“How do people find your website?” – that’s such an innocent-sounding question!
It’s a shame there isn’t a simple answer to it.
Because people find your website in a wide variety of different ways…
Take a look at your log files – whether they’re the files your web host provides or something like Stat Counter or Google Analytics. That will start to fill you in on how people come to your website. But it’s by no means the complete picture.
Let’s say that you give out business cards with your name and website address on them.
Some people will squirrel these away in a nice neat file and go back through that when they want to find you. In that case, they’ll probably type in the website address so your logfiles won’t know where they came from.
Other people will remember your name and will type that into a search engine in the hope that they’ll find your profile and – from that – that they will be led to your website. If you’ve got an “about me” page on your own site you should work on the on-site optimisation so that you come up high for that result. Remember to include a picture of you on that page and to use an “alt” tag to help the search engines recognise who you are.
Yet others will “kind of” remember your company name and will expect it to come up in the search results if they type it in, maybe with the town they remember – or think they remember – you came from.
Then there’s links pointing to your site:
Business directories sometimes provide traffic direct to your site. Other times they help the search engines to find you more easily. Either way, add as much information as you can within the constraints of the directory site to help people to find you.
Other sites may also link to you. Maybe because you asked them to. Maybe because you wrote an article and they reprinted it. Or maybe because your profile on that site included a link back to your site.
Checking through your log file analysis will give you a lot of clues as to how people really are finding your website.
It may also tell you which page they “land” on first when they visit your site. The bigger your site, the less likely this is to be your main (index) page. So pay attention to all those pages that you think don’t really count. There’s a very good chance those are the first impression someone has of your site.
So, the answer to how do people find your website is a long and complicated one. So make sure that you pay attention to your whole site, not just the main page that you hope will be the one that your visitors land on first.