Anthony Karibian
Anthony Karibian, CEO of bOnline

Most small businesses today have realized a website is a vital part of their marketing plan. Many have spent weeks, maybe even months, creating a professional website to convert prospects into paying customers. So why are many small business websites failing to bring in sales? In order to attract traffic to your website, it’s important to understand that the work isn’t over once your website has gone live. Thankfully, you don’t need to be an expert or a millionaire to drive traffic to your site –  here are five free and easy ways:

Master SEO

Much of your site’s traffic will come from search engines such as Google, where your success depends on how highly your site ranks for keywords related to your business. There’s no guaranteed way to the top, but you can apply search engine optimization (SEO) best practices on your site to be in with a better chance. Think about the search terms you want to rank for and ensure these keywords are included in your website, including the header and page titles (but don’t force them in or repeat them excessively). Getting links back to your site from respected sources should also give you a boost. There are a lot of rules to good SEO, but the best place to start is with Google’s very own SEO Starter Guide, available here for free.

Create content

You may want to drive people to your website, but what’s in it for them? Make sure your site is informative and people will keep coming back. If you’re an expert in your field, why not write a regular blog full of advice? Think about the questions your customers often ask, and write an article giving them answers. When someone searches online for that specific query, they could land on your site. If you’re confident in your writing ability you could also consider guest blogging for relevant websites in your industry – the more popular the site, the more traffic is likely to come from your site.

Get social

Many people use social networks in their personal lives, but too many small business owners still overlook them as a way to drive traffic to their website. Are your customers on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest? Then you should be, too! Set up your business profiles and promote your newly-written content to your followers. You’ll be surprised how many people click through to your site if you create useful, shareable posts.

Go offline

Don’t forget more traditional marketing tactics. Offline marketing is still relevant today, even when your aim is to drive more traffic to your business website. Printing your web address on business cards, flyers, and even your business vehicle, will give potential customers a way to check out your business if they’re not ready to call or visit you. And of course, don’t forget the value of word of mouth marketing – tell your loyal customers to spread the word that you’re online!

Dig out the directories

Directory listings may not be the first place you would think to place a link to your website, but many people still rely on them to look up services, rather than typing queries straight into search engines. The online versions can also provide a valuable link back to your site for SEO purposes – just make sure the directory is relevant to your industry or region. Search engine spam filters will pick up on repeated listings in low quality or irrelevant directories, so it’s best to submit your site to a few quality listings pages rather than taking a scattergun approach.

Anthony Karibian is the CEO of bOnline, your local online marketing solution. From setting up your business website to getting customers, bOnline provides all the online marketing tools you need in one place. Follow Anthony on Google+ or find bOnline on Twitter @bOnlineLtd