One of the questions that
I'm most frequently asked as a Web Presence provider and consultant is, "How
do I build traffic on my Web site?" That's what this article is about, or almost
The real question isn't
how do you build traffic on your site, but how do you get more of the people
you want to visit your site to do that very thing. It isn't traffic you want
necessarily, it's good, qualified traffic.
WHAT GOALS DO YOU WANT TO
ACHIEVE WITH YOUR WEB SITE?
Obviously, then, you have
to start with an idea of whom you want to draw to the site and what your purpose
is. That relates to your basic site design process. You have to have clear goals
or objectives and you have to have clear ways of knowing whether or not those
objectives are being met.
Some possible goals or objectives
you might have as a business are:
- Be a business Pioneer
and get the jump on your competitors by reaching your niche marketplace with
cutting edge technology and thus enhance your reputation through the use of
this new technology
- Conduct current business
activities electronically at lower costs
- Provide a forum for
communication with customers or prospects; increase customer service by creating
responsive dialogs with customers on everything from technical service advice
to product or service updates
- Using online methods
to keep an eye on your competitors and acting quickly to changing customer
needs by adding new customer driven products and selling propositions
- Inform prospective customers
about your company's products or services
- Expand your marketing
activities to reach a larger global marketplace in order to generate and close
- Provide customers with
a way to access technical papers, new product bulletins, case studies, applications
notes and other educational information
But let's assume you've
done that. You've got good objectives and you know what kind of people you want
to reach. How do you go about getting more of them to visit your Web site?
There are only three ways
that people will find you on your Web site: through search engines; through
links and ads; and because you tell them.
THREE WAYS PEOPLE FIND YOU
ON THE NET
 SEARCH ENGINES
Search engines attract two
kinds of folks. First, there are general browsers. For most business people
they're not really the prime audience. Oh, occasionally, you'll get one of them
almost by accident, but they're not really who you're after.
There are, however, business
browsers. These are the sorts of folks who go out looking for a specific business
purpose. They're going out looking for a particular type of company or for a
particular company itself, or for something else.
To make sure that you get
the most out of search engines, you have to do two things.First, you have to
design your site in a "search friendly" way. That means making sure your designers
know how to write the code for you page in such as way that it's easy for sites
to index and find the words you want them to find. That's becoming increasingly
important as the search engines move more and more to automatic indexing. They
send out little robots to scour the Web, find sites, and index them. The more
that becomes automatic, the more page design becomes your primary tool for influencing
Jim Rhodes, who designed
the site for the Vicarage Hotel that he manages, has been very successful in
designing his Web pages to be "search engine friendly." You can access his article
on, "How to Promote Your Business Web Page " via the Web where he has it posted
Your second tool is registering.
For most businesses, there are only a limited number of search engines that
cover most of the waterfront. They're the big popular search engines. You should
register with all of them.
Now here are a couple of
tips. Register all of the pages that you think have information people will
come looking for. You're not limited to one page per site, so make sure that
everything that's highly valuable is registered. My own feeling is that you'll
be more effective if you register more pages with fewer but more important sites
rather than try to register on every search engine that's out there.
There are services that
will register you on (at least in one case) over 150 search engines for a fee.
I frankly don't see the point in that. For finding the business browser, getting
on to the main search engines will probably be plenty. On the Web at URL http://www.submit-it.com
you can find a Submission Form that will allow you to submit your site to multiple
search engines at once to be registered.
WHAT WILL THEY LOOK FOR
IN SEARCH ENGINES?
That's a real important
question. You index based on how the people you want to reach will search. And
you make sure that the words that answer the questions they're looking for are
in the places they need to be, properly registered or in the right part of well-designed
pages. So what will they be hunting?
Many of them will hunt your
name. They may have heard of you. They may have run across your name in another
ad. They may have an old business card, one that you put out before you had
your URL on it. They'll go searching for your name so make sure your name is
a prominent part of your page and part of your registration.
They look for answers and
solutions. People go searching either because they want the answer to a question
or a solution to a problem. Your trick is to figure out how they're going to
think about that question or that problem and then base your registration on
their terms. Probably the best way to get that we tell our clients is to find
out what people ask about when they call your office for the very first time.
That should give you an insight into the way they think about what their problem
Here's a quick example.
Some folks may go looking for the name of a particular real estate agent when
they want to buy a house. And, some folks will look for "real estate." But lots
of people will think about their problem in terms of buying a home. That means
that in addition to standard categories like real estate and standard terms
like your name, you'll also want to look at the keywords in phrases like "buying
But it won't be enough.
