SCORE

You’ve got a great looking website—now what? If you build it will they come?

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. In today’s crowded digital world, there are a lot of behind-the-scenes factors that determine how many people find your website.

The good news is that growing your website traffic isn’t magic. In fact, any business can do it as long as you’re systematic and thorough.

Before you start driving traffic to your website, make sure that it’s optimized to convert visitors into leads and customers. Otherwise, it’s like holding the grand opening of a brick and mortar store before you’ve finished the remodel.

Here’s your step-by-step guide for driving traffic to your website so you can market smarter and grow your business.

Set Up Your Social Media Profiles Professionally

Your social media profiles are extensions of your website. Each social network has its own internal search engine that rivals Google. Content and links entered in your profiles are indexed in Google.

They are also part of your online image. Only use high-quality graphics and pictures. Use the free graphics tool Canva.com to create your cover images and square logos. They have all the templates for each network as well as for promotional ads.

An incomplete page makes your business look unprofessional. It’s wise to gather all the images and text you need for your entire page prior to setting it up so that it doesn’t have that “under construction” look.

Learn as much as you can about the networks you plan to use. Each one has its own culture and you don’t want to look like a newbie.

Use Social Media Strategically

Focus on where your target market hangs out the most. This is determined by age, interest, and other important demographic details. If you don’t know where your audience is spending its time, it’s worth taking the time to clearly define your target market and learn as much about their social media use as you can.

Here are some general guidelines for choosing the right social networks for your business:

  • For business-to-business (B2B), LinkedIn and Twitter should be your primary networks.
  • For business-to-consumer (B2C), Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter should be your primary networks.
  • For businesses that are both B2B and B2C, figure out the percentage of your business each one comprises and divide your efforts accordingly.

A good rule of thumb is to spend more time on the networks where you’re building good relationships – including referral sources!

Focus on the ones that are driving traffic to your website. Your analytics and insights will tell you this. Which brings us to the next key step.

Use Google Analytics to Track Website Traffic

 A web designer worth her salt will have optimized your website for search engines. That means that google (and other search engines) will be able to easily find and “retrieve” posts and pages from your site when people search for products, services, and content you offer. This is step one of SEO.

Once your site is up and running, set up Google Analytics so that you can track who’s visiting your site and what they’re doing there.

With Google Analytics you can…

  • See where your visitors came from
  • See where they clicked
  • How many pages they visited
  • How long they stayed on the site

That last one is really important and can tell you a lot. If a visitor lands and leaves within seconds, then you have a high “bounce rate.” This can happen because your site looks amateurish, is confusing, or doesn’t have enough quality content.

The longer visitors stays on your site, the better the chances they’ll convert into customers. So knowing your bounce rate is crucial if you want to grow your customer list.

Using Google Analytics will also help you set marketing goals. Review your insights each month and determine what’s working and what isn’t.

Set benchmarks so you know whether you’re meeting your marketing goals. Here are a few ideas for benchmarks to hit the first 30 days after a website launch:

  • 500 new visitors to the website
  • 50 leads generated – conversions
  • 5 new customers
  • 5, original blog articles the first week
  • 2-3 the 2nd, 3rd and 4th weeks

One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make it not checking their data! If you have no idea how well your website is performing, you won’t be able to increase traffic or conversions; you’ll be operating in the dark.

If you want to get more traffic to your website, you have to know how much traffic you already get so that you can set SMART goals.

Knowing where your traffic is coming from (organic searches on Google? your newsletter? one of your social media pages) will also help you focus your marketing energy where it has the greatest impact.

Boost Your Blog

Having high-quality content on your blog can help lower those bounce rates, but you want your blog to be doing more than keeping visitors on your site; you want it to be bringing in new visitors from other places on the web.

You can always manually share your your blog posts to your social media pages. Provide a short hook to entice readers to click through to your blog and don’t forget an engaging image.

That said, the more you can automate sharing your content, the less time you have to spend thinking about low-level marketing tasks and the more time you can spend on high-level strategy to grow your business.

There are some add-ons and apps that will help your blog and website be found by more people without your having to spend all your time promoting it.

If your website it on the WordPress platform, there are two plug-ins that will boost your blog:

  • SEO by Yoast – helps optimize each page and blog article for search engines, aka, makes it more likely that Google finds your blog post when someone does a search for the topic you covered.
  • JetPack – has site statistics and “Publicize” which, once setup, automatically share your blog articles on your Facebook business page, Twitter and your personal LinkedIn.

If you don’t have a WordPress website, there are some free tools to help you automate sharing your articles to your social media sites.

You can use these sites to schedule and repeat content to match your marketing plan.

However you do it, make certain to share your blog via social media and your newsletter / email list. Sharing your new, high-value content is one of the easiest ways to drive traffic to your website.

Get Started

As you can see, it’s not “if you build it, they will come.” There’s a lot of work to do. You have to figure out how much of this you can do yourself or with your team and what you need to outsource – depending on your budget.

You don’t have to do all of these four steps at once, but make sure you choose at least one and get started. Just thinking about these steps won’t drive more traffic to your site, but taking small actions one at a time will.

Need help creating your strategic marketing plan or determining your budget for hiring experts? Contact a SCORE mentor today to get started on the path to driving more website traffic and growing your business.

About the Author(s)

Melissa Traynor

After graduating from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, Melissa Traynor worked for 25 years in the Silicon Valley for well-established Hewlett Packard and startup MontaVista Software.  Melissa gained experience in the operations of a medium to large company doing a wide variety of support related, technical jobs.

Drive Website Traffic