You’ve spent countless hours creating your fantastic new site, launched it with great fanfare and have created some kind of content strategy, but now what? Your work has only just begun.
The success of a website comes down to how many people you can get to view it and, of those, how many return again and again. Unfortunately, the often wrongly quoted adage, “if you build it, they will come”, is not true for anything on the web. Retention of your traffic is one of the hardest things to get right and it all starts with good content, knowing what your audience wants to see, trial, error and outright persistence.
This may seem daunting, and it all comes down to providing regular and quality content, but here are a few tips, tricks and tools to help you along the way:
1. Keep your website up to date
It sounds obvious, but updating your website not only makes you look active, modern and can to help establish you as an authority, it also keeps search engines happy. The more often you create new content, the more search engines will index your site. In return, good, relevant content is rewarded with a good position in the search rankings, allowing you to spread your net wide and reach the new audiences now accessible to you.
In short, providing your users with the consistent, good quality content they have come to expect from your site will only help to bring in more traffic. If you haven’t already, start a blog on your website and create a content schedule.
2. Make use of modern browser push notifications
Push notifications, more commonly associated with smartphones, have now made it onto our browsers. So far, they’ve proved useful for a range of different applications, from article alerts for news sites to alerts from instant messaging apps.
What’s more, subscribers don’t need to be in the browser, or even be online, at the time of the notification. This opens up a whole new way of getting your users to return and making use of a bit of tech currently only being used by big companies and well-known news outlets will help to improve your perceived credibility and position within your market.
There are a couple of ways to set up browser push notifications: either get a developer to implement a custom solution for Chrome, Safari and Firefox (hard and time consuming) or take a look at Roost Web Push Notifications for an easy set-up (they also have WordPress and Drupal plugins).
3. Set up newsletter subscriptions
This is similar to the above, but the ‘classic’ way of reaching a returning audience and preferred by many. You can collect new subscribers any way you want, whether it’s the usual sidebar or footer newsletter subscription form or the more intrusive pop-up request, but just be careful to not hound your users for their email addresses.
There are countless methods for mass-mailing out your newsletter, but the most popular solutions are definitely MailChimp (manually create the emails or automate via RSS), Jetpack for WordPress or good ol’ Feedburner.
4. Make your website nice and speedy
This point is simple, but often ignored by so many sites: a fast-loading website will keep both your users and the search engines happy. It’s well known that users will make the decision to either wait or navigate away from your site within 2-5 seconds, meaning that every millisecond counts when it comes to load speed.
To find out how your website fares, take a website speed test and receive an ultimatum on how fast/slow your website is in comparison to the rest of the web. You will be provided with recommendations on how to improve, as well as a blow-by-blow account of why it took that long to load.
If the suggestions seem a little time-consuming or techie to sort out right away, here are a couple of quick wins:
- Make use of a CDN. CloudFlare is a free, popular CDN provider that is relatively easy to set up.
- If you’re using WordPress, try using a caching plugin such as W3 Total Cache.
- Minify your CSS for a little speed boost.
- Compress your images.
5. Take advantage of the socialsphere
Nothing new here, but it’s an important consideration. If you don’t feel that you have the time to tweet, add to Facebook and update the countless amount of social networks you have set your company up on, look at automating social posting.
This can be done via WordPress plugins that auto-post to a range of social networks when you publish new articles and recycle old content in the background, or social media scheduling tools such as Buffer or Hootsuite.
Automation is great, but sometimes your updates require more of a personal touch and responding to your fans and followers is something that can never be authentically replicated by software. Spend a bit of time seeing what your audience has to say, respond to people and your follow count will grow!
All in all, the more effort you put into great content, the greater your website will become and the more search engines will acknowledge your fantastic work. Listen to your users, provide real value and that’s when “they will come”.