One of the chief concerns we have as website owners are how to drive traffic to our websites. Without knowing how to get more traffic, how else will we get more leads, make more sales and continue to make money online?
There are a number of ways to get more traffic, so I’ve collected this list of my favorite traffic-generation techniques. I’ve tried to organize them into the following categories:
- Content & Article Marketing
- SEO & Search Engine Marketing
- Video Marketing & Podcasting
- Email Marketing & Syndication
- Advertising & PPC
- Public Relations & Spreading the Word
- Social Media & Bookmarking
(Of course, some techniques could arguably be placed in more than one category. Enjoy!)
Content & Article Marketing
- Start a blog or add a blog to your website. Use WordPress. Tip: Don’t go with the free WordPress hosting offered by WordPress.com. It’s a watered-down version of WordPress you cannot optimize!
- Research your article keywords using the Google keyword tool. Target your blog posts and articles using these keywords. (Read How to Add Keywords to Your Website.) This will help your posts rank higher in the search results.
- Update your website or blog frequently. Three times each week is great. Daily is better.
- Write better headlines. Writing compelling headlines that convert into views is an art. Make sure you research your keywords and work them into your headline. Keep your headline congruent with the webpage it describes.
- Stay away from duplicating other posts and articles. Duplicate content is one of the big no-no’s according to Google and your site can be penalized or banned if you are engaging in this practice. Tip: If you’re hiring out your content writing, ensure the contractor knows their work needs to pass a plagiarism-detection tool like Copyscape.
- When considering the content for your website or blog, there are two approaches to consider: timely hot topics or evergreen. Hot topics—like world events, emerging technology or celebrities—will offer you a chance to speak to something that is on everyone’s minds, however, those topics often cool off and fade from relevance over time. Evergreen content—as the name suggests—is content that provides timeless value, based on principles that aren’t as likely to change with the public’s mood. A good piece of evergreen content can bring traffic steadily, year after year, and makes for a real asset to your website.
- Convert your blog articles to Adobe PDFs and offer them on Scribd.com.
- Offer to guest post at other highly-ranked websites. Include your URL in your resource box (your brief description about you and how to reach you for more information.)
- Comment on other blogs in your industry or niche. Make your comments thoughtful, courteous and use a keyword or two. Include the link back to your site.
- Similar to blog commenting, offer helpful solutions on Q&A sites like Yahoo Answers and Quora. Place the brief synopsis of your solution in answer to the question you’re addressing and post the link to the full article (already posted on your website) if they want to learn more.
- Join niche-related forums and offer advice, ask questions, etc. Include links to your websites in your forum signature.
- Offer a whitepaper that answers a common challenge for your audience. Collect email sign-ups in exchange. Deliver your whitepaper automatically using your confirmation autoresponder.
- Write an ebook. Include links to resources and to your own URL. Offer the ebook on your website.
- Place your new ebook into ebook directories for free or low-cost download.
- Convert your ebook into a PowerPoint presentation and post on SlideShare.
- Repackage your ebook for delivery on the Kindle, Nook and other tablet platforms. Then offer it for sale through Amazon, Barnes, and Noble, etc.
- Add your blog posts to BlogCarnival.com. Host a blog carnival to bring exposure to others within your niche while building the value in your own site.
- Form a blog promotion network. Agree to retweet, mention, link or otherwise promote one member each week. (This requires 100% dedication from all members to make it work. If a member begins falling down on their commitment, they’re out.)
- Article marketing. Submit your pithy articles to sites like the following and remember to include keyword links leading back to your website. (Read Marketing Mastery Series: 5 Steps to Powerful Article Marketing.)
- Build a quiz or self-test that shows people something about themselves. Entertaining, informative or both, bring value through self-discovery. Though I am certainly biased, here is an example I especially like: Branding 101: Discover Your Brand Archetype Quiz
- Create a Squidoo lens. This is a collection of original articles that link back to your site from your Squidoo page.
- Add a forum or discussion group software to your website. (Be warned: It takes time, dedication and love to grow a thriving community, but it can be well worth it.)
- Offer regular webinars and communicate the schedule and topics through your website and mailing lists. Tip: Record the seminars and add them to a members area on your website, or make them available 24/7, thereby bringing even more value to your site.
- Offer a free tool, template or software. When Hotmail was first introduced, each message carried a little signature at the bottom of each email that said: “Get your free email at Hotmail”. The email system went viral, spreading naturally from inbox to inbox.
- Need help getting posts out regularly? Hire a ghost-writer through an outsourcing service like iWriter, oDesk, Elance, etc.
