In the online world, the ways that you can bring more traffic to your website include:
- Search engine Text & Display Ads which cost every time someone clicks your link
- Publicity on other sites like blogs, online newspapers & magazines, which usually costs money
- Content Marketing where you write articles solving problems for readers, which is time consuming (This article is one example)
- Email Marketing, where you build a list of subscribers, which often takes a long time and plenty of effort
- Engineering as Marketing which often requires plenty of strategy and developer costs
- Social Media & ads, which is time consuming and takes a long time to build an audience, plus budget for ads
- Affiliate programs - suited only to large businesses
- Community Building, e.g. on Youtube, which also takes a long time and plenty of strategy and effort
- Events which can be a quick way to connect with your audience personally, and inexpensive if held online
- SEO which can be fast and effective if you do it right, and build it into your website from the start. Plus if you're a local business, it's easy to get high in the search engine listings with a few simple methods.
Why SEO is the cheapest way to get traffic
If you want to grow your business and get more customer leads, which eventuates to more business income, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is an important approach, because it's not dependent on how much you spend on advertising.
Note: Time = money, and for smaller businesses, working smarter with smaller advertising budgets is usually the aim. So whether you do the SEO yourself, or hire an affordable SEO consultant or SEO web design freelancer, you're looking for the most bang for your buck, so this is what WWD advises.
Out of all of these, SEO is one of the cheapest long-term ways to bring traffic to your website, and doesn't require a regular budget in the same way that most of the other methods do. When I say 'fast'', bear in mind that it can take a few months of waiting after you set it up, but there are ways to fast-track that, however that's more advanced SEO work and not covered below.
While you're waiting for your SEO to kick in, you could opt for some online ads and/or social media ads. It's worth noting that SEO isn't 'set and forget' and you should monitor and tweak it several times per year, according to your budget. Having said that, doing minimum SEO as part of your website creation process is very valuable, even if you do only do it once.
Case Study on how fast good SEO can work
WWD recently built a website for a yoga business which went live in May 2021 with very basic SEO built in, and received 301 visitors in June, mostly from the USA which is their main intended audience. The retreats page was updated in July with new dates for a retreat in December 2021, and within 48 hours, the first customer enquiry to book a retreat came in. You can click the image to see the live webpage.
From here on, I'm going to concentrate on 'Minimum Viable SEO' which is the best way to start out with SEO for a small to medium business (or even a freelancer / sole trader) because it can always be built up over time.
'The' SEO Mistake to avoid
One of the biggest mistakes that most businesses and startups make, is to build their website and then later think about SEO. This is an issue because if your online presence wasn't designed with SEO in mind, it can be complex i.e. expensive to put it in later, but not impossible, just not ideal.
The reasons for this include:
- Your business name, website domain name or www address, your URL's, Page Titles, Headings, Images, Page structure, page text and background SEO elements need to include your top keywords (which are actually keyword phrases usually)
- After a website is built, sometimes the page structures are not ideal for SEO to be added and they have to be redesigned to incorporate the things above.
- If you have to change any of these elements later, for example if you change a URL, you can lose all the backlinks, and then have to implement redirection of all the old URL's to the new URL's
So the big takeaway is 'Do the SEO right the first time, and include even basic SEO in your first website design and build'
How can you see SEO?
SEO is a pretty intangible thing, it's hard to visualise, so the best way is to put on some 'search engine glasses' so that you can see a webpage through the eyes of a search engine. There's 2 good tools, and in the video below, I do a simple walkthrough of what these tools will show you and what to look for. The tools are:
Video: How to check what a search engine sees on a website
More is on the way!
This article and the videos I'm creating to help startups and businesses are a work in progress. The next videos I create will be
- The important on-page SEO elements, and where to find them in the search engine results and your website builder
- How to find your top SEO keywords for use in your Business Name, URL's, Page Titles and Page Headings
- How to submit your site to search engines and find out what pages google has listed for your website
- What 'Process automation' can do for your business
- What 'Marketing Automation' can do for your business
- and more...
If you want to vote for one of the above and/or see the videos when I've made them, please subscribe to my youtube channel on the button below, and leave a comment on one of my videos about what you want to learn about next.