Promoting your business website used to be a very easy process. You made sure your page had some keywords and that the keywords were in the right places for the search engines to find and that was it.
But in the early days, the “worldwide web” very much resembled the science classroom model of the solar system – a few planets circling the sun.
It’s very different now, when keywords don’t even matter and your website is competing against an entire Milky Way full of websites, blogs and forums.
So what can you do to make your site stick out like the North Star?
Use the list below to find ways to drive potential customers to your business website.
Content First (Duh!)
1) Content isn’t just king; it’s the whole court. Give your customers a reason to visit by ensuring that there’s something there for them – the product(s) or information that they’re looking for.
2) Have a call to action on every page. Make it clear to your visitors what it is you want them to do, whether it’s signing up for a newsletter or purchasing a product.
3) Make your content easy to share. Include prominent sharing buttons on your content to make it easy for people to share your content on Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, Google+, Pinterest, etc.
4) If possible, write and post some quizzes on your site. When BuzzSumo analyzed the social share counts of over 100 million articles of an 8 month period they found that 8 of the top 10 most shared articles were quizzes.
5) Quizzes don’t work? Create some infographics. They’re very shareable too!
6) Consider guest posting on other websites that also serve your target market. The link back from such a site with a large following can be a real traffic driver.
7) Use metrics such as Google Analytics to analyze how your site visitors are interacting with your content and figuring out how you can tweak your content to increase your conversion rate.
8) Produce a regular email newsletter – and provide an opportunity for your website visitors to sign up for it on all your business website pages.
9) Offer added values on your website that relate to your business and will appeal to your target market. These may include affiliate programs, books, and recommended links.
10) More ideas for offering added value: Offer a free ebook or white paper on your site. Its size doesn’t matter if you’re providing it for free. Make sure it’s specifically written for your ideal client – and make sure that you let website visitors know that they can forward the ebook or white paper to others.
Sit Pretty in the SERPs
11) Search engines still provide the majority of visitors to many websites so make sure your site is search engine friendly.
12) Make sure every page of your business website is properly optimized for search. Need help? Check out Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.
13) Pay special attention to crafting your meta description tag. It’s the description of your webpage that will usually show in search engine results. The more well-written it is, the more likely that your page will win the click.
14) Use rich snippets on your pages, if appropriate. Rich snippets give your potential website visitors detailed information about your content in Google’s search results – information that may cause them to click on your page rather than someone else’s.
15) Update your website regularly. Search engines love fresh content (and it gives you something to promote in social media too.)
Make Visitors Comfortable Enough to Recommend You to Others
18) Answer potential customers’ questions in advance by having visible and fully developed policies regarding customer service and the collection and use of customer data. If you are running a Canadian business see:
Canada’s Anti-Spam Law: What Your Canadian Business Has to Do to Comply regarding sending electronic messages; and
The Privacy Act (PIPEDA) and Your Small Business regarding the collection and treatment of customer data.
19) Make sure your website uses responsive web design so that everyone can comfortably see and use your website no matter what device they’re using – desktop, smartphone, tablet, etc.
20) If you are selling anything online, use a shopping cart and a secure payment method for credit cards. (Turnkey ecommerce packages make this really easy; see 8 Easy Ways to Get Your Small Business Into Ecommerce.)
Spread the Word
21) Place your business website address on all your printed literature including all your business cards, brochures, newsletters, letterhead, and ads.
22) Make the name and URL of your website part of your email signature.
23) Don’t forget to mention your website when you’re networking locally.
24) Use social media to promote your site. Set up a Facebook page, Google+page, Twitter or Pinterest account for your business – or all of them and use them regularly to engage with your target market and send them to your site. Get started with How to Create a Social Media Plan and then read more articles about using social media on this site.
25) Don’t forget to use whatever special tools each social media platform provides, such as Google Hangouts or LinkedIn groups to build relationships and community.
26) Place ads on the social media of your choice to drive traffic to your site.
27) Participate in online forums and groups as an expert. You can include your business name and website URL in your three or four line signature.
28) Get some free publicity for your website by becoming a valued source for writers. Sign up for HARO and the reporters will come to you.
29) Use press releases when you have something to announce, such as a new ebook that you’ve written or a business milestone you’ve achieved. Email them to the media, your clients, friends and associates. This list of 20+ Free Press Release Distribution Sites from Mashable will be handy.