Websites generally fall under the good, the bad, and the glamorous. I won’t go into the “good” website (where is the fun in that?), but I will tell you that the “bad” and the “glamorous” are usually not that dissimilar.
Believe it or not, many companies have not invested in their website in the past five or ten years. And it shows. The site isn’t optimized for keyword searches or mobile devices, and it really has nothing to say other than company history, company culture, company locations—i.e., a whole lot of “me, me, me.”
Then there are companies that have spent a lot of time and a bit of money building their website to impress. The design is amazing. It functions great on a mobile phone. It even has cool features for the visitor: a quote generator based on customer inputs. An interactive map of all of the locations. A slick video detailing the mission of the company.
No one is visiting either of these types of sites. Why?
What’s on the menu?
Let’s use an analogy here. Let’s say you own a restaurant. If people show up for dinner and can’t find anything really appealing on the menu, or if the food is bland, they won’t come back. And they certainly wouldn’t tell their friends or family to visit your restaurant, either. Pretty soon no one is walking through that door.
Now, think of your website as a restaurant, and the food? That’s your website’s content. It’s the single most important thing. If you don’t have good content, hardly anyone will visit your site. Hardly anyone will even find your site. Even if they do, they certainly won’t be repeat visitors. Why? Because you are not giving them the information that they want and need.
A good website works 24/7, providing information about a company and the value it brings to the industry. It frequently generates quality leads and make things that much easier for the sales team once they get an inquiry from a potential customer.
If you have nothing of interest on your site, no engaging content, this will never happen. You won’t have good traffic. And with the traffic you do get, you’ll leave your visitors
disappointed—never to return.
Know thy audience—and reward them with good content
Until you improve your content, you will always run the risk of having low website traffic. Good content is simply anything of value to your audience. This could be helpful tips on improving performance, news on the latest technology innovations, or solutions to industry-wide problems. If these are topics people in your industry search for, then you’re on your way to more visitors.
In creating these valuable components, think of all the people who will find your website. What do they want to see? If you know this, you can shape content for your audience, whether they are customers, investors, employees, or potential recruits.
Define who you want to talk to, and then decide what they want to talk about. Then you’ll be on your way to telling good stories for your audience to appreciate and share. And they will keep coming back.
Organic traffic > word of mouth
Okay, maybe your website isn’t totally void of visitors. You have them, just not many. This might be because the people that have been in contact with your sales team naturally visit your website to learn more about your company. In essence, this is a branded search, but not an organic one.
But without good content that speaks to your audience, in the language they use to navigate the web, your website is virtually invisible to search engines—especially if you haven’t updated it in years. For one, it’s probably not indexed correctly, or has weak keywords, or both. If you want good organic traffic, begin by updating your site with the stories people want to hear, the ones they have been searching for.
Keep in mind the words they use as you create your content. It’s not called organic search for nothing, folks. Use that natural language your audience uses and let the web crawlers help them find exactly what they are looking for.
Got something to say? Get the word out!
So now you’ve updated your site with useful information that your audience will appreciate, how do you increase the chances they will read it? You shouldn’t rely solely on organic search to generate traffic. You have to drive your audience to your website with a nice marketing mix.
A tried and true method is emailing your customers the updates they’ve asked for. No one wakes up wondering if you have new information on your site—send them the new stuff once it is posted!
Social media networks should also be a primary channel to increase traffic. Posts on LinkedIn, for instance, can be promoted throughout your employee’s networks. Chances are, your subject matter experts and sales people have many followers on LinkedIn. If they publish content on their feed it will get much more exposure than your standard corporate page. Plus, there is an added bonus of trust with content shared among people within networks.
Employees can generally see the value in sharing content—it’s not only good for the company, but today as many of us, especially sales, are called upon to be consultants, distributing useful content helps establish our personal brand.
Bonus for your company? It pulls in that website traffic you’ve been missing…
Increasing website traffic: My final chirp
People go to websites for the content, not because they want to see cool graphics or bells and whistles; they go there to understand the company, how it might help them with their business, and how they can work together with you. This sadly is missing from most websites. By simply understanding your audience and providing helpful and informative material they can appreciate, you’ve won half the battle. Combine this with a good plan of distribution via traditional email blasts and networking through social media, you’ll start to see a real upswing in traffic.