If you have a trade website, you have a defined niche market and that puts you a step ahead of many websites. However, there are plenty more potential readers out there, and you’d like to draw them in as well. How do you reach new audiences and get these people to check out your site?
More importantly, how can you do it without spending money? There are several things you can do to attract more site traffic, but you have to remember that the internet runs on an attention-based economy. Even when the whole world is interconnected, attention is finite, so you have to earn it. Great site content is necessary, but not always sufficient, so what should you do to grab more of that finite pool of attention? Here are some ideas.
Fix Technical Issues That Hold Your Site Back
Sometimes, search engines aren’t able to index your site properly, and this can happen for many reasons. If you have a Google Webmaster Tools account, you can use it to find information on common technical problems that can keep your site from being indexed properly and, as a result, unnecessarily restrict traffic. Duplicate content errors, for example, can be caused by easily fixable problems. If, for instance, content on your site exists both in the root directory and another directory, the same content can be indexed by Google on different URLs, negatively affecting your ranking. Consolidating the content under one URL fixes this problem. Make sure simple technical problems aren’t needlessly keeping traffic from you.
Step Up Your Social Media Campaign
Add social sharing buttons if your website doesn’t have them already. This makes it much simpler for readers to share content and for you to pick up traffic from social media sites. You should have a basic social media strategy for your website, which includes knowing your audience, planning content, engaging on Facebook, using Twitter as both a leader and follower, and keeping an eye out for up and coming social media networks. When you learn of an emerging social networking site, create an account there and establish your presence early. Regular social media engagement is a sound way to boost traffic, and the importance of networking for professionals in every trade has never been higher.
Hold a Contest
Since presumably you’ll be giving away a prize, this isn’t entirely free, but it can be very close and in many trades, a year’s free access to premium content can be very valuable to your industry’s professionals. Hold a contest with some relevance to your trade for the most impact. For example, if your website is for those in the food and beverage industry, you could hold a specific type of recipe contest, such as “Best Vegetarian Soup,” or “Best Dessert Using Coffee as an Ingredient.” You could hold an essay contest relevant to your trade (“Why I Became a Teacher”) or a more general transformation contest (“Best Cubicle Makeover”). Some companies hold their contests on Facebook, but even if you don’t, you should cross-promote it on all social networking sites you use.
Use Guest Blog Posts
Every trade has its superstars, and when you can convince one of them to write a guest blog post, you not only invigorate your normal site traffic, but you also bring in that guest blogger’s fans as well. Some guest bloggers are practiced in the art of using guest blog posts to their own and your advantage, promoting guest blog posts on their own sites and on social media, and in many cases offering you valuable back-links so you benefit from short term and long term gains in traffic.
Give Something Away
Content-wise, that is. When you give away digital content that is valuable to those in your trade and encourage regular site visitors to share the information, you generate the kind of buzz that brings new attention to your site. Of course, you don’t want to give away too much, but you should give away something genuinely valuable which could be a design template, a free e-book or a series of tutorials relevant to your trade. Make it shareable with social media share buttons and encourage your site’s regular visitors to share the information on their own social media networks.
Boosting website traffic doesn’t necessarily require spending money. Try these techniques and make the most of the many online tools, sites and resources available for bringing in the web traffic your site deserves.