Please Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means I receive a small commission from any purchases you make through those links (at no cost to you). All affiliate links are marked “[AFF]” immediately before the link.
The topic of how to get more traffic to your website is one that is talked about often but is a really important one. Some website owners and bloggers try to avoid the subject as they feel it is difficult and complicated to either understand or to do anything about. This is actually not the case and there are lots of simple steps you can take to drive more traffic to your site.
What is Traffic and Why Do I Need It?
Let’s start with the basics…
1. What is traffic? – Quite simply, it’s the number of people who visit your website. Web traffic is measured by visits, which are known as “sessions”. Each session will have a start and end point which is recorded from when someone first clicks on your site, to when they click away. Every page they visit whilst on your site is recorded as part of that session and also recorded as traffic to those particular pages. Studying your Google Analytics (which I discussed in a post a few weeks back – “Website Statistics and Analytics – and Not Obsessing Over Them“) will help you see how many visitors came to your site in a particular timeframe and what pages they looked at whilst they were there.
2. Why is traffic important? You spend your time writing content because you feel you have an important message or information to share with the world. You therefore want as many people to see and read your content as possible. You therefore want traffic to be flowing through your site so that people are aware of the great stuff you put out into the world. It’s also useful to analyse the traffic that comes through your site so you can see what works and what doesn’t.
Where Does Web Traffic Come From?
There are four main elements that drive traffic to your website. These are:
- Search Engines such as Google or Bing
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Pinterest, which is a visual search engine
All of these elements are busy working all of the time to show your site to people. It is therefore important that you maximise the potential of these channels to drive more visitors to your website. You need to be catching people’s attention so they are drawn to your site rather than one of your competitors.
How Can You Get More Traffic to Your Website?
Let’s look at each of the elements mentioned above in turn:
How many times a day do you use Google to look something up, to find information or to research a topic in more depth? Can you imagine how many millions of searches are made on Google every day? Internet Live Stats reports that Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day. That’s a lot of people searching for a lot of information! Amongst those, people will be searching for exactly the sort of content that you are producing. How can they find you?
This is where Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) comes in and is super important because it increases the chance of your voice being heard amongst the cacophony of noise that Google hears. There are 3 important elements for you to take into account in your SEO strategy:
- Keywords – keywords are the words people type into Google in an attempt to find what they’re looking for. Every piece of content you create should focus on a different keyword with the aim to rank on Google for that particular word or phrase. It’s important to research keywords and work out which is the best word or phrase to use on each post and this is something we will cover in more depth in a later post.
- Backlinks – a backlink is a link to your website from someone else’s website and the more backlinks you have, the greater your authority becomes in Google’s eyes as a backlink is like an endorsement of your site. A great (and legitimate) way to get backlinks is by guest posting on other people’s websites. Be very wary of anyone who says they can help you get hundreds of backlinks – dodgy backlinks will count against you and will hinder your progress rather than helping it.
- On-page SEO – this is making your own content SEO friendly and you need to do this on every post you publish on your site. Take a look at my Blog Post Checklist – Things to Remember When Publishing a Blog Post which sets out lots of ways you can make your content SEO friendly.
This is one of the easiest and most self-explanatory ways to get more traffic to your website. Check out my post on Social Media for Authors, which gives you some basic guidance on using social media. More people than not are on at least one social media platform so utilising this is a free and easy way to promote your website.
The key to social media us to demonstrate your authority in your chosen niche and engage with your followers. Engagement is absolutely crucial – you cannot just post a link to your blog and expect people to flock there. You need to build a loyal fanbase and engage with them, only then will you start to see results. Be warned that this does take time and patience – do not expect results overnight or you will be disappointed.
Remember too that each platform works in a different way and you need to master the best practices for each channel. Facebook, for example, works well for groups, so find groups that are relevant to your niche and join them. Do not spam them with your content, but show you are an expert on the subject and take part in discussions or answer people’s questions in order to gain traction.
Email is an incredibly powerful channel for getting your message across to people. We receive so much email these days (and a lot of it rubbish) and people are less likely to give away their email address to all and sundry as they don’t want to be spammed with irrelevant emails. Therefore, if you have an opt-in on your website and collect people’s email addresses, treat them like gold.
There are many reasons why email marketing is so powerful:
- Email is personal and purposeful
- It is targeted
- It is one-on-one (i.e. not in a public space but in a personal inbox)
- You own your email list – this is very different to your followers on social media who can disappear in a flash if the platform changes it’s rules or algorithm, or deems you to have violated their code.
- People are less likely to mute their inbox than they are their social media feeds.
To maximise the use of email, make sure you have opt-in forms on your website, and use freebies (often called lead magnets) to entice people to sign up and promote these across your whole platform (including socials etc.). Ensure that you do not spam people with emails or you’ll find they unsubscribe very quickly and/or report your account for spamming.
You will need to use an email marketing tool to collect the email addresses (which are easy to link to opt-in forms on your website) and to send your emails from. You can create beautifully designed emails this way which will attract the reader’s attention. Personally, I use [AFF] MailerLite as my email marketing tool, which is free for up to 1,000 subscribers and is easy to use. Other options include MailChimp, Aweber, ActiveCampaign etc.
Once people have opted-in to receive your emails, make sure you send them the freebie straight away and then have a sequence of welcome emails (known as a nurture sequence). These can introduce people to yourself and your website and highlight some pages or posts that they might find useful. Then periodically send campaigns to these people such as a monthly newsletter, weekly tips etc. Don’t spam people, but equally don’t let your list stagnate.
The final element to help you get more traffic to your website is Pinterest. Pinterest is not a social media platform as many people mistakenly believe, but is actually a visual search engine. Pinterest works in much the same way as Google but uses images (pins) rather than words (though keywords are still very important). Pinterest can also work quicker than Google, but do be prepared to spend time and effort building up your boards.
Pinterest works by people searching for a keyword or phrase and they are then shown a variety of pins that are relevant to that topic. This is where creating visually appealing pins is important as users will be drawn to pins that look nice as well being relevant to their search. You also need to ensure that you utilise the title and description areas of your pins to use relevant keywords that will help Pinterest understand what your pin is about. Then link to the relevant page or post on your site so when people click on your pin they are taken to that post.
I will take a look at Pinterest in a later blog post but I would highly recommend the course [AFF] Pinterest with Ell as this is by far the best Pinterest course I’ve come across (and I did a few when I started out as I’d never used Pinterest before). This course takes you through setting up Pinterest, how to optimise your account for SEO, creating create pins that will convert, as well as strategies for pinning and how to analyse stats. The course is also regularly updated, so if you’re after a course that covers all the basics and more, and at a reasonable price then I do highly recommend it. I learned so much!
A Summary of to Drive More Traffic to Your Website
Traffic will not magically come to your website and instead you need to help signpost people to the content you offer. To do this you need to concentrate on SEO, social media, Pinterest and email marketing. A combination of all four will help drive people to your site and maximise your results.
Has this post helped you to learn how to get more traffic to your website? Do you already put these plans into action? What is your experience of SEO, email marketing or Pinterest? Let me know in the comments below.