Table of Contents
- 1 Methods To Gain Website Traffic
- 1.1 Free Methods
- 1.1.1 Search Engine Optimization
- 1.1.2 Social Media
- 1.1.3 Incentivize Website Visitors To Share Your Content/Product
- 1.1.4 Youtube
- 1.1.5 Email List Building
- 1.1.6 Forum Traffic
- 1.1.7 Blog Commenting
- 1.1.8 Coupon Sites
- 1.1.9 Image Pinning
- 1.1.10 Content Marketing
- 1.1.11 Guest Blogging
- 1.1.12 Posting Content At The Right Time
- 1.1.13 eBook
- 1.1.14 Audiobook
- 1.1.15 Analyse Your Competitor
- 1.1.16 Q&A Websites
- 1.1.17 Product Reviews
- 1.1.18 Product Sourcing Websites
- 1.1.19 Internal Linking
- 1.2 Paid Methods
- 1.2.1 Product Ads
- 1.2.2 Search Ads
- 1.2.3 Facebook Ads
- 1.2.4 Media Buys
- 1.2.5 Video Ads
- 1.2.6 Mobile Ads
- 1.2.7 In-Text Ads
- 1.2.8 In-Image Ads
- 1.2.9 Pinterest Ads
- 1.2.10 Twitter Ads
- 1.2.11 Shopping Comparison Ads
- 1.2.12 PPV Ads
- 1.2.13 Solo Ads
- 1.2.14 Marketplace Ads
- 1.2.15 Affiliate Program
- 1.2.16 Retargeting
- 1.2.17 Offline Traffic
- 1.3 Alternative Methods
- 1.4 How To Check If A Traffic Source Is Working Or Not?
- 1.1 Free Methods
- 2 Conclusion
Methods To Gain Website Traffic
If you have an online business, I’m sure you’d know how important traffic is to your website. Even if you have the most beautiful/functional website in the world, without visitors it’s destined for failure.
For a new website or web store to gain traffic, there’s tonnes of free and paid methods to achieve this.
To be honest, it’s only free because you don’t need to pay for it. In reality, lots of time and effort is needed. Most of them require you to reach out to other popular websites for traffic.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engines are such a traffic magnet, many sites just live off of it. Having top rankings on popular search engine keywords is the reason a site gets tonnes of quality targeted traffic.
How well your site attracts organic search engine traffic depends on your SEO strategy. This involves:
Your site’s content needs to be optimized so it’s search engine friendly. This means your URL, title tag, and content need to be keyword optimized.
Images can also be optimized to get more image search traffic by adding tags, titles, author etc. info to the image properties.
Off-page SEO is the most important factor that determines how well you will rank in search engines. For the most part, backlinks have been pivotal and still is. However, new factors have been introduced to determine ranking results. An example would be your website’s social media shares and likes, these social signals are just as critical.
Social media traffic has gained a lot of traction in the past few years and is extremely important to build an online presence and branding.
Many people fail to achieve anything from it simply because they have not spent enough resources to grow their followers. Usually, people create social profiles on all the top social networks expecting instant gratification. Unfortunately, a new social profile is nothing more than a webpage that nobody knows.
The key to successful social media marketing is engagement and building a social identity/profile that is worth sharing/following. It’s no coincidence that celebrities or interesting online personalities have a huge social following. That’s because their content & personality appeal to the masses.
Depending on which social network you’re working on, different methods are required. Eg.:
- Instagram is very visual, so you have to share interesting photos/videos. Your website content may or may not have photos/videos, so additional work may be required to do this.
- Twitter on the other hand is more for micro blogging. It is a great way to share a short summary of your article.
- Facebook needs a more focused approach. Start a FB group or page that only caters to a specific topic or just your website.
As you grow your social profiles, you might want to approach popular online personalities or bigger accounts to help you boost your followers and social presence. Sometimes, this might come at a cost, but getting endorsements or shout outs from them can accelerate your growth like never before.
