The Hostway Blog

Beyond SEO: How to Bring People to a Business Site

Website designers have been using Search Engine Optimization to lure visitors for nearly 20 years. These days, it’s mandatory practice for businesses. So, does implementing SEO to the best of your abilities even tilt the playing field in your favor anymore?

Attracting visitors has always involved more than SEO. But as companies grow more sophisticated with their SEO practices, it becomes imperative to engage in other types of online marketing to drive traffic to your site.

There aren’t really shortcuts, either; making your site worth visiting is the concept behind most of the traffic-driving methods.

Here are six ways your website can be more useful, and more likely to generate new and return visitors:

Better, More Interactive Content: The written word is the heart of any site. No simpler advice exists than constantly improving that – your text has to be concise in addressing topics on visitors’ minds. Bolster it with other media.

Create a series of brief instructional videos – how-to content excels when you can visually demonstrate what you’re describing. SEO systems love video content. Is your industry more audio-friendly, or would video eat up too much bandwidth? Post interviews and explainers as sound files.

Every little bit helps, but what helps most is excellent information in your specialty. The best websites produce valuable well-written insights, bringing people useful data that’s difficult to find elsewhere.

Build A Responsive Website: Increasingly, business is being conducted on mobile devices; it’s becoming the norm for companies to build responsive versions of their websites catered to the mobile viewer.

A responsive design allows a website to fit whatever screen size loads it: desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Visitors appreciate a site that’s simple to navigate via phone, providing the most essential information in an easy-access manner. Determine what mobile users are most likely to seek – directions, your phone number, your hours, inventory – and put that front and center.

Start a Loyalty, Referral or Brand Ambassador Program: It’s fairly straightforward to make existing customers feel appreciated, and keep them from migrating to a competitor.

Incentives rewarding repeat business come in different shapes and sizes. Customers who write positive reviews on third-party sites can become “Brand Ambassadors” with some special privilege. One-time rewards can be offered for customers who refer business. Repeat purchases themselves can be discounted or used to accumulate reward-program points.

Conduct a Webinar: The expertise people seek from you doesn’t need to come in the same old format. Engage readers with something interactive.

Offer a free instructional session to display your know-how. Many webinars are now built around the idea of attending during part of your lunch break. Give customers a face and voice to associate with your company, and a forum for interaction via Q&A sessions, polls and special offers.

Make Your Case (with Case Studies): Potential customers want to see how your product works in a real-life setting. The closest thing you can offer, in many cases, is a case study.

Pick a satisfied customer using a product you want to promote, and co-author a story about your business relationship and successes. Co-market whitepapers or webinars with partners who build complementary products.

Few things are as potent a marketing weapon as getting your success out there in the words of a successful, satisfied customer.

Declare Local Ties: Even if your business is entirely online, don’t ignore local directories and mobile mapping applications. For brick-and-mortar stores, it’s even more crucial.

Many consumers will see value in buying local, boosting their own economy. If local customers go looking for you, ensure you’re found – submit your location to online mapping services. Don’t frustrate customers driving around unable to find you.

Once your website’s as useful as it can be, it’s about luring people in. Here are four ways to get more eyes on your content and offers.

Social Media, Used Strategically: Building an online audience is a huge piece of the puzzle. Use social media outlets to discuss promotions, new products, industry news – everything you can offer. Provide customers an extra avenue for feedback, technical or customer service questions.

Link up with an influential social media site or personality for additional promotion. Friends in social places can put you in new customers’ good graces.

Compile a Newsletter Audience: First-time visitors may never return, so use newsletters to find them instead. Strong newsletter material reminds them of your website’s value.

Via your newsletter platform, introduce some of the loyalty program ideas mentioned above. Show your frequent customers some love. Make it easy for them to return by providing links back to your site.

Try PPC Campaigns: Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be a cost-effective medium, but the management of these campaigns is both an art and a science. It’s important to make sure your key phrases, ad copy and landing pages are all cohesive and relevant to your business as this will impact your bids and placement.

The goal for PPC is to get top placement on search pages so that your company is seen first. Paid visitors will click on your ad if your message and promotions are relevant and timely.

Hosting Add-Ons: Your service provider is there to make it easier to for your website to succeed – it’s how they make you a return customer. So research the options they have available. Many will offer these tools through a unified control panel, for simplified management.

In Hostway’s case, we’ve built several utilities that help websites grow: Newsletter Broadcast gets email marketing up and running, while Website Builder can handle mobile and social presences. Social Media Integration tools provide a convenient avenue for communicating with your customer base.

The best strategies are likely to mix in several of the ideas above as businesses see what works best in their individual cases. As long as they stay vigilant – always doing something to bring in more visitors and always testing their solutions – viewership should keep rising.