We all want visitors to come to our sites to read, subscribe, buy, etc. After all, traffic is the lifeblood of any online and offline business. When customers don’t appear in the amounts, we need, it has an adverse trickle-down effect on our conversion metrics. Moreover, traffic is the name of the game to grow brand awareness and increase sales.
Blogging is a powerful business driver, as many established bloggers know since it enables storytelling, knowledge sharing, value positioning, pivoting, and more. I made blogging a focus this year to grow my online business and to reduce my dependency on online marketplaces such as Amazon and Udemy.
In the short time that I’ve been blogging, I’ve grown my traffic to over 1,000 visitors a month with this being my 39th post. Not bad for a few months in the game. My goal is to exceed 5,000 visitors a month by the end of next year. Let’s discuss ways you can increase traffic to your website. (Note: many of these activities can be used to drive traffic to your products and services even if they sit on third-party platforms, for example, books on Amazon).
1) Develop a YouTube Channel
Growing my YouTube channel is my second priority after blogging. I’m currently recording one to two videos weekly and redefining my publishing schedule, for example, I’ve decided not to release videos this summer in anticipation for the fall.
YouTube is the number one companion for bloggers and businesses. For bloggers, it isn’t enough to blog only. We have to embrace vlogging and video as not everyone wants to consume text alone. Also, video is where the action is hence the reason YouTube is the second most visited site on the planet. For businesses, consider the virality potential of video marketing, for example, Dollar Shave Club successfully grew their startup and exited (bought by Unilever) in part because of their exceptional YouTube marketing strategy. Thousands of businesses have benefited from implementing robust video marketing strategies.
Build it and they will come. My YouTube logic is quite simple; combine excellent content with well-structured videos, and people will flock to my website to discover more. There are many opportunities to highlight our websites on YouTube including:
- Cover art
- Link section and overlay
- About section
- Video description section
To get started or make improvements to your YouTube channel, you can read my post “9 YouTube Tips and Tricks for Newbies.”
2) Leverage Social Media
It’s one thing to have a profile on the different networks, but it’s another to optimize your presence. Facebook is the number one social media platform and still growing. In Q2, Facebook’s monthly active users hit 1.71 billion — up 15% year over year and up 3.5% sequentially. Also, they have Instagram in their ecosystem which is a hot commodity. It’s critical not only to have an active personal profile on Facebook but a page as well if you want to build a brand and following. Twitter and LinkedIn have fallen behind, but they’re still important enough to weave into your social media strategy. I don’t use Snapchat or Pinterest because their target markets don’t align with mine, but they’re major players to consider. I dropped Google+ last year when Alphabet indicated a change in direction away from it, but I’m sure it’s still useful to some.
Four keys to a traffic generating profile on any platform:
- A high resolution, appropriate, and inviting headshot (your profile picture will appear in search results under “Images”)
- Link to your website (try to avoid spammy looking short links, for example, bit.ly/buyme10
- A description that is to the point, high-level, meaningful, and easily decipherable
- A cover image that does something for you in either directing traffic or capturing attention with a value/mission statement or tagline
3) Pin an Enticing Post
Every now and again I stumble upon pinned posts, on Facebook and Twitter, which are months old. This isn’t the approach to take because it projects a sense of user inactivity and visitors aren’t likely to click on dated posts.
The pinned post represents valuable real estate and to use it effectively, I update my pins at least twice a month with recent posts. I recommend that you keep your pinned posts updated and check back periodically to review engagement metrics such as the click-throughs, favorites, likes, etc.
4) Incentivize Visitors
Most of my posts and tweets highlight what my blog is about, but occasionally I post an incentive to get users to click through, for example, “Giving away ten copies of my new book, Make Passive Income. Only two copies left.” Also, I’ve seen other marketers promote contests and prizes to increase engagement. Try trigger words like “download,” “win,” and “get” in your posts/tweets to prompt users to visit your site.
5) Include Hashtags
Including at least one relevant hashtag in your posts is social media marketing 101. Adding popular hashtags has shown to increase CTRs. According to Buddy Media, “tweets with hashtags get double the engagement metrics that no hashtags get — but tweets with one or two hashtags have a 21% higher engagement than tweets with three or more.”
On Twitter, the goal is not to go hashtag crazy, but on Facebook and Instagram, I add up to 15 hashtags which have yielded positive engagement results.
I use RiteTag to research trending hashtags before weaving them into my marketing activities.
6) Cross-Promote to a Different Audience
My Instagram account could be positioned similar to my other social media profiles, but I decided to make it different. How so? Instead of painting it with an online business and internet marketing brush, I went with a lifestyle, travel, and food theme. The reason I did this is to attract a different audience to my blog and brand. Food bloggers, travelers, and lifestyle enthusiasts can benefit from my content just as much as my target audience. When I review who has engaged my posts, I see targeted and non-targeted individuals. Conversely, had I stuck to the same script, my Instagram profile would just be a duplicate of what I already have out there.