Every industry, every business, every profession, every interest has got specialty
search engines and search sites. Make sure you're on the ones that matter to
you. Usually those aren't called search engines, they call themselves directories.
But they have some kind of a registration or linking process that you should
be aware of.
Let's recap. Design your
pages in such a way that they work well with search engines both now and in
the future, and register with every search engine that's likely to be important
to the people you want to reach.
In addition to search engines,
people will find you using links from and ads on other sites. The strength of
the Web is the links BOTH within and between sites.
LINKS BETWEEN YOUR SITE
AND OTHER SITES
When you think about getting
people to your site think about other places that qualified visitors to your
site might visit. Then see if you can get a link from those sites to yours.
Those links will come in
two forms: paid and free. Paid links are a form of advertising. You're going
to a site that's drawing people you want to reach, and because they're delivering
the audience, they will charge you for a way to reach that audience. Ads normally
incorporate links. Generally paid links, including those from ads, are not reciprocal.
Free links, on the other
hand, generally are reciprocal. Who's a candidate for this kind of linking?
Think about people who might
logically refer you. Think about other businesses that are part of the process
that your customer or client uses to solve a problem. A real estate site, for
example, might include links to home improvement companies, and have links from
WILL THEY COME BACK? --
LINKS WITHIN YOUR SITE
Once you get them to your
site, your job's not over. You've got to work on getting them back. That's mostly
a matter of having a site that offers them value. If you've done good analysis
about whom you're trying to reach and what matters to them then this design
should be pretty easy. You should be providing information in various forms
that meets their needs.
You should make the site
interactive and have enough features that almost any individual can find what
they want even if they visit several different times.
Most important, you have
to realize that the two key things you're dealing with are benefits and value.
Benefits are the answer
to the question, asked by everyone, "what's in it for me?" Just like any other
aspect of your sales activity, if you focus on the benefits involved, you'll
increase the repeat traffic on your Web site.
The second concept that
applies to Web sites just like other parts of business is value. Basically,
value is the ratio between what people expect and what they actually get. And
it applies just as well to a Web site as it does to any other aspect of your
business. Try to give people more than they could possibly expect, deliver on
your promises, and you're likely to have a site that people will want to return
All of these things are
important in building qualified Website traffic. Use them and you'll not only
get more visitors to your site, you'll get more of the ones you want and get
those back again and again.
What are some ways you can
create a dynamic web site that provides benefits and value that bring your visitors
back time and again? By providing regularly updated information through a multiple
of interactive Web based tools. Some of the interactive tools you can incorporate
in you Web site are:
- Contact Information
opportunities to email you and ask questions or provide valuable suggestions.
- Email-on-Demand or Auto
responders that will automatically deliver text files of any variety containing
any variety of canned information such as articles, promotional literature,
product or service updates and so forth.
- RealAudio that will
allow your visitors to hear sample audio messages from you.
- Downloadable Video clips
that will allow your visitors to download a clip of video and with the appropriate
software on their computer SEE you on their computer monitor like they were
watching their VCR.
- Chat rooms that allow
real time key board talking.
- Forums, newsgroups and
mailing lists focusing on your visitor's special topics interest.
- Newsletter Subscriptions
that can be either made assessable on your Web site or emailed to them.
- Search tools combined
with information rich archives of information you have provided over the years
and kept stored in your filing cabinets.
- Hypertext documents
that allow the visitor to read interactively about your products, services,
the way your company approaches doing business, share holder information updates
and so forth.
- Interactive data collection
forms such as questionnaires that supply you with information.
And finally, another unique
application of an interactive data collection form can draw visitors to your
site time and time again is The Platinum Rule Behavioral style instrument provided
by CSP, CPAE Tony Allesandra at http://www.platinumrule.com
-- The Web site visitor is given an opportunity to respond to a series of questions
about their behavior or other's behavior. Once the style has been calculated,
they are provided tips for dealing with their own behavioral style or other's
 YOU TELL THEM WHERE
TO FIND YOU
People find your site because
you tell them how to do it. Make sure that your URL is on your business cards,
brochures, and other collateral material. Make sure that your sales people know
about it. And, especially, make sure that the people who answer your phone know
about the Website and what the URL is.
Make sure you include your
Web site address and email address in all the traditional forms of marketing
and advertising media you use to generate business. This would include radio
ads, TV spots, magazine and trade journal advertising.Finally, don't forget
to update any contact data collection forms or questionnaires you use in your
business to include those two magic questions, "What is your email address?'
and "What is the address of your Web Site?"