How to Increase Website Traffic – Beginner´s Guide to free traffic
Have you struggled to increase your website traffic, even though you’ve tried every “method” out there?
No matter what you do, your website traffic numbers don’t budge…
And your website doesn’t make enough money.
Well, I have some good news…
You DON’T need to be an expert at copywriting or SEO to increase your website traffic.
I’ll walk you through the whole process in a moment, but first… Why is getting traffic so dang hard?
The problem: most likely, you’re focusing on the wrong metrics and reading the wrong content…
You see, there’s a lot of content out there about how to increase website traffic. Some of it old, some of it okay, but none of it really that actionable…
Here is what’s lacking: a proven system. One that you can implement with your website right now, and see your website traffic skyrocket in a matter of weeks (or even less).
When you have the right system, it’s really not that difficult to increase website traffic.
At that point, it’s just about following the right steps and BOOM – before you know it you’ll see exponential growth in your traffic numbers.
So, what system am I referring to? It’s the same system that I (and many others) have already used to increase website traffic.
The system is comprised around three steps:
Step #1: Optimize Your Website Content (jump to step 1)
This is the foundation of the system. If you want to truly increase website traffic, you first need to make sure your website content is optimized. Otherwise, the traffic will be fleeting and only temporary.
Step #2: Crush It With Social Media (jump to step 2)
Once your website is prepared for more traffic, you must start driving traffic to it! You’ll discover how to do this with the unique social media strategies we’ll outline.
Step #3: Master Content Outreach (jump to step 3)
Social media is only one part of the puzzle. You must also get your content in front of new audiences. You’ll discover how to do this as well (even if you don’t have hours of extra time to write guest post after guest post)…
How’s all this sound? Let’s jump in and get started with the system!
Step 1: Optimize Your Website Content
1. Know Your Current Traffic Statistics
Before you start growing your website traffic, you need to know your current traffic stats. This is your baseline. From here, you can see how your efforts are affecting your traffic growth.
So, make sure you have your Google Analytics tracking code set up. (If you don’t have it set up yet, do it now).
Once you have at least a few days of traffic under your belt, check your website traffic report on Google Analytics.
Here are some of the most important metrics you should note:
- Unique visitors
- Pages per visit
- Average time on site
- Bounce rate
- Traffic sources (direct, search, and referral)
- Exit pages
2. Check Website Traffic Often
You’ve probably heard of the old saying, “What gets measured, gets managed.”
Well, it’s true! You’ll be testing new traffic strategies, and you need to know how they’re performing.
So, check your website traffic often – at least a few times a week. This way, you’ll know what’s working, and what’s not, and you can double down on the good stuff to maximize your traffic growth.
3. Create a Better Content Marketing Strategy
Here’s where many businesses fall off the tracks. They either don’t have a content marketing strategy, or if they do, it’s seriously off the mark.
You can try all the SEO hacks, but without a solid content marketing strategy, you’ll be wasting your time.
So, how do you create a better content marketing strategy? Before we get into that, let’s talk about the types of content that should be included in your strategy:
A good content marketing strategy has a mix of all these different types of content. Now, as for your actual strategy…
It should include the following elements:
1) The primary goal of your content (i.e. Increase traffic, generate leads, etc.)
2) Your audience, defined (i.e. Who are they? What are their biggest pain points? How can you help them through your content?)
3) How you plan to add value and set your content apart from the competition
4) Frequency of posting
5) Content amplification (i.e. How will you get your content in front of more eyeballs?)
4. Write More Compelling Blog Headlines
A compelling headline is what sells the content. If you want your content to be read – and also to rank in search engines – then great headlines are key.
Now, there are two things you must optimize for with your headlines: Social traffic and search traffic.
To do so, your headlines should have the right keywords, the right length, and also be compelling enough for social media users to click on them.
To find the right keywords, use Google Keyword Planner. Plug in some possible search terms for your blog post idea. For example, if you’re writing a post about how to quit your job, you can plug in terms like, “How to quit your job,” “How to quit your 9-5 job,” “How to quit your job and travel,” and perhaps even “How to become an entrepreneur.”
Here are the results of that query:
From here, you know that “How to quit your job” and “How to become an entrepreneur” get the two highest average monthly searches, and you can choose which to include in your title.
From there, you can use some of these compelling headline templates so that the title is also compelling for social media:
(Note: just try and keep your title under 70 characters so it doesn’t get cut off in Google Search.)
