Search engine optimization is an incredibly important aspect of creating a website — but it’s only the first of my top techniques to build traffic to your site.
From the moment you start thinking about a website, remember: you need visitors for success! From search engine optimization to an affiliate program....
Here’s what it takes to get BIG on the net!
All the work that goes into creating a first-class website will be completely wasted if you don’t attract traffic. It doesn’t take much to get started with search engine optimization — in Internet marketing, a small investment can go a long way.
This page covers many of the techniques that work to bring visitors in to your site, from the basics to the big time.
Have a look through the steps it takes to make your site a hot spot on the web:
1. Keyword Research
The first step towards attracting traffic is to get top rankings in the search engines. And the first step to search engine optimization is finding the right keywords to target.
You need a list of popular search phrases that your site is most relevant for, and that have the least competition from other websites.
This means thinking like your target audience — people who are looking for what you’re offering, and who are ready to make a purchase. Which phrases might they enter into a search engine?
Each of your prospective search phrases then needs to be analyzed for keyword effectiveness: how commonly it is used, versus its level of competition — and this should be done on all of the major search engines.
That would take a huge amount of work if it wasn’t for an inexpensive online service called Wordtracker . This is a great tool that I use all the time. Among other things, it uses a built-in thesaurus to find every possible search phrase that might be relevant for your site.
It then analyzes your search phrases for keyword effectiveness on all of the major search engines, and provides a list of keywords to target — phrases that you can build on to become highly profitable.
Once you’ve got a list of top keywords, the next step is putting them into your site:
2. Embedding Keyphrases
The way search engines work is to analyze each of your web pages, and rank them relative to other sites for relevant content.
The formulas they use to set your ranking are changing all the time — so even with a good search engine optimization, your site’s position will vary over time for any given keyphrase. But if it’s done right, your average ranking will stay strong, and your traffic will go up!
The best approach is to have good solid content on every web page, and optimize each page for one or two specific keyphrases.
Search Engine Optimization Tools
That means embedding your targeted keywords in the page title, description, links, tags, headings, and body text. But not too much — search engines will penalize your site if it tries to trick them.
A lot of questionable strategies have been developed to try to improve site rankings, such as hidden text, gateway pages and redirects. I don’t recommend them — search engines know these tricks, and may ban sites for using them. I’ve earned plenty of top rankings just by having good content, even with just basic search engine optimization.
I would also recommend that you avoid using frames, graphic-only links, or pages built mostly of images or Flash. It’s text that the search engines read — and it usually has the strongest effect on your visitors too.
Then once your site is ready, the search engines need to be told that it’s there....
3. Search Engine Submission
There are hundreds of directories on the web, but less than a dozen major search engines. I suggest submitting your site by hand to the big ones — they are too important to trust to automated submission tools.
Most search engines and directories have a link somewhere that says “Submit a Site” or “Submit URL”. Following these links allows all of the details of your site to be submitted.
I use a combination of hand submission and automated software to give the best results. If you want to get started with your own submissions, there’s a free submission service that helps you automate the process.
It can take a couple of months for your site to be listed on many of the bigger search engines. If you want to monitor and improve your search engine rankings, you can download a free trial of IBP or WebPosition .
Another way to improve your ranking is to optimize off-page factors:
4. Building links to your site
The top search engines, especially Google, use link analysis as part of their ranking formula. This means that your ranking depends in part on other sites linking to yours — particularly if the link is on a page that has a good ranking itself.
So running a link exchange program can help build traffic, both directly from the links in other sites, and indirectly through improved search engine rankings.
This means finding other sites that are willing to exchange quality links with yours — ideally, links that are within paragraphs, on pages that have less than 50 links overall. The more links point to your site, the better.
Like in search engine optimization, many tricks have been tried to artificially improve link popularity. But the search engines use sophisticated analysis to detect these tricks, and I recommend avoiding them.
That’s it for search engine optimization. It’s a great way to get your site off the ground — but for real success, it’s just the start.
The next level of website promotion is to pay for traffic:
5. Pay-Per-Click Programs
Whenever you see a ‘sponsored listing’ on a search engine, that listing is part of a pay-per-click program. These programs put your site at the top of the listings, and you pay a small fee each time somebody clicks on your link.
There are quite a few pay-per-click companies, but the two most important ones are Overture, and Google’s Adwords.
Of the two, Adwords is probably the better to start out with, since their minimum click charge is 5¢, the setup fee is only US$5, and they have no monthly minimum fee.
