People visiting your web site are referred to simply as “traffic.” This is the only time in life when heavy traffic is a good thing.
Your goal as a web site owner is to not only increase traffic to your site, but targeted traffic. These are the people who are interested in your site and what you have to say or offer, and will hopefully return for more.
Traffic is the currency of the web. Therefore, the ability to drive targeted traffic to a web site is a valuable skill that takes some time to develop and cultivate. However, with the right knowledge, a little patience, and some effort, you’ll soon start seeing people showing up at your site.
So how do you get traffic?
One word: Links.
You need incoming links, either paid, or “free.”
The reason I have free in quotes above is because free links — at least those worth getting — aren’t really free. I’ll explain below, but first let me outline the three basic ways to get traffic to your site:
This is when people find you via a search engine due to your web site showing up in search results. When a search engine’s complex algorithm determines your content is worthy and relevant to the search conducted, your site appears in the results.
It can take anywhere from a few hours to a few months before a new web page starts showing up in the search results, depending on a variety of factors such as your page’s content, as well as your site’s “reputation” and age.
COST: Your Time
Either you, or someone else, can link to your site from another site. For example:
COST: Your Time
You can use a service such as Google’s Adwords program to have your site display along side relevant search results. Depending on the search term, you’ll pay anywhere from a dime to a few dollars per click-throughto your site.
COST: Ad Costs + Your Time
IMPORTANT: The only reason anyone is going to link to, “like” or recommend your site is because you offer something of value. No one who values their own web properties is going to link out to garbage. So if you want links, you have to create content worth linking to. And creating useful content (articles, videos, audio, etc.) takes time. And time, as we all know, is money. So if you value your time, there’s no such thing as free traffic.
If you build it (a blog or web site), and don’t do anything else, they won’t come. But if you take the time create useful content — and tell the world about it — eventually they will. And Google will most likely be the tool they use to find you.
Google tends to rank highly those web sites that:
People will link to you.
This results in:
More direct traffic via those links; and…
Higher rankings in Google…
…which results in:
More traffic from Google; and…
Therefore, more links from people who find you via Google…
…which results in:
(And it just keeps snowballing from there!)
There is no shortage of web sites and books offering to teach you how to increase traffic to your site, so there’s no reason to try and list them all here. Instead, what I’d like to do now is share with you a few simple traffic-building strategies you can implement right now that will get you the greatest return on your time invested…
For kids, it’s the alphabet. In sales, it’s “always be closing.” But online, it’s Always Be Creating. Develop a creator’s mindset. Create articles, infographics, videos, audio recordings… keep cranking them out and keep posting them to your blog. There is no greater way to build up your traffic over the long-term than to consistently create good stuff worth sharing. Google loves fresh content. So will your visitors.
Make sure your blog is optimized to be discovered by Google and your users. The best way to do this is to use a good SEO plugin. I recommend the free Yoast WordPress SEO plugin. Take the time to go through Yoast’s site to learn the basics about good SEO practices. It’s one of the smartest investments you can make.
These are words that your prospective visitors will be using to find a site like yours. Create a free Google Adwords account, and experiment with their Keyword Planner tool to uncover terms and phrases used by searchers. Then incorporate these keywords into your page titles, body copy, permalinks and category names. Done correctly, your site will rank much higher for these keywords when people search for them.
Tell your friends via email, FaceBook and Twitter and ask them to spread the word. No need to be spammy about it. Just say, “Hey, I created a new blog on _____, I’d appreciate any feedback or spreading the word.”
Visit blogs and other sites where your audience congregates. Share useful, relevant information in the comment sections and forums. Include a link to your site with your signature. As long as you’re contributing something useful, and the site doesn’t specifically outlaw it, no one will ever complain that you included a link to your site.
This isn’t as effective as it used to be, and has come under heavy fire lately due to its misuse. But done correctly, you can still build up an audience rather quickly (while still staying out of trouble) by being a contributer to other blog sites. Here’s a good guide to help you learn more about guest blogging.
A simple way to boost traffic to your site over time is to submit your content to social bookmarking sites such as Reddit, Delicious and StumbleUpon. Not only will you be introducing your web site to others with relevant tastes, but you’ll also be gaining valuable backlinks from reputable sites, which Google just loves.
Studies show that people are attracted to and engage more with sites where with images, infographics and videos are utilized. This is a simple yet powerful way to connect with your readers and get them sharing your content.
Pictures and graphics don’t just make your blog more attractive and engaging, they can also be used to help people find you in the first place. Many people use the image search tools by Google and other search engines. For example, if you were planning to use an image of a new camper named “04122014XP.jpg” on your camping site, change it to “New-2014-Winnebago.jpg” before uploading to your site. By using keywords related to your site in your image names, you’ll be giving your site an easy traffic boost.
It can be difficult to stand out from among the millions of web sites online. But if you were hoping to maintain anonymity or keep a low profile, it’s almost impossible:
“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”– Eric Schmidt, Google’s former CEO
If you haven’t already, create a Google Plus profile. Then spend a few minutes learning about Google Plus Authorship and link to your blog from your Google Plus account. This will help your site stand out and be discovered by Google searchers.