Your website is how most customers get to know your brand. They can learn about your products, values and branding to decide whether they should buy from you. While your website might look fantastic, it's difficult to attract visitors to see it.
Here are five ways you can double the traffic to your small business website this year by optimizing your current pages, improving content and trying new marketing tactics.
Build Your Following on Social Media
Social media now drives 31 percent of all referral traffic, which means if you're not investing in this form of marketing, you could be missing out on a third of your customers. Some companies argue that social media isn't right for their brand -- especially if they're highly technical or business to business (B2B) brands. However, there are enough platforms and communities on social media that you can find a niche that works for your enterprise and at least start to increase your exposure.
For example, technical B2B companies can use Twitter to engage with other blogs and companies in their field. The same companies could tap into the influencer levels of their CEOs to publish content on LinkedIn to generate future leads and even new hires. Just because your brand isn't a good fit for a BuzzFeed list on Facebook doesn't mean you have to completely ignore the social media universe.
Create Shareable Content to Engage People
Increasing your website's traffic requires more than marketing promotions and SEO techniques. You have to give your audience a reason to stay on your page and return later. This will help you actually build your audience instead of just funneling new traffic to your page. Most businesses want a 50-50 split between new and returning traffic to their websites because they work to convert new traffic into returning visitors.
The key to bringing people back is to create contentregularly and create high-quality pieces that make people want to engage. This might mean writing long-form guides that help customers solve their problems or short comics that make them laugh during the day.
Many websites create multiple forms of content specifically to appeal to different types of learners. While some of your visitors will enjoy reading an in-depth thinkpiece, others might want the cliff notes in an infographic or video.
By testing multiple content forms, you can increase the likelihood of your audiences returning and talking about your brand.
Use Lead Generation Forms to Increase Return Visits
While great content is one way to get customers to return to your website, it helps to be more active in promoting your brand. You can do this by adding lead generation forms on your website and encouraging customers to subscribe to your newsletters or connect with you on social media.
You may want to A/B test where you place these contact forms. Some companies think they're most effective at the end of your content (as customers who read it completely are likely to engage with your brand in the future) while others place it in a sidebar that follows customers when they scroll.
Of course, collecting website leads is only the first part of the process. Once you have emails coming down your pipeline, it's up to you and your marketing team to create newsletters and e-blasts for readers to stay up-to-date on your latest content. Many companies commit the cardinal sin of collecting email information without knowing what to do with it after.
Fix Broken Links to Boost Your SEO
When content marketers and bloggers without a technical background think about search engine optimization, they assume a certain level of IT education is required for them to take advantage of it. However, it's possible to dive into the world of linking and Google algorithms even if you're not very tech-savvy.
One easy way to clean up your digital presence and boost your SEO is to remove broken links of your website. WordPress and other developers offer plug-ins you can easily install to scan your website and find broken and dead links, which disrupt search engines and frustrate users.
Most of the time these broken links aren't your fault. You might have linked to a site years ago that's out of business now or accidentally pasted the URL incorrectly. However, these broken links can add up and disrupt your search results. By running regular link audits and managing your link portfolio, you can stay on top of broken links and keep your website in top shape.
Collaborate with Influencers to Exchange Audiences
As you set out to increase your website traffic, make a list of other companies, blogs, and leaders in your industry who you admire and want to be like. Not only will this give you research methods to see what works for your audience, it will also give you a list of potential influencers with whom you can collaborate.
Through influencer marketing, you collaborate with leaders in your industry to create something together -- like a whitepaper or webinar. They share the content on their website and link back to your brand or share the content on social media. The goal is for your followers to engage with their brand while their followers engage with yours. This is a great way to expose your company to thousands of new readers within your industry.
In order to tap into influencer marketing successfully, make sure both parties are benefitting fairly from the collaboration. This increases the likelihood that you can work together in the future along with the likelihood that your influencers will agree to collaborate at all. You also need to create engaging content that both your audience and your influencer's audience will like, which will motivate them to share and return.
It's possible to get a flood of visitors to your website through paid promotions, but this is hardly a long-term strategy for success if you want to grow your website traffic. By following these steps, you should be able to start a long-term growth plan to double your traffic with quality visitors who are likely to turn into customers.
Derek Miller, CMO of Smack Apparel, is a seasoned digital marketing professional with a diverse skill set including SEO, content strategy, social media marketing, and PPC. He has a wealth of experience in helping clients across multiple industries improve their online presence and drive sales. With a background in creative online strategy, Derek has demonstrated his expertise by writing and sharing his insights on popular marketing sites such as GoDaddy, Entrepreneur, TheBalance, Score.org, and StartupCamp.