10 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Online Store
With an estimated 2.14 billion online buyers expected in 2021, the eCommerce space is one of the hottest verticals to be in. The combination of technology reach and global conditions have created the perfect firestorm for your new eCommerce store.
If despite this environment, you find yourself struggling, there are many things you can do to boost sales. Web traffic is one of the keys to conversions but actually getting the traffic you need takes a little work.
In this article, we’re going to be looking at some of the best ways you can drive traffic to your online store. Not everything will need large investments, but expect to spend a fair bit of time working on them.
1. Competitive keyword analysis
Where the technical analysis focused on the forces behind the site, doing keyword analysis is also important. Content is one of the biggest drivers of web traffic. Doing keyword research is time-consuming, so let your competitors lead the way.
For keyword analysis, there are also many tools available for use. Some of them are free, but to get detailed information it is more likely you’ll have to spring for a paid service. It might be a good idea to test out some of the free tools first to see what they’re like before investing in a more commercial product.
Wordstream has a pretty good keyword research tool you can link with URLs. Using it is as simple as entering a site address, the target industry, along with the country of coverage for search. It will show you all the keywords the page ranks for including search volumes and even Cost Per Click (CPC) rates.
If you want more information, then look towards something like Ahrefs. This is a fully commercial service but it is one of the most comprehensive around. Using this you can not only specify keywords but carry out an entire content gap analysis at the click of a button.
As always, make sure you work on this as part of an overall marketing plan. Doing so will ensure that you’re moving in the right direction as a whole.
2. Competitor technical analysis
In business, as in war, knowing your opponents will result in a victory. Interestingly, this is especially true when it comes to eCommerce sites. Since you’re in a particular industry, it’s assumed you already know who your key rivals are.
Competitive analysis is multi-pronged and covers both technical and marketing aspects of the business. For the technical half, you need to learn what type of technologies drive competing sites and why.
There are many ways this can be done but some of the simplest to explore are the WHSR Tool and BuiltWith. Both of these are free to use and will reveal much of what drives the sites you input into their search bars.
For example, doing a search of the Zalora URL, we can see that the site is hosted on a server running Nginx, runs with the Akamai Content Delivery Network (CDN), and other information.
You don’t need to replicate everything your competitors do, but understanding the reasoning behind why they use them may prove beneficial.
3. Streamline your site design
Building an eCommerce store isn’t just about selling, but giving your visitors a great experience. The reason why we’re talking about this here is that search engines like Google understand this rationale as well.
Because of this, your site design will factor in your search rankings. The better you fit the criteria, the better your pages will rank. That in turn drives more traffic to your site. So what exactly do you need to consider in site design for eCommerce?
Since the art of site design isn’t a one-stop destination, you can make changes incrementally. Don’t stress out over having to do a major revamp, but make sure your major bases are covered. For example:
- Having a mobile-friendly design
- Sizing buttons and text properly
- Spacing out links to prevent misclicks
- Avoiding glaring designs
4. Improve website performance
Having a fast website can’t only improve your site traffic but also increase conversion rates. That means if you’ve built a powerful platform for customers, more will be directed to your site, and of those, a larger number will actually buy something.
This has been proven by major eCommerce brands in the past, including Amazon and Walmart. The former, for example, found that every 100ms of increased latency on their site would cost them 1% in sales. When added up, that’s a significant amount of cash.
Although you can improve site performance with tweaks on your own, remember that a big part of the equation also lies on the web host you choose to work with – and the hosting plan you’re on. If you’ve done all you can to tweak your site speed and still aren’t happy with the results, consider:
- Shifting to a better hosting provider
- Upgrading to Cloud hosting or a VPS plan
- Using a CDN
5. Work on your SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a bit of a boogieman topic for many website owners. It’s a term that is both complex and detailed, covering so many areas that it can be difficult for a solo website owner to manage.
