If you build it, they will come.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but just because you have a brand spanking new website with a gorgeous design, it doesn’t mean people are going to visit it.
Creating a website is a lot of work but what surprises most people I work with is the amount that needs to be done during and after the launch to actually get people to visit.
It’s daunting, sure. It can also be demoralising when you have spent so long working on something and nobody is coming. But remember, these things take time. And work. So I’m going to go into a few ways you can promote your website and encourage people to take a visit.
Polish up your SEO
The first thing you will want to do is to make sure you’ve got everything in place so search engines can find you. I go into more detail about this here but essentially you need to check that your title tags are filled in, meta descriptions and image alt tags.
If none of that made sense to you, contact your designer or developer and ask them. You will need to guide them as to what you would like each page to be ranked for or you can ask them how to fill in this information yourself.
Produce exceptional content
The best thing you can do to promote your website is to produce great content. I’m not talking about news items like “Look, we got a new printer!”, but genuinely useful content for your audience.
So if you’re selling high-end pet care products and targeting middle-class pet owners, you’ll need to write articles that will be useful for them specifically. So things like “Why you shouldn’t be feeding your pet supermarket pet food” or “Top 10 hairstyles for poodles”.
Focus on helping your audience, rather than driving traffic. If you do the former, the latter will follow.
Try guest blogging
Another great way to get traffic to your website is to post your best articles on a popular blog. You will usually have to submit original content (so don’t post on your blog first) and the quality will need to be very high as competition can be fierce.
If you do this, it is one of the best ways to get people to your website. Just make sure you write a catchy bio at the end and include a link to your website and maybe a social media profile.
Find blogs that have the same audience of you and look around for a “Write for us” page. (Sometimes you can have success by typing in Google “[Blog name here] write for us” as the pages can be very hidden. And there will be instructions as to how to submit your articles.
If you can’t find a write for us page, just try to find an email address of the blog editor and send it to them directly. If you can pull them in with your article title and an intriguing description you may get lucky and you will get relevant traffic.
Social media is a tricky one. You can spend a lot of time on it and getting nowhere. It’s also quite tricky to know how much ROI you’re getting.
I recommend to most people not to focus too much on social strategy when you’re just starting out. If you do create some accounts, just create 1 or 2 maximum and really think about where you audience is likely to hang out.
If we go back to our example of high-end pet care, chances are that audience is going to love sharing pictures of their pets on Instagram or Facebook so maybe choose one of those to start with and post content you think they’ll want to see and share. (NB this probably isn’t pictures of your office, think cats wearing hats or dogs having a bath).
Focus on really giving back to your audience and keep the promotion to a minimum. You’re building a long-term strategy and an engaged audience. Your goal should be interactions rather than followers. I write more about strategy for social media here
Go crazy with some great promotions
If you’ve just launched your website and are looking to drive traffic, make sure you have a good launch strategy set out. Posting on Twitter “Check out our new website!” isn’t going to cut it. Try a competition, giveaway or just a crazy 1 day only discount.
Make it big and make it memorable. 2% off your lowest price item if you spend at least £150 isn’t all that great. You need to make the promotion really exciting and generous—it can produce a really great boost to your traffic.
Then promote that like crazy, send an email out to your subscribers, post on Twitter, ask anybody who owes you a favour to share it around.
Lastly, consider advertising! It doesn’t have to be scary or expensive. Facebook and Twitter ads are a very cost effective way to reach a wide audience.
I’m no expert of advertising strategy, so I won’t pretend I am. Instead check out some of these articles if you’d like to give this a whirl:
The above are just a few ideas to get you started with promotion. Just remember this is a long-term strategy and to be successful you need to keep at it and learn from everything.
Say you create a Facebook campaign and it fails. Instead of just giving up, think about why it could have failed and what you could try next time for a more successful campaign. There is no such thing as wasted time as long as you’re learning from it and not repeating the same mistakes.