Business plan - check. Catchy business name - check. Business cards - check. Website - check. Traffic - oops! No traffic. What's an online entrepreneur to do?
Fortunately, there are many ways to get traffic to your site. We will cover some of them here.
The easiest way to drive traffic to your site is to provide visitors with content. A good content-rich site is like a traffic magnet. Make sure your keywords are included in your content so the search engines will find you. In fact, you really want to make a list of all your keywords and then develop a page devoted to each one. Put your keyword in the first paragraph of the page, preferably within the first 90 characters. Use it in a text link or hyperlink. Help the search engines find your keywords in every way possible.
Does your website have a site map? If not, you need to build one. A site map is another way for search engines to find you. And since it has links to all of your pages, it will help your visitors find their way around more easily. The easier your site is to navigate, the more likely you will get - and keep - visitors.
Market, market, market. Too many would-be online entrepreneurs put up a site, then sit back and wait for traffic to find them. When it doesn't they get very upset, declare it's all a scam, and quit. You have to let prospects know you exist. You do that by marketing your site both online and offline. Place ads, send emails announcing your new site to your lists, blog about it on your blog if you have one, Tweet about it, announce it on Facebook, LinkedIn, or any of the myriad social networking sites.
Write articles for others to use as content for their sites. Just make sure that when they do, they include a link back to your site. Many websites are looking for good content for their readers. My personal favorite is EzineArticles.com.
Get some PR. You are an expert in your chosen area. Participate in or host a press worthy event of your own, and let the local media know about it. It can be something as small as hosting a business workshop for teens or teaching newbies how to use social media. I have done both of these and both got me great press and new business. Plus the media now knows me and frequently contacts me to get my input on other stories and events.
Earlier I mentioned using your blog to promote your site. I assume you have one. If you don't, you need to start. It is one of the fastest and easiest ways I know to get exposure online. I like Blogger. I have clients who prefer WordPress. It doesn't matter which one you use. Just use one of them and get started.
Is your website listed on your business cards and letterhead? Sounds simple but not everyone thinks about it. I have at least three business cards right sitting in front of me right now from a networking event I attended this morning that don't have a website listed or email address. Since I like to look at a person's website before I call to find out more about their business, these three have just lost out. And while we're talking about adding your site to your print media, don't forget to add it to your email signature as well. If you're like me, you send a lot of email every day. Each one carries a link to my sites at the bottom.
SEO and meta tags, optimizing your videos and images - these all have a place in promoting your site. But for most beginners, it's a bit complicated. I don't even pretend to fully understand SEO. That's why I have someone else do it for me. Meanwhile, the tips listed above will help you get started. Once you have some traffic coming to your site, you can learn the rest. Or hire someone else to do it for you...