Episode 9: Attracting Website Traffic: Don’t Be a Rainbow in the Dark

There’s nothing more frustrating than building a beautiful site that no one visits. At Kadence, we’re committed to helping our customers build beautiful sites that are effective, and attracting website traffic is a huge part of that. In today’s episode, we talk about attracting traffic to your site through everything from social media and influencers to effective SEO strategies. We also talk about the importance of authenticity in marketing, and why your advertising dollars might be better spent elsewhere. 

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Timestamps & Links

  • 0:00 Introduction, Pinnacle Foods
  • 2:11 Create content your audience wants by answering questions they have
  • 2:56 Just get started, it will be hard at first
  • 4:01 Becoming an authority
  • 4:45 Being confident even when it seems hard
  • 6:08 Working with influencers or others who have an audience already
  • 10:52 How niche can you be? How being an authority in a niche works. Parachute
  • 15:15 SEO research, what content works. Keywords Everywhere
  • 17:32 Content length & breaking up content with H2, H3 heading tags
  • 18:59 Listicles, doing your audience’s research for them to help them make decisions
  • 19:50 Social media
  • 21:11 Be authentic in your marketing as a guiding principle
  • 23:35 Advertising, should you pay for traffic?
  • 26:37 What’s upcoming with Kadence

Transcript for Episode 9

Kathy: Welcome to episode 9 of The Kadence Beat. This is the podcast about creating effective websites with WordPress and Kadence. But what good is an effective website if it’s just a rainbow in the dark and nobody ever sees it. It could be the most beautiful site in the entire world, you could be leveraging every piece of innovative work that Ben and the dev team put into all of the Kadence products, but if you don’t have traffic to your site, what good is it doing you?

So today we want to talk about attracting traffic because at Kadence, we want you to have an effective website that connects with customers, which means we’ve got to get these customers to your website. So I figured this would be a good conversation, because we’ve talked a lot about some of the cool things you can put on your site, some of the cool things you can do, but let’s get the masses clamoring at the front door. What do you think, guys?

Hannah: The masses. I love it. What an intro, I love your rainbow in the dark expression. That’s a sad thought.

Kathy: Well, yeah, I mean, you could create something completely beautiful and then it just goes on the fridge with your kids’ paintings. Let’s show it to the world. Let’s be brave. Let’s be bold. Let’s get it out there and really start making connections, which can be a little daunting, especially for somebody who just downloaded the latest starter template and started to build their site. Is this going to be a success? Are they going to give up in three weeks? We want to make you successful.

So we want to talk about some of the stuff. I know you guys are really big on creating very compelling content. Even before I started working with you guys, you were making compelling content on social media, as well as on the Kadence site, as well as on Pinnacle Foods, which is what, your side hustle, I guess?

Ben: It’s more of my brother’s, uh, hustle and I’m just yeah, associated with it.

Kathy: Yeah, well, it’s making some splashes there too, but compelling content is a big part of the long game strategy. So what are some of the ways that people can create compelling content? How do you even start?

Ben: I think the basic places to try to answer questions that your customers or people you are trying to get have, that I think is the easiest place to start. And usually you can come up with a lot of ideas and things because, it’s information that you’ve learned based on what it is you’re doing.

And it’s a great way to form it in your mind is like, what’s the question that people are asking and how do I give really good information, really good, content about that. It’s hard, it’s time consuming and it’s very unrewarding at the beginning. It’s one of those things you have to commit to do and know that your future self, your way, future self is going to thank you so much for doing it, but the immediate, is it’s hard to see.

Kathy: there’s a channel on YouTube called think media, and they just keep saying, you just got to press record. You just have to start. And when I just got started with YouTube stuff I would watch their videos and this is it. I just, I can’t think about how good it’s going to be.

And I have to just be okay with the fact that the first few are just going to be terrible. Cringe-worthy embarrassing things that are going to be on YouTube forever. But you have to just be okay with that. Make peace with it until you hit your stride.

It’s kind of like when we started the Kadence Beat, I said, you know, let’s get to episode 10 and see how you feel.

