For those businesses that use a blogsite or website to derive revenue, looking at different sources of web traffic – and how to build build it profitably – is worth analysing.
Small business websites don’t need lots of traffic for it to be profitable. If you are selling a real product or service and not just worried about flashing as many ads at people as possible, you are probably interested in attracting quality rather than quantity. Buyers rather than tyre kickers. New clients rather than just ‘eyeballs’.
So, lets have a look at four sources of traffic for your product/service oriented website, and see if this triggers ideas for you in how to make your own blogsite/website more profitable. By the way, a blogsite is an integrated blog/website. The blog component is useful for acquiring new prospects, and for building trust to maximise conversion to clients. The website is for describing your products/services, providing testimonials and letting your clients buy from you.
Publicity (in the real world). This is easy to understand – get your web address out to people in the real world. If you established a new store or service delivery centre, you would make sure you publicised it. So think of your web presence the same way. Get the web address out to people on your business cards, in letters, on postcards, and in directories (ever think of the Yellow Pages as just a big list of links, sorted by category?).
Better still, get publicity for your website wherever you can. Have you officially launched your website? Does your website do something unique? Let your local newspapers know, at the very least. If your website doesn’t currently act as an additional sales outlet, why not figure out how to adapt your product/service so you can open a new storefront for all of Australia?
Advertising. There are no doubt very many different ways to advertise on the Internet. But only one that matters for small business. Google AdWords. Just go to www.adwords.google.com.au, sign up, and start advertising. There is a useful guide to help you understand the concepts at Perry Marshall’s website (sign up for the 5 day guide). While I’m not a big fan of advertising overall, there is no doubt AdWords give you a quick and inexpensive way to find out whether Internet advertising will drive effective traffic for you. In terms of serious magazine/broadcast advertising – if you’ve got the budget for it, no problems, go knock yourself out. But typically small business finds it hard to benefit from branding style advertising, as it requires such a major investment.
Search Engines. Someone is searching for widgets .. you sell widgets … they find you on Google … and click through to your site! Fantastic dream, not always feasible for small business. But nevertheless, there are a range of things you can do to help get your share of search engine traffic. There are a lot of people who can advise you on SEO (or Search Engine Optimization … and I use the American spelling because … they usually are!). You will of course make up your own mind. A good site to get a feel for what the SEO crew do is the Wikipedia/seo page.
Personally, I am a believer in 80:20. That is, 80% of search engine results will come from focussing on 20% of the right things … namely, produce good content (blogs are ideal for this) and make sure you are talking about the right topics (aka keywords). Think about this for a moment, as the ‘right topics’ for you aren’t necessarily just the most popular ones. If you select keywords that everyone else uses … that is good, but you have tough competition before the search engines find you. If you find more precise topics, you have less competition, but possibly find that the people who do find you (less of them) are more valuable to you (because they are more relevant to you). I like placing a bet each way here, and developing a strategy based on the popular keywords for your product/service, as well as some very specific/unique keywords that may appeal to a very select audience. Maybe you can pay an SEO consultant to find a better approach than this .. if you do, please let me know. Until then, I think there is a reasonable body of evidence to support this 80:20 approach to SEO.
Links. This is quite possibly the hardest category to crack, but the most rewarding. If you create good, relevant content, you will start to interest other bloggers and website authors, and they will link to you. This is a powerful way for people to find out about you. Easy to say, hard to do for small business. Particularly as its quality, not quantity that matters. Building a strong base of quality inbound links is a substantial task.
Because the rules of the game here aren’t to build traffic or build page rank. If all you do is try to make money via ads, that might make sense. But if you are in the business of selling products/services, you need quality links that have a high chance of converting into new clients. So think carefully about what sites you would like to link to you. If you are regularly focussing on developing a small number of high quality links that are designed to bring you revenue, then you will be way ahead.
So there it is. Four sources of traffic to think about – are they relevant for your business? I’m sure there are more you have thought of, so drop me an email, I’m interested in your opinion!