One of the most asked question from new website owners. Yet if you ask it to ‘marketing gurus’ out there, the answer is often misleading.
They’d say something along this line:
“Create and publish lots of contents, at least once a day”.
They’re not 100% wrong…
…but it can be very, very misleading.
It’s like telling a new book author to publish lots of books in a short time to get more sales.
Unless it’s a news website and you have multiple content creators, there’s no reason at all to publish a new content every single day.
Let’s be real,
Publishing more content is not the answer.
There are websites that get thousands of visitor per day even though they only published new content every once in a while.
But, I’m sure you have also seen many websites that have hundreds of content but no engagement from people.
Instead of wasting your energy on creating content, do these 17 tips to increase your website traffic up to 419.16%.
Case study: PanduanIM.com (this blog)
Before we proceed, I got to tell you this:
- This blog is originally in Indonesian (this article is a translation)
- I haven’t spent a single penny for traffic generation
- And I had no connection with influential people in this industry
After constantly applying the techniques that I’m going to tell you now, the traffic of PanduanIM.com increased drastically: +419.16%.
Alright, that still doesn’t prove anything.
The screenshot above is the overall traffic from all channel including search engines, referrals, social media, emails, and direct visit.
I might’ve manipulated the data by buying traffic, right?
Let’s see the organic traffic instead:
The traffic from search engine is increased by 971.21% or almost 10x.
Thus, by doing this, you will not only get temporary traffic from referral and social media. Your website will be getting long-term traffic from search engines.
By replicating what I’ve done, you’ll get similar results…
…or even more.
And since this website is a non-English, all tips listed below work well universally.
Part I – Getting non-organic traffic
Most website owners know that search engine gives the highest volume and quality of visitor. That’s why most people think the best way to increase traffic is by doing SEO.
But what you may not know is this:
In this new world of SEO, you NEED to get non-organic traffic first before you can rank organically.
“…wait, Matt Cutts said it doesn’t make any sense!”
Of course not. Non-organic traffic doesn’t affect organic ranking in search engine directly.
But it’ll still affect your website indirectly, and it has a huge impact.
This image will explain it better:
I’m sure you agree that backlink is one of the most important factors in SEO.
Up until 2012, SEOs always try to get as many backlinks as possible by submitting their websites to social bookmarking websites, guestbooks, press releases, PBNs, and blog comments.
However, this approach doesn’t work well anymore.
(except in low competition keywords)
Google has depreciated the value of those kinds of backlink. They’re now categorized as spam.
That’s why you won’t be able to outrank bigger websites even if you have thousands of low-quality backlink.
Here’s how modern SEO works:
Get people to your website. If they’re satisfied with what they see, some of them will give you backlinks.
These backlinks are the ones that’ll boost your rank.
You don’t need hundreds or thousands of backlink. Heck, even just 5 of them will do the trick in some keywords.
That’s why we need non-organic traffic first before we can rank organically.
Now, this is how you get them to your website.
1. Create potentially viral content
First of all, no matter what type of website you have, you need to have contents. Even ecommerce sites are doing content marketing nowadays.
Second of all, don’t just create and publish your contents blindly…optimize them.
Every time you produce content for your website, aim for virality.
Wait, let me clarify one thing…
You can’t guarantee a content to go viral.
But you CAN create contents that at least have the chance. In fact, there’s a clear line between content that’ll potentially go viral and content that stands no chance at all.
Speaking of virality, you can’t not mention this book:
In this book, “Contagious: Why Things Catch On”, Jonah Berger explains about six STEPPS that lead to virality.
Here’s an image with explanation (click to enlarge).
I’ll give you a few examples for each STEPPS:
- Social Currency: contents about certain groups of people (e.g. single parents, vegan, feminists), or an influential person
- Triggers: the ultimate guide to a common problem
- Emotion: controversy, humor, or contents that evoke positive emotion
- Public: in-depth explanation of a trend/news
- Practical value: actionable stuff, “life hack” kind of content
- Stories: case studies, interviews
With STEPPS framework, you can choose a topic or type for your content…
…But, there’s more.
You can increase the chance of virality by applying these tips:
- Use image to get 216% extra share to Facebook and 110% to Twitter
- Write longer articles, like, more than 2000 words
- Mention at least 1 influencer in your content to get them share it
- Consider creating infographics or listicles, they get more shares:
2. Participate in Facebook Groups
People often say that you’ll waste your time trying to use Facebook to get visitors.
That’s not true.
It’s because they do it wrong.
