If your Web site is up and running and it does not create the traffic you want, give your target audience the tools to join in.
So, you built your company Web site … or most likely had someone build it for you. Regardless of its inception, are “they” coming?
Did you spend money on a Web site only to find that new patients, customers and/or referral sources are not knocking down your door like you anticipated? Unfortunately, traffic doesn’t just happen. You’ve got to give your target markets good directions to get to your Web site. By directions, I mean specific content that your target markets are interested in that will enable your targets to find you when they are searching online.
So, what directions are you giving to drive traffic to your site?
If you drive, you know that road signs are consistent throughout the country — stop signs, highway signs, railroad crossing signs. Everyone uses the same signs. Everyone knows what a stop sign looks like. People know what to expect. Imagine if each city or town used different stop signs. Imagine the confusion and panic from the drivers on the road as they try to understand these foreign symbols.
On the Web, think of social networking sites as signs that everyone knows and recognizes. Consider Facebook for example. Your business’ Facebook page can direct searchers to your business’ Web site. A YouTube channel can link directly to your company’s Web site as well. On LinkedIn and Plaxo you can list your business Web site and link to it. These are the familiar signs that your target audience needs to successfully navigate to your Web site. If you are not already using these applications to your benefit, start now and watch the immediate boost in traffic to your Web site.
Repaint the lines
You’re driving down a four-lane highway and all of a sudden, the lane lines are gone. Chaos ensues as you enter this dangerous driving situation. You probably won’t want to drive down that highway until the lines are repainted. You need those lines to tell you where you are and keep you on your path. Without the lines you would be lost.
Putting new content up on your Web site is like repainting the lines for your Web site viewers. It shows the driver/viewer that you care about them and you want them to feel safe. If your ‘news’ section was last updated in 2004, your lines are in dire need of repainting. Nothing tells your target market that this is a dangerous road for them to be on like seriously outdated content.
Take a test drive
This is a true story. I once drove from the Alabama Prosthetic & Orthotic Association meeting in Birmingham, Ala. up to an Amputee Coalition of America meeting in Nashville, Tenn. to give a presentation. I had to be there by 7:30 a.m. I didn’t have GPS so I carefully mapped out my route using Mapquest. I mentioned my travel plans to a sales representative, who was from Tennessee, at the Alabama Prosthetic & Orthotic Association meeting. He had a better plan in mind.
“All you need to do is take Highway X to Highway Y and you’ll be all set,” he assured me.
As I circled Nashville at 6:45 a.m. again and again, I cursed him and his “simple” directions. As a local, driving to Nashville was second nature to him so leaving out critical bits like – don’t forget to merge onto Highway Z before you get to Highway Y – was no big deal. It was to me.
If the only way you’ve ever “driven” to your Web site is by typing in the domain name, you might just be a local. Try getting there if you’re a “tourist.” When you search for your Web site using terms a patient, customer or a referral source might use, does your Web site come up on the first search page? If not, it might be time to put up some signs and repaint the lines.