But How Will We Get Them There?

You’ve got a great website up and running but you’ve got a problem — nobody’s coming…

Your website is up. The Home page is perfect. Every pixel is in the right place and every word on the page has been honed within an inch of its life, but, nobody is coming. You tweet on the link and email all your friends, finally some traffic! but it slowly trails off as everyone you know sees the site and quickly moves on.

You might have heard the expression “build it and they will come”. It’s not true. Don’t believe it. You’ve been lied to. In the past when there were only a handful of websites to go to then maybe all you actually needed to do was put a site up and you’d naturally get some traffic, but the world is different now. People are busier with less time, being interrupted all the time with notifications and adverts. It’s time to face the simple truth that nobody cares about your website but you.

That won’t do. A website with no traffic is a useless entity. You’ve put a lot of time, effort and money into the production of this site and you won’t let it go to waste. Unfortunately, you’ve made a critical error and this should have been thought about long ago.

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To recap our previous posts – A successful website as an objective. In order to fulfill that objective, a plan is made. A core part of that plan is – how will we generate traffic to this website?. A website needs to be structured and planned in a way that will generate traffic, usually that means – how can we provide value to people so that they might be interested in coming to our site and made aware of our services. This is a strategic decision and should be made at the start. It needs to be an ongoing process, a website needs to be constantly evolving and adding new value for their visitors or it will quickly become irrelevant.

Not all Traffic is Good Traffic.

It’s easy to get excited about seeing your traffic increase, it’s easy to track and generally means your doing a good job. But not all traffic is good traffic, in the end your hits per day or total page views is a useless metric to follow. Always track your conversions, if your traffic is going up but your conversions aren’t, you’ve either got a badly designed website or poorly targeted traffic generation campaign.

If your company serves architects in the public sector  but all your traffic is coming from websites about cats, you’ve got a problem. That traffic is never going to convert to being a customer or joining your mailing list. It’s bad traffic. If your traffic however is coming from Architectural Digest or architecture.com its a pretty good bet that those people are interested in your services or at least have enough knowledge to know what your talking about – this is good traffic.

Bought & Earned Media

There are basically two types of traffic in the world, traffic that you pay for and traffic that you earn. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Earned media is traffic generated bakes of something you put into the world. It comes from people sharing your content via social media or email, from people linking to your site and from search engines thinking you can answer people’s questions.  Earned media can be difficult to get and even harder to capitalise on. Because you have come from a trusted referral source people have more trust in your content and view you as an authoritative source. Earned media can be good or bad, depending on why people are sharing your content.

Bought media is traffic you have acquired through auction systems and advertising, usually on a pay per click basis. All the major search engine and social media sites are supported through advertising on this basis.

Earned media is hard, but can be incredibly cost effective in the long term but it can be difficult to target – bought media can give your a real burst of incredibly targeted traffic but obviously comes at a cost.

Buying media isn’t an excuse for crappy content or not providing value – once you get them to your site you still have to do something with them to make all that effort worthwhile.

All the traffic in the world won’t save you

Like we said before, traffic alone is worthless without intent. Traffic generation should be a key part of your website and marketing strategy – it doesn’t matter how you get it, bought or earned – what matters is that the traffic is targeted, authentic, has intent and that you can provide value.

Traffic generation will make or break you in the end.  No traffic, no leads, no sales, no money.

Stewart Ritchie Lead developer and founder of Powered By Coffee. Stewart has been building websites for 15 years and focusing on WordPress for 5. He founded Powered By Coffee in 2011 after finishing is masters degree. He lives in Guildford Surrey with his wife Sydney and their two cats.

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