Getting People To Come To Your Web Site
I have been in the web business since 1998. In those years, I have found that the look and feel of your web site is not as important as getting people to visit and see what you have to say. You can have a web site that is a work of art, but if no one knows it exists, then it is a waste of your time. So how do you get people to visit your web site? The answer is pretty simple: you let them know who you are and where to find you. Implementing this can be a bit tougher, but here are some simple ideas to help you get started.
FOCUSING YOUR WEB SITE
Almost every small business I have run into wants to be a “one-stop shop for all of your consumer needs”. They want to be the next eBay or Amazon. The problem with this idea is that they don’t have the millions of dollars needed to buy this type of web site or advertising. Those companies – literally have dozens, if not HUNDREDS of people working for them to make them successful. A small business cannot keep up with this type of competition and when they try, they end up failing. For instance, let us say that you own an automobile repair shop. You might be able to fix all sorts of vehicles, have accessories for sales, replace tires and oil filters and do body work. However, being spread out like that isn’t going to help your business. By trying to do it all, you end up helping very few people because they cannot find you. It is better to take your specialty, for example Mercedes engine repair, and focus on dealing only with Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The stronger the focus, the more people will come to your web site.
Keywords are what helps the search engines to find your website online. A keyword, like your web site, needs to be specific. For instance, Lawyer, isn’t going to get you found online. There are billions of attorneys and all of them are trying to be found first in line. It is better to try something that is a bit more specific. In this case, I often like to use the city where the firm is located, such as Akron Estate Planning or Medina Bankruptcy. Let me clue you in on a little trick: the keyword where you want to be found can be placed in any web site with a link attached to it. If you hover over the bolded keywords above, you will note they lead you to web sites that deal with the topic I am referring to. These are called “anchor text” and it is the same reason George W. Bush’s web site shows up first in Google when you type in “Total Failure”. Anchor text using your keywords can have a strong impact on the search engines as long as they have some meaning to the page. DO NOT just add random keywords for the sake of getting anchor text. The search engines frown upon this.
You might have heard of the website YouTube or Vimeo. These are strong tools to leading people to your web site. While the video itself doesn’t have any keywords, the text describing the video is ALL keywords. The search capability on videos comes from the text used, the amount of people who see your video, and the number of people who comment. When describing your video, write all you want. The more the better. This way, Youtube or whatever video service you are using will pull the information and lead people back to your web site. While you are at it, make sure you put your website on the description, as well, and give the video a great name. For instance, if you own a travel agency and you are showing information on a Caribbean vacation, you don’t want to call the video All Inclusive Resorts. This doesn’t grab the viewer’s attention, although it might be exactly what you want them to see. Instead, you should call the video something exotic or enticing like “Sinful Caribbean Living”. Another note about videos is that they don’t have to be professionally created. A Powerpoint presentation and your voice with some pictures can be more than enough to bring you traffic on your web site. Try it! This is, by far, one of my favorite means of adding traffic!
It amazes me how many businesses today choose to overlook this venue of bringing traffic to their the websites. What is worse, most of these businesses do this the wrong way! The people who do not use Social Media at all are completely missing the boat. There are millions of people on the web searching for whatever you are selling. This could be anything from homemade needlework to legal services. Let’s first look at Facebook. It is the largest Social Media out there and is almost synonymous with the term. For most companies, Facebook is a straight-forward tool to promote their business. Here is the secret, though: Unless you are willing to spend money to bring in advertisers, going the straight-forward route is going to fail. Why? Because no one really cares about Ma and Pa’s Homemade Ice Cream. Sure, you will get a few customers or clients who like your page. I typically see about 40-60 people liking a business page on Facebook – but that is it. You need to do more than just put your business up there and hope for fans to sign up. Some ways that might work is to offer specials, interesting news, or intriguing memes. If you really want to find fans, though, the best thing is to talk about the subject, not your direct business. Find a niche that people enjoy and go with it. If you are a travel agency, don’t make a fan page called, ACME Travel – call it Beautiful Beaches and people will join just for the pictures. Every once in awhile, mention your business, but fill that page with exotic pictures of beaches all over the world. You will end up with plenty of fans. Next, let us look at LinkedIN. This is mainly a professional social media site. On LinkedIN people have profiles, but it is more than that. You can create a LinkedIN group for people with similar interests. This group does not have to have anything to do with your business. That’s right – in fact, I would say the group shouldn’t relate to your business, but should find a common interest in what your customers are interested in. Think about that. They are the ones you want to communicate with and explain what your business offers. Give them a platform to share their needs.
UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE
This is probably the most important thing you have to remember. The search engines do not like a stagnant web site. The way around this is to update your web site with new information all the time. By doing this, you force the search engines to re-read your site and add information to the internet. It just makes sense that the more information that you have on your web site, the more chances that you can be found online.
I hope these ideas have given you some ideas on bringing people to your web site. The internet can be a very powerful tool in your marketing arsenal and, by far, the cheapest method of advertising if you learn to use it correctly.
James Fowler is an web designer and internet marketer located in Northeast Ohio. He spends his time writing articles on a variety of different topics and helping others build their small and mid-sized businesses.