I remember the day I started working on my first website. I did everything the ‘experts’ told me to do. From indexing my site with using XML sitemaps, getting a social media presence, targeting keywords using SEO and even registering my site to several online directories.
Then I rubbed my hands together and waited for the barrage of traffic.
I waited and waited.
Then I waited some more.
Nobody ever came. Does this sound familiar?
I would look at my Google Analytics daily only to find 0 people visiting my site. Well there was 1 – me. I jumped on Google and looked for solid advice on how to drive traffic but everything was either too generic or didn’t really give me any real value.
I plan for this article to be the exact opposite. No bull****, no lies, no crap. Just solid advice and tips you will be able use immediately.
To drive targeted traffic to your site you need to be prepared to do either of the following:
- Allocate time
- Spend money or;
- Put in effort
If you’re not able to do any of the things I have mentioned, this article is not for you.
If you can commit to at least one of the three, brew yourself a coffee, this is going to be a long one.
Search Engine Optimization
I am not going to tell you the tricks to SEO in this article, as I have already mentioned that in my SEO guide.
The majority of my traffic comes from SEO. For me personally it’s the most reliable form of constant traffic that requires no effort once gained. Marketers may say that you shouldn’t rely on SEO as Google is always changing their algorithm, and it only takes one update to bring your site to a crushing halt.
This is only true if you use black-hat techniques or your website has too much thin content. In either of these cases you were never really serious about setting up a great website that would bring in long-term income.
Keywords To Drive Traffic
Start by finding as many keywords that are relevant to your niche and create content around each one. Write good content, no wait, write incredible content and make it long.
How long? Well the majority of my posts that rank on the first page of Google are all between 1,000-1,500 words and contain high quality images and YouTube videos.
I operate in a micro-niche and learned that I can get away with writing content around the 1,000 – 1,500 mark. You may not be so lucky. Sports niches or websites based around electronics will be highly competitive and you will most likely be required to write 2,000 words if not more.
Search the keyword you’re targeting on Google, measure the amount of words for content that rakes 1# and 2# for that keyword and ensure your copy surpasses it by 10-20%.
A study undertaken by Social Sprout showed that longer content ranked better in search engines.
300 to 500 word copies are not going to cut it in 2015.
When You Shouldn’t Use SEO
If you’re creating a website that’s only going to have a few pages, is not going to be updated regularly or have no long-term plans for, I wouldn’t focus too heavily on SEO.
SEO takes months and sometimes even years before it pays off. Online marketers who are not in for the long haul should skip this method.
SEO should be combined with long-term goals, not short-term.
How You Should Be Using Forums
I love forums.
Forums were what got me into the online marketing industry and they are a great way to bring free traffic to your site. They are extremely underutilized and the advice most articles give is pretty laughable.
I am not going to tell you to find forums in your niche and get posting there because you already know that, nor am I going to tell you to have a URL in your signature.
Oh wait I just did.
Forum Hacks: How To Exploit Forums That Are Not In Your Niche
I run a niche travel site for young guys coming to Asia. What use would it be for me to post on a popular bodybuilding forum right? They are only interested in lifting weights and getting big? Wrong.
Almost every forum has an off-topic or miscellaneous section, especially forums with a large user base. Bodybuilding.com has 9.7 million members.
Everything from relationships, sports, religion and electronics, there are so many ways for you to use forums to spread the word about your site. I took the screenshot at 5:03pm and you can see that there has been a post made within 1 hour of taking the screenshot for each sub-section.
This is an untapped way to drive targeted traffic to your site!
Example # 1
I know the knowledge I have about my niche is very valuable and I am smart enough to know that others will find it extremely interesting. This is not the case for every niche, but for a lot of them it will be true.
So what did I do?
I made a new thread in the misc section of bodybuilding.com. This is what happened:
I basically used the thread as a lead magnet for my website. I formatted the first post with high-quality pictures, text that would get people to reply and of course a link to my website.
As you can see the thread has made it to 37 pages, 1,089 comments and has over 79,000 views.
Not all of the people who visited were my target demographic but that thread became quite iconic with hundreds of people bookmarking my site to read on a regular basis. In fact when people were coming over to Asia from the forum, I met a few people from that site who said they had been following my thread and site for months.
