Set your website on fire

5 Tips to Increase Web Traffic

All too often businesses get their new websites designed and then forget about them and expect them to do the rest. Business people sometimes assume that if a website doesn’t take off, that the web designer hasn’t done his job correctly, that may be true in some cases, but for a website to really excel it needs to be treated like a high maintenance girlfriend. Here is my list of the top 5 things you can do to set your website on fire and increase web traffic.

  • Blog – This brings us back to the old cliche about content being the ruling monarch or some other such drivel, the point is that your content is everything. Good wordy content drives search engine ranking up, it also encourages people to spend time on your site and it motivates visitors to return to your site again and again. Blogging is the best way for a website owner to add content to a website regularly and tools like RSS help disseminate that information and increase web traffic too. Set a schedule and stick to it, one new entry a week, or a day or whatever works with your schedule.
  • Inbound links – Probably as important to website ranking as good text content is inbound links, that is links on other sites that point to your website. There are a myriad places online where one can get linked. Online directories related to your local area or your particular industry, reciprocal links, blog comments and discussion forums. It takes more time and patience than anything else to find these places and get linked, but your efforts will be rewarded as your search engine ranking rises. Search engines aside, inbound links are good for the traffic they naturally generate too.
  • Social networking – Another great way to increase web traffic is to get your business on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and other social networking websites. Be aware though that simply creating a presence on these sites is not enough, you need to contribute to these communities by connecting to others and posting relevant information. There are tools available now that will connect many blog systems to your social networking account, so for example, when I post this article to my blog it will also appear automatically on my Facebook and LinkedIn account. This saves time posting to a lot of different sources and makes short work of keeping all your online marketing efforts up to date. Other tools of use in this area are sites like hootsuite that can post to various social networking sites at once.
  • Email newsletter – Implementing an email newsletter is another good way to increase traffic. This is fairly inexpensive to add to your website and can bring great returns because once you are set up it costs you nothing to send out as many of these as you have names in your database. If you are going to set an email newsletter up on your website take the time to schedule a time each month (or whatever schedule you want to keep) to write and send out your newsletter, a newsletter system that doesn’t get used is money wasted.
  • Mix things up – A static site does not encourage repeat visitors, update your website frequently. This is especially true of your home page, at least once a year you should change the look of your home page. This gives the impression that your company is active and will encourage people who have been to your site before to spend some time digging deeper to see what else has changed often times reading information that has been there for a long time.

A well designed, well thought out website can do a great deal on its own, but to really excel it needs care and nurturing. This doesn’t need to be expensive, in fact all of the above suggestions you can do yourself, you just have to make the time. The time spent will pay off when you see an increase in your web traffic.

Any other ideas? What have you done to make your website take off? Leave comments below.

The Lost Art of Home Page Design

The secrets of successful home page design

Without a doubt the most critical single element of a website, and yet the most neglected, is the home page design. First impression mean a lot, your website’s home page has to accomplish several different tasks and do them well in a short period of time or your visitors will leave. These tasks are:

  • Capture visitor’s attention: Your home page is like the cover of a book, it has to grab attention and encourage people to explore deeper. Your usual “Welcome to our site” copy is not enough, you have a very brief period of time to make this impression, it must be made graphically or lots of people will leave before they have time to read anything. Balance is required in the area of home page graphics, balance between eye-catching images and download time since a fast loading home page design is also important. This does not mean that your home page should be all images and no text, it needs to have both, images to catch people’s eyes, text to explain what you’re all about and for the search engines to index since they can’t read images.
  • Direct visitors to the content they want: The home page is not just the cover of the book, it also needs to be the table of content. The best way I know of to get web visitors to leave your site is to make it difficult for them to find what they are looking for. The days of the Flash intro page are long gone, visitors expect to see the global site navigation on the first page of your site. The site navigation should be obvious, simple and intuitive, give them that and they may stay around long enough for you to tell your story.
  • Establish the credentials of your business or organization: While grabbing visitor’s attention and helping them find what they are looking for is important, it all means very little if your website leaves the impression that your teenager made it during summer vacation. The professional image of your home page design is as important as the professional image of your office and your dress. Visitors form opinions about your company based on the image portrayed by your website, make sure that it is as polished and professional an image as you can offer.

Creating a successful home page design requires a delicate balance of eye-catching design, ease of use and professionalism. If your website’s home page is able to grab peoples attention, make the content of your website easily accessible while portraying a professional image you are sure to reap the benefits.

If you have any doubts about your current website’s home page, we would be glad to talk with you about it to offer our professional advice or a bid on what it would cost to improve.