If you have a website then you’ll want to get organic traffic, despite the term sounding a bit vegan.
Organic traffic simply means visitors landing on your site through a web search and not via a paid ad. It’s the long term way (and the best way) for people to find you on the web. But be prepared to invest some serious time winning that yummy traffic.
1. Blog on the regular
If you’re blogging when you can be arsed it’s the same as not blogging at all. It does nothing for your organic growth.
You need to be adding consistent, long-form content that’s SEO-optimised AND great to read. I dedicate an awful lot of my working life writing about business blogging. I hate to repeat myself (sometimes that’s unavoidable because people don’t listen) so click here to read all the posts I’ve ever written about blogging and why it’s so ruddy important.
2. Write for your audience and not crawler bots
What’s a crawler bot?
They’re those things search engines use to index your website pages. I always imagine them as robot bug librarians and that scares the shit outta me.
Sounds obvious doesn’t it – writing for your audience and yet people balls this up. They go mad on the keyword stuffing (PAXO’s least popular flavour by the way – ah dad jokes) and get so fixated with their relevant search terms that they forget that actual humans are going to read it.
Keyword cramming is counterproductive.
You’ll be penalised by the algorithm because it will figure out what your game is and you’ll fail miserably in your pathetic attempts to cheat the system.
3. Use internal links
I’m referring to referencing other relevant content within your site.
The crawler bots will be alerted that the content you’re currently writing has a connection with other posts or pages. But it has to be relevant, again these bots are not stupid so arbitrary links will do no good.
4. Grab tasty backlinks
I’m talking about getting a link to your site from a big-hitting website, one that gets loads of quality traffic.
But avoid those sites that are spammy, you want a high-end backlink that will bring all the boys to your yard
You could do this by guest blogging or contributing to a reputable eMagazine or article. But they’ll only want you if your content is useful and well written. I went and got myself on Feedspot and was added to their Top 100 SEO Blogs Of 2021, didn’t cost me a penny either.
Backlinking is time-consuming. There are several methods to getting them, for example, the broken link method. If you want to know more, click here. You can search on the web for sites that are looking for guest bloggers and contributors but not all of them will be free.
You should aim should always be to produce really great content, the kind that shows expertise, authority, and trust. That way people will gladly share your blogs and articles and refer back to your website.
5. Use clear permalink structures
Those are the permanent links to each one of your site pages.
They need to be simple and easy to understand and again, relevant to the content. You want to pay close attention to your blog post pages – check out the wording in the URL:
Notice how the above example has a clear title, you can understand what the post is about.
Some website providers (I’m looking at you WordPress) default blog post page URLs to a selection of numbers – absolute rubbish if you want prospects to find you on a Google search. No one is going to be typing in random numbers to find the answers they are seeking.
6. Know your keywords and long-tail keywords
These are the words you want your site to be found for but also the terms you want your blog posts to be found for.
You need to figure out where your customer is in their buying journey to know what words you need to target. Those keywords will also reveal the intent behind your visitor’s search queries. If you’re totally confused by that, click here to find out more.
These are phrases, specific to the subject matter. These keywords have more chance of converting because they relate exactly to what you offer. And when people are searching for those terms, they’re ready to buy.
So whilst I discourage you from going ‘keyword crazy’ you do of course need to scatter them through your content, where it makes sense to do so. And don’t forget to add them on your images alt. titles.
7. Clear meta tags and descriptions
These terms are a bit scary if you’re not familiar with SEO or website building.
I’m talking page titles and descriptions that show up in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages):
You really need to get good at crafting the perfect title for each page and blog post.
Hooking the reader in is what it’s all about so make it easy to understand but relevant to the content. The description below the title should concisely describe what the page is about
8. Get involved in online chats
Start showing people how useful you are by answering their questions. You can do this in Facebook groups or sites that are specifically geared to helping people, Quora for example.
Dedicate some time each day to see what people are asking, if it’s something you know a bit about, pop some advice and refer to your site link.
Keep telling people about what you do and how you help. Use your social media, it’s your free space to promote your business and/or website.
My fave is LinkedIn, no longer the hangout of dry business corporations looking for employees but a thriving community and social platform like no other. It’s the only place where you can reach loads of people without spending a penny on ads (shove that in your face, Facebook!). Lovely organic reach right there. And it’s fun!
Before you leave…
No one said organic traffic would be a one-time thing. It’s not, you have to do this stuff all the time. It takes work.
