Here's how I increased my website traffic by nearly 30% in 4 months
Here’s how I increased my website traffic by nearly 30% in 4 months
Over the past few months, I’ve made a conscious effort to increase traffic to my website. My hard work as paid off and I’m super excited to share how that worked out with you today!
Let me start off by saying that business growth has always been my top priority and higher website traffic is just a channel for bringing in business.
As a web designer/developer, I know the importance and see the value of having a website that works FOR your business, not against it. Your website should attract new visitors, build your audience, nurture leads, and be a place to sell your products and services. I think we can all agree that website growth is important and that it should be prioritized but if truth be told, I haven't always given it so much attention. In the past I’ve been guilty of focusing most of my working hours on client projects and not enough time growing my website (and therefore my business).
A few months ago, I decided to change that.
At the start of 2018, I came up with business goals that I wanted to achieve and I knew it was time to get serious about increasing traffic to my website in order to reach them. I had been using my Website Growth Tracker (<—-shameless plug) for ages to track my metrics across different platforms and but now I was dead-set on seeing some major growth in the new year.
Although my website didn’t experience any “hockey stick” style growth, it DID increase by nearly 30% in less than four months. Page views to my website were UP in April, an increase of 9.5% mo/mo from the month before. That’s something to be proud of!
In this post, I’m going to explain why I care so much about increasing my website traffic and also show you what I did to get these kind of results. I hope to show you that with the right strategies, anyone can increase traffic to their websites and get serious results - without selling their first born child in the process.
Settle in and get comfortable because this post is a long one :)
How to check your website's traffic
I was curious about how my website traffic had increased over the past few months so I took two seconds to check out my website traffic stats. In this case I used the information associated with my Squarespace account but Google Analytics is another great place to check that data!
To check your website's traffic, log into your Squarespace account and from the Home Menu click Analytics. From here you can run lots of different reports that will give you a clear picture of your website's performance and visitor behaviour.
Also, did you know that Squarespace has an analytics app? They do and it's SO GOOD!
Why I care about increasing traffic to my website
As I mentioned above, an increase in traffic to my website has a direct impact on the growth of my business, which is why I was so focused on growth strategies over the past few months.
Although I adore working on Squarespace website design and development projects, I had big plans to grow my business beyond these services and I knew that an increase in traffic to my website would help me to get there faster.
As my website grows and I get more traffic, I’m able to get in front of more people and build my audience online. It can be a little nerve wracking to put yourself out there online because the internet isn’t always the nicest place (hi trolls! hi haters!), but I was confident that it would pay off.
Spoiler : it has.
An increase in traffic to my website has direct benefits to my business for two main reasons:
it's easier to book clients
there are more people to sell my products to
Also, let’s be honest, watching your metrics increase month after month provides a certain level of validation for all the hard work. Every time I hit a new number of monthly page views or unique visitors, it confirms that I’m doing something right and that am on the right track. Putting so much attention on these numbers can sometimes feel like a vanity pat on the back, but it also acts as fuel and drive for growth, so it can’t be all bad!
There’s also a “gamification” element to keeping track of your website growth and watching your traffic increase every month. The more I pay attention to these stats, the more I want to see the numbers grow and the more fun the process becomes!
What I didn’t do to increase traffic to my website
This increase in website traffic didn’t happen over night. Growth has been slow and steady over the past few months, all thanks to a concentrated effort in order to get these results in a fairly short amount of time.
And guess what! I didn’t have to do anything that felt “icky” either.
I increased traffic to my website without:
going on a guest posting spree
getting major media mentions or features
spending hours a day on social media
spamming everyone I know (online and IRL)
Obviously there’s nothing wrong with any of the tactics listed above (in fact, they can often be a shortcut to big results) but I’m including this info to show you that website growth and an increase in traffic can happen organically, if that’s what you’re going for.
Alright, so now you know why I was focused on increasing traffic and growing my website, and what I didn’t do to get these results.
Now it’s time to dive into what I DID do!
1. Focused on SEO
SEO was top of my list because I knew that I was sitting on a big bank of content (seriously, have you checked out all the blog posts in my Archives?) and I wanted that content to work harder for me.
I went back to my post 50 things you need to know about Squarespace SEO and pretty much worked through each tip one by one to make sure that I was following all my own best practices. I had most of it covered already but there was definitely room for improvement, mostly related to keywords and how I was structuring the content of old blog posts.
Part of good SEO is getting comfortable looking up keywords and writing long form content that my audience would enjoy and find valuable, so I really prioritized that over the past few months. Luckily I enjoy writing blog posts (here’s what my blogging process looks like, if you’re curious) so this wasn’t too hard, but I did have to get better at searching keywords and using analytics to see what content was performing the best and why.
Better SEO won’t happen over night and it does take a huge amount of time and effort, but trust me that it’s totally worth it. Google is still my number one referrer of traffic so I can see that it’s paying off.
Related: be sure to check out all the posts in my Squarespace SEO series!