I even made a few real life friends.
This forum is huge and they have sub-sections outside bodybuilding that you need to take advantage of.
I managed to get 241 sessions in the last month from a single thread. I have only made 1 update in the past 3 months too.
Example # 2
I used to play online poker at a professional level years ago so I knew the largest online poker forum had a travel section. I used to post on a regular basis in there and got a ton referrals back to my site.
The poker forum I used is a lot smaller than bodybuilding.com in terms of active users but they still have a lot of traffic and it’s more targeted for me as they have a dedicated travel section.
How To Use Forums Correctly
Sure you can put links in your signature and get 10-15 clicks per month but what is that really going to achieve? For that method to be effective you need to be a regular poster and you may not have the time to do so.
Hiring somebody to post on your behalf is always a viable option if you have the money. If you go down this route you want to focus on forums that are extremely targeted to your market to get the best ROI.
Un-targeted traffic isn’t worth a cent.
Here’s a list of the world’s largest Internet forums. Your aim is to provide either value, information or entertainment if you want to get visitors on your site. Create a provoking blog post and share the link on forums along with some crazy pictures that compel people to post comments.
Each new post bumps your thread to page 1 increasing views and traffic.
Make 20-50 posts on a forum first providing tons of value then start a thread to promote your website in a passive aggressive way. If you create a thread for your first post users will know exactly what you’re doing and call you out.Internet forums are full of savages - you need to be smart when promoting Click To Tweet
Don’t start spamming straight away either else you will get banned. Some forums will even block the URL of your site too. I found out this lesson the hard way.
Facebook and Twitter are two legit ways to get a constant stream of traffic if you know how to use them. For budget conscious marketers you can organically build a Facebook Fan Page and a Twitter account, but I ain’t got time for that.
Building a following organically on either is pretty easy to do but it takes a lot of time and effort, especially if you want a targeted following (which should be the only type of following you ever want).
There are ways to bypass this and quickly get thousands of targeted followers in less than a few days.
How To Get Constant Traffic From Facebook And Twitter In 3 Easy Steps
Step 1: Create an account – Create a Facebook and Twitter account. Kit it out properly, have links going back to your website, brand it right and all that jazz.
Step 2: Run a paid ad – Both Facebook and Twitter allow you to run campaigns that specifically focus on getting your page likes or followers. On both platforms you can select your target demographic to ensure only relevant people see and follow your account.
Depending on your budget and how well you created your ads will depend on how many followers you gain. It’s not uncommon to get several hundred likes in less than a week for under $50 if you run the right ads.
This was a paid ad on Facebook that received 8,516 views and 248 likes, 6 comments and 1 share for under $2.
Pro-tip: Test several ads to see which copies yield the greatest ROI. Another option is do a product giveaway or award a prize, to enter they must like your page or follow your Twitter account.
Step 3: Post – Now you should have attained a nice following on both social media accounts. From here on end you just need to post regular social media updates linking back to your site to drive traffic.
Note: In January 2015, Facebook changed their algorithm and many online businesses are not getting the organic reach they once did. Most pages now receive less than 2% organic reach.
Let’s do the math, if a Facebook Page has 10,000 followers that’s 200 people who will see an update.
Is Facebook Dead?
Facebook is the world’s largest website with over 800 million active users. If you’re prepared to pay to promote posts and special offers then it’s worth your time.
Facebook Ads are relatively inexpensive for those who know what they are doing. For those who don’t you should take a look at BuildPath’s Facebook Ads Essential guide.
Whether you decide to opt for a Facebook Page or not you should be making use of Facebook Groups. There are groups on Facebook for just about everything, from selling clothes in your local area to groups on how to best train your dog.
These groups are an absolute goldmine. I am a member of several Facebook Groups and each time I create a new blog post I feed them through the groups.
Much like forums some Facebook Groups will have specific rules and spamming and self-promoting is not allowed or must be kept to a minimum. In these types of groups you should aim to add value by commenting on peoples’ questions and now and again sticking a link back to your website as a source.
This is another untapped goldmine as some groups have in the excess of 25,000 members or more – all targeted!
Start an Email List
I am ashamed to say this but for the first year and a half I never even had an opt-in widget on my website. Yes even I was a newbie once.
