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An Intermediate Guide to Website Traffic

Intermediate Guide to Website Traffic

 

Getting more traffic to your website is essential if you want to have a successful web presence that gets more business. But, you have to attract the right type of traffic, namely your ideal customer. More traffic without people who want to buy what you’re selling isn’t going to cut it. Thankfully, there are ways that you can bring targeted traffic to your website thus increasing conversions.

Search Engines & Accessibility

Optimizing your website for SEO is one of the best methods for getting more traffic. But it’s important to understand how a search engine sees your site. You must understand that what the search bots see are different from what your visitor sees. The bots cannot see images, JavaScript, or even CSS.

In fact, sometimes these things can block search engines from fully indexing your website thus affecting your search results. Search engines view your site starting from the top of your HTML in the order your HTML shows. All of these additions can hide some of your content from the search engines. For example, you don’t want links to be images without anchor text, that that the search engine cannot understand.

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Ensure that you avoid duplicate content and always keep your robot files and tags up to date. A side note here if you offer printable versions of your articles, blog posts, or recipes on your website you are at risk of duplicate content unless you set the printable versions correctly to prevent them from being indexed. Always restrict search engines from checking pages that you’re not finished with, or which are files that you don’t want the world to see.

If you can think like a search engine, while also considering your audience, you can improve your traffic exponentially.

The tips on the following pages take into consideration how the search bots look at your site. When you consider that, along with how your audience sees your website, you’ll have a winning combination. If you change the things mentioned, you’ll see a substantial increase in targeted traffic that is ready to buy.

Site Speed & Performance

It’s a given today that your site must be responsive. If you don’t know yet, responsive websites work just as well on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets as they work on personal computers. The site is not browser dependent. Google ranks fast loading sites that work on all devices higher than other types of websites. Your site needs to load in less than 3 seconds, and work on all devices weather they’re reading a blog post or shopping.

A good online tool to use to check your site speed is: Pingdom. Use it to check specific pages, not just your home page. This is a result of a search to see how fast the site loaded. As you can see, you can get many different types of reports.

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It’s also important that you avoid having any hidden text that search engines cannot see. Any important links that you have on your website should always be at the top of the HTML such as menu items, and any link you want searched and indexed by Google should be up at the top of your HTML. If you’re using WordPress as your website builder, you can rest assured that for the most part, Google likes WordPress Websites. But, avoid adding in too many unneeded plugins and too many images that don’t progress your content.

SEO

Search engine optimization is anything you do to improve the traffic to your website that is free or does not consist of paid advertising. You’re familiar already with SEO you know there is on page and off page SEO but let’s go over it a little bit for a refresher.

  • On Page SEO – Anything you do to improve SEO on your website such as improving link structure, adding keyword content, improving speed. These are all things you control fully right on your webpage.
  • Off Page SEO – Anything you do to improve SEO off your page such as building back links, participating in social media, commenting on blog posts, commenting in forums, guest blogging, and so forth. If you do it off your website with the idea of getting a link back to your site, it’s off page SEO.

It’s important to understand the differentiation, and to pay attention to how search engines rank you. Right now, search engines care more about what is on your site, and it’s getting harder to use off page SEO to affect ranking. But, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible, just that you will have to work differently now than in the past to get links back to your site that counts.

If you really want to be advanced on these issues, use software like Screaming Frog to help you analyze your site. It can help you determine if your linking structure is working. It will crawl your website, create a list of internal and outbound links, explore keyword elements, and the status of your HTTP code. You can use the results to do a lot such as fix broken links, fix anchor text issues, and even export the data to a spreadsheet.

Other software you can use to audit your site includes:

  • MOZ.com – You can use it to get insight into your ranking, traffic, links, content, and brand marketing. Find errors in your code and more.
  • WinWebCrawler – This tool is more “old school” in that you will need to download the software. You’ll be able to study check speed, size of site, how big each page is, study the text, the descriptions, keywords, and more. You do need a Windows based computer and an Internet connection to use it.
  • Integrity – This tool is Mac specific. It scans your site to check for broken links, images to ensure they have “alt” tags, and for broken internal and external links. You can see all the problems on your site at a glance. They have special tools made for checking WordPress websites.
  • Xenu — This is a free tool, which checks for broken links. Both internal and external links are checked and fixed using this tool. Search engines don’t like broken links and will just bounce off them. Fixing that one problem can improve your traffic substantially.

