Your Website Isn’t Bringing You New Customers

Ghost town website

News Flash: Your Website Doesn't Get Any Traffic And Isn't Bringing You New Customers

That website you put up back in 2012 hasn’t changed — it still looks the same, still has the pedestrian design of the era, and still does nothing to help your business. That’s right — nada, no sale! Your website isn’t bringing you any new customers.

You can take some solace in knowing that you aren’t alone by a long stretch. Last count, there were about 1.7 billion websites in the world with 2-3 going up every second. More than 93 percent of those don’t get any meaningful action, which is alarming. What a waste!

It doesn’t have to be that way, but for some reason, the average small business owner gave up right after they hit publish on their new website. Don’t listen to me. Just go search a few small businesses you know and take a look. 

don't care about your website

Is It That You Don't Care?

It’s a legitimate question I would love to ask so many small business owners. Is it that you don’t care that your website is doing nothing for your business, or is this a knowledge issue? Is it because you think the cost doesn’t justify the result? Or are you even aware that your website isn’t bringing you any new customers?

As a digital marketing and design professional, it’s stunning to me that most small businesses don’t seem to care. Or, maybe they just don’t know.

I guess it bugs me mostly because I know that an immense amount of potential value goes unrealized. I can say with certainty that I have never met a business owner who said, “close the doors and stop answering the phone because we don’t want any more customers.”

That is a ludicrous notion, but when you abandon your website it’s sort of the same thing. You’re leaving a customer-making, revenue-generating, loyalty-building machine to collect dust because no one knows it exists. Don’t believe me? I can show you the data and I would be delighted to!

Let’s get into some of the reasons why you aren’t getting traffic to your website. Disclaimer: there are many more reasons than addressed here, but we’ll stick with these 5 because they are very important.

no traffic to your website

The Top 5 Reasons Your Website Isn't Bringing You New Customers

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The number one reason your website isn’t bring you new customers, out in front by far, is that your SEO is non-existent. If your website looks like it was designed 5+ years ago, I can predict with near certainty that you haven’t done any work to optimize it for search. 

I get it — maybe that means nothing to you. SEO is the gold that enables leading brands and savvy small businesses to outrun and lap their competitors. Consumers want answers and they are getting them from your competitors who have done the smart work to make their website work for them. Here’s the secret… it’s not rocket science. It just takes time and diligence and most business owners don’t understand this.

seo is the problem

Google is the best source of free traffic. But getting your content to the top of the search results is hard (not impossible, just difficult). In order to get that massive reward, you will have to be smart and persistent.

That means the content on your site needs to be very good. By good, I mean relevant and optimized for the search engine, not for your promotion. That’s where you start.

There are several other fundamental elements of SEO but the most important is understanding your audience and how they find businesses like yours. Knowing the questions they are asking and providing answers. But that’s just a start. You have to be ready to serve them once you’ve gotten them to the site, but for now, we’ll stick with just getting traffic.

Without exceptional SEO, your chances of acquiring your place on the top page are nil.

How You Fix It

  • WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin

    If your site is on the WordPress CMS platform (we work exclusively in WP) you should install the Yoast SEO plugin for search engine optimization. It will guide you to make basic changes on each page and get you closer to optimization. It's not automatic. It assumes that the content on the page is written in a way that makes it right for optimization, but the plugin will help you with this too — or it will flag the content that is not optimal.

  • Google Search Console and Analytics

    Make sure your website is connected to Google Search Engine and Google Analytics. The search console will manage your web property, allowing you to see if/how each page and post is indexed through your sitemap.xml file. It will also give you a warning for pages that are not indexed or errors that you have that may affect your ranking. Google Analytics allows you to see all of the traffic to your site and will report a lot of information on users, where they come from, and what they do when they reach the site.

  • Use An Advanced SEO Console

    Google will only help you so much. You may need to implement a more advanced level of SEO analysis to help with keyword and keyphrase analysis and optimizing your target keywords/phrases to your audience. SEMrush or Moz are both great services.

2. Your Backlinks Are Non-Existent

The second reason your website isn’t bringing you new customers is that it has no authority in the eyes of Google. Backlinks are key in your search rankings and they transfer authority to your site. If you’re not sure what a backlink is, it’s when some other site — one that Google considers worthy — links to your site. It means the owner of the linking site believes your site is valuable enough to make the link, thereby passing some authority, also known as link juice, to you (if they, in fact, have any authority to pass).

backlinks are important

Most websites (and web pages) that rank on the first page typically have high-quality backlinks directing visitors to them. At a minimum, their website or domain has built significant authority, meaning that their site is trusted — through these links — by hundreds if not thousands of referenced links.

