How to promote your website

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Just a little time spent promoting your content, creating a community, and tweaking your website can lead to significantly more visitors. In 4 steps I’ll cover the essentials of how to promote your website.

By Andrew, 15 April 2012

1.    Create clear and concise content

If your website content is of consistently high quality, visitors will come back for more.

People scan web pages rather than reading them from start to finish – so keep your writing as clear and concise as you can. Split your pages into sections with short, descriptive headers to help your visitors find the content important to them. Search engines will also use these headers to index your content, making it easier to find. To improve your content read: five ways to effective web writing.

Know your audience

Who is your audience and what do they want to know? Complex reports would be appropriate to specialists and peer professionals, but a wider audience might prefer stories illustrated with photos and videos.

Key points

  • Identify and write to your target audience
  • Keep your content clear and concise

2. Promote your content

A website may have superb content but be rarely read. Search engines will help users find you, but without effective promotion your visitor numbers are likely to remain small.

How to drive visitors to your website

Use your website homepage to promote your latest and greatest stories and information. Or drive visitors to content that relates to current news.

Create a blog to keep your visitors coming back for more – be the ‘go to’ website for expertise in your subject. Showcase current projects and share your enthusiasm.

Build a network of links to your website to drive traffic. Search engines will rank you higher if you are linked to from high-profile websites. Check out these link building strategies.

Publishing an article on a popular news website will give you immediate access to a large new audience. Publish on a website with an audience relevant to your work – share your expertise or write about an issue you think deserves publicity.

Send out e-newsletters to keep your visitors up to date with the latest stories. Carefully crafted newsletters will drive traffic back to those areas of your site you want to promote. Services like mailchimp are making e-newsletters easier than ever to design and share.

Use social media – post compelling content and you’ll soon build a loyal following. Follow and share other users, who may reciprocate and follow you. Keeping up to date with social media and finding time to post can be tricky, but it’s well worth it. Here are some great articles to help you get started.

Key points

  • Drive visitors to your key site content
  • Stay connected to your visitors via blogs/e-newsletters
  • Gain a new audience quickly by posting to other popular websites
  • Build a network of links to your site to boost your search engine ranking
  • Share site content via social media

3.    Create a community

The worldwide web has almost no boundaries and the sheer number of online users means there will always be an audience for your work, however specialist it may be. Social media is a great way to bring like-minded people together wherever they are.

Easy outreach

Let people talk and become part of a community and they’ll promote your content for you. This will save you a great deal of time, and they will share much further than via conventional strategies.

Simple sharing

Social media companies have made it simple to plug their functionality into your site. Creating an online community has never been so easy:

Comments Get people talking – recent comments will make your pages more dynamic and bring commenters back to view the latest conversations. The Facebook comments plugin is easy to install, posts comments directly to Facebook, and displays visitor profiles alongside their comments.

Social sharing Place Facebook Like and Twitter buttons on each page your visitors might want to share with their friends and followers. And consider adding buttons for social news sites such as Digg and Reddit too.

Forums Include a forum on your site to make it the place to be to discuss your area of work – a great way to have your material read and discussed by deeply interested visitors. Contributors will come back for more and will help spread your message.

Be a part of your community

Engaging with your community online will make visitors more likely to contribute. Share your content with friends and colleagues. Respond to visitor questions and keep them updated with new posts. It’s also important to maintain your online image by countering any negativity.

Key points

  • Create a community around your work
  • Allow visitors to be social and boost your outreach
  • Be a part of your community

4.    Analyse and improve

Understanding how visitors use your website will help you drive more traffic to it. Google Analytics is currently the most effective tool for analysing visitor behaviour – and it’s free and easy to set up.  I also thoroughly recommend this e-book: beginning Google Analytics.

Analyse

Liked content: high number of views and long average time on page. Why is this content successful? Is it of a particular type – for example, a story or a report?  Where are your visitors coming from and how were links created?

Disliked content: high number of views and short average time on page. Why is this content not keeping visitors – what are they looking for? Are current links misleading? Is the writing as compelling as it could be? Does your web page look broken in certain web browsers?

Content that visitors don’t find: few views. Check out content you think should be popular but has few page views. Watch what your friends do when searching for content – you may well be surprised! Take note of how they behave and tweak your site in light of this.

Improve

It may sound obvious, but aim to copy your past successes – make a note of what works and use these when creating and promoting new content. Continue to experiment until you’ve developed outreach strategies that work best for your website.

Key points

  • Analyse your site to identify its strengths and weaknesses
  • Use Google Analytics and watch friends 
  • Gradually develop strategies that work

And repeat…

And that’s the full cycle. You’ve improved and promoted your content, allowed your users to share and grow communities, and you continue to analyse your website to increase outreach and visitor numbers.

Good luck!

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