So you’ve decided that you want to drive some traffic to your website without breaking the bank? Well, you’ve made it to the right place and not by accident either. We’ve used exactly the techniques detailed in this guide to bring you here. Read on to learn about some of our key tactics, strategies and hacks to help you easily and affordable drive traffic to your website.
Because lets face it, your website is not a lot of use to you and your business unless you’ve got a stream of potential customers visiting it.
We typically see business thinking about the following two steps when it comes to their online presence.
- Get a great website designed, built and hosted.
- Start driving traffic in order to drive leads and sales.
It’s this second step that businesses will tend to struggle with as it’s hard to know where to start and what’s going to work. Never fear though, we’re here to share our insight on how to start driving traffic to your website in a lean and affordable way.
Before we dive into the different ways you can drive traffic to your website, it’s important to ask yourself why. Why do you want people to find your website?
At the end of the day, website traffic is a means to an end. You’re trying to either sell something online, drive people to your store or increase advertising revenue. You need to work back from your most important business goal and undertake only those tactics that will help you to achieve it.
This is a bit of a bumper guide to different tactics so we recommend bookmarking and then diving in and out when you want to. You can also use these quicklinks to jump to a section that’s of particular interest to you.
Without further adieu, lets dive into our first method of driving website traffic that anyone can get started with today.
Blogging is one of the most powerful tools you have in order to attract people to your website. We’re now living in an age where content is king online and people are spending more time than ever consuming this form of content. You may be thinking that you’re not a writer or just don’t have time to create content but let us assure you, it can definitely be worth your while.
Not convinced? Just take a look at these stats:
Content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62% less. (Demand Metric)
60% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content on its site. (Source: Content Plus)
In addition to generating way more leads at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing you also get a number of additional benefits. First, you’re creating a relationship with your customer. Everyone hates seeing adverts, but people love consuming great content. Once your customer has read a blog post that’s helped them in some way then you’re onto the first step of creating a meaningful connection with them.
You’ll also be boosting your SEO (search engine optimisation), or how easy it is for people to find your website through search engines. Yes, that’s right. Without being an SEO wizard you can still give your website an SEO boost just by blogging. Search engines like Google rank on a number of different factors and producing great content for your website ticks a number of boxes. Need a little more persuasion? Check out these stats on the matter.
Right, so hopefully by now we’ve convinced you that blogging is important in order to drive traffic to your website. To make things easier we’ve even created our own easy to use framework for creating content.
PEDL – Our framework for creating content
At Talent Cupboard we’ve created a framework called PEDL to help keep us on track with creating great content. Let’s go through an overview of each step that’s involved.
Plan – great planning leads to great execution and is the starting point of our framework. We typically plan out content that we want to produce and have a map laid out for a good few weeks into the future. It will help you to make sure that you’re on track and producing content according to your schedule, rather than coming at it haphazardly. We advise creating a calendar list of when you plan on having content launched and what the rough theme of the piece will be. You might want to set a pace of every other Monday to start off with to make this manageable. The main thing is to create consistency and stick to it. We also find it useful to have a list of 10-20 or so blog post titles floating around so that when it comes to Monday we’re not having to scrabble to come up with ideas.
Execute – very easy to say but so much harder to do. In order to get any kind traction you need to graft and be consistent with your output. In order to build an unbreakable content creating habit we recommend starting small so it’s impossible to fail. Try a 500 word blog post or even a listicle (e.g. 10 Ways To Drive Website Traffic) twice a month to get started. Get comfortable with this and then build on it. Soon you’ll be creating content without breaking a sweat.
Distribute – your content will just sit on your website gathering dust unless you have a plan for distribution. It’s not enough to hope someone will come across your new blog post and spread the word, you’ve got to kickstart the process if you want to be able to reach people. With each piece of content we create it’s then submitted to a minimum of 7 different social networks & directories as well as being featured in our newsletter (which is well worth signing up to :).
Learn – When you’ve nailed the first three steps it’s time to take a step back and see what kind of impact you’ve made no matter how small. Make sure you have Google Analytics installed as a minimum requirement so you can track metrics like how many unique visitors you’re getting for each post, as well as where the traffic is coming from. By taking the time to see what type of content works, where to place it and at what time you’ll be able to jumpstart your growth and learn where to focus your attention.