If you haven’t tried to get any links (also known as link-building), you may not have many, or any at all. It’s possible that if your site has a little age, let’s say a year or more, you may have been inadvertently included in an online business directory or phone listing. While not ideal backlinks, if the directories are well known, you do get credit for these links.

That said, lack of backlinks is likely the number one reason you’re not getting any authority recognition from Google, and in turn a major reason why your website isn’t bringing you new customers.

How You Fix It

  • Blog Commenting

    The easiest way to get started is by commenting on other blogs. Most blogs give out no-follow links to their commenters. No-follow links don’t really carry much link juice, which means they rarely help with your search rankings. But that doesn’t matter. The best link profiles have a good mixture of no-follow and do-follow links. If you do this enough, you will get your share of reciprocity.

  • Guest Posting

    Find blogs that clearly get significant traffic and publish content on topics where you have expertise. Read their posts and get a feel for the content and style. Then offer to guest post on their site with the understanding you can reference your own site (not advertise, just reference).

  • Focused Link-Building Campaigns

    It requires an incredible amount of work to build backlinks in a compressed timeframe, especially ones that will benefit your site. There are guys like Semantic Mastery who have the newest aggressive strategies they swear by or you can proceed more conservatively and go through the process methodically. The latter is preferable with the understanding that success comes over time.

Be very judicious in seeking backlinks. All backlinks are not valuable and some can actually hurt you. This gets into the topic of whitehat (good), greyhat (edgy), and blackhat (bad) SEO techniques. Googles algorithms are more sophisticated today that ever and they have a keen ability to see nefarious activity when SEOs are trying to get there sites ranked in an underhanded fashion. You’ll want to avoid this. If you want to see a comprehensive list of link-building strategies, this is a good place to start.

3. You're Competing For The Wrong Keywords

Most business people who own websites, good or bad, realize that keywords are an important factor in Google search rankings. If nothing else, they know this much.

What most don’t understand is the complexity of how keywords and keyphrases work in the larger search lexicon. Frankly, I’m not sure even the savviest SEO completely understands because Google holds the deep inner workings very close.

competing for the wrong keywords

The more a specific word or phrase is submitted to Google search, the more likely it will become targeted by the biggest websites and brands in the world. That means it becomes 100 if not 1000+ times harder to compete for that word or phrase.

Even if you have killer content, there’s simply no guarantee you’ll be able to compete because small businesses just don’t have the resources or financial bandwidth, compared to entire divisions allocated by the big boys, to achieve high rankings. Top rankings for the commoditized search words and phrases are usually won by the Walmarts and Amazons of the world.

So if you’re targeting keywords like how to prepare healthy food or where to buy the best chocolate, chances are you’ll never get there, and that’s yet another reason your website isn’t bringing you new customers. 

How You Fix It

  • Build Authority

    Becoming a top authority on broad topics is very difficult, but if you pick a very focused topic or two, it is possible. It won't be easy and will likely take you months if not years. Once you're there, people will come to you for answers, and Google will reward your efforts with great rankings in search results, which is digital gold. The goal is to be consistent, steadfast, and create valuable content that is not self-promoting.

  • Long-Tail Keywords

    If you target long-tail keywords, which are phrases containing 4+ words and are very specific, you will have a much better chance of driving search traffic to your site. For example, instead of using "best balloons," use something like "balloons for toddler birthday parties in Atlanta." It's not quite that simple, but with some research, you can determine the right words and phrases for your niche and use them to your advantage.

  • A Little Of Both

    The recommended approach is to mix it up. Make sure you are focusing on very specific phrases and use those phrases in your content where applicable. Make sure when you guest post you use the same specialty phrases. And, obviously create awesome content. Your content needs to be 10 times better than the competition and it should answer specific questions. Avoid general knowledge and self-promotion.

4. Your Content Sucks

Ok, this is subjective, but there is a lot of terrible content out on the web — poorly written, grammatically disastrous, and laden with self-promotion. 

Your content is the ONLY reason people might come to your website. No one cares enough about you to listen to you talk about yourself or your company. It’s difficult to fathom that any website exists today without a blog or similar content vehicle to communicate ideas and solutions to its intended audience. If you do this, save your $25/month in hosting fees and shut it down because it’s probably hurting you more than it’s helping.

your content sucks

Even if you are paying Google or Facebook for ads that link to your website, no one is going to stay for more than a couple of seconds if your content doesn’t help them or if it’s poorly written. 

