Traffic is like oxygen for a small business. Small business owners like me perk up each time we hear that happy ding-a-ling-a-ling across the room from our shopkeeper’s bell. We know a guess has come in. It’s a chance to make a sale. Online, traffic is as important. Traffic going to our websites means business. So how can I, a small business owner, save my website from withering because I’m not seeing any traffic going to my site?
So why is a website not getting any traffic? The answer is almost always about content. You can boil this down to lack of content, too little content, no helpful content, and confusing content. The Internet is the place where people get information to solve their needs. It is the job of search engines like Google to connect these people with the content that will solve their problems. If the content on your site is not helpful to anyone, then Google is going to connect you to no one.
Lack of content
I was confident about the nuts and bolts of my site. I had a friend do my WordPress site and another one tune-up my SEO. Both were seasoned Internet marketers. They set me up with the tools that I needed to create posts and monitor my analytics. Great, I thought. Now I can crank up the text and images to tell the world how great my business is. My site floated aimlessly in cyberspace with no sight of a single soul in a year. Families and friends not counted, remember.
That is not until I started making content that helps people solve their problems. The turning point was when I hit twelve blog posts. First, there was a trickle. Then as I published more helpful content, more traffic started coming in. These are organic high intent traffic.
Looking back, I had content on my site. But it was not something that will catch Google’s attention. I had my home page, product page, about us, contact us, and other stuff, but these are things about my business.
We are small business owners. No one is going to realize they have a problem and then immediately think about your products or services. They don’t know about you in the first place.
What they do know is that they have a problem. What they don’t know is how to make their problem go away.
But you do. So start writing about solving people’s problems. If you offer urban or home gardening tools and solutions then write about the things your products and services solve. You can practically make a piece of wood bloom so tell people how they can grow flowers indoors, protect their plants from pests, care for bonsai in the winter, where to place anthurium, and all other stuff about gardening. Only then will people care about your products and services.
So when I say lack of content, it really means lack of helpful content. Make sure your site has a ton.
Too little content
At the very minimum, you should have at least 30 posts on your blog page. Aim for this number in six months. This creates a healthy momentum for your website that Google notices. You are showing that your website has life. This is something that Google is also looking at. It will begin to rank you which will help drive organic traffic.
Too little content means two things. First, you have a limited number of posts. Second, the length of your article is too short. So let’s discuss the first one, a limited number of posts.
Google favors websites that have authority. Having a lot of content is a sign of authority on a given subject. You can’t put out a lot of content if you know nothing. At least 30 helpful article post is the minimum requirement. Of course, you can produce more content which would be better. With 30 contents you would have covered most of the common questions people ask about a topic, let’s say about hydroponics at home. Google will start driving traffic to your articles. At first, a trickle that will continue to grow until you see a steady flow of people visiting your articles.
The second issue is the length of the article. Google prefers longers articles than short ones. Nothing less than one thousand words will do. The AI seems to say that if an article is at least a thousand words long, then it must have something really important to say. The AIs have gotten better but it is still artificial. It doesn’t have a human’s understanding of the context, depth, and gravity of what is written. AIs just tries to connect the dots between words. The longer your article is, the better Google will be able to understand what it is all about.
I can write a thousand-word article in about two hours. I’ve seen some people do it in less than an hour. The point is, the more you do it the better you will get at writing long-form articles.
No helpful content
This is probably the most common mistake that people do when setting up their websites. Even large companies and known brands do this. The about page, contact us, product list, and even the home page has specific functions. But none of them actively function to bring in organic traffic. Think about it, unless you are a known global brand, people will never type your name on the search bar. What they will be searching for are solutions to their problems. Like how to do something or a list of things they need.
Your blog page should be full of helpful content. This should be your strategy and priority. Despite what we normally hear from internet marketing gurus stalking about SEOs, link building, and email marketing, none of these are as important as building a repository of helpful blogs. In fact, you won’t be able to start any promotional activities on your site if you don’t have helpful content. Helpful content brings traffic. Traffic builds audience.
People are not interested in hearing you talk about yourself. They are interested in how you can help them solve their problems. Your blog archive page is probably the most important. It is the page that brings in the most traffic. Cut out the fluff. Create helpful stuff.
What do I mean by confusing content? First, I mean your topics are all over the place.
Us, small business owners, are understandably proud of our product. Unfortunately, this tends to cloud our judgment on what to put into our content. The result is a confusing mishmash of subjects that often veer off-topic, too product-centric, too broad, or too promotional.
Then devote your blog page to information that helps your target market with their problems. Avoid being too promotional. You want to be helpful. You want to earn their trust and respect. Just subtly insert your product into the narrative only if there is an opportunity. Do not force it. Don’t be salesy.
Of course, to be able to create problem-solving content, you have to know what problems your customers have. What are their questions and fears? Then offer your solutions, not necessarily your product. Go and interview a customer. Create a survey. Parse through your customer feedback. And, of course, make use of Google auto-suggest. Open your Google browser, then type questions. The search engine will automatically bring up a list of suggestions that it has gathered from the web related to your topic. List these down or take a screenshot. From there you can create a hit list of articles that you can write about. Things that actual people are looking for online. Answer these questions in what is known as a response post.
The next time someone types a similar or related question, you have a chance that Google will show your article in the search engine results page (SERP).
Second, when I say your content may be confusing. I mean you may be mixing your categories with your blog articles. This is confusing and frustrating to the viewer on your site. They will likely bounce. The solution is to create a page devoted to your product, the specs, features, and other relevant information. Don’t insert your product lists or spec sheets with your other blog articles. It is a negative experience for the viewer.
For a small business website, you just need to focus on your home page, about us page, contact us page, and your blog page. The first three are basically fire and forget. You only set these up one time and just update from time to time. The blog page is the living and dynamic part of your website. You constantly update this with various helpful content. The blog page attracts traffic without having to pay for ads.
The less navigation you have the less confusing it is for the visitor. The more likely they will find what they are looking for. Don’t copy a website of a know global brand. They are too complex. For a small business site like you, simple is the way to go.
As a small business owner, I was doubtful about this. But my research has led me over and over again to content or lack thereof as the culprit why my site was not getting traffic. Aside from families and friends which I have threatened to visit my site, no one was really coming to visit organically. I had zero search engine ranking.
Did you know that 91% of websites get no organic traffic from Google? Get your web pages in the other 9% by helping content. After you have created a stockpile of at least 30 articles, you can graduate to doing next-level content marketing such as link-building, spotting topics with organic traffic potential, and matching search intent. Most of the time, when you have content that people really find helpful, you don’t have to do any active link building because people will automatically link to you.
I thought that if I get a good theme, fill my site with text and images, get the tech side all nice and tight, then I will soon see traffic streaming into my pages. They never came. Not until I put a helpful blog page. That’s why inbound marketing has become a big thing lately. It works.
Final advice, be patient. It will take at least six months before you see significant traffic. Sometimes, even eight. You will eventually see traffic going to your site. A lot.