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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

4 Smart Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Personal Website

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Personal websites are a great place to showcase who you are and what you do, whether you’re simply sharing your resume or uploading an entire portfolio. They can also be incredibly helpful in landing new opportunities and growing your career.

But here’s the thing: With a personal website, the rule “if you build it they will come” doesn't really apply. Unless you’re Ariana Grande, you won't automatically rack up thousands of views, clicks, and conversions.

You have to put in the work to get people to visit your site. Luckily, there are a lot of solid strategies and resources out there that you can—and should—leverage to get more traffic to your website.

1. Optimize Your Site for Search

You may have heard the term SEO (search engine optimization). Broadly speaking, this refers to fine-tuning your website so that search engines (mainly Google) can crawl all the pages and understand what they’re about. The goal is to get your site popping up on page one when someone inputs a relevant search term—which drives more traffic!

This may sound a bit intimidating. But thankfully, there are plenty of places to learn about SEO. For example, Squarespace provides a guide to improving your SEO to help you understand some of the ways you can make your site more visible to search engines, plus an SEO checklist you can reference when building your site. (If you have a Squarespace site, they’ve also got you covered on the technical elements of SEO.)

A few simple ways you can boost your site’s visibility:

  • Structure your content with headings. Split up blocks of texts with relevant headings. This makes it easier for both readers and search engines to understand the most important points on every page.
  • Add tags and categories. Categories are a great way to organize content by topic or type, and tags operate like hashtags—they help people find specific things you mentioned more easily, and help search engines understand the topics on your site.
  • Include a site description. This is a small block of text that usually appears below your site title in search results. It tells readers—and yep, search engines!—what your site is all about.
  • List your geographical location. This is especially helpful if you only provide services in a specific area.

Promote It As Much As You Can

Good SEO won’t do all the work for you. You’ve got to promote your site to real live people, too. Try doing the following to help drive your traffic to the next level.

  • Put the URL on all of your profiles. Any social media profiles you have, your LinkedIn, you name it. It’s all about exposure, even if a lot of that exposure is passive.
  • Include it in your personal email signature. Think about it—how many emails do you send in a week? (That said, I hope it goes without saying that you should probably leave the URL for your side hustle out of your official work email signature.)
  • Announce it. Share your site with your Instagram followers, tweet it to the world, send an email to your personal and professional connections. And while you may not want to email people about it more than once, you can plug your site on social media far more frequently—say once a week or a few times a month.
  • Leverage social sharing. Many website builders offer something called social sharing. With this tool, you can link your site to your social media accounts. Every time you publish new content, it’s pushed to your feeds for your friends and followers to see. All you do is set it up once and voilá!

3. Send Out a Regular Newsletter

Newsletters can be a great way to encourage readers to visit your site. Make sure you feature a newsletter sign-up option on your site (on Squarespace, you can do this using Newsletter Blocks), and promote the heck out of it.

You can use your newsletter to tell your target audience what you’re up to, share new content from your site, advertise your services, even provide extra tips and advice. Your newsletter doesn’t need to be every week, nor does it need to be an incredibly heavy lift. But you should be consistent and always provide some value. Otherwise, your newsletter will end up hanging out in everyone’s spam folders.

4. Analyze Traffic Data

You opened this article because you wanted to figure out how to increase traffic to your website, right? If that’s your goal, you need to pay attention to the numbers. Not just because math is fun (or is that just me?), but because Squarespace traffic analytics can help you see if all your efforts are fruitful and where you could make some changes. Here are some examples of data points you might track.

  • Unique Visitors: How many people are coming to your site?
  • Popular Content: When users get to your website, what pages do they spend time on?
  • Traffic Sources: Are people finding your site directly (because you texted or emailed them the link), via social media or your newsletter, or through organic search? You can even break it down to see which social media channel is most popular.
Courtesy of Squarespace
Courtesy of Squarespace

Again, this isn't just for fun. You’ll want to track the data, interpret it, and take action. For instance, let’s say you see a spike in traffic one day. When you dig a little further, you see that most of it came from Twitter. You’d only been posting on Twitter a few times a month, but after seeing this result, you decide to up the frequency to twice a week.

Or let’s say you analyze your traffic sources and see that almost no one clicked through to the site from your newsletter. You spend a lot of time on that newsletter, and it doesn’t seem to be paying off, so you decide to table it for now and revamp it later. Now, you can spend that allotted time on other more fruitful efforts.

As much as I’d like to tell you that there’s a magic spell that’ll automatically send your traffic numbers through the roof, well, that just doesn’t exist. The good news is, with a little bit of effort, you can start bringing the clicks—and the opportunities—your way. Good luck!