If you are a small business owner, you know how frustrating it is to see advice, resources, services and tips for your website aimed at people and companies who have larger-than-life budgets. Doing it all yourself on a shoestring budget can be draining, but it is a reality for a lot of small businesses and online shop owners. If you are looking to be resourceful, there are many ways you can drive traffic to your site without breaking the bank.
1. SEO Audit
Start with a small SEO audit of your site. This can be accomplished by using a mixture of many free tools, which will give you an overview of what your site is missing, and what it is doing well in terms of search engine friendliness. For instance, with a mix of these 4 tools you can get great insights to optimise your site:
- Hubspot Website Grader – Hubspot has a basic tool that can give you an overview of what you’re doing well on your site.
- monitorbacklinks.com – This tool tells you what sites are linking to you, how good the links are, and other more technical aspects. Use this to check out your competitors’ links and see which ones you’d like to get for yourself.
- MarketGoo – get a Free Website Report where you will see the results of a scan of your entire website. You get details on how your website is doing in areas such as social, mobile, traffic received, etc. You can also get a free trial of the full-feature version and access to detailed recommendations for improvement generated specifically for your website, compare yourself with competitors and monitor your progress in optimising your site.
- ePages SEO cockpit – if you are running an ePages shop, take advantage of the SEO cockpit feature which will let you see any mistakes you are making on your site.
2. Track your traffic via Google Analytics and Google Search Console
While this is suggested for people who aren’t total newbies, it as a good idea for you to get started with these free and powerful tools:
- Read a Beginner’s Guide to Google Search Console
- Refresh your knowledge of Google Analytics
- Use the eTracker metrics dashboard to see your traffic.
Use these tools to see where your traffic is coming from, where you are losing visitors, how much time visitors spend on your page, and what Google really thinks of your site. Don’t get scared into thinking you cannot handle these tools just because you are not a pro.
3. Social Media
Take advantage of social media, because it can do a lot for your small business. You can directly impact your level of brand awareness, customer satisfaction and identify leads, eventually leading to more sales.
Facebook pages, Google+ communities, LinkedIn groups and Twitter have discussions happening all the time, which you can participate in. Be sure to add value when you participate; not every interaction should involve you mentioning your website.
A good metaphor floating around is that social media is a cocktail party, where you like, share and chat about things which suits the interests of your followers/fellow cocktail attendees, and not just your own set of stories which will make the party a snoozefest.
4. Content Marketing
You should create long pieces of in depth content, and if you simply can’t afford the time to do that, a short piece of content that is packed with valuable information and some media will do. Additionally, you can scout platforms like Reddit, Upwork or Fiverr for freelance writers (your mileage may vary with these, though). Think about what your audience is interested in, and what kind of content they are more likely to share on social media. Write catchy headlines and make your content different than that of your competitors. If you don’t yet have a blog, start one today! This is the best way to share content you have created, as well as showcase your expertise within your industry.
5. Link Building
Go old school and get PR and Publicity for your business. This is an excellent way to get coverage, get on potential clients’ radars, and most importantly, get links from high quality sites back to your own site!
Keep in mind that you should have a clear objective for doing PR outreach for instance ‘generating more leads’ for your business, and be consistent in the message you want to transmit to your audience. This PR Strategy for SEO is an excellent guide in order to have a cohesive strategy once you start reaching out to media outlets and blogs.
Don’t wait until ‘the time is right’ to start optimising your website. No money, no problem. There are always things you can be doing to improve your website’s rankings and drive more traffic to it, that don’t cost you anything.