Again and again, when I do a survey, people tell me that they need more traffic to their website. Traffic is a universal need for online entrepreneurs.
Without traffic, you can’t get subscribers or sales. It’s the foundation of an online business. In most cases, your efforts will focus on getting subscribers because it’s easier to get people who don’t know you to subscribe than to buy. After they subscribe, you can nurture the relationship and convert them to customers or clients.
But how do you attract the attention needed to get people to your website?
I’ve come up with 7 categories of ways to get traffic. While I’m focusing on free traffic, I’ll also briefly cover ads, since they’re a popular way to get traffic.
Here are the 7 categories of ways to get traffic:
- Search: This means that people search for a topic and end up at your website. It’s often called organic search.
- Partnering: This means that you partner with someone who promotes your freebie or product. This overlaps with other categories but is important in and of itself.
- Speaking: You can speak online and offline. You can create your own speaking events or speak at events of others. Speaking is often done as a partnership.
- Writing: Writing includes blogging, guest blogging, writing a book, creating freebies and courses, and writing articles.
- Social media: This includes social media posts and online articles. It’s usually writing but can include video and audio.
- Email marketing: A lot of your traffic will come from your own email subscribers.
- Ads: Last but not least, you can reach out to more people if you’re willing to pay for ads. Just make sure that you know what you’re doing and are willing to tweak your ads based on the stats so that you get the results you want.
Let’s discuss each of these categories in detail.
1. Search techniques to get traffic
People are always searching online for what they want. If you have it, they’ll find you. These are your ideal subscribers, customers, and clients because they selected you. That means they want what you are offering, based on the content you have on your website.
These people don’t cost you anything except for your underlying website costs. The more people you get from search the better.
There are 2 basic techniques:
- Creating lots of content
- Optimizing that content for searches (Search Engine Optimization)
This is such a big topic that I’ll just link to some blog posts about specific techniques for SEO here.
SEO is very effective but not fast. Over time, with lots of content and attention paid to SEO, your site will come up in more and more searches and you’ll get traffic. Just make sure you have a great free offer to convince visitors to subscribe.
Make sure that your blog posts have social media share links so readers can share with others easily. If you have a WordPress website, you can use a plug-in. I use Shareaholic, but there are many others.
2. Partnering to get traffic
Partnering is often an overlooked method of getting traffic but it’s very powerful. I’ve gotten up to 1,000 subscribers in a couple of weeks by doing webinars with partners. The webinars sold a product and my partners got an affiliate commission with each sale they referred.
You don’t have to sell but that commission does attract more partners! One way to “pay” your partners without selling is to return the favor and promote them — swapping the promotions. You can do this in any number of ways:
- Mention in email newsletters
- Mention on social media
- Including a link inside a product or freebie
- Guest blog posting
- Speaking on podcasts and webinar conferences
I’ll talk more about some of these methods in later categories.
One major partnering method is organizing a giveaway. You get a bunch of people together and invite them to donate a product (accessible with an opt-in). You set up an opt-in page and a delivery page. Everyone promotes the giveaway. You’ll get ALL of the registrants. Other contributors will get subscribers if registrants decide they want to get their products. (Most registrants don’t request all of the products.) Be sure to focus the topic to get targeted subscribers. I got 1,000 new subscribers by organizing a Speakers’ Giveaway.
You can even promote people without a partnership agreement. Promote people with a large following and they’ll link back to you. For example, if you link to someone’s post, they might link to you back on Twitter.
You should always be nurturing relationships with potential partners. Most don’t work out but when one clicks, it’s magic. Be sure to be a good partner — do what you promise to do and help others as much as they help you.
3. Speaking to get traffic
You can promote a talk to your subscribers and followers and sell to them. At the end, you give them a link to a sales page on your website which brings that traffic to that page.
But when you speak to other groups, it’s a partnership. You can speak to the subscribers of a partner in many ways, including hosting a webinar or podcast and asking partners to invite people or speaking on a third-party’s webinar platform. I speak to 2-3,000 people on a webinar a few times per year by speaking for a professional organization’s webinar series and about 10% end up as my subscribers.
It’s easy to find podcasts to speak on. Read my blog post “Get traffic by speaking on podcasts.”
Of course, you can speak at live events, too. Ask if you can sell or offer a freebie.
Whenever you speak, be prepared to offer a relevant freebie if you aren’t selling.
4. Writing to get traffic
There are several ways to write to get traffic:
- Blog posts: The more content you create on your website, the more traffic you’ll get. You’ll get better results if you focus on topics that people are searching for and if you use words that searchers are using.
- Guest blog posts: Many bloggers take guest blog posts and this can bring you a lot of traffic if the blogger has a big following. In addition, you can publish blog posts from others and they will promote them.
- Articles: You can write articles for websites like LinkedIn, Medium, and others. These sites get huge amounts of traffic and people search for topics of interest to them there. I mention some other places to write for in the section on social media.
- Kindle books: It’s now easy to publish your own books and put them on Amazon. Amazon is also a search engine of sorts — people go there and search for books.