Using this framework we’ve been able to PEDL faster ? and gain traction with our content marketing efforts. We’ll cover this in more detail, with examples, in a future post.
We’ve only just scratched the surface of how to use blogging to grow web traffic. That’s why we’re writing up an actionable guide on how to use a blog to drive website traffic. Sign up to our business newsletter using the form on this page to get notified when we launch it.
- Try to aim for 2000-25000 words. Posts around this length tend to be ranked in Googles top 10 when content is searched for.
- Keep an active and consistent blog. You’ll be rewarded in the long run.
- Focus on creating quality and useful content. Get this right and traffic, SEO, linkbacks etc will all fall into place.
If blogging is the fire that you consistently build up to drive traffic to your website, then social media can be like throwing petrol onto that fire. It’s a great way for people to find and more importantly share your content as well as being a key to connecting with potential customers online.
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Another great benefit of social media is that it is one of the most affordable and quick ways to start promoting your business online. Again, we know it can be tough trying to carve out the time to commit to this but when you just look at how many people are registered on these services as well as how much time they’re spending on them you wont want to be missing out.
As you can see, people are spending a huge amount of their day on social media.
Your takeaway here is that your business should be appearing where your customers are spending their time online. This means finding out the networks that your customers are using the most often. So if you’re a B2B business then you should probably be focusing your time on Linkedin, Twitter and Youtube.
If you’re focussed on consumers then Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook could be a great place to place your time and efforts.
There are loads of tips, tricks and tactics for each social network that we won’t cover here for now but we’ll be sure to run through in a similar guide.
Share great content
Once you’re setup on social media it’s now your chance to start sharing the awesome content that you’ve been creating. Whenever you publish a new piece you want to be sharing this from your social media accounts. Also, don’t shy away from re-posting the piece intermittently as it’s likely that some of your audience wouldn’t have seen it the first time around.
Don’t be afraid of sharing content from other sources online. Just make sure it’s relevant for your audience and it adds value in some way. It could be an interesting thought piece about an industry trend if you’re in the B2B space or a funny meme that you’ve found that will make your B2C customers laugh.
A big obstacle people have when first starting out is knowing what to share or talk about. If you’re stuck for content then reddit is a great place to find interesting content relevant to your particular niche. There are thousands of category niches called “sub-reddits” where people form communities around a particular subject matter.
Find your voice as a brand and don’t be afraid to connect with people, especially potential customers. Don’t just broadcast, have conversations and build relationships.
Track your metrics
With every effort made to drive traffic to your website you should be tracking some kind of metric. You don’t have to be a data scientist to see where to focus your attention. If you’ve installed Google Analytics you’ll be able to see what social networks drive the most traffic to your website. Here as you can see, Twitter accounts for over half of our social traffic and has meant we’ve dedicated more time to drive traffic from this source.
If you’re looking for how to get the above screen, go into Google Analytics, hit Acquisition and then social. You’ll have an overview of what network is working out for you.
Manage your time effectively
If social media isn’t currently part of the day job then trying to figure out how to squeeze even more into your day can seem like a daunting task. Never fear though, we have some time saving hacks that you can implement today.
The first is to sign up to an amazing tool called Buffer. It allows you to manage and add content into a schedule for a number of different social networks. Meaning you can load up a day of Facebook posts, tweets and Pinterest pins from one handy place.
We use this at Talent Cupboard so even on busy days we can have a full day of social media activity organised with just 20 minutes spent first thing in the morning or the evening before.
To save yourself even more time you can install the buffer browser extension and you can be scheduling content in just two clicks. You can find out more about it here.
We’re creating a dedicated guide to help you make the most of using social media. Sign up to our business newsletter using the form on this page to get notified when we launch it.
- Aim to engage with your audience and influencers. Don’t just be a broadcast machine.
- Don’t be afraid to share content you’ve produced a number of times, recycle it.
- Use images in your posts. They drive a load more engagement than those without.
- Double down on the social media networks where you can see growth.
Ah good old email. It’s getting on a bit now but it still deserves your attention when trying to drive traffic to your website. Whilst not being the sexiest form of digital marketing it is still one of the key foundations for anyone looking to bring website visitors back consistently.
A report from Custora highlights just how far ahead email still is for converting traffic into customers.