- “How X Can do X” (i.e. “How Employees Can Quit Their Jobs and Become Entrepreneurs”)
- “X People/Things Who Are Doing X” (i.e. “15 Brands Who Are Crushing It on Instagram”)
- “How to Do X (Even If [Obstacle])” (i.e. “How to Start Investing [Even if You Don’t Have Tons of Money Saved Up]”)
- “How to X” (i.e. “How to Get More Followers on Instagram”)
And here are some general tips for writing better headlines:
- Use list posts (i.e. “10 Ways to Do X in Record Time”)
- Ask a question
- Create curiosity
- Create a sense of urgency
- Aim to trigger emotion in the reader
- Use alliteration occasionally
- Use power words
- Make the value as clear as possible
5. Write Better Content
A great content marketing strategy with catchy headlines won’t matter if you don’t have compelling content. Any readers who come to your site will just bounce out immediately – and that will make for an ugly traffic report.
So, how do you write more compelling content?
You can start by infusing these hacks into your writing…
Hack #1: Hook readers in from the beginning. People have low attention spans. If you don’t have a compelling “hook” at the beginning of your blogs, people will click off in seconds. You can hook them in by teasing the benefits of the article (see the intro to this article for example!), telling a story, or stating a common problem that your audience faces.
Hack #2: Use shorter paragraphs. Avoid long paragraphs and huge blocks of text. The more scannable your content, the better. So, try to keep paragraphs under 5-6 lines (ideally 2-3).
Hack #3: Read your writing aloud when editing. What looks good on paper doesn’t always sound good. So, by reading your content aloud, you can discover clunky phrases – and any errors will jump out to you.
Hack #4: Tell more stories. Stories connect with us emotionally and drive us to take action. Add stories into your content to prove arguments, hook readers in, explain a problem, and for whatever else you can think of. Stories are gold.
6. Use Eye-Catching Photos
Is a picture really worth a thousand words? We think so…
Eye-catching photos can do wonders for your traffic. They can make your blog more visually appealing so readers stay on your site longer, and they also make your content more shareable on social media.
In a study by Socialbakers, researches found that images on Facebook constituted 93% of the most engaging posts, compared with all other status updates.
When you combine your title with a strong image, you give it the best opportunity to generate traffic and clicks.
The best part? You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars paying for stock photos. You can use free stock photo sites like Unsplash to find hundreds of eye-catching images (without having to spend a dime).
7. Internal Linking (important!)
Internal linking refers to adding links from one page on your website to another page on your website. This can mean you’re adding links from one blog post to older posts, or from certain pages to other pages.
Most websites don’t use internal linking nearly enough. Sure, you shouldn’t overdo it with 40-50 internal links in each blog post – but there is a happy medium.
Why bother with internal linking? These types of links are useful because they help your readers navigate your website, help improve the search rank of the pages you link to, and help define the architecture and hierarchy of your website.
Here’s how you can get the most out of internal linking:
- Create more content. The more quality content you create, the more quality content you can link to. It’s really that simple.
- Use the right anchor text. Using our previous example: if you wanted to internally link to the “how to quit your job” blog post, you can write a sentence in another blog, like “Once you know [how to quit your job], you can start a business and travel the world.” In this case, the reader has a compelling case for clicking on the link because of both the anchor text (“how to quit your job”) and the context of the sentence. There is a clear benefit from clicking the link.
- Link to relevant content. Don’t link for the sake of linking – always link to content that will add to your readers’ experience.
- Don’t overdo it. Anywhere from 5-10 internal links can be used in a 1,000-word blog post. Any more than that and you’ll overdo it.
8. Conduct a Content Audit
What if you could delete and third of your content, and yet triple your website traffic? Well, that’s exactly what Todd Tresidder did.
He conducted a content audit, deleted a third of his content, and saw a massive increase in traffic.
You see, when you’ve had a website for several years, you can start running into problems like redundant and irrelevant content that no longer matches up with your message.
By conducting a content audit, you can solve these problems.
A content audit can also improve your SEO ranking. Think about it: quality is the new SEO. Google wants the best quality experience for their users, and by conducting a content audit, you signal that you’re trying to deliver the highest quality experience.
So, how do you conduct a content audit? Before we get into it, here’s what you need to do first…
Go through your entire archive of content and put it into a spreadsheet – every page and every post. Check off and categorize each one according to one of four categories:
1) Keep (good content that will stay on your site)
2) Improve (it’s on-brand, but needs updating)
3) Consolidate (for example, short content on a similar subject can be combined into a single post)
4) Remove (delete because it’s irrelevant or off-brand)
From there, use this step-by-step for conducting the content audit:
Step #1: Edit and improve the content in the “Keep” and “Improve” categories. Consider creating lead magnets for higher traffic articles.
When analyzing this content, use the following criteria:
- Is the formatting on point?
- Are the images SEO friendly?
- Is the writing quality up to par?
- Is it easy to scan and read?
- Is the title optimized for search engines AND social media?
- Are the affiliate links correct?
- Are there enough internal links? Can older posts link to newer posts?
