Every website owner worries about page views. I am no exception. I used to check my website statistics almost every few hours. I think seeing fresh and constant flow of visitors to my website(s) stoked my ego.
But today I want to tell you why worrying about page views (or visitors) is a waste of time. And why you should instead shift your attention to finding customers.
How I switched my attention from getting more page views to finding customers:
During the initial days of chandoo.org, I used to write controversial topics and post some content purely to get more traffic. While some of these techniques worked to bring in more traffic, the people who landed on my site for this content were transient. They would just move on without joining the conversation.
Very soon I realized this fact. I just had to take a close look at my Google analytics report. Then I made several key changes to the way I produce & market my content,
- I sat down to prepare a weekly content plan. I listed the type of articles that I am going to write so that my readers feel empowered and awesome.
- I shifted focus away from getting links and hits from irrelevant sites. I stopped submitting my site articles to unrelated websites like reddit and digg.
- Instead, I encouraged my readers to sign-up for newsletter and leave comments.
- I picked up articles and useful content other sites in my niche are writing and shared them with my readers.
- I also picked up interesting articles from other websites and wrote follow-up content on my blog. I presented my readers with alternate views & ideas. This helped me in establishing valuable friendships with other bloggers in my niche (Jon, Debra, Mike, John and many others).
After making these changes, with in 1 year, I started seeing results. Slowly, my readers found value in what I write. They liked the regular features and occasional surprises.
Once I regained the confidence of my visitors, I slowly launched products that would benefit them and encouraged them to purchase these. And it worked.
How to find customers:
While this is not a definitive guide to getting customers, here is what you should do instead of manicly stuffing your site links on social media or unrelated sites.
- Have awesome content (and products): If you have awesome content and develop killer products, customers will find you. So the first step is to focus your energies on making great content, great products and offering great customer service. [related: make customers heros]
- Get links from sites in your niche: What would you prefer? a link on Digg home page or a link on 2nd best blog in your niche? If your answer is Digg, then you are in soup. Most of the people in Digg or any other popular link aggregator, social media or news sites are not really looking for your products. They are just looking for what is happening. So having a link on digg’s front page will not help you in any way (other than may be crashing your server). It is much easier and more valuable to have a link to your site from one of the best blogs in your niche.
- Engage casual visitors by enrolling them in to your community: Everyday, thousands of new people land on my website searching for something related to Excel. I encourage them to sign-up for my newsletter or browse more content. A tiny fraction (<5%) of these people join my community everyday. And that is enough for me to scale up my business and make a living out of it. You too should do that. So re-arrange your website layout in such a way that the first thing visitors notice after finishing their business on your site is an invitation to join you.
- Convert passive readers to active customers: Getting new visitors to your site is very easy, but converting them to customer is the hard part. The good news is, you can play a vital role in this process. Start by encouraging your prospects / readers to purchase something (either from you or from one of your partners). Do not just give the idea that your site is amazing for getting free stuff. Instead make your site a place where they can get value (both for money and time they invest in you).
- Ask: Many times small businesses under-estimate the power of asking. You can have a kickass product, but unless you open your mouth and ask your readers / prospects to purchase it, they will not make their first move. So Ask. Do not be afraid or ashamed to do it. Instead do it with pride and passion. Tell world that your product rocks and your readers are better off getting a copy of it. (this only works if point 1 above is met.)
What do you worry about?
Do you worry about visits or customers? Please share what you use to measure your success in business using comments.