After stagnating for a year, I tripled the traffic to my website. How?
I maintain my consulting website, stellexgroup.com. In 2022, I was getting about 2,000 visitors a month and had a full plate of contracts. Good enough, I thought. But towards the end of the year I decided to be more intentional about getting more readers on the site.
I wrote some new content that people find useful and can't easily find elsewhere. Specifically, I wrote three 10-15 page reference guides to passing popular certifications in my field:
Visitors are coming back again and again to study the guides, and they are getting to know my other content and trust my expertise while they're reading. Sure enough, you can see that 5 out of my top 10 viewed pages this month are these reference content pieces.
Develop a New Channel...
Look at the right-hand bar chart below. The main sources of traffic in Oct-Dec2022 were direct visitors (in blue), google visitors (in red), and visitors coming from Reddit (in yellow). In marketing speak, these were the "channels" driving traffic to the site. It was time to develop a fourth channel.
I decided on LinkedIn, because a lot of professionals who would have an interest in my content and my consulting work spend time on LinkedIn. Other types of businesses could have chosen a different channel though: Yelp, Instagram, Clubhouse, direct e-mail, billboards, you name it.
I started posting on LinkedIn once or twice a week as of January and you can see below (in green) that doing so added a new repeatable source of visitors.
Not only that, posting new and relevant content to LinkedIn helped get more direct visits and more google visits as well.
... And Make It a Well-Targeted Channel
But I didn't just post blindly to LinkedIn. I posted to relevant LinkedIn Groups. The Digital Marketing LinkedIn group is a great example: it's a target audience of 2 million members interested in improving digital marketing techniques. Post something useful and you can get a lot of views.
For example, I posted what I learned about how to engage LinkedIn's algorithm to the Digital Marketing group and got over 40,000 viewers and quite a spike in visitors to the website.
Format Web Pages to Trigger Google's Engagement Cues
I edited my top 5 already-popular pages to follow Google engagement cues to boost organic traffic. For example, Google wants to see visitors clicking forward from your page to another page, so include useful links in your article and put some of those links right upfront. Google wants to see users spending time on the page and scrolling down, so make sure what you write is engaging in the first few paragraphs and spaced out with bullets and small paragraphs.
You can read more about optimizing for Google's search algorithm in my other article Ranking on Google Isn't Hard, If You've Got Something Useful to Say.
Link To The Website Wherever Possible And Relevant
I linked to my content wherever possible and relevant. For example in my e-mail signature page, within my resume, when talking with clients, when debating with others in online forums, etc.
In the companies I consult with, I see many missed opportunities for their staff to link to their own website in the same way. Don't overlook these opportunities, especially if you have a staff that can all be linking to the website. It's like compound interest: over time, every little bit counts.
Browse Your Own Website For A Few Minutes And Decide If It's Truly Readable
I improved the font and spacing on my website. It sounds silly but once I started actually reading my own articles and experiencing what visitors were experiencing, I realized that the font I was using was tiresome to read and people were probably dropping off. The day I switched to a new font I saw a measurable and sustained uptick.
Think About Repeat Visitors More Than Conversion
I stopped obsessing about conversion, i.e. how to get readers to reach out to me and turn into potential clients. Conversion is important for business, of course, but visitors to your website aren't dumb - if they want to do business with you, they'll find you. I see businesses getting desperate and putting "click here to contact me" banners and promotions all over their websites. No need for this!
Rather than conversion, focus on repeat visitors - what will bring visitors back to the site again and again? (such as my reference articles mentioned above). Repeat visitors naturally convert over time as they get to know you through your content.
Sure enough, I didn't add any "contact me" banners to my site but my conversions still tripled, from about 4 new client outreaches a month to 12. More than enough for a solo consultant who already has full-time work. The same principle applies to larger businesses, just on a bigger scale.
Just Do -Something-
At the end of the day, the biggest difference that tripled my traffic in recent months is that I did something concrete. This may sound obvious, but it's so easy to get complacent, as I did through most of 2022, and really do nothing meaningful to your website for months except for tweak your paid ads and then wonder why you're not getting more traffic. A significant boost in traffic requires taking concrete actions.