OK you have your new website, it looks great – your web developer says so! You excitedly look at the statistics to see how many people have visited since it went live (at this point I assume that your hosting package has live statistics, if not you got the wrong package!) uh oh! You have 2 visitors – yourself and your developer?
Eventually, you will get other visitors, normally Search Engines will visit your site to index it, these will also be recorded in your site statistics. You will also get visits from friends and family, all boosting your website’s traffic.
By now you will notice something (besides my cynicism I hope!) You are not getting much traffic to your website!
A good website is much more than just a pretty interface – it is a business opportunity. Pure and simple, any business that has a website designed for it has one purpose in mind – to improve their turnover and therefore, profit.
In reality, how many people purchase a website and sit watching the statistics (if they can be found) to see if they go up.
Apart from the odd traffic from search engines, friends and family, the number of visitors to your site are not going to increase unless YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT THEM! Sorry for shouting, but this is something I am really passionate about. Time and again I have heard people complain that their site is not working for them as they hoped.
Time and again, businesses look to blame someone for their site not performing. Sadly, they themselves must take some of the blame. Unless of course, they have paid someone to actually market their site for them.
As I said earlier, a good website is a business opportunity. You may recall from business school the SWOT analysis (some may know it by another name). A SWOT analysis, or Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats, is a way of analysing your businesses current climate and seeking to improve your position by positively shifting negative forces. For instance, for every weakness you write down, you should seek to turn them into strengths, likewise, any threats to your business should be turned into opportunities.
How does this apply to your website? You have a strength, a great looking website. You have a weakness, people don’t know it exists. You have an opportunity, your website can increase your turnover by at the very least improving brand visibility. You have a threat, your competitors have a great website that is number one in Google for your keyword so thousands of people as seeing them daily, their turnover and profitability is going through the ceiling. You, their competition are silent, your website is miles behind their in Google rankings!
OK, so how can you turn this around? If you haven’t done so already, put your website at the heart of your marketing strategy! Start thinking of it as your one and only tool to sell your product (or service). That way you will start seeing it as a means to an end, and hopefully not just sit back.
When people visit a website, believe it or not, they are not wanting to be bombarded with keywords! As I have said before, your readers visit your site to find information or purchase products. Remember that, and you will start understanding why people visit your website.
Start meeting the needs of the viewer and the sales/traffic will take care of itself.
I am making a big guess here, you are an expert in whatever field you are working. Granted there are others who know about your work, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the majority of people who visit your site are not. OK, I am not rambling here, honest! My point is that you could start providing your customers with expert knowledge about your chosen field, that way your website will become a great source of information and hopefully be a useful resource for your viewers. As a useful resource, your website could start attracting visitors who need to find out about a particular subject, whilst on your site finding the information they note that you sell related products, their interest is caught.
Let me give you a great example, you have a great looking website that discusses legends and tales from Celtic Britain. This is quite a popular search, trust me, I live in Wales and see the huge number of foreign visitors who flood every tourist site to do with legends, ghosts and other tales. As it happens in addition to discussing/retelling legends your site happens to sell Celtic memorabilia you can expect your sales to rocket.
Besides great content, you really need to think about how many people are linking to your website. The more links you have the better, provided they are the good quality of course. A good quality link is defined as one that compliments your site’s subject. E.g. going back to our Celtic Souvenirs website a good link would be a tourist attraction to a Celtic site.
As your new website is now at the heart of your marketing plan, don’t forget to advertise it in the real world. When I started my web design business, my wife would carry a notebook with her whenever we went anywhere. She would note the name and telephone numbers on vans who didn’t advertise a website. The thinking here was if they didn’t advertise their site on their vans they didn’t have one! Believe me, the percentage of companies who don’t advertise their site on their vans is high! Is this because they are ashamed of their sites? No, according to most, their sites are doing really well and are bringing them lots of money! (funny thing – I usually couldn’t find their sites in Google!)
If you are not ashamed of your website and want to get some business from it, advertise it from the rooftops, get the URL out there, put it on your vans, cars, letterheads, business cards, emails (set up a signature), kids bikes, dogs collar, granny’s zimmer-frame – you get the picture, put it anywhere and everywhere.
OK to land this plane (quote from a Pastor from the US); the bottom line is your WEBSITE MUST BE YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY! Get great content on there, get great links, get it out there in the real world – get real business.
This isn’t going to happen overnight, it will take time (see earlier post) unless you want to throw good money into the black hole that is Pay Per Click!