Maybe you have a new website. Maybe you launched your website some time ago, but you don’t hear “I found you on Google” and you wonder whether anyone ever visits. Everyone starts from zero and it can take a while to get momentum. Read on for a step-by-step plan to build your website into a valuable asset when you’re starting from zero.
Where are you now?
Make sure you have web analytics installed. Without them, you have no idea how your website is performing. We have met people who have been online for years with just a handful of visits each week.
We recommend Google Analytics. It’s free, and it provides lots of information. We also like HubSpot’s LeadIn, which is also currently free. Your web host may offer analytics, too. None of these tools will provide any benefit until they’re installed, so you should get them in place as soon as possible. After a couple of weeks, you’ll have enough data to see where you are. If you’re getting 100 or more visits a day, you’re not at zero. If you see 10 or fewer, you are.
Make sure to filter your own visits and the visits made by your team out of the data. If your receptionist opens your website every day in the morning and after lunch, you’re not getting visits from two potential clients each day. Your analytics will make it look as though you are, but that’s misleading. You want accurate data.
You should also make sure that your visitors are coming from your service area. If you’re a physical therapist in Northwest Arkansas, visitors from Brazil are not potential clients. You can set up a segment in Google Analytics to track visitors from your service area only.
Where do you want to be?
Decide on your goals for your website. Do you want 50% of your patients to check in at your website at least once a month? Would you like to get five leads a month from your website? Do you want a 30% increase in web traffic? All three of these goals are reasonable, even though they’re quite different. Determine what your website should do for you and figure out what kind of behavior from your online visitors will show measurable progress toward those goals.
Some of the things your website can do for you:
- Increase brand awareness.
- Introduce you to new patients or clients.
- Increase thought leadership and authority.
- Promote your cause.
- Educate your patients.
- Increase patient engagement.
- Provide information about your class schedule.
- Bring people to your events.
- Sell products, either online or in the physical world.
- Provide a positive image for people who search for you online.
The metrics you’ll use to measure success for these goals will be different. “Get a million visitors” probably won’t be your top website goal for any of them. But increasing traffic is a good sign that your website is healthy and effective, so you should plan on including traffic goals on your list.
Over the long run, the best way to build traffic is to have lots of regular, fresh, original content leading to a steady increase in organic search traffic. Here are some ways to jump-start traffic to your website while you work on that:
- Share on social media. Don’t post content that reads like an ad, and limit your “Come see my website!” posts to one per platform. Share all your new content, though.
- Use Google Ads, social media ads, or other targeted digital ads. This can be the fastest way to bring visitors to your website.
- Find your tribe. Identify influencers in your field and get to know them. Thoughtful comments on their blog posts, social media interaction, and maybe a guest post offer can be great ways to connect. People who are interested in what they’re saying are likely to come and visit your website if you’re making valuable contributions to the community.
Now give yourself some time to build traffic. Use your analytics and the goals you set to measure progress. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
We expect to see changes within a couple of weeks of beginning strategic work on building web traffic. If you stay at zero for weeks or months, consider getting professional support. The opportunity cost of a website that’s stuck on zero can be significant.