Increase Website Traffic in 4 Proven Steps (1: Create)

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Looking to increase website traffic?

Over the last decade, we’ve had the opportunity to personally work with hundreds of different businesses in various niches and sizes – and we’ve learned the #1 thing that almost every small business struggles with.

It’s usually nothing to do with the actual product or service.

The #1 problem that we see with small businesses is visibility.

If you’re a small business owner reading this, I bet you have amazing products and or services. Heck, your customer service is probably what keeps you afloat.

I know that because I’m confident if I asked you, “Where do you get most of your current customers?” Your answer would be…

Referrals.

That’s great and it proves all of the above to be true. In fact, we would have answered the question the same as you just under a year ago.

However, the problem with referrals is you never know when the next one’s coming. You have little to no control over referrals. While they might even be your best customers, it’s hard to survive when you don’t know when the next one is coming.

What if there was a way to increase your customer base by increasing your visibility?

Wouldn’t you agree that if more people knew about your product or service they would be likely to buy into what you’re offering?

“What can I do to increase traffic to my website?”

I get asked this question a lot.

So much in fact, that I decided to put together this totally deep and comprehensive guide to show you exactly how you can start increasing visibility in your business and start driving more traffic to your website.

The fancy term for the method I am going to share with you is called Content Marketing.

content marketing

… a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand, but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.

My team and I have condensed ALL of the components to being successful with content marketing into 4 actionable steps that can be continuously repeated to drive more traffic and increase your website’s visibility.

These steps are:

…and repeat!

Let’s dive into STEP 1 – CREATE!

Who are you writing

or creating content for?

Before you jump in and start creating killer content, you need to know who you’re writing to. Who is your ideal client? This is a crucial step that is often overlooked.

You don’t want to waste your time writing for an audience that doesn’t care what you have to say.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

I’m a web designer, and my core knowledge is in Web design and development. My instinct is to write techy articles about building websites, coding, and the latest design tools.

While this will appeal to other people in my industry, like other Web designers, they are not my customers or ideal audience. Other web designers are not paying me to design websites.

As a web designer, I’m building websites for businesses. My target audience is going to be business owners, entrepreneurs, and marketers.

The content I create should add value and be relevant to the needs of that target audience.

Knowing my target audience is going to drastically change what I write about and how I write it. If you are going to increase your website traffic you want that traffic to be your target audience!

To reach your target audience you must know:

  • Who they are.
  • What content will help them?
  • How that content will improve their life.

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

Who are my current customers?

If you’ve been in business for a little while, you should be able to see a trend of who your current customer is.  This will give you a great starting point to identifying your customer’s demographics.

What industry are they in? What is their job title? What’s the typical age group of my customers? What are they interested in? Where do they hang out online or in real life?

By thinking about these questions, you can start to put together pieces of the puzzle with to discover who your ideal customer or niche is.

What problem does my product or service solve for them?

Your product or service exists for a reason. What is that reason and who would care about it? Who has the problems that you have the solutions for?

The content you create needs to always revolve around how your product or service can solve their problem, or add value in some way.

Who is my competition and what makes me different?

What do your customers gain by choosing you? Knowing this can give you a competitive advantage and allow for opportunities to highlight these advantages in your content.

Now that you have answered these questions, you should have a better understanding of who you should be writing for.

The next step in defining your target audience is to create a persona for your audience.

The main benefit of doing this is to give you a visualization of your audience. So as you create content, you can refer to this persona and it makes it easier to write directly to that “person.”

An easy way to develop your customer persona is to use this free persona creator from Xtensio: https://xtensio.com/user-persona/

Understanding the Lifecycle Stages

and why it’s important.

Now that you understand the person you are creating content for, the next piece of the puzzle is knowing what stage of the Buying Lifecycle that individual is at and understanding how to nurture them all the way through.

A lifecycle stage is referred to as “where” the individual is in the buying cycle.

Here is a generic example of a typical Buying Lifecycle:

  • Awareness – This is where most people are. They are just being introduced to you or your company for the first time and are becoming aware of the solutions you provide to the problems they have.
  • Interest/Consideration – People at this stage are doing their research to solve their problem and possibly considering multiple options. They know of your company, but they’re not ready to pull the trigger just yet. In this stage, they need more information to make their decision.
  • Evaluation/Purchase – In this phase they are narrowing down their choices and actively planning to purchase.
  • Retention/Upsells – These are the people who have converted into paying customers. This is the group of individuals that are often ignored or underestimated by many businesses. However, it is a well-known fact that it is easier to get someone to buy from you again that it was to get them to buy from you in the first place.

As we start to think of ideas or topics for our content, we want to also consider the persona in relation to the different buying lifecycle stages.

Consider why we would do this.

A person that is just getting introduced to you or your company is going to want to consume content that is very different than someone who is already familiar, done their research, and is ready to buy.

The goal is to create engaging content that targets the right audience in the right lifecycle stage.

Here are some examples of the types of content or information someone would be interested in at different stages of the buying lifecycle.

AWARENESS: Let your audience know who you are and what problems you can solve for them.

Content Examples: a Blog post or lead page found in a search, social media interaction, or word of mouth.

INTEREST/CONSIDERATIONS: Provide evidence that you are both trusted and knowledgeable.

Content Examples: Case studies, E-books, webinars, checklists, or other valuable resources.

EVALUATION/PURCHASE: Show your audience how the amazing value of what you’re offering is well worth the investment they would be making with you.

Content Examples: Testimonials, detailed product/service benefits, demo, or a free trial.

RETENTION/UPSELLS: How can you continue to add value? What other products or services do you offer they can benefit from?

Content Examples: Email marketing, social media direct message marketing, Facebook groups.

How to write content

that inspires action.

Now that you know who your audience is and the different lifecycle stages of a customer, the goal now is to move them along to the next stage of the cycle with great content.

The primary goal is to create niche content that your audience will find valuable.

Why niche?

The more specific your content is, the more likely it is to be found by the right person – your next customer. We’ll talk more about getting found in a little bit.

Why valuable?

If someone finds your content valuable, they are much more likely to share it, engage with you, and continue to do so in the future.

Consistently providing valuable content also leverages you as an expert on the topic and builds trust with your potential customers.

These days successful content marketing is not necessarily about quantity, but more about QUALITY. Having a bunch of mediocre content is not going to necessarily go as far as having truly valuable content that your reader actually receives value from. This is especially true when your audience notices that you out-value the competition.

So, what should you write about? And how do you find relevant topics that your audience will find valuable?

A great place to start is to do a personal inventory of the commonly asked questions that you get about your product or services. Answering these questions as individual blog posts will absolutely be your best starting point because you already know your audience is interested in answers to those questions.
Another great way to come up with topics to write about is to utilize a tool called Buzzsumo. This tool allows you to enter a topic idea, or a domain (your web address or that of a successful competitor) and it returns the top articles written for the topic or domain you’ve entered. This is also a great way to discover new ideas.
Google the topics you think are relevant and see what Google returns. See what other people are writing about in your niche that’s getting noticed.
Keep an eye on your most successful competitors using free tools like Similar Web and see what kind of content is most successful for them.

By now you should have a strong idea of hot content ideas for your audience.

ACTION ITEM:

Download this Social Content Strategy Worksheet to discover your main content pillars along with a bunch of correlating topic ideas. It doesn’t matter if they are winners or not, just do a massive brain dump and get them all on paper.

Understanding Reader Interest.

Pay close attention because this section is going to come into play when we talk about optimizing your content later on.

There are two overarching factors to consider:

  • Reader Interest– This refers to how many people are actively searching for the topic you are writing about.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)– When we are talking about SEO we are talking about the act of the search engines finding your content, ranking it, and displaying it in a list of search results on platforms like Google, Bing and even YouTube. More to come on this.

Why do we need to think about Reader Interest before we develop our content?

Let’s say I sell dog food and I write a great article about, “How packaging suppliers are contaminating dog food.” It’s the perfect article. It’s got all the elements someone would ever want to know on the topic. The title is even ranking first place in all the search engines! I sit back and wait for the traffic to start coming in and… crickets.

No one is reading my article. Why? Because no one is actively searching for this topic on the search engines. While this information is certainly relevant to ALL dog owners, it does my business no service if no one is thinking about this topic or searching it.

No matter how great your SEO is, if no one is searching for your topic then no one will ever read it.

What to do BEFORE developing your content:

Verify that the topic is relevant to your audience and one of your brand pillars. (More on brand pillars in the Social Content Strategy download.)

