If you’re just getting started selling courses online you’re probably wondering how to best go about getting traffic to your website. At Academy of Mine we see many different eCourse sellers launch their companies online. Different members have different approaches, different sized teams and different budgets. However, we’ve noticed one common thread amongst all of our members… there are no shortcuts. It takes time to build a successful eLearning company, just as it takes time to build any company.
BUT I’M ONLY GETTING 20 VISITORS / DAY! WHAT SHOULD I DO?
For those of you who are just getting started, you might feel a bit discouraged when you login to your analytics account to find your traffic hovering around 20 uniques / day. On a good day you might have 25 visitors. Hardly time to celebrate. But what should you do? Obviously, you need to break out of this beginner’s starting position (which is a nice way of saying “rut”) and start growing your eCourse traffic.
AN ANSWER. BUT FIRST….. SLOW… AND… STEADY… WINS…. THE…. RACE
Before you start reading the content below, you need to understand that planning and implementing a solid growth strategy takes time. However, persistence pays off (as is seen in this 6 month case study, or this 5 year case study). It’s all about delayed gratification folks!
START A CONTENT MARKETING CAMPAIGN FOCUSED ON QUANTITY…. YES VOLUME COUNTS
Search engines favor quality content. We all know that. If users are engaging and spending time on the pages you create, Google and other search engines see those engagement metrics as a “signal” that helps indicate to them that web searchers value the content you’ve created, which in turn will likely push you up in organic search rankings over time.
Those looking for shortcuts will likely be thinking “So what if I discovered 5 search terms, all with great global traffic volume, and I tried to optimize my site around only those terms?”
Well, in our experience, these smaller static websites do not do very well in organic search. This is because Google not only values content quality… but they also value content quantity.
I don’t like making statements like this without backing it up with some hard evidence and data, so let’s take a look at the pages that rank really well for the search term “how to program”. I pulled up data on the top 8 ranking pages for this term. Look below under the “pages” column to see the number of pages Google has indexed for these top ranking websites. Notice that the majority of the sites in the list are “deep” sites (i.e. they have lots of content).
As you can see in the data above there are no “5 pagers” in the list of top ranking sites for that term. In fact many of the top ranking sites have many thousands of indexed pages. So if you’re going to compete for any term, the page quantity metric (“pages” column above) is an important metric to consider. After you know where your competition stands, you’ll need to set benchmarks for yourself so you can start overtaking them. Start off by aiming for 10 posts, then 25, 50, 100 and then it’s time to celebrate when you hit 200 posts.
If you’re just starting out it pays to invest a considerable amount of time in content creation and publishing. If you’re publishing once / day you can hit your first benchmark in less than a month, and your second benchmark in less than two months. From a volume standpoint that might allow you to compete in the search engines. As you can see in our list above one site only has 16 indexed pages, the next lowest ranking site only has 254 pages. This helps show that you don’t need hundreds of thousands of pages to rank. Sure it might help, but smaller sites run by one or two people can still hit the first page of Google by engaging in some good ol’ fashioned hard work.
Even us at Academy of Mine, beat out WordPress (a much larger site) for some of our main key-phrases. And please remember that page quantity / site depth is just one metric taken into consideration by search engines’ complex algorithms.
There is no magic page quantity number, but in our experience our members usually start to see a pretty dramatic increase in site traffic and sales by the time they hit the 100 -200 indexed pages mark. Writing this much content is equivalent to writing a small book, but in our experience it’s the single most important investment you could make in your eLearning company if you’re just starting out.
CREATING A VOLUME OF CONTENT HELPS BY:
– Inspiring search engines to favor you in organic results (as seen in the data above).
– Provides additional internal linking opportunities throughout your website.
– Provides the opportunity for you to chase the “long tail” of search.
– Your blog content will provide many of your visitors a first touch-point with your e-Learning company. These pages will be many peoples’ first time learning about your company. So write great content that makes a good first impression. But most importantly…. write a LOT of it!