[20 min read + activities]

Free and Easy Ways to Get Traffic to your Small Business Website

by Samantha Gordanier

Are you struggling to get new, or additional traffic to your website?

We’ve put together a straightforward guide to getting more traffic to your website – with both short and long-term growth in mind.

We’ll be honest with you here, the best way to create a sustained growth in traffic to your website involves a more comprehensive digital marketing strategy. But our mission, as stated in our small business website hub, is to make having a website easy for you. That’s why we’re giving you some simple tips that you can put into practice today. Some of these will have immediate results, and others you can think of like planting seeds that’ll pay off in the longer term.

From sharing your website on social, to blogging, to responsive design, and beginner’s SEO we’ve broken down 9 ways for you to get more traffic today and in the future.

Drive more traffic to your site by emailing friends and family

[10 mins]

1. Send an email to your friends, family, and professional connections and ask them to help spread the news.

Sending an email to your existing networks is a great way to leverage your existing relationships to get the word out. Remember that 92% of people trust referrals from friends, so the referrals can really help you drive some new traffic and/or customers.

It’s easy, just send two batch emails: 1) for your family and friends and 2) to business connections. (Tip: use BCC in your emails so you don’t share your entire email list with everyone). Don’t forget to put a note in the email explaining what you’re hoping to achieve with your website. Ex. I’ve just launched my new site to help me grow my collaborative law practice or I’ve just hired a new crew and we’re looking to take our business to the next level.

I think you’ll be surprised at how supportive your existing network will be in helping you get the word out, and at the very least you’ll receive a nice spike in website traffic.

[20 mins]

2. Share your website URL and post links on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Social media is not just for sharing pictures of your kids, pets, or your favourites recipes, sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have become powerful tools to help grow your small business. Facebook has 1.65 billion monthly active users (Statista). That’s a powerful audience to start communicating with, plus social links have been credited with improving your SEO score too.

Create an account for your small business on Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter (in that order). If you choose to do only 1, choose LinkedIn. Make sure you update your professional profile, then post about your new website, and ask people to comment what they think. If you’re interested in diving deeper with social media marketing for small businesses you can start by checking out these guides for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

One last thing, mention @beamlocal in your posts and we’ll be sure to connect with you too!

[15 mins]

3. Add your business listing to Google.

People are searching for businesses on Google, if you aren’t registered, you won’t show up. When you register, your listing will be seen by some of the 81% of people who search online before making a purchase. Showing up on Google will increase your online traffic, with the added bonus of directing real leads to your website.

This is the easiest step you can take right now to further your business’s online marketing. The process only takes 15 minutes, they’ll mail you a postcard to confirm details, and your business will forever show up on Google Searches. When you’re registered, every detail about your company from what industry you’re in, to your URL, to where you are on the map, to your star rating will show up when your customers are searching. Add your business to Google by following these steps, they make it quick and painless.

We understand that online marketing your website can feel daunting and complex, that’s why we’re here to help you with it (and check out our small business website hub for more tips) .We understand what you should do right now to get an amazing return on your investment – register your business with Google.

[15 mins]

4. Add your business listing to a professional service directory.

Your audience still uses professional directories to find accredited, trustworthy businesses. Adding your business listing to something as simple as your local Better Business Bureau, or The Law Society of Upper Canada has the potential to establish you an officially recognized business and (like your Google listing) allow you to show up when your leads are searching.

Adding your site to a directory is simple and free. In some cases (like Better Business Bureau) if there is a fee, it’s nominal and a small investment to get more leads to your website. If you’re interested in becoming accredited by the Better Business Bureau, all you have to do is take 5 minutes to fill out a form online to start your evaluation process. If you’d prefer to find an industry directory, send an email to your local business chamber of commerce to see if there’s an opportunity for them to feature you on their online directory.

Becoming accredited and/or adding your listing to an industry directory will allow your business to further “show up” when people are searching and bring those qualified leads to your website by establishing you as a trustworthy source.

Having a mobile friendly responsive design will drive more traffic to your website

[20 mins]

5. Ensure that your website is responsive.

If your website isn’t mobile friendly, your chances of “showing up” when people are searching for you will decrease. How? Since mobile use has surpassed desktop, Google has begun to favour mobile friendly sites in it’s search results. This means if your website isn’t responsive by now, your search result will be pushed behind those that are mobile. Plus, even if you do get traffic to your website, your audience will likely leave if it doesn’t perform well on a mobile device.

To assess your website, you can choose to hire an expert or do it yourself by starting with a simple beginner’s guide to responsive sites. An assessment is necessary, but depending on how your website was made, a total re-design may not be needed. Some DIY site builders like WordPress and Squarespace design fluidly, meaning it’s automatically adapted for mobile and tablet devices, and any professional small business website developer (like Beam Local) will ensure that your site is fully responsive .

We don’t need to tell you that technology is always changing – but it is. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a full-time job to stay on top of these things. If you make sure your website is mobile-friendly, you’ll be ahead of the game.

