All websites go through an evolutionary life of their own and increase in traffic over time when effective online marketing is conducted. What they start out as is never what they end up being. Websites can go through several redesigns, but what doesn’t change really is the content. What you want to have in order to maximize your website’s traffic and overall effectiveness is a site that’s dynamically improving and also growing larger over time. Here are some strategies from my experience as an online marketer that have worked well over the years to leverage traffic to the fullest. I hope you like them!
1. Making it Very Social – Making your site as social as possible is the way to go in this day and age. There are a lot of things you can do to facilitate Social on your website, most have to do with Facebook because the majority of the social traffic is on Facebook. Facebook’s Social Plugins are absolute must for your website. My favorites are the Like button, Send button, Facebook Connect (registration), and Facebook Comment box. As many of them as possible should be integrated into your site so your visitors and customers can share your pages and content easily on Facebook, so their friends see it. The Facebook comment Box is amazing as it replaces old blog commenting by adding a box that posts comments right people’s Walls on Facebook and keeps it all visible on your site as well. Another good idea is having Sharing buttons to other sites like LinkedIn, Digg, Twitter, and the new Google +1 button. The service ShareThis has a great piece of code you can just drop into your page layout that shows all the best social buttons including Pinterest. This will allow people to “bookmark” and share your pages on those networks which tends to help you get more traffic from the inbound links it creates and other people seeing those links on various sites and clicking through. It also increases the number subscribers to your content over time which can increase your repeat visitors. The more social followers, friends, and connections you have the more people can ultimately see your content when you share it. Make your site as social as possible should be the goal.
2. Running Promotions – This is usually one of my top recommendations to clients and anyone really that I speak to with a site and a decent amount of traffic. Running a sweepstakes or contest on your site is an amazing way to capture visitor’s information, because a small percentage of your traffic will take the action you want them to such: buying something, becoming a subscriber, liking your fan page, following on Twitter. Running a promotion like “Win an iPad by entering our Spring Sweepstakes” or “Submit your video into our contest to Win a $500 Gift Card” and promoting it with a graphic on the site in the layout or header will absolutely allow you to capture more people’s info than you normally would, then allowing you to remarket to them later to generate a conversion or sale. WildFire is the a great technology for running these types of sweepstakes and contests. WooBox is another one I use a lot with our clients. They both run on Facebook as an app, are very inexpensive, and they keep track of the entire campaign. Not only do you get “leads” from the campaign in a file, you get people to Like your Fan Page which is always desirable. I have never seen anything rocket fans like these apps. I encourage everyone to check them out and implement this type of thing into what you do online. Once the promotion is created you can send an email blast about it to your customer file or database and let them know to enter, which builds your Facebook Fans and Wall postings. You can also advertise it on your website with a graphic and promote it to your fans and followers. Simply a must!
3. Building Your Site out with Content – If you know me you know I’m all about frequent, original content posting to your site via a content management system (CMS) in order to build out your site larger over time with more pages of fresh content. This strategy can only bring you more organic (free traffic) from Google, Yahoo, and Bing. People ask me all the time, “how can I get more traffic to my site?” The answer simply is: post as much content as possible as frequently as possible, or pay someone else to do it, i.e. outsourcing your content production. You have to have quality control in place if you outsource but it can be a cost-effective way to load up with new content for the search engines to eat up and rank. There isn’t a right way to post content or articles, just post about what you think people are searching for primarily and mix in more obscure topics which will tend to rank higher in the organic search results. Frequent posting is definitely the way to go, I usually recommend 5-10 post a day to really maximize things, but “the more the better” which this type of thing. Then make sure to share and bookmark your articles through a process called social sharing and content syndication, to get the absolute most out of each post or page. Sharing your content can really help increase your traffic.
4. Re-Marketing to Your Subscribers/Customers – Websites that get a decent amount of traffic, and are signing up subscribers or customers, should be periodically sending out nicely designed newsletters and promotions to their database on a relatively frequent basis. A lot of companies just hammer their database with promotions, but you really have to nurture your database by sending quality, informative newsletters and promotions in order to build a loyal following and get them to respond in the future. Remarketing is an art and doesn’t come without a lot of trial and error. Obviously subject line is huge to getting it opened in the first place. Make sure you deliver valuable content to your subscribers and you will build an amazing following of loyal customers and subscribers that can be leveraged in numerous ways.
5. Competitive Intelligence – Look around at what your competitors are doing on their websites and on their Facebook Fan Pages. You can usually pick up some great ideas from other sites in your space that are trying whatever they can to capitalize on their website traffic. Emulate the good aspects of their sites into yours and take them up a notch! This is something I recommend doing on evaluating monthly basis, but it really is a constant thing. Also a good idea is to subscribe to your competitors newsletters and join their Facebook Fan Page. Then you can see everything they are posting and sending out so you can get ideas for your own site and make sure you are one step ahead of them. There are tools that will actually tell you what keywords your competitors are using in paid search, one being Spyfu. Also Compete.com can give you a good amount of analytical data on you competitors site and your own site as well.
