I put in hours writing this post, so it’s quite long at almost 3,000 words. Grab your beverage of choice, sit down, and be prepared to soak up my traffic generation strategies.
If you don’t have enough traffic, your website will die. Traffic is the nutrition of your website, but there’s more to it than just getting people to check out your stuff.
If your website’s digestion is messed up, it won’t retain any nutrients, and it will still die a horrible, slow death. I’ve been reading a lot of health-related stuff lately, can you tell?
What I’m trying to say is that you can get all the traffic in the world, but if you can’t convert that traffic to subscribers, followers, or happy readers, then you may not get to where you want to be.
Increasing traffic, getting more subscribers and fans is not solely about using strategies and “tricks” to get people to check out your site.
It’s about taking action, facing your fears, and using what you have in front of you, instead of searching for the infamous magic bullet.
Struggling, Trying, And Spinning Your Wheels
I see many bloggers and website owners that have been doing this for years, yet they aren’t seeing the traffic they should.
I was guilty of this myself for the first few years of my online journey. I had trouble with getting enough traffic, because I had completely butchered the research part of it all.
But if you’re not getting enough traffic, you most likely aren’t promoting your website enough (or your content isn’t up to par).
You don’t have to waste time. If you know what you’re doing, you can start getting traffic right away, and that’s exactly what we’ll be going through in this article.
The Big Picture
Look at the big picture as a puzzle. It’s hard to start, but you usually have an inkling (hint: start with the corner pieces). The more experience you gain, the more pieces you figure out.
When you’re starting out, you may be confused, uncertain, and even scared. And that’s cool. The below strategies are simple, and you’ve probably heard, seen, or read them before, and you’ve probably seen people use them successfully.
If a magic bullet exists, it is applying the knowledge you already have, or are about to learn 😉
Expect mistakes, and expect to learn from them. Take massive action. One day at a time. One step at a time.
11 Simple Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Website
Strategies, strategies, strategies… There are oodles of them on the web. If you do a Google search, you’ll find more than your brain can handle, so the problem is not a lack of strategies, but the lack of taking action.
The below strategies will do you no good if you don’t apply them. Pick one that resonates with you and start implementing.
I used commenting for the first weeks of Wake Up Cloud’s existence. I quickly realized that I could get many times the results with guest posting, so I did nothing else, and that is what took me from 0 to 1,012 blog subscribers in 101 days.
Pick one traffic strategy that resonates with you, focus on it, and go hardcore, then come back and pick another one, if you feel like it. Sooner or later, you will find something that works and something that resonates with you, just like I did with guest posting.
Notice I did not say something that you like or love, because many may misinterpret those words to mean that it should be effortless. Guest posting can be a step into unknown territory, but it is a powerful tool that’s worth facing your fears over.
1. Content. Like I said above, increasing traffic to your website does not matter if you don’t have content that keeps people around. I will go into more detail on what great content is below, but if you remember nothing else, remember this: solve problems, help people, inspire them, make them laugh, or a mix of the above.
2. Commenting. Leaving thoughtful comments on blogs can bring traffic, especially if you target high-traffic blogs, and are among the first to comment. It is also a good way to connect with bloggers. Every blogger reads their comments, except for maybe those that get hundreds of comments in each post, but I have a feeling they’re at least glancing at them. Commenting is effective in the early stages of your blog, but as you evolve, so should you traffic generation strategies.
3. Article Marketing. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’m a big fan of article marketing. To get started right away, create an account over at EzineArticles, and start submitting articles on your topic, with links back to your site. You can use this to drive traffic to your email sign-up page, build links to your blog posts, or send traffic to a review of an affiliate product. The possibilities are endless, and the best part of article marketing is the simplicity of it.
4. Guest Blogging. If I had to pick one way to increase traffic to my website, I would choose guest blogging faster than you can say “make money online”. Guest blogging can dramatically increase your traffic, if you face your fears and actually get your ass off your brain. It’s as simple as finding a blog you like, emailing the owner, getting the green light, and writing the article.
5. Forum Posting. Your niche may or may not have a high-traffic forum, but if it does, it’s a great way to get your name out there. Your mission should be to be helpful. You never even have to mention your website in your posts. Simply leave a link back to your website in your signature, which most forums allow. For finding forums, Google is your friend. Type in “your niche + forum”. Make sure the forum has a lot of members and activity; otherwise it may not be worth your time.
