Website traffic is important: it’s been called the “lifeblood of small businesses” by HuffPost. As a business owner, your goal is converting people into customers. But if you don’t have any traffic on your website, you don’t have anybody to convert. You can’t survive without website traffic.
If you’ve been running a business with a website for any length of time, you’ve experienced this principle firsthand. In order to make sales and get happy customers, you have to draw people to your site.
So you know website traffic is important, but maybe you don’t know exactly how to get enough of it. Many people preach that getting lots of traffic to your website is simple…if you pay them lots of money.
Here’s a secret, though: getting free website traffic can actually be pretty simple, even if you’re limited to a low budget! As an SMB owner, you probably don’t have lots of money to spare.
There are plenty of ways to get traffic to your website for free! Here are the top few ways to get free traffic and some tips on how to carry these ideas out.
Get Traffic to Your Site for Free with Organic SEO
Before we dive into this first section, let’s take a step back and make sure we understand what SEO actually is. The acronym stands for Search Engine Optimization. And in a nutshell, SEO is the practice of changing a website’s rank in a list of online search results.
For instance, let’s say you own a pizza place in Chicago and you want to get more traffic through SEO. So you take the phrase “best pizza restaurant in Chicago” and put it everywhere you can on your website–in the landing page copy, on the “About us” page, on the “Contact” page.
From now on, whenever someone in Illinois gets hungry, takes out their phone, and searches for “best pizza restaurant in Chicago,” your restaurant’s website will be at the top of the search results! Right?
Unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy.
Google has been cracking down on the practice of “keyword stuffing”– which refers to what you did in our pretend scenario. Websites jam-packed with keywords are earmarked as spam and tossed out the door.
You shouldn’t give up on SEO altogether, though.
Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day. And your website needs to show up in the results of those searches if you want to be competitive.
So how do you use organic SEO in a way that actually works?
Search engines are getting smarter, so you’ve got to be smarter, too. Here are a few steps to get traffic to your website for free through SEO.
First, make sure you’re targeting the correct keywords and keyword phrases. Over half of search queries are four words or longer, so make sure to expand beyond just single words.
Hungry customers in Chicago aren’t just going to type “pizza” or “Chicago”– they want the best pizza restaurant in Chicago. And when they search for it, you’ll have a better chance of popping up. Get specific.
To decide on keywords, put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Consider what they’re searching for.
What would somebody type into the Google search bar that would help them find your website?
Brainstorm a list of keyword variations and then pick the ones that seem most likely.
Posting regular quality content is another essential ingredient to helping you succeed with SEO. If you don’t already have a blog on your website, now is the time to add one!
A blog is a built-in way to consistently put new content on your site. And Google loves sites with fresh content! Update your blog on a regular basis and make sure to optimize each post with your target keywords.
Once you have a solid SEO strategy in place, there’s one more thing you have to do: monitor it! Study your analytics and figure out which keywords are getting you the most conversions. Then, use those keywords more.
SEO might seem like a mystery…but by naturally working target keywords into regular blog posts and then analyzing their performance, you can get traffic to your website for free through organic SEO.
Get Traffic to Your Website for Free with Social Media
The number of global social media users is expected to reach 2.5 billion this year, and your target audience is part of that gigantic number. Social media can be a great way to leverage some free website traffic–but only if you use it correctly.
How do you use social media posts and profiles to get traffic to your website for free?
First of all, it’s important that you explore multiple platforms.
Don’t limit yourself to just Facebook or Twitter. Also check out Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Pinterest.
Pinterest is a much bigger player in regards to web traffic than many people think. Thanks to the ripple effect of pins, Pinterest drives millions of visits to websites daily.
Chart courtesy of SmallBizTrends
Find a few platforms that your target audience frequents and then get going. You can easily get lots of free website traffic from your profiles on all of these social sites.
Pretty much every social platform offers a place for you to write a few lines about yourself and include a link. Don’t be afraid to shove this link in your visitor’s face; make it blatantly obvious that you want them to click.
By providing the link to your website and writing a brief, catchy hook about what you do, you can entice first-time visitors to click on the link.
Not only can you get more views from your social media profiles; you can also get more views from social media posts, which will pop up frequently in your followers’ feeds.
Using hashtags is a way to get even more eyes on your posts. You can use hashtags based around your location and your industry. For instance, #chicagofitness or #atlantanonprofit.
Another great marketing tactic is to share the most recent blog post from your website. Or even share an old post for a Throwback Thursday.
Brands who publish 15 new blog posts each month and who share those posts on social media average 1,200 new leads per month! So sharing engaging, educational blog posts is a great way to get traffic to your website for free.When you write a blog post, think about all the other ways you can use it. How can you repurpose one piece of content into multiple pieces of content? By taking the central idea of your blog post and creating a video, an infographic, and a podcast episode with it, you’ll have more pieces of content to share via social media or email, which equals more traffic to your site.
It’s also a good idea to make sure your blog posts are easy to share.
Include social share buttons (like the ones above) at the top or bottom of each post and encourage people to share if they enjoyed the post, getting more eyes on your website.
As you experiment with posting different blog posts on social media, make sure to track your analytics (most social platforms offer a fairly simple way to do this). Take notes on what’s performing best.
