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So you’ve decided that you want to drive some traffic to your website without breaking the bank? Well, you’ve made it to the right place, not by accident. We’ve used the techniques detailed in this guide to bring you here. Read on to learn about some of our key tactics, strategies, and hacks to help you easily and affordable drive traffic to your website.
Because let’s face it, your website is not of much use to you and one’s business unless you’ve got a stream of potential customers visiting it.
We see businesses thinking about the following two steps regarding their online presence.
- Get a great website designed, built, and hosted.
- Start driving traffic to drive leads and sales.
It’s this second step that businesses will tend to struggle with as it’s hard to know where to start and what will work. Never fear, though; we’re here to share our insight on how to start driving traffic to your website in a lean and affordable way.
Before we dive into the different ways you can drive traffic to your website, it’s important to ask yourself why. Why do you want people to find your website?
At the end of the day, website traffic is a means to an end. You’re trying to sell something online, drive people to an online store, or increase advertising revenue. You need to work back from the most important business goal and undertake only those tactics that will help you to achieve it.
Below are the different sections that we will cover in this post on how to drive traffic to your website:
Let’s dive into our first method of driving website traffic that anyone can get started with today.
Source | Unsplash
Blogging is one of the most powerful tools to attract people to one’s website. We live in an age where content is king online, and people spend more time consuming this form of content than ever. You may think that you’re not a writer or just don’t have time to create content, but let us assure you, it can be worthwhile.
Not convinced? Just take a look at these stats:
Content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62% less. (Demand Metric)
60% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content on its site. (Source: Content Plus)
In addition to generating way more leads at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing, you also get several additional benefits. First, you’re creating a relationship with the customer. Everyone hates seeing adverts, but people love consuming great content. Once the customer has read a blog post that’s helped them in some way, you’re onto the first step of creating a meaningful connection with them.
You’ll also be boosting your SEO (search engine optimization), or how easy it is for people to find your website through search engines. Yes, that’s right. Without being an SEO wizard you can still give your website an SEO boost just by blogging. Search engines like Google rank on several factors and producing great content for your website ticks several boxes.
Hopefully, by now, we’ve convinced you that blogging is important to drive traffic to your website. To make things easier, we’ve even created an easy-to-use framework for creating content.
PEDL – Our Framework for Creating Content
At Talent Cupboard, we’ve created a framework called PEDL to help keep us on track with creating great content. Let’s go through an overview of each step that’s involved.
Plan – great planning leads to great execution and is the starting point of our framework. We typically plan out the content we want to produce and have a map laid out for a few weeks into the future. It will help you ensure that you’re on track and producing content according to your schedule rather than haphazardly.
We advise creating a calendar list of when you plan on having content launched and what the rough theme of the piece will be. You might want to start a pace of every other Monday to make this manageable.
The main thing is to create consistency and stick to it. We also find it useful to have a list of 10-20 blog post titles floating around so that when it comes to Monday, we’re not having to scramble to come up with ideas.
Execute – very easy to say but so much harder to do. To get any kind of traction, you need to graft and be consistent with your output. To build an unbreakable content-creating habit, we recommend starting small so it’s impossible to fail.
Try a 500-word blog post or even a listicle (e.g. 10 Ways To Drive Website Traffic) twice a month to get started. Get comfortable with this and then build on it. Soon you’ll be creating content without breaking a sweat.
Distribute – content will just sit on the website gathering dust unless you have a distribution plan. It’s not enough to hope someone will come across a new blog post and spread the word; you’ve got to kickstart the process if you want to be able to reach people.
Each piece of content we create it’s then submitted to a minimum of 7 different social networks & directories and featured in our newsletter (which is well worth signing up for).
Learn – When you’ve nailed the first three steps, it’s time to take a step back and see what kind of impact you’ve made, no matter how small. Make sure you have Google Analytics installed as a minimum requirement so you can track metrics like how many unique visitors you’re getting for each post and where the traffic is coming from.
By taking the time to see what type of content works, where to place it, and when you’ll be able to jumpstart growth and learn where to focus more attention. Using this framework, we’ve been able to PEDL faster and gain traction with our content marketing efforts. We’ll cover this in more detail, with examples, in a future post.
- Try to aim for 2000-2500 words. Posts around this length tend to be ranked in Google’s top 10 when content is searched for.
- Keep an active and consistent blog. You’ll be rewarded in the long run.
- Focus on creating quality and useful content. Get this right, and traffic, SEO, linkbacks, etc will all fall into place.
Source | Unsplash
If blogging is the fire you consistently build up to drive traffic to your website, then social media can be like throwing petrol onto that fire. It’s a great way for people to find and share content and be a key to connecting with potential customers online.