6. Social Media. Focus on Twitter and/or Facebook. That’s where the people are, so that’s where you should be. There are other alternatives, but I don’t use them. Keep it simple. Think of social media as the place for small talk, and getting to know people. It’s a great way to increase your traffic, but you have to be producing great, shareable content for it to work.
7. Relationships. Building solid relationships is the next step from platforms like Twitter and Facebook. This is not about getting to know someone so you can use them, but you already know that, right? Use Twitter and Facebook to find people you’re genuinely interested in, chat them up, and if appropriate, start talking to them via email, or even via Skype or phone. It all comes down to this: make friends, be cool, and have fun.
8. Collaborate. Collaborating with others could mean emailing them and asking a question, then compiling the answers in a post, like I did in my post about the benefits of minimalism. If you’re into knitting (I know. I know. I’m a big fan of knitting examples. I can’t help myself), you can get the top 10 knitting experts to contribute something. They will appreciate the exposure, your readers will love it, and you will look awesome.
9. Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Getting traffic from the search engines usually takes longer than the above strategies, but it’s a long-term strategy that works like new year’s rockets. It takes just a little bit of extra work, but it’s worth it. There’s so much to be said about SEO, and I’m going to write more about it in the future.
10. Links. Believe it or not, if you link to other bloggers, they will notice and appreciate it. Tammy is awesome at this. A few well-placed links in your articles can enhance the article you’re writing, because you will be giving people additional resources they can go check out. At the same time you will have people notice what you’re doing. I don’t really see this as a strategy, but more as a reminder. It’s easy to forget to throw in links, but it can make a dramatic difference in your article (and traffic).
11. Interviews. Ah, interviews. I love them. When you interview someone, you give them a chance to gain exposure, while at the same time providing value to your readers. It’s one of those win-win-win situations. You may not get the most famous to do interviews with you, but never give up. Never underestimate the power of creativity. There are always ways to do things. Think big, and if you’re a blogger, check out BlogCastFM.
How to Increase Website Traffic: Real Life Examples
It’s always helpful to see what other people have to say, so I went out and asked a few people what their #1 traffic tip is. Below are the answers, with a few words from me under each tip.
My best tip for getting traffic would have to be doing collaborative posts.
Gather the answers of a lot of other highly successful entrepreneurs and combine their answers into one post.
I’ve done it myself. Less than I would’ve wanted to, but I’m doing it right here. It’s very simple: send out a concise e-mail with a good question and you’d be surprised at how many great answers you get.
Mars Dorian from MarsDorian.com
Write what you obsessively love and make it as valuable as possible. Take something that interests you massively, and find a way to make it valuable.
For example: If you love Japanese animation, you could write: How Japanese animation helps me be a successful blogger.
You combine your passion (Japanese animation) with something people are interested in (blogging).
Your passion + their interest = massive traffic
This is awesome, and I completely agree with it. What I take it to be is this: take your personality, and inject it into your posts. It doesn’t matter if you’re into fly fishing or panda searching, it’s all good, and it can all be applied to your topic.
Chris Guillebeau from ChrisGuillebeau.com
I don’t focus on getting traffic; I focus entirely on getting subscribers. The two are naturally related, but the distinction is important: if I focused on traffic, I’d work to produce traffic spikes, articles that were Digg-friendly, SEO, etc.
But instead I work to produce content that is evergreen (I call it “legacy content”) and that my readers will likely share with others.
In short, if you can produce something of value that a community will pass along, building the community further is rarely a problem.
Yes! It’s easy to focus on just traffic, but when you think about it, increasing traffic to your website or blog doesn’t mean anything if you don’t do something with it.
So don’t just focus on getting people to your site, also focus on getting them to hang out, to spread your content, and to learn.
Corbett Barr from Fizzle.co
Write things that matter to people.
If your content isn’t important, or helpful or entertaining, no tactics for getting more traffic or visitors can help you enough.
If you want a popular website or blog, and if you want to increase traffic, visitors, and subscribers, you need to write about what people want.