Hannah: And we’re almost there.

Ben: I feel like now we need to plan something big for episode 10 too.

Hannah: yeah, the pressure is on.

Kathy: I think one of the big questions with creating that content is really understanding who your audience is and what you’re trying to help them achieve. What’s important to them, that brings them to your content. And what problems are you helping them solve?

Not only with the products and services that you have, but also with the content that you’re giving away for free that builds that sort of brand recognition.

Ben: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s a big winning strategy to say, how can I create a bunch of things that these people want and give it to them for free? And then how can I answer all the questions that they’re going to have about whatever it is I’m doing, selling, or even just the field I’m in. And then, you’ll become your own authority on the subject.

And that let’s start together. all of the future things you need, the link backs and everything else. Everyone talks about that being such a big strategy. And then they’re like, how do I get that. And I’m like, well, create content that’s good enough that people want to link to it.

No one wants to link to your homepage or any other of your like services page. Like you need to create such good content that people are like, I have to link to this. It’s so good. You need to see this.

Hannah: Yeah. And that takes confidence, cause I think it’s easy to be like, do people actually want to see what I’m putting out there? I kind of think about it in terms of throwing an event, which I do a lot, and every time I do it’s terrifying. Do people actually want to come to this?

Do they want to experience what I’m putting out into the world? And then you’re like, sending out invitations, but you’re really hesitant to go all in, but when you do, and you’re like, no, you want to be here. This is going to be like the event of the year. It’s going to have everything that you want there.

Then I’m blasting it everywhere, it’s on social media. It’s, I’m sending it to my friends, asking them to post it because I believe in it. And I think that’s true too, with your website, with whatever it is that you’re creating, what you’re selling, what you’re putting out to the world, you’re doing it because you believe in it. Right? So with that, like add some confidence behind it. And I think that’s a huge piece.

Kathy: And then also a good point about starting where you are and leveraging the people that you know right now, it doesn’t have to be like, the whole world has to come. You, you have to start where you are. People that you know, who understand you, know what drives you, knows where your passion is and are your cheerleaders and are cheering you on. And it doesn’t hurt if they have a hundred thousand Instagram followers, right, if they’re an influencer. But you have to start with where you are and the people that you know, and the people that believe in you and be confident pitching that to them.

Ben: Yeah, getting influencers on, if we’re going to talk about that, I think that’s like such a key thing and it’s no better time than the present to try to find and start creating relationships with influencers, because that, it’s just so much how people find out about stuff right now is via influencers.

So you want to find who are the influencers that are out there in my field that might be interested in talking about this. Frankly, if you believe in your product or your website or whatever it is, you’re bringing to the world. You want to take it to the people and be like, you need to try this.

It’s going to change your life. Then you create that relationship where they can start talking about your brand.

Kathy: Well, and influencers, when they have an audience, they’re always looking for the next greatest, best thing that is going to maintain their status as an influencer. Right. So, but it has to be good. It has to fit with their brand. If you’re, you know, going to Kim Kardashian about Kadence just because there’s a K there. I don’t know if the Kardashians are going to be into it. It doesn’t really fit with their brand. Right. It’s not going to help them elevate where they’re at, but for someone in the WordPress space who wants to stay current with the latest innovations in WordPress, Kadence fits, right.

Ben: Yeah. And I mean, I’ll say this, too. Always approach it with, I think this is going to change your life, but I want your feedback. And be willing to adjust to him like what influencers want, because one, they actually do have a big insight into who your audience is like. When they say, Hey, like, this is good, but if you did this, it’d be better.

Listen to them and change it. That will one, make that relationship so much better with that influencer because then they know you’re willing to take the feedback that’s necessary to make your product better. And then two, then they know that like when they promote your product to their audience, they can back it with like, Hey, the people behind this want to do what’s best for you. Not what’s best for them.

Hannah: So when you say influencer, are you referring to specific people? Are you referring to a brand itself? Like who exactly should I be reaching out to?

