(4 minute read)
In some ways building a website for your business is the easy bit. You can do it yourself or pay anywhere from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars to get it built for you. But with over 100,000 new sites launching around the world every day, you might find you’re not getting the traffic you expected.
Thankfully there are some fundamental things you can do to get more visitors to your website and find new customers online. To give your site the best chance of success, here are some of the best things you can do in order from most impact to least.
1. Sign up for webmaster tools with Google and Bing
Both Google and Bing allow you to sign-up to their webmaster platforms and access a variety of tools to manage your website, check for problems and increase search visibility. Once set up, I’d recommend submitting a sitemap so the search engines know where to find all of your web pages. Over time you’ll also get data on what people are searching for, how often your site shows in the results and how many people click through.
2. Set up website analytics
Website analytics tools are crucial to understand how people find and use your website. By far the most popular free analytics is Google Analytics. To set it up, you’ll need to register and add a unique tracking code to every page on your website. Check the article Where do your best website visitors come from? for more information about how to install analytics.
An even better way to do it is with Google Tag Manager. This allows you to update the tracking code in a convenient way without having to dabble with code or asking a web developer to do it for you.
You’ll also really benefit from setting up some website goals so you can tell what traffic is best for your business. A website goal is something that you want your visitors to do. It might be buying something, filling out a contact form, signing for an email or watching a video. It could be just about anything that you can think of and want to track.
Finally, be sure to set up or import a dashboard so you can easily keep track of the most important things for your website any time of day or night.
3. Google My Business and other local listings
For New Zealand based businesses, Google My Business is the best local listing you can create. Sign up for an account, enter your business details and verify your business address. Google will display your business details in search results and in Google Maps. This is especially important if you have a physical store, or operate in a geographic area. To give your business listing a bit of a boost, ask customers to leave reviews.
There are a number of free and paid local business directories and while they may not generate lots of visitors they definitely won’t hurt listing with them. A few to get started with include Yellow, Finda, Localist, Facebook, Yelp, Zomato for restaurants, and Tripadvisor for accommodation and tourist activities.
4. Run a website scan
There are dozens of things that may have been missed in the development of your site which make it hard to find or hard to use. I’d recommend running a free website check to quickly see if there are any red flags. There are heaps around but a really good free one is WooRank.
Woorank will check your site for a range of issues and give you an overall score and report on things that can be improved. This is really good starting point for discussions with a web developer (or yourself!) to fix your site.
5. Start advertising online
For most businesses, Google Adwords and Bing Ads will provide the best return on investment for your online (and offline in my opinion) advertising dollar.
Adwords shows your ads at the “top” of search results when people are searching for things you offer. While over time you might improve your natural search ranking, this allows you to quickly send high-quality to your website. The cost for each visit may vary depending on what industry you are in and how many other businesses are advertising on Adwords. Thankfully you set a daily budget and start or stop advertising at any time.
6. Review your site for keywords
In the rush to build a new site it’s easy to overlook the importance of adding the right keywords throughout your content. There are heaps of resources about SEO and keyword research on the web but the main thing is to think about what your customers might search for when they are looking for your product or service. Add these keywords to a list so you can keep track of them.
A simple way to find keywords you haven’t thought about is to look at related searches at the bottom of Google search results. Run a search for your keyword and pick out any related searches that are relevant to your business. Here’s an example from searching for “dentist in Auckland”.
Now with your list of keywords, make sure they all appear on your website at least once. The main rules of thumb are not to overdo it, and ensure what you’ve written still makes sense to the reader.
7. Social media
I’ve left this until nearly last because the steps above generally take less work for more impact. First decide on whether social media is a good place to reach your customers and how much time and money you have to spend on it. Often it’s easy to start with a bang on a new social media account only to have the momentum slow down after a month or two when the novelty fades.
With any social media, you need to decide how to measure your success. Setting KPIs and tracking them at least month to month will tell you if your investment in social is paying off.
8. Set up Google Alerts
While not really important this can be quite helpful. Set up some Google Alerts for terms related to your business and your competition. You can set the frequency of emails alerts and easily track what’s being found online without having to run manual searches for new content or news.
The steps above really only scratch the surface of what you can do to get more visits to your website and doesn’t take into account other promotion or advertising you’re doing offline. Mostly you want to make sure that when people are looking, your business can be found. Good luck!