In all these situations, you MUST have a call to action in your content that brings people back to your site. With Kindle books especially, you have no other way to get the email addresses of your readers.
5. Using social media to get traffic
Social media is a huge topic and I can’t cover everything here, but social media is a great way to get free traffic. First, I’ll review some of the better known and less-well-known platforms and how to use them to get traffic to your website. Then I’ll cover some general techniques.
You can’t be on all social media platforms. Choose the ones where your ideal customers hang out and that give you the best return for your time.
Warning: You need to use social media strategically and systematically or else you’ll waste lots of time without much result.
You should have a Facebook page for your business and regularly post on it. You can then share those posts on your timeline.
I recommend creating a Facebook group. Facebook is encouraging groups now. A group is a place where people learn to trust each other and you can both help members and make them offers (free and paid) to bring traffic to your website.
Join other groups that contain people in your target market. Many groups allow you to post links, sometimes on certain days of the week.
Although LinkedIn is focused on business, in many ways it’s similar to Facebook. While LinkedIn recently cut back on the features of groups, they are still valuable, both as a member and as an owner. Always being aware of the rules of each group, you can post links to blog posts, free offers, etc.
LinkedIn also has an Articles feature that allows you to write longer articles/posts. These can have a link to your website and some can get quite a bit of attention.
When people search for you on Linked, they see your profile and you can use this as something of a brochure, telling people what you do — of course, you’ll include a link — or two.
Twitter is not as wide-spread as Facebook and LInkedIn but is still worthwhile. You can automate posts but there’s also the opportunity to connect with people individually.
Twitter invented hashtags and hashtags have been picked up by the other social media platforms — more about them later. But on Twitter, they are essential — it’s how people find you.
Not everyone thinks of YouTube as a social media platform, but it is. That’s because people can like and share your videos. They can also comment on them. YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine, too, so SEO efforts apply. You do this by adding tags to your videos and using keywords in the video description.
Research has shown that traffic from YouTube is highly engaged and converts well compared to other social media channels.
Other social media platforms
There are many other social media platforms! All of these can get you traffic.
Instagram: Instagram is big! Many younger people prefer it to Facebook. It focuses on images but you can amass many followers and engage them. You use many hashtags in each post. You put your link in your profile rather than in the posts but people know how to find it.
Pinterest: Pinterest is even more focused on images than Instagram. People can find and share your pins and you can get traffic from your pins for a very long time.
Reddit: Reddit is organized around subreddits, which are like groups that focus on a specific topic. Some are very active and a post may get many comments. Like other groups, you need to look at the rules for posting. I’ve had good experience with getting traffic from some subreddits. You can get known by answering questions in subreddits.
Medium: Medium is a place to post articles. People can follow you. Your articles should have a link back to your website. People find articles based on searching for their interests. Medium gets millions of visitors each month.
Mix (previously Stumbleupon): Mix is also a place to post articles, both yours and those of others. They are organized in Collections. People can follow you and like your articles.
Quora: Quora is a place to ask questions and get answers. People rate the answers and follow topics and people that interest them. The first step is to ask thoughtful questions that elicit answers from others. You can also answer questions from others.
General principles for getting social media traffic
Here are some general principles for getting traffic from social media.
Mix 4 types of content:
- Valuable information–content that you created and links to content from others
Contribute to active conversations. You can piggyback on high-traffic conversations.
Tas/hashtags are VERY important! There are 2 types of tags:
- Hashtags and tags that are topics: These help people find you when they search on those terms. They are like keywords
- Tags of people: You can tag people to capture their attention but only tag people whom you know would be willing to share your content or want to know about it — don’t be spammy
Make connections and develop relationships — after all, it’s SOCIAL media. In fact, you should always be working on creating relationships with people who could become partners.
6. Using email marketing to get traffic
You might ask why people on your subscriber list are valuable for getting traffic. After all, they’re already on your list. But your subscribers are the most likely to buy from you and also to tell others about your offers. So ask your subscribers to share your newsletters and blog posts. They can become your fans and tell their friends!
7. Using ads to get traffic
While I have focused on free traffic, ads can really help you get outside your narrow sphere of influence. Some types of ads are:
- Google or Bing pay-per-click
- Solo ads (paying someone to send out an email to their list)
Once you’re set up with Facebook ads, you can quickly and inexpensively boost a post to reach more people.
The topic of ads is huge, so get some professional training or help so that you don’t waste your money.
You need to watch your stats and tweak both your ads and your opt-in pages to increase conversion. Start with a small budget and when your ads are converting well, increase your budget.
I have a free report, “10 Free and Unusual Ways to Grow Your List.” In truth, most of the ways to grow your list are about how to get traffic.
These are techniques that most people aren’t using, even though they’re free and mostly easy to implement. You’ll find lots of secrets here!
What has gotten you traffic?
Leave a comment and please share so others can have this information, too!
Other blog posts on website traffic
This post is part of a blog roundup on website traffic. You can find links to all of the posts here.