Ben: Yeah, I would be looking YouTubers, people who create tutorial videos, people who create how to videos. Those are like the ones that have a lot of followers. Those are key influencers. And then bloggers, Instagrammers, the people who are being followed even for like their lifestyle, like people just I’m following this person cause I love their lifestyle. And let’s say their lifestyle is outdoors. For Pinnacle Foods, that’s easy, like let’s find the people who are doing that and send them food and create a relationship and try to be like, hey, this is something that will help your life and probably help a lot of the lives of the people that are following you.

So I think targeting individuals is important and I think like Kim Kardashian would be sweet, but like, you probably want to start with the smaller, very niche influencers first. You want to find the ones that are specific as you can and talk to them and then try to grow it from there. Influencers, follow other influencers, they all follow each other.

And so they’re all like, oh, I don’t want to be the one left out of on this brand. Like if you start talking about it, I got to get in on, see what’s going on here. And so just getting your foot in the door with one can often lead to more, too.

Kathy: And you think focusing just on your niche, like really getting into just one particular area where somebody is focused on a specific topic area and getting in there, then building beyond that is the way to go?

Ben: Yeah. I’m not the end all on what’s the best way to do this, but in my experience, getting into a very specific, we talk about like, who is your customer? Who’s your ideal customer, the more specific you make that. And then even if you have to make multiple ideal customers, because you’re like, well, this one got so specific.

I’m now excluding really important people over here we’ll then create two. And you’re like, okay, I’m going to find the influencer for that ideal customer. And then I’m gonna find the influencer for that ideal customer. Let it expand from there. In terms of for pinnacle foods, we sell freeze-dried foods.

If primarily backpacking and that’s a lot of what, like got us into it. It’s like the DNA, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used for car camping or people who are fly fishing. And all these other niches are out there, but start with one and start with the one that the best and then, find those other influencers.

The RV group, like the family RV people, that’s an eventual one. We want to get the influencers in that to have Pinnacle and be like, wow, this is an incredible easy meal. So I think you just, you have to start with what you know the best and try to get it really narrowed down.

Kathy: There’s a brand called Parachute that started off just making sheets. And I learned about them from Tim Ferriss’ podcast. And he just raved about the sheets. And all they had were sheets. It was just sheets. Now they’ve gone beyond sheets and they are selling, I think I just got the latest catalog, they’ve got clothing now. And so they’ve expanded beyond, but they started out just sheets. That’s how niche they went and with the success of being the sheet people, they were then being able to grow their brand, grow their business into all kinds of other things, and really own those customer relationships from this one niche experience with Tim Ferriss podcasts. I don’t know, maybe they advertise to elsewhere. That’s just where I heard of them with just sheets, because everybody wants the best sheets because you’re in bed, what, a third of your life, right? So that they sold that really well and expanded their brand into so many different other areas and own customer relationships just from that.

So there’s like one example of a brand that has been highly successful doing just that.

Ben: I think that’s like such a key thing with even when you create content is like not feeling like I need to cast my net wider with the content that I create, but actually being like, no, I’m actually going to focus more and more and more narrow.

Hannah: I actually love the sheet idea. I think that’s brilliant. Cause I’m always trying to figure out how to stay in my sheets all day. So if my sheets also were clothes, That’s clutch. Kudos to them.

Kathy: Yeah, I saw that and I was just. Brilliant. You know, the marketing person in me is like, brilliant. I see what you’ve done here. Right. But then at the other side, it’s this like, yeah, totally. How do I stay in sheets all day? That is the ultimate lifestyle. Right. Uh, but that also works just like going really super niche from a search aspect as well.