6. Taking Advantage of Organic Platforms – Ahh organic traffic, better know as free traffic. This is simply where the search engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN choose to rank your site when people search for various phrases. Many people think that their homepage is all that matters and gets the bulk of the traffic, but it’s your inner pages of the site, i.e blog posts, product pages, additional site pages, that can get the majority of the traffic and really deliver for you. Even if you don’t have great organic rankings for your “core” or most popular keyword phrases, you can still get a lot of traffic to your inner pages, which is why the amount of inner pages has to be maximized and grown over time to take advantage of everything the search engines have to offer you, i.e. the search quiries. There are many websites out there that have great organic rankings that you can post content on or list your company to take advantage of their good rankings and generate more traffic to your site. Some of these include: Ebay, EzineArticles.com, Merchant Circle, Craigslist, BackPage, and other sites that allow you to list your products or content on their sites. Some you have to refresh weekly, so there is effort involved. You have to dig around to find them under your core keywords and see who is ranking for this and that search phrase, then go see if you can post to that site in some way. Online press releases are another great way to expand your tentecles because they get republished on a good amount of well-ranking news sites. Over time, you can “saturate” the search engines under different topics if you post a lot of original content to a lot of different places and use the tools available to your advantage. I recommend ereleases.com for the widest press release distribution. don’t forget to embed a couple of hyperlinks to your site in your press release content!
7. Leveraging Videos – video is half of all the web traffic so you should absolutely be creating videos and posting them to Youtube.com and other video sites. Videos tend to rank well in the search results so its another way to get additional organic search listings under competitive and not so competitive keywords. Creating videos has become easier and easier and there are services like Fiverr.com that have people who will create videos for cheap so you can get a bunch made and submitted cost-effectively. Video should definitely be part of Online Marketing strategy and you should decide what types of videos can be made and then make them and submit them. You can also add them as posts or pages to your site to increase content and pages. You should mention your web address in your videos so people can check it out. You can also add coupon codes to help track the effectiveness of your videos.
8. Maximize Paid Search – Wow, paid search. VERY FEW companies in general are maximizing paid search for all its worth because they don’t convert the traffic well enough. The vast majority of targeted web traffic for you product or website is going to come from paid search, so you darn well better have a really good strategy in place for leveraging it. Most companies can’t even spend enough to get all their possible paid search traffic because their website/sales department doesn’t convert the traffic into sales well enough. Over time, as you increase the effectiveness of your website to convert people into leads or sales you can open up the paid search budget and really get all the traffic thats out there for you. You basically have to “out-convert” your competitors in order to dominate as #1 in paid search to gain the highest click-through rate and traffic possible for all your keywords.. This is still the #1 problem facing companies in this day and age in my opinion.
9. Having a Nice Design – website design is extremely important to capitalizing on your traffic and visitors. The better you site looks the more effective it will tend to perform. Design quality is a relative thing and largerly subjective but you should look to redesign your site a few times, over time, to get a better looking site that will work better. Once you re-design your site you should look to plug in an optimization software like Opimizely.com to A/B test various page elements to see which work best. Doing your split testing will allow you to increase your conversion rate by seeing which variations of page elements performs best on your site. Every aspect of your website can be split-tested, but you should start with the biggest parts like your main graphic, logo, bullet points, and start now buttons. Then you can move on to test layouts and placements on the page. It’s really limitless and should be focused on all the time to achieve the best conversion rate possible for your website. Trust and security logos, such as the BBB and Verisign, are great to have present on your website to convey trust with the consumer.
10. Branding Yourself – This more applies to smaller sites and bloggers, but larger sites also need to work on their branding and image they are portraying to their visitors and customers. “Personal Branding” has gained a lot of momentum in the last couple of years, which refers to branding yourself as an individual, i.e. CouponMom.com. You should work on your branding over time and try to make it better and more effective. Quality is the key here, you want to look really professional and polished, that conveys that you have your act together and are trust-worthy. Marketing content and messaging is also really important to impressing people when they visit your site.
11. Retargeting Technologies – If you get a decent amount of traffic, then you should definitely look into what are called “behavioral retargeting” companies, which can essentially serve up your banner ads to site visitors when they leave your site without taking an action like buying or filling out your lead form. When these visitors leave your site and go surfing aruond the Internet they see your banner ads, sometimes featuring the products they checked out on your site. This can be a very effective way to bring your visitors back to buy, especially if a promotion is offered in the retargeting banners ads. Some of the companies that offer this are: Retargeter, Fetchback, and Adroll. Google also has this technology in their Adwords campaigns. This is an absolute must for companies looking to convert their traffic better.
12. Referral Programs – near and dear to my heart, I have been using referral programs for several years with the companies I have been with and with our current agency clients. Referral programs basically turn your customers into marketers for you. This is primarily for companies but can be done on a smaller scale as well. I really like a newer company called Push44. They have an amazing platform for running referral programs thats really cost-effective too. Running referral programs on your site is a great way to maximize what you are doing and turn your customers or subscribers into proactive advocates for your company. With the advent of social media, it’s easier than ever for people to share about your company and earn their referral. Gift cards and cash are great motivators for referral programs.
I hope you enjoyed read this article on maximizing your website and traffic. Feel free to leave me some feedback as I would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks and have a great day!