Another great benefit of social media is that it is one of the most affordable and quick ways to promote your business online.
Again, we know it can be tough trying to carve out the time to commit to this, but when you just look at how many people are registered for these services and how much time they’re spending on them, you won’t want to be missing out.
The takeaway is that your business should appear where your customers spend their time online. This means finding out the networks your customers use most often. So if you’re a B2B business, you should probably focus your time on Linkedin, Twitter, and Youtube.
If you’re focussed on consumers, then Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook could be great places to place your time and efforts.
There are loads of tips, tricks, and tactics for each social network that we won’t cover here for now, but we’ll be sure to run through them in a similar guide.
Once you’re set up on social media, it’s your chance to start sharing the awesome content you’ve been creating. Whenever you publish a new piece, you want to be sharing this from your social media accounts. Also, don’t shy away from re-posting the piece intermittently, as it’s likely that some of your audience wouldn’t have seen it the first time.
Don’t be afraid of sharing content from other sources online. Just ensure it’s relevant to your audience and adds value in some way. It could be an interesting thought piece about an industry trend if you’re in the B2B space or a funny meme that you’ve found that will make your B2C customers laugh.
A big obstacle people have when first starting out is knowing what to share or talk about. If you’re stuck for content, Reddit is a great place to find interesting content relevant to your niche. There are thousands of category niches called “subreddits” where people form communities around a particular subject matter.
Find your voice as a brand, and don’t be afraid to connect with people, especially potential customers. Don’t just broadcast, have conversations and build relationships.
Track Your Metrics
You should be tracking some metrics with every effort to drive traffic to your website. You don’t have to be a data scientist to see where to focus your attention. If you’ve installed Google Analytics, you’ll see what social networks drive the most traffic to your website. As you can see, Twitter accounts for over half of our social traffic, which means we’ve dedicated more time to driving traffic from this source.
Manage Your Time Effectively
If social media isn’t part of the day job, trying to figure out how to squeeze even more into your day can seem daunting. Never fear, though; we have some time-saving hacks that you can implement today.
The first is to sign up for an amazing tool called Buffer. It allows you to manage and add content to several social networks’ schedules. Meaning you can load up a day of Facebook posts, tweets, and Pinterest pins from one handy place.
We use this at Talent Cupboard, so even on busy days, we can have a full day of social media activity organized with just 20 minutes spent first thing in the morning or the evening before.
- Aim to engage with your audience and influencers. Don’t just be a broadcast machine.
- Don’t be afraid to share content you’ve produced several times. Recycle it.
- Use images in your posts. They drive a load more engagement than those without.
- Double down on the social media networks where you can see growth.
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Ah, good old email. It’s getting on a bit now, but it still deserves your attention when trying to drive traffic to your website. Whilst not being the sexiest form of digital marketing, it is still one of the key foundations for anyone looking to bring website visitors back consistently.
A report from Custora highlights just how far ahead email still is for converting traffic into customers.
You can do a ton with an email to get people coming back to your website and tactics to grow your list, but we’ll save those for our dedicated guide to growing traffic with email. Here we’ll focus on how to get started with creating an epic email newsletter that customers will love – all without needing to write a line of code.
If you haven’t heard about Mailchimp, you’re in for a treat. It’s an online service that lets you easily create and send beautiful emails to your customers. A bonus for beginners is that you can send to up to 2000 customers for free before moving to one of their paid plans. We’ve been using Mailchimp for years and can’t recommend it enough. If you want to use some other kind of email software, that’s fine, as the general concepts we’ll cover are the same.
Your Email List
Before you can start creating your email to send out, you will need a great email list – the people you will send your email to.
A quick note: do not purchase email lists. Period.
If a company comes to you saying they can provide 5000 pre-qualified local business emails to you – don’t listen. Even if it’s true, this strategy will not work for you. Think about the last time you received an unsolicited email. A typical reaction will be to mark it as spam or an instant unsubscribe. They haven’t asked for you to appear in their inbox, and it’s no way to build trust. A worst-case scenario is that your email service blocks you from emailing anyone for spam.
Right, housekeeping is out of the way. Let’s get into the detail.
Building Your Email List
This is a good place to start if you have an existing database of contacts or previous customers that have opted in to receiving commutations from you. You’ll want to import these into a new list in Mailchimp. This makes it easy to send an email to everyone in one easy go.
Don’t have any emails to include in a list? No worries. You’ll want to go into Mailchimp and create a list, which will be empty, to begin with. From here, find the tab that says “Signup forms,” which will then present you with several options. Select the embedded form option. Here you’ll be able to see some code that you can get your website developer to include in your website. This will allow people reading your blogs, or visiting your website, to enter their email addresses to receive your emails. This method has the added benefit that it automatically updates your list for you.
