There are many ways to get more people to visit your online store. But before we go into that part, you need to ask yourself: Am I ready for more visitors to my store?
So many store owners seek that extra traffic without actually making the necessary preparations to actually being prepared for the consequences of the extra traffic to their web store. So I am going to give you some tips on what you need to have done before you even think about getting more visitors.
A store that lives online has it’s technical limitations – just as a physical store in the main street has. So the first thing you need to figure out is if your hosting plan can handle a big influx of new visitors. In other words – you need to know if your store has the capacity to handle the growth in visits.
There are a number of ways to figure this out. Start by Googling for “web server stress test”. You will find a number of tools to test the limitations of the server where your store is hosted. If it turns out that your host is to slow or downright badly configured, it’s time to look for a better hosting environment for your store.
Actually a bad host has more than one consequence for your business. The visitors gets cranky being on a slow site, but the biggest worry is actually Google. Last year Google implemented measuring of page loading times as part of their algorithms for ranking in their search results. So, don’t wast your marketing budget. Make sure your online store is technically fit for an increase in visitors!
Usability – avoiding getting lost in there
Next you need to look into is the usability of your store.
Will the visitors find their way inside your store so you actually get the order? There are countless examples of bad shopping experiences to be found. Don’t be one of them! It has to be crystal clear for the visitor how to actually place the order – this is typically called the call to action. You need to test, and retest until you are absolutely, positively sure that there is no way to get lost in the order process of your online store. A simple way to get valuable feedback on usability is to ask the least web-savvy person you know to try to place an order. I usually ask my 71-years old father to make a test order first without giving him any help doing so. My rule of thumb is that if he can do it, anyone can!
Getting more people to visit your store
After doing all the necessary preparations, you are now ready to get more people into your newly improved and polished store. What should you do to get those visitors?
Firstly, I would look at the free ways to get more visitors before even considering the paid alternatives. Free ways of getting traffic often takes a bit more time and efforts, but they also pay off very fast since they did not actually cost any money. At least not directly.
If you have a personal Facebook-account with a big number of friends, I would start off by setting up a Facebook page for the store and recommend it to my friends. Just remember to prepare that Facebook page as thorough as you did with your store. Don’t recommend a page that has nothing to offer. Make a special Facebook-offer that encourage your friends to spread the word to their friends.
The most important tip I can give regarding Facebook is to NOT let the temptation to spam your friends. I repeat – DO NOT SPAM you friends with links to your store’s Facebook page – or to the store itself. The idea here is to encourage your friends to help you spread the message of how great your store is – freely and because they believe in what you do.
Twitter is another social media site that can be used to promote your store for free. Follow the same rules as for Facebook. And again, do not spam links to your followers. I really can’t stress this enough. Short term gains in increased visitor traffic do not justify dragging your brand to gutter because of annoying your followers.
The easiest way to make a decision if something is worth tweeting, is to ask yourself: would I recommend that link to someone to if it was to a competitor?
For many online stores, Google is the most important source of new visitors to their store. Here you have two ways of approaching.
- Organic traffic through the natural search results. This is what we call search engine optimization. You can read more about this here.
- Paid traffic through Google’s AdWords program.