We build it and then….crickets? Organizations big and small struggle with getting traffic when they first join the on-line world. If you aren’t seeing the traffic you want – you are not alone. So what do you do about it?
1. Create a blog
If you don’t have a blog already, I strongly recommend that you start one. With Facebook and Twitter your messages quickly get lost within the timeline – if your followers don’t check their Facebook or Twitter streams when you post and they don’t scroll back through old messages, they may never see what you have said. This is not the case with your blog where your content lives on. One of the most powerful aspects of a blog is its ability to act as the hub for all your content. When you combine this hub concept with a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy, your blog becomes one of your greatest tools for being found and increasing your web traffic.
Although it is entirely possible to have a robust SEO strategy and even engage a partner to help you with this, I want to make sure you understand and start with the basics of SEO first.
2. Create SEO focused content
Search Engine Optimization is a funny thing and it has gone through so many changes in its short life span. This is what you need to know about SEO – it works best when it is done with the human user in mind -not when it is done to “trick” the technology behind it. To succeed with SEO you need to focus on how your customer will look for you (what words would they type into the search box, what questions would they ask that could be answered by your company).
Once you have defined the key terms you want to get found with, I encourage you use those terms to inspire content creation for your blog. Keywords and keyword phrases should be used in your blog titles (assuming of course that they do in fact relate to your content) and then again in the copy of your blog post. Don’t overdo it – blogs should always be written naturally, remember your end target is always a person.
3. Share your content via social media
Regardless of the timeline aspect of most social media, they remain great tools to share your content and most importantly, engage with your customers. Each time you create a new blog post you should share it via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+. If your content is video, it should be included on your YouTube video channel. Of course I am assuming you are active in all of these networks. For social media to work as an effective platform for you, you can’t use it to only share your content – your sharing should only be 25% of your posts – the rest of the time you should be curating other content and engaging with other users.
Sharing on Facebook
For Facebook I recommend sharing once a day. You should share to your Facebook page (pages are for business) and you can then share or like the post from your profile to further expand your reach. There are three types of posts you can share on Facebook and you should strive to share each type equally if possible:
- You can share a link
- You can share a picture or Video
- You can share a status update
If you are blogging once a week, you can share your blog content as a link. If your blog is a video or your have an image, you can upload the video or image and use the description area to link back to your blog. Keep in mind, your pages shouldn’t be all about you. Curate other’s content (maybe even on a similar topic as your blog post) and be sure to use status updates to engage your users.
Sharing on Twitter
With Twitter content gets lost in the feed so quickly that the best practice is to repeat your messages at least twice a day. I recommend 5/6 posts a day about 40 min apart and a mix of your content and curated or retweets or comments to your followers. So maybe you do a batch of 3 posts between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. and then you schedule another batch of 3 posts between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
In addition to curating and sharing, but sure to retweet and engage your followers on Twitter. People are often using Twitter to ask questions – join the conversation where you can.
With Twitter as with Facebook – the idea is to try different ways of engaging your audience to learn what resonates with them best. Sometimes it is the type of content you shared that gets the most attention and sometimes it is the time of day that you share that has the most impact. It is different with each audience so you need to test, test, test.
LinkedIn, Google + and Pinterest are just a few of the other social platforms out there that you can and should be using to share your social content as well.
Social Sharing is SEO
There are lots of aspects to SEO, and keywords are only part of the equation for success. Links back to your site are also key tools that impact where you will rank on a search results page. If you share all your blog content like I describe above, you are going to positively impact your search rank because each time you are creating links back to your site. Hopefully you are creating content your audience also wants to share because that will expand your reach and your ranking even further.
4. Don’t overlook Email Marketing
One of the most powerful ways of getting your content out to your target audience is by distributing your posts via email to the people who have already said they want to hear from you by signing up to your mailing list. You can send emails out each time you create a post or you can send out a monthly our weekly round up of recent posts. Be respectful of this list – only send them what you said you would (make this clear from the beginning). What ever you do, don’t skip this step. This audience says they want to hear from you, reach out so you stay top of mind, this is the audience you are most likely to convert into a paying customers.
5. Be “that guy”
And by that I mean the guy or gal in the room that everyone wants to get to know. You know – the one who always has something nice to say or a tip to share. In the blog world, one of the best ways to get attention is by joining conversations on other blogs. If you can, at least once a week try and comment on someone else’s blog, you may be surprised by the connections and relationships you can create. Initially you may just get a few followers back to your site, but eventually it could lead to a guest blog post and even more exposure.
If you are blogging, don’t be shy – share your content in all your social networks. In fact, make content sharing part of your blogging routine – once you upload your post, go into your social media tools and set up your social posts. And if you are using a tool that lets you time your posts, take advantage and space out your Facebook, Google+ and Twitter posts.
Use the comments below to tell us what has helped you grow your web traffic.
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