Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Drive More Traffic to Your Website

I am here to tell you that it is possible for a small photography business to generate traffic to your website with a few simple initiatives.

The following are ten simple strategies to boost your visibility online.

1. Add a blog. Blogging isn’t just another task on your To-Do list; it’s a very effective way to attract more traffic to your website. When you update your blog on a regular basis (ideally once or twice a week), your site becomes more relevant with the search engines because you are updating the content often.

Each blog post gives the search engines another reason to find your site. Using photography as an example, if you were to write a blog post about how to find a location to shoot or a tutorial on style, the next time someone searched for that phrase, it is much more likely that the post would come up in Google. Not convinced? Try blogging regularly for 30 days, twice a week and then search Google for key phrases from your blog entries or website!

2. Share your blog posts via your other online initiatives. If you’re still wondering what the heck to share on your Facebook and Twitter, Google+ etc, your blog holds the answers. After writing a new post, share the title—along with a link back to your website—on your social media networks and watch the traffic rise! As your social media audience grows, so will the number of visitors to your site.

3. Feature other people on your blog. Consider adding guest blogs or interviews with people from your industry. Not only will you easily increase your blog content, your subjects will also share the news with their social media networks, thereby increasing your reach.

4. Comment on other people’s blogs. Adding a comment to a blog (like this one!) has many advantages. First, most blogs allow you to include a link back to your website, which readers can click to view your site. Believe it or not, you gain exposure with other readers of the blog.

It also increases your own website’s relevance in Google since Google gives favoritism to sites that have more incoming links, especially from high traffic websites.

5. Ratchet up your keywords on your web content. With each and every page on your website you have a chance to lure in visitors simply by using the right keywords. The goal here is to determine what keywords your prospects would use to find your site, and then incorporate them into your pages Meta tags and content.

For each Web page, add a key phrase (series of keywords) to the page title, page description, and page URL. Also repeat the phrase two or three times within the text on the page. Trust me; this will make a huge difference.

For your images, go into the properties of the photo and ensure that every image is labeled with keywords that you want to be discovered under. Here is an example. You put up a photo of a “Bald Eagle”. Your keywords that you label this image with are as follows, (Bald eagle, British Columbia, Fraser river, autumn, kevin pepper, kpep photography, olympus e30, 50-200 Zuiko lens, Canadian landscape photographer, nature photographer, professional olympus photographer, bird of prey in flight, Haliaeetus leucocephalus) What I have done here is made sure that I labeled the image with location, subject, photographer and gear used to ensure I have covered all the bases.

6. Increase the number of web pages within your site. Since each page on your website can include a keyword phrase, adding more pages can help capture more visitors. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer that offers services in different cities, create a page for each city and include a phrase like “Wedding photographer in Denver.” You could take this a step further and create additional pages for “Hire a wedding photographer in Denver” and “What Can you expect to pay for a Wedding Photographer in Denver.”

7. Update your website with new information often. Have an event coming up or going on a trip of a lifetime? Announce it on your website. New workshop launched? Feature it on your home page. New phooto taken? Get it online. Your site should be updated often to give visitors a reason to return again and again. Repeat visits are just as important as unique visitors to generate more revenue through your website.

8. Find a partner and co-promote. One great way to generate new visitors is to leverage traffic from other sites. Find a partner who reaches a similar target audience and collaborate on a campaign. You could swap coupons and promote to your respective audiences. You might host a contest together or even a big event—one that requires registration on your website! The possibilities are endless once you make time to brainstorm and create a win-win situation for all parties involved.

9. Monitor what people are saying out there about you. It would serve you well to do some proactive research on what people are saying about you out there in the internet. Every month I Google my name and my business to see what is being said about me. I go on Twitter and search for comments made with my name in them and i also check who is following me and what is being favored.

You can never be too careful with reputation management. I actually recently found out some people I assumed were friends for the past three years, people who I believed to be trusted and went on photographic outings with, have been publicly discussing the validity of my claims of where I say I have been published. After talking to a lawyer, and showing him samples of my published work, I asked about my options. I learned it can be construed to be slander. It’s a slippery slope and a legal discussion you should have with a lawyer before pursuing, so think of the costs and ramifications before proceeding.

Personally I decided to post it on here. That way when they read this post, they know I am aware. It is far less expensive than hiring a lawyer to send a cease and desist letter and it leaves me open to launch a lawsuit at a later date if it hinders my ability to generate income.

I mean seriously, did they these people not think I would hear? Did they really think I would lie about where I was published? Especially on my website that I use to promote a business that I want to create a future with?

In my opinioin, its petty jealousy from people that wish they could put themselves out there, but lack the self confidence to do so. But I do wish them all luck in their own future endeavors, whatever they may be.

So my point here, you can never be too careful online. Even people you think you know may say things that could have long lasting negative effects on your ability to generate an income.

10. Social Media. It’s a common theme throughout the TOP 10 here. But it’s worth a point on its own. Twitter, Facebook, DIGG, Google+, all are social media companies that can easily direct traffic back to your website.

I would ensure you are doing what is called “Deep Linking”. Make sure your links on your social media site go directly to the content you are referring to in your post. Taking them to your home page will do you a disservice because they will click away. Driving them to specific and relevant content will lessen your bounce rates.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me by contacting me through my CONTACT ME! page