When paying for clicks, it’s best to target very specific keyphrases, 3 or 4 words in length, that will attract buyers. You don’t necessarily have to get the #1 position — often being #3 is just as good, and lower positions can often be worth a small bid too.
Clicks from these listings can be tracked so you know their value, and your bids can be adjusted accordingly. If you need help, a search engine optimization firm can help you to maximize the return on your pay-per-click campaign.
And there are still lots of other traffic-building techniques:
6. Newsletters and Ezines
Many times, you won’t get your desired response from somebody on their first visit — they may have to come back many times before you talk them into it.
So encouraging repeat visits can be a big boost to your bottom line. Just reminding people that your site exists can be a great help!
Asking your visitors to sign up for a newsletter or ezine is a great way to keep in touch. It can contain articles that are relevant to your visitors, plus industry news, tips, special offers, jokes...
...anything that might be useful to a visitor of your website.
And of course, it doesn’t hurt to throw in an incentive for them to come back to your site for another visit!
The best part of running an online newsletter or ezine is that it’s free to produce and distribute, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of your time — you can often find all kinds of free articles to use, just by crediting the author.
And there are more ways you can enhance your site to keep people coming back:
7. Blogs, Forums and News Aggregators
A blog, short for ‘web log’, is a kind of online diary where you can post daily happenings, stories, pictures, news, reviews... Some of the net’s most popular blogs have hundreds of thousands of daily visitors.
If you like to write, and have a niche market with people who would enjoy reading your blog, then it’s a great way to attract traffic — search engines love blogs!
The same goes for a discussion group or online forum. If you have a site on a topic that encourages lively debate, a forum is a great way to bring in repeat visitors.
A news aggregator is another excellent way to keep fresh content on your site. You can sign up for any related news feeds and add all the latest information to your site. Regular updates can give a nice boost to your search engine ranking.
The last traffic-building technique I’ll mention here is the greatest of them all:
8. Affiliate Programs
If you really want to see exponential growth in your website’s success, an affiliate program is the ultimate way to go. It can put links to your site all over the net.
Here’s how it works: An affiliate signs up to your program, and they put your ad or link on their website. Your software tracks any sales that originate from their links, and you pay them a commission on those sales.
If you run a two-tier program, they can also make money by signing up other affiliates for another small percentage of their sales. It benefits them to spread the word — so they’ll do most of the work of promoting your site!
And it’s a great deal for you — you’ll get an explosion of traffic, and you only have to pay for visitors who actually buy. What other kind of marketing strategy lets you do that?
One thing you need to consider carefully is how much commission you’re going to pay. If it’s too high, you’ll lose your profit margin — and if it’s too low, your affiliates won’t stay with you for long.
To see it in action, check out some of the best affiliate programs on the net:
- SiteSell — Ken Evoy offers free downloads of his affiliate manual and action guide, plus his affiliates get all kinds of free resources and support to help them earn top commissions.
- The Internet Marketing Center pays affiliates over 60% of their net profits, and makes millions of dollars every year from the Internet.
To implement an affiliate program, you have two options: join an affiliate network, or set up your own software.
Running your own program gives you much better flexibility and control, but will take a large investment to develop all of the features that top affiliates expect. Affiliate networks take a percentage of your sales, but are already set up with a full set of features.
If you’re ready to move ahead with an affiliate program, you may want to talk to a professional web developer who can help you to set up and manage the system.
If you follow these guidelines to attract traffic, and your website converts visitors into profitable sales, then you are positively guaranteed great revenue!
It’s a simple formula that is making millions of dollars for individual sites out there right now:
traffic × conversion ratio × price = revenue
If your site makes the sale, and you have even a small profit margin, then...
...the more traffic it gets, the more money it will make you.
Your site can even be set up so that all of the order processing is completely automatic. And if you can automate delivery as well, then the money will pour in by itself, and you can focus on expanding your business.
But you still have to get to that point. You can almost certainly learn how to do all of the traffic-building techniques on this page yourself — you just have to decide whether or not that would be the most efficient use of your time.
To help you figure out how much to do yourself, and how much to hand off to a pro, have a look through my guide to working with a web designer. It gives you all the information you need to decide where to focus your efforts — so you can balance your time and money between your website and your own core area of expertise.
If you’d like my help getting your site online, have a look at my website package deals...
...or ask me for a free quote on your custom web design project!