Getting people to visit your website is where online success begins.
There are a number of methods that you can use to get people to visit your website:
- Pay Per Click Advertising
- Social Media Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
PAY PER CLICK ADVERTISING (PPC)
PPC is a model of internet advertising in which there is no cost to display your advertisement. You are only charged when someone clicks on your advertisement. The cost of advertisements varies and is done via an electronic auction throughout the day, every day (and night). Google is most famous for this kind of advertising, although it’s used in by Facebook, Bing, LinkedIn and many others.
With Google’s Pay Per Click Advertising (called AdWords), your advertisements appear on Google based on which search terms people enter.
Pay Per Click Advertising can be a very effective way to drive prospects to your website, however, you have to carefully manage your campaign to avoid spending lots of money and getting no results.
You need to ensure you choose the right keywords (search terms) as well as negative keywords. An example of a negative keyword might be “free”. For most companies, people who are looking for free stuff aren’t good prospects. When you implement a negative keyword in your advertising campaign, it means that any search containing that term will not show your advertisement. So if you include “free” in your negative keywords, you will be paying for clicks for people who are looking for free stuff.
There are other keys to success with a PPC advertisement, including the ad you write, when you show it, the area you are targeting and the landing page people go to when they click on your ads.
Pay Per Click Advertising can be a great way to make money, but it can also be a fast way to spend money with no results. Use with caution.
Remarketing is also a pay per click advertising service but with a slightly different angle. It targets people that have already visited your website. Your ads will appear on other websites that they visit. You may see remarketing ads often with online newspapers, magazines, Facebook and others.
Remarketing is a great way of keeping in front of people who have shown an interest in your company. If you have a product or service that people research before making a buying decision, this could be great option for you.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Social Media Marketing involves engaging with your target audience through social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Yelp and Instagram.
Social Media Marketing involves anything where people can engage in a conversation about you or your company. It can involve a number of different aspects:
Getting reviews from clients on sites like Yelp, GoogleMyBusiness, Facebook, and other social media sites is an excellent way to get started with social media. Reviews help in three ways:
- People researching your company get more comfortable based on positive reviews and are more likely to buy from you.
- People who are looking for a service like yours may find your company because of a review.
- Google looks favorably on reviews – so it helps your search engine rankings.
Creative content that attracts attention and encourages people to share that content will result in more social media attention, greater opinion of your company’s expertise, visits to your website and new business.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization is the process of effectively positioning your website with Google, so that you get higher rankings.
In order for a website to be SEO focused, you must do the things that Google expects you to do to deserve a high ranking.
Note: Google’s goal is to be able to deliver the best search results for the searcher – every time. Google looks at a host of factors, including quality and quantity of content, keywords used, quality and quantity of linking sites, locality, website speed, technical onpage data, and behavior of visitors (do the spend long on your site or do they look and move on?) Google looks at all these factors and many more.
There are two kinds of search engine optimization: SEO Campaign and Foundational SEO. A SEO campaign is a monthly campaign that uses a variety of on page and off page techniques (building links, using social media, distributing valuable resource, getting referrals, etc.) For the purpose of this article, we will focus on Foundational SEO.
Whether you are a small company with limited budget or a large company with unlimited resources, there are a few foundational things that you need to do to ensure that your website is found in a search.
Level One SEO
- Submit your website’s URL to Google and other search engines to enable them to better crawl and categorize your site.
- Submit an XML sitemap to Google (you require a Google Webmaster Account to do this.) XML is designed to describe data just like HTML is designed to describe images. This sitemap allows search engines to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve information more efficiently.
- Use Title tags. These are called headings and they tell the search engine what your page is about. H1 is the largest and most important heading followed by H2. Every page of your website should have an H1 near the top of the page with your most important heading. Don’t have more than one H1 tag on any page.
- Images and media on your website must have Alternate text and other areas for descriptions to ensure they are accessible in a web search.
- Your mailing address and contact information should be on each page of your website.
Level 2 SEO
- Website copy must be well written. Google analyzes the text on your website to determine how easy it is to read. Hiring a professional copywriter or SEO copywriter is a great investment.
- Create a Google My Business Account which allows people to find you on Search, Maps and Google + no matter what kind of device they are using.
- Keywords need to be included in your website’s URL, page titles (Headings), content and rich snippets (explored later in this article.) Be consistent with the use of your keywords. For example, if a specific page of your website is selling “High Powered Air Conditioners”, make sure you use that exact phrase in your URL, title, content (usually 2-3 mentions) and rich snippets.
Level 3 SEO
- Connect with social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest.
- Keyword research will help you determine which words and phrases you need to include in the content of your website to ensure you are found in a search.
- Create valuable content and resources that people want to use for research, comparison, purchase decisions, etc.)
- Promote your website’s resources or posts to bloggers, newspapers, etc., to broaden your reach.
- Go beyond connecting with social media to becoming involved with talking to your target market about things that they are interested in, that may not relate directly to your product or service.
- Advertise on Google. It has been noticed to have an impact on organic search engine rankings.
What to avoid
- Do not overuse keywords in your website content. This is referred to as keyword stuffing. Google will penalize you if they think you are stuffing your content with keywords. And your content will be less engaging which will result in fewer visits and conversions.
- Links on poorly ranked sites
- Bad content
For more in depth reads, check out https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/basics-of-search-engine-friendly-design-and-development by MOZ The Basics of Search Engine Friendly Design & Development OR http://www.businessinsider.com/10-basic-seo-tips-everyone-should-know-2010-1?op=1 by Business Insider – 10 Basic SEO tips to get you Started.
You must have a fast response website. The two main reasons:
- User experience. Visitors will abandon your site and move on to the next one listed in the search engine results if your website is too slow. The slower the website, the higher the abandon rate.
- SEO rankings. Website speed will impacts your search ranking. The faster your website, the higher your ranking.
A well-designed website + fast server = fast response.
If your audience is cross continental or global, get a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN is a system of servers located in multiple centers across the internet with the goal of delivering content with high availability and performance.
There’s lots of ways to get more people to your website. Carefully consider your options and put your resources (time, effort and money) behind the ones that make best for you achieving your company objectives.
This is the first of five articles on how to design an effective website. Here are all of the articles:
- Your Website’s Purpose
- Mobile Friendly
- Increasing WebSite Visitors
- Simple + Engaging = Effective
- The Checklist
MOZ – On-Page Factors
Anatomy of a Perfectly Optimized Page