Built my website – Where’s the Traffic and Business?

Your website is built and sitting pretty. So where are all the people you hoped would come over to play? You need traffic for your site to be effective and to start generating leads. Now that you know that just having a website won’t necessarily drive business to you, you should consider the most important thing most people miss in this effort.

Here are the 3 factors that need to be in place for a successful website and successful business. I’ll líst them from least important to most important:

1. Sound ‘on-site’ Search Engine Optimization strategies. This refers to the things many consider the most important. There are the basic A-B-C’s of getting things set up with keywords and phrases so that you will rank well against your competition in Google, Yahoo and the like. This involves a lot of elements that you, as the end user, may not realize or see. Having the proper titles for each page, putting in the right key words and header tags. There are solid things that should be done and most web designers that I talk to rarely take it beyond this point. Being ranked well by search engines starts here but the best realize this is only the start.

2. Content That Is Effective. Visitors are useless unless they buy something or make contact with you. We call this “Conversion Ratio”. What percentage of your website visitors convert into buyers and users of your services? This can and should be measured. The important things here are the attractiveness and professional appearance of the site with content that is compelling. Having the right mix of words, graphics and informational content can take conversion rates from being non-existent to well over 10%.

Web designers get so many calls from business owners that can only think to ask, “how much do you charge to make me a website?” What they miss is what it will cost them in business profíts if it is not done right. Web designers may know how to make a good looking site but not necessarily how to input the words and content for the best results. Writing compelling content is a very specialized talent. This takes more work and more time to do. It costs more, but the difference can be huge on your return on investment.

When you have this part right, the most important part of driving traffic can be taken advantage of. This aspect is where many web developers simply drop off the map in helping clients. If you are shopping price only, you won’t find this part of the mix. What is it that they miss?

3. Off Site Factors Are Most The Important Factors in Driving Traffic! What are ‘off site factors’? The most important key for ranking well with Google are the links that come to you from other sites that Google considers to be important sites. MSN and Yahoo are important sites. So are Digg.com, Wikipedia.com and WowWebWorks.com. OK, so the last one is more important to me than Google.

Here is the rub. How can you control whether or not other sites talk about you and link to you? I don’t mean calling other site owners and saying something like, “Hey, I’ll link to you if you link to me” stuff. Mutual links are not important anymore. One way links are. So how can you get those rolling? Well, this takes work. The nice part is that it is work that will have a direct effect on your bottom line. You have enough “busy work” as a business owner. This isn’t busy work; it’s vital.

Social-Business Networking Sites – Use Them

This is where sites like LinkedIn.com, Facebook.com and even MySpace.com come into play. I recommend using LinkedIn.com for business development. From there you can refer to your website and create interest in your site in others. I have a full article of ideas for this elsewhere so I won’t elaborate here. For more on this see “Why Bother with ‘LinkedIn’ or ‘Facebook’?” . Posting your information and inviting contacts to link in with you can be huge. It’s like having a second or third website with positive recommendations about you and your business.

Effective PR Campaigns

This can be the most important foundation for your business success. As our business partners Ray Lohner and Jerry Ogg from E3 Public Relations have drilled into me, most businesses have it all backwards. Here is what they preach for priorities:

1. Advertising => 2. Marketing => 3. Public Relation (If at all)

Wrong!

1. Public Relations => 2. Marketing => Advertising (If still needed)

Right!

Many businesses we build websites for already do some advertising with varying degrees of success. They do advertising yet often don’t know how that differs from marketing and ignore PR altogether.

It is PR that really sets the table for all the rest to work. The Internet is transforming even PR. Every time you have a bit of company news from hiring a new employee to lending support to a local charity it deserves a PR piece. Open a new office? PR. Have a unique solution to a problem? Let the press know – they may just do a story on it.

The idea is that if you get enough good PR working for you it opens doors for marketing and advertising because your company and name are more recognizable and respected. Just knowing who you are can be huge.

What has changed in the PR realm in recent years is the rise of online PR companies that will take your electronic releases and send them as feeds to news services nationwide. An example is www.prweb.com. It is chock full of information about good PR and advice on how to write it for best effect. Your submissions are sent out and picked up as a feed by other services. If your PR piece has a reference to your website, you now have 1 if not dozens of incoming links to your website. Do dozens of releases and you have dozens of one-way links and start to get noticed by other people interested in your field. Google notices this also.

Why Is PR All But Ignored?

So why don’t more businesses use this? Why do business owners nod in agreement but rarely follow through doing this? Because it takes time and effort to put together a good PR piece in a form that will be picked up by other sites or publications. It takes some knowledge to know where to even send it after you write it. Frankly, you probably don’t have time to sit down and pen out a 700-word piece. Few have the writing talent to do it right. It’s a skill, a specialized skill. Even if you do have the ability, you may well not know where to send it or who at a publication might be interested in it. This is exactly why PR firms exist. They do it well, know where to send it for greatest effect and they know what is newsworthy to send. They usually know people at the publications on a first name basis and what they are looking for.

I’m betting that if you cut your advertising budget in half and put that half into paying for a PR firm to take over that job that your remaining advertising will be even more effective than before.

