Have you ever hear that phrase, “It’s easier sell gold than it is to sell shit"? No website starts out as minted gold right off the bat, so make sure you’re not trying to peddle, well…you know. In the beginning, a lot of websites try to create useful content on their blog for their audience but end up churning out all the same 500-1,000-word articles offering the 10 quick steps to achieving xyz. Not only is there no shortage of that content, it’s the last thing that’s going to make you stand out from the crowd and make a lasting impression.
If you go for depth in your content, instead of breadth, promotion will become so much easier. Look at what everyone in your arena is providing – show up to the 500-word advice post party with a 5,000-word step-by-step guide post that actually helps people, and your readers will notice. You’ll not only have a much greater chance of selling people on the quality of your content, it’ll be more likely to go viral and Google will rank it higher in the organic search because it’ll be longer and more in-depth.
Nail Your On-Page SEO.
Learning best practices of using target keywords and phrases should be your top priority. Not only should you be using your target keyword in the headline, throughout the article, and in your image file names, there are a lot of other best practices to get familiar with, like making your URL SEO-friendly and using keyword synonyms. There’s a lot to learn.
If you want some help – because wow that can seem overwhelming at first – consider installing a plugin like Yoast SEO if you’re using WordPress. Yoast is a tool that guides you through the steps of optimizing your page with a wizard that tests your page and asks you questions about your keyword.
Optimize Your Content for Long-Tail Keywords.
If your site already has a high domain authority (DA), you don’t have to worry about this step. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, domain authority is a search engine ranking score that ranges from 1 to 100, and it predicts how well the site will rank in result pages -- it’s based on age, popularity, and size. Your brand-new blog will have a ranking around 1 (sorry), while Facebook has a ranking of 99. As you get bigger and better, your DA score will get higher.
Because your site likely has a really low score, you’ll want to start targeting relevant keywords and phrases – but don’t go for the big shit like “business ideas" because you’ll never get anywhere. Instead, aim for long-tail keyword phrases, like “best side business ideas" – fun fact: that’s a real example of a long-tail keyword I use for my blog.
Start Building an Email List. Like, Yesterday
You are not going to get very far if you don’t know who your readers are and you’re not making an effort to communicate with them on a more personal level. Setting up a sign-up in your posts and on your site for a newsletter is one of the most powerful ways to keep your readers excited about the work you’re doing.
Still reading? Great! Now that you have gotten yourself ready, time to dive in to some methods for driving traffic. I’m going to cover some content outreach methods, social media strategies, and other creative ways to get people in the virtual door. However, like we talked about at the beginning, this is not a comprehensive list of everything you should be doing. You should be testing the ones out that you think could work, and if one does work, putting a lot of energy into it until it does not work anymore.
On with the rest of the list!
Using Content Outreach to Drive Traffic to Your Website
Get ready to put pen to paper—metaphorically speaking.
Guest Posting (the Right Way).
There are a lot of different avenues you can go with this one, and I’ve tried quite a few different methods. The first is finding related bloggers in your field and reaching out to see if they’ll accept a guest post from you – you’ll have to do a lot of trial and error with this, because you’ll get a lot of rejections, but reaching that new audience can really pay off.
Another tack you can try is to post on a site with a different sort of established audience, like Medium or Quora. I’ve used Quora quite a bit to look for someone asking a question that’s really in my niche, and a providing long, detailed, super helpful answer. Final quick suggestion: if you’re in a more business-y niche, try Linked In!
Publishing Quote Round-ups.
When I’m doing research for a piece I’m going to write, I’ll send emails out to influencer's who are authorities in the area I’m writing about. I’ll ask them for a quote to include in the blog post, and ask them a single question – this is how I do it, if you’re interested. I don’t worry too much about non-responses or rejections, because as long as a few of them write back, I have got a solid contribution for my post. Because they’re authority figures, it not only lends the piece credibility, but if they happen to share the post, I’ll get exposure to their audience as well.
Strategic Pre-Linking in Your Content.
Mentioning brands, articles, and related influencer's within a piece is always a great opportunity to distribute content. When I publish a post, I aim to have between 10 and 20 links in the piece, from pull quotes to mentions. When I post, boom, I have 10 to 20 people to email to let them know I featured them. I’ll ask them to share the piece with their followers on Facebook, Twitter, or Linked In. Bonus: the relationship does not have to end there. I’ll often go back and ask if they want to collaborate with me further, like doing a guest post.
Link building, put simply, is getting links from other sites to your site. This will increase your DA, as we talked about before, and get you access to more eyes. There are a few ways to try this:
Guest post swaps. This is a win-win situation, where you write a post for their site with a link to yours, and they do the same.
Dead links. There are tools that can help you find articles with dead links in them – if the link was supposed to go to an article in the same field as yours, why not contact the editor and ask them to update the page and link to your article instead?
Interview Thought Leaders.