Be open to off script messaging and hashtags to broaden your horizons. More of the same isn’t always beneficial and can limit your reach.
7) Post with Images
Did you know that content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without? Additionally, infographics are Liked and shared on social media 3X more than other any other type of content. Are you using enough and the right images in your posts?
Suffice it to say; images have an impact which is why I tweaked my Twitter card settings from “Summary” to the “Summary large image” option (this option is available in the WordPress SEO plugin I use). Furthermore, I focus on image use for Facebook and YouTube (thumbnails) as well.
8) Automate Your Content Marketing
I recently wrote about the four ways I automate my content marketing activities and how these activities lead to omnipresence. The goal of automation is to promote yourself and content around the clock. The online environment is way too competitive to limit promotional activities to a few hours or few posts a day. From sun up to sun down, I’m trying to attract engagement leading to visits to my site. For example, I use Hootsuite to automate 216 tweets a week which consist of blog posts, videos, and related content from others. Also, by using a Twitter bot to Like posts, I’ve increased my followers by 111, an average of just over four a day since mid-July. I view automation as a necessary step and investment to make to gain traffic, compete, and remain visible throughout a day.
9) Comment on Relevant Posts
An efficient way to get seen and heard is by posting insightful and helpful comments on posts related to your target market, for instance, I’ve commented on posts referencing online courses, WordPress plugins, and internet marketing. Most comment forms allow users to input their web addresses so that others can click-through to their websites.
10) Start a Facebook Group or Become an Admin
It remains one of the smartest things I’ve done to date; I launched a Udemy Facebook group that has blossomed to 16,000+ members. By owning this group, I control the narrative, content, and pinned post. I usually pin my latest blog post or YouTube video to attract a flurry of visitors.
I started my group in August 2014 and admittedly, finding unique group ideas or themes that will lead to success isn’t easy. Therefore, becoming an admin and gaining pin privileges to an established group is another option. When searching for an admin position, seek credible and well-managed groups to join. Conversely, spammy groups, irrespective of size, won’t be of much use.
11) Implement SEO Best Practices
Much of my focus during the first half of this year was to improve my SEO knowledge and skills. As a blogger, understanding SEO is vital to get found through organic search. Conversely, not having a firm grasp of SEO techniques results in working against yourself and many lost opportunities. I wrote about the top five ways to learn SEO and must say that taking a couple of online courses from Coursera has improved my efforts. I’ve gotten some of my posts to rank on the first page of Google search results since, and I see positive results from several Google Webmaster search metrics.
12) Develop High Quality and Unique Content
I come across a lot of thin and useless content on the web. By thin content, I mean posts that are less than 200 words without any substance (you should aim for at least 300 words, by most accounts). By useless content, I’m referring to blogs that lack value, originality, and perspective.
Knowing how much Google and other search engines appreciate high quality and unique content, my aim is to post write-ups of at least 2,000 words accompanied by original opinions based on my experiences. Two thousand words are my target because several studies have highlighted that 2000-word pieces dominate search results. Google wants to showcase well-researched and high-quality content in its results. Given two quality posts, it makes sense to give the lengthier post priority because it will likely provide more value to the reader.
I’m not suggesting that all of our posts need be 2,000 words or more, but where we can provide insightful and comprehensive posts, we should. Also, people favor sharing substantive content which can lead to even more traffic. While 300 words may be acceptable, I encourage you to up your game to 1,000 – 1,500-word posts (I use Grammarly to proofread and edit my work).
13) Post Consistently
Like I said, I post three to five times a month. That’s fairly consistent and aligns with my objectives. On the other hand, posting once or twice a month may not cut it to solidify an audience and steady traffic. Indeed, marketing is critical to increasing traffic, but so too is publishing new content regularly. Without enough of the latter, your traffic efforts will be doomed. You can check out these impressive stats on how often companies should blog.
14) Self-Publish an Ebook on Amazon
Amazon is a top ten visited site and leader in e-commerce. Additionally, they dominate the online market for books. When you’re an author on Amazon, you gain multiple ways to drive traffic to your site.
- You can feature your web address and entice readers with a gift from your site on the first page of your book, for example, “Click here to download my special YouTube report.”
- You can input your web address in the author bio section.
- With an author page, you can connect your blog so that it gets featured and mention your address in the bio section.
- No blog, no problem. Amazon’s author page allows for a video submission which can be used to plug your website.
You can visit my author page to see how I’m using it to generate traffic to my site.
