So, you’ve spent a lot of time, money and energy building your business website. You finally launched it and… crickets.
No one is visiting your site. WHYYYY? Well simply put, because they don’t know that they should. They probably don’t even know it exists. You need to tell them, you need to get word out there and start driving traffic, fast.
The easiest way to do this is through paid adverts – whether on Facebook, Instagram or Google. There’s a reason these companies make billions off advertising revenue 🙄 They control your search algorithms and news feeds, and they make it increasingly difficult to stand a chance unless you’re putting your hard earned buck behind your advertising.
Ironically Google actually favors sites with high rates of organic traffic, even better is when you get referrals and traffic coming in from other, well respected sites.
But there is some good news, lovelies. I have a compiled a list of easy and FREE ways to drive organic traffic to your website.
I wouldn’t suggest you do all of them, [aint nobody got time (or energy) for that] but chances are there is something here that strikes a chord and lights you up… go do that.
12 FREE ways to drive traffic:
1. Create Content (blog!!)
Basically, unless you have a compelling argument about why you don’t need a blog, I’m telling you that you NEED to do this one.
Content creation is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your site because each piece of content brings with it new keywords and fresh pages for Google to crawl and index. Websites with a blog tend to have 434% more indexed pages on search engines. This also means you have more content to share on your other platforms, and you’re more likely to get referrals from other sites too.
Creating valuable content establishes you as a thought leader: you’re showing your audience that you’re an expert in your field. You’re giving them a reason to trust and follow (and eventually buy from) you.
If you’re not a fan of creating your own content, then I would suggest outsourcing this to someone who loves it. There are loads of writers and content creators on sites like Upwork, or join my Facebook group and tap into the skills of our tribe!
If you need help figuring out what the hell you want to tell the world and what value you can bring, read this post.
There is no magic formula for content marketing success, despite what some would have you believe. For this reason, vary the length and format of your content to make it as appealing as possible to different kinds of readers. Intersperse shorter, news-based blog posts with long-form content as well as video, infographics and data-driven pieces for maximum impact.
Creating useful content is free, and is not as hard as it may seem. You are the expert in your industry; your job is to simplify it for your audience.
2. Facebook: Pages and Groups
This one is also a no-brainer. Having a free business page on Facebook is a great way to let people know about your business. Facebook has great search algorithms and is cheaper than building a website if you aren’t at that stage yet.
While creating business posts that add value and link to your site is important, there is a catch: Facebook’s algorithms mean that your posts probably won’t reach your audience, no matter how many page likes you have. They want you to put money behind your posts and prefer to prioritize social posts about cats and your distant cousin’s birthing ceremony.
Which leads me to the joy that is a Facebook Group. Groups are a great way to build a community, while adding real benefit for your members. They will be notified whenever you (or anyone else) posts in the group, and if you are providing valuable content that links back to your website, the results should speak for themselves.
If creating a group seems like too much hassle, you can join groups that already exist within your niche and get involved in the conversation. The idea here is to add value and not appear too sales-y. The direct interaction you can have within groups should build trust and show how you serve with authenticity.
Yes, Pinterest. I know it’s where you usually go for baking inspiration, life quotes and hair trends, but believe it or not it’s also a great (and relatively underutilized) business tool. I’ll cover this in detail in a later post, but Pinterest can be a SUPER valuable for getting your business out there and driving free traffic. The best part is that if your post is popular, the results will snowball indefinitely: the life of a Pinterest pin is 1600 times longer than the life of a Facebook post.
I would suggest doing a bit of research around what kind of posts your audience might be searching for and how your business can tie in to this, and as always it’s down to creating a valuable piece of content – how-to’s and actionable tips work well here. Once you have created your content, you need to create about 3 beautiful images to post on Pinterest. Use relevant hashtags in your description and make sure that you link the posts back to your site.
The key here is to pin these images separately over a couple of days, and again in a few weeks and see what happens. It will obviously work best if you’ve created a great Pinterest profile for you / your business and you’re posting similar content that might appeal to your niche on an ongoing basis.
As with everything, your efforts need to be consistent and add value while setting the tone of your content and services, but if you’re doing it right, the results will be exponential and increase every week – guaranteed.
4. Master your SEO
The easiest way to feature on search engines is to obviously pay for Google Ads. But as this guide is for FREE traffic, I suggest getting familiar with some SEO best practices for your site.
Search Engine Optimization is a science, there’s a reason people make a living from it. While it can get quite technical, there are a few simple fixes you can do to ensure that your site is getting crawled in Google’s searches:
- Register your site on Google Search Console
– Upload your sitemap
– Do a force crawl to force Google to index your pages
- Create Keyword-relevant content
– Use the functionality in Google Ads to search for popular search terms within your niche and create valuable content around those keywords.
– Make use of long-tail keywords. That’s just a fancy term for using search phrases (3 words and more) instead of single keywords. These will result in more specific search results for a more niched audience.
– Use these search terms and phrases in your blog heading, the URL and scattered throughout the content.
– Drive traffic (paid or organic) to these keyword-relevant pages to help them feature higher on search results
- Correctly name your images
– All images on your site should be correctly named (with keywords where possible).
– These can often feature in Google Image searches.
- Install SEO Plugins on your site
– The most popular option for WordPress sites is Yoast SEO (I personally use this and recommend it). It’s user-friendly and does most of the work for you.
– Platforms like Wix and Shopify integrate their own SEO tools which are very user-friendly (they do most of the work for you!)
5. Be a Contributor
There are loads of free platforms out there that are great at driving traffic to your site and place you as a thought leader in your niche or industry. They also have the benefit of a different – but established – audience that you might not otherwise be able to tap into. These include free blogging and content sites like Medium and info / forum-based sites Quora. Try covering topics and answering questions that are really in your niche, and a providing long, detailed, super helpful answers.