This is one of the added values for quality web development companies. Next time you call a web design firm and ask, “How much does it cost to build us a website?” find out if “fries” come with that. Do you get just a website or do you get the added value of expertise in Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising. Trust this, you will get no more than you pay for.

If your web developer doesn’t do this, find a good PR firm and make sure they work together to do the job right.

Find out if they know enough about LinkedIn to even be there. If not, maybe they can’t help you there. How about their press releases? Do they even do them for themselves? How do they pro-actively do marketing for themselves? There are probably reasons why the cheapest bidder is the cheapest bidder. I hired the cheapest bidder to pave my driveway. Huge mistake now that it’s cracking after only 3 years.

A larger vision can make you a lot more money. You have to decide if “who’s the lowest bidder” is more important than how much money and exposure the site adds to your bottom line. After all, isn’t making money the point?

Tactics To Generate Website Traffic For Internet Marketing

Internet marketing has been around for as long as there has been the internet. It really took off, though, once the World Wide Web caught fire in the late 1990’s.

What many people new to internet marketing lose site of, or perhaps didn’t know to begin with, is that internet marketing is based on the fundamental principles of marketing. It just so happens that internet marketers use those principles with a new medium, the web, to reach buyers.

The fundamental principle of marketing is – if you want to sell anything, you need prospective customers. For many people, knowing how to generate massive amounts of traffic is the “missing link” to internet marketing.

Everyday there are lots of people who struggle to create websites and products, make them look pretty good and then… nothing. Everything was built and nobody showed up!

This is one of the biggest reasons people quit before they are successful.

It doesn’t have to be that way. There is no exact strategy that is guaranteed to bring you millions of visitors everyday. However, there are proven techniques for generating huge amounts of traffic, some very quickly and some for free.

Higher traffíc increases the potential for sales and referral commissions. The goal is to boost search engine traffic because this means a wider audience and long-term profit from various sources like ads. That is why there is such a lot of innovation in the field of search engine optimization (SEO).

Long Tails and How They Help

One of the most recent techniques, and a very effective one at that, is the use of LONG TAIL keywords to direct search engine traffic to your website.

The term may sound intimidating, but all it refers to is a new marketing trend. In the past, a few major keywords were identified to pull traffic through search engines. In the new model, websites will be drawing their business from a large variety of low-volume search queries or phrases. So, it’s goodbye to all those oft-used, clichéd keywords.

This brings about a paradigm shift in your strategy to identify keywords and phrases. Instead of opting for the most obvious keywords like ‘Makíng money online’, web marketers now have to identify several keyword phrases that attract streams of low volume traffic. The combined action of several streams of low-volume traffic will eventually add up to high revenue.

To identify Long Tails or multi-word search queries (for that is what they are), you have to pick out the actual phrases that visitors use to arrive at your website. These key phrases are more specific than general. They embody the specific information users are looking for. So, a phrase like “Top 5 SEO techniques to earn money online” will pull in more targeted traffíc than ‘makíng money online’. Ultimately, such a strategy leads to an overall jump in web traffíc.

For example, ‘Self-hypnosis’ is a general keyword. The keyword phrases within this niche would be ‘Self-hypnosis to lose weíght’ or ‘using self-hypnosis techniques to improve memory’ or ‘benefits of self-hypnosis for controlling anger’.

Methods to Identify Keyword Phrases

Use tracking programs: Certain automated programs generate a number of subject-specific keyword phrases. But you will still have to filter and select specific phrases from a long catalog of results. Further to this, you may have to run your selected phrases through a search volume analyzer, to zero in on the top phrases.

Keyword research tools: Tools like Google’s Keywords Tool can help determine the popularity of keywords, thus enabling you to develop a wide variety of secondary keywords to improve web traffíc to your site. Stringing together these words should enable you to identify keyword phrases.

Search boxes: Using on-site search boxes will enable you to monitor specific keyword phrases your visitors are looking for. This way, you get direct feedback from your visitors. This is an amazing method you can use to learn more about the general public’s search habits.

Check out your competition: Find out what phrases they are using. Search their meta tags, titles and headers. Here, all the work has been done for you. You only need to fine-tune the words and string them together to make phrases that will pull lots of search engine traffic. Keyword parsing tools help you analyze other websites.

Advantages

By using keyword phrases, you reap a number of benefits:

  • High search-engine rankings: Competition will be weaker for the phrases you have identified so you can easily climb to the top of search engine rankings for your particular choice of phrase.
  • Higher conversion rates: Since you are using the actual phrase your visitors are looking for, the website traffic you get is highly targeted. People who come to you in this manner are more likely to click the ‘Buy Now’ button than people who come in out of curiosity.
  • Increased inflow: Since you will be using many keyword phrases, you will build up several streams of low-volume customers. These streams will improve your search engine traffic.
  • Make more money: Your monetizing potential is high when you pull in search engine traffic because people who come to you are serious about your product, service or information. They are more likely to subscribe to your newsletter or RSS feeds.

Using Long Tails on your websites or Blogs will undoubtedly improve web traffíc to your site.

And of course, more traffíc is always good news!