Starting up and sustaining a new business is never an easy task. You know what makes your business unique, but how do you show that to your customer base? Finding a foothold in an established market requires a solid strategy.
In today’s business landscape, the best place to start building awareness is online. Social media and website content will drive the most traffic toward your business. Not all traffic is equal, though. As a new business, it can be hard to know where to begin.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide to explain what traffic means, as well as where it comes from and how to drive more of it towards your business.
What Is Website Traffic?
Website traffic refers to users visiting a website. The important part for us is the number of users visiting your website and what they do.
It’s basically the same thing as footfall for a high-street retailer. A retailer gets customers of varying levels of interest. Some came to browse, while others came to make a specific purchase. You can think of traffic in much the same way.
Some people came to your website because they wanted your product. Others may have just followed a link or a search result page.
There are many sources of traffic, but by far, the largest driver of “organic” traffic is Google search results. They account for around 90% of all organic search traffic on the web. That’s traffic that is directly searching for your product or service. It’s highly valuable.
Organic Traffic vs. General Traffic
As you can see, there’s more than one type of traffic. Generally speaking, higher traffic volumes are always better, but there’s a difference in the quality of traffic from different sources.
Organic traffic is always much more valuable than general traffic. These are your most engaged users as they’re interested in your industry or even your business specifically.
You can drive more organic traffic to your site with good SEO optimization and targeted marketing campaigns. We’ll discuss these in more depth below.
However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore general traffic. Exposing your business to new market segments is how you’ll continue to grow. Blanket marketing campaigns, guest posts, and more can be great ways to discover new customer bases.
How to Drive Traffic to Your Startup Website
You might be thinking, “That all makes sense, but where to start?” Well, we mentioned earlier that your main traffic source will be SERPs like Google. So you’re best off starting with your SEO optimization strategy.
1. SEO optimization
This process has multiple steps, but it starts with research and analysis. The key components of SEO optimization are:
- Keyword research
- Competitor analysis
- Keyword optimization
- Content optimization
- Local SEO
Considering you’re a startup and you have limited resources, start with free or inexpensive tools like Google analytics. Start by using the Google search console to see how your website ranks for relevant keywords. Keyword rankings will affect how close to the top of a search results page your business will appear.
Look at what keywords your customer base regularly searches for. Also, consider where your competitors rank for these keywords. You may decide to compete on the most popular search terms or dominate an untapped niche.
Once you’ve determined the keywords you want to use, you need to start seeding them in a natural way throughout your site. Using HTML tags can also help search engine algorithms find your content.
Once you’ve optimized your keywords, it’s time to move on to content. Authoritative content ranks more highly in search results. This means in-depth articles from experts or white papers. How-to guides and tutorials are also popular.
Remember to interlink this content and always give users a way to easily navigate back to your main site. Have a backend developer create a sitemap for your website. This will help search engine algorithms to easily find and rank your content. After you have re-optimized your content and keywords, you can audit your website or hire experts to help you do it.
Local SEO is another way to differentiate your business. Maybe you get involved in a lot of local community projects. You might find that optimizing your site for local area searches is more effective than competing in the wider market.
2. SEM campaigns
SEM, or search engine marketing, is a counterpart to SEO. If you’ve ever searched on Google, you’ve seen that many top results have a little flag that says “promoted.” This means that the business has paid a fee to promote its content, like an ad placement.
The main benefit of SEM campaigns is that they can provide an instant increase in traffic. Good SEO optimization takes time. SEM promotions boost you straight to the top of search results. The drawback for a startup is that SEM campaigns can be expensive.
To determine whether an SEM campaign is the right choice for your business, look at the cost per click (CPC). This figure tells you how much each user who visits your site from this campaign will cost you.
If you estimate conversion rates from the volume and quality of traffic, you can then determine whether a campaign is going to be worth the investment.
3. Multichannel marketing
Don’t limit your marketing efforts to a single source. Use chatbots to boost marketing campaigns, along with social media and email for a multichannel approach. Social media marketing is an especially valuable tool for a startup.
Research the social media platforms that are most popular with your user base. Establish brand accounts for those platforms. You can then use these to promote your content and services. It doesn’t stop there, though.
Only posting ads or linking to your blog posts is a fast way to get users to mute your accounts. Make sure you have a social media manager in place to manage and update these accounts. Give them the opportunity to establish your brand’s voice on social media with a consistent tone and message.
Maybe your company wants to promote positive community projects. Perhaps you feel strongly about certain social issues. You can use your social media accounts to reflect the values that your business wants to uphold.
4. Authoritative content
We touched on authoritative content earlier, but what does it really mean? This simply refers to content that will generate external links. It could be an industry analysis from a blog post, research write-ups, guides, and more.
If you have insightful, original content, other sites will want to quote you and refer back to your material. In the eyes of a search engine algorithm, this conveys authority to your page. The more authority that the page linking back to you has, the more it will convey.
You can also look into guest posting on other sites like industry blogs. This allows you to place your own backlinks in external content as long as they’re relevant to the topic.
It’s important to make your business discoverable in business directories. These are databases like Google My Business, Yelp, or Trustpilot. This will help boost both your local and general SEO, too.
You can fill these listings with details like business location, phone numbers, and web addresses. It’s usually free to list your business in these directories. All you’ll need is a business address. Don’t worry. This can be an office address if you don’t have a physical store.
6. Link generation
Links can be generated from authoritative content, but there are other strategies for link building, both paid and free.
Paid methods of link generation are numerous. High-paying affiliate programs are currently popular. These allow other small businesses to earn a commission from hosting links that provide more traffic for your site. Fees are often paid based on conversions.
Another popular strategy is approaching influencers and online personalities for brand ambassador roles. The best brand ambassadors are usually already enthusiastic customers who are happy to promote your business.
If you need help putting together a brand ambassador contract template, click the link to find out how to discover ambassadors for your brand.
7. Public speaking and webinars
Hosting webinars with experts from your team can be a great way to attract traffic to your site. If you have an industry topic you want to discuss, or you want to host an open forum, this can help boost your company’s profile.
This works with offline speaking events as well. Allowing your specialists to attend guest speaking events can consolidate your position in your industry. Plus, these events are a fantastic networking opportunity.
8. Mobile optimization
Make sure your site is optimized for mobile use as well as desktop. More than half of your traffic will likely be viewing your site on a mobile platform, so mobile optimization can be a make-or-break factor.
Make your mobile optimization and traffic generation one of your key ecommerce KPIs. Google’s algorithms also look at mobile performance when they’re ranking your site.
Driving more traffic to your site is easy. Driving quality traffic on a consistent basis is not. It takes patience, skill, and continuous effort. So, invest the time and energy to master the eight tactics we’ve talked about here. Apply them consistently, and tweak your approach as you go. You’ll definitely see results.