This is one of my favorite ways to connect with other entrepreneurs like myself, chat with them, and usually learn quite a bit – I feature them on my podcast, The Side Hustle Project. I started the podcast as a way to feature thought leaders in my industry and learn about what it took for them to succeed in their side hustle – and it’s the perfect opportunity for content outreach too. When the podcast airs, most of them will share it with their audience.
Content Partnerships with Other Bloggers and Brands.
This one is not really possible right off the bat – you’ll need to have a decent amount of traffic first if you want to get paid by someone to put their brand or site in front of your readers. However, you should always be on the lookout for other bloggers or brands that you want to collaborate with, and brainstorm on how you can add value to their business first. You can start building a community of people that others will want to be a part of.
Land a Publication Column.
For this, the most important thing is finding a publication with an established base of readers. It doesn't have to be a big name like Forbes or Entrepreneur – which will be impossible to land in the beginning anyway – what you should focus on is finding something that fits with your style and niche. It’ll help you build your brand, get connected with interested readers, and look great for networking possibilities. Leveraging Social Media to Drive Traffic to Your Website. There’s a reason social media is the name of the game right now – it’s one of the best ways to connect with your future audience and engage with them on a platform they already love.
Regularly Sharing Images on Pinterest.
I know some business owners that have had great success on Pinterest. You’ll want to make sure you have good visuals to go with each blog post – infographics are great for this – and make sure you’re posting at least 10 unique pins for every blog. Most importantly, Pinterest is a community just like any other social media, so make sure you’re active regularly, connecting with others in your niche, and re-pinning others’ pins.
Creatively Writing on LinkedIn.
If you’ve been on LinkedIn recently, you’ll know that native video is killing it. However, long-form text posts with a clever hook do really well too. LinkedIn can be a great place to connect with others and engage on content that interests you, while posting about interesting a creative content that you think your network will be interested in. You have to make sure your posts are link-free – but you can leave a link to your content in the first comment.
Being Proactive on Facebook.
Again, native video is killing it these days, but Facebook still rewards link-free long-form posts too. If you’re going to tackle the social media giant that is Facebook, you’ll want to focus on building and leveraging groups (I’ll dive deeper into that later).
Standing Out on Instagram.
Home of the millennial s – but growing fast. Obviously, high-quality images are key here, and not every type of business will do well on this platform. Building relationships with other influencers in your space will be one of the keys to success. If you want the inside scoop on how to do Instagram the right way, check out this podcast episode.
Using Twitter to Create a Loyal Community.
This is a great platform for having genuine conversations with people in your space, but not a perfect fit for driving traffic. It shouldn’t be ignored, as it’s a great way to start building up an audience that will participate in conversations, but it’s more community-building and a little less traffic-driving.
If you want to get more bang for your buck out of Twitter, check out a tool like Quuu Promote, which has an existing base of followers that have signed up to receive suggestions for what to share that’s in their interests. You can choose how many posts to promote per month, and an unlimited amount of people can click and share. Using Forums, Groups, and Communities to Drive Traffic to Your Website. Find where your community is and bring them to you!
Answering Questions on Quora.
Quora is like Yahoo Answer’s older, much better-looking sibling. People ask questions like, “I’ve started a blog. How can I increase blog traffic?" and people who provide in-depth, clever, and witty answers – like I gave here – are heavily rewarded. That response is what inspired me to update and expand on my advice in that answer today! Oh, and by the way, as of writing this post, my answer there has almost 90,000 views. Not too shabby.
(Carefully) Engaging on Reddit.
Reddit is a little tricky, because if you are overtly self-promotional the readers will pick up on it immediately and “down vote you to oblivion," as they say. However, that doesn't mean you can’t have success there. Put connecting with the community and building a rapport with dedicated commenter's first. Then, you can make a post and ask for feedback once you feel comfortable.
Sharing in Facebook Groups.
Try to find groups on Facebook that are super topically relevant to join that have a lot of engaged followers. Like Reddit, you’ll want to focus on engaging with the community by liking and commenting on others’ posts and building up a rapport. The good news is that subscribers are there for content related to their niche, so if your blog can help them, you’re bound to find a receptive audience—and once you've gotten those group members over to your website, it's a perfect opportunity to learn more about them. Offer a free piece of content in return for their email address, ask them to sign up for your newsletter, or leverage live chat software to engage with them directly on the page.
Being Active in Niche-Focused Online Communities.
This will depend on what your niche is, but I’ve got a couple suggestions:
Hacker News. If your business is in computer science and entrepreneurship, check this one out. You wrote your blog, you think it’s in-depth and creative and interesting intellectually – submit it here if it fits the bill.
Growth Hackers. Just to get a little meta here, this community is all focused around growth. This is a great way to provide in-depth comments to engage with others’ articles, and submit your own articles about driving growth (once you successfully do that, that is).
Business 2 Community. This is a great place to network with other business professionals, engage with articles, and submit your own if you can get accepted. They openly encourage users to use the platform to establish themselves and increase exposure, which makes it a perfect fit for content outreach.
More Creative Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website
The sky is truly the limit, but here’s a list of ways I like or have tried that I think are promising for bringing in those viewers.