15) Self-Publish an Online Course
Similar to leveraging Amazon, you can publish an online course on a marketplace such as Skillshare or Udemy to drive traffic to your site. With Skillshare and Udemy, you can mention and add links to your website in your videos and from your profile page respectively.
16) Share Content from Others Manually
Sharing is caring and sharing excellent content will increase your overall engagement metrics. For example, Hootsuite posted “34 Twitter Tools You Can Use in Your Marketing Strategy” which I then added to my automated tweet schedule. It received high engagement in their Twitter feed, so I considered it to be a winner that I wanted in mine.
Naturally, promoting my content is priority number one, but layering in outstanding content from others indicates that I have a broader interest in helping individuals succeed. Also, it’s an excellent change-up to your feed as opposed to posting your content alone.
17) Share Content from Others Automatically
Hootsuite allows you to automatically send out articles from RSS feeds you follow directly to the social networks to which the feed is attached to. It’s a great way to always have content ready to publish to social networks. I recently added several feeds and placed relevant hashtags in the front to get noticed.
18) Email Subscribers and Provide an RSS Feed
Emailing your subscribers about new posts and updates will prompt them to return to your site. Furthermore, enabling an RSS feed will allow users to receive updates from your site. To boost your CTRs, consider adding videos to your emails which can lead to a 200% to 300% increase in clicks.
19) Participate in Live Events
Nothing is more authentic than live events through platforms such as Facebook Live, Google Hangouts, Periscope, and others. I haven’t done any live events recently, but I did enjoy my experiences and engagements on Blab before they changed their platform’s focus. Live video falls into a robust video marketing environment so it can be a viable traffic medium.
20) Conduct a Webinar
Organizing webinars used to be tricky and costly. Today, they’re much easier and affordable to execute. People like attending webinars because they’re informative and live. The live factor allows webinar hosts to demonstrate their knowledge and interact in real-time. Also, webinars are excellent for capturing email address to build your list. If you have a WordPress website, here’s how to create a webinar funnel using YouTube Live for your webinar.
Say goodbye to costly platforms such as GoToWebinar and ClickMeeting. You can use YouTube Live (this replaced Google Hangouts) to host a webinar for free. Read how to broadcast with YouTube Live or how to use Facebook Live.
21) Create an App
I’m on the fence about creating an app since I consider myself to be a part-time blogger (three to five posts monthly), but I didn’t want to exclude this option for full-time bloggers. We can all appreciate the relevance of apps in our lives, and smartphones are go-to devices for millions of people. The first thing I do most mornings is check my phone and apps before turning on my laptop. Turning your blog into an app is a step-by-step process which can lead to attracting app-centric users. While many people won’t learn about you through other marketing channels and search, they may discover you through your app.
22) Guest Blog and Get Interviewed
These are not activities I focus on, but many others swear by them. By guest blogging and getting interviewed, you gain access to someone else’s audience and readership base. Naturally, being exposed to a difference audience can lead to folks clicking through to your website. It’s important to focus on opportunities with established and credible bloggers rather than anyone and everyone, for instance, doing a guest post on a site that receives 100 unique visitors a month could be a waste of your time.
23) Ask Your Network or Partner to Promote Content
Sharing content can be a two-way street and sometimes you need to ask. Similar to how guest blogging is a relationship marketing approach, so too is asking others to promote your content. Perhaps striking a deal to promote content mutually or paying to have content shared, one-time or recurring, can be an effective marketing activity. If you have folks in your network with a similar message, consider leveraging them to amplify your reach.
24) Create a Referral or Affiliate Program
I send traffic to websites such as DreamHost, Thrive Themes, and TransferWise because I use their services and receive commissions through their referral and affiliate programs. I promote these companies on my site, YouTube, and through social media. If you sell products and services, an affiliate program could increase your visitor count and open up additional sales opportunities.
25) Pay for Ads
Free methods of increasing site traffic are always popular with website owners, but there’s something to be said about the effectiveness of paid advertising. Whether it’s Facebook, Google AdWords or another medium, creating ad campaigns correctly can prove to be an excellent return on investment (ROI).
26) Speak at an Event
This website traffic activity and the following one occur offline but are still worth considering depending on the business you’re in, for example, estate planners could attract traffic and prospective clients from speaking engagements. Regarding speaking gigs, quality of attendees and target market presence is critical along with quantity in that enough people attend to make the experience worthwhile.
27) Attend Networking and Social Events
Networking events labeled as “networking events” with a bunch of non-VIPs running around isn’t what you’re after (been there, done that). After attending several of the business card free-for-alls, I pivoted to attending paid and exclusive events relating to fundraising and galas. My aim was to mingle with established professionals who had status, influence, or money. This activity is perfect for those in client-oriented businesses.