There’s a ton you can do with email to get people coming back to your website and tactics to grow your list but we’ll save those for our dedicated guide to growing traffic with email. Here we’ll focus on how to get started with creating an epic email newsletter that customers will love – all without needing to write a line of code.
If you haven’t heard about Mailchimp before then you’re in for a treat. It’s an online service that allows you to easily create and send beautiful emails to your customers. A bonus for beginners is that you can send to up to 2000 customers for free before moving to one of their paid plans. We’ve been using Mailchimp for years and can’t recommend it enough. If you want to use some other kind of email software then that’s fine as the general concepts we’re going to cover are the same.
Your email list
Before you can start creating your email to send out you’re going to need a great email list – the people you’re going to send your email to.
A quick note: do not purchase email lists. Period.
If a company comes to you saying they can provide 5000 pre-qualified local business emails to you – don’t listen. Even if it’s true, this strategy is not going to work for you. Think about the last time you received unsolicited email. A typical reaction will be to mark as spam or an instant unsubscribe. They haven’t asked for you to appear in their inbox and it’s no way to build trust. A worse case scenario is that your email service blocks you from emailing anyone at all for spam.
Right, housekeeping out of the way, let’s get into the detail.
Building your email list
If you have an existing database of contacts or previous customers, that have opted into receiving commutations from you, then this is a good place to start. You’ll want to import these into a new list in Mailchimp. This makes it easy to send an email to everyone in one easy go.
Don’t have any emails to include in a list? No worries. You’ll want to go into Mailchimp and create a list, which will be empty to begin with. From here, find the tab that says “Signup forms” which will then present you with a number of options. Select the embedded form option. Here you’ll be able to see some code that you can get your website developer to include onto your website. This will allow people reading your blogs, or visiting your website, to enter their email address in order to receive your emails. This method has the added benefit that it automatically updates your list for you.
You can also use a great tool that we use at Talent Cupboard called List Builder from the awesome team at SumoMe. Again, it provides a little snippet of code that you can get your developer to include on your blog or website. List Builder will then show a friendly pop-up seeing if your website visitor wants to sign up to receive your emails. Once you get enough hits on your website coming through you should receive a good number of sign ups from tools like this one. You can also link this to your Mailchimp list so that your emails are all in one handy place.
Once you’ve got some emails, you’re going to want to create and send an email.
Creating your email
At this stage if you’re using Mailchimp then you can use their super easy to use email building software. You can pick from a variety of templates and styles to then fill with your content. We love this as it means it’s all optimised for viewing and mobile so you don’t have to worry about anything apart from filling it with great content.
A couple of quick wins we’d recommend when building emails.
1. Have a clear call to action
What is the one action you want someone reading your email to make? If it’s reading your latest blog post, or checking out a new product you’ve launched then make sure there is a clear link or button that takes your readers to that location. You should place your key call to actions at the top of your newsletter and try to keep your email to the point as you’ll lose people if they’re having to read an essay.
2. A/B test your emails
A/B testing allows you to test different versions of an email send, to two different groups, to help you determine the most effective content. For example, you can choose to test two different subject lines to see which one leads to more email opens in your list. Once you start to have a lot of people in your list a 1% difference can mean a huge difference for your open rates, and subsequently the actions taken by the reader e.g. buying that holiday.
So that’s it for the basics of creating and sending emails. It’s a great way to bring people back to your website and should be a must have for any website owner. Don’t be afraid to test different subject lines or send times. The main thing is to try and beat your numbers from the previous week and that takes a little experimentation.
We’re creating a dedicated guide to help you make the most of using email to drive website traffic. Sign up to our business newsletter using the form on this page to get notified when we launch it.
- Ensure that people can easily subscribe to your email list
- Create a consistent time to send if possible – e.g. 4pm on a Thursday
- Test, test and keep on testing. Use A/B tests to keep improving your results
- Have a clear objective in mind – what is the one action you want readers to take?
When thinking of PR, you may think of this…
Even if the world of PR seems odd and bizarre, you shouldn’t discount it. Being able to talk to journalists, bloggers and the media is a highly valuable skill to have in our mission of driving awareness and traffic to your website. Not only can you raise the profile of your business amongst potential customers, getting links back to your website from media sites is super important for your SEO. This is because not all backlinks to your website are born equal. Media sites will typically tend to have a more powerful effect on your SEO rank – than if someones tiny personal blog linked back to your website.
