Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Driving Traffic to Your Website

            Well, I have a meeting with a new client coming up, and I’m a little worried.  He’s a pretty straight forward honest guy.  He doesn’t understand the Web too well, and he’s not very technical.  He wants to drive traffic to his site.  He wants to have people find his business that way, but he doesn’t want to bust the budget.  His business is industrial rather than retail.  In other words, his business will come from other businesses that are in the same industrial industry as he is.  Specialized.  I don’t want to disappoint him like his current marketing company does, so how do I help him reach that goal?
            And so the research begins.  Driving traffic to your Website isn’t simple any more.  There are so many sites out there, and they all want you to find them.  SEO has changed dramatically over the years.  Now to drive traffic to your site, you have to use a blend of social media and SEO.  But it comes at a cost.  The cost may not be in purchasing expensive ads, but it still involves manpower and time.
            Here’s some of what I have learned through my own experience and research:
1.      Use SEO to your advantage:  To make good use of search engines, you should understand your products well and be able to imagine how potential clients are going to find you.  What words may they use to search for you?  What are the key terms in your industry?  What are the key terms people will know?  Then you have to use those terms carefully in your site so that they make sense.  In other words, you cannot just dump keywords into your site like they did long ago.  Search engines are now smarter than that, so you have to make your content and your meta tags smart too.
2.      Make content count:  Even if you are just listing the products you sell on your site, find a way to describe the content on that page.  It can be a sentence or two, but good content helps search engines find you.  If you have a white paper, put it on.  Put on any press releases that you send out to news sources.  Make sure your company description is well written and comprehensive.
3.      Check links to and from your site:  Links from other sites can be useful.  Use search engines to see how others link to your site, and check whether you link to other sites and what those sites are.  If reputable sources and sources within your industrial link to your site, that is a good thing.  If one links that you think detract from your company, request that they take that link off.
4.      Join and participate in social media:  Yes, I know.  With what time?  We are often pressed for time in our daily business lives, but putting something out there with social media helps.  It’s exposure that you want on the Web and the more ways your expose your company, the more ways people have to find you.  You don’t even have to post daily on your company’s page.  It can be as little as once a week or once every two weeks as long as it is consistently posted.  It can be as simple as linking from Facebook or Twitter to an article that will be of interest to your potential customers.
These are just a few.  And I think they’re useful enough that I am going to present this to my (hopefully) future client.  It’s going to be hard to sell him on some of this because he has been frustrated with his current marketing/Web designer, but he said he wants more traffic to his site, and this is the way to start.  But unlike his current company, I am not going to make promises I can’t keep, but I will tell him that it will make a difference, and the difference will show in the numbers 6 months to a year down the line. 
Oh yeah, one more part about marketing:  Staying power to see it through at least 6 months because it can take that long to see results.

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