Your website is the first step, not the last. The internet is not the field of dreams when it comes to your business. If you build a website they won’t just come to visit.
Just like a physical business location, you need to let people know you are open for business and give them directions on how to find you.
You know that if you have the budget, you can get traffic. How much and how fast depends on how big your budget is. But not everyone starts with a budget they can use to let people know they are ready to help and get them to visit their website.
Online Traffic without breaking the bank
So what do you do, if you don’t have a budget and you don’t have the knowledge and technical online skills? The answer is simple – you need to invest some of your time. You need to learn some basics and start putting in some consistent work to get in front of your prospective customers.
Assuming you know who your customer is (if you aren’t sure, review the buyer persona breakdown), we are going to start with 5 activities that you can learn and manage yourself.
Let’s start with the obvious:
1 – A blog
You hear it all the time, everyone must have a blog. I disagree. Not everyone must have a blog, but if you have a limited budget and are willing to actually give your readers (meaning visitors to your website) real information that gives them some valuable insight or actionable advice, then a blog is a good option.
There are two major stumbling blocks that I see people struggle with. The first is what to write and the second is writing in a formal and jargon-filled manner.
What Do I Write About?
When we aren’t put on the spot, we can often talk about our business with great enthusiasm, however, when staring at a blank page, the words suddenly disappear. So here are a couple of ways to get them flowing again.
Start with a question. What are your current customers asking you about? Take one of those questions and then answer it. Aim for a minimum of 500 words, although Google likes 1000 better. Don’t be alarmed at that number. Start with 500 and as you get more comfortable, you’ll be surprised how quickly you get to the bigger number.
If you are still struggling, Digital Marketer has a great free template called The Ultimate List of Blog Post Ideas that can really help.
How To Write for Real People?
Okay, so when you are taught in school, the writing tends to be formal and you are rewarded for technical rules, rather than the ease that the information is expressed. But you aren’t in school anymore and you need to express yourself in a simple and straightforward way.
We love our businesses and often forget that words and information that is second-hand to us is often completely unknown to our customers. Getting rid of jargon or at least trying to keep it to a minimum can be hard. I know because I am guilty of it and am still trying to weed it out of my writing. You should be writing as if you are explaining something to a 12-year-old, not a college graduate. Not because your customers aren’t smart, but because understanding the jargon isn’t their job, it’s yours. You want to make it easy for them to skim through something and feel comfortable with your knowledge. The goal is to build trust so they hire you.
Try two things to keep your writing straightforward. Read it out loud to yourself. You’ll be surprised at what jumps out at you. If you stumble over reading the words out loud, then chances are, your reader will stumble as well. The second is to have a friend, who doesn’t know all the ins and outs of your business read it and let you know if they were confused anywhere.
And finally, don’t worry about perfection. You can get frozen in your worry that your writing isn’t perfect and then never get started. You can always go back and tweak it later.
2 – Social Media interaction
Are you using social media for your business? Or are you just pretending to be working it?
What I mean by that is I see a lot of people either posting memes to get the laugh or flipping that and using hard sell tactics that scaring people away. Neither of these alone will get you the traffic and potential customers you are looking for.
Post consistently and with purpose.
Share a blend of interest knowledge with humor on your social and where possible link back to the knowledge on your website. Sometimes that will be a page talking about a service or your team and somethings that will be back to one of those easy to read blogs.
Use photos and images where every possible appeal to that person scrolling and don’t forget about video.
Don’t sit and wait – Reach out!
The same way your website needs traffic pushed out to it, your social media needs ways for people to find it in a sea of ever scrolling posts.
You can reach out in a couple of ways.
- The first is sharing your business posts on your personal page. Let your friends and family know what you are doing and some of them may help by sharing the news as well.
- If people like the posts you are sharing, then invite them to your page.
- If someone comments, thank them and respond. Everyone likes to be acknowledged.
- If the visitors you hope to get are following other business pages, then make sure you take part in the conversation on those pages. That doesn’t mean an aggressive sales pitch, but make a comment or share an experience. People will notice and some will follow you back to see what you are up to.
These are not fast ways to build, but again with no budget, some consistent activity will see growth. The key is consistency.
3 – Question & Answer sites like Quora
There are a lot of questions and answer forums and they come in and out of style. I have been spending some time on Quora and it can give you a few different small boosts to online traffic.
The first is your profile. Fill out your bio and include one or two links. I have my website author page and my LinkedIn profile in mine. When I answer questions on the site, people can follow my answer back to my profile and from there back to my website. This sends positive feedback to Google and if this happens consistently, it can move you up when people search for your kind of business.
You can think of these answers as a mini-blog and you can add a link in your answer to a blog on your website. If you can’t find a question, but know it is of interest to your potential customers, then ask it yourself and answer it. Quora is a knowledge database and it encourages you to add to that knowledge.
Quora is also a great place to find questions that people are asking about your type of business and services. Questions that you can use on your blog and you can use in the next activity – a podcast.
4 – Podcast
The reason I like podcasts is that there are a lot of great platforms that have a free starter package. We use PodBean, which has a free package. And you don’t have the intimidation of a being on camera, which scares a lot of people away from the video.
Some other advantages are you become a real person that people can get to know. They hear your voice, your conviction, your knowledge, and your personality. It helps breakdown some of the barriers that the internet can put between us.
The other advantage is you make the rules:
- How much information do you give?
- How long do you speak?
- Do you have guests or not?
- How often do you do them?
Take one of those Quora questions and talk about it on the podcast. You don’t need fancy equipment – just your computer and a decent microphone.
Yes, it is always better to learn some editing, but if it is just you without a talking partner, platforms like Podbean have the ability to record live as you go. Don’t stall out in the pursuit of perfection.
Get it done and get it out into the world.
5 – Infographics
We’ve all seen them. Graphics with information often in a path for understanding. The key reason to use them is people like them.
People share them. They download them. They search for them.
All the things you want them to do with your content. Piktochart has great templates you can use to make infographics and you can start with a free account. They also wrote a great blog 15 Valid Reasons to Use Infographics, which I loved. And of those 15, my favorite is “It’s a better way to tell stories.” Check them out and let me know which one caught your attention.
Regardless of the reasons, infographics work and they are a great way to get some attention for your business and visitors to your website. When you are going to take apart an idea to create an infographic, go back to childhood and the Dr. Seuss book “One fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”.
You know that each fish is going to be different and each fish is going to be talked about. And in the end, you’ll understand something about all of those fish.
You want to take that same process and apply it to your business. Your visitors don’t need to understand everything about your business, they need to know the basics and feel that YOU know your business.
Once you have the infographic put it on your website as part of a blog. Make is downloadable in exchange for an email or make it embeddable (a little technical) so other people put it on their website with a link to yours. Post with purpose and share it on social media.
So now you have 5 different ways to start to grab people’s attention online. If you are consistent with them, you’ll see some slow but steady growth over time.
Now is the time to jump in, get one piece done and share it with me in the comments below and I’ll check it out.