In the five years that I’ve worked on Jimdo’s Support Team, one of the most frequently asked questions that I see come across our helpdesk is “how can I get more visitors to my site?” It’s a question everyone struggles with when they first start out, and that’s why I’ve written this guide to help get some visitors to your site in a relatively short amount of time.
1. Start with some basic content
Having a website with a cool design alone won’t do you any good if it doesn’t have any content. Before venturing out into the world of SEO, blogs, and website widgets, it’s a good idea to set up the foundation for your project by adding some basic content. You’d be surprised how many people skip this really important step—but why would someone visit a website with nothing on it?
To start, treat your homepage like the central hub for your website. It should include important information about your company and its mission statement, and some clear choices on where people should navigate to next. From there, branch out into other pages: an About Page is the place for you to tell your story and show that you’re the real deal; your Services or Products page is where you can start selling yourself or your product; an informative Contact Page helps visitors easily get in touch with you.
If you don’t want people to see your work-in-progress as you create pages, you can set up an Under Construction page. But if your site is brand new, chances are good that no one will accidentally stumble upon it while you’re building.
Do you know Suggested Layouts? Suggested Layouts are pre-designed pages that you can fill in with your own content. When you add a new page, you can choose if you’d like to use one of our awesome Suggested Layouts.
2. Set up your domain
Now that you have some content in place, it’s time to set up your domain. If you’re registering one through Jimdo, fill out the registration form by logging in to your site and navigating to Settings > Email and Domain Management > Registration Form. Once you fill out the form, keep an eye on your email for the confirmation email to finalize the registration. If you already have your own domain, you can use it with your Jimdo site by following this easy domain guide.
Note: When connecting those external domains, don’t choose the “iframe” method, since that doesn’t work very well with SEO.
3. Fill out your SEO settings
Now you’re ready to start filling out the SEO settings for your website. These behind-the-scenes settings send a message to search engines and tell them more about what’s on each page. They’ll also dictate how your pages appear in search results.
Start by adding your Site Title at Settings > Website > Site Title. The Site Title is text that appears on the browser’s tabs that has a bit of information about your site. This will appear on all pages, and should be used for something basic like your company’s name.
After that, start adding Page Titles and Page Descriptions to each page of your website. To do this, log in to your website and click on the SEO icon in your Site Admin. The Page Title is the part that appears in search results before your Site Title, separated by a dash. By default, the Page Title for all pages take on the name that you gave it in the Edit Navigation menu. However, feel free to change it by navigating to that page, then clicking the SEO button in your Site Admin.
This is also where you can add the Page Description for each page. Page Descriptions (also known as meta descriptions) appear below your Page Title and Site Title in search results. Use this space to write 1-2 sentences that describe what’s on the page, using some naturally occurring keywords. While Google and other search engines say that they don’t depend on this text to determine your site’s ranking, it’s still good to fill it in. Why’s that? Because it provides visitors with more information on what they’ll get, and therefore encourages them to click.
4. Tell Google to index your site
Now that your website has a domain, some basic content, and your SEO settings filled out, it’s time to let search engines know you’re up and running. Normally, new sites can take weeks or even months to show up on Google. You can speed up this process by submitting your URL via this link: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/submit-url
You only need to do it once, so there is no need to keep entering your site into this page (tempting though it may be!) Check out this blog post for more on how indexing and search crawlers work.
5. Sign up for Google Search Console and submit your sitemap
The next important step is signing up for Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) and connecting it with your site. The instructions in our Support Center will walk you through this process.
Once you’ve set up your account, follow these steps in Google’s Help Center to submit your sitemap. Your sitemap tells search engines what pages are on your site, how they are organized, which pages are most important, and how often each page is updated.
After you go through all of these steps (I know, it’s a lot of steps), you should receive a message in your Google Search Console account with an SEO to-do list. I recommend following each of the steps they outline for best results.
And of course, once you’ve signed up for Google Search Console, it’s only natural that you also sign up for Google Analytics so that it can start collecting information about your site’s visitors. By using Google Analytics, you will be able to see statistics on your website, how visitors are finding your site, and what you can do to improve your search rankings. We’ve got a primer on how to get started with Google Analytics here.
Lastly, for this section, I wanted to point out that I didn’t mention anything about SEO keywords just yet. The truth is that meta keywords are obsolete, and you should focus on on-page keywords instead. Which is a great segue for the next section: Content.
6. Writing content
This next section focuses on content, which is the meat and potatoes of your site. I recommend doing this by using the built-in blog feature on your website.
If blogging isn’t for you, try writing more content on your About Page, filling out your product pages with more details, or writing an FAQ that will help drive traffic from search engines. All of the content you add gives search engines more information to go on when directing people to your pages.
This is one area of your website where there really aren’t any shortcuts. By writing frequent, high-quality content, you will ensure that search engines such as Google find your site and rank it higher on search results. Google loves quality content and ranks it high on results since it “understands” that this is the kind of content that people are searching for. This is the part where SEO also comes in. Use your blog to write posts that are relevant to your industry, and add relevant keywords to your posts. If you are a bike shop owner, write posts about how to fix a flat tire. When someone searches for “how to fix a bike tire,” Google will start to show your blog post among the results.
Once you finish editing your post, adding eye-catching images, and optimizing it for SEO, don’t forget to share the post on your social profiles.
After a day or so, you will start to see the results of your newest blog post by seeing an uptick in visitors. I cannot emphasize how important it is that you analyze these visits, as you will start to notice trends. This is the part where Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics come in handy. Use Google Analytics to study the keywords that your visitors are using. If you notice that you get a lot of visits for a certain keyword, keep using that keyword so that you can keep getting more visitors. Additionally, Google Analytics can even find which social site is getting you the most clicks. On my personal site, I found that Tumblr was the best place to share my blog posts too, while Facebook hardly moved the needle. Do not underestimate the power of data—analyze this wealth of information to optimize the way you write your posts.
7. Share your site on social media
Your domain is ready, you chose a stylish template, and you have some content on your site—you’re now ready to share your creation with the world. There are two ways you can go from here: you can just share the site on your personal social channels (if you’re working on a personal site), or you can create accounts for your website/brand/business. Just be sure that you choose the channels that make the most sense for your business.
If you do decide to create an account on those social sites, it’s imperative that you include a link to your website. This will boost your SEO, and it’ll help your followers find your website quickly and easily while perusing through your posts.
By sharing your website on social media, you start spreading the word about your new site, and it helps to get your first customers through the door. This is also a great time to ask your closest friends and family members for feedback or even do some informal user testing.
The virtuous cycle
Write, share, analyze, repeat. The sooner you get used to this cycle, the faster and better you’ll get at it. Content is king in the world of SEO, and following this simple formula will help put your website in front of potential customers. It may not be easy, and it may seem like you’re going nowhere at first but don’t give up! Keep at it constantly and you will reap the rewards.