Focus on these issues, errors and omissions before seeking to improve other aspects of your website so that you start with clean code, a fast loading website, and links that work. Then move on to other methods that will improve your traffic like content, promotion and more.

Why Using WordPress Helps SEO

Let’s talk quickly about how using self-hosted WordPress will help you with SEO, even if you don’t understand a thing about coding or web design. You can have a professional website within a day.

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  • Great Start – Even without additions, WordPress offers clean design, and is SEO friendly right from the start. It’s also simple to use and free.
  • Plugins – WP provides thousands of plugins that are directly designed to help improve SEO. There are plugins that help improve speed, security, check links, and more.
  • Ease of Use – Using plugins and WP is very simple. If you can use your bank’s online service or you can use WordPress.
  • Many Contractors – There are a lot of contractors you can hire to help you with WP in terms of design, maintenance, and improvements in regard to SEO. Whether you need serious technical development or part time help, it’s available.
  • Variety of Themes – Your website doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s due to the thousands of themes, paid and free, that are available for your WordPress website. If you want a responsive design, WP has it.
  • Fast Loading – Your site needs to load in less than 3 seconds if you want to keep the attention of your audience. Most WP themes and templates are already fast loading.

Consider using WordPress if you want to have a great website that helps improve SEO almost automatically. Once you choose the right type of website builder that is fast loading, considers SEO, and looks great you can get to work on making the rest of it work for you.

Improving Traffic with Content

There are many different types and formats of content that you can work on to improve your traffic. Everyone knows that blog posts and vlogs are an important part of improving SEO and even entertaining your site visitors. However, other types of content can improve SEO. We’ll go over some of them here. Don’t worry, you can still use WordPress’s “blog” function for every bit of the content that you create, the content will just be much more professional and diverse.

Videos – Don’t just make another vlog, instead make a video that teaches something to your audience or gives them a factoid that they can use. You can use video to demonstrate how to do something, or to delve deeper into any topic that needs visuals to make sense.

You can do “day in the life”, “office tours”, “product tours” and more in a video. Put the video on Youtube.com and embed it into your site. Ask people to comment, like and share. Videos that look good can take time to make and may even be costly. But, they are more than worth it if you want to improve your traffic. Take it a step further and ask them to make a response video as user generated content is an excellent way to get more traffic.

Long Authoritative Content – Conduct research and report on that research in a long article or blog post. Many blog posts are only 500 words long, but to get higher rankings with search engines that are looking for authoritative content making long posts about research findings is a good way.

Research with original data will take longer to gather. You may need to do an audience survey using software like SurveyMonkey.com to get answers for your questions. Once you conduct the research and analyze it then you need to share it. The content should use a variety of stats, charts, and data presented in ways that make sense to the audience.

Webinars – This a great type of content that will not only drive traffic to your website, but greatly increase the leads that sign up for your email list too. Whether you choose to offer free or paid webinars, they are an excellent way to improve your credibility and authority.

You can use software like Adobe Connect or GoToMeeting to host a webinar where you can share your screen, invite other speakers and more. Invite joint venture partners to host with you to increase the value to your audience as well as attract new audience members thus getting more traffic.

Whitepapers – Creating persuasive, authoritative, and comprehensive report that you use to market a solution to the problem the paper brings up is an effective type of content to create to get more traffic to your website. Offering a free download of the white paper is an excellent way to get more leads too.

It’s important not to make the whitepaper seem like a long sales letter. The focus is on talking about the problem, showing the stats about a problem, and then offering different solutions to the problem including your own in a non-threatening way without over selling. You don’t want to turn anyone of when they read it.

EBooks – EBooks have been around a long time now, but now there are more ways to use them than ever before. An eBook should be 10,000 words or more, so you’ll need plenty of content to make it happen. This gives you enough space to produce significant work that speaks directly to your audience.

Plus, longer content gives you more space to explain complex information to your audience. It gives you an opportunity to put the best of a whitepaper and your own personality into one book. You can combine case studies, white papers, infographics and more into one downloadable file. You can publish it on Kindle and / or your website as a PDF download. EBooks are not only excellent traffic delivery systems but can be another income stream too.

