This post originally appeared on Searchenginewatch.com
You’ve written and published an awesome blog post, and now you’re waiting for that website traffic to start pouring in?
Well, I hope you’re comfortable because it’s going to be quite a wait.
While the benefits of content marketing are well-known, they are well-known to everyone. Blog posts, case studies, and white papers are published left and right (four million pieces each and every day, actually) so getting through the clutter can be difficult.
How do you get noticed in such an oversaturated environment? You master these two important skills:
- Writing educational, engaging, and timely content, and
- By working hard on driving traffic to your website.
I’ll assume that you know how to write engaging content (if you don’t, this article could help you) and focus here on seven methods of driving traffic to your website.
Some are conventional (like social media and email) but it’s the unconventional ones that I hope you will put to good use. Ultimately, it’s a mix of both that will help you generate a steady stream of website traffic, and I hope that you’ll find some of the ideas here inspirational enough to try them out.
Conventional methods to drive website traffic
1. Organic Traffic (SEO)
Organic search engine traffic is the Holy Grail of website traffic.
Most authority sites in your niche get the bulk of their visits from organic Google searches but this is an important traffic channel for every type of website (see screenshot below – 12% traffic from organic is nothing to be scoffed at for an ecommerce store).
Here are a couple of evergreen tips for you to keep in mind when writing content and doing SEO for your website:
- Keyword research – Spend some time learning how people search for content in your niche. Identify keywords that you have a chance to rank for (long-tail keywords with low competition, for example), and write content around them.
- On-page and technical SEO – Work on your headings, keyword density, meta descriptions, load times, and similar. Most importantly, make your content engaging, informative, and fun to read. For more on on-page SEO, check out this guide that we published recently.
- Backlinks – Backlinks are the votes that other websites cast that tell Google that your content is worthy of that top spot in the search engine results pages (SERPs). They can occur naturally but you don’t want to depend on it – make sure you have a couple of backlinking strategies up your sleeve whenever you publish a really good piece of content.
2. Promotion on social media platforms
Social media is dominating the web, and if you’re not there promoting your content and your website, you’re missing out on a very important source of website traffic.
Depending on your niche, you’ll want to consider (at least) making an appearance on the following social media platforms:
- Facebook – Set up your Facebook business page as soon as possible, and start working on growing your base of followers. Regularly publish your content here but make sure to cross-post to other relevant groups and pages on Facebook. Check out this post for more tips on how to get the most out of your Facebook business page.
- Instagram – To interest your Instagram audience, you will need to become a visual storyteller (think infographics and beautifully designed images). Since Instagram doesn’t allow links, get creative and use your bio section, Instagram Stories, and IGTV video descriptions to drive traffic to your website (for more details, read this Instagram traffic generation guide from Tailwind).
- Twitter – This is a very cluttered and noisy social platform but it’s still great for sharing bite-sized pieces of your content. Use a post scheduler like Buffer, TweetDeck, Hootsuite or others to get several tweets out automatically during the day. On Twitter, it pays to be provocative, funny, and on time (think about hijacking trending topics and hashtags) if you want people to click on the links you share.
When using social media to drive website traffic, the most important thing is to make sure that you’re on all of the platforms where your target audience(s) tend to hang out.
3. Email marketing
Marketing your content and your offers to a curated list of people who have already expressed an interest in what you have to say is a no-brainer, right?
To drive traffic to your website using your email list, consider the following:
- Send out a newsletter regularly, highlighting your recently published blog posts, unique tips and tricks, or special offers.
- Segment your list and send special reminders to different subsections when you publish something that might be of particular interest to that group.
- Add social media buttons to your email blasts so that your subscribers are reminded to follow you on your preferred networks. Encourage them to share your newsletters with friends either via social networks or by forwarding the emails.
Unconventional methods to drive traffic to your website
4. Slack communities
Slack is a tool that teams use to communicate but it’s also home to Slack Communities where like-minded people hang out. Even if a group has only 1000 members, a lot of them will be active at any given time, which means that your potential audience will have a chance to see and interact with your link in real-time.
How to do it
First, find Slack communities that fit your niche.
Note that you will quickly get a feeling whether or not Slack is the right traffic channel for you – communities mostly revolve around marketing, tech, business, SEO, and similar digital topics (check out this list of great SEO Slack communities from Ahrefs).
Don’t get discouraged if you’re not in marketing: photography, writing, design, web dev, community management – if you publish content in any of these niches, you’re golden.
When you find a community that interests you, send a request to join.
Here’s some advice on how to use Slack to drive traffic to your website (without getting booted out of a community on day one):
- Introduce yourself and let people know what it is that you do, and what you expect from joining the community.
- Don’t just spam your links everywhere – answer questions in full, and only add a link to your content if it adds context and details to your answer.
- If a question has a weird angle (not exactly something you talk about in your content) but it’s related to a piece of content you’ve written, consider updating the post and then answering the question and adding your link.
Slack communities are searchable. If your comments are particularly valuable, you can expect other users to share them with newcomers from time to time. Because of this, even older comments can yield a small trickle of website traffic from time to time.
5. Blog and forum comments
Blog comments may not be a very reliable SEO link building technique, but they still work for traffic generation.
How to do it
First, look for blog posts related to your content. Pull up recent articles by clicking on the “tools” box on the search result page.
Copy the URL of interesting posts to a spreadsheet (do the same with interesting forum topics). Keeping these links in one place helps you build a database of sites in your niche for future reference.
The key is to make thoughtful comments and only link to your content when it’s actually relevant. Try to add real value to the blog post with every comment that you make.
Each blog comment may only drive a few visitors to your site. But, if the post goes viral or sits on Google’s page one for a long time, that’s enough to get a steady stream of visitors to your website every month.
6. Appear as a guest on popular podcasts
Podcasts are huge – around 51% of the US population has listened to one or more in the last few months. Somewhere around 35% of them listen to the entire episode once they start it.
This means that podcasts are a great opportunity for savvy marketers.
And, what’s best, you don’t even have to record one, you can simply pitch your ideas to hosts of existing podcasts to try to secure an invite to a future episode.
How to do it
- Do a quick Google search – just type in “top [your niche] podcasts” and go through the list while recording URLs (and requirements to guest star) in a spreadsheet.
- Craft an interesting (and personalized) pitch, and send it to the host, outlining why you should be invited to star in one of their future episodes.
- When appearing, be informative, interesting, and educational. But, above all else, be shameless when promoting your content and your website. Answer questions thoroughly but don’t be shy about adding “By the way, you can read all of this on my blog, which you can access if you visit [your website]”.
- Ensure that the episode description mentions your name clearly, as well as links to your website and some of the more interesting pieces that can be found there.
7. Use QR Codes to drive traffic to your website
QR codes (or quick response codes) are another great, but a severely underutilized way to drive traffic to your website.
By placing a QR code on business cards, flyers, and posters (and even your Facebook and LinkedIn pages), you give people a quick way to access your website. All they have to do is scan it and their phone will open up any URL associated with the code.
How to do it
Use a free QR code generator to create a unique code that people can scan. Add a general code that leads to your website to your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.
If you’re visiting a conference or a meet-up, consider adding content-specific codes (meaning, the ones that link to a piece of content on a specific topic) so that people scanning them land on something that will feel a bit more personalized and tailored to them.
Driving traffic to your website is an 80/20 game – 80% of your traffic comes from 20% of your actions. Once you have enough data to determine where that 80% of traffic is coming from, it will be easy to ramp up your efforts in that area. But, to get there you will have to experiment with both conventional and unconventional methods of driving website traffic. Try some of the ones listed here and then comment here to let me know what worked best for you.
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