You have been working hard, generated hundreds of ideas, selected a few and perfected your initial concept. You have built a prototype and your online business or store is ready for an influx of customers. Though how to attract people to visit your website?

In this list I aim to provide a checklist of suggestions and recommendations that you can follow to grow highly targeted traffic to your website. These steps also assume that you are working on how well your websites converts visitors into customers. The latter will be a separate list.

I always prefer to start from marketing strategy rather than jumping to tactics straightaway. Seneca said that “if one doesn’t know which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable”. Think about your goals and strategy prior.

One of the main things to consider is your target keywords – if you have a few in mind that you want to a) be on top of Google and b) be a top of mind for your customers – you are half way there.

List of key traffic sources

1. Identify traffic sources that are applicable to your business.
Here is a sublist from what you can choose from:

  • Search Engine Marketing (all paid advertising on Google, Bing)
  • Search Engine Optimisation (organic traffic that you get to your site, content and products)
  • Social Media Marketing (traffic from organic and paid placements on social media platforms)
  • Media Buying
  • Email Marketing
  • Partnerships, Affiliates and Referrals
  • Word of Mouth
  • Public Relations

Everything is very interconnected, so expect a synergistic effect from several sources. Start by thinking about pros and cons of each and what makes sense to your business, products and services. Next few bullet points will also tell you a bit more about each of the above.

2. Search Engine Marketing

It is all about Google AdWords in English speaking countries. Bing and Yahoo alliance takes a second place, but its traffic is considerably lower (circa 15%), so I’d recommend getting acquainted with how AdWords platform works. Consider hiring a freelancer for this matter, it is a robust system and you would be away from your main side of the business a lot if you do this on your own.

AdWords will help you to start showing ads on Google in the search results, but also Shopping type of ads, display (banners), promote your mobile application and a combination of these.

3. Search Engine Optimisation

Remember my earlier note about your target keywords? This is what I was talking about. You will need to do impossible (just joking) to grow in your organic rankings for those keywords and thus increase a very targeted traffic to your site.

This is then divided by on-site and off-site optimisation. The former relates to your efforts to optimise you site pages for those keywords. This is time consuming and can be quite tedious, but it simply needs to be done. The latter, well I have warned you, even more tedious: it means you need to establish your website footprint on the ever growing world wide web. Search engines will only recognise you as valuable when many other people (read: websites) will link back to you. They can quote you, make you as an example or recommend you, everything counts! It should be a straightforward link back to your site, product or an article. The more of that you have, the more relevant those links are to your target keywords, the better position search engines will give you in the search results.

It sounds simple, but I urge you to get cracking on this. It is probably the most time consuming thing to do. In many cases it is also about a multi-step strategy: you will need to create an amazing content, send it to influencers for a review and then hope for the best. You will need to do it hundreds if not thousands of times.

4. EMail Marketing

First of all, please do not even attempt to spam. You will be blacklisted, reported as an abuse very quickly and you can’t get it back.

Critics say that the email is dead. Well, they have probably bought some irrelevant databases and got 0 response. Been there. I am now talking about highly targeted, nurtured email lists that you lovingly grow.

For that purpose you will need to ensure you have an effective email capture mechanism and then you use your list wisely.

There is a ton of information and guides around, feel free to educate yourself with email marketing techniques. I personally use Mailchimp because it integrates really well with Shopify, ecommerce platform that I use for my businesses. Mailchimp publishes a lot if training materials and provides industry expertise (including recommendations when to send and some best practices).

5. Partnerships, Affiliates and Referrals

You can establish your own affiliate program if relevant. You can get in touch with businesses to create partnerships to co-promote your businesses. Promotions, voucher code and competitions work really well in retail businesses. Other industries will have to adjust but in a nutshell the goal is to create more value by partnering with a company or media and then benefit from it together. ‘Together’ is a very important keyword here, it should always be mutually beneficial.

6. Always keep your eyes on keywords

Always check how your channels are aligned to your chosen keywords.

7. Marketplaces

Places like Amazon, Etsy, NotOnTheHighStreet, or even Groupon allow you to sell directly on their platforms, but you also create a brand and should try to get the first time customers visit your site and then shop with you directly. I don’t see why not unless you are not selling directly.

8. Make everything accountable

Assign a unique parameter to your links. I prefer using UTM builder – you can build a tracking link and then clearly understand what works and what not, and what’s most importantly converting.

You e-commerce platform should be able to give you a report on UTM links and you see the stats very easily. Shopify does it well. You should also use a power of Google Analytics to see your stats in more details. It is a given in e-commerce world.

Enjoy and let the traffic be with you!