It’s because people normally post their own content to their own Facebook Page with less than 1000 likes.
The average engagement rate for a Facebook Page is only 0.5-1%. Often less if you don’t know how to create a good post.
If you have a page with 1000 likes, only 5-10 of them will either click, like, or share your post.
Now THAT is a waste of time.
Don’t use your own page, at first. The right way for new websites to use Facebook is by participating in groups.
Follow these steps:
First, find groups that relevant to your industry.
Use the graph search and type: “groups about [topic]” or “groups named [keyword]”.
Facebook will automatically give you a list of groups about that particular topic or keyword.
Choose some of the most popular groups and click “Join”.
When accepted, go to the group page and answer these questions:
- Are the posts spammy?
- Do people interact with each other?
- Is it allowed to post links?
If it’s a spammy group where people don’t engage with posts (no replies, no likes) and you’re not allowed to post links at all…don’t bother.
If it’s the contrary, great!
Be careful, though:
Facebook Group is not an easy place to promote your link.
Group members, in general, don’t like others who promote their stuff aggressively, even if it’s relevant and a good read.
Either they’ll kick you out, or they’ll ignore you.
It may seem harmless, but when you have too many ignored post…your future posts will never reach their News Feeds. I don’t know if Facebook really does have this feature to reduce spam in people’s News Feed or not.
For that reason, don’t immediately post your link when you just joined.
Instead, do this:
- Answer people’s question
- Post a discussion/image/question
Do it for 3 days up to 1 week before posting links.
And remember…if you want to post a link, it must be a content. Not a sales page, not a landing page. Content.
3. Create your own Facebook Group
I don’t have a formal data for this but the engagement rate is much higher if you’re the owner of the group.
And definitely more than a Facebook Page.
This is a screenshot from a Facebook Page of a website within a similar category to mine, with 8200 likes.
(Had to block the information, I don’t want to offend the owner)
This one is my post in my Facebook Group with about 4400 members.
Look at the difference.
With only 4400 members, which is half of their page likes – my posts always get higher engagement.
However, there are downsides to using groups instead of pages:
- You can’t boost your posts with ads
- There are no built-in stats
- You are required to use your own identity
So, groups may be better for new websites to get early traction…
…but when your website is big enough, ask your members to like your Facebook Page instead.
Finally, here’s how you can get people to join your group:
- Create a “bait”. This can be PDF ebook, video, or any form of useful content
- Post or upload it in your group
- Join larger groups within the same topic of interest
- Tell the members of those groups to join your group to get free stuff
- Ask them to like and leave a comment on that post, more engagement = more reach
This is one of my post asking them to join my group:
It’s in Indonesian, but basically I’m telling them to join my group if they want to learn how to create a blog that gets 100k visitor per month. I’m also asking them to like and leave a comment.
More than 2000 people joined my group from this post alone.
4. Participate in Google+ Communities
This one is similar to Facebook Group, I won’t explain too much here.
Google+ isn’t a ghost town…
…in some industries, people prefer to use G+ instead of FB.
If you don’t want to use both, make sure you’re on the right social media for your website.
First, you need to find relevant communities.
Type your keyword into the search bar, and click ‘Communities’. Join the most popular ones.
Make sure it’s not a spammy group. You want to find groups where people actively interacting with each other.
Here’s an article from BoostBlogTraffic on how to use Google+ to get traffic for extra tips.
5. Become an influential member in forums
Online forums are great to “introduce” your website to other people.
And again, people use it wrong:
In most forum sites, you can put links on your signature. Obviously, website owners will use this to get backlinks.
The problem is, your website won’t get any benefit by only doing that.
Links from forum signature and profile are not considered important by Google (and other search engines). It might still affect your rank, but not much.
More importantly, people won’t click your link.
Do this instead:
Answer questions, open new discussions, write great stuff. Make people realize that you’re an expert in your industry.
Be an influential member.
Forum members are usually people who are very passionate about certain topics. If they like you and your content, they’ll start recommending your website everywhere. For real.
Now, open Google search and type these keywords to find community sites:
- [niche] + forums
- [niche] + intitle:community
- [niche] + subreddit
Another tip is to do an AMA.
AMA stands for Ask Me Anything, an internet lingo from Reddit.
Basically, you’ll open a new discussion that allows people to ask anything to you about certain topics. By doing that, you can introduce your website to them.
Here’s an example by Neville Medhora from Kopywriting Kourse.
Another one by Ramit Sethi from I Will Teach You to be Rich.
