As a Web Designer I am often asked, "How do I increase traffic to my website?" Part of the solution is search engine optimization (SEO). In fact, in the early days of the internet, this was enough to increase the number of visits to a website. The problem is not that simple anymore. The estimated size of the internet is 4.54 billion pages and is growing exponentially every day. To make your site standout in this environment is challenging, to say the least.
So, how do you generate more traffic to your website in the 21st century? The key is rich content. Search engines today rank your website based on the number of other websites that have links to your site. An important part of the equation is the use of social media. The key to getting these links, however, is earning them with rich content.
What is rich content?
If you had an online store selling widgets, and all your content was about how great your widgets are, people would not likely spend much time on your site, and may never come back to your site. That is because people see through marketing ploys. With businesses and people connected with social media, the internet has become more about relationships than about sales.
Go back 100 years. What made Dave's Corner Store so successful? It was the relationships Joe created and kept with his customers. People have not changed that much. They want to do business with someone they trust. The key is to portray yourself as someone as trustworthy, if not more than the local hardware store owner or other local merchant of years ago. You need to include content that is helpful to your reader.
Ideas to improve your site
How do you do this? Instead of only having sales pitches on your website, what if you included a search engine on your site? What if the site had information about how to use your widgets? You could also include other products that can be used in conjunction with your widgets. What if you included biographies of famous people who use your type of widgets? You could also include a glossary of terms used in your industry.
Then, you could add a blog of helpful hints that are targeted to help you market and share these tips on various social media sites. Your reader will be more likely to look for more information on your site, browse your products, and save your site's home page in his/her browser's favorites. The more links to your site, the higher your site will rank on Internet search engines, such as Google or Bing. These links are based upon relationships you created because you are perceived as helpful.
Do not get me wrong – there is a place for marketing content on your website. You should follow Pareto's 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your content should be meaningful content that will help your reader, and 20 percent should be used to market your products. The key is rich content – content that is helpful to the reader. Have fun with this. Be informative. If you follow these simple principles, you will be successful at driving more traffic to your website.
Ultimate Guide to Link Building, by Eric Ward, Garrett French.
500 Social Media Marketing Tips, by Andrew Macarthy.