For blog sites, it is a must to add social sharing buttons (eg. at the top of this page) around your content so visitors can recommend/share it on their social network accounts. These buttons can be added in the content or as a floating bar. Having too many social sharing buttons can be annoying to your visitors, so use it in moderation.
You can use content lockers with sharing buttons to encourage visitors to share your content before they can view articles. Or, incentivize by offering something free ( eg. ebook, offer, tips, guides) in exchange for shares. Content lockers can frustrate visitors so it you may or may not need it on all pages.
Just like blogs, social sharing buttons are very useful for eCommerce stores. Additionally, you can reward anyone who shares your product with discounts. If you run a WooCommerce store, this can be done with Woocommerce Social Reward plugin.
Ever thought that Youtube is a search engine before? In fact, it is the 2nd largest search engine, after Google. If done correctly, you will gain tonnes of organic traffic from it.
Many people come here for solutions or recommendations like:
- How to videos – Can’t fix a problem? Look for a how-to video here for solution.
- Product/service review videos – Not sure which product to buy? Search for other people’s recommendations and experiences.
These videos create a lot of value for the intended viewers. If you target these people with valuable videos that include your product/service from your website, then you will see highly targeted traffic with great conversion rates.
Some Youtube videos are evergreen, meaning their relevance will last a long time, especially for non-tech products. Try to create evergreen videos and they will gain more traffic over time.
Finally, keep adding new videos to your channel, engage with your viewers when they make a comment. This will help you grow your channel followers who will keep coming back for more when you add new content.
Email List Building
Offer a free eBook on your website and ask them to opt-in by entering their email before sending them the download link. This allows you to capture emails of people interested in a specific topic/product. Once you have an emal list of like-minded people, you can send them emails about your new products/services. This will bring a lot of reoccurring traffic to your website and also boost sales of new offerings.
This will also work great by asking people to join your newsletter, let them know you will send them an email when you have new tips or new products/services to offer or even discounts that they can’t find anywhere. For existing customers, you can upsell them on upgrades or premium services.
There’s a lot of forums online dedicated to specific purposes or niches. First, find a big forum that’s targeted around your niche, then join and participate actively by posting in forum threads. This will help you gain reputation and also increase your post count. To unlock forum features, that is necessary and once it is unlocked, you get to post your banner/images/ads in your signature. Which means, whenever you make a post in the forum, other people will see your ads and that will attract traffic to your website.
This method is often overlooked. What you need to do it find relevant webpages about your niche/product that has blog commenting enabled, then make a comment that is relevant to the page to look less spammy and refer to a product on your website. Traffic from this method are very targeted as people who visit your site are looking for the same or similar thing from the referring webpage.
Coupon sites are a great place for online stores to promote what they are selling. Moreover, the buyer intent is very high here because people who visit such sites are likely looking for a bargain for something they already have in mind. Try to focus on only coupon sites with high traffic, as small sites offer little to no traffic for you.
Image pinning has been a very popular social sharing method since Pinterest was created. Pinterest has a huge user base with strong buyer intent. Sharing quality product images there will get you some eyeballs. Most of the users are women so it would do well for women or fashion products.
Do not limit yourself to Pinterest as there are also image sharing sites online which you can share your images and gain traffic. One good example is Instagram.
Many online store platforms come with a blogging system too. Unfortunately, most online stores do not take advantage of this feature and are losing out on more traffic. By creating high quality, useful and creative content, there’s a chance it could go viral or get shared by tonnes of people.
For beginners, this may be a bit daunting. A tip here is to find relevant content that are already popular and shared many times, then create your own content that is even better than them. Avoid plagiarism as duplicate content would only harm your website.
Blogs are constantly looking for quality content. Look for high traffic blogs in your niche, drop them an email asking about doing guest blogging on their website. Make sure your article hasn’t been published anywhere else as duplicate/recycled content is frowned upon by site owners. If the site you’re guest blogging on has plenty of loyal followers, there’s a great chance you will get tonnes of targeted traffic.
Posting Content At The Right Time
You might have noticed when posting/sharing content at different time of the day yield different results. With the help of analytical tools for website ( Google Analytics ) and social media, identify your audience by country and time online. By posting at the right time of the day, you will get more readers and social interaction.
