In the early to mid-90s, when the Internet was new and strange, many of us looked on ownership of a website the way we looked on mainstream television networks. We assumed that having a platform like that came only with a huge investment, a high degree of authority, and possibly some other source of gravitas not so well defined. When services like MySpace and Wordpress came on the scene, we were blown away by the idea.
In our naiveté, we imagined that just having a website would mean people would find our products and services automatically. Maybe this was true for a short time, but today- the World Wide Web is absolutely awash in the websites of businesses of all sizes and kinds. Just existing online is no longer enough. Now that just about anyone with an Internet connection is able to compete for clicks and view time, it takes a bit more than just having a website. The amount of noise out there is staggering, and in order to rise above the din, we have to find a way to stand out, appeal to a special demographic and draw users in with a variety of sophisticated lures.
This isn’t the Field of Dreams; your clients and potential customers aren’t going to magically emerge from the cornfields when you click the button that publishes your website landing page. Here are 10 key ways you can attract views, and compel users to complete the journey to conversion once they find your website.
1. Optimize Your Content
In order to grow your audience, you will need to know where you stand. That is to say, what is your baseline? Google Analytics allows you to track all the important metrics such as page views, unique visitors, average time spent on your site, and so on. Monitoring these will give you an idea of what needs to be improved and how.
2. Actively Manage Your Content
Websites don’t manage themselves. Content must be tailored to the audience that you’re attracting, and changes and updates should happen frequently. Websites that don’t update frequently get low scores from the Google Ranking gatekeepers. If they see your site is stagnant, they may assume it is abandoned.
3. Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy
Content is king. Offering valuable information and entertaining content that can be had for free is the best way to draw people to your site. The longer they spend there, the greater chance that they will make a purchase or a commitment. Give them what they want by offering blogs, videos, infographics, podcasts, eBooks- anything and everything to keep your audience engaged.
4. Fine-Tune Those Headlines
We all know what “click-bait” means, and we don’t like it. However, there’s nothing wrong with an attention grabbing headline as long as it delivers what’s promised. Focus on using titles that have a strong and immediate emotional appeal. The more personal and visceral, the better. It’s also a good idea to search out the titles of similar content and try to differentiate yours as much as possible, otherwise, users may go for someone else’s content.
5. Cater to Short Attention Spans
Everyone is busy, and even people who aren’t, think they are. With so much content online to choose from, if you bore them, they will leave. There are a few easy ways to make your content, (particularly the written content) seem less of a chore to read.
- First, start with a good hook- think of this as an extension of your snappy headline.
- Use short paragraphs. This makes the content seem less dense- even if it isn’t.
- Read aloud to make sure your writing sounds good. If your writing is awkward, it will turn people off.
- Use the story format. Turning ideas into a character driven narrative makes it more compelling.
6. High-Quality Pictures are a Must
The first thing web-savvy surfers will notice is the artistic merit of your site. Is it bright, smooth, and easy to navigate? High-quality images are a great way to boost the overall production quality of your pages. Bright, beautiful photos draw people in, and best of all- they are easy for computers to render. That means, instead of blowing a bunch of money on expensive graphics- you can get the job done with a high-quality image.
7. Use Internal Links
When people have a question, they Google it. If your content begs a question or provokes a desire, you may lose your potential customer unless you satisfy the need instantly by using a hyperlink to another piece of your own content. The idea is that when something within your content provokes a need for an answer or a desire for something else, you need to provide a link to something within your website that satisfies it. The alternative is allowing them to leave your site. If they navigate away, chances are very slim that they will return.
8. Make it Social
Social media is so pervasive, it’s almost an anachronism to give it the preface ‘social.’ It’s media, plain and simple. If you aren’t creating social media version posts of all your material- it may as well not even be on the Internet. Nothing goes viral without social media magic. That’s the main reason why content really is king- because people share valuable content. People want to be associated with valuable content- and they scratch that itch by sharing things on social media. The following are social media sites that absolutely must not be left out of your social media advertising campaign.
9. Don’t be Predictable
Whatever format you use, experiment and branch out. Surely, in time you will hit on a winning formula for your core audience. This will be your workhorse- but you still need to try out different formats and approaches to find out what works best for you, and what gets the best response. If you try one approach and make a killing, you’re just lucky. If you try a range of different formats and really meet an existing demand- then you will have done the job right- and your audience will let you know.
10. SEO Lives
Sure, it may seem passe- but the reason every online marketing guru goes on and on about search engine optimization is because it matters. SEO determines what search words lead new eyes to your site. Finding what the best keywords are takes some research. Do that research for your industry- and use the words that work. Mark Twain said, ‘the difference between a good word and the right word is the difference between a lightning bug, and lightening.’ In the world of SEO, this has never been more true.