In fact, some of the points covered above can be considered part of SEO as well, such as improving site design. Because of this, we’ll simplify things a little bit and discuss SEO more broadly to cover just on-page and off-page SEO.
On-Page SEO is the changes you make to your content pages that help improve search ranking. This can include layout, page elements, tag optimization, image optimization, and much more. As the name implies, these are activities that take place on your page.
Once those activities move off your site or page, it gets considered as Off-Page SEO. For example, link building, customer reviews on third party sites, content outreach and marketing activities, and so on.
Off-Page SEO takes a long time to do and involves a ton of work. Be prepared for slow growth in this area. If you feel that things aren’t moving quickly enough or your liking, consider investing some funds into engaging an outreach agency to help you along.
Both are equally important parts of the SEO equation and you should build a plan to handle both.
6. Social media marketing
While SEO is a very powerful tool, there are other more direct methods that can help you drive traffic to your online store as well. One of the most popular ways today is to make use of social media channels.
This help not only creates awareness but can be used to meet other objectives as well. The important thing to realize when considering social media activities is that there are many channels existing today. Not all of them are suitable for every industry, so choose yours wisely.
For example, Pinterest is a very image-driven social media platform. This can be very useful for some categories of eCommerce site owners, but not all. We’ve done an extensive article in the past covering the many ways Pinterest can be used to drive traffic to your online store.
Irrespective of your choice of platform, make sure you work with the right social media marketing tools to help you achieve optimal results. This is one area of operations where it’s easy to sink in a ton of time without keeping an eye on the end game.
7. Work to recover ‘lost’ sales
Lost sales aren’t really lost until you’ve completely given up on them, so don’t. There are a fair number of visitors who may shop and suddenly decide not to complete the purchase. Going after these is one way of getting them to come back to your site.
As many as 10% of those who return to abandoned carts actually complete their purchases, so try to go after this segment as far as possible. Setting up automated marketing emails for these users can be an easy way to boost your traffic and sales.
Depending on the platform you’re on, it is very likely that such a solution will exist for you. WooCommerce users for WordPress for example can make use of plugins like Retainful, YITH, or CampaignRabbit.
8. Build content wisely
In the context of eCommerce, many site owners tend to think of selling in a very direct way. Because of this, a large portion of potential customers gets turned off. Consumers today have far greater choices and are a lot smarter. Add to that the fact that everyone is trying to sell them something, so be smart about the way you do it. Look towards building content that can be of actual benefit to your potential customers instead.
For example, an article on DIY floor tile cleaning can be used to help educate readers and keep their interest. At the same time – subtle inserts can be done to highlight a few key products to be used – of course, those are available on your eCommerce stone right now at steeply discounted rates.
Content built in this manner works in two ways. The first is that it of course will boost your site in search rankings. Secondly, they make for much better email marketing topics than sending lists of products out in the hopes someone will buy something. Hence, building content wisely can help you drive traffic to your online store more easily.
9. Work with influencers
To boost your traffic quickly, consider also working with a few influencers relevant to your niche. Influencers are a pretty diverse group of people who have their own following in cyberspace. By engaging them, they can help sell your site to their own audience.
This can be a quick and easy way to boost traffic, but be aware that the cost may be prohibitive. Ideally, work this on a campaign basis and assess your Return on Investment (ROI) carefully.
Remember that these boosts are typically only for the time the campaigns are run – so don’t take visitor numbers during the period as gospel. Make sure you work on the more long-term elements to get more sustainable growth.
10. Buy Google Ads
As a last resort, consider making a few very strategically placed buys on Google Ads. This is something that also works best as part of an overall campaign but consider it very carefully. Buying ads can easily escalate into a bidding war from whom nobody benefits.
To sum up
As you can tell by now, there are many ways you can drive traffic to your online store. While a good number may not need actual cash investment, expect to spend a lot of time working on them.
The good news though is that because of the diversity in what you can do, hitting a wall in one area can simply mean temporarily working on another tangent instead. Hunker down and work progressively. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will be your eCommerce store.