And the third one by Brian Dean from Backlinko.
Tell the community what’s your biggest achievement or your specialty. They’ll be more interested.
Don’t start an AMA without telling anything about yourself.
Last thing, make sure you’re on the right subreddit. Like 3 people above, Neville did it on /r/Entrepreneur, Ramit on /r/personalfinance, and Brian on /r/bigSEO.
Avoid /r/IAmA (a subreddit made specifically for AMAs) unless you’re a famous person.
6. Build relationship with bloggers
People who failed to grow their website always skipped this one.
You see, bloggers are influencers who have they own audience. If they mentioned your website on their blogs, or at least on their social media accounts, you’ll get more traffic instantly.
But they won’t mention you if you’re unknown to them.
That’s why we need to build relationships.
With the law of reciprocity.
Reciprocity in social psychology refers to responding to a positive action with another positive action, rewarding kind actions. (Wikipedia)
Basically, if you want them to do a positive thing for you, you need do it for them first.
- Find at least 5 bloggers in your industry
- Follow their social media accounts
- Consistently retweet/like/reply their updates
- Leave great comments on their contents
- Mention them in your content with a link
After doing this, they’ll know your existence…and think positively about you.
DON’T ask for their help unless at the same time they can benefit from it. You’re unknown to them, don’t give them trouble or they won’t respond to anything from you.
7. Tell them about your content
This one is the continuation of step 6.
Don’t do this yet if:
- This is the first time you’re approaching them
- They’re not interested in your topic
- They have no reason to read (and share) it
Fortunately, there’s a way you can fulfill those 3 requirements at once.
By asking their opinion on their expertise.
For example, if you’re creating an article about “X best foods for detox”, ask them what’s one of their favorites (and the reason) via email.
Then include their response in your finished article.
Now you’re no longer unknown to them…
…The ones who responded to your emails are clearly interested in the topic…
…And because you included them in your content, they have a reason to read and share it.
On your first email, be sure to tell them that you’re creating an article and going to feature their answers in your content. Plus a link to their websites.
That’ll definitely increase your response rate.
8. Optimize your headline for clicks
Imagine you’re in Facebook now, there are two similar articles shared by your friends. Each with these headlines:
- How to Lose Weight
- 9 Effortless Ways to Lose Weight up to 10 lbs in 30 Days
Assuming you’re interested in that particular topic, which one you’re going to click?
Most people will choose the 2nd one.
This might sound silly, but it’s true: people who create contents often misunderstood between topic and title.
The first one from that example was a topic, not a title.
Title/headline is more specific. It has a ‘hook’.
Hook is an element you can use in your headline to make it instantly more interesting. If you use the right hook for your content, your CTR will be increased dramatically.
It can be a number, adjective, angle, scarcity, promise, or anything…
Here’s a quick headline formula from Jeff Goins:
Number or Trigger words + Adjective + Keyword/Topic + Promise
Be careful, though, there are words that seem good but actually have negative impact to your CTR:
According to HubSpot, they are over-saturated by now. People often associate those words with clickbait contents.
That’s why it’s better, if possible, not to use those words.
9. Use at least 1 beautiful image to boost CTR on social media
This is how link without image shown in Facebook….
…and this one with image:
I’m sure you’ll agree with me on this one even without data that the second one will get more clicks.
But I’ll post a graph anyway:
It only takes minutes to create and upload an image, there’s absolutely no reason not to use them.
You can find free-to-use image on these sites:
Then use Photoshop or other photo editing software to add text.
Or if you don’t know how to use Photoshop, use these tools:
Finally, read this article from Buffer to find out ideal image size for each social media.
10. Newsjacking – steal traffic from trending news
What do you do when there’s a trending news in your industry? Write a news article, like other websites?
If so, you missed a huge opportunity to get traffic.
Because at the same time, there are thousands of blogs and websites publishing the same news over and over.
People won’t notice yours…why would they?
Do this instead:
Newsjacking is a process of injecting opinion, ideas, angles, or in-depth explanation into breaking news.
By doing this, people will have a reason to read your content and share it with their friends. Because it has more value than a news.
Let’s look at an example:
I’m sure you still remember the most viral phenomenon around February-March 2015, The Dress. (that weird dress that looked white-gold but actually black-blue)
Wired wrote an explanation of why we see the dress as white and gold.
The result? Their article got shared like crazy.
Whilst the trend still hot, their article was too.
Another one, this video from ASAP Science that has 20 million views.