Infographics – If you have a data intensive problem with data intensive solutions, showing all this information in a useful way can be challenging. Using a combination of images, numbers, and words in an infographic can be a great way to convey information to your audience and the graphic can even go viral.

You can use software like PiktoChart.com or Canva.com to make infographics from statistics you have either gathered or found at a source. If you use someone else’s information to make your infographic, be sure to reference them within the graphic. Remember your target audience, keep it less than 8000 pixels, and make your infographic embeddable so that people can easily share it while linking it back to your website.

Memes — Using images with quotes on social media is popular. You can use them on your site as part of your content, and then share them from your website on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest linking back to your website.

Memes do have a chance of going viral. Ensure it is targeted to your audience. It should also include a watermark so people know where the meme came from. You can use Canva.com to make excellent memes. Just find a fact or quote, a relevant image, and you’re ready to go.

Guides – These are usually detailed, pieces of downloadable content. You can publish them with the “blog” function on your WP blog just like you would any blog, or you can even make it a separate page. It’s up to you. But what a guide is designed to do is describe and explain something deeper.

You can also use a guide as newsletter bait. Offer access to the guide only after you collect an email address. Guides are worth it because they look great, use graphics, and are laid out better than an ordinary blog post. It should be easily readable and enjoyable. You can even turn a series of blog posts into a guide by putting each chapter of the guide as a separate blog post, and then the first page is the intro and table of contents.

Reviews – Writing in-depth books and product reviews is a great way to fill your website with useful content. Reviews are excellent ways to show that you’re a thought leader in your niche. Be sure to make your reviews as complete as possible. Also, always be honest. Don’t worry that your reviews might upset someone. Instead, be honest, keep comments open, and use facts.

Be sure to give your audience a good intro to the book, tell who the author is, summarize the book, and state what you liked and did not like about the book. Then tell them whether or not you recommend the book and why. Even if you do not recommend it, always link to it at the end so that your audience can choose for themselves.

Rants & Opinion Posts – This type of content consists of you telling your opinion about something within your area of expertise. It might be controversial in nature. It’s imperative if you’re going to do a post like this that you research your topic carefully so that you don’t overlook something that could have changed your mind.

Writing a strongly worded first person opinion or rant post can cause your website to “go viral” but it can be in a good way or a bad way. It just depends. Be sure to know your facts and be willing to stand by what you said or change your mind when people comment with additional facts. Also, do not bash people, or say anything libelous.

Resources Page – A great way to improve your SEO and traffic is to create a page that includes the resources that you use to conduct your business or resources that your audience can use to do their business or solve their problems. These links will provide backlinks to the resources that you like, plus search engines will see that you link out to authorities’ content and rank you higher. Some of these links can be affiliate links but some should just link directly.

Use good keyword rich anchor text for the links; describe what people will see when they go to the link. Adding your own words to describe each resource, why it’s important, why you like it, and why they should check it out.

Case Study & Interviews – These are great ways to get longer content to use alone and within other types of content. A case study shows how someone achieved something that they set out to accomplish using either your own methods or methods that you recommend to them. Often case studies are also accomplished via interviews.

Interviews can be done via podcast, Skype, or other methods that can be recorded like a Google Hangout. They can be transcribed and used in a case study or just as an interview. Be sure to add your own thoughts to the case study or interview to fill out the content and make it more complete.

Link Building the Right Way

While many methods of link building have gone by the wayside, there are still methods of link building that works to get more traffic. All of the above, when promoted and shared will build links back to your website. But you can be more strategic with link building than that.

Use Content You Already Have

Using your most useful content that offers the most value to your audience, make it even better, and work harder to promote it. You can find out which content is doing better on your website by looking at the analytics. Any content that is doing well getting links can be made even better by making it longer, improving the keywords and by promoting it more on social networks.

Tweak & Update Older Content

If you have older content that has done well in the past, be sure to update it from time to time to ensure that it is not outdated. Outdated content can drag down your website, plus if its’ something that already gets good links in you don’t want people to read the outdated content and see your website as outdated.

Improve Graphics & Layout of Older Content

Overtime content can also look dated in terms of design. Spend some time to update the content design of your website as well as the pieces of content that you put on it. Add updated graphics, better fonts, and more as the technology improves. Also, you may look into changing your link structure as the search engines algorithms change.

