If you're a small business owner, you've probably heard (maybe a hundred times, probably closer to a thousand now) that you need to get people to your website. Maybe you've even put some time and money into redesigning your website. It moves fast. Looks fantastic. Works like a dream on computers and phones, too. But, unfortunately, your mom and her friends are the only ones looking at it. Fortunately, there are ways to drive traffic to your website, on a budget and (dare we say) fast. Here's how to increase website traffic to your small business site in four easy steps.
1. Claim your business listings online
Claiming your business listings online is your first task to increase website traffic. Full stop.
When we say business listing, we mean the side-panel box that Google or other search engines have that share your company's hours, location, contact information, website, and more.
Why is this such an important part of how to increase website traffic?
- People search for everything, everywhere with 88% of smartphone users looking for nearby businesses
- Within a day of a local search, up to 50% of smartphone users are making their way directly to a store
- In 2016, only 44% of all local retailers had claimed their Google My Business listing (and only 18% had claimed their Bing listing!)
Doing this is easy, only takes a few minutes, and blows away your competition. Seriously. Here's why:
- Claiming your business listing verifies that you're the owner of your business and that you're authorized to maintain its web presence
- Fully-detailed business listings are twice as likely to be thought of as reputable by searchers
- Regularly updating your listing allows you to get the necessary information out to your potential customers (like holiday hours, new locations, and more)
And, did we mention that it's free? Here's how to do it to increase website traffic, fast.
How to claim your online business listings
You'll want to verify your online business listings in as many places as you can to increase website traffic. But, if you have time for only one, make sure it's your Google listing. With over 3.5 billion searches on Google a day, it is the leading search provider across the world.
Because they handle so many searches and transactions and accounts (and who knows what else), Google has made it as simple as possible to claim your online business listing. Start at Google My Business. Their system will walk you through the process, prompting you to enter your name, location, phone number, and more.
Once your business information has been filled out correctly, you'll go through their verification process. Typically, they'll send a postcard to the exact address you entered. The card will have a pin number on it that you'll have to add to your My Business listing to verify your location.
Bing's Places For Businesses is similar and can also help increase website traffic. Start at their website, and follow the prompts to add your site to this search engine's business listings.
You may also want to set-up your online businesses on:
- Facebook (more on that later in this post)
- Yahoo Local Listings
- Important sites for your industry, such as TripAdvisor, Angie's List, HealthGrades, Psychology Today, or AVVO
Note that the time it takes between verifying your business and actually seeing your listing appear can vary greatly between the different platforms. It's not always instant. And, if you don’t have time to claim them manually, there are paid options out there to help you claim them automatically or you can hire a talented digital team to help.
Help! Someone already claimed my business
First, it's totally okay and it happens. Your business may already be listed online simply due to the way data flows from one platform to the other. Or, an earlier owner may have set it up and forgot about it.
Once you've figured out where your business is online, most listing companies can help you claim your business if it already exists or taking ownership of it from a previous account holder. You can find Google's information about claiming your Google listing that is pre-claimed.
2. Submit your website to search engines
You've claimed your business listings. Fantastic! That means you could start getting searchers to your website every time they type something like "New Orleans plumbers" or "dentists near me" or "where can I get margaritas" into their search bar.
For the next best way on how to increase website traffic, it's time to submit your full website to search engines. It takes search engines time to recognize and find new websites. And, since there are about a billion and a half web pages out there, we're talking lots of time (just kidding—there are actually over 130 trillion of them).
By submitting your business website directly into a search engine, it reduces the amount of time you have to wait to see your site show up. It also makes it easier for your target audience to find it.
Even better, this step to increase website traffic takes maybe 15 minutes and is completely free.
How to submit your website to Google
Google wants to make it as easy as possible for you to help them with their job. Their process for submitting URLs is fast, too. First, claim your website with Google Search Console. This free service reports on:
- Any crawl errors that should be fixed by your developer
- How many pages are indexed
- And much more technical information that your developer and/or digital team can help you understand
Next, submit your sitemap to Google here: https://search.google.com/search-console/sitemaps.
Be sure to ask your developer for this URL.
How to submit your website to Bing
Bing has a similar set-up process to verify your website, with a few additional steps. You will need a Microsoft, Google, or Facebook login to get started. Once you have that, head over to their Webmaster Tools. Once you're logged in, type in your URL, and hit submit.