People are constantly going online to find knowledge. If you could summarise all the important info into a small pdf ebook, this can become a powerful sharing tool for your promoting your website and products. Create value by giving free advice and tips and then referring them to your own offerings, you could get a lot of traffic from it. Moreover, because PDFs are so portable, they can be shared by anyone, anywhere that has file sharing online.
Once you have created an ebook, get someone with a good voice to convert your words into an audiobook and share it to various audiobook sharing websites.
Analyse Your Competitor
It’s only natural for any business to be curious about their more successful competitor. Surely, they are doing something better so why not find that out and replicate it. Whether it is their website design, SEO or social media strategies, a lot of testing, time and effort has been put in to gain their working methods.
Sites like Yahoo Answers and Quora dominate this space. I personally feel Quora is the best place for getting answers to questions you wouldn’t find anywhere else online. People often ask very obscure but interesting questions here. Build your reputation here as an industry or product professional by answering their questions. You can also drop your website link here as a recommendation.
Approach bloggers who are interested in reviewing your products/services. Give them a sample so they can review it and ask them to link back to your website.
In my experience, lots of people have approached me through social media asking me to send them a product/sample so they can write a review or snap photos in exchange. These people are usually just looking for freebies. If they mentioned website promotion, run a check on their website and see how popular it is. Avoid them if they are too small. What we’re looking for are blogger sites with lots of followers and traffic.
Product Sourcing Websites
Sites like Alibaba.com has tonnes of people looking for products to sell. If you’re the manufacturer/producer of the goods, this is a great place to promote your products and website.
Many visitors to your site may land on a certain product page and completely ignore other parts of your website. By recommending other products or hyperlinking to other content on your site, this increases the pageview of each visitor and hopefully increase sales.
If you want to take your business to the next level, paid traffic is a must. However, chances are you will lose money trying to get working for you. There’s a steep learning curve and due to its highly competitive environment, cost can increase significantly when competitors outbid you.
For an online store, it would be wise to start with Google/Bing product ads first. These ads appear on the shopping section of the search engines. Eg. If someone is searching for a “messenger bag”, you will see product ads appear at the top/side of the search results.
Google Adwords is really the best place for paid search ads. It connects publishers who make money from displaying ads on their website/app to advertisers who want to show their ads . Competition is very high here and could cost you a lot of money if you don’t know what you’re doing. Beginners will struggle and people with more budget and time to test will be more successful.
Alternatively, you can also advertise on Bing search ads but the traffic there is just a fraction of Google ads. Outside of these 2 top search engines, there are other smaller search ad networks but they do not match the quality nor quantity of the top choices.
Did you know Mark Zuckerberg didn’t want ads to appear on Facebook? Today, its total ad revenue from desktop and mobile is USD4.3 billion. Yet, it’s still far from Google’s huge ad revenue. Unlike paid search ads that target people in their buying cycle, Facebook ads target people who are still in discovery mode. However, Facebook ads have such extensive targeting they put other ad networks to shame.
Instead of buying ads through Google or other ad networks, you can buy traffic directly from websites that offer them. Search for relevant websites in your niche that have high traffic, then check their website for advertising opportunities. Approach them directly or check for something like “advertise with us” on their pages.
Youtube is a great place for video ads and it doesn’t cost as much as Google Adwords. If you make a skip-able Youtube ad that appears before video plays, it’s free as long the viewer skips before 30 seconds is up. If you have quality video that has the potential to go viral, advertising on Youtube can boost it significantly to get more eyeballs and also increase your channel’s subscribers.
Mobile ads appear specifically on mobile devices and smartphones. This ad can appear in SMSes, mobile video, mobile web banners, mobile applications, etc. It is huge market and although it has its challenges, it is growing at a rapid pace.
This type of ad are placed inside the hyperlinks of webpage content. Advertisers bid on the terms they want and if a webpage with in-text ads has similar terms it, visitors can hover over the hyperlink and an ad window will show up.