2. Regularly created new content
One of my 2018 goals was to blog at least twice a week because I knew the value of a consistent blogging schedule. I ended up publishing 6 new blog posts in both January and February, increased that number to a whopping 10 new posts in March, and added another 6 posts in April. I'm not quite on track but I'm close and intend to make up for lost time (seriously, my blog posts drafts are poppin').
If you’ve ever browsed through the blog posts on my website, you’ll notice that I primarily blog about four main topics : Squarespace, web design/development, business and tech tips. I do this for a few reasons but basically it’s to establish myself as an expert in my field, share my knowledge, and make sure that my audience knows that they can turn to me for content that is exactly what they’re looking for. I’ve started adding a few “personal” blog posts to the mix (for example, my April 2018 monthly recap) because that’s something you’ve been asking for, but otherwise, my blog posts are business as usual.
Now, anyone who has ever tried their hand at blogging will tell you that it’s not exactly a walk in the park, so I’m really proud of myself for creating so much new content for my website this year!
From start to finish, each blog post takes (at least) several hours to create and publish.
If the post includes a video tutorial, that blog will take even more time to prepare - but it’s totally worth it.
This is another thing I want to mention because my Youtube channel has actually helped send a growing amount of traffic to my website over the past few months. Youtube is basically another search engine so every time I create and upload a video, I’m able to get more people to visit my website thanks to it.
“Wait, how does that work?”, you might ask? Good question, let me explain.
Let's say that someone search for a term/topic in Youtube and one of my videos comes up as a result, so they check it out. They will watch the video and often end up following my call-to-action (CTA) to click over to my website through the link in the video's description to read the corresponding blog post for more information. This means that people who are totally new to me and my brand will find me on Youtube, click on over to my website and then (hopefully) sign up to my email list where I can develop a relationship with them.
I still have LOTS to learn about using Youtube to increase traffic to my website and grow my business but considering that I use it fairly casually, I’m getting some good results. I've learned a lot so far from my internet friend Jessica Stansberry so definitely check out her content if you want to learn along with me!
More posts about blogging:
How to schedule a Squarespace blog post (video tutorial)
How to set up a blog on a Squarespace website (video tutorial)
How to use tags and categories in your Squarespace blog (video tutorial)
3. Started using Boardbooster
I’m a little late to the Pinterest party but I’m trying my best to make up for lost time! Pinterest is a massive search engine that works wonders for any type of website in just about any industry or niche, so it is definitely something I wanted to start taking seriously.
I already had rich pins enabled on my website and was creating Pinterest graphics to go along with each blog post, but I decided to ramp that up and start using BoardBooster*.
Boardbooster is basically a software that automates and schedules Pins, and it has been a total game changer. Once you set it up, you can sit back and relax while Boardbooster works for you and sends a TON of traffic back to your site. It saves hours of time and I love that Boardbooster runs my Pinterest account on autopilot.
It took a few hours to get everything set up on the back end but once that was taken care of, it's hands OFF!
Now that I’ve started using Boardbooster, Pinterest has become my second highest traffic referrer and I fully expect it to be the top referrer very soon! I love how I can increase traffic to my website in such a hands-off and effortless way and I 100% recommend Boardbooster to anyone who is interested in growing their website!
Also, Boardbooster is super affordable and has been one of the best “bang for your buck” business expenses I’ve ever invested in. #winning
I have a big blog post about this coming up soon so be sure to check back!
* indicates a referral link
4. Grew my email list
You’ve heard me yammer on about why every website needs an email list before so if you haven’t already read that post, check it out now before reading the rest of this section.
Growing my email list has been a particularly big priority for me over the past few months because I know that a sizeable and active email list will help me to grow my business.
I have a number of email opt-ins around my website (e.g., my free email course, content upgrades in blog posts like this, a quiz, etc.) and I shamelessly promote my newsletter because I see the value in it. Every time someone joins my email list, I’m able to leverage that and send more traffic back to my website. It all comes full circle and let me explain how!
Every Wednesday, I send a weekly email to my newsletter list. I use those emails to share my knowledge, highlight new content and promote various offerings, which ultimately sends traffic back to my website.
The cycle looks something like this :
People find & read it and opt-in to my newsletter
I send out weekly emails
Drives traffic back to my website
Builds relationship with subscribers
Converts to clients/customers
See the payoff? It all comes full circle.
A 30% increase in traffic to my website in just 4 months is pretty great to see and I am happy that I was able to get this type of growth organically! I focused on 4 main areas to increase traffic to my website and each one took time and effort but was relatively painless. 10/10, would recommend!
I have been so focused on increasing the traffic to my website because I know it ties in to my larger business goals and I can already see my hard work paying off.
Shameless plug : be sure to check out my Website Growth Tracker if you're serious about tracking your site's stats, growing your business and making more money. Hundreds of people agree that it's $10 well spent!
Now it's your turn to tell me, have you increased the traffic to your website recently? What did you experiment with? Did you do anything in particular that had great results? Any flops? I'd love to know so leave me a note in the comments below!
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