10 clever tips to get more visitors online

by Lucy Thornton, of Market My Handmade & Elle Thornton Designs

Your handmade products are great, you use the best quality materials, you work hard at making them perfect and you price them competitively. Your website has pictures of all your wares, concise delivery information, a great bio about how you got started…..

But your visitor stats are disappointing.

I get asked by clients almost every week “how can I get on the front page of Google?” In just a day you could increase your traffic tenfold with just a few small (but key) changes.

Here are 10 top tips you can use NOW to improve visibility of your website:

1. Write great content. If you have good quality articles, features, tutorials, advice, etc. that your target audience love (just like here on OMHG!) then people will link to you from their blogs. They’ll retweet your posts. They’ll forward the link to their friends. Make it unique, make it relevant. And make sure it includes plenty of the keywords used by your target audience (more on those later).

10 clever tips to get more visitors online

2. Get other sites to link to yours. And be generous with your links to others (what goes around…) External links should be from good quality websites, relevant to your market. [Getting links from your brother’s “Rage Against the Machine Appreciation Society” homepage isn’t going to do a great deal to impress anyone, least of all Google.]

Bonus tip: Click to see more great SEO tips for small businesses is a better external link than just Click here as it includes your keywords.

3. External links should link to different pages within your site, not just your homepage. This tells Google that you have lots of great quality content that other people like, which makes you super attractive to those little Google spiders.

4. Keywords are super important in SEO – include the phrases and words used by your audience within your content. If you sell retro crib blankets for babies, include that phrase within the text, and find other related phrases by using a free suggested keyword generator.

[Just be sure to use them naturally, as you would in conversation.  If you just stuff your paragraphs with keyword after keyword, then the genius of Google can work it out and won’t like you for it. And you don‘t want that, do you?]

5. If you have photos on your website and you don’t have ALT tags for each of them, then you’re missing another opportunity to wave a flag to Google. An ALT tag is the text that appears when the image is not available (they’re also used by disabled visitors to get an idea of the image’s content). Here’s an example of how ALT tags appear:

Retro pink paisley diaper bag
To add tags to the images on your page, edit the HTML by finding the relevant code. Here are a couple of examples:

Without ALT tags: <img src=“IMG_198772.jpg” border=”0” height=“400” width=“400”/>

With ALT tags: <img src=“IMG_198772.jpg” alt=“Picture of personalized pillow gift for baby shower” border=”0” height=“400” width=“400”/>

Without ALT tags: <img src=“bag.gif” border=”0” height=“200” width=“200”/>

With ALT tags: <img src=“bag.gif” alt=“Image of large designer messenger diaper bag” border=”0” height=“200” width=“200”/>

Anyone can add ALT text to images – no, really. Give it a try, email me if you have any problems, and I’ll get back to you.

6. Make it easy for your adoring readers to share the love by adding share buttons to your site. Get a free share button here to add to your website template so visitors can bookmark the page to read later, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, WordPress, MySpace, etc.

7. Encourage conversation – if your readers are involved in your site, they’ll feel part of your gang. So ask questions at the end of your post. Ask for their ideas and experiences. They’ll come back to read any follow-up comments. They’ll reply. They’ll be engaged. They’ll come to you when they’re ready to buy, because they know you and trust you.

8. Submit your site to the search engines. Once you’re happy with any changes, share your website with the likes of Google and Yahoo, otherwise all that hard work is wasted.

9. Update your content – a lot. Google loves blogs because new posts are added every day, week or month. This shows the site is active, current.  You don’t have to include a blog on your site – just make sure you don’t neglect the content, and keep it up-to-date.

10. Keep working on it
So your website now has:
– keyword-packed content
– fascinating posts
– tagged images
– a sitemap that Google loves
– engaged readers who join in the conversation
– people linking to you from all over the web
– more sales than you know what to do with

Keep up the good work and this time next year you’ll be a millionaire…

We’ll explore how to write great website copy and keep customers coming back for more in future oh my! handmade goodness articles, but in the meantime keep your site fresh, find out how your customers search online, and start a conversation with them today.

Lucy Thornton has over 10 years experience working in marketing, and offers advice and tips to small businesses, particularly those selling handmade products. Take a look at her site marketmyhandmade.com for advice on SEO, copy-writing, building reputation, and more.

11 comments

  1. ThisOldPMQ says:

    There’s always something just right every time I come here!
    This is great advice, especially for those who, like me, aren’t necessarily tech savvy enough to know how to market a lovely product well.
    Though my brother will be disappointed by the lack of RATM links…

  2. thisoldpmq – my brother would also be outraged at my dissing of Rage links :o) No offence though RATM fans… Nothing wrong with them, especially if the links take you to a blog about the best guitars, or how to write lyrics… they’re not all that ideal for a marketing site though :o)

    Bethany – there are three ways to ‘submit’ your site to Google – click the link below for more details:
    http://www.google.com/submityourcontent/index.html
    (I’ll put a how-to on my website http://www.marketmyhandmade.webs.com)

    Kat – best of luck with your Etsy shop – a blog is a great way to get loyal followers. Just keep your content focused on one subject (crafting, sewing, painting, being a mum, cooking, designing websites, etc.). Try not to jump all over the place on topic otherwise your readers never know what to expect and it won’t keep their interest. Let me know how you get on.

    Thanks for the comments, Lucy x

  3. Jeanie says:

    I also was baffled by #8. I didn’t know it was necessary to ’submit’ your site to Google. Would love to know more about this. I followed the link given earlier to someone. I’m not really sure what I’ve done though. What constitutes a chance to my web site – the appearance, a change in direction of content? Would love to know more.

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