According to retail analyst, GlobalData, over 50% of UK consumers now shop online, with spending predicted to grow 30% by 2024. Indeed, by 2021, Statista forecasts 93% of internet users in the UK will be shopping online. While this is fantastic news for online businesses, it comes hand in hand with a growth in competition as more companies launch websites: 84% had them in 2018 compared to 70% in 2007. To be successful in such a competitive marketplace, companies will need to find ways of increasing website traffic and in this post, we’ll explain some of the main ways to achieve this.
1. Online advertising
For companies with new websites or those which struggle to get listed in search engine results, online advertising is often the chief method of attracting customers to your website. The main way to advertise is with Google and Bing, using paid search ads that appear in search results or display ads that appear on other websites. Alternatively, you can also advertise on social media sites. All of these options allow you to target specific audiences and track the progress of your campaign, helping to ensure your advertising budget is spent effectively. It can, however, be an expensive strategy.
2. Content marketing
Internet users aren’t always looking for products or services; quite often what they are seeking is information or ideas to help them solve problems. Providing content on your website which solves those problems can massively boost the number of people who visit as it can be found in search results and shared on social media. If that content subtly mentions and links to a product or service that you supply, it increases the chances of a sale. Take, for example, someone with a small garden looking for ideas to spruce it up. They find a blog article from a garden centre called ’10 ideas for revamping a small garden’ in which they find a picture of a table and chair set they like, together with a link to the product page. From this article, the visitor solves their problem and the garden centre makes a sale. This technique is widely used by businesses in all sectors.
3. Social media marketing
If businesses don’t want to pay for advertising on social media, they can always use these sites to promote their brand, their web content and their products or services. Social media is great for posting links to your website and with the ability to use eye-catching images and video, it can be a highly effective way to increase traffic, especially as other users can spread the word by liking and sharing your posts.
4. Improve SEO
Search engines are the main way consumers find the things they are looking for online, so optimising your website for them is vital if you want to improve the chances of your web pages ranking well in search results.
While the crucial factor in SEO is providing high-quality, fresh and relevant content on your pages, you must not overlook all the other key ingredients. These include having a well-structured, easily navigable website and placing relevant keywords in the titles, subheadings, meta descriptions and content.
5. A mobile-friendly website
A mobile-friendly or responsive website is a necessity in today’s online market. The main reason for this is the fact that users spend more time online on their phones than they do on laptops or other devices. Increasingly, users are also shopping more on mobiles too. According to Statista, at the end of 2018, smartphones generated the largest share of online retail revenue in the UK with many sources predicting the amount spent using mobile devices would double over the next few years to around £40 billion.
There are many reasons for this growth: there are more phone users, there is better internet access away from home, there are easier ways for people to pay using their phones and, importantly, more companies are providing mobile-friendly websites. For businesses, the last point is crucial, as without a mobile-friendly site, the growing market of smartphone shoppers won’t be able to fully access your store. That’s an issue which also makes search engines downrank sites which aren’t mobile-friendly.
6. Make use of email marketing
Email marketing has the highest ROI of any marketing technique and is very inexpensive to implement. There are various ways to grow an email list, such as using a pop-up that offers an incentive to sign up (e.g. 10% off your first order) or asking customers to sign up during the checkout process (e.g. ‘Get updates of our new products and latest offers’).
Once visitors have signed up, you can send marketing emails to them for free with links to your website included. Today, many companies combine email marketing with the use of personalised product recommendation software which tracks what a visitor has been looking at on the website and sends out emails with links to relevant products. This personalised form of email marketing can significantly increase traffic to your site.
7. Security and speed
Two other factors which can affect traffic numbers are security and speed. If your website is marked as ‘not secure’ on browsers, many users will not visit even if it appears in search results. Additionally, according to Google, 53% of visitors will abandon the site if it takes over three seconds to load on their devices. Solving these problems requires the installation of an SSL certificate on your website to make it secure and ensuring that the site is optimised to make it faster. Speed can also be increased by ensuring that your site is hosted on high-performance servers and that your hosting package provides all the resources to cater for the traffic your site needs.
The first step to increasing online sales is getting more people to visit your website. This has become increasingly difficult to achieve as growing numbers of businesses go online and compete for customers. That said, the internet market continues to grow, with more people spending more money online. Hopefully, the ideas presented here will help your business generate more online traffic.