One of the most difficult aspects of running a web site or blog is increasing your traffic. You have created a great web site, wrote your best content but when you check your analytics data you notice that you only get a few visitors per day. Why is this happening? Simply because your web site promotion methods failed. Building a web site is one thing but promoting it the right way is a totally different concept.
Before getting into what you should do and what you shouldn’t do to increase your web site visitors, think about this: the Internet is a pool of unlimited users that is increasing day by day and you only need a very tiny portion to achieve your goals.
In 2012 alone there were over 1.4 trillion searches in Google, Facebook had more than 800 million active users, Twitter had over 500 million users and the list can go on and on.
In other words, unlike the real World (offline World), in the on-line World your potential customers, visitors, fans are endless and they are only a click away from visiting your web site.
They don’t have to walk or drive to your web site or ecommerce store, they don’t have to pay anything to visit and all you have to do is put your web site in front of their mouse arrow.
Fortunately there are many ways to do this and this is what I will discuss in this post.
How NOT to promote your web site
I believe it will be more beneficial for you to discuss first how NOT to promote your web site, especially if you have been reading any of the ‘magic’ promotion formulas circulating the Internet. In a nutshell stay away from:
- Link building schemes or networks
- Buying traffic
- Buying Facebook or twitter fans and followers
- Guest posting just for links
It is important to realize that unless you have created a super duper web site (like Pinterest for example) success will not come overnight. It will take time and effort to build your readership or customer base and ‘quick fix’ methods do not provide any long term benefit.
What is the risk of using any of the above methods?
- You will lose your money without having a real benefit
- Excessive link building or guest posting my lead to penalties (by Google and lose all your search engine traffic and the potential to increase your traffic using valid means)
- Buying Facebook likes may lead to penalties by Facebook.
- You will not have a clear picture as to the real value of your web site and what it can naturally do in terms of traffic and visits.
So, if the above methods don’t work how can I increase the number of visitors coming to my web site? This is where the fun part begins…
The power of Internet Marketing
Most popular ways to promote your web site
There are many sources of traffic (besides search engine traffic) but many webmasters fail to utilize them correctly. Yes, search engine traffic is very important but it’s not the only way to promote your web site.
In fact if you use the other traffic sources effectively you are more likely to increase your search engine traffic as well.
Sources of traffic
In general the major sources of Internet traffic are:
- Search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing)
- Social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, Stumbleupon, etc.)
- Mobile media (smartphones, iPads, Android tablets etc., Windows 8 Tablets etc.)
- Mobile Markets (Apple Store, Google Play, Amazon Store, Microsoft Windows Marketplace)
- Chrome App store
- Amazon Kindle
- Windows 8 App Store
- Google+ Local Pages
- Paid advertising (Google Adwords, Facebook Ads)
- RSS feeds
- Guest posting for traffic
- Offline sources (Business cards)
I have personally used most of the above sources and I will explain below how these can aid your SEO efforts, increase your web site’s exposure and gain more search engine traffic.
Search engines: There are three direct ways to increase your search engine traffic.
The first and most important step is to optimise your web site for search engines and second by obtaining high quality links from other web sites (either naturally or through careful guest posting).
The third method is to provide new content on a daily basis (or multiple times per day depending on the niche) so as to create more loyal visitors and give search engine crawlers one more reason to visit your web site.
Social Media: Social media is a great tool to spread the word when you launch your web site or new content (or products). In order for your social media campaigns to be successful you need to have a large user base (fans, followers, and friends) and you also need to have good content.
I will explain later (in a new post) how to grow your fan base on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest but for now take note that social media is a great tool to promote your web site.
Mobile Media: It is estimated by Gartner that by 2015 there will be one mobile device for every person on earth. Modern mobiles (smartphones) are connected to the Internet through Wi-Fi or direct Internet connection and people actually use them to search the Internet, login to Facebook, tweet etc.
So it is important that you optimise your web site for mobile and make it easy for users to find your brand while on the go.
Mobile Markets: Besides the growing use of mobiles during the last 5 years we have witness the birth and success of mobile markets. Apple and iPhone in particular have literally changed the mobile and tablet market and brought new opportunities for game developers and marketers.
If you are wondering what is the relationship of mobile markets and Search engine traffic read my previous post: Mobile Web site VS Native app and why webmasters should care
Chrome App store: Google Chrome is the most popular browser and has millions of users searching the Internet on a daily basis. Chrome has a web store as well and as it turns out it is a great source of traffic. Read about my experience with the Chrome web store here and also what you can expect in terms of traffic gains.
Amazon Kindle: Amazon has been very successful with Kindle that took a step further and created their own operating system (based on Android) and market place (Amazon store) where you can download kindle books and apps for your Kindle device.
How can amazon help you increase your web site traffic? You can create a kindle book and publish it on Amazon (for free) or a kindle app and publish it for free on the Amazon App Store. Kindle users who want to find out more about your web site or products will visit your web version as well.
I have tested both of these methods and they are a good source of traffic but not as good as Apple Store and Google Play, nevertheless it is not something to be neglected.
Windows 8 App Store: Microsoft with the release of Windows 8 introduced a dedicated app store for Windows 8 devices called “Store”. In the store you can find metro style apps (this is how the apps running on Windows 8 are called) which you can install on your PC, phone or tablet.
I am currently in the process of creating a metro style app and submitting to the Store so I cannot give you numbers now but will get back in a few weeks for an update.
YouTube and Slideshare: People love videos and slideshows and in most cases they will prefer those media sources over reading plain text. Depending on your topic you can create your own Youtube channel or Slideshow and gain from an additional source of traffic.
Google+ Local Pages: One of the features of Google’s social network (Google+) is business pages and in particular Google+ local pages for business. Local pages have replaced Google Places back in May 2012 and it can be another source of traffic especially if your web site is targeting local traffic.
Paid Advertising: Advertising is a good way to put your products or brand in front of your customers. If you are running an online shop you can get new customers and if you are running a web site or blog you can get new subscribers and loyal visitors.
Google Adwords and Facebook ads are the two products I am using to either spread the word about a new web site or increase my fan page and followers (more on this in a new post).
RSS Feeds: RSS is not dead. A large number of people are still using RSS to stay informed or follow their favourite web sites. Web sites that managed to build a large number of RSS subscribers have fewer worries about SEO and other sources of traffic.
Even if are having a facebook page, twitter or Google+ page you still need to provide your readers (or customers) with an RSS feed as well. Most blogging platforms have this embedded so your only task is to ensure that a subscribe button is visible in your web site! (Register to my Rss)
Offline Sources: Never underestimate the power of offline sources and word of mouth. Promote your web site in your business cards, flyers, ads, company car and any other medium you use for building brand awareness.
Google is not the only source of Internet traffic
I have outlined all the methods above to help you understand that Google is not the only source of traffic in the Internet. It is one of the best sources of traffic both in terms of quality and quantity but you should never put all your eggs in one basket.
Optimizing your web site for Search engines (SEO) is a great way to boost your traffic from Google, Bing and Yahoo, having an active social media profile can get you visits from facebook, twitter and google+ and following the rest of the above methods will create more direct visits.
To sum it up, in order to increase your web site’s traffic you have to be open minded and ready to test which are the best sources of traffic for your web site without increasing your risks by putting all your efforts in a single method.
by Alex Chris