ask the expert | how to get visitors to your brand new website

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Today we have a post from our expert partner in online marketing: Martina Iring from Small Business Bliss. She is answering a question I get asked often... I know her answer will help you too!

How do I market my website once it's up? How can I get people to come visit it?

At a former job, I was put in charge of creating a new website for the company. With loads of content and functionality, it was a big undertaking and a considerable investment for the business.

A few weeks down the road, my manager eagerly asked me, “So, how much has our web traffic increased?”

My response? “Not at all.”

Why? Well, the company had not invested any resources into actually promoting the website. The website was fantastic, but without strategies in place to drive traffic, visitors would not just magically appear.

If you build it, they will not (necessarily) come.

Many people are highly disappointed when their website investment does not bring them the deluge of customers they had expected.

So how can you, as a little biz owner with limited resources, get more people to come and visit your new website?

Here are some of my favourite strategies…

Use offline sources

  • Your web address needs to be on absolutely every piece of marketing collateral you have. Business cards, brochures, coupons etc…. You’re only ready to print once you’ve included that www (and make it big and bold while you’re at it!)
  • Do you have a physical store or location? Make a sign and announce your new website.
  • Do you have frequent customer interactions over the phone, or in person? Tell each and every one of them about your new website.
  • Is the launch of your website newsworthy? Does it bring something original or unique into the market? You can try to get some traditional media coverage, which will drive awareness and web traffic.

Social media

  • Add your URL to all your social media profiles.
  • Announce your new website via social media channels. Don’t forget to share how your site is a benefit. What will someone get by visiting? 
  • If you blog, share all your blog posts via social media. And make sure to include share buttons within the posts so that others can help drive traffic too.

Connect with online searchers

Search engine marketing, or as I like to call it - getting Google to like your website, can be a great traffic driver. Getting your site up in search rankings WILL NOT happen overnight. It takes dedication and time.

Here are a few ideas: 

  • Figure out which keywords your potential customers would use to search for your business. Then incorporate these words into your website content. The Google Adwords Keyword Tool  is a great place to start (and it’s free!).
  • Make your new website easy for search engines to understand. If you’re using Wordpress, simply install the Google XML Sitemaps plugin. If you’re not on Wordpress, you can use XML-Sitemaps.com (just to warn you, it is a bit techie).
  • List your business and your website in major online directories (like Google Places for example). Pretend you’re a potential customer and try to search for your service/product. List your business in the directories that show up in the results. 
  • Blog – a website with constantly updating content makes Google very happy. 

Search engine marketing is a beast. I know some of your groaned when I brought it up J. There are gobs of tactics and strategies. The above tips are a good place to start.

(If you’d love some help with this search stuff, be sure to check out the contest I’m currently running, where the Search Engine Optimization package, valued at $697, is the grand prize!)

Get traffic from other sites

  • When you comment on other blogs and sites, you are allowed to include a URL to your site with your comment. If someone likes what you have to say, they might just click on your name to find out more about you.
  • Write guest posts or articles for other websites (make sure that a link back to your site is included).
  • Do you have any industry partners or connections where a link to your site from theirs makes sense? Ask them.
  • If your website launch is buzz worthy, you can also try to get some online media coverage. Request articles or reviews of your product/service. Submit online press releases (there are free, as well as paid options. The paid options are usually quite steep for a small business budget. In most cases, you should just stick with the free.)

Emails

  • Maximize your email signature. Include your website address as part of your contact info. And for the first few months, why not add a little “Check out our brand new website!” blurb to call attention to it? If you have any staff on email, make sure they have this going too!
  • Is an email newsletter a part of your new strategy? If so, and if you have a list of customer emails that you have gathered throughout your business processes (ie. when someone buys from you or when someone signs-up for your service), you can consider announcing your new website and asking them to sign-up for your emails. Any industry standard email newsletter provider will allow you to request this opt-in. Remember, they have to explicitly agree to get your emails. If they don’t opt-in, you must leave it at that. Exercise caution with this tip – you don’t want to be a spammer. It will be more suitable for some businesses than for others. Follow your gut instinct. If you’re not sure, let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to offer my 2 cents.
  • Let your friends, family, and close business connections know about your new website. They’ll be happy to check out what you’re doing and give you some clicks.

It all comes down to making your website your shining star; a part of everything and anything you do to promote your business.

And remember, traffic isn’t the be-all end-all of internet marketing success. You can have a zillion hits, but if no one buys, it won’t help your little biz one bit.

Martina Iring works with entrepreneurs overwhelmed with all that web stuff. She’s on a mission to help the little guys make sense of internet marketing, teaching small biz owners how being online is not only profitable, but enjoyable! Her blog, Small Business Bliss, offers up gobs of marketing info and doses of inspiration just for little biz owners. Want some FREE internet marketing services for your small business? Find out how.