So next time when there’s a breaking news or a viral trend, don’t just create another news article. Give your own opinion or analysis.
11. Create roundup posts
There’s a good chance that you have stumbled upon these kinds of article at least once:
“20 top marketing blogs”, “31 best weight loss articles of 2015”, “27 psychology experts reveal best way to improve productivity”, etc.
In a roundup posts, you listed other people’s blogs, articles, or tips.
There are 2 two big reasons to do this:
- Roundup posts are generally more popular than regular ones
- They get shared by the people you listed. Positive relationship and more traffic!
This is an example by Robbie Richards.
1.2k shares, and this articles is ranked number 1 for “best keyword research tools” in Google.
Best of all, it’s not that hard to create a roundup post.
The first type of roundup post, weekly/monthly/yearly roundup, might only take less than an hour to compile.
First, go to BuzzSumo and type your topic.
For weekly roundups, make sure to choose “past week” on “filter by date” on the left side. If it’s monthly roundup, choose “past months”.
The free version of BuzzSumo will only show you 10 of the most popular contents. You need to purchase the subscription (from $99/m) if you want more.
Or as an alternative, just find the best blogs around your niche with Google and subscribe to them with Feedly.
The second type, expert roundup, takes a little more effort.
But the result is significantly better than the first one.
In fact, I created one myself a while ago:
In just a few hours after I published that post, it went viral.
That post gets more than 1.4k shares, 4000+ visitors, and 200+ new subscribers in 2 days.
And this is more important.
With this expert roundup, I opened the door of relationships with people I interviewed which is the best bloggers in the country.
That’s why, whatever your industry is, you should at least have one roundup post.
These two are the best guides on expert roundup to get you started:
12. Build your own email list
So you’ve created a good content and successfully promoted it, visitors are starting to come to your website.
What happen when they’re done reading your content…are you just letting them leave like that?
No one will remember you the very next day.
And when you published another great post, you’re repeating the same promotion process all over again.
It’s like trying to fill up a leaking bathtub.
Look at this graph:
That’s a fake graph I made up, but here’s my point:
The green line is what happen if you don’t fix the leak.
Every time you’re promoting new stuff, you’ll always start from 0. Unlike the purple one, the number is accumulated because you have people in your list ready to get new contents.
That’s one of the reason why you should build your own email list.
“Okay, but isn’t RSS subscription enough?”
Yes, but only if your website is a blog and you only want to send them new contents.
If you want to do more, like sending them personalized emails, you need to build an email list.
According to HelpScout, ROI and conversion rate from your email list are far higher than ads, search engine, and social media.
MailChimp offers free email service for free up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month if you don’t want to spend money.
Finally, here’s 2 great article on list building:
Part 2 – Getting organic traffic
In the end, this is what every website owner wants.
Organic traffic from search engine is different to non-organic. It’s long-term. When your content is ranked high in search results, you will get a steady stream of traffic even when you’re not actively promoting it.
Also, the volume and quality are definitely higher than non-organic traffic.
But, like I said before, don’t try to get organic traffic first.
You can’t directly control your organic rank. You need to establish your website’s reputation by getting non-organic traffic first…
…then, your organic rank will be increased by itself.
Having said that, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself to get the biggest traffic possible from search engine.
13. Always use keywords with the highest search volume
This may be obvious for people who already know about SEO and keyword research…but often forgotten or ignored.
Even if you can get non-organic traffic and social shares, it’s possible that you won’t get organic traffic if you skipped this step.
- No one searches your content on search engines
- You used the wrong phrase/keyword
So, you need to use Google Keyword Planner to find the phrase with the highest search volume after you decided a topic for your content.
Let’s say you want to create a guide for “applying for a job”.
Go to GKP, type the topic and a few other variations you can think of.
It looks like there is a keyword with higher volume: “how to apply for a job”.
Now use that in your:
- Article body
- Meta description
Be careful, though…
You don’t want to overly optimize your content with keywords. It’s a bad SEO practice that potentially harm your website.
14. Find and use similar keywords to dominate your topic
On the example above, we have a total of 1,900 searches per month from 1 keyword.
But, look at these keywords:
“applying for a job” (720/m), “how to apply for a job” (1,900/m), “job application tips” (320/m).
If you think about it, people who use any of those keywords are looking to learn how they can apply for a job. All three share the same purpose.
That’s why we can use all of them in one content.
The title would be something like this:
“Job Application Tips: 21 Ways to Successfully Applying for a Job”.
