Have you built yourself a great looking website but nobody seems to be looking at it? Worse still, you've paid good money for someone to build a site for you and you're worried it won't re-pay the investment?
A website without visitors is never going to be an effective sales tool, so below we cover a number of things you can do to increase traffic to your site. We only recommend you put in the effort to make these changes if you also have steps in place to measure their success, otherwise you are just shooting blindly into the internet abyss!
For more on tracking traffic and increasing new client enquiries check out our other guide to improving the leads from your website.
1. Create pages targeting your specific services
To do this, you need to know what you bring to the table as a personal trainer that makes you different from other trainers in your gym/area. If you haven't yet worked this out, then read our guide to choosing your training niche first.
The plan here is to produce a set of written pages that will effectively relate your chosen niche/specialism to potential clients. Start off by making a list of the niches you plan to operate in, then make sub-lists describing the various ways each niche can be applied.
For example, if your niche is weight loss, then your sub-list might include specific applications of that, such as:
- Weight loss for brides to be
- Weight loss for new mothers
- Weight loss to improve sleep quality
- Weight loss to increase energy levels
- Weight loss for men over 50
The applications you identify should be specific enough to speak to a particular group of people, each with their own needs. However they should also be topics that you can comfortably write about in reasonable detail. Create a page on your website for each of the applications you identified and write as if you are talking to just one person, showing understanding, empathy, and a willingness to help.
Here's a simple formula you can follow when writing pages like this:
- Describe the situation each person is in currently, in a way they can identify with. This forms an initial connection and makes them feel confident they are on the right website.
- Explain what could happen to help them remedy or fix the situation described above.
- Explain why the remedy is important, and how it will bring positive change to their life.
- Describe your specific abilities, skills, or experience, and demonstrate how they will help achieve the goals above. Use case studies if you have them.
- Include a simple explanation of the process that would be followed to result in them achieving success.
Follow this process for each of the applications you identified until you have a set of pages written. Review each page to check it offers an accurate representation of you and comes across as friendly and approachable. This will be the first contact people have with you after all.
2. Ensure your pages have basic SEO in place
The following steps will apply to both the pages you produced above, and the existing pages on your site.
Titles and descriptions
It's amazing how often this crucial detail is overlooked. The title and description tag on every page of your website determines how your site looks to people before they visit. Think of them as the words on signposts pointing to your site. If your signposts are badly written, they will not be effective.
Most systems allow you to control the content of these tags, whether you are using a managed provider such as Wix or Squarespace, or your site was built using an installed CMS like WordPress.
Here are a few simple rules to follow when writing your page titles and descriptions:
- Every page on your site should have its own unique title and description content. Do not write one killer title and copy it to every page. This will not help visitors (or Google) to determine what each page is for and whether they should click to view it.
- Write a page title that accurately represents each page's content in one sentence. This will be the most prominent thing people see when your pages are listed on search engines or shared on social media so it's worth getting them right. Aim to keep your title tags under 60 characters long. If longer they might be trimmed when displayed.
- Page descriptions allow you to expand on the title and provide more detail and/or context about why the page is worth reading. Aim to write teasing descriptions that are between 50-160 characters long. As with titles, too long and they run the risk of being chopped.
Once you have created winning titles and descriptions for all your site's pages, allow some time for Google to re-index your changes. You can then see the results of your efforts by listing all your site pages together. Simply go to Google and type the following into the search box:
site:yourdomain.com (where 'yourdomain.com' is your website's domain name)
Google will then display all the page results it has for your website, as they will appear to the world when they are searching for you.
Use OG tags for social sharing
Slightly more advanced than above but hugely beneficial if you plan to post pages from your website to social media. Depending upon the system your site is built in, you might need to find a tutorial explaining where to make these changes. Some systems may generate OG data for you automatically based upon your page's existing title and description text, but if you want to be sure exactly how they will appear, then OG (Open Graph) tags are the answer.
Use OG tags to explicitly specify the picture, title and description that will be used when your page's post displays on other people's timelines. Here is the code you will need to add into the <head> section of each page:
<meta property="og:title" content="The main title for your shared post" />
<meta property="og:description" content="The secondary line of text for your shared post" />
<meta property="og:image" content="http://www.yourdomain.com/images/a-great-picture.jpg" />
Add headings to your page content
When creating pages of content on your website, you will have various formatting options available to you. These will include a number heading styles which you should use to break up larger passages of text. Instead of simply making text bold, use headings to let search engines understand your pages better. Headings are numbered from 1-6. Heading 1 should be used for your main page title. Multiple heading 2's can then be used to divide up long pages into more manageable chunks, with heading 3's sub dividing the content within those, and so on.
