Recently I’ve had a lot of questions from clients and friends asked me how they can build and promote their websites without spending a lot of money. They are looking for things they can be pro-active about in order to push their businesses forward on the web.
I am all for this type of effort. Even though I provide Internet marketing services, I absolutely think every business and individual should also make an ongoing effort to promote their own websites even after they’ve hired me.
What I tell people is that there are two main sources of traffic that I know of: paid and unpaid.
If you want unpaid traffic, you need to be prepared the put in the time, effort and energy to build up your online presence.
The first thing I tell people to do is to start writing content for their site (or blog). I tell them that writing a piece of content once a week or once every 2 weeks is a great investment of their time, even better if you can do it 2-3 times week.
Here’s why: when you write an article for your site using your ideas, personality and experience to address a question your clients have or to provide an update on your industry for example, you’re creating additional value for your clients and for people just like them (a.k.a your prospects). You are also creating value for search engines such as Google.
Let me explain. When an article is added to your site -in this case we’ll use the example of an article about Internet marketing- that article then has the potential to pull people to your site. How does this work? If you publish an article about Internet marketing Google is then likely to pick up and “remember” this article (it’s actually called indexing in search engine speak). The next time someone does a search for Internet marketing, your website (or mine in this case) has a chance of appearing in the search results for that term. (Disclaimer: Internet marketing is a very competitive term in most markets around the world. Your industry may also be very competitive so writing one article a week may not be the total solution. There is no “silver bullet” so keep in mind that this is but one tool in your arsenal.)
Now consider this: each article you write for your website will exist online as long as you continue to pay each year to keep your website up. This means that the article you just wrote has the potential to pull people to your site for years after you’ve written it. Even better is that each article you write can show up in Google and other search engines as a stand-alone page. What this means is that Google doesn’t always show people just your home page. It shows people the page on your site that most closely matches a user’s search query.
For example, if I write about search engine marketing one week and then Twitter the next week, those two pages have the potential to show up separately in Google. One will show up when people search for search engine marketing and the other will show up when people search for Twitter. Each one of these pages then becomes a doorway for people to find the site.
If you added 1 piece of content per week that would mean you would have 52 new ways for people to find you at the end of 1 year. In 2 years you would have 104 new ways for people to find you.
This is a huge secret that most people don’t get. They don’t realize that writing content is an investment that pays ongoing returns and provides a lot of time leverage and long-term rewards.
Using another example, let’s say you have a conversation with a client to answer a question. If you spend 20 minutes with them, they receive 20 minutes of your valuable time and that time is lost to you. There may be some benefit to you in terms of your client being happier with your service and better informed, however, no one else benefits from the conversation and the value is lost rather quickly.
If instead, you were to answer the question and then, immediately after hanging up you were to write a short article for your website answering the question in a little more detail (possibly with links to other websites to back up your answer) you now have a place you can direct the next person who asks that question. E.g “Bill you know I actually answered this for you already in detail on my website, let me send you the link.” In this example you’ve created something that will have residual value for you and your clients and prospects and you’ve just saved and better leveraged your time.
A second benefit of this approach is that because you’ve added the answer to this question to your website, people outside of your network (prospects) who type this question in to Google may now be able to find you. If they visit your site to get the answer, you’ve now added value to their day in advance of doing any business with them. It is highly likely a percentage of these people will call or email you as you’ve already proven you can help them. Just think how this begins to compound when you have 100 or 200 articles on your site. It builds and builds.
How do I know this works? Well, for one, I do this with my own websites. I built a site in late 2007 and spent 4 months writing an article a day for the site. It was a hectic and tiring pace and I don’t recommend it! However, I was able to generate 2000+ visitors per month in that time period and was then able to sell advertising and some consulting services as a result. I ended up earning several thousand dollars from the advertising and do this day I continue to get requests for web marketing consulting services as a result of that site. So none of this is theory; it’s tried and tested advice.
A final thought I will leave you with is that you can take the example above one step further if you have an email list or are part of a social network such as Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin.com. After you’ve written your content and posted it on your site, you can then post a link to any one of the services above and blast it out to your network and via email to your email list. In that way you’ve multiplied your time by another factor and will likely generate immediate traffic. Also, the people in your network may decide to further spread your content around to their networks and so on.
Writing is powerful stuff. Do it. Make it a habit and your traffic will grow.
If you want more information on the ideas I’ve discussed here please let me know.
I’m here to help you grow your business via the web and have more ideas like these ones that have been tested and proven and are waiting to be put to work for you.