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How to Drive Traffic to Your Website

Tools and techniques to get the buyer traffic you need to succeed.

Q: I started an online store last September, and I have not had one sale. Do you know where I should start to increase Web traffic and get more business?

A: You’ve come across one of the primary challenges for any online seller: It can be very difficult to drive traffic to your website, considering the number of online stores that are on the Internet today.

It can be especially difficult for smaller sellers, as your advertising budget is likely not as big as some of the larger merchants out there. There are, however, several tools and techniques you can use to start driving traffic—and hopefully sales—through your site. If you’re not doing these already, give them a try.

Feed your products to shopping engines

Create and submit product feeds to Google, Bing and TheFind. This is a free way to increase Web traffic from buyers who are searching the Internet for products you offer.

Google is shifting to a paid model in the fall, but you still have a few months to get your products out there. Most shopping carts provide feed generation tools to support this. If the cart you are using doesn’t support feed generation—switch!

Take advantage of email marketing tools

If you have any previous customers you can send emails to, take advantage of that resource and send those buyers an email newsletter announcing your online store. Again, many shopping carts, such as Auctiva Commerce, provide email marketing tools. Or you can use an external service such as StreamSend or ConstantContact.

Having an SEO-compliant cart will improve your chances of being found in the organic search results of product search engines

Try affiliate networks

Look into affiliate networks such as LinkShare and Commission Junction. Using these advertising networks can get ads for your site placed throughout the Internet by interested publishers. However, these are not free, so budget with care.

Advertise your online store on Google

Give Google AdWords or other similar cost-per-click ad networks a try. Like affiliate networks, this is paid advertising, so make sure to watch your spending. Advertising here can quickly become expensive, if left unmonitored. But it can also bring a good amount of traffic to your online store that could result in sales.

Be friendly with search engines

Make sure the shopping cart you are using is search engine friendly. This means the shopping cart’s HTML code is well written and includes good title tags, keywords, meta data and other elements that search engines look for. Having an SEO-compliant cart will help maximize your chances of being found in the organic search results of Google, Bing, Yahoo and other product search engines.

Get reputable sites to link to you

If you can get links to your store from other reputable sites, do so. Ideally, these sites will be related to your online store in some way. Having solid backlinks to your site can help with your organic result ranking, and increase Web traffic.

Hopefully, using the above tools and tips will get you started to drive traffic to your website and help you make your first sale. It will take time to increase Web traffic but, in the end, the results should be worth it.

Good luck!

About the author

Chris Eckland
Chris Eckland is the product manager for Auctiva Commerce, a fully hosted, customizable shopping cart solution. Chris has been in the IT/software industry since 1998 and began focusing on e-commerce in 2005. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • Shopfinelines

    My recommendation is use of Facebook and Pinterest. Recently, I have found using Pinterest has been driving more people to my eBay listings. More visitors has meant more sales for me.

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