You can also use a great tool at Talent Cupboard called List Builder from the awesome team at SumoMe. Again, it provides a little snippet of code you can get your developer to include on your blog or website. List Builder will then show a friendly pop-up, seeing if your website visitor wants to sign up to receive your emails. Once you get enough hits on your website, you should receive a good number of sign-ups from tools like this. You can also link this to your Mailchimp list so that your emails are all in one handy place.
Once you’ve got some emails, you will want to create and send an email.
Creating Your Email
At this stage, if you’re using Mailchimp, then you can use their super easy-to-use email building software. You can pick from various templates and styles to fill with your content. We love this as it’s all optimized for viewing and mobile, so you don’t have to worry about anything apart from filling it with great content.
A couple of quick wins we’d recommend when building emails.
1. Have a clear call to action
What is the one action you want someone reading your email to make? If it’s reading your latest blog post or checking out a new product you’ve launched, make sure there is a clear link or button that takes your readers to that location. You should place your key call to action at the top of your newsletter and keep your email to the point, as you’ll lose people if they have to read an essay.
2. A/B test your emails
A/B testing allows you to test different versions of an email sent to two groups to help determine the most effective content. For example, you can choose to test two different subject lines to see which one leads to more email opens in your list. Once you start to have a lot of people on your list, a 1% difference can mean a huge difference for your open rates and, subsequently, the actions the reader takes, e.g. buying that holiday.
So that’s it for the basics of creating and sending emails. It’s a great way to bring people back to your website and should be a must-have for any website owner. Don’t be afraid to test different subject lines or send times. The main thing is trying to beat your numbers from the previous week, which takes a little experimentation.
- Ensure that people can easily subscribe to your email list
- Create a consistent time to send if possible – e.g. 4 pm on a Thursday
- Test, test, and keep on testing. Use A/B tests to keep improving your results
- Have a clear objective in mind – what is the one action you want readers to take?
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When thinking of PR, you may think of this…
Even if the world of PR seems odd and bizarre, you shouldn’t discount it. Talking to journalists, bloggers, and the media is a highly valuable skill to have in our mission of driving awareness and traffic to your website.
Not only can you raise the profile of your business amongst potential customers, but getting links back to your website from media sites is super important for your SEO. This is because not all backlinks to your website are born equal.
Media sites will typically tend to have a more powerful effect on your SEO rank – than if someone’s tiny personal blog linked back to your website.
Once you start using our tips below, you’ll be a natural, and we even have some quick hacks to help you get started.
Create your targeted list
In an ideal world, we’d all like to see our business splashed across the front page of national newspapers – but for 99.9999% of us, it’s never going to happen. That’s why it’s important to have a specific target of who you want to talk to.
If you’re a business based in Shrewsbury, then focus on local press rather than attempting to gain national coverage. If you’re a beauty brand, reaching out to bloggers is a much better use of your time.
Once you’ve got a rough gauge of where you think your customers hang out, it’s then time to find the people behind the words.
You can easily find the most relevant person to talk to by looking through different website articles; usually, the author’s name will be attributed on the page.
You now have a couple of options to reach out to journalists or bloggers. You can send a cold email out of the blue, which in our experience, is hit or miss and needs to be carefully worded. Or, you can get to know them on Twitter first.
The advantage of connecting with a journalist over Twitter is that any information shared here is meant to be public. This means you can see what they tend to talk about, their interests and whether your business aligns with those. It can also be much easier to grab someone’s attention on Twitter, especially if they’re inundated with emails from businesses like yours trying to grab attention.
You can use this handy list of small business journalists compiled by the great folks at Enterprise Nation to help you get started – Top small business journalists to follow on Twitter
Try to think about where your customers are likely to spend their time reading and then reach out to those people behind the words. This leads us to our next thought topic – Relevance.
Put yourself in their shoes
We all like to think our businesses are the most unique and incredible things in the world, but sadly, not everyone will agree with us on this. At this point, we’ve got to take ego out of the equation and think about what will be of interest to the journalist or blogger. If you’re a construction company, trying to get a straight profile on your business may be tough as it’s not deemed compelling.
However, suppose there is an interesting personal story behind the company’s founder, who has grown exceptionally fast and managed to secure many jobs for locals. In that case, these are talking points that someone might want to write about.
Take a look at the types of stories that your target journalists and bloggers tend to create, and don’t ever be afraid to reach out even to ask what they’re interested in writing about to try and get featured.
Once you secure a piece, make sure they link back to your website at least once, as this was the whole point in the first place! Not only will people come through to your website by clicking the links in the article you’ll also be getting a nice boost to your SEO.
