Just about every website owner wants to get more traffic to their site. You might hire a SEO company to “optimize” your site or you might spend money on advertising, whether its pay-per-click (PPC) or other mediums. Like many others, I routinely look at my Google Analytics to see how these things affect my traffic, hoping for that upward trend line that lets me feel like my website is doing something for my business (umm, especially since my business is web design).
A little while back I saw this huge spike in traffic. From one day to the next, my traffic went up 500% and sustained at that level for two weeks. What was it that brought all these glorious new people to the land of YellowWebMonkey Web Design? It was a CraigsList ad I had posted, looking to hire some part-time data entry help to finish a backlog of projects.
That peak got me thinking, “what are some other EASY and FREE ways to get more traffic to my site?” Doing some more research, here is what I came up with:
It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the economy is slow and a lot of people are looking for work. That is a large population that are actively searching numerous sites looking to learn more about businesses that are hiring. If you have openings, that makes it easy. Some free places to post job listings are:
- Misc Job Boards (search “free job listings ”)
- College and Alumni Boards
- Local Newspaper website
- Professional Association pages
- State commissions (such as Texas Workforce)
Even if you are not looking to snatch up another full or part-time employee, you might have “gigs” that you would pay money for.
Some gigs you might be able to post are:
- Office Cleaning
- Handing out flyers or other promotions
- Handyman work
- Copywriting for newsletters/blogs
- Translating in Spanish
Now, polls and contests are not really a new idea for attracting people. However, here is a new spin on it. When I was working on Austin Music City's website, I looked at the page views for their different articles. Most band reviews and announcements had about 300-500 page views. However, their monthly monthly band poll for the best new song had around 70,000 page views. That’s quite a difference. That is because that page gave other people a reason to promote the page for Austin Music City. You may not know a status update from a re-tweet, but your goal is to that audience that lives on Facebook and Twitter to do it all that work for you. Come up with some type of contest, relevant to your business and let the “contenders” market your site for you. Come up with a topic, have a time period when people submit to win (preferably with a note that lets you know how much they want to win which correlates with how hard they will market), choose finalists, and let them do the work. Here are some ideas:
- Lawn Care: Best Lawn or Best Christmas Lights
- Promotional Items: Funniest/Weirdest Logo
- Contracting Company: Best DUCT tape fix
- Car Wash: Dirtiest Car
(Send other good ideas in the comments of this blog)
GIVING TESTIMONIALS TO OTHERS
Almost every business has done business with another service-related business. Reward those that have provided quality services with a testimonial from your business. Just ask that when they put it on their website or print it, that they include the link to your website. Especially in the case of web/graphic design, because any of their potential customers will click that link to evaluate that company’s work on your site.
Content is King. If your website only has a paragraph saying how great your business is and your contact information, it is going to be much harder to get hits from search engine results. Not to mention, you give visitors no reason to go back to your website more than once. If you haven’t already spent the time to write out a description of your target client, then you should take five minutes right now. Once you have that, think about what type of information those people might be searching for.
By providing that information, you are doing several things:
- bringing ideal customers to your website
- establishing yourself as a Subject Matter Expert
- by assisting them you are suggesting you care about helping customers
Here are some ideas:
||- List of local home inspectors
- How to file an insurance claim
- What you should know before putting up Christmas lights
||- Maps of good local routes
- Calendar of rallies/events
||- People going out for a special occasion
- People who appreciate good food
|- How to make your Valentines/Anniversary special
- New and Notable Wines you Haven’t Heard of
(Send other good ideas in the comments of this blog)
HELP A CAUSE
What will motivate people even more than trying to win something? Trying to help a good cause. (ok, ok, it will motivate some people more). How many times have you gotten an email asking to you help find a missing child, help raise money for a good charity, or donate items. You can use your website to provide an easy way to help a good cause.
If you have an employee that is competing in an event to raise money, add an article highlighting what they are doing with a link to sponsor them for a certain amount. You might also consider some incentive like matching funds or saying if they can raise $2000 (or whatever), then your company will donate an additional amount. That will encourage others to forward the link out to get more people to come to your page.
If there is a cause that is encouraging people to write their congressman, etc (and is not a topic that some potential clients would not support), you can add an automated form to your site to make it easier for people to submit their comments. A good example of this would be the expansion of I-35 through Central Texas. Most people are very supportive of getting more funds from the TX Dept of Transportation to help the area grow. A local organization called 1000 Friends of Waco have a page about this issue with a link to make comments to TXDOT. If you add something similar or an actual form for comments, you will get others actively marketing your site to others.
Another idea is to collect items for a cause. On your website you can provide information about the cause and the specifics of what is needed. Some examples might be:
- Clothes donations for a family whose home burned down
- Canned goods for a food drive
- Toys for Tots
You will get the extra traffic from people looking for information and can add a good-news story after you turn in the donations. This is an especially good idea if you have a business where you would benefit by getting more people to walk in the front door.
All of these causes help get more traffic to your site as well as help your reputation as a business that contributes to the local community.
If you think these ideas sound good, but you have no idea how to implement them; consider using a web developer as a consultant to figure out how to make your website work better for you. You can find ones that will help you develop a plan, help train your employees, or build a package to provide those services for you. Many companies like ours will write eNewsletters, blog entries, setup contests, and maintain social networking accounts for our clients for a monthly fee. Most fees are less than most companies spend on YellowPages advertisements and lets be honest, the phonebook is disappearing about as quickly as phone booths are. The good news though, is that the majority of people that used to use them, are now walking around with their own cell phone that they could look at your website on; if you give them a reason to.