Having a website is not an accomplishment.
Quite a few hamsters have one. Famous dead people do too.
I have even seen sites in loving memory of unfamous dead hamsters! Some of those websites get more visitors in a day, than you hope to have in a year.
Here’s my question:
If you have a business website and you’re not getting any traffic, what’s the point? You might as well give the money you’re sending to your Internet Service Provider to a worthy cause, such as the Don LaFontaine Voice-Over Lab.
If, on the other hand, you want to use your online presence to your advantage, you better roll up your sleeves and get to work! Unless you’re too busy auditioning for that $200 narration of a 300 page audio book.
is a digital marketing agency with specific expertise in social media and 12 offices worldwide. In 2008, Nilhan Jayasinghe, their VP, wrote a paper entitled; “Optimizing for users, not search engines. Building a sustainable brand in a connected world”. He says:
“As search engines become more sophisticated, they will increasingly incorporate user data to validate their results. The numbers of people visiting a site; the time that users spend on a site; the depth of their engagement; whether they return over a period of time; how many people add it to their social bookmarking tools such as Digg; all will potentially be taken into account.”
If you’ve read my last blog, you already know that the new Google is going in that direction. And where Google goes, others follow. In my opinion, there are at least two things you must do to take advantage of this development. These are the things that will drive people to your website; keep them there and make them come back:
1. Start writing for people, not for search engines: offer fresh & relevant content.
2. Stop “telling & selling”. Instead, engage your visitors and begin a dialogue.
Here are a few ways to do it:
1. Offer FREE STUFF. Paradoxically, some companies are making lots of money by giving things away for free. It’s called the “freemium model” whereby some content is offered at no charge, while premium content is not. Seattle-based Big Fish Games distributes more online games than anyone else, at about 1 million a day. You can try almost any Big Fish game for free, but there are add-ons that players have to pay for.
A few months ago, our colleague Peter O’Connell made his e-book “The Voice Over Entrance Exam” available at no charge. I’m pretty sure that this brought new visitors to his website. It did something else too: it established him as an expert. Here’s a third bonus: free resources get links. Isn’t that what I just did?
2. Contests & Awards are another way to drive people to your site. Videovoicebank.net organized a contest, and voice-overs were invited to share their professional horror stories. Not only did the Videovoicebank-team manage to engage their community; for days, visitors could enter their email address and vote for their favorite story. I wonder what they’ll do with those email addresses…
3. Provide a resource that will benefit your target-group and (of course) offer it for free. Veteran VO-artist Mahmoud Taji compiled a voice-over directory of casting websites for “the benefit of established and up-and-coming voice over talent who want to secure more voice over work through the Internet.” He asked everyone in the industry to help out, and this is just another example of how to get people involved. So far, Taji has a list of 239 sites, and you might add a few to the directory.
4. Quizzes and Games on your site are a fun way to make people come back and spend more time with you. British talent Emma Clarke is the voice you’ll hear for a majority of the London Underground lines. Her website is terrific and it has games, spoof audios and even an online “Emma flip book”. One of my favorites is a fridge magnet game where you can move the words around to make your own sentences and phrases – and have Emma speak them for you.
5. Actress Amy Walker (above) became an overnight sensation when her YouTube video 21Accents went “viral.” “These days, it’s not unusual to see a search engine like Google pull up a YouTube video in its top 10 results,” says Linda Girard, co-founder of online marketing consulting firm Pure Visibility in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “The best way to maximize this trend is by uploading your video to various sites and attach good, searchable terms to the clips in order to get those high rankings.” (source)
6. Then there’s the old trick of offering limited Deals & Discounts. Bristol-based voice-over talent Alison Pitman once offered a promotion of 25% discount on all message on hold voice-over recordings. Particularly if you’re also offering individual coaching and voice-over classes, never miss an opportunity to throw in an early bird special or a web coupon. Irresistible offers turn browsers into buyers.
7. Develop an ongoing relationship with your visitors (colleagues and clients). Answer their emails. Follow up with them. Ask them for feedback. Use social networking sites to connect. Take an active part in your community, online and offline. Send email newsletters using a service like Constant Contact or Aweber. It’s all about building your brand and positive reinforcement.
8. Blogging benefits business. Internet marketing company Hubspot surveyed over 1500 small businesses. They found that those with blogs attracted:
- 55% more traffic
- 97% more inbound links
- 434% more indexed pages
Blogs are a very effective way to create valuable content; to connect, to interact and to build relationships based on trust. Nilhan Jayasinghe put it this way:
“The closer that Google and others get to reading real interaction, the better they will become at separating the sites that look relevant from the sites that are relevant. Inevitably, it will become ever more difficult to fake the quality of a web page.