Helpful, entertaining, or important, it all depends on your strengths. If you’re not an entertaining by nature, don’t try to force it. Be who you are.
Write great stuff that solves people’s problems, or speaks to their aspirations. Then use techniques like SEO, social media, and newsletters to get people to read it… which will naturally lead them to spread it for you, assuming it’s good stuff! 😉
Are you starting to see a pattern in what everyone’s saying? It can feel a bit abstract at first to hear “write great stuff, and the gods shall reward you” so let’s dive into more practical details of what great content actually means.
The Three Keys to Writing Great Content
Everyone tells you that you should write great stuff. That’s cool advice if you know what you’re doing already, but if you’re just putting on your running shoes, it really doesn’t mean anything.
It’s almost like saying “eat healthy” to someone who wants to lose weight, so let’s get down to specifics, and get some practicality flowing, shall we?
1. Educate. Anyone can educate their readers. Yes, that means you, too. Listen to your audience, solve their problems, help them overcome obstacles, or show them how something is done. I wrote this article to educate you on how to increase traffic and subscribers, but I always like to throw in some inspiration, because that’s the way I roll. What your personal recipe is, only you know.
2. Entertain. Being funny usually doesn’t pay the bills. Johnny B Truant used to run a comedy blog, but he realized that monetizing it was harder than Frodo’s journey to Mordor. The good part is that he didn’t keep going. He created another site where he helped people with tech stuff, and a while later he combined the two and is now entertaining and educating his people.
3. Encourage. This really means inspire, but I wanted to get a third E in the list, so I called it encourage instead. Everyone can write inspirational posts, because we’ve all gone through tough times, and we’ve all learned something from those times. You don’t have to be a Pulitzer prize winner, nor do you have to be an essay-writing superstar. Write from your heart, do your best, and you’re good to go.
5 Things You Probably Shouldn’t Do
Okay, so you’ve got stuff on your to-do list. Now we need some stuff on your not-to-do list. Did you know that we (humans) learn better if we’re told not to do? Apparently it’s true.
Here are a few mistakes you should avoid:
1. Content Tunnel Vision. Do you feel like you’re producing so much content for your website that you don’t have time to promote it? How’s your traffic looking? Are you subscribers going up or standing still? How about if you stopped writing so much content for your own blog, and started promoting it? If you’ve been doing this for a year or two, and you’re not getting results, something needs to change.
2. False Action. Do you feel like nothing works? You’ve tried guest posting, commenting, and article marketing, but the results just aren’t there? If so, I have a feeling that you either haven’t done them correctly, or you haven’t put in enough time to see any results. If you’re going to increase the traffic to your website or blog, you have to work hard, and be consistent. You don’t deserve results, you earn them.
3. Give Up. Creating something valuable online doesn’t happen overnight. It took me a few years and $8,000 to finally understand what was going on. Something about creating something online makes it all feel like it should happen so fast, but in most cases it doesn’t. Set your expectations straight, prepare to work hard, and get ready for a fun ride ahead. That is, of course, if you’re following your passion, which you are, right?
4. Lose Focus. It’s easy to lose focus when your thinking about increasing traffic and subscribers, which is why you have to remind yourself why you’re doing this in the first place. I’m doing this to contribute something to the world. As cliché as that sounds, I want to make a difference and help people. Whatever your reason is, make it something other than making money. Making money online is cool, but if it is your #1 priority, it may end up destroying your soul.
5. Be Selfish. Creating great content, writing for others, connecting with people, and all those things work best if you are unselfish. This means giving before asking. I’m not saying you have to go all Dalai Lama and give away your stuff. I’m saying to be cool to people. Think about how you are with your friends. Do you constantly bombard them with affiliate offers? I sure hope not.
Wrapping It Up
We’ve talked about how important it is to embrace failure, uncertainty, and fear, because the whole picture does not become clear when you’re starting out. Hell, it probably never will get crystal clear, but that’s life.
We then went through the fact that if you aren’t getting the results you want, you should get someone to give you feedback, because the odds are that you are doing something wrong, or not enough of something else.
After that we covered the 11 traffic generation strategies, which is plenty for you to start taking action on. If you’re completely new, I recommend you start with commenting, move on to some article marketing, and then guest posting. Those are my favorites.