[20 mins]

6. Understand how to impact your SEO.

As we’ve stated above, people are searching for businesses online. If your search result appears too far down the list, you’re less likely to receive a click and more likely to lose out on capturing that lead. We understand that Search Engine Optimization can be an intimidating undertaking; it’s demanding enough to fill some marketers entire careers. You don’t have time for that, so prioritize the easy tasks that have proven results.

We won’t overwhelm you with tech jargon or inscrutable instructions, because that’s not actually helpful. A simpler start would be to focus on writing all notable keywords into your content and headlines, this makes it more searchable. Your site is being ranked based on many factors, but if you’re going to choose one that directly improves your SEO results today it would be to make sure your page title, headings, content, descriptions/keywords all match – this will bump up your spot on Google.

If you work on being search engine optimized little by little, you’ll see your search result creep up in the rankings and you’ll earn more and more click throughs in no time.

[10 mins]

7. Add your website to your business cards, email signature, and any signage or equipment (trucks etc.)

Just because you have a small business website, doesn’t mean that all of your marketing efforts have to be online. Your business card, email signature, vehicle wraps, and signage are all facets of business communication and branding that will lead your audience back to your website. You can achieve this by making sure your URL is front and centre on these items.

Take your business card, for example. Does it include your email, website, or social links? If not, it’s time for an update! Getting a new business card doesn’t have to be difficult or costly, a lot of cards are actually designed and ordered online nowadays – this cuts down on time and cost for you. Then, as you’re attending events or even out with your friends, pass this new card around as a way to market your website offline.

Don’t underestimate the value of traditional ways to market your website (ie, business cards, signage). Every little piece of branding helps; if your website URL is on every piece of communication, you’ll have a greater chance of getting that increase in online traffic.

Ask your customers to review you on Google to drive more traffic to your website

[40 mins]

8. Encourage your customers to leave positive reviews on your Google listing.

Online reviews have a surprising amount of sway with customers; the number of stars you have beside your listing can dictate whether a lead visits your website or continues searching. This is because 90% of consumers trust online reviews. The more positive reviews you have, the more traffic/business you’ll get. So encourage your happy customers to leave reviews! Where? You should focus on reviewing your product/service on Google more than any other site. Why? It’s seen more than other reviews (like Yelp or Homestars) and gets more click throughs.

Google doesn’t make it extremely simple for your customers to post online reviews. We sourced this step-by-step guide on how to leave online reviews that you can pass on to them. To entice your customer to leave a review, you could offer a discount, put their name into a raffle, a small gift card, the choice is yours! Anytime there’s something required of a customer, make sure you offer something in exchange.

Your collection of positive reviews will help draw traffic to your site by displaying your star rating (establishing trustworthiness), your website link, and directions to your office. By encouraging your happy customers to leave reviews, you’ll have your 5 star rating, and more click throughs, in no time!

[2 hours]

9. Start blogging with one simple post.

Publishing content may not be a priority for you, and we totally understand. As a professional, you may be deterred from participating in the whole “blogosphere” or “content marketing” because of it’s fluffy or intimidating connotations. But, even industry leaders use blogging; it’s proven to attract more users to your website and establish your company as an authority in your field. An added bonus is that Google rewards sites that have fresh, unique content.

Don’t know how to get started? Try something quick and easy first, like why you started your business. Make sure that your headline grabs your audience’s attention. If your headlines aren’t interesting, people won’t click on them, it’s as easy as that! People tend to check out lists, guides, expose’s, a “did you know”, controversy, strong adjectives, and short titles. Once you get your footing with publishing, reach out and comment on other blogs. This will establish some personal connections with other bloggers in your field and their piggyback on their community which will eventually bring people back to your site.

There’s no need to be nervous about blogging, industry leaders have proven that it’s a great way to lead customers back to your website and establish you as a leader in your field. There’s also the added advantage of joining a community to piggyback on other bloggers audiences to lead that traffic back to your site. So get started, write about the easy topics and go from there.

Websites can be impressively designed but their online community still takes some time to nurture and grow – don’t be discouraged if you aren’t immediately seeing the amount of traffic you had hoped for.

There’s no need to throw in the towel….

Marketing your website doesn’t have to be complicated and we’re here to help. So in lieu of a time intensive overarching marketing strategy, these simple and quick tips are for you to put in practice today that’ll payoff now and in the long term.

Whether it’s registering your business on Google (and getting reviewed), optimizing for SEO, or blogging – you should feel less intimidated by this undertaking now. It’s really not daunting!

To get started, choose a few and dig in!

Author’s Corner

Sam Gordanier

Hey I’m Sam, the Marketing Coordinator here at Beam Local, where I work on helping my team make great marketing decisions. What do I love about my work? Helping small business owners find uncomplicated ways to grow their own businesses. I’m always on the lookout for businesses who are interested in applying innovative tech strategy to their marketing plans. I’ve worked with hundreds of small businesses, and write content to help business owners get better at running their businesses. When I’m not helping small businesses get better, you can find me on my couch with my cat watching Seinfeld.

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