Years ago, I helped my mom with her very first website. This was way before WordPress, even. I had like my own little CMS that I built for her and I told her just write the same way you talk to your customers, don’t try to do anything different. If they call it a cubicle, she was in the office furniture industry, they call it a cubicle. You write cubicle. If they call it a panel, you write panel. However, they talk about it. Just write like that. If it’s Herman Miller partitions, but it’s Steelcase cubicles, go with that. Whatever’s natural for your particular business. Just talk like your customers do. It worked really well for her, but one thing that worked exceptionally well was being very niche in that. And that was what they now call long- tail keywords. So, so instead of like talking about the cubicles and the panels and everything, she would talk very specifically about like a part for the panels. And this worked out really well for her, because if someone was searching for that particular part for that panel, she was the only one that came up because everybody else is trying to rank on, you know, cubicles or trying to rank on Steelcase or these brands and these big things. So she really ended up building up a SEO strategy based on these very small things, very niche things that you would never think would be successful, but they ended up elevating her entire website for the bigger things, because people were clicking through on the small things.

So the nichey things, like if you’re writing about campers or, or things like that, like write about, you know, how to change a tire for a camper rather than you know how to buy the best Winnebago or Airstream, whatever’s cool now. But even the smallest things can end up being highly successful.

Hannah: Yeah, I think that’s such a good point. Like honing in on what you have, like if you’re selling a handbag, you don’t want handbag to be your key word, because Amazon’s gonna win, you know, or eBay’s gonna win. You’re going to get bought over by these larger brands, but like, if you sell hand handmade handbags that have like this certain design or this certain kind of leather, there’s certain kinds of something like hone in on that, let that be your keyword.

And then you’re much more likely to come up in people’s searches.

Ben: I was going to ask you Kathy, as the expert, what are the other tips specific for SEO that people should be considering when they’re writing content?

Kathy: Well, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Search. And don’t neglect YouTube because YouTube is the second largest search engine. And you can find really high performing search phrases on YouTube that maybe don’t have written content. Maybe don’t have a blog post that explains step-by-step how to do something, but there’s a video about it, but there’s no written content for that.

That way you go and find what people are searching for on YouTube. And you can repurpose that into written content that Google will pick up on. There’s a tool called Keywords Everywhere, and it’s just like a browser extension that you can just put in Chrome. You have to buy credits to use it, but you go on anything that you can go on YouTube and it’ll show you how valuable search terms are in your niche.

So if you’re searching about handbags. We’ll just keep going there and you search on Kate Spade and see how many people are looking for Kate Spade on YouTube. It’ll also work on Google. And so you can use this and see how valuable search phrases are then go and niche into that. Go deeper, find your little angle.

And when you can find little angles that people are searching on, that will raise up your entire your entire website, everything that you’ve written in that particular niche will end up being supported because you’re answering questions that other people aren’t. So that would be my biggest strategy.

Put yourself in your customer’s search, your customer’s shoes. What they’re searching for. Put yourself in your customer’s search. Hey, I’m going to brand that tripping, tripping up on things. Hey, that sounds pretty good, but yeah, you want to be where your customers are searching. So that means you have to talk like they do, use the language that they’re using and these tools like Keywords Everywhere it’s just brilliant.

And then things like SEMrush is really good. And there’s other ones like Moz and things like that that you can use to see what your competitors are ranking on. And do you want to rank better than them on something? How can you take something that they’re ranking really well on, write something that is more specific and you can tend to outrank them when you’re answering those more specific questions. So that’s my SEO take on things.

Ben: Are there any tips for content length? Should I try to write more shorter or more longer? Or kind of don’t put it into a template, but write what is needed?

Kathy: Write what is needed and then break up your content with, so if you’re using Kadence, use the Advanced Text Block to set up headings the H2, H3 headings to break up the text because Google will look at those headings and say, okay, well, this, this piece is really important to answer the specific question.

And even here, your headline should be answering questions, but those broken up pieces of content should also be answering questions, too. You’ll notice, I don’t know if you guys have seen this, but like if you search for something, sometimes Google, like how to do something. Like I’m trying to put up curtains right now.

It’s a disaster. I need someone to help me. So I’m trying to figure out, am I doing this right? And it’s a very specific question of what’s wrong. Why is this falling out of the drywall? What do I need to do? And I got presented a YouTube video that cut right to like the segment of the video that answered my specific question.

Your copy on your website needs to do that too, but it applies. If you’re doing YouTube videos, that’ll apply as well. You want to segment your videos into answering very specific questions so that people like me who don’t know how to put up a curtain to save her life, get an answer.