Then we dipped our toes in the brilliant brains of Rob, Mars, Chris, Corbett, and Nathalie. It’s always nice to get that extra boost of confirmation that this stuff really works. Most of them talked about creating great content, so we covered that as well (remember the three E’s of great content?)
Lastly, I told you what not to do. That leaves one question: what are you going to do next? Don’t just soak this information up and move on to another blog post, write down how you are going to use it, and take action.
This is a huge article, so I recommend you bookmark it for further reading, and if you enjoyed it, I’m sure you’ll friends will too, which is why I would really appreciate if you shared this post on Twitter and Facebook.
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Ingrid Palmer says
Good stuff as usual. Getting traffic does require work, but once you have found something that works it can be great.
Definitely. Once you find your favorite 2-3 strategies, you’re set.
Hey Henri, I just want to expand on one of the points: Links
Not only is it good to spread the love, but linking out to relevant content from your posts is a great part of any SEO strategy, Google loves to see you linking out to other resources. I did a case study on it, and with only a handful of backlinks, I was able to make huge gains in both SERP’s and PR by linking out often….
That’s fascinating. I know linking out is good, but I never knew it had that kind of power. I’ll definitely keep it in mind. When you said you made gains in the SERP’s (search engine results) and PR (pagerank), do you mean for your homepage, for the articles you linked out from, or both?
It was for both, I actually got higher PR on some internal pages than my home page (as high as PR4 for a few), but overall, linking out is good, don’t make your site a dead end, remember Google wants the best user experience, and your site can’t possibly be the end of the line for information on your topic….
rob white says
This is a great resource, Henri. In any endeavor it is very important to pick a direction that works for YOU and stick with it. There are many choices… it is wise to take a bold step in one direction. Life only pays off on our terms when we let it know, in no uncertain terms, what we intend.
Couldn’t agree more with you there, Rob! It’s all too easy to stand at the crossroads contemplating which path to take, only to end up nowhere.
Great post Henri. I could tell you put a lot of work into it. And look I am already applying one of your tips, blog commenting ;). Anyways I have tried doing what Rob did where he gets the response from some people in your niche but havent had much success with it.
Any tips to get a better response like for example how do the people who response to your question know about the post. How do you tell them without it coming off like you are trying to spam them
I personally don’t tell people about the post. I just figure that if they want to spread it, they will spread it.
That said, I know there are certainly people who are more active than I am, and usually sending off a friendly, short, to-the-point e-mail is enough to let people know. If they don’t want to spread it, they won’t.
Thanks Henri! I’ll be referring back to this post often. I’ve been blogging off and on for a year but haven’t taken it too seriously until a few months ago. I’m getting more traffic but not as fast as I’d like. Hopefully this helps.
Small steps, steady progress!
Great list of info! Really helpful with my fledgling film and photography business. I have been seeing good growth via SEO.
That’s awesome! Remember, you can use guest posting and article marketing, for example, to increase traffic, while at the same time using proper anchor text to improve your search engine rankings.
Wow, truly epic post Henri! It’s nice too, to have a concise list of blog traffic strategies. I’ve learned most of them on accident but it serves as a handy reminder. I’ve just made a few notes to myself to follow-up on some of them. On an related note, want to do an interview? 🙂
You mention guest posting as a great strategy. I am just wondering, how do you approach bloggers to do a guest post? Do you write something generic first and then try several people, or do you focus on something directly related to one person’s blog…or do you ask them first what they need if they say yes. It’s always been a bit of a mystery to me.
That tip from Rob Rammuny is gold. It’s clear that he’s going to continue to be a real success at blogging. He’s also inspired me to re-design my blog (his design is so nice on the eyes).
Thanks for this post Henri. Awesome, as usual. (Oh, and I loved the crowd pic at the top)
My guest posting strategy is very simple: find a blog I like, read it, send an email with three headlines as suggestions, and get to work.
Of course, you can improve on this by getting to know the blogger better, reading their blog, commenting, and all that stuff. It’s up to you.
Shoot me an email and let’s do an interview!
Great post Henri, thank you. I am a freelance writer working for internet and network marketers. I’m also a blogger and creative writer. I love the way you approach and combine both “schools” of thought here on your site. I’ve been starting to apply some of these principles to my site and am in the process of re-focusing the biz due in no small part to your advice.
