Getting customers to come to your site is the biggest battle in ecommerce.

You’ve put up your site. Now you’re wondering: “Where the heck are the customers?” Connecting your online business to your customers is not an easy task. While there are millions of people using the Internet at any given time, connecting them to your website is a difficult charge indeed. Here are some popular approaches:

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is all the rage. While many tout this as a panacea for your website traffic woes, SEO is not a magic bullet. It is, however, standard practice in the world of ecommerce. Acquaint yourself or your copywriter with basic SEO practices. Don’t drive yourself crazy. Just do due diligence when it comes to SEO. Some easy tricks you can do with minimal effort include:

  • Keyword Saturation: Use certain pertinent words (called “keywords”) the proper number of times (“keyword saturation”) in an article. A rule of thumb is to use a keyword once every 150 words. Note that you can use multiple keywords in this 150 words. Just don’t repeat the same keyword for 100 - 150 words.
  • Tags: Always tag your articles. You can do this through tagging services like Technorati or through your content management system, but preferably through both. Many people subscribe to certain tags. When these tags appear, these people get a notification and learn about your business.
  • Good Content: While many businesses focus on gaming the search engine system, very few work on crafting quality content. While you should pay attention to current SEO best practices it’s better to create quality content. If you’re not a good writer, hire someone who is. They will quickly pay for themselves.

Marketing

Ecommerce does not, contrary to the opinion of some, market itself. To get people coming to your website you’re going to need more than just search engine traffic. Some easy, and above all cheap ways to market your website include:

  • YouTube: Are you an expert in something? Make videos on YouTube directing people to your business. Sharing a little bit of information for free can yield significant dividends over the long term.
  • Social Networking and Bookmarking: There’s no two ways about it -- your company needs a social networking program as much as (possibly more than) it needs a telephone. Set up a Facebook page, but don’t stop there. Foursquare is great for business with a physical presence and social bookmarking sites like Digg, Delicious
  • Blog Comments: You have to tread lightly here. However, if you can post informative, worthwhile comments to a number of blogs, you can drive traffic to your site, as well as improve its search engine rankings.
  • Fliers and Promotions: Leaving strategically placed fliers at key establishments will bring your business to customers who don’t spend their time trawling the web for good deals. You can include a promotional code to track how effective the practice is.

Track Your Traffic

You need to track your traffic to know how effective it is. Sign up with a website like Google Analytics or Clicky to get a clear idea of how many people are visiting your website and where they are coming from. To be a truly effective online business you need to know where traffic comes from to allow yourself to adjust your marketing strategy.

Getting good website traffic isn’t rocket science. It does, however, require some attention to little details and a lot of legwork.