Getting noticed online can be tough for small businesses, who don’t have the huge marketing budgets of large corporations. However, it is possible to boost traffic to your site without spending a penny on advertising.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways of getting free traffic, including content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), email and social media marketing.
Optimize Your Website
The first place to start is with your website itself. The design of your website, as well as the content that it displays, can affect how highly it ranks in search engine results pages. Here are a few basic tips for improving your site’s visibility to searchers.
Using relevant keywords on a web page is the best way to get it to show up in search engine results pages. Choose a main keyword that each page will target. Include the keyword as naturally as possible several times throughout the page, without overdoing it.
Your main keyword might be a single word, such as “flowers,” or a longer phrase, such as “bouquets for Valentine’s day”. Longer keywords are useful for brands that are just starting out with online marketing because they face less competition from other sites.
Include your main keyword for each page in the HTML title tag.
If your business is local to a particular area, then including the name of that town, city or region in your keywords can help to bring in local traffic. For example, you could target the key phrase “web design in Winnipeg” to bring in local search traffic.
Although images, videos and Java applets are appealing to visitors, they are often ignored by search engines. Always include a text description beside a video or applet, and assign a keyword-rich alt text description to images using HTML attributes.
Keep your URLs short and relevant to the page they point to. For example, if your site contains a blog, then the URL for each post should contain keywords from the title of the post, rather than the date of the post or a random string of letters and numbers. Both humans and search engines should be able to get an idea of what a page is about simply by looking at the URL.
Build a Content Strategy
As well as making your site appealing to search engines, you also have to make it a place that people want to visit. Updating your site regularly with content that informs, educates or entertains readers will improve your appeal.
Including a blog as a part of your site is a good way to handle the need to consistently add new content.
Even if you’ve never tried to run a blog and you are not certain about your writing skills, don’t let this put you off! It’s not that hard to run a blog. The most important thing before you start, is to carefully plan the content that you’re about to create.
You should also always keep your audience in mind while writing every single post.
Engage with Your Audience
Once you have created engaging content, you need a way to share it with a wide audience. Social media provides the perfect platform for doing just that, so your next step is to set up profiles on the social networks that your target audience mostly hangs out on.
These networks will probably include Facebook and Twitter. If you are targeting professionals, then LinkedIn is also a good choice, whereas YouTube and Pinterest are useful if you are planning to share a lot of visual content.
It is worth spending a little time getting your profile set up in each case. Include a link to your website, a cover photo that clearly represents your brand, and some keyword-rich information about your business. Including this information makes it easier for people interested in your brand or niche to find you.
Once you have set up social media profiles, use them! Add links to your social media profiles to your website so that people can easily connect with you, and post regular updates to keep them engaged. Facebook in particular is the perfect place to share the high-quality content you are adding to your blog.
Remember to interact with users who connect with you by quickly responding to any tweets or messages that they send to your account.
Beyond taking advantage of the standard social platforms, you may find a good deal of success interacting with even more targeted audiences. A great way to connect with people (and potential visitors for your site) is to engage in forums that are directly related to your market. These communities will know exactly what your target market wants because they are your target market.
Be friendly, be interactive, be open to feedback and you will gain a lot from these connections.
Stay In Touch with Your Visitors
In order to keep people coming back to your site once they have discovered it, you can encourage them to join your mailing list. Consider asking visitors to subscribe to your list by using a pop-up window that they can put their email address into.
Sometimes offering a free gift, such as an ebook, can encourage people to subscribe.
Once you have built a mailing list, send out newsletters regularly to keep your potential customers interested. Remember to keep your newsletter content relevant to your brand or area of business.
Ask yourself what your subscribers want to know and focus on delivering content that is both useful and interesting to them.
As you can see, there are a number of ways to drive traffic to your website without spending a fortune.
Through constant search engine optimization of your website, including content marketing, will keep your information up to date and will show up through web searches, leading users to your page.
Social media is also a free, and fairly simple, way to announce and cultivate your brand. The culmination of these efforts is retaining those who have already showed an interest in your company through email marketing.
After they’ve already checked out your site, encourage them to stay up to date through a mailing list that will be sent directly into their inbox.
With all of these free choices and tools available, you can easily drive traffic without dropping a dime!