I'm Michael PeggsRead More
If you run a business, no matter what industry you work in, your website plays a crucial role in your success. It may serve as the primary means by which customers learn about your business. Additionally, if you sell items or promote services online, a website may contribute to your revenue in a direct and substantial way.
Of course, for a website to deliver value, it needs to attract guests. Is yours failing in this regard?
If so, consider the following strategies for boosting website traffic. They’ll help you attract more guests without spending more than you can afford.
Developing and implementing a strong SEO strategy is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your website. However, this doesn’t simply mean stuffing your content with keywords. Although this may have been a common strategy in the past, now it’s actually a mistake, one that could have a major negative impact on your traffic.
Keyword research is still important. You simply need to know how to use keywords effectively. However, using the right search terms is just one component of an SEO strategy. You also need to make sure your site is optimized for mobile, as mobile internet browsing is now more common than desktop internet browsing. Additionally, SEO involves making sure your site loads reliably across all devices, developing a strong backlink profile, optimizing images/video, and much more.
While staying abreast of changing SEO best practices does require some time and effort, the rewards are worth it. It’s also worth noting that you can partner with an SEO specialist if you need help developing your strategy. On top of that, if you use WordPress to manage your content, you can download plugins that perform an SEO analysis of the content before you post it.
For example, this image illustrates some of the features you would get with the popular Yoast SEO plugin:
As you can see, the analysis lets this user know they have included sufficient internal and outbound links, they’ve included their keyword (or “keyphrase”) appropriately in the introduction section of this content, and they’ve distributed the keyphrase evenly and naturally throughout the post.
However, the analysis also reveals that this user didn’t use the keyphrase in headings, which is an important SEO best practice. Additionally, the analysis tells the user their meta description should be longer, and they should add alt text to their images.
This is just a sampling of the features you can take advantage of with this type of plugin. While it’s no substitute for a proper SEO strategy, it’s still a helpful tool for avoiding SEO mistakes when posting content.
2. Guest Blogging
It can seem difficult to attract readers to your site when there are other competitors selling similar products or popular blogs and publications covering similar topics that already have substantial followers. Trying to stand out among the competition may feel like a challenge if you own a site in a relatively popular niche.
That said, it’s actually possible to use other popular blogs and sites as opportunities to drive more traffic to your own. You simply need to find other publications accepting guest posts.
Brands need to regularly develop content for their blogs. This isn’t always easy when you don’t have many writers on staff. Thus, bloggers are often happy to post submissions from guest contributors. Instead of paying them directly, they allow guest bloggers to promote their own properties. This can be very useful if you’re trying to drive traffic to a newer site.
For instance, if you were trying to market a startup consulting business, you might contribute guest posts to popular existing blogs or publications your customers would be likely to read, such as Entrepreneur. Contributing guest posts to such blogs helps you reach more potential readers than you would if you were to only post content on your own platform.
Not sure how to find guest blogging opportunities? It can be easier than you might think. All you have to do is perform a Google search with a relevant keyword, plus certain terms commonly used in blogs that accept guest submissions such as “write for us,” “guest post,” “contributing writer,” and more.
To return to the previous example, maybe you want to find an opportunity to submit guest blogs on the topic of startup consulting. Here are some of the initial results you would see if you were to search for “startup consulting” and “guest post.”
These first few results clearly accept guest posts from other bloggers, as they are featured on their sites. You could explore them more and reach out to the site owners or blog editors to learn about contributing.
As your site becomes more and more popular, you might even consider accepting guest posts on your blog, and not simply contributing them. A guest contributor will likely share their post through social media and other channels, directing even more readers to your site. Just make sure you’re not providing too much help to the competition. When accepting guest posts, it’s often best to accept contributions from people whose work is similar to your own, but not exactly the same. For example, if you ran a startup consulting business, you might accept a guest post from an SEO specialist who can write about SEO best practices for a new startup’s website (assuming SEO help is not one of the services you offer). Because there would be significant overlap between their target audience and yours, but they wouldn’t be directly competing for your customers, they can help you develop more content and attract more readers.
