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10 Steps to Increase Traffic to Your Website

A website sits so prominently in the hierarchy of marketing initiatives that there is little wonder business owners can frequently be heard asking, “how can I attract more visitors to our site?” The answer lies in understanding what people are looking for and how you appear to the Internet at large.

These ten ideas can help you increase the number of visitors to your website and, in many cases, improve the quality of their visit.

Create a Google Webmaster Tools account

Google Webmaster Tools is a free service that shows you how your website appears to Google’s search engine crawlers. It also provides you with the means of making it easier for Google to index your website through the use of a file known as an XML sitemap. This file identifies the name and location of every page on your site and can even be set to designate the frequency at which each page is updated.

No level of technical knowledge is needed to create the sitemap.xml file thanks to the many free online services that will generate one for you, including XML-Sitemaps.com.

Submit to Industry Directories

When a website is launched it is often standard procedure to submit the URL to search engine directories, such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and DMOZ. What is frequently overlooked, however, is the ample supply of smaller, more specific directories available online.

Finding directories specific to your industry can be as simple as entering “[industry name] directory” in your favorite search engine. Having your business listed in as many of these directories as is feasible can result in increased visits from a less generalized demographic.

Add a Blog

Blogs are a convenient way for businesses to publish the single most valuable element on the Internet—new, unique content. By posting compelling, relevant articles businesses can:

  • Demonstrate a superior level of expertise in an industry sector
  • Open a new line of communication with potential customers via integrated “Comments” areas
  • Increase search engine ranking by regularly publishing new content and through the use of keyword-rich categories and tags

Thanks to the prevalence of top-tier blogging engines, such as WordPress, Moveable Type and Expression Engine, incorporating a blog in your company’s online marketing scheme has never been more accessible.

Promote Your Content

Make the effort to craft a well-written, timely article pay greater dividends by promoting your new posts in blog-specific search engines. Blog-Search is a search engine focused only on content published through blogs. Users of this type of search engine are looking specifically for insider-style content, the exact type of information you are using to add value to your website. Traditional search engines recognize the value of the links posted to this site as well. By including your site’s blog area to this directory you can increase the visibility of the information you are posting.

Become a Guest Author

Again, recognizing that the main thing people are searching for is original content, we can easily understand the need for popular blogs and online publishers to employ guest authors. Your business can benefit from you becoming a guest author by giving you and your company exposure to a larger audience.

Finding a site willing to publish the work of a guest author can be as simple as emailing the publisher of your favorite industry-related blog. Other places that are always in search of contributing authors include:

Create a Professional Twitter Account and Facebook Page

A key to getting increased traffic is to distribute your information in a variety of formats. This leaves it to the recipient (your potential customer) to determine which way they prefer to receive periodic updates.

Two easy data streams to tap into are Twitter and Facebook. You can use these networks to post links to related industry articles both on your website and elsewhere on the Internet. These feeds also provide you with a vital link to your follows and fans where you can announce new products, specials and website updates.

Focusing on growing your subscription base in these two networks can result in significant traffic increases.

Leverage Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking site provide individuals with the means of managing important references found on the web. An added benefit of social bookmarking sites is that you can view links that others have found to be of interest. By building a collection of valuable links related to your industry you can increase exposure to your own site as well.

Of course, getting others to bookmark your site is even better. If you are regularly publishing valuable content, encourage them to add your posts to their bookmarks. What’s the easiest way to do that? Add links to your pages that, when clicked, will automatically add the page to that visitor’s account.

A key is knowing which social bookmarking site has the appropriate audience for the information you are publishing. If your information is related to health and wellness then it is unlikely to be added to Slashdot, which is geared specifically towards a computer-savvy audience.

Popular social bookmarking sites include:

Post to Related News Groups

As a knowledgeable professional within your industry you have a lot to offer the general public. Exposing people to that knowledge can not only benefit them, but can result in additional qualified visits to your website.

Sometimes you need to search out those that can benefit from your expertise, and that’s where news groups come into play. Visiting a news group and browsing to your specialized field can provide an abundance of opportunities to demonstrate your knowledge and direct traffic back to your website.

Popular news groups include:

Contribute to Industry Related Forums

Along the same lines as participating in news groups, industry forums can provide a bounty of chances to expose your insight within your field. The key is to find relevant forums and participate as much as possible.

You will want to check the sites’ terms and conditions, and, if permitted, include a link to your site in your signature. This way each time you post there is a link to your site surrounded by industry-related content, and search engines have the tendency to like that.

Pay-Per-Click Ad Campaigns

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ad campaigns provide businesses with the opportunity to have text-based advertisements appear with related search results. Popular options are Google Adwords and Yahoo!’s Overture. In both cases, businesses bid on keywords for which they want their advertisement to appear. Then, based on bidding and the daily budget allotted for the campaign, advertisements will be displayed when someone searches using the associated keywords.

A important point is that you are only charged when someone actually clicks through your advertisement to your site. Using PPC with a dedicated landing page (a page with content that specifically ties to the advertisement) can result in an effective online advertising campaign.

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