As a small business owner, you might already know that traffic is everything. The more people visit your store, the higher chance you have of making a sale. But how do you get visitors to your site?
Carefully targeted ads can work like a charm. But if you’re just starting out, you’re probably on a shoestring budget, making the idea of sinking money into ads seem out of reach. Fortunately, there are lots of other ways you can get traffic to your
Intrigued? Great! We’ll walk you through the ABCs of building traffic and share some tried and true ways to drive visitors to your online store, without breaking the bank.
Let’s start by defining traffic (and no, we don’t mean it like getting stuck in a traffic jam on the highway).
Traffic is a blanket term for all the visitors to a website. Or to be more precise, the number of visits a website receives.
For an online business, generating traffic is vital. The more visitors your store has, the more purchases come your way. However, that’s only true if your site’s traffic is
Before You Start: Set Up Analytics for an Online Store
Before we dive into how to get free traffic to your website, we have an important thing we feel like we have to mention: analytics.
Step Zero in driving visitors to your online store is setting up some analytics to understand how potential customers are finding and using your site.
The data you collect with these analytics services can help you make informed decisions for generating traffic and converting shoppers to customers.
Let’s imagine: your store has no sales (boohoo). You think it’s maybe because your site doesn’t show off your products particularly well. So, you spend hours taking better product pictures, writing more detailed descriptions, and adding customer reviews, because these are all great ways to build trust in your store. But none of these tactics will help if your site just isn’t getting any visitors, because without eyes on your page, no one will be clicking that Buy button.
When you have analytics set up for your store, it’s easier to run an analysis of your traffic and identify the primary reason you’re not making sales. In the example above, you’d be able to see that there are almost no visitors in your store, and you’ll start working on generating traffic via ad campaigns as opposed to spending your time updating your product pics.
Website analytics takes the guesswork out of online selling, as it can provide information on the following:
- How many people are visiting our website?
- What pages are they viewing during their visit?
- How many visitors complete the purchase?
- How many people leave without buying from you?
- And more.
Free Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website
Now that you know what traffic is and analytics is set up for your online store, it’s time to get it in front of potential customers. Read on to learn how to drive traffic to your website for free.
Get Your Friends to Help Promote Your Store
If you wonder how to generate free traffic, don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth marketing. Ask your friends and family to help you get the word out about your online store. Ask them to share your business’s posts on social media, or recommend your products to their colleagues. People are more likely to take an interest in a store if it’s recommended by someone they trust.
Of course, this shouldn’t be the only way you promote your online store. But if you’re just starting out, word of mouth can help to get some visitors to your online store.
Get Started with Email Marketing
If you haven’t already started building an email list, consider this the sign you’ve been waiting for. Email marketing is a free way to build relationships with people who might be interested in buying what you’re selling. Make sure you add those people to your email list.
A few tips on how to grow your email list:
- Add a subscribe form to the home page of your website.
- Add a subscribe form to your social media pages.
- Add an incentive or a free offer in exchange for email addresses. For example, free shipping with the first order or free download of an ebook.
- Add a
sign-upcheckbox to your checkout to collect customers’ emails.
- Encourage subscribers to recommend your newsletter on social media or forward it to their friends to subscribe.
After you grow your email list, start sending out newsletters with information about coming offers. For example, emails about your next sale or new products subscribers may like. And there you have it, free website traffic!
Offers shouldn’t be the only thing you send in a newsletter. Otherwise, subscribers might get bored with
Post to Social Media Platforms
One of the quickest and easiest free ways to drive traffic to your website is through social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc.
Choose a platform that suits your target audience the most and create a business profile there. For example: if you sell home accessories, Pinterest might be the best place for you. If you sell online courses, YouTube and TikTok are handy for showing your expertise through educational videos.
Make sure you’re posting content that’s relevant for your target audience on a regular basis. This way, you’re more likely to show up in their feeds.
Remember: too many salesy posts will drive away even the most loyal followers. Instead of promotional posts, create content on topics relevant to your niche. This is much more valuable to your audience and will help you build a following.
Other ways you can generate free traffic to your store via social media:
- Add relevant hashtags to your posts to make your posts discoverable on the platform.
- Run contests and giveaways to increase your following and, eventually, visitors to your store.
time-sensitivediscounts on your social media profiles.
Send Free Samples to
Micro-Influencers for a Review
Consider sending free samples to influencers in your niche in exchange for a review that links to your store. This can be mutually beneficial, as long as you are confident of your product quality and the influencer creates quality content.
Think about what niches your product suits and reach out to respective influencers. For example, a healthy snack store can partner with fitness influencers, healthy food cooks, or bloggers that write about parenting.
Instead of influencers with a huge following, reach out to
Their niche expertise means their followers have a higher trust in their opinions. Plus, since
Work on SEO to Improve Your Store’s Discoverability
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is basically ensuring your shop shows up in relevant searches.
Use keyword research tools like SEMRush, KWFinder, or Ahrefs to find the keywords relevant to your niche. That’ll give you an understanding of what people are searching online when they are thinking about buying a product like yours or when they are researching the topics in your niche.
