You spend hours honing and perfecting content. You’re delivering information that citizens need and want. And yet your website’s traffic numbers aren’t reflecting your effort. Why? It could be a combination of things, but there’s something you can do. To boost traffic – and help drive your organization’s mission – here are some quick tips that you can implement immediately. We’ve broken the ideas out into focus categories: content, promotion and design.
- Use Keywords. We all know that keywords are fundamental to search engine optimization (SEO), but remember to use SEO terms in the title, at least a couple times in the text and in the headline on the page to gain maximum exposure.
- Refresh Frequently. Staffing levels are down, but one of the main tenets of driving traffic is refreshing content on a regular basis. Regular doesn’t necessarily mean every day, but content should be reviewed and updated at least once a week. This doesn’t mean you have to rewrite your entire site, but you should add or change content on your home page or secondary pages. It’s what keeps search engines displaying your website higher in search results and people coming back for more.
- Offer Quality Content. Generating quality content can be a real challenge, so leverage the expertise of colleagues. Additionally, look around for content that you can comment on or that inspire you when you feel tapped out. Just make sure you put your own spin on it first, which leads us to our next tip.
- Stick to What You Know. Focus on your organization’s areas of expertise. If you’re inspired by something you’ve read, tie it to your organization’s mission before posting on your website. Don’t post new content just for the sake of posting something new – make sure it’s core to your organization’s mission.
- Snappy Headlines, Shorter Text. Think about the last time you saw something you wanted to read. It probably had an interesting headline, which made you click in to view the content. Once you clicked through to the web page, you likely took a look at the amount of content before you started reading. Make sure your content is short and to the point. If your topic is complex and your content needs to be longer, be sure to break it up into manageable chunks, which leads us into our last content tip.
- Break Up Text. Make sure your content is crisp and to-the-point. Breaking up content into bullets and numbered lists helps make information easy to read.
- Promote with Email and Social Media. Don’t be shy about promoting your website content via email to subscribers and social media more broadly. By delivering the content you’re already creating to your stakeholders and the public, this gives them the opportunity to share content with their friends and family and grow your following.
- Link it up. Make sure to link your content to other government organizations’ content. If you view another organization as an expert on a topic and are willing to link to their content, they are likely to return the favor. This also helps build more credibility for your website in search engine algorithms.
- Promote Content in Your Signature Line. Include a link in your email signature to your site’s content for cross-promotion.
- Share on Social Media. Add social media links to the top and bottom of your site. When you also share your website content on your social channels, others can easily spread the word.
- Add Video. If you have video content that you can share on your site, do it! It’s a quick and engaging addition.
- Sponsor a Post. If you feel your stakeholders are engaged with your Facebook or Twitter pages, consider sponsoring a post for as little as $10.
- Invite Feedback. Ask visitors to share feedback and respond – nothing delights people more than knowing someone paid attention to a comment they left.
- Connect face-to-face. Don’t forget the impact of connecting and promoting “in real life.” That means promoting your content on non-digital channels, such as promoting your website URL as part of the hold message in your organization’s call centers or with small cards at offices where stakeholders are likely to visit. Get creative!
- Break Up Content with Photos and Images. Studies show that online content that includes imagery generates more traffic, so add visual imagery to keep your content interesting.
- Keep a Clean Palate. Once your content is in a good place, don’t forget to ensure a clean design with tabs and pull-down menus that make it easy to spot the content visitors want and need. Also, remember that the eye can only focus on so much as once, and attempting to maintain a balanced page helps people navigate to content they’re looking for.
- Plain, Simple Backgrounds. Black text on a white background is always easiest to read. This basic, clean design is critical to accessibility and readability.
- Place Important Content Higher. Keep important or new content “above the fold” of the browser to provide Web visitors with key information easily and quickly.
If you follow even a few of these tips, you’ll find traffic increasing to your site in no time.
Please share what you’ve done to increase traffic to your site. We look forward to hearing your innovative ideas.