3. Expert Roundup
Expert roundups are posts that feature insights and observations on a particular topic from multiple experts. To continue with the earlier example, if you have a blog on a site for your startup consulting business, you might write a post on “X Successful Founders Share the Mistakes Startups Need to Avoid.”
There are two main ways you can put together expert roundups. You can reach out to experts directly and ask them to contribute observations on your chosen topic. Doing so helps you drive more traffic to your site for the same reasons accepting guest contributions helps to boost traffic: contributors will likely share the post with their followers. An expert roundup takes this a step further by involving multiple contributors. This helps you cast a wider net.
However, if you don’t have sufficient contact information for experts in your niche, you can still collect quotations from known experts. As long as you properly cite your sources, you may use these for an expert roundup. There’s still a chance the experts you featured will eventually find your post and share it.
That’s not the only reason expert roundups boost blog traffic. They also typically provide a substantial amount of genuinely useful information in a fairly condensed format. This makes them particularly “shareworthy.” Case studies prove it.
Expert roundups are also fairly easy to develop if you’re looking for a way to generate content efficiently. Typically, you only need to write a short introduction and conclusion. The remainder of the content would consist of quotes from experts. Thus, due to their low cost and high potential return-on-investment, expert roundups should play a role in your blogging and overall website strategy.
A website can serve many purposes. Cultivating your reputation is one of them. You want customers to believe your brand is authoritative. They want to know you have relevant expertise in your industry. With a website (particularly one that features a blog or similar platform), you can illustrate this is the case by posting useful information. To continue with the startup consulting example, if you were to regularly post useful insights about growing a startup, with practical recommendations, you’ll clearly demonstrates to readers they should take your brand seriously.
That means you should also look for other platforms through which you can demonstrate your expertise. Quora is one of the more valuable.
Quora is a site where users ask and answer questions. You can search for questions directly, or browse questions in a feed, as seen here:
When you create your Quora account, you’ll be asked to choose certain topics to follow. If you were trying to drive traffic to your blog about startup consulting, you’d follow topics related to business. You can also join “Spaces” dedicated to certain topics.
Regularly browse your feed and search Quora for questions you can answer. It’s best to find questions with only one or two answers already submitted. That’s because users vote on answers to determine which is best. If you answer a question that someone has already provided a strong answer for, your response may get overlooked.
That said, the most important point to keep in mind is that your answers need to be thorough and accurate. Don’t respond to a question simply because it relates to your business. You may actually harm your own reputation if your provide answers that are weak, brief, or inaccurate. Your goal is to provide the best possible answer you can, while mentioning your site naturally.
That brings up another important point. It’s also worth taking time to complete a thorough Quora profile. When readers visit your profile, they shouldn’t merely see links to your site or blog. They should be provided with enough information to determine that you genuinely are an expert in your niche.
5. Help a Reporter Out
Just as other bloggers need help generating content, so too do reporters. That’s why Help a Reporter Out (or HARO) is also a useful resource when you want to drive more traffic to your site.
To get started, create a “Source” (rather than “Journalist”) account. Once you do, you’ll be able to check your inbox throughout the day for Source Requests relevant to your area of expertise. These are requests from journalists who need sources for stories. If you’re qualified, they may be willing to use you as a source, directing traffic to your site in exchange for your help.
Just remember to keep certain tips in mind when using HARO. If you think you are qualified to be a source for a particular journalist, you’ll need to send an email pitch. In your pitch, be sure to clearly answer the journalist’s question (or questions), provide a bio letting them know why you’re a trusted expert, and mention you’d like to promote your business if they decide to use you.
6. Host a Webinar
Blogs and Quora answer threads aren’t the only platforms you can use to establish yourself (or your brand) as an authority in your industry. Webinars can also be very useful in this respect.
A webinar is simply a live, online video conference in which you cover a topic that would be interesting to your potential customers. Multiple people can participate in webinars as well. For instance, maybe you wanted to host a webinar on the topic of SEO for startups. If you’re trying to drive more traffic to your site, odds are good not many people are aware of your brand right now. That might make it difficult to generate awareness about a webinar. However, if you coordinated with other experts, you could put together a sort of webinar roundtable (or at least a shared presentation), leveraging their popularity to boost brand awareness.
