11 Nov Driving Traffic for Very Little Budget (Or Even Free!)
The internet sees about 200 thousand domains being registered daily. Not all websites are made equal. Some are just an online placeholder for businesses, while others are used to generate leads or get revenue from ads. But they all have one thing in common: websites need the traffic to serve the purpose they were designed for. And this is where the problems start.
While launching a website is relatively easy, driving traffic to it is rather challenging. We often see a trend where people start a website, invest a lot of time and effort trying to make it work, and then abandon the venue because they get no traffic. Imagine spending a few days crafting a blog post, which eventually got some 40 pageviews 10 of which are you checking how things have gone. Frustrating, isn’t it?
Competition makes it tough to get traffic naturally from Google. Time and patience may help, but you should have a truly stellar website so Google could notice you without extra effort on your side. The good news is Google is not the only potential source of the traffic to your website. Besides, optimizing your website to check every box on Google’s quality checklist is also a doable task. But first things first. Let’s see how visitors may come to your website.
A few words on traffic sources
Website traffic can come from various sources. Here we will briefly go over some of the most common channels for website traffic.
Search engines: Naturally, SERP or Search Engine Results Page links are on the top of the list. The most successful websites get most of their traffic from SERP as users searching for something online click their website link.
Social media: People share articles they liked on social media and their subscribers may also read those articles if they find them interesting. The best scenario here is the “pass-it-on” effect when new people share the post and even more users get a chance to read it. If an article goes viral, it can generate tons of free traffic.
Referrals: Other websites may link out to one of your pages. Direct referrals and indirect referrals like backlinks in content come under this category.
Ads: The fastest way to get a lot of traffic is by paying Google or another search engine for putting your post at the top of SERP’s page one. Paying Facebook or Instagram is another option.
Email marketing and other sources: You can invite the user to your website directly by using email marketing and other marketing methods.
Search engines and social media are what we call “free traffic sources”, but still, they are conditionally free. We still have to invest time in search and social promotion and to make our investments to pay off, we need to build up a strategy for this.
Since search overtakes social as the main traffic driver to websites, let me first share some SEO advice with you.
Jumpstart your SEO strategy
Remember me telling your quality blog post may start ranking in Google if you give it some time? The thing is since Google updated its algorithms, quality content rules. If it brings some unique value to the readers, Google will notice it and start ranking your page. All the search engines value content that answers users’ needs, so there’s no point to create texts stuffed with keywords. Or to write an instruction that is hard to read, no matter how relevant it is. Content should be relevant, yes, but also interesting, easy to comprehend and, when it’s appropriate, fun.
At the same time, simply writing some engaging text wouldn’t work. Users should be interested in the topic to start googling it, so make sure to collect keywords relevant to your business before and transform the topics into the content pieces.
You can do keyword research manually, but it will take you ages. Instead, you can use special SEO tools to speed things up. For example, SE Ranking is a toolset that can help you with all sorts of SEO tasks. Its SEO/PPC competitor research tool, for example, is great for collecting keywords for your website and it’s available for free under a 14-day trial.
Once you’ve published some comprehensive posts, make sure your website is error-free. A buggy slow-loading website is something both users and search engines hate. Run a website audit to see if you have any technical issues to fix. Also, pay attention to on-page optimization – this is how you help search engines associate your page with a certain keyword.
Being one of the biggest traffic sources, SEO doesn’t give instant results – you’ll have to wait for at least 2-3 months to get some decent rankings. To see the significant growth of traffic you’ll need to wait patiently for up to 9 months. SEO is a long-run game, but it is totally worth the time and effort you’ll have to invest.
Engage online to build links
Networking is an essential part of a successful marketing strategy. One way of building up the traffic is by interacting with users across popular online platforms.
Find threads related to your niche on forums and Quora, join Facebook groups. Actively interact with community members leaving relevant remarks and giving helpful answers to their questions. You can leave links to your website when appropriate, which people may use to visit your site. One thing that you must keep in mind is that your comments shouldn’t sound too promotional or otherwise, site moderators on websites like Quora can delete it.
Guest posting is another way to get leads and increase your website authority. Try reaching out to popular websites in your niche and ask them if you can write a guest post on their website. With interesting and intriguing topics, many websites will accept your guest post request.
A lifehack! You can start searching for the targeted blogs by googling the following combination: [“blog” + “write for us”]. In the first pair of quotation marks, you can specify a type of blog you are looking for: “food blog”, “fashion blog”, “travel blog”, etc. In the search results for this query, you’ll find the blogs that are open for guest posting in your niche.
You can also ask for comments from expert bloggers on a certain topic and include the quotes to your content. Don’t forget to tag the experts in your Facebook or Twitter posts citing your content – they might even repost it.
You should also engage with the visitor who comments on your blog posts. Make sure that you answer their queries and follow up on their requests.
Reach out to influencers
A way to get a quick boost to your website is by seeking the help of popular figures in your niche. With their help, you can connect with a wider spectrum of an audience in a very short amount of time.
Advertising from influencers is expensive, but some of them may work for free if your product is of particular value to their audience. At first, it is important to get mentions from people who have 500-1000 subscribers. If you know people followed by your target customers, invite them to try your product or service. There’s a chance that if they like your product, they will offer preferential terms for advertising or mentioning your business.
Instagram influencers are naturally also included.
Everyone that you reach out may not be eager to accept products or guest posts, and that how things are! All you need is to be persistent and keep trying with new influencers.
Leverage images and video content
Even if you have amazing content on your website, visitors may not be so inclined to read it if it looks like a large chunk of text. In 2019 and beyond, you need to be careful about how you structure your content.
Adding images and videos to your content is a good way to spruce it up. And the best part is that you don’t have to make videos specifically for your content. You can link a YouTube video for the user to better understand the topic but be sure to mention sources whenever you use something from another website to your own website. Once your website gets enough traffic, you can consider custom images and other media content.
Besides using media content for illustrating your articles, consider extra possibilities for sharing images and videos.
You can create infographics or explanatory images for different ideas you are trying to convey. And then share them on Pinterest
You should exploit YouTube as a traffic channel too! Create your channel and share video guides, backstage info about your product, organize free online webinars to attract new users. You’ll have to promote your videos using online communities that can be potentially interested in your topics.
Getting traffic to your site with no investment is not a far-fetched dream only big websites can achieve. Once you create something that provides real value to the user, Google will ensure you get proper visibility. However, in 2019 and beyond, you need to optimize your website so that your website becomes visible among the crowd and SEO is a way to do just that! With a bit of effort and patience, you can leverage SEO and start driving traffic to your website with 0 money. Well, yeah, almost.