How to get people to go to your website

Once you have a website, your next step is to get the word out. There are lots of different ways to lead people to your site, but attracting and building an online audience goes beyond getting one-time visits — thriving websites have a following. Below, we’ll discuss why site traffic matters and introduce some of the basics on how to bring visitors to your website...and keep them coming back.

Why site traffic matters

Whether you’re building a brand or selling a product, the success of your site relies on the number of visitors you get and the quality of those interactions. An obvious example is an online store, where more traffic often means more sales. But traffic is also important if you have a blog, where reaching more people can help you inspire and impact more lives. Also, with more visitors, you can create opportunities for sponsorships and ad revenue. No matter what kind of site you have, bringing more traffic to your online doorstep is the way to grow and thrive online.

Where to start

You can drive traffic and build your online following through a variety of ways. Choosing what’s right for you depends on your budget and your goals. Here are examples of both paid and free ways to promote your site:

Paid ways to promote your site:

Google AdWords: Google’s online advertising program lets you create an ad and show it on Google when people search for what you offer. You pay only when someone clicks to visit your site. Learn more on the Google AdWords website.

Facebook ads: Facebook offers highly targeted advertising space through an auction-based bidding system. Learn more with this Beginners Guide to Facebook Advertising from AdEspresso.

Free ways to promote your site:

Social media: One way to build an organic following is to create a strong social media presence. Consider platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for promoting visuals, content and updates related to your brand or site. Pinterest is particularly popular among women, while Snapchat and Music.ly may help you reach a younger audience.

Social media is a free and effective way to connect with your audience.

Remember: The goal on social media is to make a real connection with your audience and build a community. Be authentic, create and post useful content and use relevant hashtags. You may also consider strategies like influencer marketing and collaborations. New to all this? Check out this beginner’s guide to social media from Moze.

SEO: Search-engine optimization (SEO) refers to everything you can do to make your website more visible on search engines like Google. The majority of web traffic comes from people clicking on the first few unpaid search results that come up in a search, so it can be a very valuable tool. To find out what you can do to improve your site’s SEO, see our post on SEO Basics.

Content marketing: Creating useful content that your target audience wants to see can help you attract and engage an online community. For example, a food shop could start a recipe blog, or a financial advisor might create a newsletter about saving for retirement. Content marketing includes blog posts, videos, email newsletters, podcasts, lists, magazines, how-to guides and infographics — whatever format will be most relevant to your brand and your users.

In-person promotion: Word of mouth is always an effective marketing tool and can be especially valuable for connecting your site with the offline world. Talking to your friends and people in your network is a great way to start. But you can also volunteer in your community, do speaking engagements, host or sponsor events, and seize other opportunities to connect with your audience face to face. Wherever you go, tell people about your site!

How to track your progress

It’s important to get feedback on how your audience is growing, and one of the benefits of being online is that all of the metrics you need are trackable. Here are a few simple ways to get a handle on how your site is doing:

Google Analytics: Google offers a range of tools to measure your website data to get more insights about your visitors. Solutions range from free basic tools to sophisticated enterprise analytics. Learn more on the Google Analytics website.

Social media metrics: Most social media platforms offer basic data measurement. For good indications of your progress, track your number of followers and their growth over time, as well as their engagement on your posts (1-5% engagement is considered good).

Next steps

Once you start building your online audience, look for some of these indicators to help you you optimize your efforts and get to the next level:

Conversion: Are you getting a lot of site traffic but not many sales or subscribers? People bouncing from your site prematurely could be an indication that your website needs work to retain visitors and inspire their desired actions (such as purchases), or that you’re targeting the wrong type of visitor.

Troubleshooting tip: Take a close look at how users behave.

Testing: A great way to get valuable feedback on your website is to do some usability testing. This means letting real people try your site and viewing their reactions. Some user research platforms offer free basic testing, such as Peek.

Distribution: If you’re getting a lot of traffic on one social media platform, but that isn’t crossing over to your website, you may want to think about strengthening the connection between your website and your social media accounts. When you create and post content in one place, it’s important to spread the word everywhere and cross-promote across platforms to keep your audience from fracturing. Also, be sure to include links to relevant pages on your site in your social media posts — and include links to your social media accounts on your site — so visitors can easily like and follow you on social media, right from your site.

Ready to build a following? Get a domain name now with Google Domains and you can start building your website and your audience.