How to Increase the Number of Visitors to Your Site

By Shannon Belew, Joel Elad

If sales are down and you need to increase the number of visitors to the website for your online business, concentrate on these areas to give sales a lift:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO): Reexamine the search engine optimization techniques used for your site. SEO is a necessary part of ongoing site maintenance. If your site isn’t optimized correctly, its chance for a solid ranking in the search engines goes out the window.

    In addition, customers searching for your specific site can be disappointed when it doesn’t pop up in their search results. Perhaps you haven’t provided the best possible information to make a match during a typical search request.

  • Marketing strategies: Letting routine marketing activities slip in priority in the daily chaos of managing an online business is easy. Diminishing numbers of visitors are a wake-up call to get back to basic marketing concepts.

    Create an online newsletter, or send out a fresh round of promotional e-mail to your existing customer database. You don’t always have to dangle deep discounts in front of them. Sometimes they simply need a reminder that you’re still out there!

  • Paid advertising: Spend a little dough and pump up the number of site visits. Following are some areas where you should consider spending online advertising dollars:

    • PPC (pay per click), such as Google AdWords or Yahoo Bing Network

    • Mobile ads

    • Display ads

    • Retargeting ads

    • Third-party sites, using banner ads, content sponsorships, or paid listings

    If you’re already spending money in these areas, look for new sites to place advertisements, or experiment with buying some different Google AdWords with new keywords.

  • Linking opportunities: When was the last time you asked someone to exchange links with your site? Spending an hour or two per month searching for sites that are compatible with or complementary to yours is still considered worthwhile. You may find sites that have already shared information about your site or products but are not yet linking to your site.

    Google continuously changes the algorithms that decide how sites are ranked in search engine results pages (SERPs). As part of those algorithms, if you break the rules or recommendations associated with SEO best practices, your website may be penalized, or dropped down in or booted out of the rankings. Link swapping is one of the areas that is affected by these changes, so it is important to always follow best practices.

    Instead of swapping links, you can visit blogs that are applicable to your online business. Then leave comments to posts that include a link back to a specific page on your site (when allowed) or make sure your profile (that you set up to leave comments) references or links back to your website.

    The comments you leave on other sites may not rank high in search results, but they are a way to get awareness and possible traffic to your site from people reading the comments.

  • Public relations: Are you creating awareness of your site by engaging in effective public relations strategies? What was the date on the last press release you distributed? Reach out to a few reporters and suggest a story relating to your business. When your site’s traffic flow is slowing, now is not the time to be shy.

    Not all news has to be based on good news. Think creatively and turn your problem into a relevant story idea that’s timely and grabs attention. For example, a national report on decreased consumer confidence and spending could tie in nicely to a recent dip in sales for your site. Be sure to put a positive twist on how you’re combating the issue.

    For instance, send the message that your site’s competitive pricing is sure to win over customers now that they’re more careful in their spending.

  • Social media expansion: Spend some time building the number of followers you have on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Social media provides a good opportunity to not only monitor real-time conversations that relate to your online business but also start conversations with customers and potential customers and keep people talking about your brand.

  • Offline promotions: Whether or not you have a retail location, use traditional offline marketing to create an immediate boost in your online traffic.

    Go to a networking event and hand out your business cards. Arrange for a speaking engagement at a meeting of a community organization or at a regional trade show. Create flyers or professional brochures and distribute them in stores that are complementary to (and not a competitor of) your site.

    Offline promotions also include the use of mobile marketing. Reach prospective buyers through their mobile phones and give them a discount code or other incentive to return to your website.