Increase monthly website visitors from 3,000 to 25,000? In just one year?
For many business owners who contact us about website design, one of the most popular questions they ask is “How can we increase web traffic?”
This translates to ‘How can we get new customers?” or “How can we earn more money?” to “How can we increase our Google Ranking?”
This simple question has a multitude of answers and as much as we hope to educate new clients, it often just confuses them even more.
It’s not surprising.
What works is when we explain how we increased one business’s monthly web traffic from 3,000 to 25,000 in just 1 year.
That’s a substantial increase by any standards.
What makes business owners, large and small, really sit up and take notice is when we explain we actually saved that company money.
The funds they spent were saved over the next 12 months AND those savings drove traffic, sales and leads.
What is even more interesting to ALL business owners is this company is not spending a monthly fee on SEO. They are not paying Google for AdWords. Off the back of that they got a 730% increase in web visitors in just under 1 year.
The Truth Hurts.
The business we achieved this for is Golden Eagle Luxury Trains. A luxury rail travel company, based here in Manchester.
Designers Up North had been working with Golden Eagle on a new brochure design for their tours. At the end of this initial project, it was clear we worked well together. They gave clear, concise briefs, their marketing team knew what they wanted to achieve, knew their market well, and were happy to listen to ideas about how to achieve their goals.
The conversation eventually led to their website design.
The truth was their original website was poor. Not only in terms of the design, but had poor user experience. There was no SEO optimisation at all, the design was dated and didn’t work on devices of any sort and we knew we could increase web traffic with some simple solutions.
The navigation for the site was confusing, often resulting in coming full circle through the site and landing on a page you had previously been on. Incredibly frustrating all round for both visitors, and the owners.
The website structure was also missing. It’s a common occurrence. A website that has bits being bolted on over the years, amendments made at the last minute without a consideration for users meant that the final result was the equivalent of a sketchbook. A lot of good ideas and information, but hastily put together with the intention of coming back to it and sorting it out.
One day at least. And on that day, we had an honest conversation.
The Website Redesign.
Nobody likes being told that their website isn’t working. It is personal to the company, it has had money spent on it, and no-one wants to rebuild a website if they really do not have to.
We explained that the the first step in the process was to redesign their website. Without this we could not achieve their goals. It’s easy to say, but justifying it is the key.
The on-site optimisation was non-existent. Images were lacking descriptions and the keywords were all over the place. It was more than likely that keyword research had not even been considered.
They saw that their competitors websites were more modern, had better imagery, a clear direction and had seen some money spent on them.
We explained that we wanted to get our copywriter on board so that customers and search engines alike knew what each page was about. A good copywriter is worth their weight in gold. A good copywriter uses less words, not more. Coupled with a great design the potential is huge.
This led us to our next question.
“What do you want the website to do? What are your goals?”
During the course of an initial meeting we heard from many people the aims of the new website.
“We want the website to make more sales”
“We want more visitors”
“We want to increase web traffic”
“Can you make us better than our competitors?”
All of these are valid requests – and more importantly, it was exactly what we wanted to hear. Just redesigning a website for aesthetic purposes is all well and good, but there has to be a clear, defined goal. Increase Web Traffic? That’s just what we want to hear. We can do it, and we can prove it once it has been done.
Some companies are quite happy to have a website that does not need to show up in search engines – Often they just want a website to validate and back-up who they are. They could be marketing directly, or through print, and the online world is not essential. For most of us, the opposite applies.
Golden Eagle came back to us with a clear creative brief. This included a wish-list of aims, thoughts and a complete list of all their industry competitors.
Now we could really start work.
Proposing A Solution to Increase Web Traffic.
Our brief consisted of 4 main aims.
- Improve the navigation and appearance of the website
- Improve the rankings in Search Engines
- Increase web traffic
- Make those visitors contact the company
As you can see, the original website didn’t really fit in with their brand. They are a luxury holiday company. Their competitors had taken the lead in terms of design, SEO and customer base.
We proposed a fully responsive website. This would work on all devices, from desktop and tablets, to mobile phone. The majority of their audience were using iPads to browse the site so the existing web design was incredibly difficult to use, and in some places, impossible.
Large images, clear narrative and easy to click links were the way forward and we submitted initial designs using photoshop. They loved the new design, and with this structure in place we set work on the arguably harder part of the job. The marketing.
