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The Basics: 10 Ways To Bring Traffic To Your Website

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by David Garland in David's Blog

Let’s assume you have a killer website.

Ready to engage customers.

Ready to entice newcomers.

Ready to make a sale, provide information, delight with content, or entertain.

Ready to make an incredible impression about you and your business.

Your hope is that customers and raving fans will come flood your website causing so much traffic that your head spins with dollar signs and would then get down on your hands and knees on the way to the bank to thank the wide, wonderful world of The Internet.

(Insert Pause)

But they don’t come.

Time to check reality. Without a marketing strategy for your website, you simply have a bunch of expensive, pretty looking (I hope at least) pages.

Sort of like a direct mail piece that was never mailed. Or a slick TV ad never aired. Or an E-Blast never sent.

But how do you capture that highly targeted traffic you were hoping for?

There are a few tried and true ways to build traffic and keep it coming like a dog to milk-bone. Some work better than others. Some take some cash. Others take some time. Not everything is for everyone, but the world of marketing online is something that is seriously easy to understand once you grasp the basics and hone your skills.

One thing to keep in mind, is marketing your website is only one piece of the puzzle. Your website has to be able to engage, convert customers, or accomplish whatever your goal may be. Otherwise, the reverse of the first sentence is true and you have a killer marketing strategy and a terrible website. That doesn’t work either.

Here is a basic overview of the ways people find out about your website (and always remember, wherever you leave your digital footprint online, make SURE to have a link):

1. Advertising

Offline: Traditional advertising some might call it. Print, radio, TV. Giving someone a compelling reason to visit your site.

Online: Banner ads, Video ads, other non-pay-per-click forms of advertising.

2. Word Of Mouth

Aunt Mary Jane found out about your website from you and told five people, who all told three people.
Or you told your current customers/clients all told a few people.
Interesting, unique and helpful stuff spreads, everything else doesn’t.

3. A List

An opt-in email list with a truly targeted audience is a great way to drive traffic.

4. Paid Traffic

Pay-per-click campaigns such as Google Adwords and Facebook Advertising (and Youtube Advertising as well) allow you to display ads in front of a targeted audience (for example: Those that type in “Futons In St. Louis” into Google or 21-25 year olds in St. Louis on Facebook who have an interest in Thai Food).

5. SEO

Known as Search Engine Optimization. When people search Google or Bing (or Youtube for that matter), it isn’t random chance what gets displayed. And you can’t buy your way to the top of SEO like paid traffic (with paid traffic, if your budget is big enough you can make sure to be on the pages you desire).

Ranking highly for keywords and phrases is a big part of web strategy (more about that tomorrow when we hop into detail).

6. Social Media

My personal favorite. I love it because it is human. Social media is a great way to form new relationships, cultivate existing ones, shmooze, share interesting content (yours and others) and build trust for you and your brand. When maximized, it is a big, powerful tool for drawing interesting folks to your website with a virtual handshake.

7. Content

Paid: This means paying to be on a show, or sponsoring a news article/show, or anywhere where you pay for NOT placing an ad but instead providing content (For some examples see The 10 Big Marketing Predictions For 2010). Linking back to your website is a must.

Non-Paid: Guest blogs, syndicating content out through video sites like Tube Mogul, Article marketing sites. And when your content is really good, you can enable your viewers to submit to social bookmarking sites (Digg, StumbleUpon, BizSugar for business and a whole slew of others. )

8. PR/Buzz

From national media sources to bloggers (I love bloggers even more), any interview or story on you is a great opportunity to bring in traffic.

Best thing about bloggers is they have passionate communities on niche subjects be it cock spaniels or silver cookware. And unlike traditional media, it has a lasting effect due to the lasting memory of the Internet…plus bloggers can help land you on national media sources by helping build your buzz and credibility. Remember to respect the blogger. 🙂

9. Commenting On Blogs/Forums

This is Gary Vaynerchuk’s favorite method. In your niche there are plenty of blogs. I promise. Search for them using Google Blogsearch or Alltop. And become part of the community by commenting on interesting posts, becoming active in forums and always leave a link back to your website…without being a jerk (more about that in an upcoming post). Remember you are drawing traffic, but first and foremost you are adding content to each community.

10. Link Love

This goes hand-in-hand with many of the tactics but the more links you get to your site (especially from sites with high traffic in your niche who are credible) the more your traffic will go up.

Bottom line is all of these tactics work.

Which ones are right for your business?
Which ones have the most ROI?
Which ones take the most time?
Which ones take the most $?
Which ones will help you in the long run?
Which ones could change overnight?

In the new few posts, we are going to dive into all of them. The positives, the negatives and everything in-between. And don’t worry, I can promise it will be free of tech-jargon and all other forms of BS.

Anything I missed? How do you drive traffic to your website?

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