Research the search volume of the topic to make sure it’s being actively searched. To do this there are a few tools that will tell us the relevance and search volume of a topic.

  • Google’s Keyword Planner tool. In this tool, you can put in keyword phrases and it will tell you how many searches that keyword has. For example, I could put in “Dog Food Contamination” and see how many times that phrase is searched. If it doesn’t have a high search volume, then I might consider writing about a different topic.
  • A similar tool is Keywords Everywhere. This is a chrome extension that you can install in your chrome browser and when you go to Google and type in a search phrase, it will show you the search volume.

The key here is to develop content around topics that your audience is searching for.

Different types of effective content formats you can use to engage your audience.

There are a ton of ways that you can leverage your website and blog to provide your audience with valuable content that they will share and keep coming back for.

Here are some different types of content formats that you can incorporate into your posts:

Lists or top 10 posts: List posts or top 10 posts are a great way to package valuable content that your audience can quickly and easily consume.  For example, let’s say I’m a nutrition consultant. A great post might be “10 foods that will boost your metabolism“ or “6 ways to eat healthier while traveling.”  Anyway, you get the point.  The nice thing about these types of posts is that your audience knows exactly what they are going to learn, and the content is quickly consumable.
Audience Advice: Advice posts are great for creating creditability with your brand and educating your audience at the same time. In these types of posts, you are offering valuable advice to your audience for free, meanwhile educating them about your industry. For example, let’s imagine I’m a real estate agent. A great post might be “How to stage your home to sell faster”. While this post is directly related to the needs of my audience, it may not be directly related to my core services. But, this post is giving a potential client great advice that they can walk away with and refer to. This type of content builds creditability and keeps your brand top-of-mind.
Events: Do have any upcoming events? Or are there any upcoming events in your industry that your audience might be interested in? Promoting upcoming events on your blog (and re-caps) is a great way to post content that your audience will engage your audience.

*PROTIP: If you are posting about someone else’s event, let them know! Email them a link to your post and they will likely give you shout out and hopefully share your link with their audience. Driving even more traffic to your site and increasing your visibility.   

Announcements or Press: Have you been featured in the press or have an important announcement? Write a blog post about it. In your post, be sure to include the press item, whether it’s an image, a video or a link to the online article where you are featured.

*PROTIP: When linking to anything outside of your site, be sure that the link opens in a new window so they don’t wander off. 

Case Studies: Case study posts are great for building creditability with your brand. Use these types of posts to highlight how help a client or customer achieve a particular result. First, identify the pain point that needed to be solved and then show the steps that you took to help them achieve the transformation. Be sure to include any stats that you have available or images comparing the before and after.
Client Highlights: Pay attention to what your customers are doing and highlight their achievements, especially if you were a part of helping them achieve it. These posts highlight your client’s success… and I’m sure they’ll appreciate the recognition. Also, don’t forget to share the article with them once it’s published.
Podcasts: Not all content has to be in written form. Podcasts are a great way to leverage yourself as an expert in your field. Doing a podcast is a bit more work than your average blog post but once you get everything setup and figured out you can start cranking them out.

Typically, podcasts are done in series of scheduled episodes. So, there are some considerations and planning to be done before you start.

Your podcast needs to be related to your industry. The topics can stray away from your core services but should always be related to your industry and valuable to the needs of your audience.

The format of your podcast is up to you. They can just be you discussing a topic or an interview-style with like-minded individuals.

You will want to research the technical aspects of how you will create your podcast, and also decide if they will be video podcasts or audio. Once you have your podcast up and running you will want to post them on your website for greater reach and control over you re-caps and show notes.

If you are doing video podcast I recommend that you use YouTube to host the videos and then you can easily embed the videos on your website.

Videos: Videos are another great way to create content. You can use videos in multiple ways, they can be more formal and lengthy or shorter and less informal.

We always recommend putting your videos on YouTube, and then embedding them into your site. YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine and is a subsidiary of the largest search engine, Google.

Here are some different ideas for your videos:

  • Sequential videos like How-to’s or Tips
  • Or anything you would blog about, but with the engagement and entertainment factor of a video.

If you are really serious about taking your YouTube channel to the next level, we highly recommend checking out Sunny Lenarduzzi’s YouTube For Bosses. She’s the expert when it comes to generating traffic to your business using YouTube.

