Running a decent blog or e-commerce store is challenging in multiple areas. Difficult tasks include designing a site structure, applying a content strategy and never mind attracting traffic. WordPress based blogs and those that run on other CMS platforms are faced with an array of time consuming issues and have to consider all kinds of traffic growth strategies.
Issues such as content development and the various technical gripes that WordPress is known for. E-commerce store owners do not fare that much better either. Having to face such issues as updating product descriptions, order tracking and tweaking sales funnels on a daily basis.
Traffic Growth Strategies : Websites With High Return Visitors
Chances are that any store will have both a storefront and a blog. So the challenges are magnified and can easily become far too much work for just one person. Many blogs and stores however are run by just one person. While others as they have grown have recognized the need to outsource and build a quality team.
However it does not matter whether your web site is managed by a single person or a large team. Or if the web site is attached to an offline brick and mortar business that has been operating for a long time but never went digital until now.
Taking Brick and Mortar Small Businesses Online
For instance hair and nail salons, spas, yoga studios and wellness centers all fall into this category. As do other types of small businesses that provide personal services. They all rely heavily on referrals and walk-ins for most of their new customers.
The trick is to develop a relationship with those new clients so that they come back. Even if they’ve had a good first experience, some people are just as likely to follow up on a new referral or decide to give another place a try next time. Offline businesses have employed these marketing techniques for years. Taking the leap and going digital massively expands the reach out to potential new audiences and customers. However a lousy, half baked web site that is rarely updated just won’t cut it in 2017.
Traffic Growth Strategies : Going Digital in 2017?
One way to keep these kind of clients engaged and returning is to have a website or even a smartphone app that keeps them interested in what you’re doing and what you can do for them. Particularly if that website is integrated with a salon scheduling feature. Or if a gym for instance; some kind of class record system that allows them to make their own appointments on the spot, whether it’s during your regular business hours or in the middle of the night.
Update Content Regularly
A static website that never changes is okay for basic service information, but putting a little more effort into it will give clients a reason to check it out more often, and come back for your services more often as well. This even more necessary when the web site is the actual business.
This is the case with many popular blogs and content web sites. Yet even e-commerce stores need to captivate and hold the prolonged attention of their users. A great web presence also captures drive by visitors and you just never know what their value might be.
One thing is for sure is that not having a web site or having a really bad one will never reveal these missed opportunities. So how can complete web beginners create a new web site with real punch and style and ensure that users are engaging with products and content in the desired way?
This is for new blog and store owners and for brick and mortar businesses without a web site. Here are some cool ways to make that happen in the shortest time possible.
Make Your Site Easy to Find and Read
The first step is to create a domain address that’s simple and memorable. Use the actual name of your business with no funny spelling. With so many websites out there, it’s likely someone else is already using the name you want, so check that out first. If you have to revise yours, one idea is to add the name of your city, like FancyNailsLA, for example. You might even find a domain that’s been created for your location, like .nyc.
Submit your website URL to Google Places, Yahoo, Yelp, Bing, and other major search engines. Use a site map so you show up in their rankings sooner. Be mindful of SEO potential also and use sensible keywords in your text. So that if someone is looking for “beginning yoga” your site will pop up.
Share to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other Social Media
Include your website address not only on your business cards and in advertising, but on window signage, too, so that someone walking by when you’re closed can quickly and easily find out about what you offer.
Setup social media pages on the core social media platforms. Some work well at driving meaningful traffic to your site over time, others look great but are less effective.
From our own trials on a variety of niche blogs we have found that Pinterest drives the most free traffic, followed by Facebook. Twitter and Google Plus on the other hand are a lot more effort for little return. Run branded pages on all of them if branding is important but consider where time and money is best spent overall.
Be Productive and Efficient at Social Media Promotion
Managing lots of social media profiles is a time consuming process, the hard way is to login each day and post to all of them at intervals. However this is time consuming and will not drive that much financial reward versus time spent.
Fortunately there are a lot of management tools out there that make scheduling posts and cross promoting really easy. For instance how cool is it to be able to design a post for Facebook and at the same time post the same content to all of your other networks?
Social media management tools like Hootsuite allow users to perform these tasks. Hootsuite is a cloud based platform for managing social media, created by Ryan Holmes in 2008. At the moment though we use a less expensive social media management tool called OctoSuite by Luke Maguire which is really neat and saves a lot of time posting to multiple social media platforms.
Vital : Managing Mobile Site Compatibility
Make sure your site is easy to read and navigate on a small mobile device as well as full screen on a laptop. Modern WordPress themes are usually fully responsive but if you are not using WordPress then mobile compatibility is an issue to content with.
If you have an older WordPress theme and do not want to change it then a solution is to use a mobile suite such as WPTouch. This plugin will instantly bring your site to life on mobile. A few years ago mobile was no big deal but audiences are growing fast.
Some sites depending on their niche now have over 80% of visitors who are accessing content on a smartphone. This traffic source can no longer be ignored. Some of the issues to bear in mind though when running a mobile site and devising mobile traffic growth strategies are.
