The best website in the world serves almost no purpose if only a few people visit it. The point of building a website is to communicate with as many people as possible. This means your primary goal should be to increase website traffic.
For businesses, your website serves two primary functions. The first is to cut costs. The second is to increase revenue.
Increasing web traffic helps with both. Specifically, increasing repeat traffic cuts costs by improving your customer retention rate. Attracting new users boosts by revenues by attracting new customers.
But first, let’s get some basic theory out of the way.
What is Web Traffic? (And Why does it Matter?)
Essentially, web traffic is how you measure the number of visitors your site gets in any given timeframe. For example, you’ll often hear markets talk about annual, monthly or 90 day traffic.
In other words, your traffic figures are a macro-view of who visits your site and when.
Of course, there’s much more to this than simply patting yourself on the back for getting a tonne of visitors. Digging a little deeper into your web traffic can offer any number of helpful insights.
For example, examining the demographics of your audience might help you to identify an age group that you’re underperforming with. You could even find out you have a major group of users in a far-flung country.
However, from a marketing perspective the most important insights relate to how users find your site.
Website Traffic Sources
It’s important to know where your website traffic comes from. Otherwise, measuring the effect of digital marketing campaigns would basically be impossible. That is, we make all kinds of efforts to attract users to our site. You want to know which ones are working.
Generally, website traffic can be grouped into the following categories:
- Organic – Where a user finds your site through a search engine, like Google, as a result of your SEO strategy.
- Paid – This is when users find your site as a result of PPC campaigns.
- Direct – Direct traffic simply means that someone has entered your web address in the URL bar of their browser.
- Referral – This is when a user clicks on a link to your site from an external domain.
- Social – Social traffic comes from paid and organic posts on your social media accounts.
- Email – If you run email marketing campaigns, you can measure the proportion of your traffic which clicks through to your site from their inbox.
- Other – This is any other traffic source which doesn’t fall into one of the other categories. For example, if a user clicks through to your site from a mobile app, or by scanning a QR code on a piece of physical media.
All of these traffic sources can be analysed for the entire site, or for individual pages and subdomains.
Strategic Marketing Plan
Unfortunately, many organisations build websites without doing much research, planning, or developing a comprehensive strategic marketing plan, which integrates marketing efforts across all platforms used by the organization.
A company may use traditional media, such as radio, television, and print advertisements. It may use point-of-purchase displays, billboards, and advertising posters. It also may have an ongoing email marketing campaign.
If the company is maximising exposure, it has a presence on social media. The company may develop an app. A company may make frequent press releases and public announcements. Company representatives may attend trade shows, conferences, and give public talks.
A company with a comprehensive marketing campaign might do all of these things listed above. To increase website traffic, all of these efforts tie back to the company’s website in some way.
The company’s domain, which is the name of its website, is on everything the company creates for its staff, investors, customers, clients, business partners, affiliated organizations, and the public. The company’s website is prominently displayed on every vehicle it owns.
Some of the best practices to increase website traffic include:
1. Promote your Website Everywhere
A ubiquitous marketing plan for a website means the web address is on everything the company creates and shows up everywhere this material appears. It helps a lot if the website URL is also a popular brand name of the company.
As an example, almost everyone in the world knows there is a Coca-Cola website with the URL www.cocacola.com. On the other hand, less effort is put into marketing Coke’s other brands, like Lilt or Sprite.
2. Make the Website URL Memorable and Easy to Spell
This should be pretty obvious, but you might be surprised how many bad domains there are out there. A bad example would be a website URL such as rtfftxquisstlo3erf.com. Such a horrible URL is impossible to pronounce, remember, or spell.
It also makes your site appear like a temporary domain, which is very off putting for users.
It also helps to own domains which are similar to your primary site. Continuing with our Coca-Cola example, the Coca-Cola company is smart enough to know that consumers may look for www.coca-cola.com or www.cocacola.com (without the dash).
Additionally, consumers may enter the URL without using the www prefix, so in this example, www.coca-cola.com, coca-cola.com, www.cocacola.com, and cocacola.com, which are different web URL addresses, all need to redirect to the same main home page for the company.
The same goes for coke.com.
3. Do Not Send Web Traffic to Others by Accident
Consumers frequently make spelling errors and typos when entering URLs. Unless a company captures as many of these mistakes as possible, they can inadvertently send tons of web traffic to the wrong website.
An example of this is gamil.com, which is very similar to gmail.com. It could also be mistakenly entered as a result of autocorrection.
The Gamil company did nothing wrong. They have been in business for more than 28 years. On June 29, 1998, the company registered the domain www.gamil.com. This was six years before the public launch of “Gmail” that occurred in 2004.
Clearly, Gmail is different from Gamal and more importantly, the company of Gamil has documented prior use, so there is no trademark infringement claim possible.