Worried your blog posts aren’t exciting enough? Invite a thought leader in your industry to guest post on your blog. This will equal exposure for them and free website traffic for you.
Finally, many businesses have begun using their social media as a customer service tool. In fact, many of them didn’t have a choice.
Remember those 2.5 billion global social media users?
They find social media as an easy way to share their complaints or questions. If you have people asking you questions on social media, send them to your website to get the answer.
For instance: a customer asks what your quote would be to perform a service, and you give them the link to your service page with a range of prices.
Bonus points if you leave the link in response to a comment left on your public profile (instead of a direct message) where your other customers can see it, too.
Any opportunity you have to send people the link to your website is a great way to get traffic to your website for free.
Get Free Traffic to Your Website with Emails & Newsletters
We’ll be frank: this one isn’t completely free. But it’s close enough to being no-cost that we think it should count. The only money you’ll have to fork over here is the cost of the plan from your email service provider.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to get traffic to your website for free by using emails.
First, don’t skip this section: emails are important!
Stats and studies show that more than half of marketers say email is the single most effective channel they use to grow their revenue. Even if email doesn’t instantly produce conversions, it can do other important things, like help customers trust your brand and get traffic to your website for free.
How exactly does email marketing do this?
To begin with, email marketing can help you reach more people–growing your list of not only contacts, but quality contacts.
To do this, we suggest utilizing permission-based marketing. This means you only add a contact to your email list if they’ve opted-in to receive emails. And that means your resulting website traffic is made up of visits from quality leads.
For this reason, you should always have an option for users to opt into emails on your website, like the ones pictured below.
As you work to get traffic to your website for free through email marketing, it’s important to make sure your emails are mobile-optimized. 55% of people read emails on their mobile devices instead of a computer.
Making your emails easy to read will increase the chances of people reading all the way through and then visiting your website.
It’s also important to be brief. Emails with 20 lines of text and three images (or less) get the most engagement, showed a study from Constant Contact.
Don’t include all the details: by giving only a short teaser in the email, you’re more likely to entice people to click through to your website. Intentionally leave some information out, giving people a reason to visit your site.
When you click “send” on your email, don’t forget to make sure your website is updated with relevant information that expands on what was in the email. If you’re promoting a special offer, create a landing page for it and hyperlink it in the email.
You can get more website traffic by splitting up your email list.
Some marketers recommend the following practice: when someone signs up to receive emails from you, they can choose their topics of interest from a list. That allows you to segment your subscriber list and send only the most relevant information to every individual subscriber.
And just like you monitor your website SEO, you need to track your email metrics, too. Most email platforms allows you to easily track what’s going on. You can even measure how long your email subscribers stayed on your website and what pages they visited.
Chart courtesy of Pinpointe
That’s important stuff to know–it can help you figure out what you need to change to get better results, and what you’re doing right.
Generate Free Traffic with Influencer Marketing
If you aren’t familiar with the practice of influencer marketing, it works something like this: you send your products to an influencer (someone with credibility and a large reach in your industry), and they promote them to their followers.
For instance, let’s say you sell a fitness product. You find a personal trainer on Instagram who has hundreds of thousands of followers. You send her some of your products. She likes them, and she tells her followers about them.
The next thing you know, those hundreds of thousands of followers are heading over to your website! Because if their favorite personal trainer endorses something, it must be good, right?
Influencer marketing works. Remember:
- 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- 74% of people use social media to help them make purchase decisions
- 60% of customers think about social media posts as they’re shopping
Seeing a positive social media post from someone a consumer trusts can exert a huge sway over how a consumer thinks of a brand.
Recommendations from friends are 43% more effective than ads on mobile devices, and for most people, their favorite social media stars feel like their friends.
When you look for an influencer to partner with, look for someone who not only has a large following, but is knowledgeable and authentic. Give them any resources they need to clearly communicate your brand and what you do. When they post on social media, share their posts on your business page. Try to cultivate long-term relationships with influencers.
If you’ve just launched your website, influencer marketing is a good way to get started building your traffic. Finding a few smaller-scale influencers who can drive some startup traffic your way. As your website grows, you can find bigger influencers, too.
If you notice that an industry leader is already talking about your business, fantastic! Reach out to them and form a more official partnership. If they already use your product or service, they’ll be thrilled, and you’ll get traffic to your website for free.
Consider giving your influencer a special promo code that’s just for their followers. This will make those people more likely to visit your website, check out the discount, and see what the buzz is all about.
It’s also nice to thank your influencers, either by giving them extra free products or a public shout-out on your social media.
You can also flip this around and act as the influencer yourself. Guest blogging on high-visibility websites, for instance, and linking to your website can drive lots of traffic back your way.
And finally (by now you know the drill), track everything! Have your influencers use trackable links so you can measure website traffic.
Measure engagement metrics, too–these are things such as views, likes, and shares on your influencer’s posts about you. You can also keep an eye on your website traffic and watch to see if there are spikes around the time your influencer was active.
Get Traffic to Your Website for Free Today
If you’ve been struggling to get traffic to your website for free, it might seem like a puzzle you’ll never figure out. But by focusing on organic SEO, utilizing social media, sending emails, and trying out influencer marketing, you can make your traffic numbers skyrocket.
Comment any other ideas you have to drive free website traffic. We’d love to hear them!