When you run an online business, blog, or newsfeed, traffic to your website is your life blood. Without it, your whole business structure will shrivel and die, so it is important to continue to look for new ways to bring people to you. With the advent of social media and blogging, this has become a bit easier, though you do run the risk of having your voice and message drowned out by the throngs of people vying for their own traffic. The use of SEO is one part of rising above the din, but there are other ways to stand apart from the crowd and find new readers and customers.
I'm not going to beat a dead horse and join the chorus telling readers to get their business or site on Facebook. You're probably on it already, and you don't need someone else to extol the virtues of that particular social network. But what about Google+? Been there lately? Google's little foray into social networking may not have had the impact that analysts initially thought it would, but it is still vitally important that you create and maintain a Google+ account because of how much it influences your SEO. Even if none of your current customers or readers use Google+, you should still try to be as active as possible on it. The more your content is shared or +1'd, the higher your content authority, and the better your page ranking. Google+ may not be as important as Facebook for social marketing, but it still should be considered one of your top priorities.
Again, there are already loads of people chanting ‘content is king' and covering how important a blog is to a site's SEO. But there are other ways to spread your message, and cross-blogging is one of the most useful. You post to another blog, that other blog's author posts to your blog, and you both get exposed to a new batch of readers and ultimately, some new traffic. If the other blog has a strong social presence, they could also share your post with their followers. As long as the post is well-written and interesting, some of those readers should follow-through to your site and might even become regular readers to the blog and visitors to the site. The whole idea is to help one another to increase awareness and exposure, so always make sure that you give as good as you get. Otherwise no one will want to cross-blog with you!
Newsletters are sometimes seen as old-hat – a vestige of ancient HTML practices and an attempt to translate direct marketing to a new media. From my own observations, it also seems that newsletters tend to be an all or nothing form of advertising. Either the business or writer sends them out super frequently, or they try it once and give up. There’s no need for a small business to send out a newsletter every couple of days. The focus for your newsletter should be that it’s full of your best posts and most interesting pieces of news; otherwise your subscribers will start to look at your newsletters as spam. You want your newsletter to draw in infrequent buyers and visitors, so you need to make sure it looks good and isn't packed full of sentences like ‘the first 50 to click the link will save big!' If you want people to open your newsletter, read it, and actually visit your site, you can't treat it like an advertisement. Subscribers are doing you a favor by allowing you access to their inbox, so don't make them regret signing up.
With each of these tactics, you are essentially trying to spread yourself as far as possible and bring in new customers and readers. Remember that competition for attention is fierce, and it can be very disheartening to look at your traffic stats and see nothing improve. But if you keep at it, and continue to generate good posts, content, and newsletters, the word of mouth about your site will start spreading and people will begin to trickle in to your site – and stick around for awhile too.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.