Hack your way into the press
Now, if you’re finding it hard to get your business featured in the press or simply don’t have enough time, then we’ve got just the solution for you. Our quick hack can help you to get the link back to your website even if you’re not making the headlines.
Now, when you go to most online newspapers, blogs, or websites that post content, they typically have a comments area at the bottom of the article. Here is where it’s your time to shine and where you can start to build up a good number of backlinks with not a huge amount of work.
One big thing to flag here again is relevance. No one likes a spammer online, and you can get penalized both on websites and in your search ranking if you abuse this technique.
The idea is to comment on articles that are relevant to your business with either:
a) A genuine opinion you want to share
b) Some value-adding advice that adds to the conversation
If you’re a plumber, there is no point in commenting and linking back to your website on articles about baking. Here’s an example I posted talking about how digital should be a focus of government to help businesses to prosper. I’ve quickly mentioned a product we have as well as linked back to our website.
Make it relevant and interesting and add value to the conversation. If you take this method, you’ll start building up many links from great sources. Like any tactic, though, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. It’s all about testing what works for you.
- Reach out to relevant journalists and bloggers
- Put yourself in their shoes; what is their ideal story to write?
- Follow and connect with journalists on Twitter
- Use comments quickly to build up links, but don’t abuse them.
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If you don’t remember receiving the Yellow Pages through the door and either trying to tear it in half with your bare hands, using it as a door stop, or even occasionally looking up businesses in it, you are way too young.
Needless to say, business directories have moved a little since the days of yellow and blue tones. Now there are countless online directories where you can list your business to get discovered, reviewed by customers, and link back to your website.
Directories are a good tick on the checklist of things you should do but don’t rely on these alone to drive the traffic you want.
You can run your business through this super handy tool from Moz to check if you’re already listed or not: Go to Moz Local
We’ll cover the places you can’t afford to miss here.
Google My Business
If you don’t look at any other directory, then make sure you at least sign your business up to Google. From one easy dashboard, you can manage everything from setting your business location, so it appears in map searches (vital for bricks & mortar stores) to how your business appears in searches. You can see how Talent Cupboard is listed here.
You can also do the same on Bing, Microsoft’s search engine. It takes just a few minutes to register, and your business will pop up in their search.
Yellow Pages has moved from physical pages to digital ones – and has also had a rebrand to just Yell. It takes just a few minutes to list your business here.
Scoot is an online business directory service that powers several different directories for publication, such as The Independent, The Sun, and The Mirror.
You may also want to find directories that are relevant to your trade specifically. If there are directories specifically for plumbers, then get yourself listed. If you’re a qualified accountant, there may be a website where you can list your services. Don’t worry about listing on 100s of different websites; just pick the most reputable sites.
There are plenty of customer review websites where your business can be discovered and linked to your website. From listing your restaurant on Tripadvisor to putting your e-commerce store on Trust Pilot, there are many great places to list.
Sure there’s always the fear of a disgruntled customer laying into you, but then it’s a case of getting the customers that love you to tip the balance. Great customer reviews mean more sales from the website traffic you pull in using these tactics.
So that’s it for a quick overview of online directories and where to list them. Tons more places that could be useful for your business that we don’t have time to list here. Focus on the best quality websites to focus on, and do check out the Moz tool, as that will set you on the right path.
- As a minimum requirement, list your business on Google
- List your business in relevant directories and link back to your website
- This should just be one of many things you should be doing to drive traffic
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SEO, aka – search engine optimization. The so-called “dark art” of trying to get your website to appear either top or as close to the top when a customer is looking for a business like yours.
It’s probably one of the areas we get asked about most by our business customers when talking about websites, as it’s deemed a silver bullet to getting website traffic. I mean, it makes sense. Get found on Google, get found but your customer.
There isn’t a quick fix, but the thing is, there are a bunch of things that you, reading this, can be doing to improve your website’s search ranking. We’ve just laid the key areas out in our previous 5000 words!
Yes, that’s right. If you run through all of the tactics we’ve outlined in this post,, you’re going to end up miles ahead of the competition, all without doing anything deeply technical. Blogging, social media, and linkbacks from press and directories – all add to the SEO equation to help your business get found.
Ready to Go Pro?
There are just a couple more areas that search engines have factored into their ranking algorithm recently. If you ensure these two features are in place on your website, you will be going pro with your SEO.
Google recently made a huge change in which websites it shows in results on a mobile. Effectively, if your website isn’t mobile-optimized, you will not be showing up in the results. And with over 60% of web traffic now on mobile, a huge number of customers aren’t finding you.
Websites that also use HTTPS (the padlock in your address bar right now) are getting a boost in SEO, and the boost these websites get is only set to increase.
- Use all of the tactics in this guide to boost your SEO
- Make sure your website is optimized for mobile
- Run your website over HTTPS