(by the way, ways-to and how-to are considered synonyms in search results)
Now your title has 3 keywords with 2,940 searches per month instead of 1,900.
Not bad, huh?
15. Optimize your content for search engine
This is the most basic knowledge you need to learn as a website owner.
If you don’t know anything about on-page SEO yet, make sure you read this infographic by Brian Dean of Backlinko first.
Here’s the gist to optimizing your page:
- Main keyword in the title
- Add long tail keywords if available
- Keyword in URL
- Outbound link to relevant & trusted source
- Main keyword on the first 100 word, naturally
- LSI variations of the main keyword
- Internal links to other relevant pages
- Optimize load time
- Provide high-quality content
- Keyword in meta description
- Add social sharing buttons
- Use visual
- Satisfy your visitors
That’s about it.
You might have also heard about keyword density, bold/italic/underline-ing keywords, etc.
…trust me, those are useless.
The number 1 on page SEO factor is visitor satisfaction.
Anything you do on your page, if it’s good for human, it’s good for search engine too. With this logic, keyword density is useless.
16. Optimize your content for backlinks
The only reason people turn themselves to black hat SEO is because they can’t get backlinks naturally from other people.
…and no backlink means no rank.
But it’s not Google’s fault.
And it’s definitely not the system’s fault.
It’s your content.
Think for a moment now:
What is THE reason why a person put a link in their article?
Because they like your content? Obviously…but there’s more.
- It can explain more about a topic in their content
- It’s best at explaining a basic concept
- It’s more advanced than the other contents
- It backs up their statement
- They cite part of your content. Can be image, quote, data, or formula
- They featured or contributed to it
- They remember it first before other similar contents
So, yes. Optimizing content for backlinks is a thing.
Make sure your next article has an in-depth explanation, nice image, and real data.
If you don’t know how to get real data, just make up a unique formula like the headline formula by Jeff Goins I mentioned before.
By the way, that post alone gets 594 backlinks from 237 domains.
17. Link building, the right way
The problem with link building is that new website owners are still doing it the old way.
Blog commenting, mass submitting to social bookmarking, stuff like that.
Those kinds of links might still give a slight boost to your rankings, but it’s not worth it.
Black hat link building is out of question too…
…if you have done all steps from 1-16 above, you absolutely don’t want to even try black hat SEO. While it might still work for short-term rank, it carries a huge risk in the future.
Personally, I won’t even try to build backlink unless it’s editorial and contextual.
Alright, so that’s that.
Now…link building alone is a huge topic to cover.
I definitely can’t fit link building strategies that I use if I write all them on this article. Either the explanation would be incomplete, or the article becomes too long.
That’s why I’ll list the best link building articles instead:
There are more than 150 link building strategies on this page by Jon Cooper from PointBlankSEO.
If you’re new to link building, make sure you read this post first.
As a link builder (or a marketer in general) you’ll do outreach and cold emails a lot. You need to know how to create the best outreach email that gets responses.
This article from Moz has real life examples of outreach emails from guest blogging to broken link building.
But remember, never use templates you find on the internet for your outreach campaigns. Most are overused.
To this date, I still believe guest blogging is the most important thing every new website owners do. Not only for links and SEO but for traffic and reputation.
There are two sides of guest blogging: black hat and real guest blogging.
Matt Cutts (when he was still on Google) stated that they will penalize spammy and paid guest blogging.
Real guest blogging is still okay, though.
This guide from Brian Dean of Backlinko will teach you how to find guest blogging opportunities.
Broken link building basically means finding dead/broken links on other people’s websites then give them your content as the replacement.
Richard Marriott from Clambr upgraded broken link building into two levels deep. He explained it with a video in this guide, which is nice.
While on his website, you should check out the other link building guide: Expired Domain Link Building.
That’s all 17 techniques I used to increase my website’s traffic up to 419.16%.
It might be overwhelming to do all of them at once. If you’re not sure where to start, follow these steps:
Step 1: Create content, optimize it for virality (1) and backlink (16), ask 1 or more influencers for their opinion on the topic.
Step 2: Before publishing, make sure you have the highest keywords available (13)(14).
Step 3: Optimize the headline (8) and your page for SEO (15).
Step 4: Find at least 5 popular communities around your niche on Facebook (2), Google+ (4), and online forums (5). Participate in all of them.
Step 5: Tell the influencers that you’ve included their opinion on your content (7).
Step 6: Promote your content to communities you’ve joined.
Is there any more tips to increase website traffic I haven’t included yet? What’s your best traffic generation technique?