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39 percent of American small-business owners don't invest in marketing

Small-business owners may not be doing as much as they should to attract new visitors to their websites. According to Capital One Spark Business, in April 2015, 39 percent of U.S. small-business owners said they had not invested anything into marketing tactics. Considering that the same survey discovered that identifying and reaching new prospects was the No. 1 challenge of small-business owners, you'd think more would be actively investing into market research to overcome that obstacle.

In a recent ProOpinion poll, 31 percent of business professionals believed that social media posting or social media ads were the best way to attract new visitors to their website. Search engine optimization came next, with 21 percent of respondents. But there are all kinds of ways to attract new prospects and invest in your marketing tactics. Here are some ways you can draw more traffic to your website.

Set up a quality blog
A blog that you update whenever you remember to post something just won't cut it. To really take advantage of search engine optimization, you're going to have to go above and beyond and strive to make an amazing blog that people will want to read. 

"I mean the kind of blog that grabs people's attention by delivering outstandingly valuable, useful or entertaining material - consistently," wrote Mark McGuinness, a contributor to Behance's 99U website.

Start out with headlines that really grab readers' attention. Give specific examples of what you're writing about, link to other useful sources, invite comments by posting questions and don't forget to make it more interesting with images and videos that help demonstrate your ideas. Your goal, according to McGuinness, is to build yourself a base of loyal subscribers who keep coming back for more and could share your site with their contacts.

market researchSet up a quality blog to attract visitors to your small business's website.

Try PPC advertising
According to Entrepreneur magazine, pay-per-click search engines are like auctions that let you bid for top-ranking positions under your chosen keywords. For every visitor who searches the keywords you bid on and ends up visiting your site, you pay whatever you bid. It's a cheap, quick way to drive traffic to your site - and it works.

The source recommended starting out with PPC search engines like Yahoo Search Marketing, MIVA, Kanoodle, Enhance Interactive and LookSmart. A keyword selection tool like Google's AdWords Keyword Tool can help you research targeted keywords related to industry trends that will attract maximum traffic for minimal cost-per-click. Bidding on descriptive, targeted keywords on a PPC search engine can eventually help your site get ranked in the free search engines, driving traffic even further.

Get help from your network
On Fizzle's Sparkline blog, Corbett Barr noted that the most consistent source of relevant visitors you can get is from links on other respected sites in your niche. To get other sites to link to yours, Barr recommended doing the following:

  • Make sure your content is attractive enough to be link-worthy
  • Make friends with other amazing content creators
  • Link out to content that you like and think your visitors would appreciate.

Forbes also recommended writing guest posts for other industry blogs to get noticed, and return the favor by letting other people contribute to your blog. This will help you build friendships with the influencers who can help you gain attention. Even commenting on other websites and adding valuable insight can attract traffic to your own site.

"Getting big names to interact with your business gives your brand credibility."

Interview industry leaders
People love to read a good interview, and if you take the time to craft some well-researched ones with the leaders of your industry and post them on your site, you'll be sure to gain some interested visitors. Reach out to people who have a lot of knowledge and influence in your niche and see if they'd be willing to answer some questions. Getting big names to interact with your business gives your brand credibility, plus there's a good chance that the people you interview will promote your site to their followers, which can net you even more traffic.

Get your content out there on social media
You'll have to do some market research to figure out which social media sites your target audience uses most, but once you figure it out, it's not hard to make pages on these sites and start getting your content out there. Use platforms like Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to not only link to your content, but link to other interesting content that people will want to click on. This not only attracts visitors to your site, but it sets you up as an authority, according to McGuinness. You'll become a source of interesting content that people will want to follow, plus linking to others helps expand your network!

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