Podcast: How to Grow Your Website Traffic
So once I knew I was going to be taking my business full time, I knew it was crucial to be on top of my marketing, so I could start getting clients as soon as possible. I had already built my business website almost two years ago, but I had been quiet online for about a year after that, right up until leaving my day job.
I wanted to start getting booked with clients as soon as possible, because although I had savings for several months, I didn’t want to blow through it. Plus the sooner I was getting clients, the sooner I’d have more great work to put into my portfolio. A win/win!
I started in September, going hard on every marketing strategy I knew of. And my website traffic went from hovering around 300 visitors a month from January to August, during my inactive state, to tripling to about 900 visitors in November. YES, that’s right. I tripled my website traffic. There are several things I did, some paid advertising and some organic. But I’ll summarize what I did below, along with other tips for increasing your traffic and getting more exposure. I know this isn’t a huge amount of traffic and I still want to grow a lot more, but as someone who was literally silent online for a year and JUST came back and tripled it that quick, it's definitely significant.
I’m really passionate about this area because you can have the BEST products and services in the world, but when no one knows about them, it’s not serving you or the people who you could be helping. So definitely check out these tips to start getting your online marketing together!
1. Create new, fresh content.
I got my start online as a lifestyle blogger, so content creation isn’t anything too challenging for me. It’s just setting aside the time to do it. When I first quit my job, I made the most ambitious content plan ever in a spreadsheet, including blog posts, videos for YouTube, other videos for Facebook, and podcasts. However, I didn’t love video as much and I started to realize how time consuming and annoying it can be to create too much content.
So I focused on what I enjoyed most and what was the easiest do to. I ended up sticking with weekly blog posts and podcasts. Some weeks, I’ll release two new pieces of content and other weeks, I’ll release one. As long as I do one new piece a week, in between working on client projects, I’m good to go.
Creating new content is important, whether you’re a product- or service-based business because it gives people an extra reason to visit your website. Sure, not all of them will be ready to buy from you right away, but you’ll be able to get their eyes on your website for that exposure. The more people start to see you being consistent online, the more they recognize you for what you do and you’ll start to gain their trust. So when they do need what you have to offer, they’re going to you and not to a competitor.
Content also puts you in the position to show off your expertise to your audience. You’re able to show off your knowledge, which further builds trust and helps validate your brand online. Share content with how-to tips, debunking common myths in your area of expertise, overcoming problems your audience may face, or inspiring your audience.
2. Use Pinterest…consistently.
I wasn’t 100% sure what type of results I’d get with Pinterest once I started promoting there. But most of my traffic has come from Pinterest! The only downside is that the Pinterest traffic hasn’t converted yet (meaning none of my clients/inquiries have come from Pinterest at this point), but it’s still exposure for my brand. The more people who I can reach who are looking for my type of information online, the more people will become familiar with me and I know I’ll start seeing more of them convert in the future.
To make Pinterest easier, I used Tailwind to schedule my pins in advance. I’ve been doing about 25-30 scheduled pins a day, pinning to relevant group boards that I was in and to my own Pinterest boards. I usually schedule them all on Sunday night so I don’t have to think about it the rest of the week. You may think, wow, that’s a lot of pins every day, but with the Pinterest algorithms (gotta love the algorithms), your Pinterest account gets more exposure the more you pin. From my research, over 50 pins a day gives your account less exposure, probably because it “looks automated” with that much activity. But for my current schedule, getting 25-30 a day is most feasible.
To make your pins most appealing, be sure to use a nice, clean background on your graphics with text that’s easy to read. Make all graphics vertical because those show up larger on Pinterest feeds. Try to make your title on the graphic into a sort of benefit or “how to” or “5 tips for XYZ” type of title. And be sure to include descriptions in your pins. Finally, I also used sponsored pins a few times to get more eyes on content that I created. Sponsored pins did drive a decent amount of the traffic and they were actually way more affordable than Facebook ads.
And that leads us to our next point….
3. Use Facebook ads, sparingly.
I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook ads. I’ve since discontinued them over the last two weeks and I had a low budget while I was running them. I didn’t want to spend much because it’s such a gamble with choosing a specific audience and hoping they click. I did, however, get one client who I’m currently working with who found me via a Facebook ad. So I guess I’m making the money back now.
I ran a couple of ads to get traffic to one of my blog posts, and to drive traffic to an opt-in incentive, my Website Mistakes Guide. I actually have the Website Mistakes Guide ad still running as a retargeting ad for people who have visited a certain blog post already. But barely anyone is seeing it so the spend there is super low. Retargeting is best when your traffic is in the thousands because you can show new ads to people who have visited certain pages on your website already. I’m no guru on this, but I definitely would rather hire an expert on it the next time I try it out.