Once you start using our tips below you’ll be a natural and we even have some quick hacks to help you get started.
Create your targeted list
In an ideal world we’d all like to see our business splashed across the front page of national newspapers – but for 99.9999% of us it’s never going to happen. That’s why it’s important to have a very specific target of who you want to talk to.
If you’re a business based in Shrewsbury, then focus on local press rather than attempting to gain national coverage. You may find if you’re a beauty brand that reaching out to bloggers is a much better use of your time.
Once you’ve got a rough gauge of where you think your customers hang out it’s then time to find the people behind the words.
You can easily find the most relevant person to talk to by looking through different articles on a website and usually the authors name will be attributed on the page.
You’ve now got a couple of options to reach out to said journalist or blogger. You can either send a cold email out of the blue, which in our experience is really hit or miss and needs to be carefully worded. Or, you can get to know them on twitter first.
The advantage of connecting with a journalist over twitter is the fact that any information shared there is meant to be public. This means that you can see what they tend to talk about, what their interests are and whether your business aligns with those. It can also be much easier to grab someones attention on twitter, especially if they’re inundated with emails from businesses just like yours trying to grab attention.
You can use this handy list of small business journalists compiled by the great folks at Enterprise Nation to help you get started – Top small business journalists to follow on Twitter
Try to think about where your customers are likely to spend their time reading and then reach out to those people behind the words. Which leads us onto our next though topic – relevance.
Put yourself in their shoes
We all like to think our businesses are the most unique and incredible things in the world but sadly not everyone is going to agree with us on this. At this point we’ve got to take out ego out of the equation and think about what’s going to be of interest to the journalist or blogger. If you’re a construction company, trying to get a straight profile on your business may be tough as it’s not deemed compelling. However, if there is an interesting personal story behind the founder or if the company has grown exceptionally fast and managed to secure a lot of jobs for locals then these are talking points that someone might want to write about.
Take a look at the types of stories that your target journalists and bloggers tend to create and don’t even be afraid to reach out to even ask what they’re interested in writing about to try and get featured.
Once you manage to secure a piece, make sure that they link back to your website at least once as this was the whole point in the first place! Not only will people come through to your website by clicking the links in the article you’ll also be getting a nice boost to your SEO.
Hack your way into the press
Now if you’re finding it hard to get your business featured in the press or simply don’t have enough time right now then we’ve got just the solution for you. Our quick hack can help you to get the link backs to your website even if you’re not making the headlines.
Now, when you go to most online newspapers, blogs or websites that post content they typically have a comments area at the bottom of the article. Here is where it’s your time to shine and where you can start to build up a good number of backlinks with not a huge amount of work.
One big thing to flag here again is relevance. No one likes a spammer online and you can get yourself penalised both on websites and in your search ranking if you abuse this technique.
The idea is to comment on articles that are relevant to your business with either:
a) a genuine opinion you want to share
b) some value adding advice that adds to the conversation
If you’re a plumber, there no point commenting and linking back to your website on articles about baking. Here’s an example I posted talking about how digital should be a focus of government to help businesses to prosper. I’ve quickly mentioned a product we have as well as linking back to our website.
Make it relevant, interesting and add value to the conversation. If you take this method on then you’ll start to build up a number of links from some great sources. Like any tactic though, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. It’s all about testing what works for you.
We’re creating a dedicated guide to help you make the most of PR to drive website traffic. Sign up to our business newsletter using the form on this page to get notified when we launch it.
- Reach out to relevant journalists and bloggers
- Put yourself in their shoes, what is their ideal story to write?
- Follow and connect with journalists on twitter
- Use comments as quick way to build up links, but don’t abuse it.
If you don’t remember receiving the Yellow Pages through the door and either trying to tear it in half with your bare hands, using it as a door stop, or even occasionally looking up businesses in it then you are way too young.
Needless to say, business directories have move on a little bit since the days of yellow and blue tomes. Now there are countless online directories where you can list your business to get discovered, get reviewed by customers and to link back to your website from.
Directories are a good tick on the checklist of things you should do but don’t rely on these alone to drive the traffic you want.
You can run your business through this super handy tool from Moz to check if you’re already listed or not: Go to Moz Local
We’ll cover off the places you can’t afford to miss here.
