I’ve found in my entrepreneurial efforts, and when I’ve consulted and mentored other companies, that a great product or service will only take you so far. Without the right marketing tools in place to back it up, that great idea will likely go overlooked and forgotten, no matter how fresh or exciting an idea it might be.
Unsurprisingly, one of the best ways to get great results for your startup is taking steps to improve your web traffic. But how?
While quickly growing your web traffic may seem like a challenging task, it’s essential for entrepreneurs who are serious about increasing their sales and leads. So how can you take your website traffic to new heights in the coming year?
Here are a few key (and simple) “hacks” that have made a difference for me and will help you get started:
1) Fine-tune your site
The time for New Year’s resolutions may be past, but anytime is an ideal time to evaluate your website and its strengths and weaknesses. After all, the quality of your site doesn’t just impact the user experience once someone arrives at your site — it can also affect where you end up in SEO rankings.
Focus on the factors that search engines take into consideration when determining your ranking, particularly site speed, mobile optimization, and long-tail keyword implementation.
To ensure that your pages load quickly, be on the lookout for large files (particularly photos and videos) that could be compressed or embedded.
Look for any other areas that might impact your site’s usability or keep it from living up to Google’s quality guidelines. Among others, tools like Google’s very own PageSpeed Insights make it easy to determine exactly where you need to improve.
2) Become a guest blogger
No — it’s no longer 2005 — but if you really wish to spread the word about your company, guest blogging is still one of the best ways to get started. This is one way I continue to spread the word for my own businesses.
Even the most authoritative of third-party publishing sites typically allow you to link to your company’s website in your author bio — this presents a great opportunity to generate quality backlinks and inform new potential customers about your business.
Of course, you shouldn’t try to write for just any website. Look for high-ranking sites that target your particular niche, as these are more likely to reach a wide readership.
In general, you should avoid sites that seem spammy or have an overabundance of ads. Instead, look for sites with high levels of social interaction and a strong domain authority, as these will generate quality traffic. Use the “veteran test”: If an industry veteran has heard of a publication you already know you have a built-in audience.
3) Let advertising automation tools do the ‘heavy lifting’
If you can make room in your budget, turning over some of your more web-traffic related work to a third-party service (or freelancer) will deliver far greater results than you could achieve on your own.
There are many cool tools and resources available in today’s market to help your company master the main channels that drive web traffic — you just need to know where to look.
For example, one tool that I’ve found to be highly effective is StoreYa’s Traffic Booster, which creates PPC campaigns on Google and Facebook and automatically optimizes bids and keywords to drive quality customers to the relevant pages that will convince them to buy.
Additionally, high-end resources like SE Ranking help facilitate the SEO side of things by automating keyword research, backlink monitoring and other factors that have a direct influence on your search ranking.
4) Update your listings
While your goal should be for your website to appear first when a potential customer searches for your brand, there’s no denying that third-party listings can also play a huge role in whether someone discovers your business in the first place.
There are a lot of online directories out there, and you should be sure that individuals who find these listings are provided with accurate URLs and company info.
Take the time to go through your listings on sites like Google, Yelp, Yahoo, FourSquare, Yellow Pages, and Bing. If you haven’t already “claimed” a listing for your business, now is the time to do so.
This way, you can ensure that customers will receive accurate information (and website links), no matter how they come across your business. Better yet, it also allows you to monitor and respond to reviews.
5) Step up your email marketing
Targeting new customers is great, but your pre-existing client base is generally more likely to come back to your website and make additional purchases. They sometimes just need an extra reminder — and the best way to do that is through email marketing.
Use email addresses you’ve collected from landing pages, social media, and paying customers to form tightly targeted lists. Focus the content of your emails based on where a particular user might be in your conversion funnel, providing them with useful information, engaging headlines, and of course, links to where they can learn more on your site.
A properly targeted email can ultimately lead to more sales — emails reminding users of an abandoned shopping cart have an impressive 40.5 percent open rate, helping businesses recapture lost web traffic and sales.
6) Provide free content
Regularly posting new blog content to your website can be a great way to attract site visitors — in fact, consistent blogging can triple your inbound traffic. But blogging alone is just a first step.
To really drive traffic to your website, you often need to provide some sort of additional incentive.
Providing a free ebook or access to a special seminar will require more writing than a typical blog post. You’ll not only need to write the content; you’ll also need to make it visually appealing and spread the word via Facebook and other channels so people can discover it.
However, when done right, these engaging forms of free content will help you build up your email lists, generate leads and create opportunities for new and recurring traffic.
A fresh start
Even if you haven’t achieved the web traffic results you were hoping for in the past, there’s no reason why 2018 can’t become a rousing success.
As you use the above tips and tools to bring more potential customers to your website, you’ll soon be able to achieve the growth and profitability you’ve been working so hard to achieve.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.