Almost everyone who starts a new website does so with the intention of making money. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these new websites won't make money, and the owners will eventually abandon them, wondering what went wrong. I can tell your right now what went wrong.
The websites didn't get traffic.
Very few visitors means very few, if any, sales.
A website doesn't work like life in the movie Field of Dreams
. There's no "If you build it, they will come" happening online. Website owners needs to do something
to cause people to visit their sites. And most website owners don't do that necessary something
What Is This Something That Website Owners Should Be Doing?
There are some things that can be done to get traffic that cost money. Namely, SEO (search engine optimization) and paid advertising. But there are other things that don't cost any money — they simply require a little time on the part of the site owner. We'll look at both approaches here.
Investing Money In Getting Traffic
Search Engine Optimization involves applying various techniques to improve a website's ranking in Google searches. Just about every site owner has heard about SEO, but most don't want to pay a firm to perform this service. That's understandable for new websites, which are usually "one man shows" starting on a shoestring budget, with no funds available to spend on a service that won't give an immediate
SEO can be expensive — especially if a website is attempting to rank high in Google searches for very competitive keyword searches, such as "make money online" or "auto insurance." Website owners chasing after such hugely popular, prized keywords can spend thousands of dollars (and in some cases thousands of dollars per month
) trying to get their sites to show up near the top of Google searches.
Most new websites don't need to go after ultra-competitive search terms. They should be focused on appearing in search results for search terms that apply directly to the product or service their selling, which is often something that is somewhat specialized.
Here's an example. A guy whose hobby is woodworking writes a "how-to" manual titled "How To Build The Perfect Home Bar." He's goal will be to rank well in searches on terms such as "how to build a home bar" and "instructions for making a home bar." The number of sites competing to rank high in searches for such keywords is far, far lower than the number of sites hoping to rank high for much more general, high-stakes keywords such as "making money online."
In a situation like the above woodworking hobbyist who has saved his manual as an eBook (basically just exporting his Word file as a PDF file), and has set up a simple website to sell the eBook as a downloadable file, a little money spent on SEO can go a long way. MadBeeTech has several SEO packages
at a variety of prices, including one-time packages (NOT
recurring monthly subscriptions) priced at just $70 and only $100.
Investing Time In Getting Traffic
For the high-roller who has a budget for marketing and starts a website with the hope of getting tens of thousands of visitors every month, and bringing in many thousands of dollars a month in profit, spending a hundred bucks on SEO services is a drop in the bucket. To an individual starting a website as a sideline gig, hoping to make a little extra money to pay for beer or bills, that same $100 might seem like way too extravagant of a price to pay. The concept of having to do something to boost traffic still applies though (it always
does). In that case, the site owner should consider spending some time, in place of money, on attracting visitors.
SEO primarily consists of creating links to a client's site. When Site A links back to Site B, Google considers that backlink
as a vote of confidence in Site B — Site A felt Site B offered enough value that they were willing to send their site visitors to Site B. A business that performs SEO services typically has a network of their own websites they fully control so they can add articles (with backlinks) of their choosing. An individual doesn't have this luxury of having access to many existing websites, so individuals have a difficult time doing their own SEO.
Site owners in general don't like to arbitrarily link out to other sites. What's in it for them? So while it's unlikely you'll be able to get many site owners to link to your site, you might find a couple who will. Those who might be willing to give your site a link will likely be people you know. Do you have any family, friends, or co-workers who run their own sites? If so, hit them up for a favor. Be upfront with them — say that you've just started your own website, and you're having difficulty getting any visitors. They might have successful sites now, but they'll recall back when they started, and they'll understand your situation.
SEO is all about getting a site ranked in Google searches. It's important because the majority of visitors that end up at a website got there through search traffic
— by way of a Google search. But not every visitor to a site originated at Google. There's also direct traffic
— in surfing the web a person comes across a link to a site and clicks on it — the person arrives at the website directly from a link, not indirectly by going through Google first.
Getting established websites to link to your site helps your site's ability to rank in searches — Google loves to see those links and rewards the recipient sites with higher rankings. Getting links on some other types of sites doesn't help much in terms of SEO — there are many types of links Google just doesn't care much about. That's okay, though, as some of these "lesser" links can still bring direct traffic to your site — people will stumble across them in their browsing about the Internet, and click, and visit, your site.