Include 'alt' text for your images
If you add an image to your site, you will also have the option to include alt (alternative) text. This gives you the chance to include a short explanation of what the image is. This will be used by search engines to help them determine your site content, and also by screen readers used to help the visually impaired when visiting your website. Try to keep image descriptions short and factually accurate to the photo they are describing.
3. Share pages from your site on social media
You've made some pages with great information about the specific services you offer, and you've made sure they will look great when shared. Now it's time to share them!
Don't be afraid to share the same pages more than once as not everyone will see the content you shared the first time.
4. List yourself on all the major business directories
Having yourself listed on websites that people commonly use to search for local services is a no brainer. Why would you not want to appear as an option when people are actively searching for something they want?
The biggest service currently is Google My Business (previously Google Places). If you mostly work in a single location, then this will allow you to appear and be searchable on Google maps, provide your contact details and begin receiving reviews. Be sure to complete your profile fully as Google tends to prefer this. There are also other services such as Yelp and Yell (UK), as well as a number of more specialised listing services aimed at people looking for personal trainers (toplocaltrainer.co.uk, fitnesstrainer.com, etc.). Some people even find success with free adverts on platforms such as Gumtree.
If you are running classes, also consider sites like Meetup, or create Facebook events to share with your followers and drive interest that way.
5. Participate in online communities
There are many places online where people gather to share their thoughts and discuss their problems and needs. These places can be a great for nurturing new relationships and beginning to build up a reputation for expertise in your chosen area. Armed with your website full of targeted pages, partake in these conversations, and where relevant to the conversation, share the links to your site pages that demonstrate your ability to help and make a difference.
There are many places where people gather to discuss their needs, but the most common are:
- Facebook Groups
- Commenting on blog posts
- Forums based upon specific niches
Partaking in these online communities can be time consuming initially, but over the longer term it can pay off.
6. Become a content creator
We'll admit this one falls squarely into the 'long term and not for everyone' category. But if you don't mind stepping in front of the camera, and you think you have the capability to cover interesting topics over a sustained period of time, then this might be a rewarding string to add to your PR bow.
These days it's never been easier to produce photo or video content. We all have the hardware required in our pockets! And with platforms such as YouTube and Instagram just waiting for you to participate, there are no cost or technical barriers to stop you from giving it a try. But what content to make we hear you cry? Well, here are some ideas to start:
- Start making content that can act as support to your existing sessions. It might be just demonstrating something you are working on with a client for them to refer to. You never know, others might find it helpful too and you'll begin to grow a following of likeminded people.
- If there are techniques or tips that are relevant to the training you plan to offer people in your niche, then why not start by producing content based around that? The more specialised it is, the more likely your content will stand out from the crowd.
You'll probably find that as time passes, you naturally develop a style and format that works for you and the topics you are covering. Don't be afraid to get started without overthinking it. However you begin, it's 99% certain that you'll look back in a year at your early content and cringe so just accept it!
The most important thing is to include a link to your website in a way that feels natural for each piece of content. Ideally you will have a page on your website that is relevant to the topic discussed in your post, so be sure to link directly to that.
7. Try email marketing
Even in this day and age, email is the most cost effective form of online marketing that achieves the biggest return on its investment. However this is only the case if you have a quality, targeted email list.
Building a list can be difficult from a standing start. What's most likely is that you will have a back catalogue of contact information for current, previous and potential clients that you can use to initially setup, and slowly grow a distribution list. The best part is you can add these details into a platform such as MailChimp and start sending campaigns to your first 2000 contacts for free!
Here are a coupe of advisory notes before you start sending out loads of emails:
- You should have permission from people before you start to send them marketing emails. So wherever you currently capture contact details from people, be sure to provide accurate details of what you plan to use them for.
- Do not send too many emails. With email marketing its quality over quantity. Try to only send emails that you think are important and will be of genuine interest to people. Everything else is perfect for social media instead.
- Try to keep your emails short. If you have a lot of information to share, include an email summary with a link to a page on your website where people can continue reading.
- Always include an unsubscribe link in every email you send.
8. Try paid advertising
Before you start throwing money at Facebook, make sure you have thoroughly planned out a targeted campaign. Otherwise it might turn into an expensive exercise that bears little fruit! Make sure you:
- Know the sort of people you want to attract, and where you are most likely to find them
- Have a suitable advert to attract their attention and gain their interest.
- Have a page on your website to send them to that's relevant.
A critical part of ensuring your advertising is successful is establishing your niche. Not sure what that is? Learn more about how to pick yourself a niche here with our step by step guide to choosing your personal training niche.
Make sure you're not wasting your new traffic
Driving traffic to a website is great, but if that traffic is not being exploited to its maximum potential then it's just wasted effort. If you think your website could be performing better when it comes to turning website visitors into client leads, then read our guide to improving leads from your personal trainer website.