Given that this is the case, by far the best way to rank highly for a given term is to offer what the search engines are getting progressively better at finding – content that is genuinely useful to those people searching for that term.”
How to come up with quality content is going to be the topic of my next installment! In the meantime, how did you manage to increase your web traffic? What worked for you and why? What was a waste of time and money?
Paul Strikwerda ©nethervoice.com
PS What makes people click? Click to find out!
Sy Mytting says
I am just finishing a new website. http://www.performaxlive.com set to launch in the next two weeksish. You know how it goes. LOL I want to hire a professional firm to promote it. Set up the SEO and make it work. Is this what you do?
Paul Strikwerda says
Thanks for your comment. I have to disappoint you. SEO is not my line of work. I would be making a lot more money that way… Seriously, I am a voice-over actor writing a blog for people in the industry. On July 15th I launched my personal website, and by putting a few SEO simple ideas into practice, I’m now on the first page of Google and Yahoo… well, most days, that is. I hope my tips were helpful!
Best of luck with LifeLoveTalk!
Larry Wayne says
I am a total newbie at this idea of increasing web traffic to your site. All these years I just left it to the ptp sites to bring me biz. Thanks for all your help with the following questions.
1. What is SEO?
2. What do you think of these key word ad specialists who will sell you two key words used by many voice seekers. Pay their monthly fee and they guarantee you top 3 placement in google.
My personal website is being redesigned and now I’m beginning to wonder if even the info in it for search engines is correct. It was set up by my provider.
Thanks for any help you can give me.
Paul Strikwerda says
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the art and science of getting your website high up in the ranking of search engines. The average browser will click on the first four links that come up after a search. Some SEO specialists claim that they can get your site listed in the top four, for top dollar in a matter of days. My answer to that is: prove it to me on a “no cure, no pay” basis. Be careful. There are many SEO scams floating around in cyberspace. Just type the words “SEO” and “Scam” into Google and you’ll get 1,500,000 hits!
As I pointed out in my article, the new generation of search engines is looking for relevant content, interconnectedness and social activity. That’s why the advice “Focus on content, not on search engines” is repeated over and over again. In other words: focus on the needs of the types of visitors you’d like to attract. Find out what keywords they would use to find your product and/or service. Make sure to use these keywords in a natural, unobtrusive way. And above all: be interesting by offering relevant content that changes frequently.
Once your site is up and running, you should be monitoring and analyzing the results on a daily basis. That’s the only way to find out whether something is working or not. Fortunately, there are a number of excellent free tools available, and I will cover those in more detail in one of my next posts.
Thanks for your questions and good luck with your redesigned site!
Paul Strikwerda says
Hi Paul, it’s Paul… Glad you’re enjoying my writings. I’m having a good time putting them together. Here’s the thing: with so many websites floating around in cyberspace, it’s not that easy to get noticed. And if you don’t get noticed, it’s as if you don’t exist.
The people who are going to hire you as a voice-actor are looking for a voice with certain characteristics.
As you probably know, it’s important to make these characteristics stand out by using keywords in your website text, that are picked up by the search engine spiders. For me two of those words are “Dutch” and “voice-over”. Ultimately, I want https://www.nethervoice.com to come up on the first page, when voice-seekers type in these keywords. See for yourself how I’m doing on Google and Yahoo since I have launched my site on July 15th of this year.
Choosing the right keywords is just one part of the equation. One of the other elements that’s thrown into the mix, is the relative popularity of a site. The more popular a site is, the higher it will appear in the search engine ranking, and the easier it will be for voice-seekers to find you (and hopefully hire you). That’s were the people come in who visit your site for other reasons.
Lastly, it’s all about connections. Some of the people who look you up on-line, have no need for a voice actor. But friends of their friends just might!
Paul Strikwerda says
And here are 8 more tips I found to be very useful:
Erica Kelly says
Hello! In regards to point #2 Contests and Awards, we won’t be selling those email addresses. We actually just sent a thank you to everyone who participated. Our company was built on customer service and trust and we will continue on in that manner. The contest was extremely fun and hopefully showed other voice over artists that everyone has a bad day! Thanks for mentioning our contest! Have a great day!
Erica L. Kelly
Paul Strikwerda says
Any idea how voices.com managed to boost its conversion rate by over 400%? Here’s how the conversion rate experts did it: