You have built a beautiful site which contains tons of useful and entertaining information, but the web traffic just doesn’t seem to be flowing past your door, or it may be flowing, but very few are stopping to visit.
How do you get visitors to your website and get them to come back?
Let’s start with what you have already done….
- You have a domain name and it has your name or what people most interested in finding you will search on, right? If a domain name matches a search term the odds of that site coming up on the first page of any search are greatly increased. So, if you r name is Suzy Writer, register your domain as SuzyWriter.com and not SuzyWhoLikesToWrite.comIf you don’t you run the risk of OTHER people’s posts about you outranking you in a search on your name. And since some of those mentions might be less than favorable reviews….well, you can see why you don’t want that.
- Since you read my earlier post on content, you also already know to have a site with interesting content that is related to you and your books. This is also key for web searches. In fact, while writing your content think of what readers terms readers might search on when looking for books or authors like you. Work those terms into your copy and your page/post titles as much as you can.No, you don’t want the pages to read oddly; you are a writer after all, but the more the search engines see those words, the more relevant they will see your site as being to those searches. (This is part of SEO, search engine optimization and keyword research. For a more indepth education on it, I suggest you take SEO for Writers here at the How To Write Shop with Monica Valentinelli.)
Now for a few things you probably haven’t done yet…
- Search Engine Registration – Yes, you can register your site with the search engines. Some web designers/hosts announce this like they are doing this huge amount of labor and you should be eternally grateful. Trust me it is no big deal. Google wants to find your site. They send out little seekers (aka spiders) every day just to see if you have a site and when you last updated it.To register your site you can either go to the big guys like Google and hunt around for the “suggest a link” link or you can find a service that submits your site to all the big guys in one handy dandy swoop. My Web Host, LunarPages, has the latter and it was 100% free. (After I paid my fee for the web space that is.)One place to definitely visit that you may not have heard of is the Open Directory. You may not know who they are, but Google does and getting listed there can help you get listed other places more quickly.
- Meta Tags – If you have heard anything about search enging optimization, you have heard of meta tags. Meta tags used to rule the world of search engine placement, but too many designers abused them and they outsmarted themselves. While they are still used they are not the mecca they used to be. Don’t depend on them and certainly don’t think you can put up poor content and slap a bunch of unrelated but great meta tag keywords/descriptions and pull in the website visits. It just isn’t that easy.So, use them, but remember content IS king. Also, don’t make the mistake of thinking a graphic reads the same to a search engine spider as it does to a real live person. You need words.
- Advertising – The easy free part of advertising is including your web address in everything you do and making sure everything you do has the same tone as your web site. (That consistent marketing look again.)You can also purchase web banners, spots for your book cover with a link to your site, and a ton of other types of advertising online just to gain clicks. There are also “by the click” services like Google Adwords and Facebook. You pick the key words you want your site to pop under. Tell them how much you are willing to pay, and they advertise your site when people use those terms. How much you are willing to pay will dictate how often and how dominantly your site shows up, but you only pay if someone actually clicks through to your site.
- Links from Other Sites (also known as backlinks)– This will help you two ways. One, the more sites that link to you the more important the search engines will think your site is and you websit will move higher in the rankings/web searches. The importance of the site linking to you matters too.So if people looking for romance novels go to Suzy Writer’s site a lot and she has a link to your site, this will help you turn up higher on the search page also.Additionally, you will, hopefully, pick up direct click throughs from the readers/visitors of the site on which your link appears. And how you ask do you get these backlinks? By having relevant content on your site that others find useful. You can also write articles/blog posts which reference your site/link to it that you post on other’s blogs/ezines.
- Contests – Contests will build traffic if readers 1.) know about them and 2.) they are offered consistently with a decent prize. The thing to remember (as with all marketing) is what are you trying to gain here? Just views on your page? You can do better than that. Target your contests to pull in potential readers, not just contest sluts, and to reward your current readers. An occasional just for the fun of it contest is fine, but in general target them to do something like build your mailing list or to build backlinks.Get the word out about your contests, by posting on reader bulletin boards, posting in your newsletter, posting on contests sites and of course through guest blog posts and social media.
So, there you have it a few ways to draw people to your website. And as I said earlier, if you want to get more indepth on improving your search engine ranking and pulling visitors to your site that way, I really suggest taking Monica Valentinelli’s SEO for Writers course. Just a few tweaks to what you are already doing may make a world of difference.