After a full analysis of their original website, and just as importantly, their competitors, we set to work on the keyword research. This is the holy grail when looking to increase web traffic.
What words are ‘actually’ being searched for. No guessing, no assuming, just pure research.
What a business owner believes are their main keywords, and the keywords that your audience are searching for are often different.
- Luxury Train Holiday – 10 Searches a month
- Luxury Trains – 1,300 Searches a Month
Which one do you think was researched and which was suggested?
After a weeks worth of research using specialist SEO software, and honest, hard graft we compiled a list of profitable keywords that would drive traffic to their products.
Based on our design proposals Chris, our copywriter, set to work writing the copy for each page whilst Matt built a bespoke website framework that would be responsive, fast to load and easy to use when wanting to update content such as prices, dates and journey itineraries.
Over the next weeks we built over 120 pages of pure online content – each and every page designed to appeal aesthetically to visitors, and just as importantly, fully optimised for the search engines.
Insights to journeys, and articles written by Guest Speakers were written and published on their blog, which meant fresh and relevant content was constantly being produced.
By using a variety of publishing platforms those blog posts were read, shared and were linked to.
Calls to action were missing on the original site, so were implemented across the board.
But this still left an opportunity that was simple in its implementation and would provide Golden Eagle with a strategy to pursue ongoing marketing.
Almost all the visitors their website were searching for one thing. The holiday of a lifetime.
This audience is generally affluent. With their most expensive luxury rail holiday costing tens of thousands of pounds the customer was going to look at all the options, including competitors.
No snap decisions are made with this type of holiday. If you are looking for a quick week away in the sun you will take a gamble and book online. Not with this sort of trip.
As you will know, a holiday website provides an overview of the trips, the basic facts, prices and locations. If a customer is definitely interested in buying a holiday of a lifetime, what do they do? Request a brochure. Some prefer printed versions, but what you can’t help is that feeling of wanting to see it ‘now’.
This provided the perfect opportunity to create a brochure library.
A page where you can see all the holidays the company offers in an online brochure format. The brochures themselves are beautiful so laying them up to be seen creates even more interest.
To download a brochure all you have to do is fill in a simple online form.
You can view these instantly. All you have to do is input an email address. This creates the perfect opportunity for their best marketing platform of all.
Many companies look down on email marketing.
They have no how idea how wrong that viewpoint is.
If you are one of these people it’s time to look with fresh eyes. You want to increase web traffic? Is email marketing good for business? It is the ultimate one-to-one marketing method that just works.
What you need to do is cut through the spam. We all get an enormous amount of this irrelevant, unasked for drivel. However, imagine you have shown an interest in a luxury holiday and are shopping around looking at all the options. Your phone buzzes, you take a quick look and lo and behold an email from one of the companys you are considering has sent you a pretty, informative and helpful reminder of the exact journey you were considering.
It’s not in-your-face sales collateral. Golden Eagle Luxury Trains emails are essentially a newsletter that shows you latest blog posts, customer’s diaries of their own journeys, testimonials, links to the companies social media pages and yes, a short summary of exactly what you will experience on this journey.
In short it builds trust. It wants you, the viewer, to explore more, to make your own mind up and decide if you would like to proceed with making an enquiry about this rail trip. That is all done via the old fashioned method of a phone call to the sales team. Once you get one human being speaking to another human being then a relationship is being formed and the chance of a conversion is multiplied massively.
The email has done its job. It has got an interaction from a potential customer.
This method works far better than any other singular marketing tool out there. It’s not easy. It does not have a ‘template’ that works for every business. What it does do is, if you research, and experiment you will find the solution that works for your business.
Within a year of a brand new website Golden Eagle were getting links far and wide. Their site was featured in newspapers such as The Telegraph, The Guardian, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Each and every one of these generated huge amounts of traffic, and new potential customers.
As you can see here, it took time for all of this to happen. But happen it did.
By adopting a similar approach you will see an improvement in sales.
You will see an improvement in returning visitors.
Marrying email marketing with your regular marketing will see your conversions increase, and most importantly an increase in web traffic
For those website owners that already have a lot of content, you could increase your rankings without creating one word of content. This solution can be addressed through Technical SEO.