Unless your site or blog is intended just for friends, you are probably interested in knowing about how to get your site to show up on the “front page” in Google searches.
SEO: Building Website Traffic
The subject of Search Engine Optimization, or how to get search engines to recognize your site and rank it highly, is a complex one. While you may want to hire someone to help you with SEO, I’ll cover some basics you can start with yourself at no cost.
You might also install an SEO plugin, such as the “All-in-One SEO” plugin, on your site. (Creator Michael Tolbert also offers a free report on Search Engine Optimization that is quite helpful. The plugin is available in both a free version and a “pro” version.) Another popular SEO plugin is SEO Plugin by Yoast. (His basic SEO plugin is free, while he also offers a paid version for Video SEO.) Another good SEO resource, SEOBook, provides lots of free SEO tools. (If you need additional help, they also provide private coaching for $300/month.)
Search engines look for:
- Keywords. Use the words you think visitors would use in searching for what you have on your site – particularly in these places:
- Your domain name
- Your Site title
- Your Site Description
- Your Navigation Bar
- Page Title
- Headings and subheadings
- First and last paragraphs
- Image file names, titles and descriptions (Alternate Text)
- “Meta Tags” – Description of content
- Inbound Links. Both quality and relevance count.
- Fresh Content: Refresh yours regularly.
- Submit an XML Sitemap, a list of pages of the site, so that web crawlers can find your site’s current pages. (The four biggest search engines, Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask, all use the same protocol, so you no longer need to submit information to each one.) You can do this with a plugin, such as. Google XML Sitemaps.
- You might also install an SEO plugin, such as the “All-in-One SEO” plugin, on your site. (Creator Michael Tolbert also offers a free report on Search Engine Optimization that is quite helpful.)
- Add accurate descriptions and keywords to your pages, posts and images. Resist the temptation to overstuff them with keywords, though.
- Add value to your visitors’ experience with rich content.
Building Website Traffic
Now that you’ve built your website, you need to attract visitors.
Website Visitor Experience
Make sure, first, that your visitors will have a good experience on your site. Check menus and links to be sure they are working correctly. Make sure your site is appearing correctly on different browsers and that it loads fairly quickly.
A tool you can use to check out how fast your site loads for visitors is Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Enter a url and it will test how fast the page loads on both desktop devices and mobile devices. Then it will provide a summary of suggestions to increase page loading speed. For non-tech types, most of this may be difficult to understand without help. One tweak that would likely be in reach, though, would be to optimize images so they load faster. Tools for that include Image Optimizer at http://tools.dynamicdrive.com and the WordPress plugin Smush.It.
Website Marketing: Building Awareness
Here are some methods of building awareness and website traffic:
- Include your website address in all of your marketing and communication vehicles. For instance, include it on business cards, in your email signature block, in advertising and marketing materials.
- Leave meaningful comments on other relevant blogs.
- Guest blog on related blogs.
- Write articles and include your contact information, including your website address.
- Participate in social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.