You’ve built a new website, and you’re pretty sure you have a strong foundation behind it. You’ve taken the time to research your niche. You’ve got a stable of writers ready to go, and a backlog of content to keep you steady for a few months. You have keywords to target, value to give and a product to sell. Everything is in place. So why isn’t your site bringing in the traffic you want?
No, I’m not advocating going to Fiverr and buying thousands of bot clicks. One of the best ways to get a brand new site off the ground is with some dedicated Pay Per Click advertising. A good PPC campaign can kickstart your site traffic and conversions while you wait for your organic SEO to pick up and get your natural growth going. Give yourself enough of a budget to run PPC for a while, targeting your favorite keywords, and draw in traffic to get your site going.
Social media is one of the pillars of organic traffic growth. For the moment, you almost definitely need to use Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram. Facebook has too large an audience to ignore. Twitter strikes a great balance between audience size and engagement. Google+ has declined since Authorship was killed, but it’s still valuable in professional circles. Instagram, if you can swing it, has insanely high engagement. If you have the resources to produce video, YouTube is another good option.
It’s all too easy to use social media as a one-sided advertising stream, ignoring the comments and concerns of your users in favor of more advertising. Unfortunately, that’s a great way to earn the disgust of your users and get them to stop following your pages. Remember that social media is social; you need to focus on relationships, not on advertising.
You can’t throw a site up on the web and expect it to grow. You need to nurture it and grow it yourself. Think of your site like a tree you planted. Your homepage is the seed. The trunk and branches are your blog posts. Your customers are birds and squirrels. You can’t expect your customers to nest in your branches if your branches don’t exist. Grow your site, give them more branches, and they’ll find one they want to use to roost.
It’s a common pitfall for new sites to jump into the game with lower quality standards, hoping to grow over time. It doesn’t work. If you’re paying a low fee for terrible ghostwriting, you’re hiring your cashier’s daughter’s friend or you’re spinning content you find in other blogs, you’re publishing thin, low quality content. Search engines and users alike will rebel and push your site aside.
You know it, I know it and your readers know it; the reason you have a site is to sell your product. You don’t need to throw it in our faces. If I read one more non sequitur call to action in the middle of a piece, I’m going to blacklist your blog – and that’s true of many readers. It’s annoying, it’s out of place and it doesn’t serve any valuable purpose. Save your advertising for where it really matters and use your blog posts to convince me you’re worth the intellectual investment.
If your site is extremely new, you may not even be in Google’s index yet. Have you taken steps to make sure your site shows up in the search results? Submit a page on Google+, submit an XML sitemap to Google and ping the search engine. Pull in a backlink or two from other industry blogs at launch. You should also check to make sure you don’t have noindex in your robots.txt; it’s all too common to use the tag to block crawlers while your site is being tested, only to fail to remove it later.
There are a few things that might earn your site a penalty before it gets off the ground. Hidden text, keyword stuffing, bad link building and broken code can all negatively affect your site. If you can’t figure out why you aren’t showing up in Google, check to see if you might be affected by a search penalty.
Some niches have very narrow applications in certain limited B2B situations. Some niches are artificially narrowed to focus on a small selection of low-competition keywords. Either way, you’re going to run out of people who care more quickly than you may want to admit. You may face more competition by widening your net, but you’ll also have a larger base audience to work with.
This is exactly the opposite problem; you’re trying to target too many people in too many ways. Your one website can’t be expected to successfully target everyone who has anything to do with any application of computers in modern life, can it? You’d need to focus down on specific kinds of hardware or software, or even narrower, to specific brands. An unfocused target audience is an audience you can’t unify and motivate.
No one wants to think ill of their darlings, but you might need to consider that your carefully designed site is turning away users. It may be as simple as a few broken links, or it may be as complex as a deep user experience flaw that makes users unable to find your content and unwilling to give it a try.
A site full of broken code is going to face penalties from Google, and it’s going to drive away users who might otherwise stick around. No one likes to acknowledge that the Internet rides on the back of code only a small handful of the population can even begin to understand. Being presented with that arcane code when they try to load your page is a great reason to abandon the site altogether.
It’s always possible that, rather than your site being broken or your content being poor, your tracking software isn’t capturing users as it should. You may look like you have far lower traffic than you actually do, all because Google Analytics wasn’t implemented properly and isn’t recording users. Generally you’ll be able to identify this error through Google itself, so make sure to check.
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