Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Web Marketing Today. Practical Ecommerce acquired Web Marketing Today in 2012. In 2016, we merged the two sites, leaving Practical Ecommerce as the successor.
Your website is where you turn Internet surfers, readers, and tire-kickers into new sales leads and customers for your small business. To get more leads and customers, you need to get more visitors to your website.
But paying for website traffic is expensive. The average cost of purchasing traffic from paid advertisements such as Google AdWords can be as high as $2.50 or more per visitor, according to published sources.
Small businesses are at a huge disadvantage with online advertising because they pay the same cost-per-website-visitor as the world’s largest corporations. Moreover, website visitors acquired from paid advertisements are proven to be less likely to turn into new customers for your business than website visitors acquired from other methods.
You must be asking yourself, there has to be a better way? Well, there is.
Why Content Marketing Works Better Than Paid Advertising
Interestingly enough, for many websites the home page gets only about 20 percent of all incoming website visits. This means that the majority of visitors to these websites come in through pages that are not the home page. These visitors find and visit pages that discuss products, services, problems and solutions, frequently asked questions, recent industry trends, and common issues.
This makes sense because website visitors who already know about your business — your existing customers — visit your website by typing in your URL and go right to your home page. New website visitors who don’t yet know about your business will instead find information located deeper within your website, information that helps solve their problems.
For instance, a prospective customer for a locksmith might go online and search for a phrase like “how soon after buying a house should I change the locks?” Prospective customers will find their way to the website of the local locksmith, who has an article that provides the most helpful explanation. Once they are there, if they like the information they read, they will probably submit a website form to request service or immediately dial the locksmith’s phone number.
Because website content helps website visitors — instead of interrupting them with advertisements — it is proven to be a more effective technique for convincing them to do business with you.
How to Get Your New Free Website Visitors
To attract more potential customers to your website, you need to turn your site into a helpful resource for the most common problems that face your prospective customers.
Brainstorm a quick list of common problems that your prospective customers are already asking you about. Write up short answers — 250 to 400 words — to each problem and turn each answer into a new page on your website. Link to these pages from a resources section on your site, or from relevant text already on existing site pages.
Creating new pages of helpful content on your website is like dropping additional fishing nets behind your fishing boat. The more nets you have out, the more fish — or website visitors — you can catch.
Determine How Many New Pages You Need to Create
Now let’s determine how many articles you need to write to get 1,000 new visitors to your website over the next 90 days. The quickest way to do this is to determine how many visitors your existing website pages receive each month.
Log in to your website analytics tool where you can find details about your current website traffic. I’ve included details for Google Analytics below but you can follow the same process in just about any website analytics system.
Look at just a single month’s data by setting a custom date range from the first to last day of last month.
Find the total number of unique visitors your website received during the last month period. It’s 1,505 in this example.
Find the total number of pages on your website by clicking “Content” then “Site Content” then “All Pages.” Look in the bottom right hand corner for the total number. It’s 54 in this example.
Find the unique pageviews for just the home page. If you don’t already see your home page in the list, use the search box to look for your home page’s URL path. For most websites. the home page URL is just a single forward-slash “/” at the end of the domain name. Unique pageviews are 270 in this example.
Subtract the home page’s traffic from the total website traffic and divide that number by the total number of site pages, minus one because we removed the home page traffic. Here are the numbers for this example.
- 1,505 – 270 = 1,235 non-home page visitors.
- 54 – 1 = 53 non-home page pages.
- 1,235 / 53 = 23 monthly website visitors per page.
A monthly-website-visitors-per-page value of 23 is pretty good. Since the average paid website visitor can cost as much as $2.50 this number means that a new page of content on this website is worth about $57.50 in advertising-value each month.
We also know that over 90 days each new page receives 69 (23 times 3 ) unique website visitors. This means that we’ll need to create 15 (1,000 divided by 69) new articles for the example website to attract 1,000 new free website visitors in the next three months.
Remember this is just an estimate. But for this example, adding 15 new pages to a small business website is a good place to start. What’s your number?
Get Started Writing New Pages for Your Website
I am often asked how many pages a small business website should have. Here’s an easy guideline.
Write as many pages as you can, limited only by:
- The time you have available — consider asking interns or existing staff members to write some of the articles for you;
- High quality, interesting topics that are relevant to your customers — there is little value in writing about topics that your prospective customers don’t care about.
Recent data, from Hubspot, shows that businesses with websites with 401 to 1000 pages get 600 percent more leads than those with 51 to 100 pages. Does this mean you need to write 401 articles for your website right now? No, it just means that more content is usually better than less content, as long as it is helpful to your target customers.
The best thing you can do now is get started. Set a content goal, commit to write 1 to 3 articles each week, and stick to it.
Watch your website traffic grow and recalculate your monthly-website-visitors-per-page number a few times each year. Many websites see this number grow as their websites grow, which is good because it means the value of creating a single new page of content is actually increasing.
Need help coming up with content ideas for your business? Post your thoughts in the comments below.