When you build a website, everyone of course hopes that lots of people will visit because it is simply awesome! Gone are the days when you could put up a website and expect lots of visitors. I remember those days and all that traffic was great, but in hindsight, most of it wasn’t good traffic. Most people were just curious and less interested in what you had to offer.
Ignoring for the moment how to reach your audience, where does web traffic come from?
- Search Engines. A large portion of your traffic will come from search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo). People will either search for your company directly, or they will be searching for something related to your organization and not know you exist.
- Online Advertising. There are many forms of online advertising. Usually it is either buying a banner ad or something similar to an Adword at Google. It is sometimes surprising to me just how much traffic can be delivered through online advertising, but you have to be careful, it may not be the quality traffic you are after. Much more on this in other blog posts.
- Offline Advertising. This is what is considered traditional forms of advertising including your business card, pamphlets, radio ads, TV ads, billboards, etc. This is the kind of stuff most typical advertising agencies are good at cranking out in volumes. The problem with it is that is extremely difficult to track and you are shouting to a wide audience, few of which are interested in what you have to offer.
- Social Media. Traffic from social media is usually high-quality traffic. Most come from the biggies: Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. But an increasing amount is coming from Google+, Flickr and Pinterest. Don’t ignore social media as it can account easily for over 30% of your traffic.
- Word of Mouth. Always the best type of traffic. This will usually cause someone to come directly to your site or use a search engine because someone else (your loyal customers) told them to. This also can come through social websites and discussions other people are having that link to your website (hopefully in a good light).
- Email Marketing. This has been around awhile and it comes in two flavors. Requested and spam. Requested email is usually when you have signed up on someones website that you want more information sent to you by email. They’ll always be more than happy to add you to their list, in fact, it is automated. Usually a real person doesn’t know you ever signed up, you’re just a number. The other type is spam. Someone has bought a list that has your name on it. Again, they do not know you, but whoever sold them the list does. The problem with email marketing is that it is extremely effective, which is why so many spammers exist.
- Market Awareness. If you own a market space, people know you from all of your marketing activity and will remember you. They’ll typically come straight to your site, or click through any of the above marketing campaigns you are conducting much more readily. If you don’t have any market share, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle. Once you get to the top, you have to fight everyone else trying to climb that hill.