So you’ve built a beautiful and functional website. But if no one’s actually visiting, your perfect website isn’t going to have a major impact. So you need to create a strategy around building traffic to your website.
How to Get Traffic to Your Website
In building this strategy, it can help to get input from the experts who have been there before. Here are some tips and tricks ranging from content creation to SEO to social media from digital marketing experts around the web.
Build Referrals from Other Websites
Author and online marketing influencer Neil Patel says there are four basic ways that businesses can drive traffic: direct visits, paid campaigns, organic search, and referrals. For brand new websites, not all of those strategies are very realistic.
Patel explains, “Direct isn’t very helpful because people don’t know you. There’s no leftover cash for paid campaigns. And you don’t even exist in the minds of search engines at this point (more on this later). That leaves you with only one option: Referrals. Somehow, someway, you need other people and other websites to talk about you, link to you, and send you traffic.”
Getting other sites to link to yours can seem pretty tricky. But it’s essential if you want to increase traffic and build your SEO strategy. So instead of asking for links or using shady practices, take Patel’s advice and increase distribution of your products and services on other platforms or create content that’s so valuable it gives people a reason to link to your site.
Publish Original Research
Andy Crestodina, web strategist and co-founder of web design and development firm Orbit Media says, “Content comes in all shapes and sizes. Helpful how-tos, webinars, whitepapers, roundups and rants. But there is one type of content that crushes almost anything else you can publish. Original research.”
Original research consists of a report that dives into data you collected on your own, rather than something you’ve found from another source and simply regurgitated to your own audience. This type of content is effective because it’s brand new and can’t be found anywhere else. So other companies or content creators may want to reference your data for their own needs.
Monitor What’s Working
As you work to build traffic, it’s important that you use tools like Google Analytics to find what tactics are most effective in bringing people to your website. Then, as author and self publishing expert Steve Scott suggests, you can put the vast majority of your efforts into those traffic building activities.
He says, “Basically, the “80/20 rule” states that 80 percent of your results often come from 20 percent of your activities. Apply this to traffic generation and you’d see that only a few traffic sources produce a measurable return on your time and money.
The key here is to “double down” on what’s working and purposefully ignore the rest.”
Enhance Your Existing Content Marketing
You probably already know how effective content marketing can be for your website. But if you don’t have a ton of time to create original content regularly, you can still put out a steady stream of content by repurposing old posts.
Heidi Cohen, content marketing expert and president of Riverside Marketing Strategies says, “While eliminating once and done content, enhanced existing content marketing laser-focuses on the most effective content that can be easily be improved, updated and/or repromoted. It values mobile-first, cross device, and cross platform approaches.”
Research Your Content Thoroughly
Writing quality content also requires you to do research so you can provide information that’s actually valuable. Author and speaker Rebekah Radice notes that there are several ways to make your content stand out from the myriad of options that are out there already. But one of the most important is to learn and prepare beforehand.
She says, “Logic says don’t start hiking a 14,000 foot mountain without a little preparation. Likewise, writing a blog post without investigating your topic is a recipe for disaster.”
Interview Authority Figures
One way to get more people to see your content is to encourage major players in your industry to share it. So how do you do this? Interview them! Pat Flynn of the Smart Passive Income podcast suggests finding people who run groups on platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn.
He says, “Everybody who owns a forum or group is looking for ways to grow, and most (humans) will be happy to talk about themselves. Giving a group owner an opportunity to highlight his or her community, while also demonstrating leadership and authority is a complete no-brainer for them. As a result of the relationship they have with their members, and the value that they’d be providing for you, it’s likely that they are going to share that interview with their community. Traditional methods of getting in front of someone else’s audience, like guest posting, can be difficult. There’s a lot involved across both sides, from writing a unique post that would be acceptable to a prospective site owner, to being able to schedule a post within that person’s editorial calendar.”
Find Your Audience on Social Media
Social media can be a wonderful tool for building your audience and eventually driving traffic to your website. However, you can’t just post links to new products or blog posts and hope that people will come running. Instead, you need a strategy where you determine the right platforms for your brand and then find how your specific target customers use those platforms.
Brent Csutoras, chief marketing officer at PeakActivity says, “To figure out where is your audience on social, look at where your competitors are and what their interaction is like there. Then find active communities for your topic. Each social media site and each community within it has fundamental principles for how its users should interact with the site.”
Optimize Your Site for Pinterest
In some cases, you can even gain traffic on social platforms like Pinterest by encouraging visitors to link to your content. When it comes to optimizing your site for Pinterest, that means including shareable and visually striking images in every post or page.
Donna Moritz, the digital content strategist behind Socially Sorted suggests, “Look at your previous posts and check you have at least one shareable image on each of them. Maybe you can add an image to an existing post that highlights your content.”
Promote Your Brand Offline
Most traffic building strategies center around online activities. But don’t forget about the valuable connections you might make in the real world that could lead to more visitors to your website.
Darren Rowse, blogger, podcaster and founder of ProBlogger explains, “You may need to step out of your comfort zone, but that can be rewarding. You never know when someone you meet will become a reader, collaborator, team member, or even sponsor. The sky’s the limit when it comes to offline promotion, and engagement is sometimes much stronger. People are more likely to comment on, share, and buy your products and services.”
Collect Email Addresses
Building website traffic isn’t just about getting people to visit your site once. It’s also about getting them to continue interacting with your content and returning again and again.
Stoney deGeyter, founder of digital marketing agency Pole Position Marketing says, “You can’t keep visitors on your site forever. And you aren’t going to get a conversion with every single visitor. What you can do is bring them back for more. One of the best ways to do that is to get them give you their email address. Use that to continue engaging with them on a regular basis. Just be sure never to spam, and make sure they’ve consented to receive every type of communication you send. If you provide valuable information, they will keep coming back, and when the time comes to buy, they’ll be more likely to purchase from you.”
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