The owners of gamil.com do not seem to be willing to sell the domain to Google. No matter how powerful Google may be, gamil.com remains in the hands of its original owners. The domain URL of gamil.com gets enormous daily web traffic from Internet users typing the name of Gmail incorrectly.
When starting a new website, it’s best to make a new brand word that did not previously exist, make a new spelling, and then register as many misspelt entries of Internet users as possible.
4. Increase Traffic with an Existing URL
Sometimes the registration of a trademark, combined with prior use, establishes the right of the company to own a website made from the name of the brand.
A disputed claim is possible with ICANN, which is the website authority, using the domain dispute resolution policies. For example, an international company, such as McDonald’s has the right to the URL www.mcdonalds.com.
In the early days of the commercialization of the Internet, businesses paid millions of U.S. dollars for one-word domain names, such as www.insurance.com. There is definitely value in having a domain name that is a good single word.
This trend is not as strong as before and the prices have come way down from the record millions they used to be, yet there are still domain names that sell for premium prices.
5. Use Google My Business to Increase Web Traffic
A few years back Google made a move to rank websites based on localization. This infuriated website owners who spent lots of money making their generic websites have a high ranking, because they lost out on traffic.
For example, if a person lives in Brighton, UK and they use the Google search engine to look for insurance, it is now more likely that a Brighton-based insurance agency comes up at the top rank than insurance.com.
This move by Google to prioritize local searches over generic ones created an opportunity for small or local businesses to compete with their international rivals. In fact, in some ways it’s actually a lot easier to rank for local SEO.
This is because so much of local ranking is made up of having a great Google My Business profile:
This makes it easy to rank for local searches, as long as your Google My Business profile is completed, and your GMB tags are optimised for keywords with a high volume and a local search intent.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the most cost effective way to increase your site traffic. However, it’s also a fairly tricky field. There are many things to fine-tune that make a website more appealing to the search engines.
The Google search algorithm constantly changes, so the need for SEO updates for websites is constant as well.
Many self-starters like to handle SEO tasks themselves. SEO work is not difficult and there are plenty of free or low-cost SEO tools that assist in the process. The troublesome part of SEO work is it takes many mundane efforts to keep websites up-to-date.
Google does not explain all the details of how its algorithm works to rank websites, so part of good SEO work is a guessing game as well as testing to see what works and what does not.
Many companies outsource the SEO work to other organizations because of this need for ongoing SEO efforts.
7. Mobile Devices and Apps
More users are accessing the Internet using mobile devices than ever before. It is important that a website is functional and appears properly on any type of device. Another way to attract web traffic is to create an app that is useful, and give it away for free.
However, this isn’t always the most cost effective strategy. Mobile apps are expensive. They also need to be promoted, the same way that your site does. This is obviously difficult if your web traffic figures are already poor.
As such, if a mobile app results in an increase in your web traffic, this should be seen as a bonus. However, increasing your traffic should not be the primary reason that you invest in an app.
8. Paid Advertisement and Social Media
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertisement is a popular way to increase web traffic. Having a presence on social media that links to a website also generates more web traffic. It also allows you to take advantage of advanced marketing strategies, like retargeting.
PPC is also an effective way to drive traffic to your site, but there are a few things to keep in mind. The main priority for any PPC campaign is return on investment. That is, you should end up with more revenue than your ads cost you in the first place.
As such, you shouldn’t spend too much money on online ads until you know your site is effective at converting traffic into sales. Then, it’s worth investing in PPC to scale your conversions.
9. Contests and Quizzes
Creating contests and having quizzes on a website are proven ways to increase web traffic. These are also excellent ways to drive user engagement across your social media platforms, and create user generated content.
However, the goal of a contest or quiz is rarely to drive traffic directly to your site.
Rather, they are most frequently used as fun and subtle lead magnets. This is when a user is given something in return for signing up to your mailing list – in this case, the chance to win a prize.
The user is then entered into an email funnel. This eventually leads them to your site, although this happens indirectly, and over a long period of time. It’s also important to keep in mind that this will show up in your analytics as email traffic.
10. Cross Promotion with Other Websites and Backlinks
To create links between these sources and a website, first, create some outstanding content that gives the viewers significant value, then reach out to the webmasters of those other websites and ask for permission to include a link to their website in the content. At the same time, ask them to link back to your website.
This is important to grow your domain authority (DA). This is a measure of how credible your site is within your niche. It’s also an increasingly important SEO ranking factor, and increases in DA will lead directly to increased traffic:
Best Ways to Increase Web Traffic
By following these tips and making regular efforts to increase web traffic, it is possible to see real results. Improved results come from testing to learn what works best and monitoring web traffic results to see what increases performance.
There are thousands of ways to get traffic to a website. The above strategies have been chosen, as they are easily actionable by just about anyone.
One of the exciting things about digital marketing is that there is pretty much no limit to the number of new and exciting strategies you can use to drive traffic. Ultimately, this means that there is no ceiling on how far you can grow your business either.