That’s not to say doing so is necessary. You may be able to host a successful webinar on your own. Partnering with others is simply an option to consider if you’re having trouble generating initial interest.
Webinars can also be very dynamic. During one, you can stream video, show slides, let viewers see what you’re doing on your computer screen (if you were demonstrating a specific process, such as how to draft a strong WordPress post for SEO), conduct polls, chat with other participants and viewers, and much more. Consider this when planning yours. The main goal is to organize a webinar that provides your viewers with genuine value. Every step of the way, ask yourself how you can achieve this.
Additionally, a single webinar itself may not be enough to maximize your results. It’s sometimes beneficial to think of webinars like lecture series. By hosting several, you can cover your topic in greater depth. Of course, just make sure you’re promoting your site during them when it’s relevant to do so.
There are many different webinar hosting platforms you may use, including such popular options as Google Hangouts and GoToMeeting. Research your options to determine which is best for your needs. It’s smart to start backwards, deciding what you would want to include in your webinar, then finding a platform that has the right capabilities.
Be sure to aggressively promote your webinars via social media, your email list, and any other relevant marketing channels. Again, while you can attract more viewers by partnering with other experts, you still need to make sure you’re taking all necessary steps to let potential viewers know your webinar is happening.
7. Invest in Infographics
Don’t restrict yourself to blog entries when developing marketing content. It’s important to experiment with other media, finding what works best for certain purposes.,/p>
For example, maybe you’re trying to summarize a lot of information related to startup marketing. A blog post may not be the best method for condensing this information into a single piece of content.
Consider this example:
As you can see, this piece of content serves to highlight a number of important points that could be difficult to cover in such a convenient and easy-to-consume manner with a blog post or similar piece of website content.
That said, infographics aren’t merely substitutes for blogs and similar media. They can also help you attract more visitors to your site.
That’s because infographics are shareable. Someone who reads a strong entry on your blog still might not be inclined to share it with their followers on social media, knowing people will have to click on its link (and assuming they won’t) in order to access the valuable information it covers. Even if someone does share a post, there’s still a good chance no one will click on the link, limiting the amount of traffic social shares drive to your site.
That’s less likely to be a problem with infographics. When a reader shares one of yours with their followers, all the information will be on display. No one has to click anything to see it. Thus, more potential readers will see your site offers valuable content. This is particularly important to keep in mind when you consider that approximately 65% of people are visual learners.
Infographics can also be easier to generate than you think. First of all, they often feature points already covered in existing blog posts and related content, so you don’t need to do much research to put one together. You can simply review your old content to come up with an infographic idea.
Second, while you may want to hire a graphic designer to help you generate infographics, if you don’t have the time or budget to do so, you can easily create your own with Canva. This resource helps people who don’t have graphic design experience generate this type of content easily.
8. Post on LinkedIn Pulse
When developing an overall content marketing strategy, you need to consider where your potential customers spend most of their time online. For example, if you wanted to target younger consumers, you’d leverage social media platforms such as Snapchat, which is popular with your target audience. On the other hand, if you’re in the B2B industry, you’ll have better luck on LinkedIn.
Improve your LinkedIn presence by publishing authoritative articles on LinkedIn Pulse. This platform lets professionals across a wide range of industries share their expertise with colleagues and peers. The articles you share can be original, or they can be republished blog entries.
Just make sure you don’t republish all your blog entries on LinkedIn if you choose to share some existing content on this platform. If your goal is to drive more traffic to your site, you don’t want to make visiting it unnecessary for those who already follow you on LinkedIn.
It’s always important for any articles and blogs you post to be professional and informative. However, this is particularly crucial on LinkedIn. You’re speaking to an audience of busy people who want content that’s clearly valuable, without any fluff. Posting it consistently on LinkedIn Pulse can help you cultivate your reputation, attracting more attention to your site as a result.
9. Create a Free Online Course
An online course is similar to an expanded webinar. It may feature video, audio, tests/quizzes, interactive features, written content, and much more.
Don’t include multimedia simply for the sake of including it when designing an online course. As always, your goal is to provide the most value you can. Remembering that when designing an online course is key to choosing the right media and channels for your goals.
