From the Inbox:
Hi Lynn, I have a website that I started back in January of 2010. I believe I am targeting a difficult audience because my audience is teenagers.
I was trying to post everyday on my site, but I have dropped to once a week now. I plan on going back to everyday since I'm not seeing that many visitors.
I am using SEO right now and I post a little bit on teen forums in order to try and bring in traffic.
I have received 218 visits this month and 180 unique visits. I get a few cents in Adsense every month but nothing huge.
How Do I Get Traffic To My Website?
Will it be that difficult since I am targeting teenagers? I have a YouTube channel that I plan on uploading videos to. I have Facebook but I'm not on it much. I'm trying to find someone that can customize it for me. Plus besides having my personal Facebook profile, I'm not sure how my fan page works...
Any advice you could give me would be great. Traffic is key and I've been online with this site for a year now and I'm not where I want to be with it. Barely anyone knows I'm out there. Please help. Thank you, Scarlet of www.teen-babble.com
Thanks for writing, and for giving me permission to share your email. I'm sure you're not alone with these questions!
I took a look at your website, and would like to start with a few suggestions for you.
While the marketing is important, you want to be sure your site is ready for the targeted traffic you send to it.
Header: The first thing that stood out to me is your header is too deep. If you make it smaller, it will move the content up on the page so that visitors can see it as soon as they land on your site. I would keep the width, but make it about half the size it is now.
Opt-in Box: You'll want a more compelling incentive for your visitors to opt-in. Currently it simply says "Get Teen Babble Updates!" Why should your visitors subscribe? Answer that question, and work that answer into your opt-in copy.
Social Media Icons: Fix your Facebook Page URL. If you haven't already claimed a Vanity URL on Facebook for that page, do that first and then use that link. Create a logo/brand image to use on that page instead of your personal photo. Your YouTube link goes to a "channel does not exist" page. I would also create a channel titled Teen Babble instead of using your name. The same with Twitter - use a logo/brand image and the name "Teen Babble".
Brand: It's important to focus more on the brand than on you personally. This will benefit you in the future if you want to sell the site, or bring on a team of writers. I would guess that your target market (teens) would prefer a more anonymous site to talk or comment about their biggest issues. Use strong branding, and manage the site by your first name only.
About Page: Instead of making this page "About Scarlet", make it about the website (About Teen Babble) - and what they can expect there. Use a stock image of teenagers hanging out. Use the words "me, I, my" less and focus on what's in it for them instead. Remove the comments section, and end that page with a call-to-action (the next best click): What action do you want them to take after reading the page?
Contact Page: You offer to personally reply to email messages. This won't be feasible when you have steady traffic. Instead, allow them to send questions or topics, and address them with new blog posts - then reply with the link to that post. Otherwise you'll be doing "free consultations" instead of growing your site.
Other Pages: Flesh these out with relevant content. They all say "coming soon". Finish each page, and be sure to use a strong call-to-action on each page.
Product Reviews: Make a list of products/brands teens are interested in, that you would like to work with as an affiliate. What are teens buying online? Movies, music, clothes, school books, computers & gadgets, costumes games - those are just a few ideas (from my own teens' purchases). Make a list and start working on those reviews.
Blog Posts: Left align images in individual blog posts. This will keep proper alignment of your site, and draw the eye from left to right - to engage them in the content. Consider how you want to monetize your posts. If you're going to use Adsense, use it IN the post.
Encouraging Comments: Want them to comment? Ask them! End your post with a leading question. You might also consider a category about popular teen shows (what they're watching on television). This will encourage some lively discussion.
How Do I Get Traffic To My Website?
Once you make a few minor changes (above), you're ready to start driving more targeted traffic to your website. Continue optimizing your blog posts for specific keyword phrases. SEO is the best method for getting highly targeted traffic for free.
You'll want to get inbound links, not just to your main page but also to your individual pages & blog posts. This will help your pages rise in the search engine results for their keyword phrases.
Other than Google, consider where your target market hangs out online. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Forums, etc. It's important to BE where they are. YouTube and Facebook are likely your two biggest targets for teens, so you'll want to get heavily involved there.
Keep your personal Facebook profile *personal*, and use your Fan Page specifically for "Teen Babble talk". Find other Teen related Facebook Pages (that attract your target market) and join discussions on those Pages *AS* your page. You have the option of switching to your page (instead of commenting as your personal profile).
Post daily, upload those videos to YouTube, keep tweeting, and get active on Facebook. Seeing very little results is not a reason to back off, but a reason to dig in and do more. The more you do, the better your results will be.
Keep an eye on Adsense too. It's hard to tell how well it will do with your market until you truly test it. You mentioned not earning very much, but your traffic stats are also low. Pay more attention to the CTR (click through rate) - particularly after you add Adsense to individual posts.
If it's not performing well for you, look for affiliate programs that will. You might also consider taking sponsors or selling advertising space to monetize your website.
Thanks again for sharing your site and your questions. I hope this review & advice has proven helpful to you! Keep us posted on your progress...
p.s. I host a weekly Brainstorming Hour where I offer site reviews and usability tests. If you would like to get help with YOUR website or marketing plan, join us in my Private Brainstorming Group where you'll get access to FIVE live calls a month plus the multimedia replay of all archives.
Register at the forum then upgrade to Elite Member to access the private group!