Hopefully by now you have realized that a website is a “must have” for your business or organization. Many people turn to Google instead of a phone book these days, and if you want to be found online, you actually need to be online.
But after your site is up and running, it’s time to pay a little attention to how much your site is being used and how people are finding you. The majority of my clients have websites for their business or organization here in the Oliver-Osoyoos area, and most of them have an analytics program installed.
That means we can take a closer look at who is visiting and where they are coming from – and then use that information to make some key decisions about advertising and marketing opportunities.
First of all, let’s talk about how many people you need to have visit your website to make it earn its keep. In a month – what would make you happy? 20 visitors? 100? 10,000? That number is going to vary depending on what type of business you have and what your site goals are.
If you are simply trying to “catch” the people who don’t use phone books and need your contact information, you won’t mind if there are fewer visitors. You could be using the site as a method of putting your business name in front of the public, to round out your marketing efforts. But maybe you are encouraging return visitors with a monthly special, or encouraging e-commerce transactions – driving traffic becomes increasingly more important depending on your goals.
Here in the Oliver-Osoyoos area, I have consistently found four main sources of traffic:
Direct. This means people know the domain name (URL) and type it in directly.
Search. They have used Google or Bing (Yahoo) to find the site.
Oliver Daily News (ODN) – a local news blog with paid advertisements.
Between December 1 – 31, one local website (who advertised on ODN but not Facebook) had 37 unique visitors who visited a total of 50 times. Twenty-nine of those visits were direct click-throughs from ODN; 12 were visitors from Google; and nine directly typed the URL.
When you look at the stats from another Okanagan business that didn’t use ODN or Facebook, it seems that there is a direct correlation between online marketing and site visits. This site only had a total of 18 unique visitors in December (22 total visits). Twenty of the visits came from Google, one from Bing, and one person knew the URL.
One of my newest clients advertised on ODN but not Facebook; his business saw 49 total visits in December. Thirty-nine of those were click-throughs from ODN. Another, who used Facebook as well as ODN, saw 78 total visits – 40 from ODN (poster campaign), 17 from Google or Bing, 17 who knew the URL, and four from Facebook.
One of my favourite clients didn’t advertise on ODN, but she used Facebook to great advantage. She brought in 86 visits (60 unique visitors) to her site in December, 45 of them directly from Facebook.
Ultimately, creating a beautiful and useful website is only the beginning. To get the most out of the time and money you have invested in your site, spend a little time thinking about how you can best drive that traffic, be it through online advertising or social media.
Of course, don’t forget there are other, more traditional ways to drive website traffic. Get mentioned in other media! If your business or organization can attract some attention in a newspaper article, on the radio, or through other media – the more the better. Word of mouth is another key, especially in a small town, and it should go without saying that you need to put your website address on your business cards, poster advertising, and use it as an email signature.