Where is the best place

for your content to live?

Your content needs to reside on your website – either as a lead page (also referred to as a landing page) or your blog.

Think of your website as your online hub. The main objective is to get people to your website and this is why your content needs to live there.

I know we’ve talked about content ideas like webinars, e-books, lists, videos and more, but all of these things can be part of your website, the place that you have specially designed to win them over as a customer.

Yes, upload your videos or podcasts to your subscriber platform, but also embed them in a blog post and write cliff notes or give bonus info. Yes, host a webinar or write an e-book, but use a lead page on your website to promote or sign up for it. Does this all make sense?

Nothing can replace your website when it comes to turning content into sales.

Creating killer titles.

Creating killer content starts with a killer title or headline. A bad headline is a sure way to have your content marketing fail. According to Copyblogger, 80% of your visitors will read your headline – but only 20% will go on to finish the article.

The purpose of your headline is to get people to read the first sentence of your article. Your headline should grab the reader’s attention so they focus in on your content. It’s important that the headline directly correlates with the content of the post.

While grabbing the reader’s attention, your headline should also convey a call-to-action, or a reason they should advert their focus to an offer.

Neil Patel uses the “4 U’s” method when writing his headlines.

The four U’s being:

  • Make it Unique
  • Be Ultra-specific
  • Convey a sense of Urgency
  • Make it Useful

Sumo.com has put together 51 Headline Formulas. You can bookmark this page and use these as a great starting point for your content.

According to Ray Edwards, author of How To Write Copy That Sells,” a headline must accomplish these 3 tasks:

  • Stop the reader in their tracks.
  • Make a promise that interests the reader.
  • Evoke curiosity.

Here are some extra tips

for writing your content.

It’s not “always” about you. You want to be sure to keep the attention of your blog posts on the reader and most importantly the transformation you are promising. It’s ok to talk about yourself or share an experience but doing it too much will come off as spammy or salesy. The only reason someone cares about what you have to offer is because of the potential it has to help them.
Stop selling. Your readers don’t want to be sold to ALL. THE. TIME. They are coming to learn something. Be the ultimate guide to educate your audience and you will build credibility and trust in return.
In every piece of content, have a clear call-to-action. (With the exception of select social media posts where your goal is building rapport and trust by just being authentic or helpful). Call-to-actions should correlate with the content and may include: Signing up for your newsletter, downloading an eBook, subscribing to your YouTube channel or any other action that creates an opportunity for you to nurture them through the buyer’s life cycle.
Whenever there is an opportunity to link to other internal content, do so. If you are writing an article that talks about a service you provide, then link to that service page from your article. It’s helpful and gets you one step closer to a conversion.
Link to external resources where your reader can learn more information about your topic. If you are linking to someone let them know so they can cross-promote your content, and again, make sure that link opens up on a new window so your webpage doesn’t close when they click.
Keep it visual! Be sure to include supporting images throughout your post. This helps break up the content and gives the reader a chance to rest their eyes.
Try and break up the content into smaller consumable chunks. Studies have shown that information with bullet points is more likely to retain the reader’s attention than without. Today’s attention spans are short!
Encourage your reader to leave a comment. If people are leaving comments, then be sure to engage with them by replying back to their comment.
If you can, include video or GIF on traditionally flat content like a blog post or email. People love to consume information backed up by visuals video and it captures their attention for longer.

Step 1 – Wrap Up

  • Know your audience! You need to have a very clear understanding of who your audience is, their pain point, and what content will position you as the best resource.
  • Understand your customer’s buying life cycle stages. Create content that speaks to and delivers value to your potential customer at the various stages they are in. Remember, it’s all about
  • Define topics that will engage your audience and promise a transformation that adds value to their life.
  • Do your research and make sure that the topics you choose are something that people are actually searching for.
  • Spend time crafting a headline that will grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read more.

Now that we’ve covered the Create step of this process let’s move on to Step 2: Optimize.

GO TO STEP 2: OPTIMIZE
Brad Ball

Brad Ball

Hey there, I’m Brad, the design and development director here at Liquis, and I can say without a doubt that I am living the dream. The best part of what I do is knowing that I am actually helping people bring their dreams to reality.