If your niche is more business-y, try LinkedIn for its great blogging & article section that covers a multitude of topics globally… it also allows you to build your business network and easily reach an audience outside of your usual contacts.
You can repurpose content that you’ve already created on your site, but just check your tone and messaging. It’s important that the content of your articles should fit the style and intention of the platform you’re posting on and the audience you’re hoping to appeal to.
6. Build your email list (like, yesterday)
Your email list is one of your most valuable assets for your business. It’s a repository of existing connections who know you and are loyal to you. Your list brings the joy and ease of a warm audience that you don’t have to introduce yourself to from scratch, whew!
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work hard to keep them: it’s a fine balance between sending updates and adding value and not spamming them. Tread carefully and respectfully and your conversions should be a breeze.
There are a few ways to build up your list, but be mindful that this is a long game;
- Give people an incentive to sign up to your list. Tell them what’s in it for them and how they’ll benefit. Cheat sheets, checklists and How-To’s work well here
- Add a website sign-up form to your website and make it prominent above the scroll line.
- Run Facebook ads about the incentive / freebie / opt-in offer (note: this obviously isn’t free)
- Send emails regularly and ensure they direct traffic back to your site
- Remind your audience of what you sell and any promotions you’re running
- Add value!!
7. Create a free Google My Business listing
Huh? Don’t worry, you’ve seen this before. You know when you search for “dog parlor” and a search result appears on the right hand side of the page with a logo, picture and location added to it? Voilá. A Google My Business result.
This is a pretty important step in getting your business on the map. LITERALLY. Not only is it free and relatively straightforward, but an optimized Google My Business listing gets 7x more visits than an incomplete one. 💥 Boom. It also means your business will feature in location-based searches and will also appear on Google Maps.
Your listing links to your website, so this is a great way to get more traffic. If you provide all of the information a potential customer needs to make a decision, they might forego your website and contact/visit your business directly—even better than a website visit!
8. Record a Podcast
Podcasts are HUGE at the moment. I’m a fan of listening to anything that gets my brain ticking and makes me feel like I’ve got smarter while sitting in traffic.
The great thing about podcasts is that:
- They are free to produce and host
- You have the potential to reach a far greater audience than you would otherwise
- They allow you to produce long-form content (content that has a long life-span, unlike social media posts)
- You can build a personal connection with your audience, and cultivate lasting relationships and trust
So as with any type of content, find a topic that you can talk about easily, add some value, find some time and go create!
9. Get social
While I’ve gone into greater detail about how to use platforms like Facebook and Pinterest as tools to drive traffic, this point is to hone in on the “social” in social media. I’m not a big fan of my news feed being crammed with business stuff when all I want to do is stalk Mary-Jane’s wedding photos.
So don’t be that guy. But you CAN tap into the massive reach, networks and search capabilities that they offer.
When you create a piece of content, it’s a handy tip to try mentioning brands, articles, and related influencers within it, as a great opportunity to get noticed and tap into their audience. Whether it’s a referral, pull quotes or mentions, before you make the content live send them an email to let them know they’ve been featured. Then ask them to share the piece with their followers on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
You’re now cultivating relationships, prompting collaborations and sharing networks. NOW you’re really capitalizing on social (Without being a Sleezy-Sue).
10. Get featured as a guest on other blogs and podcasts
We’re all in this together, right? I’ve touched on the necessity of creating your own content, but there is huge benefit from being a guest on other people’s networks.
Try finding related bloggers and podcasters in your field and reaching out to see if they’ll accept a guest post or feature from you – you’ll have to do a lot of trial and error with this because chances are you’ll get a few rejections, but reaching that new audience can really pay off.
You in return can offer to host others and give them the exposure of your audience. **Group hug**
11. Embrace the power of Video
Video has become the most dynamic and effective form of digital marketing in recent years. There are a few reasons for this: they provide more information in a faster time frame, they allow brands to be humanized and they build trust.
If you can provide high quality, well thought out, educational videos in a specific niche, do it. This means making use of anything from Facebook lives, Facebook and Instagram stories, Instagram TV, vlogs and YouTube. Your videos don’t have to be perfect. It’s the content that matters! In fact, the more personality and authenticity you show – the more likely you are to build a following.
People follow people, not brands!
12. Create a free eBook / audiobook
This area is like a win-win-win. First, putting together enough information to make an in-depth, valuable, and interesting book will mean that you’re streamlining a LOT of useful information. Secondly, it will also give you enough material for varied promotion topics.
Thirdly, you can distribute it by promoting it to your followers, giving it as an incentive to people who sign up on your website.
All of these options are ways to drive (and retain) engaged traffic, and if you decide to start selling your eBook, you even get some passive income!
These are free tools to promote content and drive traffic, and ideally you want to create a loyal following as well. You want return visitors. You want brand loyalty. You want customers. And as with everything, consistency and value is key.
I also want to remind you that there is NO point in going to all this effort to drive traffic unless you are going to measure your results. Zero. Nada. Zilch. You want to regularly check your website analytics to help you identify which strategies and types of content work, which ones need improvement, and which ones you should not waste your time on.
So: set up google analytics or any other measuring tool onto the back end of your site, allow 24 hours for the data to pull through, and off you go little pony.
Let the magic begin!
I’m Pam Newman, founder of The Branded Panda. I help women like you create soul-based businesses that give them income and freedom to truly LIVE.
Download my FREE guide to help you align your marketing and empower yourself!
You got this!
FOLLOW MY ADVENTURES
JOIN MY FACEBOOK GROUP
We’re a community of talented, spirited bad-ass business women.
Join the tribe!
We’d love to have you 😊💗
Really informative, thanks for sharing this!