Email lists take a while to build but they come with many benefits. Lists can be monetized later on, you build a loyal reader base who will regularly leave comments and interact with your content, and you can blast out your latest articles to remind your followers of any updates.
Online marketers who leverage their blog as a way to capture leads should try this: source hundreds of email addresses of your ideal prospect and send a friendly email mentioning how useful your blog is to their needs and that they can sign up to receive free regular updates.
This method only works when you’re offering products or services to businesses, as you can visit their website to retrieve contact information. Much harder with individuals.
Reaching Out The Right Way
This is a pretty difficult thing to master as it’s hard to reach out to another website, even more so when they are competing in the same niche. The method I am about to show you is so obvious yet overlooked by most.
Instead of reaching out to people in your niche, you should reach out to anyone you can relate too. For example, let’s assume I run a weight-loss blog that is aimed at moms who want to lose weight. I think it would be a great idea to reach out to a women’s fashion blog.
I know this sounds a little far fetched but here me out.
I would search for popular fashion sites and look for an article that discusses how wonderful a dress is. I would pick a dress that received the most comments and shares.
Then I would create an article about how great the dress is and how moms can fit into that dress in 6 weeks. This article could be anything from a 6-week diet plan for moms, to a workout routine that they can do each morning at home.
As long as I am referring to the dress it doesn’t matter what I offer as long as it has value. Finally I would reach out to the fashion site making them aware of my article that can help their audience tremendously.
This is a win-win situation.
I win because I get targeted traffic to my site for free and the fashion blog wins because they are giving their followers useful information. We essentially have similar target demographics but since our products are so different, we are not in direct competition.
A mother would visit my site and purchase the supplements suggested for her new diet plan via my affiliate links. 6 weeks later she has lost 15lbs and can now look sexy in that dress and buys it from the fashion site.
Reaching out not only helps you receive traffic for free but also increases your website’s SEO performance. The more back-links you get the better your site will rank.
Write Less – Promote More
Internet marketers tend to focus too much on writing and not enough on promoting. There are several sites out there that have awesome content but fail to gain the attention they deserve.
Because they fail to promote content.
This especially applies to new websites. My tips of using forums and social media is essentially promoting, just in a passive aggressive way. Promoting is curial to get the ball rolling, once you attain a reader base then you can cut down on the promoting and focus more on writing.
Have you created sites in the past that did poorly or failed, if so how much did you promote them?
Should I Pay To Get Traffic?
That depends on your goal and budget.
Paid traffic gives you viewers instantly and will keep giving them to you until you stop spending money.
SEO, natural back-links, content sharing and all other free methods offer you an amazing ROI but they usually take months before you see a noticeable increase in website traffic.
Social media is a great example of this. Building a Facebook or Twitter account with a targeted following naturally takes months and a involves a lot of working hours. Creating ads and paying for page likes and followers is a shortcut that can save you a few months of hard work, but costs you money.
Smart marketers will use both
To be a success online you have to use every tool available, even if that means paying for website traffic. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money, don’t be the online marketer who is looking to cut costs at every corner and doesn’t spend a cent, this will only increase your likelihood of failure.Paying for traffic should be viewed as an investment . Click To Tweet
Start with a few paid traffic methods such as social media ads and the Google Display Network, but do still concentrate on free mediums too. As your website beings to pick up in visitors you can slowly cut down on paid mediums and focus more on the free methods.
Hundreds of people everyday are building websites to make money, yet over 90% of them can’t get even get going and give up after a few months.
Why do they give up? Because they don’t realize that SEO is a long-term strategy and fail to understand without promoting content they will keep on going unnoticed.
Follow all the tips I mentioned above and you will get targeted traffic. When driving traffic to any website one shouldn’t worry about the number of people who visit, but rather who they are.
If you’re selling women’s clothes but the majority of your traffic are men, what’s the point? Not only are you wasting time but if you’re paying for that traffic you’re setting money on fire.
Facebook and Twitter ads allow you target your market whereas with forums you need to do your own due diligence and find the right sub-sections.
This was my no bull**** approach to gaining targeted traffic.
What do you think? Leave a comment below letting me know how you got on with my tips and if any worked for you, or if you have better ones.