Ben: One thing I see all the time are list, like 10 things you should do here, or the five best whatever is that? Why is that so popular? I’m assuming it works. Have any thoughts on that?

Kathy: It does work. I think they call them listicles. They work because people want things that could help them get things done faster, or make a decision faster. And those types of things just drill it down into very specific questions, very specific answers for very specific questions.

I’d like to ask Hannah about social media, cause I know people are picking up their phones late at night and they’re scrolling. How do you engage people? Because I know you’re good at this. You’re really good at this. You create very engaging content. How do you stand out in the sea of endless scrolls?

Hannah: That is so nice to be, to say that I, I’m not sure that I am any good, but I think it’s one, important to know where your customers are scrolling. So a lot of people maybe don’t know is that the number one social media platform in the world right now is actually TikTok. It’s not Instagram, it’s not Facebook.

And for those of us may be in my generation above, TikTok is like kinda daunting. Like I have no desire to get on TikTok, but real life. If I want to get my content out there, that people are watching, I need to figure out TikTok. I need to get on there. And then as far as making content engaging and making it stand out, it’s so tough because there’s such a wide range of what your content should look like based on what it is that you’re selling.

But I mean, think, about like put yourself in the customer’s shoes, like Kathy said. What would you want to see? What is it that catches your eye? And then go from there. And then, you can tag these people, especially on Instagram, you can tag these influencers and you can reach out to them directly.

And you know, if you get a repost from a influencer, that’s huge. Then, you’ve got thousands of other people looking at that. So yeah, it all kind of circles back around to who your customers, what do they want to see? And then be that. Obviously it’s easier said than done, but you know what’s good content.

So yeah, that’s like a tiny little snippet of advice, but I really it’s so broad.

Ben: Being authentic, Hannah, that’s one of the things that you do well is being really authentic with what you’re… The caption you put on things and stuff like that is usually what’s going to make that extra step and it’s not easy to do.

Hannah: I will say, I do think I hate fake content. Like I hate content that’s not real life. I think there is something to that Ben. People want to see that they want to see like, yeah, these are my highlights, but also real life is this. And so you add them something funny about real life while you’re like in this very exotic place in the world, but then you’re posting about how you didn’t sleep for three days and you got stuck on the train for four nights, if you’re a travel blogger or whatever, like people love their real life funny stories. So yeah, I think there’s definitely something to being authentic and not hiding that.

Kathy: There’s so many people who are posting on social media, who are trying to be perfect all the time. And this is just everybody I went to high school with as well as brands that try too hard to make just the picture-perfect view. From a mental health standpoint, I think it’s detrimental, but I also think it’s detrimental from a marketing standpoint for what you just said. Because people are looking for that authentic connection.

They’re looking for people to tell the truth and to be real. And we’re all looking for people that we can develop authentic relationships with and that’s based on trust. And if you’re trying to be perfect all the time?. You’ve just destroyed all the trust because you’re not being authentically yourself. So I think there’s something to really being that authentic marketer where you’re just telling the truth about who you are as a brand and what you’re trying to do, and being very authentic in helping your customers achieve what they’re trying to do. And it’s not a trick, right? It’s like, you’re either in this to win this and help your customers, or you’re just playing a game and people are going to vibe on that. They’re going to feel it, they’re going to know it in their gut. So I think there is something to that authenticity.

Hannah: Yeah, people want someone they can relate to and who can relate to perfect. Nobody.

Ben: Yeah. Finding ways to make your customer’s life better, whether it’s through humor, like you just made them smile or whether it’s through looking at something that is it’s real, but it’s pretty like you made, you inspired them or it’s that just simple, this is how you do something, I’m trying to help you.

Like those kinds of things can really create people that want to come back to your content and want to see more.

Kathy: That’s it. As a final thought: advertising. Should, people pay for traffic, pay to get in front of people, whether it’s on social media, whether it’s banner ads, whether it’s Google ads on Google search.