This ad shows up in images itself. Based on the info of the image and its surrounding content, relevant ads show up to viewers. Just like In-Text Ads, viewers need to hover over the image in order to see ads while clicking on it will direct customers to another page.
This is a relatively new advertising opportunity. At the moment, Pinterest ads is limited to people in US and has yet to reveal the exact date of international availability. Pinterest is a great place to target the women audience and if you’re selling fashion products, this is something you should look into when it’s available to you.
Twitter ads are similar to Facebook ads, from bidding to targeting of your ads.
Shopping Comparison Ads
Shopping comparison websites have existed long before Google Shopping. These sites allow you to search for a specific product while it churns out the best prices from different sources. Advertising here is a good opportunity to target visitors with buyer intent.
Pay Per View ads are ads that pop up/pop under when you visit a certain website or search for something specific. Most PPV ad networks like Trafficvance get their traffic from people who have installed their software. PPV can cost very little for a single action depending on the target but some people might find these ads annoying.
Solo ads allow you to advertise on other people’s mailing list. Mailing lists are usually targeted towards a specific niche/theme so the key is to choose to right mailing list to promote your stuff.
Major marketplaces like Etsy, eBay and Amazon have an advertising platform that you can use to promote you products. Lots of buyer intent on these websites but prices can be quite steep.
Build an affiliate system on your website to attract affiliates to help sell your products. Once an affiliate is assigned a dedicated referral link, they can use this link to promote your products anywhere online. When people click on that link, they are referred back to your website and if they end up buying something, the affiliate link credits the affiliate. This means when someone purchases something through their referral link, they get a referral fee or commission for the sale. This can be a quick way to kick start your online sales and encourage promotion of your products and website by other marketers.
Affiliate marketing is an industry by itself. Many big corporations market their products through third party affiliate marketing networks like Sharesale.com or CPA networks.
Simply put, this type of online advertising tries to recover visitors who have abandoned your website. Why did they leave without purchasing? It’s impossible to convert every visitor on their first visit because they may not have buying intent yet, especially for people who are still researching the right product. This is done by targetting the cookie that your website has left in their browser. Once they have left the website, you can use retargeting to show ads to people who are already familiar with your brand or website.
Treat your online business like a brick and mortar and apply common offline marketing strategies to it.
- Name cards – Put your website link on your business card, give it to friends and new acquaintances.
- Freebies – Give a pen to a potential client with your company website link on it.
- Print Media Ads – Advertise on newspapers, magazine and other print media.
- Word of Mouth – Tell your friends and families how good your products are so they can refer more people to your website.
- Notice Board – Put up an ad on a public notice board. Eg. If you’re offering online tuition services, target your ad on a school notice board.
These methods require programming skills, you can outsource it to a freelancer. Basically, by offering people a useful and unique tool, they will likely re-visit your website again.
Mobile apps are on fire right now. People download anything and everything on their mobile device.
The idea is to create a useful mobile app that is related to your product and service, free to download but includes your product ads whenever they use it. Eg. You’re in the health and fitness niche and you sell fitness equipment. Create an app that schedules fitness routines with your product and show your ads there so they can purchase the required fitness equipment from your website.
Create A Useful Tool On Your Website
Just like a mobile app, you can make a useful tool available only on your website. Eg. Make a weight watching tool for people to track their weight loss progress available free on your website. This will attract recurring traffic and also social sharing for people who like it.
How To Check If A Traffic Source Is Working Or Not?
Whether a traffic source ( except for offline methods which is hard to track) is helping with sales or not depends on the data you get from analytical tools like Google Analytics. Once configured on your website, you will see:
- where traffic is coming from
- traffic source of each conversion
- which search keyword converted
Your website’s analytical data is a goldmine and can create new opportunities. Sometimes you may discover new traffic sources which converted, so investigate further to find new pastures.
The ways to improve to your website traffic are unlimited. However, everyone has limited time and resources, which means we can’t put every method into motion. Therefore, it is best to stick to methods that would bring the most traffic initially. Search engine (SEO), social media and paid ads are arguably the most important ones to start with. Once your site is gaining traction, then it’s time to try more traffic generation methods.