- You Should Run Responsive Ads or Update Code
- The Way Audiences ‘Find’ content Will Be Different
- Watch That Your Mobile Site is Still Adsense Compliant
- Fine Tune Sales Funnels on Mobile as Well as Desktop
Make Your Homepage Fast and Inviting
Potential clients visiting your website for the first time should get the same feeling they would if they were walking in your front door. Welcome them, introduce yourself, your staff, and your business, and give them a moment to look around.
Make it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for, and don’t overwhelm them with garish graphics or complicated menus. Too many menu items or things to look at overwhelm audiences. Generally we consider that some of the things you should avoid on your homepage are sliders and having too many items on menus. Having a great menu is what in part informs an audience what a site is about. If you offer lots of services or products or are blog with lots of niche topics then consider using submenus.
This menu strategy ensures that your core top level menu items are restricted to just the sections, niches or topics that matter. Lots of CMS platforms come with themes that include intuitive menu designs and WordPress is no different. There are plugins and scripts however that really place a rocket under any menu. Some of the best menu plugins for WordPress can be found for relatively low prices.
Traffic Growth Strategies : Keep Information Current
It’s important that new clients can find you, so in addition to your phone number and address on every page, embed a Google map and include parking information, your hours, and class schedules if you have them. Include your menu of services and prices right there on a page rather than via a pdf that has to be downloaded. Just keeping things accurate and current is among the most vital traffic growth strategies any new digital business can employ.
Write a Captivating and Engaging Blog
For some site owners the blog is the business. On the other hand if the web site is an e-commerce store then consider running a blog at the same time.
Not only will interesting blog topics keep your clients coming back to read them. These posts will show up in organic searches and drive new free business. You can review products, write about trends in your industry, give DIY instructions if they’re applicable, write about special events you and your staff have participated in, or even highlight something special a client has done.
Use lots of pictures, and videos and other forms of media such as infographics and explainer videos. Cross post blog updates with social media posts. Not only will this provide extra traffic but social media posts to articles can be a lightweight ranking and quality signal to various search engines and content recommendation platforms. Running a blog alongside an e-commerce store is certainly among our recommended traffic growth strategies in 2017.
Promote Special Offers and Discounts
Everyone loves to get presents, so include discount or gift offers for new clients and referrals. You might also want to set things up so that there’s a discount or gift for your clients after every so many visits for services. Gifts, competitions and quizzes are are all excellent traffic growth strategies.
Your clients also have presents to give. So include a feature that allows them to buy E-gift cards and send them to friends. Again special offers, discounts, coupons and competitions are ideal content types. Perfect to be aggressively shared and promoted on social media and within newsletters.
Include Client Reviews and Testimonials
The best advertising is a happy client, so solicit real comments you can post on your website. Ask for permission to use reviewers’ full names. Instead of something like “Barbara S.”, which, depending upon how cynical a reader is, can sound as if you made it up yourself. Ask clients to share product details or their reviews on their own social media channels for extra exposure.
Add Authority Links Your Clients Find Useful
If you’ve read an article that you think would be helpful to your clients, include a link to it. It doesn’t even have to be directly related to your business. As long as it’s not selling something that competes with you and your services locally. Depending on the niche link out to what would be considered ‘authority’ sources. Such as newspapers, academic resources and professional organizations. These traffic growth strategies build reputation and respect for your blog posts over the long term.
Monitor Traffic Growth With Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free tracking service from Google that can over time provide a great deal of insight about the way that audience view your website. Google Analytics can reveal not just the current and historical traffic volumes but also how these visitors behave. Analytics supports UTM tracking tags so that sources of traffic that you control can be monitored.
However the Google Analytics tracking service also reveals more general but critical information regarding how your website is pleasing ( or not pleasing ) your visitors. Specifically Google Analytics can reveal.
- Visitor Bounce Rates : This is the number of users that leave your site
- Page Views Per User : How many pages a user views before leaving
- Page Loading Speed : Is your site fast or sluggish
- Time Spent on Site : How long the average user hangs around
- Content Flow : How audience move around and discover content
Obviously Google analytics does much more than just this. Yet from the perspective of understanding whether or not your web site is serving it’s visitors well these are some of the more critical data sets to examine.
Things to Study in Google Analytics
For example a very high bounce rate is an indicator that your site content is poor. Or the visitors are not well matched to what they are finding. Low time spent on site can also indicate that content is not being consumed and steps should be taken to deal with this as your traffic growth strategies maybe going adrift.
On the other hand if site content is really good, for instance lengthy, professionally written authority articles. Then other factors such as page speed and GUI ( think menu systems ) could be having an impact.
Either way a Google Analytics property can provide incredible insight into how audiences really perceive your web site. Often these data sets are the first indicators of whether SEO and social media strategies are working. Or whether something is going badly wrong, if so the clues are in the data.
Traffic Growth Strategies : Final Thought
All of these traffic growth strategies can be applied to any new website. Even to those that have already started. Of course if you already have some good skills in this arena then chances are you are already well ahead of the game. In which case big thumbs up! Also every one of these techniques deserve more individual attention as they are big big topics.
Nevertheless new webmasters and those site owners who up until now have only ever operated brick and mortar business will hopefully find these tips useful to note when planning their first blog or e-commerce store.