I also use Hootsuite to schedule posts to my Facebook business page. Even though that page has about 700 likes, with the algorithm, only about 10 people see what I post. But I still post there consistently because I at least get a few people to engage with it and occasional clicks. Plus, as a business, it looks better to have an active Facebook business page. I share content from my blog, links to my services page, and helpful content from other entrepreneurs.
4. Post consistently on Instagram.
I have a sort of love/hate relationship with Instagram, too. It can be great for posting pretty photos and engaging with people, but getting them to take action by actually clicking through to the link in my bio is a challenge. Despite that, several of my clients/inquiries found me via Instagram, so for me, it’s worth continuing to post and engage there.
I took Jenna Kutcher’s Instagram Lab course a couple of years ago and she recently released an updated version, so I re-took it in September, I think. Based on her tips, and on what I find interesting, personally, on Instagram, I try to post a mix of photos of me, sharing my interests, storytelling, and some business posts, like booking now pics and client work pics. I want people to connect with me as a person and I don’t want to hide behind behind this “web design agency” brand. I know that’s what many people do in this industry and I’m not knocking it, but I just like showing off my personality so people can connect with me a bit.
As they say, a lot of people do what you do, but not in the way you do it because they don’t have your unique personality. So I use who I am as a competitive advantage. I love food/cooking, travel, and inspiration and you can definitely see that all over my profile. I’m also trying to do better with setting aside time to engage with others on Instagram. I don’t have a ton of time to scroll throughout the day, so I’m usually posting a quick story and I’m off the app. But I know that to get more engagement, you have to engage with others. So I’m planning to make that a priority this month. To make it more manageable, I only post 4-5 times a week and I use the Preview app to plan photos out in advance so I don’t have to think about it. When I can, I also like planning captions in advance so I can just copy and paste those. Finally, make sure you use relevant hashtags for your industry and post at the peak times when your audience is on the app. Squarelovin is great for telling you when is best to post.
5. Get featured in an article on a popular website or on a popular podcast.
So I didn’t even know about this feature I had until I started getting traffic that originated from the Creative Smart Girl website and I was like, “why am I getting traffic from there?” So I found the back link and there I was on this list of “20 Black Women Working in Design You Should Know.” I get inquires from that article, as well. It hasn’t been a huge source of traffic, but it has been a source of inquiries, which was a great surprise. I’m currently working on getting more features. Whenever, you’re featured in front of someone else’s audience, especially when theirs is larger than yours, that’s great exposure and it’ll give you a boost in traffic and hopefully, sales/inquiries.
You can pitch yourself for features on podcasts and articles that have featured others who are doing work similar to yours. Just be sure your pitch is intentional and thoughtful. Like create an angle around the type of expertise that you could offer to their audience and why it would be valuable and come up with a potential show/article topic. And compliment them about what you like about their show. You have to thoroughly show people what’s in it for them and their audience when you pitch them. It’s not all about you.
Those first few tips are what worked best for me. But at the end of the day, marketing is about experimenting and learning what will work best for you. Here are a few other tips for increasing your website traffic.
6. Share your content on Twitter.
This works best when you have a large Twitter following or if you regularly engage with others on Twitter by participating in Twitter chats or replying to posts. I don’t have much time to do that much on Twitter, so I didn’t see much come from the platform. I do, however, still schedule posts on there every week via Hootsuite. I share my content and helpful content from other entrepreneurs.
It’s also helpful when you share posts on Twitter with photos or with Twitter cards and don’t forget to include relevant hashtags.
7. Share your content in emails to your email list.
My email list is still small so I didn’t get a ton of traction here. But it’s still helpful to share your new content in your email list or even links to your services page/products page. Don’t sell in every single email. But it’s ok to do it from time to time. I use ConvertKit for my email marketing and I usually share weekly emails with a helpful mini-blog post with web design tips one week, linking to my services page or other new content at the very bottom. And the next week, I’ll share an inspirational story, with the links at the bottom again. It’s not hard selling, but it’s at least letting people know what I have available, while helping them. The norm is to get way more opens than clicks, so as your email list grows, you’ll start to see more clicks.
8. Share links to your website in podcast/video content.
Sometimes people are searching for a podcast or video on a certain topic, so if one of those is your thing, definitely stick with it, even with a small audience. Your audience will grow when you’re consistent and you promote consistently. And if someone happens to find you via a video or podcast and they like what you’re saying, they’ll check out your description to click on the links to your website. You can link to a free opt-in incentive or to your site in general so they can learn more about what you offer. Be sure to mention that during the podcast or video.
That’s it! Let me know if you try any of these tips!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links that will allow me to receive a commission for software purchases.