Rewind the clock back to the year 2000. Back then, it would have been unusual for a small business to have a website. Today it is pretty much essential to have one in order to survive in these tough economic times. However, having a great, fully functional ecommerce website is just the first step of the journey to a successful online business. The remaining steps of the journey involve driving relevant traffic to your site. Here are 5 ways to help you take this important step.
1. Guest Posting
This tactic du jour in the online marketing world can be a powerful way of connecting with potential customers on external websites and driving traffic to your own. However, many get it wrong as they fail to utilize this strategy to its full potential.
Guest posting isn’t simply about getting a link. Publishing useful content on a high traffic site relevant to your business niche, will enable you to capture some of that traffic and drive them to yours. This will mean you will have people coming to your website, who may have an interest in what your business offers thus creating the potential for increased sales. And all this would be in addition to building a link and increasing your site’s visibility with the search engines.
2. Interacting on social media
Small businesses simply cannot ignore this marketing channel any longer. Social media is a valuable tool for connecting with potential customers. But beware – don’t market your products or services as social media is a ‘personal space’ for people. How would you feel if somebody barged into your home to try and sell you something?
Many businesses set up social media accounts then never use them. It is important to interact daily and build up a following in your niche. If you interact daily, posting information which is useful or interesting to your target market, your following will grow, and so will the number of visitors coming to your site.
3. Create A Site Blog
If your business website doesn’t have a blog you’re missing out on a tonne of traffic. Posting regularly on a blog enables you to capture what we call in the digital marketing world, long tail search traffic.
Imagine you have an online business selling plant seeds and flower bulbs. Your website is perfectly optimised for the search term ‘buy flower bulbs’, but because this is a highly competitive (short tail) keyword, your site never ranks highly enough to drive any traffic. However, write a blog post ‘Best Growing Conditions For Lupins’ and you stand a good chance of ranking on page 1 for the search query ‘what are the best conditions for growing lupins’ (long tail, low competition). This will drive relevant traffic to your flower bulb site, and create awareness for your business within your target demographic, in addition to potential sales.
4. Add Social Share Buttons
Once you have published a new post on your site’s blog, the next step is to make that content work for you. You need to get that content under the radar of as many relevant people as possible and drive them to your site. A good way of doing this is to encourage your readers to share the post via their social media channels, so make it easy for them to do so by adding social share buttons. There are literally 100’s of plugins out there, so you don’t need to be a coder in order to add this functionality to your blog.
5. Add schema mark up
Web pages are coded in HTML and marked up to tell a browser how to display the content. For example, the following text has been marked up (with h1 tags) so that a browser will display it as a heading:
Schema mark up is additional mark up to provide the major search engines with additional data (known as microdata) regarding the content on a web page.
Search engines such as Google love schema mark up, because it helps them provide the most relevant results to their users. However, there is also an advantage for online businesses using schema mark up, as rich snippets are added to your website listing in the search results. Rich snippets are additional information which is sometimes displayed in search engine results, such as in the following example where the third result has a photo of the author:
Rich snippets can have a positive effect on click through rates and therefore increase traffic to your website. People are more likely to click on a result which displays author name and photo, or any other relevant information, even though it may not be the top result. Adding schema mark up is fairly easy to implement and is a simple way to drive more traffic to your website.