How to drive traffic to your website
You have taken the time to develop an offering that is significantly better than the competition but what good is it if you do not have customers to notice? Or maybe you have developed engaging high-quality content, but how helpful can it be if you don’t have an audience to consume it? In this article we will discuss how to drive traffic to your website. We have boiled it down to 17 techniques that will significantly help you increase your website traffic.
You may want to think of this process as a cycle. Boosting your website traffic will in turn improve your ranking on Google and having a higher ranking on Google will increase your website traffic. Investing in this process is a win-win. Your goal is to drive more people in your target audience to your website since these people are most interested in your offerings and will most likely engage on a consistent basis. When you do this correctly, you will see your conversion rates increase. We are not talking about driving up numbers for the sake of it, this article will show you how to drive quality traffic to your website. Keep in mind that your website traffic and conversion rates are also considerations when valuing your online business, so when the time comes that you are looking to divest, you’ll be glad you took the steps outlined in this article.
Free vs. paid methods to increase website traffic
When it comes to boosting website traffic, there are two camps of strategies— free and paid. There are benefits to both approaches. Generally, the free techniques will require more of your time than the paid ones but both have strong advantages. If your situation allows, we recommend a combination of free and paid techniques to boost website traffic. Paid advertising techniques include social media, display and native, search/Google ads and retargeting. If you are planning to incorporate paid ads into your strategy to increase website traffic (and we recommend this) you will want to test out the different options and remember to keep your primary goal top of mind. Which option helps you achieve your goal for the fewest dollars? In the next section of this article we will walk through how to drive traffic to your website by diving in and looking at specific techniques.
Our top picks to boost website traffic
- Develop content your audience wants to read
- Focus on SEO
- Build backlinks to your site
- Increase internal links
- Study and learn from your website analytics
- Research other similar websites
- Fix broken links
- Develop captivating headlines
- Write guest articles
- Focus on the user experience
- Leverage email marketing
- Promote your content organically on social media
- Run paid ads on social media
- Refresh older content on your site
- Appear on podcasts
- Participate in content swaps
- Combine similar articles
- Develop content your audience wants to read
This may seem obvious but it bears repeating. If you are wondering how to drive traffic to your website, a key way to do so is to create content your customers and prospects want to read. To gain insight into their likes and dislikes write content of varying lengths and formats and then assess the metrics. Do short-form posts perform better than longer ones? Does your audience like when you embed video? Do your readers prefer content with images throughout? What topics interest them most? Over time you can map out trends and shift your content strategy accordingly.
2. Focus on SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important tool to use when looking to drive traffic to your website. You will want to take steps to improve your on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO refers to enhancements you can make on your website such as increasing internal links, writing engaging meta descriptions, and incorporating short-tail and long-tail keywords strategically. Off-page SEO refers to tactics that are not on your website such as increasing the number of backlinks you have on other websites, publishing guest posts and appearing on third-party podcasts. In this article we will discuss techniques to improve both on-page and off-page SEO, since they work better together. There are tools that can help inform your SEO strategy and help you increase your website traffic. You will want to leverage these and modify your activities based on your findings. Some tools we recommend are Google Keyword Planner, SemRush or Ahrefs. You can use these tools to track your progress.
3. Build backlinks to your site.
To improve your website’s SEO and increase your website traffic, you will want to increase the number of backlinks to your website. Having a link to your website on another site will help boost traffic, and if you get backlinks on sites that are complementary to your business, the people navigating to your pages are more likely to be part of your target audience. Backlinks are also seen favorably in the eyes of Google since more backlinks typically correlate with increased trust. As you have more backlinks, your ranking on Google will increase and a higher ranking means more traffic.
4. Increase internal links
As we briefly mentioned earlier, improving on-page SEO is a powerful tool. Adding links within your site that connect to related pages on your website is free and internal linking structure is a key component of your overall SEO profile. Ask your team to keep internal linking opportunities in mind as they develop content. This will make the task of adding internal links more manageable. Visitors are more likely to spend more time on your website if you recommend related content that they are interested in. By giving readers easy access to the content they are looking for, you improve the user experience as well.
5. Study and learn from your website analytics
Analytics are your friend. Understandably an analytics dashboard can be overwhelming at first but it won’t take long before you are familiar checking metrics and doing so like a pro. To determine if your efforts to increase website traffic are working, you will want to monitor page views, unique page views, bounce rate, time spent on page and referral data. You will also want to use tracked links such as Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) parameters for Google or Adobe Analytics. This provides you with additional data on how techniques are working and this information can help inform your decisions going forward.
6. Research other similar websites
Check websites like yours. What topics are they writing about? What content is driving the most traffic to their websites? Do you have similar content? If not, now may be the time to create it. You can use a tool like Ahrefs to look at page traffic, number of backlinks the page has and top-ranking keywords. This will allow you to get a better sense of what metrics you would need to compete with the other articles. Once you develop a similar article that ranks well, you can expect your website traffic will increase
7. Fix broken links
This goes back to on-page SEO and user experience. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to navigate to a page with content you are excited to read and getting a “page not found” error message. When this happens the most common reaction is to leave the website entirely. This is not what you want to happen and you can minimize this occurrence by checking for broken links on a regular basis and redirecting users to a functioning page. If you prioritize fixing broken links, you will help boost your website traffic and decrease your bounce rate. Reducing broken links also helps improve your SEO ranking. Having a helpful 404 page is also worthwhile. In Slack’s example above, their “page not found” page includes a link to their Help Center. This way users do not leave your site right away and can hopefully find what they are looking for.