Participate in Forums
A forum is a site dedicated to one topic, and people of a like-mind on that topic post questions related to that topic. There are thousands of forums — you've probably participated in one or more yourself. Find one or more forums related to the subject of your website (type forum:topic
in Google (replacing topic
with your area of interest, such as photography
, etc.). Join the forum, and start posting questions and, most importantly, start answering the questions of others. You want to establish yourself as a person knowledgeable in the field.
Forums allow each member to define a signature
— a line of text that appears under each posting to the forum. That signature can include a link to your site. Use it. Once you've become a trusted member of the forum, some members will be interested in what you do outside the forum, and will click that link to visit your site.
Note: Don't use the forum as a constant sales pitch — don't link to your site within your answer to a question. Other forum members will see that you're just trying to use the forum, and them, for traffic. Instead, be helpful and offer insightful information in your reply posts. That gains trust, and results in gaining clicks on your signature link.
Your email service allows you to include a signature
in the emails you compose and send. Search through your email settings to find where you define the signature. You'll type in the signature and then, every time you click New
to compose a new email, the text of that signature will automatically be appended to the bottom of your email message.
When you define your signature, include a link to your website. Include some descriptive text to entice recipients of your email to click on the link. For our woodworking hobbyist mentioned earlier, his signature might be something like:
Check out my new "How To Build The Perfect Home Bar" eBook at http://www.MySite.com!
You send out a lot of email. Will every recipient of an email from you be interested in what you mention in your signature? Of course not. But some
will. You just don't know who those some
are ‐ thus the reasoning for including the signature link in emails sent to everyone
Word of Mouth
Back in the day, word-of-mouth
referred to a store getting business simply by one customer telling friends and family about the store. Many small stores relied on word-of-mouth "advertising" to stay in business. Now, with the popularity of the Internet, almost all communication is done online, and most people don't think about the concept of word-of-mouth advertising. That's a mistake.
If you belong to any group of people, whether it's a church group, a bowling or pool league, a hiking club — any group at all — take advantage of those personal contacts. Tell your group about your site. Even if your site is selling a product or service that has nothing to do with the purpose of the group. People have all sorts of interest outside of a group's primary interest. You never know which of these people will be interested in what you have to offer. And unlike approaching strangers, people you know have an inherent trust in you, and are much more likely to check out something you suggest.
Millions of people use social media daily. Social media can be effective because not everyone will find your content through a Google search. So no matter what you sell, you know there are a great many people on social media that have an interest in your product or service. Take advantage of this fact.
If you haven't already done so, set up social media accounts on sites like Facebook or Twitter. Whenever you add a new product or service on your website, post about it on social media. Like SEO, using social media to promote your website isn't an intuitive process — establishing a social media presence takes a little effort. You need to know a few tricks, tips and techniques to take advantage of the power of social media.
At MadBeeTech we host websites that include a site builder and a built-in means of automating the selling of downloadable files — that's the primary reason people who host with us chose us as their web host. Because we know what we're doing when it comes to setting up sites that sell downloadable content, we've recently set up a directory that allows members to sell downloadable files right from within their one-page directory listing. This is a "Money Directory" that anyone who sells finance-related files can join.
Many of the members sell finance-related eBooks and videos that don't have anything to do with online businesses (such as how to make money with Bitcoin, how to flip properties, and so forth). But many of the members sell various courseware that directly pertains to website owners who want to improve their traffic and sales, including by capitalizing on the millions of social media users out there. You can check out this finance directory at http://money.madbeetech.com
to tweet out these free traffic-generating tips!
You can spend all the time in the world making your website look nice, but if it gets no traffic, it's going to fail. Your website is just one of over a billion (yes, billion
) sites — it won't generate any money if it remains hidden from the Internet world. No one knows your site exists — unless you get proactive and put some effort into letting people know it exists.
In addition to not getting traffic there's another reason website businesses fail: lack of conversions. A website may be getting visitors, but those visitors aren't taking the next step that's so vital to its success — those visitors aren't buying the site's products or services. They don't convert from window shoppers to buyers. Converting visitors is the subject of the next article: WHY YOUR WEBSITE ISN'T CONVERTING VISITORS INTO SALES