I’ll keep you posted on my many upcoming wins 😀
That’s awesome to hear, Jenny! I’ll definitely keep an eye out for your victories 😉
Great post, Henri,
The more I read about blog traffic from those, like yourself, who actually have traffic, the more I’m thinking that chasing all the “tips” is pointless. “You don’t deserve results, you earn them.”
The more I do this (blog), the more I’m convinced that my strategy is going to be simple: Focus first on good content, second on guest posting, third on comments. If I really did all those well, perhaps consider SEO, but since much of what SEO is all about I already do naturally, I’ll rather stop wasting extra time with it.
I think my past strategy was SEO first (because there are so many tips to help you be lazy), comments (because wasting time online is so much more fun than producing content), content (because it would be embarrassing if someone found nothing on your site), and guest posting (one day…because I’m to busy with important SEO).
I like the way that you announced that it was a big post at the start. I wasted and left it to read last, closed all my other tabs, and got some coffee. If you hadn’t, I probably would have read half way, scanned down to the bottom, and probably not commented.
I, personally, have found that the less moving pieces in my strategy, the better I do, because I can focus. Good content and guest posting will take you a very long way.
I know SEO really well, but I didn’t start using it until after 6 months on this blog. I didn’t want to overwhelm myself, and I was okay with saying no, a lot.
Thanks for sharing the kool-aid, Vernon! 😉
Thank you for the massive post – I really appreciate these kinds of posts. The ‘wisdom’ on the web says keep it short, but I think perhaps only 1 % read these kinds of posts, but they also bookmark them, re-read them, link to them, ponder them…
Great stuff here! I agree too that guest posting is a powerful way to really build things up and like you said about what not to do, if you’re doing things for a period of time and not seeing the results you’d like, something has to change.
Right on, Eric!
Sandra Lee says
Perfect title for what is truly an awesome, definitive guide. Thank you. Do you find that you need to guest posts only on larger blogs to get decent traffic for the effort. If so, what size do you recommend? I haven’t found guest posting on smaller blogs very fruitful.
This completely depends. Sometimes big blogs send you less traffic than the blogs in the middle. I recommend you ask bloggers where the best guest posting opportunities are and go from there.
I also wouldn’t be afraid of guest posting on the smaller blogs, because it still gives you practice, exposure, and links!
Kenny Eller says
Thanks for taking the time and energy to put something like this together. I will re-read and re-read this one over the coming months 🙂
Good stuff. More articles like this coming up!
You may want to read this post.
yes that’s true, these are the basics for getting traffic and are the most powerful methods
Adam Mayfield says
Great tips! Just starting my second blog about another passion of mine and triffic is slow. I have to keep remindingg myself its not even a month old. I use most of your tips and I agree 100%. I’m going to have to give a few of them a try. Like the fourm. That’s great!
Justin Guzman says
Now to print this off and get to work generating traffic. Super post Henri thank you for the content you give out for FREE! I also heard that to keep traffic something as simple as posting a pic of yourself on your blog would keep people coming back as they want to connect with a human. Interesting thought but do any of you keep reading blogs that doesnt have a pic of the author?
Yeah, reading blogs where the author hides doesn’t really ooze confidence to me, and doesn’t make me want to stick around for long.
Mikko Kemppe says
Great post Henri! This was exactly what I needed to read at this time. I have been struggling with being able to generate some traffic. This was inspiring to read and reminded me to continue taking action! Thanks!
Why did you choose EzineArticles versus ArticlesBase or articlesalley? I have looked at google rankings and was choosing to write travel related articles based on the highest google ranking of the travel section of these three article marketing outfits. Am I off base? Is Ezine the best in your experience?
From my experience and testing, EzineArticles is by far the best, in my opinion, and according the the numbers. You may want to submit to the top 5 if you have time, but I like to stick to EzineArticles and leave it at that 😉
Archan Mehta says
Thanks so much for this informative post, Henri, you are right on the money.
You also asked for opinions from the experts, which is a good marketing strategy.
You have been writing some great posts from day one and it is a pleasure to read your blog.
The content you provide adds value to our work-lives. Keep up the good work. Cheers.