A headline is your first opportunity to captivate the attention of your audience. You want your headlines to be compelling and not misleading. Headline writing is an art form. It’s made more challenging when you consider what headline will lure your target audience to read on and also try to incorporate keywords to help your article rank. In time you will get better at this task. It takes some trial and error but once you have written several headlines for pieces that have published you can look at the metrics and see which headlines performed best.
9. Write guest articles
If you are still looking for answers to the question, how to drive traffic to your website? Look no further. Writing guest posts is a worthwhile way to increase your website traffic. Typically when you write a guest post you will be permitted to include a link back to your site. This is a backlink with context. You are in control of the content and this is a plus. There are several advantages to writing guest articles including increasing your brand’s recognition with a new audience, increased referral traffic and new backlinks. FE International CEO, Thomas Smale, is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur.com.
10. Focus on the user experience
When visitors land on your website, do they have a positive experience? Do web pages load quickly? Is the page optimized for mobile? If visitors must wait a while for a page to load or your site isn’t mobile-friendly, they will likely leave your site altogether. You can improve your site’s loading speed by using smaller images and reducing the number of plugins on your site. To get a sense of your site’s current loading speed, conduct a site speed test. Site speed is another component that affects your SEO ranking so it is worth paying attention to.
11. Leverage email marketing
Incorporating email marketing into your digital marketing strategy is a great way to increase website traffic. When you follow an earlier tip to develop content your audience wants to read, you will see an uptick in newsletter clicks and website traffic. It’s important to achieve a careful balance with email. You want to communicate with subscribers when you have valuable information to share but not too frequently as you do not want to annoy them. You will also want to make personalized emails wherever possible.
12. Promote your content organically on social media
Source: FE International LinkedIn
Does your company have a social media presence? Hopefully the answer is yes, but if not, don’t worry, that is an easy fix. It is wise to start out on a few different social networks. After a few months you can look back and see which platforms generate the best engagement and lead to the most clicks to your website. All platforms have their benefits. LinkedIn is a professional forum allowing longer posts and the opportunity to write articles. Twitter is designed for shorter messages, is good for sharing links and is a worthwhile place to engage with customers. On Facebook you will want to get involved with groups that will enable you to situate yourself as a thought leader and in turn drive traffic to your site. If your niche lends itself to images, Instagram is a must. If your target audience skews younger, you will want to engage on TikTok. When crafting posts, make sure to keep your goal of driving website traffic in mind. Think about what your followers need and provide it in your posts. It is not enough to just post content on these social channels, engaging is key. Your company’s leaders should be active members of the social media community— commenting on posts and active in groups.
13. Run paid ads on social media
We spoke about organic social media but paid social media advertising and boosting is also worth exploring. In many cases it is less expensive than other online ads and can yield stronger results. Before developing and implementing a plan you will want to determine your goals. Are you looking to increase traffic to your site or are you also looking to increase conversions? You will also want to consider which social media platforms are most popular with your target audience. It does not hurt to run paid ads on a few platforms and analyze the results before deciding.
Source: FE International
Just because an article was first published a few years ago does not mean that it has had its opportunity to shine and can no longer offer value. By refreshing certain pieces you can give them new life and boost your website traffic. The question is which pieces to update. One approach is to update the most popular pages so visitors see that your content is current, trust your site and come back for more. Another approach is to identify and refresh pages with decreasing traffic. You will want to update the publish date, rework a few paragraphs (or more if needed), remove broken links and replace dated statistics and screenshots. After doing so, your articles will be seen more favorably in the eyes of Google.
15. Appear on podcasts
Podcasts are popular. As of 2020, the majority (55%) of Americans have listened to a podcast at least once. Appearing on podcasts is an activity that contributes to off-page SEO, like guest articles. We spoke about the benefits of off-page SEO earlier. Considering how time-consuming creating and maintaining a podcast can be, appearing as a guest is a great option. Pitch your leadership to podcasts in your niche and watch your website traffic increase. FE International CEO, Thomas Smale, has appeared on numerous podcasts.
16. Participate in content swaps
Content swaps are a win-win for both parties. Each side gets fresh content for their site and an opportunity to engage a new audience. This is another way to boost traffic to your website. If you are going to make a habit of content swaps (and we recommend you do), you will want to draft guidelines to share with those interested to help ensure the submissions you receive are of a high caliber. You are looking for original articles with subtle promotions, not hard sells.
17. Combine similar articles
If you have a few articles on similar topics and their performance is not great, why not merge them and create a stronger long-form piece. Once you merge the articles, don’t forget to establish redirects. To get a handle on all of the articles your company has published over the years, conduct a content audit and look for like pieces. This will make it easier to spot the opportunities to combine articles. Newly updated combined pieces often will rank higher in Google and this will lead to more traffic to your website.
In this article, we highlighted how to drive traffic to your website. There are many techniques that will lead to favorable results. In order to determine which approaches are best for you and your business you will want to determine your primary goal and budget and begin testing out various methods. Monitor as you go and tweak your approach based on the data. After you have implemented the techniques outlined in this article you may be interested to learn how much your website is worth.