Driving traffic is one thing. Getting visitors to stay on your site once you coax them there is an entirely different matter. Solve that and the world becomes your oyster. Your content, and its quality, have everything to do with why your website isn’t bringing you new customers.

How You Fix It

  • Share Your Knowledge

    Rather than talk about what you do when you write, talk about how you do it. One of the big myths in digital marketing is company secrets, i.e. secret recipes. Many companies believe if they talk about how they do something that people won't need them. Not true. People on the web are looking for answers and Google is the broker. If you provide great answers, not only will Google reward you with traffic, but you will build a loyal audience that will come to you when they need to solve a problem. Ta da!

Always write incredibly engaging content that is optimized for the web. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Your paragraphs should be short.
  • No fluff or self-promotion.
  • Make sure you use italics or bold type to emphasize key points.
  • Use data to illustrate where it makes sense.
  • Include images and video where applicable.
  • Use authoritative links and sources to back up your claims.

It requires work to create readable web content. Find good topics. Use some of the research tools mentioned above to research keywords and find those phrases that are searched but still highly-specific to your specialty. Use Google’s autocomplete function to learn about related searches. Explore answer boards like Quora to find relevant questions being asked in and around your niche. And, study your audience. If you don’t know who they are, do that first.

This is a great article on creating killer content by one of the most authoritative voices on the topic of SEO (Moz) —  How to Create 10 x Content: Whiteboard Friday.

5. Spend More Time Promoting Your Content And Less Time Creating It

If the content you create is valuable, it should be found and read. If no one knows you, that’s a difficult feat to perform in a vacuum. Don’t believe for a minute that just creating content is enough — the build it and they will come mentality isn’t applicable on the web.

If you consistently create content like blog posts on a regular schedule, there’s a reasonable chance you might begin to see some organic traffic to your site over a period of time — months at a minimum.

promote your content

But, it’s not guaranteed. Even if you gain a few loyal readers, you still need a steady stream of fresh visitors to show Google that you are doing a good job answering questions and new people are coming to get those answers.

If you begin with no authority, don’t expect people to just come running because you published your latest post. Getting people to find it, much less read it, is uphill all the way — especially in the beginning. 

So, the real work begins after you publish your content. You have to aggressively promote it to the right audience, bravely and consistently, to have any hope of getting eyes on it. 

Publishing and praying people will find you is not enough. 

How You Fix It

  • Find An Influencer

    Influencer marketing can be a game-changer. One share from an industry influencer can ignite an audience that otherwise may have never known you existed. Influencer marketing is where you leverage the audience of someone by getting them to share your content. It lets that audience know the influencer believes you have something valuable to say and in turn transfers that authority to you — perfect for content promotion if you can get it.

  • Social Media Promotion

    Social media is a good start but it won't get you all the way there. However, the first thing you should do after publishing new content on your website is to go to every social media account you have and share it with that audience. I recommend sharing it through your business or group pages first and then sharing that post through your personal accounts.

Influencer marketing isn’t easy unless you know an influencer. Even then, asking overtly for them to share your content might be dodgy.

Make sure you can offer reciprocation by agreeing to promote them. I would refrain from buying influencer links, although large brands do it all the time. Celebrities are paid tens of thousands of dollars for single tweets or Facebook posts mentioning a product.

Here is a decent article on content promotion. Everything isn’t useful but you are sure to find a nugget or two here: Content Promotion Strategies: 50 Ways to Drive Traffic To Your Next Article

Is Your Website Like A Ghost Town?

So, your website isn’t bringing you new customers. Is it just dangling out there on the internet gathering dust and digital cobwebs? If so, it’s likely because you may have given up, which is completely understandable. Making a website useful for your business is hard work and it requires a lot of the stuff some business people believe they don’t possess or just don’t have time for. This fact is evidenced by the millions of dormant billboards companies erected on the web years ago, never to be heard from again.

digital ghost town

There is hope. Sometimes it may just take a few small tweaks to inject new life into your website or it may take an overhaul just to get the engine started again.

Google has changed significantly in just the past couple of years and they continue to evolve the method by which they reward websites with traffic. But, there is a way to mine digital gold out of the internet and there are numerous ways to go about it.

Making your website a valuable business asset begins with a willingness to recognize the fact it can and should be. Everything I’ve written about here can be done by you with a little elbow grease and a dose of stamina.

If you don’t feel like you’re up to it, we can help. It’s as easy as a quick call to get started, or maybe we can provide you with some confidence and give you a head start on doing it yourself.

Either way, if you just address these 5 reasons I’ve outlined, you’ll be on your way to greater visibility on the web and new customers for your business.

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