As with webinars, guest blogs, Quora responses, and detailed infographics, online courses allow you to provide customers with useful information. This, in turn, helps you establish yourself as an expert in your industry.
The difference is that an online course should be very thorough and detailed. After all, it’s essentially meant to be a class users can “attend” whenever and wherever they wish. By the time they’ve completed it, they need to genuinely feel they’ve acquired a new valuable skill or set of knowledge.
Online courses aren’t typically offered for free. In fact, an online course could represent an additional way to monetize a blog on your site. Once your blog has a substantial readership, you could design an online course and promote it via the blog, increasing your revenue.
However, when you’re still at the stage where you’re simply trying to drive more traffic to your site, it’s best to offer an online course for free. Offering premium content at no cost is key to getting the attention of potential customers.
There are many different platforms through which you can host an online course. Approach your decision the same way you chose which platform to host a webinar on. Decide what features you want your online course to include, and find a platform that supports them.
You should also consider your experience level. Udemy, with its easy-to-navigate dashboard and wide ranging support features, is often ideal for beginners:
Teachable, another popular option, allows you to customize the look and structure of your course to a greater degree, but it tends to be more commonly-used by experienced online course creators:
Again, explore the features of all your major options before deciding which to use.
10. Email Marketing
It’s easy to dismiss email as being an “old” digital marketing channel that should no longer be prioritized. However, research indicates it’s still effective, even among younger users.
This may come as a surprise at first. Wouldn’t Millennials and Gen Z’ers prefer marketing channels that are more hip and innovative?
You might think so, until you consider that they’ve grown up with email as a natural part of their lives. They respond to email marketing (arguably to a greater degree than even social media marketing) because they’re accustomed to it.
Thus, if you have an email newsletter, you should use it to promote your site.
This serves two major purposes. One, it further engages your current followers, maintaining brand awareness and loyalty. Two, it gives you more opportunities to reach new potential customers. The more often your followers engage with your content, the more often they’ll likely share it on social media and other channels, attracting new readers.
That said, don’t use email to simply alert your followers when a new blog post is up. That might not be persuasive enough to attract many clicks. It’s best to provide genuinely valuable content in the email itself.
11. Influence the Influencers
Influencers can have a major impact on the way consumers perceive brands. That’s because, at least from the perspective of most consumers, influencers are separate from the brands they promote via social media and related channels. That’s likely the reason one out of three young people report trusting an influencer’s words more than they trust brands themselves.
Working with an influencer to promote your brand is smart because it delivers your message through the voice of someone your potential customers already trust. While you will typically have to reimburse an influencer for promoting your business, whether that be through discounted services, free products or services, or direct payment, the sway they hold over their followers could make doing so a worthwhile investment.
Just make sure you do your research before contacting an influencer to discuss a partnership. You want to find one whose followers overlap with your audience. For example, if you were promoting your startup consulting business, you’d seek out an influencer who often posts about business-related topics. You wouldn’t coordinate with an Instagram fashion model who generally promotes apparel brands. Their followers wouldn’t likely have much interest in your content. However, by conducting thorough research, you can certainly identify a popular figure in your niche who’ll be willing to use their influence to drive traffic to your site, in exchange for some form of payment.
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12. Like Them or Not, Listicles Work
The listicle format is a staple of Internet content. That’s simply because it works.
There are many reasons listicles are popular. First of all, like infographics, they condense information into an easy-to-consume format. They also directly let a reader know what they will find in a given blog post. Again, a roundup of “10 Tips for Startups” (or something similar to that) clearly indicates what a reader can expect from that piece of content.
Listicles are also very scannable. By breaking up various points into a commonly-used format, they make it easy for readers using mobile devices to find the specific parts types of content they are seeking. Remember, this is very important in the mobile-browsing age.
When developing blog post ideas, consider how they can be formatted as lists. For example, maybe you want to provide startup founders with advice about creating a budget. You could write a general article on the topic, where your tips will be hidden inside blocks of text, or you could separate the content into a list of tips, making them stand out more to readers.,/p>
These are all important points to keep in mind as you develop your blogging and website strategy. While a website is valuable for many reasons, for one to deliver the strongest possible ROI, it needs a large number of consistent guests. These tips will help you attract them.