Build a website with SEO or be prepared to get lost amongst all the other terrible DIY websites.
A website is your online real estate – your virtual shop window.
You want it to look tasty and to reel in those clients. To do that you need to, at the very least, know the rudiments of SEO.
Lemme just preface this post by advising you to hire a technical SEO or at least book a consultation with one before you start to build anything.
Just hold tight a minute longer…
Before you get all excited – research your market.
Go and do the unthinkable and spy on your competitors. Take a look at the sites that land on the first page of Google and pay close attention to the copy they use, the structure, and the content of their pages. Make notes.
Ok, here’s how to build a website with SEO know-how.
Think about the keywords you want your site to be found for.
Don’t just concentrate on the broad competitive terms.
Guess what, they’re competitive because loads of other people in your industry are targeting them. Make sure you look at detailed keywords phrases (LTKs), the kind that describes exactly what you offer. That way the right people are going to find you.
Google those words and see what the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) reveal. Check out all the alternative search phrases that Google gives you too.
And be mindful about user intent: what results show on Google when you search a certain keyword? For example, are the results mainly links that sell a product or are the links mostly about information around a subject.
To delve more into the user intent of your keywords, click here.
2. Website platform
I use WordPress. I always have and probably always will.
CMS websites have come on leaps and bounds since those clunky early days when I started building them. I suggest you shop around and find the right platform for you.
A free website might sound like a really great idea but you probably won’t get a custom domain name (www.thesarkytype.com, for example).
Whatever name you choose will likely have the branding of the platform tagged on the end. A free site can be great if you want a personal blog or you’re a local band, but for a business, it may give the impression that you’re a bit shit and you won’t have the ability to fully customise the site.
Different plans that will vary in cost.
The plan you choose will determine how much control you have customising the site. Especially what kind of access you’ll have to the SEO tools.
You want to have as much control over your SEO as possible. It’s always worth paying more for that access
3. What’s in a domain name?
It’s a good idea to think about what service you provide and who you provide it to when coming up with a domain name.
A lot of people like to use their business name but often they don’t give any clues as to what they actually do.
Ultimately, it’s your call but you might want to pop a keyword in your website domain name. You also should check if your chosen name is already registered with another business. Now, if a domain name has been taken, your provider will tell you it’s unavailable.
If you serve local clients, for example, you’re a butcher then choosing a domain name with a suffix of .co.uk makes a lot of sense. But if you’re a remote working freelancer, that helps customers internationally, a .com suffix might be a better option.
A custom domain email looks nice but you might have to pay an extra annual fee.
If you’re a penny-pinching bastard then you can create a domain email that will then forward to another address. WordPress offers this and it’s called email forwarding. If you opt for this, be aware that when you respond to any emails from clients, your real email address will be revealed.
4. User Experience (UX)
Your biggest challenge will be getting people to find you, your next will be keeping them there.
User experience is big news in how well you rank.
We want to encourage dwell time – users sticking around long enough to do something. Everything on your site will leave an impression and evoke a feeling.
You want those feelings to be good feelings. If your colour palette hurts their eyes, or the theme looks like it’s was designed in the 90s, that won’t help people stay for very long.
You want a nice, easy to use website that leads the audience through the content and compels them to take action
Create pages that you actually need.
Sounds obvious but think about only adding content that’s going to be the most useful to your audience. Each page should be carefully crafted. Imagine them as mini-websites – purpose-built landing pages that not only look great but have valuable, helpful content.
An easy, well-constructed site is great for SEO.
Google will be able to index your pages better, and if you’ve done a really good job you’ll get your site links show up in the SERPs:
5. Call To Action (CTA)
This can be a mix of buttons or links that urge the visitor to do something – to take bloody action, yeah!
You might want them to download your service brochure, book a call, or buy a product.
Make it really easy for them.
People are lazy. If they need to think too hard, or they can’t find what they need, they will leave.
The words you use are the most important tool for getting your site seen.
Well-crafted copy should never be underestimated. Everything you write needs to be about your client, how you solve the problems they’re having and what the benefits to them will be.
Consistent, high-quality content is the most important thing you can do to boost your SEO.
Do you see a pattern forming here? I keep banging on about SEO because, without it, your website is invisible and therefore – pointless.
SEO is a shifting sand. It’s something you can NEVER stop doing
If you don’t know your market or you don’t have an ideal client, you won’t be able to help them. Every page, even your About Page needs to be about your audience.
