many website owners, is that growth comes from outside. You can blog, tweet, update and publish for hours on end, but ultimately, unless there is some factor bringing visitors into your site, the efforts are wasted.
Search engines are one way of bringing in new visitors, but branch out to new audiences. Writing guest posts on blog sites or participating in forums related to your field or niche can help establish you as a knowledgeable expert. This writing lets you show by doing. You can let their knowledge and experience show the wide world that you are a credentialed asset, a resource with opinions and insight that can be trusted and relied upon.
Stay Current and Engaging
Once you have traffic coming in you have to care for it and “feed” it regularly, just like a child or a pet. Make sure that you provide visitors with a reason to come back. Consider adding a blog, forum or other means of interacting with visitors and providing fresh content but don’t just create one for the sake of having one.
If interactive elements are not a natural extension of your site and your traffic, it might backfire. For example, a forum on a lawyer’s website could be a dangerous addition if potential clients publicly disclose details of their cases, but a blog where the attorney can post news briefs about recent legislation may be a wonderful addition.
Try Social Networks
Going along with the need to keep clients and customers engaged, embrace the multitude of social networks that are out there. A Facebook profile lets you directly correspond with potential customers and encourages a form of brand loyalty as people “like” your company’s page. When you update the page, those that “like” your page will be notified.
You can also combine multiple social networks for increased efficiency. For example, add a blog to your website. As you post new articles, the address can be tweeted using Twitter to generate conversation, and posted on Facebook. One article is used to generate attention from many fronts.
Virtual Traffic Can Be Driven By Real Life
If you want to drive traffic to your website, try offline marketing. This may seem counter-intuitive, especially if your content isn’t particularly localized, but realistically, your physical reach may be larger than your online reach. Print off business cards with your URL, post the URL on the side of your company vehicle, hand it out as a bumper sticker, or on lanyards.
It can often be difficult to track the effects of some online marketing efforts, however a direct person-to-person exchange gives you more insight into whether you’ve connected with your target. While the link to your website on a nameless directory may never be seen, at least you can be certain that your business card reached an actual human hand.
Use Your Employees To Drive Traffic
If your employees have badges or other identification materials, for instance a lanyard that holds important keys or door passes, then make sure that this “real estate” is marked with your company’s logo and URL.
The URL can be embroidered below your logo on uniforms or branded shirts. Essentially, you are using the “eye traffic” your employees generate in their everyday activities to drive visitors to your website.
Promoting your website is essential, so approach it with a well-rounded strategy that combines marketing in the “real world”, increasing online awareness in markets you have not yet reached, and keeping your clients and customers connected to your company.
Images by Mike Seyfang and Daniel Iversen