- Create a compelling infographic. When done well, infographics make even the driest material visually interesting, effectively grabbing and holding the reader’s attention long enough to deliver the message—and your URL.
SEO & Search Engine Marketing
- Use keyword-centric tags with your WordPress posts.
- In WordPress, make sure to leave trackbacks turned on. When you link to other site owners, an email will notify the blog owners of the new link and they will likely visit your site. They may even link back!
- Install the Google Sitemap XML plugin for WordPress. It automatically sends updates to Google and other search engines when you make a new post, helping your material get indexed more quickly. Don’t have a WordPress site? Use Ping-O-Matic to accomplish the same thing.
- Can’t use the Google Sitemap XML plugin for WordPress* to create your sitemap.xml or robots.txt files (used by Google and other search engines?) Use a sitemap generator like XML-Sitemaps.com.
- Two words: Google Authorship. Set it up and get your face to appear next to your posts in the Google search results. (Read Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture into Google Search Results.)
- Install Google Analytics on your site and actually look at it once in a while. It doesn’t even have to be Google Analytics, but you should be able to see how much traffic you’re receiving on a weekly basis and where your visitors are coming in from? How can you intelligently drive more traffic to your site if you don’t know what’s already working for you?
- Submit your website to search engines and search directories. Seems obvious, but most folks don’t know where to start. Here is a list of some of the top search sites:
- Use the linkdomain command in Google (ex. linkdomain:marketingideas101.com). While this only shows a subset of the links that lead into a domain, it can give you an idea about how your competitors are getting their rankings.
- Research popular misspellings of your company’s name and those of your competitors. Buy those domain names and forward them to your website.
- Find expired domain names in your niche that are still receiving traffic and buy them, directing them toward your site. For this, I recommend Expired Domains.
- Use a custom 404 page to help people find the information they are seeking from your website in the event it moves or otherwise becomes unavailable.
- Reciprocal linking campaigns with mid- to high-PR sites can offer a boost to your rankings and traffic. The best backlink is a one-way, dofollow link from a high PR site. Also, if you’re just getting started with your website and you have low PR, you had better have some great content, otherwise your opt-in rate with a reciprocal campaign is likely to be low.
- Join a web ring like WebRing. Advantage: Niche-related linking. Disadvantage: Uglies up your site. (Not as much of a disadvantage if you already have an ugly site. If that’s the case, jump in!)
- Pay a freelancer or company to generate obscene amounts of traffic for you. Just beware of the very real chance it could be a scam (Read How NOT to Drive Traffic Using Fiverr.)
Video Marketing & Podcasting
- Read or speak to your ebook contents in an audio post or series of audio posts and place on BlogTalkRadio or iTunes.
- Why only create audio posts of your ebook, blog post or web content? Create a video demonstrating the same information and post to YouTube and Vimeo. Include links back to your site in your video description and in video captions. Tip: you can do this either by presenting the material yourself, hiring someone to present it, or by creating a video with something like Animoto.
Email Marketing & Syndication
- Link your blog with your Aweber email marketing account. Take signups for your newsletter, ebook or other promotional/informational offers. This will grow your emailing list.
- Establish an RSS feed for your site. Add it to FeedBurner.com. (Well.. what was Feedburner. Google gobbled them up.)
- Connect your RSS feed broadcasts to your Aweber email marketing service. This will deliver your blog posts in an enewsletter format to your mailing list. Set the mailing list to weekly or whatever is appropriate for your posting frequency.
- Email your current and past clients regularly. Ask them about their interest in new products and services (segment your list accordingly.) Send letters of appreciation, short polls, tips, client spotlights, and other relevant correspondence to stay at the front of their minds.
- In your enewsletter, don’t embed complete articles. Instead, display hook paragraphs with links back to the full articles on your own site. This also allows you to gauge what topics are most important to your readers.
- Don’t stop with only offering your whitepaper from your newsletter signup confirmation page. Include your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ profiles and links to other websites you own that complement.
- Syndicate your blog with Technorati.
- Include your website URL in your email signature. (It’s a good place to offer some of your social media URLs as well.)
- Run a solo ad, whereby you pay someone to market your offer to their list. Research your list owners carefully here; all is not as it may seem. (Proceed with caution. Read Solo Ads Advertising: Why Solo Ad Scams Suck.)
- Conduct an ad swap. You have a mailing list. Another marketer has their mailing list. Your offers align with each others’ mailing lists. The other marketer sends your offer to their list and you send their offer to yours. All things being equal, you both should see your opt-in lists expand. (Get started at Safe-Swaps.com.)