Wanna know more about writing great copy? Click here.
7. Have I mentioned SEO?
SEO should inform every aspect of your build.
It’s impossible to talk about the points already mentioned without, well, mentioning it. It has some very technical bits to it. The back-end elements (or as I like to call them – the arse-end elements) are best left to the professionals.
The website plan you choose might only allow limited access to a few of those elements.
SEO plugins are useful but they’re never a substitute for an SEO specialist
Get your eyeballs on what else you should know about SEO.
Blog: A website with no blog is like a pub with no beer. It’s a valuable tool to pull in the punters so don’t squander it by not using it as a lead magnet. Remember what I said about adding regular, good content? A blog is how you do that. You need to check out my post – Blog for business: 6 reasons why you should to understand it’s value.
Permalinks: These are the permanent URLs to your web pages and blog posts. They need to be relevant to the content they point to. Pay close attention to your blog post URLs. You might need to tweak them to display the blog post title. Often the default template URL has tons of numbers and not the actual title of the post – no good when you want potential clients to find that blog post from a Google search!
Title Tags and Meta Descriptions: Code speak for page titles and page description that land on the SERPs. The title needs to be relevant and eye-catching and the description below it needs to match the targeted keyword and compel the user to hit the link.
Image SEO: all your images should have relevant titles. Don’t leave them with a file name (IMG12577). Add keywords here and don’t neglect the alt. title field. Make those images work for your SEO.
Backlinks: Getting good, quality backlinks to your site from well-established websites is gold. You need a link building strategy. Take a look at this blog post to find out more.
Internal Links: Link new content to other relevant previous content within your site, like I’ve done with this blog post.
Webmaster Tools: Google and Bing have free webmaster tools. Use them to improve the performance of your site and track how well that’s going.
8. Sweet customisations
It’s nice to be a bit different from your competitors, yeah, so I have a few ideas that I’ve picked up along the way to help:
HTTP error 404 not found page.
You know that annoying moment when there’s a broken link and you’re sent to the “Page Not Found” page? Now, I don’t want you to have any broken links but shit happens, and often when a visitor gets redirected there, they leave. They lose a little trust and interest on the way and sod off.
So why not use that error page to your advantage:
You could pop a funny little message and get them back to your content. It will impress them, make them laugh and might actually make them get in touch.
You’ve probably filled out a contact form on a webpage. Do you remember what happened when your message was sent? Probably not, might just have had some bollocks saying your message was submitted.
When they send you a message redirect them to some more free, cool helpful stuff, again inject a little personality using a funny GIF to tell them their message has gone.
And what about videos?
Videos are number one in terms of SEO content.
Add them to your blog posts, especially if it’s showing your audience how to do a thing, you can then transcribe that content into a numbered list, and that’s the blog post already done. It makes the experience more interactive, they get to know you, and they stick around on your site for longer – and that’s what you want.
Pop an intro video on your home page, or where your bio is so people get to meet you and see what you’re all about.
Too many pop-ups can be annoying, however, a “Sign Up To The Blog” pop-up before the user leaves is a little nudge for your audience to take action.
General Data Protection Regulation.
This is so boring BUT every business and every website needs to comply with GDPR. You’ve seen those cookie pop-ups, you’ll be able to access your sites’ generic one and enable it. Customise it, make sure you’re upfront about what’s happening with user data.
How secure are you?
When you don’t feel secure you feel rubbish well imagine how your clients will feel when they don’t see that lovely little padlock in the top left-hand corner, especially if people can buy your services online. Who will want to enter their Visa details into that? No one, that’s who!
Make your site personal and approachable, a place where people want to go and hang out for a bit. I really hope you found this useful.
If you want to know more about how I can help, hit the button.
Ah, we all love a DIY website, they’re so easy to build…
Says no one with zero experience who’s tried to build one.
Excellent work if your website is really sexy. Props to you if it uses the right keywords, has the top copywriter and web designer on the job.
Ironically some great copywriters and web designers have terrible websites, a bit like tradespeople with shitty homes. Too busy sorting everyone else out, meanwhile her indoors is getting really pissed off…
I don’t know what came over me then.
I was possessed by both Arthur Daley (look him up youngsters) and Ray Winstone (always plays a chubby cockney).
Right, let the dog see the rabbit…
Your crappy DIY website.
You might not realise how crappy your website is.
Maybe you think that any online real estate is enough, regardless of the quality. Damn, gurl, no! A shitty website can do more harm than good. Imagine having a smashed, boarded-up shop window with dog shit piled high near the door – puts people off.