Bing may also ask you for the URL you used early for Google too. Update that link with your site's address and HTTP vs. HTTPS. They will ask you to verify ownership of your website by adding code to the header of your site - again, your developer can do this easily for you in just a couple of minutes. Once they have added it, click verify.
And, that's it! You're one step closer to learning how to increase website traffic to your small business site, and all of it on a budget of free*.
3. Create a Facebook page and start posting
Next, you're going to Facebook to increase website traffic. Why would you go to another website? Why is this one of our tips on how to increase website traffic? Simple: it's where everyone is already spending their time online.
Facebook is the most used social media platform in the world. Consider that:
- In 2017, there were 1.4 billion active users on the site daily
- People spend an average of 35 minutes on Facebook every day and access it up to eight different times during the day
- Up to 32% of Facebook users engage with brands regularly, and 39% follow a Facebook page to receive special offers
On top of this, it doesn't cost any money to create a Facebook page and schedule posts—just time!
How to create a Facebook business page
Similar to Google, Facebook has made it as simple as possible to add your business to their website. You'll only need a name, a profile photo, and some other vital information. You will also need to have a personal Facebook profile to connect to your business page.
Start on the Facebook Business page. You can choose a local business or place listing, where you can add a physical address. Or, if you don't have a physical location, simply select a category most relevant to you.
Next, you'll follow a series of prompts related to:
- Adding information about your name, address, and phone number
- Uploading your profile picture and cover photo
- Adding a prominent call-to-action at the top of your page
- Bringing in additional information about your mission, how long you've been in business, and more
From there, it's time to post to your new page.
How to schedule posts on Facebook for your business
If you already have and use Facebook, this process will be relatively easy for you. One of the best features of a business page is that you can schedule posts ahead of time.
Start off by clicking the box at the top of your page that says "Write something…" Add text, links, or images, and click "Schedule." Pick the date and time you want it to post (up to six months in advance), and that's all there is to it!
Smart business owners can maximize their time by taking an hour and prescheduling all of your Facebook posts for the week. Your post will automatically post at the time you scheduled it for. Schedule consistent, high-quality posts to get people to your Facebook page and then, eventually, to your website itself. It's one of the best ways on how to increase website traffic, but also improve your social presence overall.
4. Tackle the power of site re-messaging ads
The final way of how to increase website traffic does cost money and it does take some time, but it's also the most powerful way to collect and leverage data about your potential customers. It's site re-messaging ads based on your first-party data that serve ads to people who have already visited your website. Since these people already recognize your brand, it's one of the best ways to drive conversions, solidify your brand reputation, and increase traffic back to your site.
Better, for most small businesses, you can get started by spending only $1 a day on Facebook. A post on Moz notes that for $1 a day you could:
"Get in front of 4,000 people that wouldn't have seen you otherwise. If you are doing that and your competitors aren't, you win the awareness game in your niche."
For $100 a month, or $3.33 a day, you could build even more awareness about your brand, pointing them back to your website.
How to set up site re-messaging
For most small businesses, Facebook is a great place to start. Again, they have the most active daily users for long periods of time, and their ads get pushed to their full ad network, including Instagram. Better, their advertising section is built to be easy for small business owners to understand and use.
Get started on Facebook Business. Their site will lead you through the process, which includes setting up your payment details, creating ads, and having your developer add a code to your website to track visitors.
Beyond that, most digital marketers suggest splitting your budget between social ads and other sites, like Google. Up to 64% of people click on ads when they're looking to buy an item online. The search engine is also beefing up their local search ads.
Setting up site re-messaging is a more technical process to increase website traffic, so it may make sense to bring in a digital marketing specialist or developer to help you do it. They'll suggest the best ways to reach your potential customers, segment your website visitors, and make optimizations based on industry research and practice. From there, they will measure your ads so you're consistently getting better results from the money you spend on them.
Get ready to rock your business website
With these tips, you should be well on your way to getting your small business website far beyond just your mom's eyes. (Not that we don't love her.)
If you're interested in learning more about how to increase website traffic for your small business, contact MLCWorks below today. We're a team of rock star digital marketing experts and data geeks who love to help small businesses grow online. We can help you figure out how you can get your website in front of your customers.