Increasing website traffic

There are millions of websites on the Internet, but not all of them provide real value to the visitor. Before promoting your website, you need to have a few fundamentals in place.

Website quality

Review the website for quality content. The information should be presented in simple, concise and practical language, with particular attention paid to good grammar and correct spelling. Ensure that the navigation is simple. Is it easy for visitors to contact you by phone, email or through a contact form? Your website branding, appearance and usability are a reflection of your business, so make sure your website displays properly In different browsers, and that it loads quickly.

Service and response

Be prepared to respond to inquiries that are left at various spots throughout the website. Your customers won't come back if there is no way to contact the business or if there is no response when contact is initiated. Make sure that phone numbers are correct, that email is answered promptly, and that customer service systems and processes are in place. Make sure that orders are filled properly, with the least possible inconvenience to the customer.

Once your website is ready to go, it may still be a challenge to attract visitors. Here is a look at where website visitors come from and how to maximize each traffic channel:

Direct visitors — These are people who type in your domain name and go directly to your website. Three key tactics are regularly used to increase direct visitor traffic:

Visitors who find you through search engines — Most people find websites through the help of a search engine or directory, so it is important that your website be properly listed and accessible to users.

Search engine services: Since listing a website is a complicated process, you may find it easier to hire a business that specializes in search engine submission and website optimization. When you do, it is a good idea to check into the business' deliverables, follow-up services, customer service and track record.

Paid ads — All major search engines and directories offer a range of advertising options to suit every budget and every type of marketing campaign. Here's an overview of some of the options that are available:

Linked visitors — By its nature the Internet connects people with other people and businesses, and encourages cross-linking and cross-integration. To drive more traffic to your website, it makes sense to have as many other websites as possible link back to yours. Many search engines also use the number and quality of links directing people back to your website when calculating the ranking position: the more quality links, the higher the position. Note, however, that paid links won’t impact your ranking; only organic (free) ones will.

Depending on the type of website you have, you will have different linking strategies available to you. A website rich in content will be a more valued link than a business website that simply promotes its own product. There are various opportunities to explore.

Free links — Sources of potential free links include:

Canadian Company Capabilities is one such directory that gives you access to a database of more than 60,000 Canadian businesses. You can use this practical, searchable database to find suppliers, or to increase your own visibility.

Paid links — Some of the same sources as above, plus:

Banner/display advertising — This is available on a vast range of websites from search engines to portals to industry specific websites. When planning a banner advertising campaign, you need a significant budget in order to sustain the ad strategy. One benefit of banner advertising is that the creative aspect can be tested while the campaign is still running and extensive data can be collected to measure the success of the campaign. The results can be used to adjust the design or the placement of the ads throughout the campaign.

Improving ranking

Once your website is listed, you may want to take steps to improve its ranking in search results. Improving visibility is known as search engine optimization, and you can do this as you create your content.

While each search engine uses its own algorithm for ranking, they each examine headings and descriptions. It is therefore wise to focus your energy in these areas.

Tips to improve ranking:

Once your website's ranking has improved, keep it that way by reviewing these steps on a regular basis and making changes to your site when needed.

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