Can users find what they need or does it take them an absolute age to get to the thing they want? Are they like Lucy, blindly walking through the wardrobe only to find another land, a fawn, and the start of a holy war. People have no desire to embark on a quest to find your downloadable PDF.
Here’s how we make what you currently have, better.
1. Make a good first impression
I try to make a good first impression. Then I slowly reveal my true, hideous self.
Your website should grab your audience by the balls (in a good way) and keep them there long enough to take action.
Voice/tone – your site should have an overall vibe and speak directly to your people. And please, for the love of Christ stop talking in the third person.
User experience – is it easy to navigate? Can users find stuff? Or are they leaving in frustration? Remember Lucy!
Purpose – what’s it all for? Are you selling something? Be clear on what you’re offering.
2. Nail the design and branding
Some of the best sites are simple. That doesn’t mean they don’t look good. You can invest a lot of money in something really sexy looking but it won’t generate any more traffic if it’s not a joy to navigate.
Site theme – think about your kind of industry. For example, a photographer will want something that showcases their images.
Logo – if you have a business name then you should have a logo. This is basic stuff, people want something to remember your brand by so get on it.
Brand Palette – the colours you will use throughout your website and all marketing material. Stick to a few colours that compliment each other. Text on certain backgrounds might not work or can be hard to read. Avoid giving visitors a migraine or epileptic fit.
3. Don’t neglect SEO
If you don’t know anything about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) – don’t even think about building a website.
If you can’t be arsed to learn even the basics, hire a professional. Without SEO your DIY website will be invisible. Making life easy for the user is one aspect of how you get seen, and therefore, ranked. Accessibility is the name of the game.
Here are a handful of SEO things to think about:
A website that has regular long-form content added will secure you some long term organic traffic. Content SEO is big news when it comes to attracting your people. If you want to delve deeper into blogging, click here for all my posts on the subject.
Keywords and keyword phrases (long-tail keywords).
These are the broads terms and detailed phrases you want your DIY website to be found for. Each page on your site should be looking at different focus keywords and phrases. If you want to find out more about that, click here.
Meta titles and descriptions.
These are the page snippets that show up on a Google search result. If you leave these blank, search engines will pull up whatever content it feels is relevant to that page. Google will ultimately choose the meta info to show but give it a hand and create meta titles and descriptions for all your pages and blog posts.
This is the business of linking to other, relevant content on your website. Doing this will alert the Google bots to other brilliant content that visitors will want to read.
These are the permanent web address for each page you create. Pay close attention to the way your blog permalinks are set up. Make sure each blog post has a title that is searchable, otherwise there isn’t much point in writing a lovely blog if no one can find it.
4. Bang on webcopy
The only thing worse than a shitty looking website is a badly written one.
I will never understand why people pay top dollar to have a flashy looking website, only to write the copy themselves. Why would anyone do that? Because they don’t realise how important business copy really is.
Know your audience.
And write for them and them alone (not for every Tom, Dick and Tina). The idea is to know your target audience well enough to speak in their tongue.
Setting the tone.
Your website wording is responsible for the voice of your site. Are you a high-end brand, is this for corporate business, are you a hobbyist baker who loves to read about murder in your spare time? What do you sound like?
Make those objectives easy to grasp. Don’t hide the point of why your website exists. And instead of talking about how great you are make it all about your audience. Humans are selfish especially when they’re buying, even your About Page should be about them. What utter bastards we are!
Less is more.
Not many like to read huge chunks of text on a web page. All your content should be formatted so it’s easy to digest. Break it up with bullet points and use small paragraphs. Be economic with language. If you can explain what you offer in as few words as possible, great, do that.
Call To Action (CTA).
Now the visitor has a reason to visit they’ll want to know what to do next, so show them, guide them to a CTA button or link on your homepage. It could be a Book A Callbutton that links to a contact page. If you have information that is heavily text-based add a download button that links to a stunningly produced PDF. The possibilities are endless.
If you’d like a more detailed overview of website building, click here.
But what do I know?
I have built several websites. My first one was really bad. It was the early days of CMS websites when they were clunky and horrible to look at. I’m always changing my own website, always making improvements, checking to see if it’s still doing what I need it to. A website is never finished, things change and SEO never sleeps. I learned through getting it wrong, saves you the trouble of getting it wrong too.
Want to know how I can help with your content? Hit the button.