So you started a business and decided as the advice suggests to create an online presence. You decide a website is critical to this online presence and go ahead and create a website. And then, nothing happens. People aren’t coming to the website at all or the numbers aren’t quite reflective of your expectations. What’s often not discussed when encouraging people to create websites for their businesses is the issue of web traffic and how it works. “Build it and they will come” doesn’t work out for many and they are stuck wondering how to get people to their website.
The current state of the internet
The current state of the internet is social media-heavy and people spend much more time in digital communities than they did before. Where they do have the time it’s usually spent interacting with like minds on their mobile phones on social media and chat apps. The top web traffic goes to aggregators; websites and platforms that give people a way to consume as much information as they can on a specific subject. Does this mean there is no space for websites? Absolutely not. The key is having the right type of website for your business and generating traffic through these aggregators and communities.
Types of websites
Yes, all websites are not created equal. While there are many ways to categorise websites we will look at them based on the functionality they provide to break down the types of websites.
The landing page or information portal is a simple website that provides customers with vital information about the business. What do you do? How do you do it? How can they get in touch? Where are you located? The sort of information that helps users understand a business.
The interactive website allows users to communicate with the business directly through the website. This can be through live chat functions. It adds two-way communication to the landing page website.
The next type of website we can look at is the product catalogue or gallery. This is a website that takes users into great depth about the business’ products. You can find images, technical specifications, support information and resources to di with the business and its products. This works best when products are complicated or technical.
The eCommerce website adds the ability to purchase products through the website. It adds a layer to the product catalogue that facilitates the processing of orders and handling of payments within the website. We can further break down eCommerce websites into partial and full eCommerce. The partial eCommerce website allows ordering or enquiries. The full eCommerce website can handle payments for both products and shipping where applicable.
The content is for those businesses whose product is of a content nature. It is used as a central hub for content that may also be available on aggregators for amplification. It may include an eCommerce element allowing users to pay for specific content or have an all-access fee.
Now we know your website types and have figured out if we have the right type of website for our business how do we go about getting traffic to the website?
Social media is a good example of an aggregator pulling the most interesting information from all corners of the world wide web and bringing attention to it. What is your business doing on social media? A well used social media platform brings attention to the website to the benefit of audiences.
Content marketing is the now and the future. Content that helps people with their questions and queries. If your business solves a problem then content is the channel through which you can create awareness about the solution you offer. Content disseminated through social media and digital communities leads back to your website.
SEO and SEM
Search engine optimisation and search engine marketing are two powerful tools to get more traffic to your website. Search engines are perhaps the greatest aggregators on the internet with no information originating from them. Making your website visible to search engines through SEO and to search users through SEM will bring you consistent traffic when done right.
Email marketing is also a very powerful tool for generating website traffic. By contacting people directly with information and offers you will create a constant stream of attention that comes through to your website.
Pay per click advertising allows business owners to advertise their businesses or products and only pay when a person clicks on the advert. The actual mechanics are a little more complicated than that of course. Digital marketing adverts offer targeting of people who are likely to be more interested in what you offer.
Consistency is key
It is very rare for people to respond to any prompt the first time they see it unless there is external motivation. Usually, people will encounter something 5 to 10 times before taking any action. Couple that with the bombardment we face from information on the internet and you will realise that expecting a website traffic surge in one day is foolish at best. We need to create a plan that spans at least 3 months with all the elements that apply to our business to have any chance of success.