You want your website to look fresh. In addition, the other ways to get backlinks are to write guest blog posts, do interviews, and joint venture with others. Reaching out to the right people to get more links from authoritative websites or content to your website and content will improve your traffic exponentially.

Using Paid Methods to Get More Traffic

Once you’ve worked out the kinks in all the free methods of building traffic, and you’re sure that you’re doing all you can to build traffic to your site, the next line of offense is to pay for traffic. Paying for traffic is a great way to get traffic to your website. It can be very profitable if you know what you’re doing.

You should track three metrics when it comes to PPC:

  1. Click Through Rate – The percent of people who click through the advertisement compared to the number of people who see the advertisement.
  1. Cost Per Click – This is how much you pay when someone clicks. Usually this is based on the bid you have made, depending on which service you use.
  1. Profit Per Click – How much you earn per click after expenses are paid. This takes into consideration all the clicks that don’t produce revenue and those that do.

Understanding these three metrics are essential to determining whether your ads are working or not. To improve your results you’ll want to conduct split testing, also called A/B testing to figure out what types of ads work better for each platform that you use. Give each ad some time to work before you change it, and when you do change something, just change one thing at a time.

PPC Tweaks.pngSome items you might want to change are:

Targeting Demographics – Many PPC ad platforms allow you to narrow down your targets via their demographics, if you choose one demographic and it’s not getting the results you thought try running another ad just like it that targets other demographics.

Of course, you should know who your target audience is already, but running a PPC ad can help you perfect your audience.

Titles of Advertisements – Experiment with running two ads where all aspects of each are identical, other than the title of the advertisement. If one works substantially better, delete one and spend more on the one that is working better.

Change the Ad Format – Try leaving all the content the same, and run another advertisement with the same information, headlines, and graphics but in a different format. Perhaps you’ll want to do one banner ad, and one text ad to see which works better.

Make the Headlines Different – Keep everything about the advertisement the same, the pictures, images, text except for the headline. Run two ads with very different headlines and watch the results of both.

Change the Images – Leave everything else the same, and then change the images that you use. Maybe focus the images more on your target audience using images that represent them instead of images of the product.

Making these changes, one thing at a time or running a variety of ads with just one thing changed from the other can help you know what is working well and what is not working well. As you figure out what works do more of that and less of what isn’t working. The great thing about online ads is that you can change them easily, most of the time within minutes.

You can run ads on many different networks like:

  • Facebook.com – Create a business Facebook page and you can easily set up ads to boost posts that you make, or run PPC ads that are seen throughout the system for demographics that you want to target.
  • Youtube.com – Put a vlog, how to video, or other type of video like an interview on Youtube.com and then promote the video via YouTube.com’s PPC system. It’s simple to use and if you set up the demographics right, you will be successful.
  • Google AdWords – The original online ad network with PPC, don’t forget to use Google to run PPC ads that run across many websites that place Google Ads on their site. You can even single out one particular website to run your PPC ads.
  • Content Distribution Networks – The one you may be most familiar with is Outbrain.com. You can sign up for an account and pay to have your content delivered on other networks that have signed up to get relevant content. When someone wants to read the content, they will click through to your website and you’ll pay for the click through.
  • Retargeting Advertisements – A wonderful way to get more traffic is to bring back people who have already been to your site through retargeting. You know what it is because you have seen it for yourself. You can do this with Google ads.

You can run PPC campaigns for a variety of reasons depending on what type of products or services you’re promoting. However, for smaller businesses the best way to use PPC is to build up your email list by promoting content that encourages your audience to sign up for your lists. The more people you can get to sign up for your email list, the easier it will be to market your products and services to them.

Using Analytics to Ensure Success

As they say, nothing is complete without the paperwork. In online marketing, nothing is done until the metrics have been studied and analyzed. Each ad network you use, such as Facebook, Bing, and Google have analytics. You can use Google Analytics to track pretty much everything you do.

No matter which ad networks you choose to use, and you should try them all, it’s important to track, tweak, gather data, analyze the data, and continue keyword research. All of these things are designed to improve your results.

