FAQ: How Do I Drive Traffic to My Website?

This question is huge for small business owners, many who are starting their business with a website (it's so easy to do these days with Etsy, Paypal, Ebay stores and other online tools). I'll talk about what I've learned running my website, Peggy Li Handmade Jewelry and highly recommend searching the forums at The Switchboards Forum for tons of other information.

Here are a few things that I think drive traffic to my site:

1) Get The Word Out. This means going out and selling your work at local craft fairs and approaching local stores to have them sell your work. Get business cards made (pretty cheap to get 'em made online at places like PS Print or Vistaprint.com) and hand them out when you sell (make sure your website URL is on there.

Don't be afraid to talk about your business to anyone who will listen! Friends, family, coworkers. You never know who knows someone who knows someone who can help you.

Word of mouth is probably *the* most powerful form of marketing. People who are pleased with your product will tell their friends about it. Make it easy for people to remember you (make marketing materials, like biz cards) and find you (have a nice clean and easy-to-use website. Name it something simple, memorable and easy to spell!).

2) Optimize your website on the outside. Website design is really important to keep the traffic that do make it to your site, on your site. It should be easy to find and understand your products. It should be easy to find out how to purchase the items. Ideally, it should give off the personality of your brand! Once you have your site, show it to your friends and watch them click through the screens without your prompting them. See what problems they run into and *fix them*. Make it clear how customers can contact you and have an email mailing list they can sign up for.

3) Optimize your website on the inside. SEO, or search engine optimization, is something you may already be familiar with. You see the results every time you use Google or Yahoo Search. For your website, it is the art of making sure the words you use on the website accurately describe your products. That way, if someone is looking for "xx widget", they will see the search result of "xx widget" on your site!

Making sure your descriptions are "keyword rich" is very valuable... and they should be in the html text of your site. If it is all images or flash or javascript, you will lose the effect.

Another way to make sure the search engines will visit your site is to make sure you have Meta tags on your pages. This is code that the search bots read when they visit your site. Again, it should be descriptive of your site.

This is an ever-growing science, search engines change often and it is useful to use resources like The Switchboards to see what is new!

4) Get Linked. Another way to improve SEO is to get other websites to link to you. The most powerful effect would be if the sites linking to yours are sites related to your business.

5) Get Press. This can be a powerful tool, both offline and online. For tips on this (and getting linked), see my FAQ: How Do You Get Your Press?

6) Pay Per Click. This is using Google or Yahoo ads. These are the search results that appear as "sponsors" or to the right hand side of your search results. You can spend literally thousands of dollars on these types of ads in a blink of an eye. I recommend visiting a site like Google Adwords and really reading their FAQs to learn about the process. They also have tools to learn about keywords for search (useful for your own website SEO optimization). I spend a little money on this, and try and make sure I have tracking pixels on my site so I can track clicks to sales, but it is very new for me.

7) Submit your site... to everything! Especially search engines -- you can submit them to be sure they are indexed in their search. Got a blog? Submit your blog to blog directories. Make sure everything links back to your website!

That's it for now... it takes time and energy to constantly optimize and learn about the web and your site. You need to have a little patience. Monitor your web traffic and see if you can see patterns and learn where your traffic is coming from, and then double those efforts! Google Analytics is free and provides lots of ways to test your site traffic.

Good luck!

5 comments:

Sara said...

Peggi,
I'm just starting up my first web site and am simply thrilled to have found your site.
You are such an inspiration to me :)
I have finished your blog and am looking forward to using your advice!
Much respect sister.

Namaste,
Sara Mason
saralovesyou.com

piekloniebo.pl said...

Me too I am following all the advices about jewelry site optimazation. I created my own blog connected with site and it really brought some traffic to my site.

I am inviting everyone to my site. Maybe just to watch, to give some feedback or maybe to buy something.

www.blog.piekloniebo.pl
www.piekloniebo.pl

Sassy Abby said...

This is great information! Thank you so much! I, like many others, am trying to get traffic to my sight. Please visit my site @ www.sassyabby.com and let me know what you think! Please remember it is in the beginning phases but I would love the feedback!

Darshan Merrick
sassyabby.com
www.etsy.com/shop/sassyabby1

plcpeggy said...

Darshan,

fun, colorful jewelry! I say definitely take advantage of all of Etsy's resources for sellers. Check out the forums and Storque blog for tips on being a successful Etsy seller.

good luck,
peggy

Myriam said...

You make beautiful jewelry, Peggy!
I also make jewelry, and I love getting new ideas.
Thanks for the tips!
-Myriam