Once you have a website, your next step is to get the word out. There are lots of ways to attract people to your site, but building an online audience or customer base goes beyond getting one-off visits – thriving websites have a following and repeat visitors. In this article, we'll discuss why site traffic matters and introduce some of the basics on how to attract visitors to your website (and keep them coming back).
Whether you're building a brand or selling a product, the success of your website relies on the number of visitors that you get and the quality of those interactions. An obvious example is an online shop, 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.
You can drive traffic and build your online following in a variety of ways. Choosing what's right for you depends on your budget and your goals. Here are some examples of both paid and free-of-cost ways to promote your website:
Online advertising Consider using Google's online advertising platform to get in front of customers searching for businesses like yours on Google Search and other Google products. With Google Ads, you'll only pay for results, like clicks to your website or calls to your business. Get started with Google Ads
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 photos, content and updates related to your brand and website. Pinterest is particularly popular among women, while platforms like Snapchat might help you reach a younger audience.
Social media is a free-of-cost 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 might also consider strategies like influencer marketing and collaborations. New to all of this? Take a look at this beginner's guide to social media from Moz.
SEO Search engine optimisation (SEO) refers to everything that 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 taking the time to improve your SEO is definitely worthwhile.
Content marketing Creating useful content that your target audience is interested in 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.
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.
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 that 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 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).
Once you start building your online audience, look for some of these indicators to help you optimise 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.
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.
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, make sure that you 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 that visitors can easily like and follow you on social media, right from your site.
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