Tracking & Tweaking

With any type of online advertisement you run, you don’t normally have to choose to run them for a specific time limit. With few exceptions, you can change your ad and components of your advertisement any time you want to. And, you’re going to want to.

Advertisement is Getting Lots of Clicks but No Conversions

This may mean that you’ve poorly designed your landing page or sales page. Go in and change up your sales page in some way. Look at it from their perspective. What do they see when they first click through? How long does it take to load? What are the words they see first? Is there a compelling call to action included? By tracking the activity, you know what is happening, so you can change things up. If it’s not converting at all, change it completely. If it’s just converting lower than you’d like, tweak one small aspect like the headline.

Advertisement is Getting No Click Throughs

This is a sign that you’ve poorly designed your ad, or that you’ve chosen your target wrong. Let’s assume you’ve chosen your target audience correctly and switch up the graphics and headline. If you are getting zero clicks, change the whole thing. If you are getting some clicks on the advertisement, especially if some are converting try running another advertisement at the same time to the same audience where you change up only one aspect. You can run several ads at the same time where only one thing is different. Try using a different image, a different headline, or a different CTA. Try two or three different variations of the same ad to see which will perform best.

A Note on Your Budget

If you have a small budget and can only afford to pay for a few clicks a day this process is going to take longer. It’s okay, but it will take longer. You’ll need to let the ads run for a couple weeks or a month to get enough data to determine which ad is working best for your purposes.

All ad networks let you pick a daily budget. This is the dashboard for Google AdWords when first setting up a campaign.

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Data Gathering & Analyzing

When using the analytics within each dashboard whether it’s Google, Bing, Facebook ads, or some other program, it is important to know what your goals are, and then what signifies that your goals are being met. What numerical value means success?

You cannot analyze anything without having goals set. You can choose to move all forms of data to your own spreadsheet so you can look at everything together too. That will help you better analyze which network is working best. If 80 percent of your revenue is coming from one network, doesn’t it make sense to move all your resources there?

Keyword Research

Researching keywords is both science and guessing. Albeit educated guessing really. You start with a group of keywords that you believe, based on research, will work. Then you use a tool like Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner to help you.

On Google AdWords, once you enter your website information in, they will grab some keywords they believe will work well. You can both delete and add your own keywords.

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Every network looks a bit differently, but they all give you choices of keywords, as well as allowing you to set a daily budget. This is very helpful so that you can set up a budget and stick to it. You can also turn your ads off or on anytime.

Using PPC is a great way to improve traffic to your website and if you go about it the right way, with a call to action that requires them to get on your email list, it will pay off. You don’t want to use these ads to just sell a product one time, and then lose your audience. You want to bring them into your list. Offer them a freebie that your audience would love, and get them into your mailing list so that you can keep marketing to them.

Steps to Take Now

Now that you understand, about how important these methods are to get targeted traffic to your website you need to get started.

  • Know Where You Stand Today – Check out where you stand today with your content, and traffic generating activities. Study your content and decide where there may be gaps or improvements to be made.
  • Sign Up For a Google Analytics Account – Set up a Gmail.com account just for your website’s analytics. It’ll be easier to keep track of if you do it that way when you’re just getting started.
  • Create Something Awesome – A Whitepaper, an eBook, extra-long content such as a guide, and make it protected requiring an email address to access it completely.
  • Set Up an Autoresponder – You want your autoresponder ready to go so that when people sign up to get the awesome content that you can market to them. Set up a series relating to the content they wanted to see offering further solutions to their problems.
  • Set a Daily Budget – What will your budget be for your PPC campaign?
  • Make At Least Two Versions of Your Ad – You want two almost identical versions of your advertisement so that you can see which works best.
  • Set up a PPC Campaign on Facebook – Facebook is one of the easiest systems to use for a PPC campaign. Promote your awesome content, collect email addresses.
  • Keep Promoting – Don’t stop sharing, promoting and offering your content on your own, PPC is in addition to, not instead of.
  • Track it All – Using Google Analytics as well as the analytics within Facebook Ads track everything, tweak as needed.
  • Repeat – Keep going, over time you get better.

Don’t delay in putting some of what you’ve learned into action. In some ways, the education is only as good as the implementation. If you put what you learned into practice within six months, you’ll see a huge increase in targeted traffic for your website and better conversions.