Are you looking to increase your enquiries and make more sales from your website in 2020? If you want your website to work harder for your business, the first step you need to take is to increase your website traffic. More eyes on your content can mean more enquiries from prospective customers and clients, and, ultimately, more money in the bank.
But how do you get more people to visit your website? In this post, we share how we increased our website traffic by 10 times in 12 months in 2017 and give you some tips to help you do the same.
Using your website to sell
Before 2017, we used to get approximately 250-300 visitors to our website per month. At the time, our business was going well – we were getting plenty of referrals from our existing and previous clients, and we had enough projects to pay the bills. But while we were busy working on our clients’ websites, we were neglecting our own.
We might be professional web designers, but we were suffering from what we call ‘website shame’. Just like a lot of our clients do before they start working with us, we were using our website like an online business card – a glorified billboard for our business that we’d send people to when they wanted to get in touch with us.
But that’s now how you should use your website! Your website should act as an ‘unpaid salesperson’ for your business – it should help you generate leads and sales. Sell your products or services.
Also, because we weren’t creating any blog content for our website, we didn’t have anything to share on social media or with our email list. And as a result, we weren’t building our brand, and our business was growing excruciatingly slowly.
But in 2017, we started producing regular content for our website, and everything changed.
Publishing regular content on your website
Fast-forward to 2018, and we were regularly getting 2,500-3,000 visits to our website per month. Considering there’s a lot of competition in our market, those stats aren’t bad for a web design agency. But what’s key is that we increased our website traffic by 10 times compared to where we were a year earlier. And that’s something!
So what did we do differently?
At the start of 2017, we joined a 90-day content marketing challenge with a group of like-minded business owners through the former Content Marketing Academy (CMA) led by Chris Marr. By signing up for the challenge, we made a decision and a commitment to create a new piece of blog content every week and to practise what we preached.
We started using our website to:
- Build a personal brand.
- Get more traffic.
- Drive more enquiries.
- Make more sales.
But how did we do it? And how can you commit to creating regular content on your website?
1. Measure your benchmark
Do you know how much traffic you’re currently getting on your website every month? In our experience, most website owners don’t. So if you haven’t already, use your Google Analytics to find out.
2. Use your time efficiently
Prior to 2017, we had probably published 2 or 3 blog posts in a year. We used the excuse that we were too busy with client work to find the time to write. If you don’t make time to market your business, your business will stay still. And maybe that’s okay for now, but what about in 6 months or a year?
As a result of publishing regular content, we got more work. But more importantly, we attracted clients that were better suited to our business and who paid more. We did this and still found time to write weekly. This just goes to show that if you put your mind to it and prioritise working on your own business and website, you can make it happen. All we needed to do was to plan ahead and be more efficient with our time.
So what can you do to make better use of your time? Could you set aside a couple of hours a week to create content? Could you maybe take yourself out for half a day every fortnight to work on your website? What worked for us was planning out our content in advance, that way, we knew exactly what to write. We did this using a content planner, that we’re now giving away free to you. Just click to download below!
3. Create accountability
What worked really well for us was taking part in a content creation challenge with other business owners. This gave us the motivation and accountability we needed to keep going when the going got tough and always meet our deadlines. It wasn’t always easy, and it involved a lot of last-minute work on a Sunday night. But we had a group of people supporting us and cheering us on. And that made all the difference in helping us meet our deadlines.
Plus, we got feedback too, and this helped us get better and faster at producing content.
4. Answer your clients’ questions
During the 90-day challenge, we followed the principles from the book They Ask You Answer, by Marcus Sheridan. We learnt that when people are thinking about buying from you, they’ll do their own research first. And typically, they’ll look for information around price, read reviews and comparisons, etc.
Just ask yourself, what did you do the last time you made a purchase? Before you bought the product/service? Research, right? We can’t even buy a toaster without researching!
Using Marcus Sheridan’s method, we came up with a huge number of ideas. We wrote blog posts around our prices, we created industry-related comparisons and reviews, and we generally tried to answer any question our existing or prospective clients would ask us. Essentially, our content was a customer service tool.
Some of the blog posts we wrote back in 2017 still attract the largest number of visitors to our website. To give you an idea, here are some examples of content we wrote in answer to our clients’ questions:
- 7 Reasons You Shouldn’t Work With Us
- How to take payments online for services. PayPal vs Stripe vs SamCart vs GoCardless
- Top 10 Best Web Design Agencies in Manchester
The last blog post, for example, is one of the many posts that has attracted paying clients into our business. So creating content that answers people’s questions isn’t only great for increasing traffic, it should be used to deliver leads and sales too.
If you want to start publishing regular content, record all the questions that your clients ask you. Whether it’s over the phone, on email, during a face-to-face conversation, a coaching call or a consultation, make a note of them. If one client (existing or prospective) asks you something, chances are that others will do too. And if you’re just starting out and don’t have many clients yet, Facebook groups and conversations on social media can be a great place to start to find ideas.
To help you plan all this content, you can download the content matrix, which is the exact framework we use to plan our content for the entire year.
5. Optimise your content for search
Once we gathered ideas for content from our clients, we then used keyword research tools to articulate those questions in a way that would help our ideal clients find our content on Google. ‘Optimising your content for search’ effectively means using words and phrases that people will use when searching for your business or for related information online.
So use keyword research tools to make intelligent decisions about the titles and the sub-headings you use in your blog posts. And once you’ve identified the relevant keywords, make sure you include them in:
- Title tags.
- Meta descriptions.
- Image names.
- And the Alt text on your images.
If you want to find out more about how to do this, head over to our blog post: 11 Reasons You’re NOT Ranking in Google & How To Fix It. (We wrote it at the back of a real question, and it’s still one of the best-performing blog posts on our website!).
You can also download our checklist of the exact ways to optimise your blog posts.
While we always recommend optimising your content for search, by creating content centered around our clients’ questions, we didn’t always target high-traffic keywords. And yet, some of the blog posts we wrote following this approach still attract the majority of the traffic to our website, like this post: Why are we so expensive?
6. Delve deep into the topic
If you look at some of the blog posts we linked to, you’ll notice that our content is always quite in-depth. Generally speaking, the higher the word count, the more traffic you can expect to receive to your blog post. There’s enough data out there to prove that the more effort you put into your writing, the more opportunities you have to include:
- additional keywords,
- internal links,
- and optimised images.
All of this encourages Google to rank you higher on the search results. So aim to create the best piece of content on a certain topic, and you’ll be rewarded by Google sending more traffic your way.
And if you’re worried about not being able to create long-form content, don’t! As a business owner, you confidently answer the questions your clients ask you day in and day out without thinking twice about it. So look at writing blog posts as an efficient way to share the knowledge that’s in your head. Focus on how you’re making life easier for your readers – you’re educating, informing, and entertaining. You’re being of service.
Be honest and transparent. Don’t be afraid of giving away your knowledge – it pays back, as you can expect an increase in traffic and in enquiries. Just be mindful of the fact that longer content doesn’t mean boring. So keep your end-users (the people consuming your content) in mind, and make your content interesting and relevant.
7. Rinse and repeat
Once you’ve followed these steps once, rinse and repeat. Do this weekly for a year, and you’ll see huge results, much like we did. It’s by creating 25-30 blog posts in 2017 that we managed to increase our website traffic by 10 times. It’s hard work, but as long as you commit to it and find a way to keep yourself accountable to the process, you can make it happen!
Sure, we found it challenging at times. When we first started, we second-guessed ourselves, and we weren’t sure anyone was even reading. But as time went on, people started noticing our content, sharing it, and giving us praise. Our audience started to see us differently because we had this wealth of knowledge that was now available on our website for the world to see.
Publishing regular content changed our positioning in the market. And it changed the type of discussions we’d have during sales calls. We found that people would read our articles before jumping on a call with us. And by the time we spoke to them, they already had trust in us. This made our sales process much quicker and easier.
In 2017, our website started doing some of the selling for us.
And if you commit to publishing regular content on your website, you can get these results for your business too. You can start this whole process by downloading the content matrix which will help you create your entire content for the year. But it’s not just any content, this content will actually help deliver you sales and leads.
Would you like to join our 90-day challenge?
In 2020, we are running three 90-day content marketing challenges inside our membership, Make Your Mark Online. Our challenges will start on the 13th of January, the 11th of May, and the 7th of September 2020, and we’ll ask all our members taking part to produce one piece of content every week. We’ll support them with weekly calls, training videos, and a private Slack group, giving them the support, motivation, and accountability to use content to increase website traffic and make a difference to the bottom line of their business. If you’d like to find out more and join us for the next 90-day challenge, head over to Make Your Mark Online, or give us a shout if you have any questions!