Then use the keywords you’ve found to increase your website ranking in relevant searches:
- Add keywords to your product descriptions.
- Add keywords to meta titles and meta descriptions. Meta titles should give users a quick insight into the content of a page. Meta descriptions are a short, relevant summary of what the page is about. Those are attributes that determine how your page appears on a search engine results page:
long-tailkeywords (phrases made from 3-5words). For example, organic coffee shops in Bristol instead of coffee shops. Long-tailkeywords are easier to rank for and usually get more clicks than shorter, more generic terms.
- Create relevant content with appropriate keywords, for example, blog posts for your website or an FAQ section.
Keep in mind that though improving SEO is great for increasing search traffic, it shouldn’t be your main method of driving visitors to your store, as it takes lots of time to start working. Though it’s definitely worth improving your SEO, it’s just not the best option when you need to boost traffic fast.
Figuring out SEO on your own can be tricky, so read our
Add Your Store to Online Directory Listings
One way to increase traffic to your website is by getting listed in free online directories and review sites such as Google My Business, Yelp, Bing Places, Yahoo Local, Yellow Pages, etc.
The first step is to make a list of the top online directories that are relevant to your business, then follow their instructions on how to get listed.
Add a link to your website to your profile on directories, and make sure to include as much information about your store as possible. Don’t forget to update your listings regularly.
Some directories are
Use Pinterest to Encourage Product Discovery
Pinterest is not just a social media network but also a visual search platform. People use Pinterest to find inspiration for their purchases, for example, when planning special occasions, choosing a new wardrobe, or researching new recipes.
Another thing that makes Pinterest stand out among other platforms is that the pins live much longer than posts on other social media networks. They could show up in a user’s feed weeks or even months after you originally post them if they’re relevant to a user’s search. That means the pins will generate traffic to your site long after you’ve posted them as opposed to posts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
All these make Pinterest a great place for online sellers. Pinterest users are often already intent on buying something, and the platform helps them find what they need. Add your products to the platform for Pinterest folks to discover them.
Pinterest also has product pins you can use to spotlight your products. They are called Buyable pins, and they let users buy a product without leaving Pinterest.
Learn more: How to Boost Your Sales with Pinterest
Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
We’ve already talked about listing your business in online directories, so what makes Google My Business worth mentioning again? Google is the world’s largest search engine, and you want to show up in searches relevant to your business and location.
To optimize your Google My Business listing:
- Fill in all of the details about your store, such as your business description, hours, address, and of course, a link to your website. Update this information as soon as it changes.
- Add photos of your storefront and products. Businesses with photos have 35% more
click-throughsto their websites than businesses without photos.
- Keep the business description short but detailed. Include relevant keywords and search phrases in your description.
- Manage customer reviews and reply to them.
- Share offers, events, and products directly to Google Search and Maps through posts on Google My Business.
You can also let potential shoppers get in touch with you from the listing via special buttons like Message or Website. The ability to interact with your business right from your listing increases the chances of getting new customers.
Here’s how to get started with your Google My Business listing.
Create Relevant Content
Blog posts, videos,
You can post content relevant to your niche on your website or on other blogs or sites. For instance, you can post an article about Best Practices for Learning a New Language to get people interested in your online courses.
Make sure that each piece of content you publish on other websites links to your store. Also make sure your content is easy to share. Add share buttons to your blog posts or podcasts to ensure maximum exposure for each post.
Join Discussions in Your Industry
Participating in discussions relevant to your industry helps to build trust with your business and can help with driving traffic too.
Join Facebook groups, answer questions on Reddit, Quora, or forums popular in your industry. You can link back to your site in your answer, but make sure it actually adds value. Salesy and spam comments will harm your business rather than encourage people to check it out.
Remember that the primary goal of this method is to develop trust and credibility with your company while getting website traffic is secondary.
Use Social Bookmarking Sites
We’ve already talked about creating content relevant to your potential customers. To improve the discoverability of your such content, share it on social bookmarking sites.
Social bookmarking sites let users store and share links they found interesting with other members of the community. They can also act like free traffic sources to your site. For business owners, posting to social bookmarking sites helps improve brand awareness and traffic by providing users access to useful content.
There are various social bookmarking sites, for example, Digg, Slashdot, Delicious, Technorati, Alltop, Bloglines, Netvibes. Research which ones make sense to your business and start posting your content there.
Show Products in Free Listings on Google Shopping
Google Shopping is a service that lets customers search for, view, and compare products.
When a customer uses Google to search for a product, products listed in Google Shopping are displayed on the main results page or under the shopping tab.
Right now, showing products in free listings on Google’s Shopping tab is available to US sellers only. If your business is located in the US, that’s a great way to get free targeted website traffic.
More Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Store
Driving traffic to your online store is one of the most important aspects of running a successful ecommerce business. It doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated and (as we showed you in this article) it can even be free!
Check out our other articles about generating traffic for more tips on how to drive sales at an affordable cost:
Now you know how to get traffic to a website for free. But maybe you have some more tricks up your sleeve? We’re always eager to learn about new strategies that work well for our readers! Don’t hesitate to share a tip or two in the comments to inspire your fellow online sellers.