"How do I get people to visit my website?" is a question on the minds of many Darwin small business owners who have a web presence. Having built a great website with clear goals and Call(s) to Action, it's now time to promote your website and build an audience for your content.
It won't happen overnight:
A common misconception is that just by putting a website on the internet, you'll suddenly have thousands of people flock to it. We need ask ourselves "why do people visit the websites they do?". The answer is value. The content on the websites that they visit over and over again is valuable to them. This is the core principle behind successfully building an audience online.
Valuable content and your target audience:
Different content is valuable to different people, so we need to always consider our target market and ensure that the content we're providing is going to be valuable to that select demographic. This post is on promoting your website, not creating content - but always remember - all the promotion in the world won't help if your content isn't valuable to the reader. Let's also remember that online content can be rich and engaging media. Use blog posts, videos, podcasts, audio, photos and any other medium you can think of.
Promoting your website:
So we've created a bunch of valuable content that our target audience is going to love. Great! Now we need to connect people to our content.
Your audience is already out there and they're already searching for valuable content, engaging with other websites, and talking about their interests on social media and forums. A good approach then is going to be to be as engaged with that existing community as possible. Identify where your audience already exists, consider:
- The forums they visit
- Social media pages they follow
- YouTube channels they subscribe to
- Products they buy
- Other blogs they already follow
All of these avenues provide a way for you to speak directly to the people you'd like to attract to your own content. Your profiles, posts and discussion comments can typically have links associated with them - links to your website. When communicating with our target audience this way we should NEVER aim to be "selling" to them, instead we should be (yep, you guessed it) trying to demonstrate value. Ask yourself, do my contributions:
- Demonstrate my knowledge and experice with the topic at hand?
- Provide insight for other readers?
- Continue the conversation about the topic?
- Show my interest in the topic?
If you establish yourself as a part of the community and your contributions provide value, then people will naturally want to find out more about you and that's when they'll use those links.
Once we have someone visit our website, we want them to become a regular consumer of our content. This is where our website's Call(s) To Action (CTAs) are really important. Specifically, when it comes to content we want visitors to be notified and prompted to return to our website whenever new content is available. A number of good CTA(s) for this are:
- Newsletter signup form
- Social media follow buttons
- RSS subscription
All of these CTAs work because they allow updates about our content to be delivered to online tools people are using every day - Email, social media and RSS readers.
Turning viewers into advocates:
One of our biggest promotional tools is in fact our current viewership. Remember, these members of our target audience consume our content because it's valuable to them, and they likely know many other people within your target audience whom would also get value from your content. The best thing we can do is make it easy for them to share our content with:
- Social media share options
- "Forward to a friend" options on email newsletters
- "Suggest to a friend" options on our website
Today we've seen how we can use the existing community that our target audiences engages with to promote the content on our website and establish ourselves as an authoritative member of the community. We've identified that at every turn our goal shouldn't be to "sell" our content to people, but rather provide value at every turn.
We also touched on how we can retain viewers once they've been exposed to our content, and how our viewership can help us to promote our website further.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article however, our promotional efforts will be ineffective if the content on our website isn't of value to the people we're promoting too. Research, a rich use of media and always asking ourselves "is this valuable?" are our biggest tools here.