Get Interviewed on Podcasts.
Obviously, having my own podcast, I’m always looking for people with great stories in my niche to interview. Consider reaching out to someone who you think would be interested in featuring you!
Launch a YouTube Channel (and Publish Regular Videos).
People will look up instructional videos online for everything these days, from how to replace a screen on their laptop to how to set up their WordPress page. If you can provide high quality, well thought out, educational videos in a specific niche, do it.
This is a really creative way to connect with other related brands and influencers, and all get together to chat, educate, and generate new leads. Choose a topic that you’re all interested in and knowledgeable about, and you don’t even need to make it fancy. The best part is that everyone involved will bring some of their own audience, and you can get the attention of people interested in your field.
eBooks, Books, and Audiobooks.
This area is like a win-win-win. First, putting together enough information to make an in-depth, valuable, and interesting book will mean that you’re streamlining a LOT of useful information. Then, you can distribute it by promoting it to your followers, giving it as an incentive to people who sign up on your website, or by selling it. All of these options are ways to drive engaged traffic, and if you choose to employ one of the best CRMs for small business and get serious about selling your eBook, you even get some passive income!
Offer Free Downloadable Templates.
If there’s something everyone loves, it’s free stuff. And contrary to popular belief amongst new entrepreneurs, giving away your ideas for free is not the worst thing you can do for your business–oftentimes, it can be the best thing. The trick is to offer something your audience can truly benefit from–like a freelance contract template, or advice on how to write a great freelance proposal. These are the types of things people specifically search for, which drives traffic all on its own, and if your audience knows you’re providing them value, they’re so much more likely to sign up for more. There was no need for me to charge for those things, because I knew I was driving traffic by offering it, and building a community of people excited about what I have expertise in.
Host a Virtual Summit.
A lot to take on (I would know) but has the potential to pay off in a huge way if you really commit to it. To summarize, you need to figure out why a virtual summit is the right venue, what your topic will be, and who you’re going to network with to make it happen. You’ll need thought leaders, influencers, teams, businesses, bloggers, anyone who already has a committed audience and a distinct POV who will add value to an event like this.
Teach Online Courses.
It may seem a bit overwhelming to think about teaching a course, but boil it down to one simple question: what does your audience want to know? Tackle it from the same angle as any of your articles, comments, or blog content by providing useful and in-depth content that your audience wants. What problems are your audience having? Teach them how to solve them, and as a result of launching an online course, you'll likely begin to field offers and requests for other types of work from home services like coaching, consulting and advising as your audience & authority grow.
Launch a Creative Side Project.
Now, I can’t exactly come up with a creative idea for you. You still have to do the work on that one. But a witty, funny, weird, or out-there idea can generate some great buzz and trickle down into actual new engaged readers for your regularly scheduled programming. Back in 2016, I posted a public challenge for my readers to choose ANY random business idea for me, and I had to validate it. In 30 days. For less than $500. Out there? Yes. Effective, relevant, and creative? Yes, yes, yes. I knew tons of my readers were on my blog because they were trying to get advice on starting their business. I also know what a scary process it can be.
The whole challenge was an exercise in connecting with my community and showing that it can be simple to build the foundation of a business, no matter what that business is (they chose a hiking guide for California, by the way), but it also served to generate interest and drive traffic to see how the heck I was going to pull that off.
Offline Strategies to Drive Traffic to Your Website
I know the Internet is kind of a big deal, but don’t discount other creative ways to convert people offline.
Speak at a Conference.
Gross, public speaking! But no, seriously. If there’s a conference going on that’s closely related to your niche, do everything you can to get there. I’ll never knock networking online, but there’s something about reaching a targeted, focused, engaged group of people face-to-face that is a whole new level of promotion and networking. As a bonus, you’re sure to run into tons of other people doing the same thing, which means a million opportunities for collaboration.
Get on Local Television.
Sorry to crush your Oprah dreams, but it’s not likely you’ll get a spot on a major television talk show. But, you don’t need to! You can pay to get on TV as a guest, but you can also create a reputation for yourself as someone who is an authority on a very specific topic, and you’ll find it’s a lot easier to get that interview.
You’ll need to heavily focus on those relationships though–networking with media people, starting lower (like podcasts and radio), connect with journalists, etc. Most importantly, you’ll need to actually do something that could be featured on the news. Not an easy feat, but you can get creative!
Utilize Paid Search and Social Advertising.
While not the most ideal way to drive traffic to your website since it requires a budget of money to spend in order to get that traffic, if you're directing readers to the right page that converts well—whether that's to an email sign up or purchase—then it can be a very lucrative investment scaling up your paid advertising spend when there's a clear immediate financial return.
We understand how to target new customers using the search engine’s network. Whatever your budget may be, let us work for you and bring in relevant traffic to your site which in turn will generate steady sales and new, qualified clients. Read More
Social Media is a global part of our society. It is nearly impossible to escape its reaches, and this is good news for you and your business. We can help you reach the right customers in the right places. Read More