Hannah: I want to say that. No, it doesn’t work because I hate ads. But as someone who clicks on ads, I have to say it works, right. At least to some extent. What do you think Ben.

Ben: Yeah, I hear ya. I don’t know what the magic sauce is. In my attempts it seems like I’ve always been disappointed with the return on the investment for ads. And I feel like. From what I’ve talked to, other people, what it comes down to is I’m usually never big enough of a brand.

Like I don’t have a big enough ad spend to make it work, but there seems to be this threshold where you can spend enough money and figure out what’s working with people and keep honing and keep honing in keep honing in. I would just say for everyone out there, who’s thinking about getting into ads and were wondering if you should spend the $500 that you saved up.

Don’t do it. Like that’s not the strategy that’s going to work. Take the money invest in something else. Cause Google ads will or Facebook ads or Instagram ads or whatever, they can work, but it takes a lot of money and a lot of effort, you like, you do have to keep trying to figure out how to optimize, how to optimize, how to optimize.

Because otherwise you’re going to spend a lot of money for one or two clicks that were actually meaningful and that’s just generally not worth it.

Kathy: Yeah. The old adage was that someone needed to see your brand or your advertising seven times before they engage. And if you’re just getting started, do you have dollars to throw at seven times, or is your effort and your money better spent elsewhere. The only place that I’ve seen ads work really well is retargeting, but that’s not new traffic, right?

That’s traffic you’ve already got to your site and you’re just trying to get them to convert and to come back to your site. And maybe you re-target people who looked at your pricing page or retarget people who have something in their cart, and you want them to check out. Those types of things can really have a good return on investment, but if you’re just trying to bring in eyeballs, advertising is probably the last thing that unless you’ve got money to burn and if you have money to burn, I’ve got, you know, I’ve got to put gutters on my house.

Just give it to me, I’ll burn it!

Ben: Yeah. If the issue is traffic, you’re better off finding other ways. Even if it’s okay, I’m going to take the money I would spend on ads and give away stuff. Like do a giveaway on social media to try to gather some attention or send my product to a whole bunch of influencers for free. Spending your money that way makes more sense if you’re just trying to get traffic.

Kathy: Definitely good points. Well, what can people expect, over the next couple of weeks with Kadence? I know you just released the relationship post thing. We’ve got a blog post up about that and the Dynamic HTML block.

Ben: Yeah, that largely came out of the webinar I did where I talked through, like, here’s how you would do something. And then as I was promoing, and I was like, you know what, this should work better. Like there should be a way to connect this. And relationship stuff is important for people who are doing dynamic content. Basically it allows you to connect two different types of data together.

And so yeah, as we keep developing more and more dynamic content tools, relationship is going to be a big key to that. It really opens the door for a lot more possibilities, that are a lot more time-saving in terms of like you do this once and then it’s all like interconnected. As we go forward, there’ll be more stuff in that even like the advanced query that will work inside of relationships and things like that. This month we’ll be releasing, Shop Kit 2.0, which will have the template for WooCommerce. And I don’t have a set date for that yet, but that is getting close. I am excited to get it out. It has been tricky to figure out, but, there’s just seems like there’s so much going on right now with Kadence. I think one thing I get in trouble with is being like, oh, this is close. And it’s like, well, it is close, but it’s also like, there’s other things that come up.

And so I think in general, know that we’re doing a lot of really cool things and you’re going to see it.

Kathy: Excellent. And I just try to keep up, we’ve got new starter templates coming out left and right. And, we’re reworking how those starter templates are going to be released into the wild. So watch for that coming very soon. That’s all I got any final thoughts?

Hannah: Don’t be a rainbow in the dark.

Kathy: No, let your rainbow shine to the world, and Kadence is here to help you do that.

Hannah: Absolutely.

Kathy: Thanks for joining us on the Kadence Beat. This was episode 9. See us next time on episode 10, we’ll have a little bit of a party.

Hannah: oh, gosh.

Kathy: Hannah’s organizing it.

Hannah: Yeah. Invite your friends.

Kathy: Invite everyone. All right, thanks guys. We’ll talk to you next time.

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