To attract people to your website you need one or more of the following:
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Referrals (Word of Mouth)
- A Great Website
Search Engine Optimization
You need search engine optimization to increase your rankings in search results. Otherwise no one can find you. The most important ingredient of SEO is having great content and information on your site that people genuinely need. If you fulfill that need, the search engines will be more likely to include you in their results.
Sometimes good content is not enough, however. You can have a beautiful site, oozing tons of good content, but still stay on the back pages of search results. That’s when citations or links to your site from important and highly-ranked websites are vital. Search engines prefer naturally occurring citations, so if you build links they must be white hat and within Google’s or the other search engines’ accepted practices. Equally important is onsite optimization, making sure descriptive words about your services and products are part of your text and meta-description and alt tags.
An immediate way to get more traffic to your website is Pay Per Click ads. These are ads that appear when people search for keywords specific for your website. They appear above or alongside organic search results. You bid against your competitors for how high your ads appear on the page. Google, Yahoo, and Bing all have these types of ads. An internet marketing company can help you do pay per click if you don’t know how yourself. Ducktoes does this all the time. You can also get Google AdWords staff to help create and post your ads when you sign up.
Print ads, billboard ads, Yellow Pages, snail mail postcards and flyers, bus bench ads, radio and television ads, and local grocery store receipt ads are all ways of getting your website known if you display your domain name prominently within the ad . I have found these ads less effective at bringing visitors than Pay-per-Click but they do help get more people to your website.
You can also pay for likes on your business Facebook page or Facebook boosts. These likes are usually people genuinely interested in your products or services. They are a receptive audience for your promotional posts because they already like and “like” you. You can also now get Twitter ads.
Word-of-mouth referrals and reviews after experiencing your great service are also and excellent ways of getting more traffic to your website. Google plus, Facebook, and Yelp all have reviews of your business online. The downside is that competitors, cranks, and even people who haven’t been to your business will from time-to-time write false bad reviews. Dealing with bad reviews can be disheartening and time-consuming. It is important to stay upbeat in your responses and use your reply as an opportunity to show how professional you are and to use the reply to advertise your customer service skills and goals.
A good reply to a bad review should be as follows: “I’m sorry to hear of your bad experience. Please contact us at the shop at your earliest convenience and let us make it right for you. We are known for our excellent customer service, friendliness, and expertise and are constantly looking for ways to improve it.”
Social media and emails of people suggesting places they like to their friends are also word-of-mouth referrals. Being the best business you can be and genuinely caring about your customers is the optimal way to get this ball rolling.
Your Own Website is your Best Advertisement
After you attract people to your website, your site must be able to persuade them to become clients and to buy your products and services or buy into your message or information if you are a non-profit or service organization. This is called conversion.
To make conversion happen you need to ask yourself what needs your clients have and then emotionally engage and address those needs with great photos, graphics and text. They need to identify themselves and see the solutions to their needs and problems represented in your website. You must provide a call-to-action on every page. An example of a call-to-action is “Call now (or click here) for more information.” If you have successfully engaged your clients emotionally, then they will be much more apt to call or click on the call-to-action button.
Great, attractive web design is a key element here. Easy navigation, catchy phrases, good content, striking photos and graphics all serve to foster conversion and more business. Photos are needed because text alone can look unappealing, dry, and is too easy to skip over without making any impact. A great photo strategically placed with a catchy phrase can immediately attract and win over the potential client.