Well, it has taken some serious blood, sweat and tears (metaphorical at least) but the new Little Red Horse website is finally up and running.
Hopefully any teething problems will be overcome within the next 24 hours and then we can sit back, put our feet up and watch the website start to work. Traffic (visitors) will begin pouring on to the site, each one hungrily reading several pages, absorbing all our content and frantically clicking links before ordering hundreds of websites, online marketing campaigns and hours of slick video.
At least – that’s the dream. The reality is that now the site is built, the hard work has only just begun.
Yup, it’s the great 21st Century challenge of: How To Attract Visitors to My Website.
If you are wondering how to attract visitors to a website, it can all seem daunting.
Certainly in those early days it can feel as though no one will ever stop by. Or you get incredibly excited when the stats show some early customers, only for you to discover you’ve been picked out by some Russian spambot special attention.
So how to attract visitors to a website?
To a certain extent it is possible to create your own website traffic. Here are some suggestions:
Make sure your content is filled with relevant keywords. You do need to decide before the site is written what keywords you want your website to rank for, and they will depend on your business. If you’re a local service, this can be quite easy as there is less competition. If your business is a niche, that’s when things start to look really good. For example, there are probably dozens of businesses with the keywords ‘florist Norwich’. But if your speciality is ‘handheld rose bouquets Norwich’ then your competition will be far less.
Post a link to the site on your personal Facebook page. A small number of people may click through, especially if you issue a call to action or incentive.
Open a corresponding business Facebook page and attract visitors over to the site from there. One way could be by offering special discounts on your Facebook page, advising potential customers to visit your website for the details.
Have the site address on your business cards and other stationery and develop a serious card-handout habit. Some will click, and every click counts.
Remind everyone you do any marketing with to “check our website for details”.
Once you do start to get traffic, Google will start to notice you – a classic case of chicken vs egg. But, organic website traffic can only take you so far. Eventually you will need to deploy some specialist SEO skills to tackle this ever-evolving challenge.
Where once it was possible to ‘cheat’ SEO, Google and co are very strict any black hat behaviour and so it comes down to good old-fashioned hard work and housekeeping.
Here are the Little Red Horse’s top tips for top SEO:
Good quality content. Google loves this! Regularly update your site (that’s one reason a blog is so useful!) with quality, informative, entertaining content. Share some of your secrets and expertise. Make people laugh. Stun them with facts. Spread the love. Add images (but optimize them first, see point 3).
A fast-loading site. Slow spinning wheels don’t help anyone and are one way to put search engines right off your site. You can use this site to check how fast your website is loading.
Optimize your images. Check their size and reduce if necessary. A site crammed with huge images will naturally take longer to load, and moving between pages will be slower too.
Keep your Google My Business page updated and keep on checking in. It will increase your visibility as well as boost your site’s ranking.
Regularly check your site’s links. By these we mean internal, to other pages around the site, and external. Dead links can lead to a 404 Error page, and Google HATES these!
Grow more links. Backlinks – ie, clicks to your site from another site, are still amazingly effective at helping your site to rank. Add links to other relevant sites from your own, and ask the owners of those sites to link back to you. Your blog posts could – perhaps should – include links to other sites too, partly to spread goodwill but also because links from your site show the search engines that you are part of the bigger community, so it’s all good!
If you’d like to read more, we recommend these fantastic blogs: Search Engine Watch and Moz Blog to help you stay up to date with developments.