Google My Business
If you don’t look at any other directory then make sure you at least sign your business up to Google. From one easy dashboard you can manage everything from setting your business location so it appears in map searches (vital for bricks & mortar stores) through to how your business appears in search. You can see how Talent Cupboard is listed here.
You can also do the same thing on Bing, Microsofts search engine. It takes just a few minutes to register and it means that your business will be popping up in their search.
Yellow Pages has moved from physical pages to digital ones – and has also had a rebrand to just Yell. It takes just a few minutes to list your business here.
Scoot is an online business directory service that powers a number of different directories for publication such as the Independent, The Sun and The Mirror.
You may also want to find directories that are relevant to your trade specifically. If there are directories specifically for plumbers then get yourself listed. If you’re a qualified accountant, there may be a website where you can list your services. Don’t worry about listing on 100s of different websites, just pick the most reputable sites.
There are plenty of customer review websites where your business can get discovered as well as linking back to your website. From listing your restaurant on Tripadvisor through to putting your e-commerce store on Trust Pilot – there are a bunch of great places to list.
Sure there’s always the fear of a disgruntled customer laying into you but then it’s a case of getting the customers that love you to tip the balance. Great customer reviews mean more sales from the website traffic that you pull in using these tactics.
So that’s it for a quick overview of online directories and where to list. There are tons more places that could be useful for your business that we don’t have time to list here. Focus on the best quality websites to focus on and do check out the Moz tool as that will set you on the right path.
- As a minimum requirement, list your business on Google
- List your business in relevant directories and link back to your website
- This should just be one of many things you should be doing to drive traffic
SEO, aka – search engine optimisation. The so-called “dark art” of trying to get your website to appear either top, or as close to the top, when a customer is looking for a business just like yours.
It’s probably one of the areas we get asked about most from our business customers when talking about websites as it’s deemed to be a silver bullet to getting website traffic. I mean, it makes sense. Get found on Google, get found but your customer.
There isn’t a quick fix but the thing is, there are a bunch of things that you, yes you reading this, can be doing to improve the search ranking of your website. We’ve just laid the key areas out in our previous 5000 words!
Yes, that’s right. If you run through all of the tactics we’ve outlined in this post then you’re going to end up miles ahead of the competition, all without doing anything deeply technical. Blogging, social media, link backs from press and directories – they all add into the SEO equation to help your business get found.
Ready to go pro?
There are just a couple more areas that search engines have factored into their ranking algorithm really recently. If you make sure you have these two features in place on your website you’re going to be going pro with your SEO.
Google recently made a huge change into which websites it shows in results on a mobile. Effectively, if your website isn’t mobile optimised, you’re not going to be showing up in results. And with over 60% of web traffic now on mobile that is potentially a huge amount of customers that aren’t finding you.
Websites that also use HTTPS (the padlock in your address bar right now) are getting a boost in SEO and the boost these websites get is only set to increase.
Your instant SEO boost
If you didn’t already know, we run a service at Talent Cupboard where for a small monthly fee, we’ll design, build and host business websites. A couple of their key features that every website comes with are that they are fully optimised for mobile and they all run over HTTPS. That means by default the business websites we produce are getting ahead of the competition from the off.
If you’re looking to setup a new website or want to upgrade your website to one of ours then we really recommend taking a look at our plans here – Pay monthly business websites with design, build and hosting included
If you want to get a breakdown on what you can be doing to improve your SEO then you can use our free website grader tool. It’ll analyse a number of factors and make some useful suggestions on where you can improve.
We’re creating a dedicated guide to help you make the most of SEO to drive website traffic. Sign up to our business newsletter using the form on this page to get notified when we launch it.
- Use all of the tactics in this guide to boost your SEO
- Make sure your website is optimised for mobile
- Run your website over HTTPS
- Get yourself a website from the team here at Talent Cupboard! ?
That’s all for now folks!
Wow, you’ve made it this far!
I really hope that this has been helpful and if you have any feedback on any of the content or anything you would like to see in the future then be sure to tweet us over at @talentcupboard or send us a message on Facebook here. Want to see this post in video or podcast format? Let us know.
We’re working on a number of deep dive guides on tactics outlined in this overview so make sure to sign up to our business newsletter to be notified when we launch these.
Ciao for now!