- Join venture with another marketer. Similar to a solo ad, you run your ad to their list, with the difference being they get a cut of the sales instead of taking a flat fee.
Advertising & PPC
- Run pay-per-click (PPC) ads using Facebook ads, Google Adwords or Bing Ads. Tip: Watch your ad performance carefully at first. You can lose a lot of money quickly if you don’t pay attention!
- Pay for banner ads on other websites. Target websites in your niche, preferably. This is a quick way to begin receiving qualified traffic.
- Banner exchange. Similar to reciprocal links, you agree to trade banner ads with other website owners. Aim for the same or complementary niches.
- Begin an affiliate marketing program and spread the wealth! Pay others to promote you to their website visitors and mailing lists by giving them a cut. Make sure you can track referred traffic correctly before rolling this out.
Public Relations & Spreading the Word
- Offer to start an advice column for local media outlets. Have some example column posts and know your pitch well before approaching publishers. Finally, make sure the publisher’s audience matches your own.
- Along the same lines as an advice column, offer to write an editorial. This is akin to guest posting on someone else’s blog. By offering thoughtful insight into a common challenge or current event, you bring value to the publication and a spotlight to your own efforts.
- Write a compelling press release and post to free press release sites and local media outlets. Here is a short list of free and paid press release sites:
- Are your offline marketing materials supporting your online marketing efforts? You should have your URL on your business cards, flyers, brochures, letterhead; any and all stationary.
- Pay a high school or college student to place flyers with your offer and URL around town. Include college campuses, malls, grocery stores, houses, etc., so long as business proprietors are asked and so long as the location is congruent (or neutral) with your offer. These locations should be places where your target audience frequents. Tip: Not sure those flyers won’t end up in the trash? In today’s age of smartphones, pay for each image of the flyers as they’re placed.
- Drive your URL all around town. Brand your URL onto your license plate cover, bumper sticker, or have it added professionally to your vehicle’s rear window, tailgate, side, etc. Better if your car is unique in some way (and I’m not talking about that rust spot shaped like Elvis or the Virgin Mary.) Want to take this over the top? Invest in an eye-catching vehicle wrap.
- Buy a pair of sandals or boots and carve your URL into the bottom of them. Then go walk on wet sand or snow and give those who follow in your footsteps something to think about.
- Hold a contest. The winner gets a rave review on your site, a fun toy or gadget, cash.. whatever. The more compelling and niche-appropriate the prizes, the better. Announce the contest winners on your site.
- Join a local business group or association. Members often benefit from being listed in the member directory, complete with their website’s URL.
- Your business card should have your link on it, of course. Better, use the back of your business card to state a special offer, coupon code, promotion or other thrilling reason for them to visit your site. Now those networking mixers may actually bring some visits to your site instead of seeding your business cards at the bottom of trash bins all over town.
- Sponsor a league team. This might be softball, darts, roller derby, bowling—even chess. Consider the audience (the players and their families and fans) and your own interests when choosing your sponsorship opportunity.
- Get seen on television. This technique worked well for Dave Mayer of CleanBottle.com. Dressed in a gigantic bottle costume—complete with URL—Dave was first caught on video running along Tour de France bicyclists. The video went viral and CleanBottle’s orders exploded. He has since made this technique a cornerstone in his marketing strategy, though he’s occasionally roughed up by drunken cycling fans.
- Give a live talk, presentation, seminar or workshop. At the end of that event, you should be collecting a short survey to see how to improve the next event. Request email addresses from those who confirm they would like to opt into your mailing list.
- When folks were registering for that event, did they fill out a registration form? It better not have been printed! Any flyers or advertising for the event should point to your website where they’ll find more event details and the registration form.
- Give an interview. Regardless of the format, a recorded interview can offer you great exposure to your market and places you in the expert seat. As the interviewer for a list of questions ahead of time, or offer your own. Practice being at ease and ask for a copy of the interview for use in your own marketing efforts.
- Interview others. With every interview you conduct, the easier it will become for you to interview larger names in your industry. The larger the names, the larger the draw. Tip: Have your recorded interviews transcribed and offer them on your website. It’s a great way to generate fresh content!
- Offer to give a product review (whether positive or negative) or testimonial in exchange for a backlink.
- Send your product (for free) to other site owners for an online product review.
- Hand out promotional items with your URL on them. Don’t skimp here. Nice metal pens and USB drives tend to stay with me for a very long time, even if they have a logo and URL emblazoned on them.
