As far as strategies for driving traffic to your website go, search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) reign supreme. They should certainly be an essential component of your online marketing strategy, but as a small business you probably don’t have a limitless budget for these efforts. Here are a few ideas to supplement your website traffic and conserve your marketing budget.
Blog posts are probably one of the easiest ways to drive traffic to your site and grow from them. When you publish a great post, you’ll not only get your name out there and get a nice SEO benefit, you’ll also drive interest to your business website to learn more about where all your awesome ideas came from.
Forge a good connection with bloggers in your niche by reacting and responding to their posts with thoughtful comments. Many blogs attract thousands, even tens of thousands of views, but receive only a handful of comments. If you’re one of the few people who add to the discussion, many readers will visit your site to learn more about you. You may even earn respect as a favorable commenter and get people to reply to you.
Online communities are rich with thoughtful people who discuss ideas with each other and across the Web. By becoming an active member of a community related to your niche, you will gain trust. Many forums allow you to include your Web address in your signature. Over time, as people start to view you as a thought leader, they will visit your website and encourage others to do the same. The key to success is to participate regularly and contribute valuable content.
Tweetchats are conversations on Twitter with a group of people who are conversing about a given subject, theme or idea. It’s easy to get started; simply search for a schedule of Twitter-based chats, find one that matches your passion and participate. Often these Tweetchats attract upwards of 500+ participants, and you can develop thought leadership and opportunities to plug your business and content.
Social bookmarking services such as StumbleUpon, Digg and Delicious promote discovery of new and popular content. While not all of your content will be popular to everyone, if you tag and describe it to your target audience, it may resonate well and rise in popularity in those social circles. StumbleUpon is a service that helps people discover new and popular websites. Digg works similarly, where people submit articles for the court of public opinion to rank them higher. Delicious works by categorizing links and allowing new sites to earn a spike in traffic and interest.
Supporting a cause and telling your customers, prospects, friends and family is a great way to drive traffic to your site. People generally have a favorable view of a business that engages in philanthropic efforts. Social media is a great platform for your audience to spread the buzz about a cause they (and you) care about or a mission they support.
Attending events is one thing, but being active online and offline is another. Most quality live events today have a big online element to all the agenda. You can be a hit by covering the event live via a live blog, ongoing tweets, or even shooting video and asking questions of other attendees and speakers.
Answering questions online is an effective way to become known in your industry as an expert. Sites like Yahoo Answers, LinkedIn and PeerPong are indexed well in search engines and display your name and URL along with your answer. An added benefit is that you can translate top questions and topics into blog posts, videos and more.