Today I was advising a client on some relatively painless ways to generate more traffic to his web site.  This list isn’t comprehensive, of course, but it may be helpful, (if only to remind you of things you already know! )

My client is a small business owner in the adventure travel industry.  While he does sell trips on his web site,  the primary “call to action” for a web user would be to email or call about a trip.  Relationship building is important here;  These trips aren’t for everyone, but those do end up going usually love it.  If you’ve ever been sea kayaking in Alaska, you know what I mean.  Many of his clients become repeats — again and again and again. 

My goals for the web site: 

  • Improve search engine rankings on pertinent keywords
  • Freshen up the content, and create a means to update more often
  • Add more free, useful information to the web site

 Here’s what we talked about

1.  Review / replace meta tags (keywords, descriptions, page titles).   This is crucial if it hasn’t been done before, or has been done poorly.

2.  Add a Blog.  This is a commitment to write something regularly on topics that may interest your users – that’s why it’s intimidating!  But if you do the writing, it creates new content on your site, which is great for search engines  — and people!  An added benefit is that, with most blogs, users will be able to subscribe to the RSS feed and be notified (sort of) each time you post new material — great especially if your fans are hanging on your every word!
3.  Do a Link “Campaign”:  First, see who links to your site.  Go to a Yahoo! search box and key in this:  (replace my URL with yours).  You’ll see a list of most of the web sites that link to yours.  Hopefully some of them will look familiar, as they’ll be friends, business associates, etc. 

It’s no secret that inbound links generate traffic and help your search engine rankings.  BUT they should be quality links.  That means they should ideally be pertinent links from reputable sources.  Consider putting a  Links page on your web site, so you can refer people to vendors, recommend  services, etc.  Then you can promote link exchanges to your contacts in related (but not competitive) businesses as a way to increase traffic for both of you.

4.  Create an Article Archive.  Do you teach, write articles, or otherwise share your expertise?  Why not share them on your website?  Find every pertinent article, guideline, checklist, recipe, etc. you’ve ever written, and put them on your website. THEN you can mention these things in your blog and newsletter entries (you DO have a newsletter, don’t you!?), and  link to the articles.  You bring traffic to the web site, and your web site is more informative (free information – everybody loves that!). 

5.  Consider Google AdWords.   This is pay per click advertising.  While the actual workings are complicated, Google (and others) make it as simple as possible for you to get started.  You create an account, set a monthly ad budget, and Google commits not to exceed it.  You choose your keywords, write a small ad, and off you go.  You can tell Google to target only local business if you like.

For example, I spend $140 / month and I  get around 3 calls / month, which amounts to around 1 new client each 2-3 months, which is about all I need right now — I’m pretty good at keeping clients once I get them!  This is the only advertising I spend money on.  I can track how each keyword is doing, and how many times someone clicks on my ad, but it’s not as easy to see whether there’s a connection between clicking (which you pay for, that’s why it’s called pay per click) and conversion (actually making a contact or purchase).  There are ways to track these things, but it’s a bit more in depth – not in the “QuickStart”  menu!
These are just a few possibilities, which I hope are helpful.  You can spend as much or as little time on these things as you like.  Remember, a great web site has informative content, not just widgets for sale!