You want to build traffic to your website right? Of course you do. There isn’t much point to having a website if no one visits it. One of the more common questions I get asked is how you can actually build an audience and get people to go to your website. There are really 4 main ways that you do it.

But before we get into that, there are some things about website traffic that we should discuss first.

So, What is Traffic?

Simply put, it’s the users that visit your website in a period of time, but not all traffic is created equally. There’s good traffic, and there’s bad traffic, and of course, we want to build good traffic to our websites that is inline with our overall goals and strategy.

Identifying Traffic

Good traffic matches your target audience, in terms of location, demographic, etc. In most cases, this good traffic (as it relates to real estate), might not make a decision today, but they are likely to some day.

Bad traffic is any visitor that is not part of your target audience. It’s the people that are not likely to ever convert on your website, like visitors from another country outside your target audience, or perhaps people that are part of your competition.

The first way to interpret what type of traffic you’re getting is by using some sort of analytical tool; Google Analytics is probably the most obvious choice. Using a tool like Google Analytics can help you see a lot of the important information you’ll need to start identifying your traffic, like:

– Sessions: The number of interactions on the website (which times out after 30 seconds of inactivity).
– Users: The number of ‘people’ that interact with the website.
– Page Views: The total number of pages that were viewed by a user.
– Page Views Per Session: The number of pages that were viewed in a session.
– Bounce Rate: The percentage of single page visits.

Truth be told, Google Analytics can be complicated and overwhelming, but even if you’ve never used it before, simply logging in will show you the default Dashboard, which outlines all of the above for the past 30 days (but you’ll probably want to extend that to a year or so).

Now that we know how to identify the type of traffic, we can look at the 4 main ways to build traffic to your website:

1. Via Your Content Strategy

As part of your overall content strategy, you should first do an audit of your existing content to see if it’s inline with your existing strategy. Over the years, you may have built up hundreds of blog posts, and those posts might not be inline with what you’re doing now.

Once you’ve audited your content, you can begin updating your approach to content to get more traffic. Some ways to do that would be to write new blog posts (preferably good content that people will want to link to), creating new guides or PDFs that can be downloaded, writing new content for existing groups of pages, like neighbourhoods, testimonials, etc. As well, if you have blog posts that get a lot of traffic, you might want to update those from time to time so they’re up to date and provide the most useful information possible.

Another approach is to see what your competition is doing well. There are a number of good apps out there that can help you do that. BuzzSumo, for example, helps you figure out what content on a competitor’s website has the most interaction in terms of what’s popular, what has the most shares and the most backlinks.

2. Via Your Advertising Strategy

As part of your overall advertising strategy, you probably want to have a few advertising campaigns in place to push traffic to your website. Those advertising campaigns might be on social media (like Facebook, Linkedin, etc), Google AdWords campaigns, retargeting campaigns, or all of the above. How do you decide where? It’s a good idea to go back to target audience, and think about where the people you’re targeting online are most likely to find you.

Another thing to keep in mind is where the user goes when they click your ads. As part of an advertising campaign, you’ll want to create some landing pages specifically built and planned with that campaign in mind. If you spend all that time coming up with advertising campaigns, and you send them to your homepage, which the user is less likely to convert on, then you’re really just wasting your time and your money.

3. Via Your SEO/Keyword Strategy

As part of your overall SEO/keyword strategy, you’ll want to spend a lot of time researching relevant keywords and figuring out not only what you want your website to rank for, but more importantly, what your website will actually rank for. That’s a delicate balance between keyword relevance and competition, and it all ties back to your content strategy.

You’ll also want to consider both short and longtail keywords (longtail keywords are just long keyphrases instead of single words), and you’ll also want to consider how often it’s searched and base your research on that. For example, if someone searches: how much is my house worth right now, even if that only got one search a month, it’s still relevant to rank for because the user is looking for something really specific that they’re likely to convert on.

Never guess as to what people are searching. You might think that a keyword gets a lot of searches, but it might in fact not get very many at all. Google Keyword Planner can clear that up for you by showing you the exact number of searches your keyword gets.

4. Your Social Media Strategy

As part of your overall social media strategy, you’ll want to plan out what you post, when you post it, and who you show it to. By using an application like Hootsuite, you can schedule all of your content to do just that. Can’t think of anything to post? Try posting to older content on your website if it’s still relevant, like blog posts or static page content.

Remember that when you’re choosing which social media platforms to use, don’t just use them all; use the ones that your target audience is on, and also, use the ones that you enjoy the most as you’re more likely to use them.

Now, Get Started

With the above in mind, here’s what you should do next:

  1. Define your overall website goals – Have a clear idea of what you ideally want to happen on your website when a user goes to it.
  2. Define your target audience – If you don’t know who you’re targeting or why you’re targeting them, you can never get them to do what you want them to.
  3. Decide what 4 techniques will work for you – You might not want to do all 4 of the traffic drivers above, depending on your strategy and skills, so choose the ones that will work the best for you.
  4. Audit your site – Figure out what you’re doing well, and where you can improve.
  5. Plan it out – Plan out you r strategies via the above, and actually do them.

If you want more information about content creation and promotion, check out FirstSiteGuide for free guides and resources covering this and related topics.

- Andre Bodnar, Managing Partner of Creative

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