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How do I increase traffic to my website for free?

Any business or individual with a website will always be interested in ways of increasing traffic but how do we do it? Especially when SEO has become much more challenging.  The best way of increasing traffic for free is to develop a content marketing strategy. I will create a dedicated post in content marketing in the future. Think of this post as an introduction to content marketing.

 

When you research methods to increase traffic to your website, you very often come across pictures of Kevin Costner and the Field of Dreams. “If you build it, they will come”. Quite often the word “blog” replaces the word “build”, but is it that simple? In a word – No! Building your site is only the first step in the process. Content Marketing involves providing good and interesting content for free on your sites. This content itself will act as “bait” to drive traffic to your site and hopefully see that traffic convert into either a lead, a relationship or a sale.

Before we discuss the ways to increase traffic to your site for free it is important to understand the differences between the different forms of media and traffic that can come to your site. The below infographic talks about Paid Media, Owned Media and Earned Media.

Media Types

 

Courtesy of business2community.com

We can use paid media to drive traffic which is effective but also expensive. I will create several posts on paid search and display advertising in the future but as the focus of this post is free channels I won’t go further down this road.

Earned media through viral marketing is always desirable but encouraging users to share is not easy unless you have  a lot of money to spend promoting the content.

Which leaves us with owned media which we control and own. When we talk about free traffic, we do have to raise the issue that these activities require time to create, plan and implement. Time is not always free i.e. wages etc. Producing good content also takes time and sometimes money to prepare. Companies like HubSpot do this very well with hundreds of videos on their YouTube channel and 630 presentations on their SlideShare account each one having a backlink to their website.

There are free tools out there to help you build content but the best advice is to try and re-use what you already have. Old reports, presentations and stats can possibly find a second life online.

The first step in trying to increase traffic to your website is to get  your own house in order – in other words your “owned media” i.e. website and digital channels.

3 ways to increase traffic to your site

  1. Add a blog to your website
    • The days of having a separate blog for your business are coming to an end. Back when Page Rank and backlinks had more value this was a commonly used strategy to build up powerful satellite blogs which drove traffic to your site.
    • However Google’s Panda and Penguin updates have placed a great emphasis on content. The saying which everybody has heard a million times already is “Content is King”. You have heard it a million times for a reason, it is the most important factor for driving traffic and experiments have shown that pages with higher Page Ranks and more back links are outperformed by smaller sites with more relevant content
    • By including your blog in your website, you are creating more roads to your site and more opportunities to be found. Keyword Research should be used to maximise the effectiveness of your posts to drive traffic and the blog posts themselves should be good and worth reading.
  2. Use Pinterest
    • I lecture in Dublin Business School and the Digital Marketing Institute and for the last couple of years my students know that this was a tool I didn’t like. This was mainly because I personally didn’t get it.  So why is it on my list?  Simply put, I changed my mind after seeing how well it can be used.   The analytic and conversion reports I seen from websites that used Pinterest has completely changed my view and I now believe it should be cornerstone of any reach strategy (particularly for companies in the retail area)
    •  Adding Pinterest Pin It Buttons to your website and then pinning these images to a Pinterest business page/boards will create free links back to your website. These links have no follow attributes so they won’t make a difference from an SEO point of view but they are physical links that are frequently followed.
  3. Use Email Marketing
    • Email Marketing using free tools like mailchimp is always a good way of driving traffic to your website. Particularly if the emails have value.
    • For more information please read this post on email marketing strategy

Coming Soon: Part 2 of this article which will focus on other means of gaining free traffic including using Social Media Marketing and adding content to sites like YouTube, SlideShare and Instagram.


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