- Hold an online treasure hunt. Contestants compete to answer riddles and collect clues to win mind-boggling prizes. Of course, one of the clues (or maybe the treasure!?) will be on your website.
- Printed banners, billboards, and skywriting. Enough said there. Better: Save yourself the printing costs. To retaliate against political sign thieves, Michigan digital marketing agency, Oneupweb projected a 30-foot video loop of a dancing Senator Obama onto the side of their building. The stunt made the evening news all over the country.
- Produce viral content. How? One idea is to make a legend come true. Athletic shoe manufacturer Hi-Tec, made a series of “reality” videos showing their new line of running shoes were so water-resistant, people were attempting to run on water—and they were succeeding.
- Tattoo (temporary or otherwise) your URL onto your body. Anything that important is sure to get looked up.
- Ask a celebrity to wear a t-shirt or dress with your URL printed on it.
- When attending a tradeshow, you and your team wear the same shirts, visibly labeled with your URL. Buttons and hats are another version of this.
- Create an award program. Establish the guidelines, the award graphics, press release templates, etc. Be discerning about how you select your candidates and make your announcement. Encourage the winner(s) to place the new badge on their website. Of course, it’s a link to the award summary on your own site.
- Promote a sale, introductory pricing, free trial or other enticing promotion to lead deal-conscious buyers to your website.
Social Media & Bookmarking
- Facebook. Share interesting or relevant posts, images and videos on your Facebook ‘fan page’. Every now and again, include a link to your own website.
- Facebook. Install the NetworkedBlogs Facebook app and connect your blog to Facebook. When you post to your blog, your post automatically shows on Facebook.
- Facebook. Link your Facebook account with your Twitter account so a post in Facebook automatically posts on Twitter. This lightens your need to log into both accounts and adds diversity to your Twitter posts, especially if you’re smart enough to automate some of them using…
- MarketMeSuite. Manage your social media streams and accounts from one place. Best: Create, schedule and upload your social media broadcasts a week, month, quarter or year at a time. Greatly reduces the social media marketing burden.
- Twitter. Display your Twitter feed on your website or blog. If you’re using your Facebook or Twitter account regularly, your tweets will display and serve to freshen your website. This encourages repeat visits and updates your website, keeping you fresh in Google’s search results.
- Twitter. Include your website’s link in your Twitter bio.
- Twitter. Tweet about your product, service or articles. Include links to your onsite material. Use hashtags (#) to add your tweets to relevant topic streams.
- LinkedIn. Connect your WordPress blog with your LinkedIn account so your blog posts appear on your profile.
- LinkedIn. Include your URL in your profile.
- LinkedIn. Start a LinkedIn group. Best: Target your niche and mention your geographical location in the group’s description to build a more focused group.
- LinkedIn. Too busy to start your own LinkedIn group? Join other groups and add value to those communications. Often, those posts can be expanded to become full articles on your own website. Then offer the link to the group.
- Pinterest. Add interesting, non-copyrighted graphics to your web pages and blog posts then pin them to your Pinterest account.
- Create a profile in any of these popular social bookmarking sites. Include your URL in your profile.
- Using these popular social bookmarking sites, bookmark links of value, related to your niche. Your own website should be one of these bookmarks.
- Ask others to bookmark your site. Or bribe them. Either way.
And finally–because you can’t have a list of only 100 marketing ideas on a website called “Marketing Ideas 101”:
Content & Article Marketing (cont.)
- Make a “100 Ways to” list post and ask people to share if they found it helpful. Not quite that ambitious? Make the list “10 Ways to”, “3 Ways to”, “50 Ways to”—you get the idea.
Share if you approve!!
Boorn, Cassie. 50 Ways to Drive Massive Traffic to Your Blog. Retrieved from http://askaprgirl.com/50-ways-to-drive-massive-traffic-to-your-blog/ on 12/17/2012.
SEOLogic. Web Traffic 101. Retrieved from http://www.seologic.com/guide/traffic on 12/09/2012.
WarriorForum. 50 Great Ideas to Get More Traffic to a website – I found it and you might find it useful. Retrieved from http://www.warriorforum.com/mind-warriors-success-power-self-improvement/166835-50-great-ideas-get-more-traffic-website-i-found-you-might-find-useful.html on 12/17/2012
(* Did you see a pattern? I’ve mentioned WordPress a few times now. I wonder if WordPress could be a powerful option for those who want to have a search engine optimized website that draws traffic. I wonder…)