For posts that you update and consolidate, make sure to delete older comments that are no longer relevant, so as not to confuse readers.
Step #2: Consolidate the shorter, similar blogs into new blog posts.
You’ll probably have several groups of similar posts to consolidate. Once you consolidate them, you should:
1) Choose the most popular blog post of the consolidation grouping.
2) 301 redirect all of the other blog URLs of the consolidation group to the URL of the most popular blog.
(Note: A 301 redirect is a way to send users and search engines to a different URL than the one they originally requested. The redirect saves 90-99% of the link juice to the redirected page. Implementation of the 301 redirect depends on your web hosting – so contact your host for how to do this.)
Step #3: Delete content from the “Remove” category.
Simply delete the content you no longer see fit for your site!
Now, the content audit isn’t an easy process. But if you put in the work and actually do it, you can see some great results with your traffic numbers. So, we highly recommend giving it a shot.
Step 2: Crush It With Social Media
9. Share Your Content the Right Way
In terms of how to get traffic to your website, social media is the next big key. You need to make sure you share your content the right way so that you get highest increase in traffic.
Here are some tips for sharing your content so that you get the most engagement, shares, and traffic:
Tip #1: Optimize for each platform
Social media posts appear differently on different platforms. So, you need to optimize your posts so that each can be eye-catching and shareable.
For example, for Facebook, a great post constitutes the following:
- A high quality photo (like we talked about earlier)
- Quality description (according to a study by TrackMaven, posts with 80+ words get 2X as much engagement
- A compelling link description underneath the photo
Do your research and learn how to optimize your posts for the other social media platforms as well, so you can get a higher amount of shares, engagement, and traffic.
Tip #2: Create a sharing schedule
How often are you sharing content on social media? That’s where a sharing schedule comes into play. This schedule helps keep you organized, so you’re not over-sharing or under-sharing your content.
Your schedule should answer the following questions:
- Which social messages are sent immediately after publishing content? For which platforms?
- Which messages are sent the next day?
- Which messages are sent in a month? Two months?
With a consistent schedule, you won’t have to scramble every time you post new content. You’ll know exactly which platforms to post on and when to post.
Tip #3: Don’t be spammy
If a post doesn’t pick up steam the first time you share it, don’t try to keep reposting it the same way.
This is spammy behavior and will turn your audience away if you keep doing it.
Instead, aim for a good mix of social media content – share blog posts and videos, as well as content from other influencers, and also share other interesting and value-adding statuses.
Tip #4: Add sharing buttons to your website
Sharing your content out the right way is important – but an added bonus is if you can get your audience to share it straight from your website. To do that, you need some easy social sharing buttons.
There are plenty of free social media share buttons on WordPress. Select the one you like best, and place the share buttons directly below your articles.
Tip #5: Post during peak hours
According to Hubspot, here are the best times to post to the biggest social media platforms:
(Note: Snapchat isn’t listed here, but you should be posting throughout the day on that platform!)
- Facebook: Weekends between 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.; Wednesdays between 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays between 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
- Twitter: Mondays through Fridays between 12:00 – 3:00 p.m.; Wednesdays between 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
- LinkedIn: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at: 7:30 – 8:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Plus, Tuesdays between 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
- Pinterest: Evening hours everyday and 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.; Fridays at 5:00 p.m.; Saturdays from 8:00 – 11:00 p.m.
- Instagram: Anytime Monday through Thursday, except between 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
10. Dominate With Quora
Dominating with Quora is one of the best ways to become an authority in your industry and increase your website traffic.
If you haven’t used Quora yet, here’s a quick synopsis of the platform from its founder, Adam D’Angelo:
“Quora connects you to everything you want to know about. Quora aims to be the easiest place to write new content and share content from the web. We organize people and their interests so you can find, collect and share the information most valuable to you.”
The format is quite simple: People ask questions, and you post answers. And if you post good answers with relevant links back to your site, you can receive a big boost in traffic.
Here’s how can you start dominating with Quora:
1) Open a Quora account. Go to Quora.com and create an account.
2) Create and optimize Your Bio. Your bio is what people see when they click your profile. So, optimize it by adding a few sentences about yourself and your experience in your industry, as well as a link to your website.
3) Select relevant categories. Quora offers thousands of categories for you to choose from. Choose carefully, because your Quora feed will be filled with questions based on these categories. Aim to add at least 10-15 relevant categories.
4) Search for great questions. This is key. The better the question, the better the chance your answer will go viral and bring you thousands and thousands of visitors. What constitutes a great question? Look for the following:
- Correct grammar
- Nice formatting (i.e. bold, italics, etc. Not just a giant block of hard-to-read text)
- Relevance to your industry
- Are fairly new (don’t have any great answers yet)
5) Post strong answers. You must follow up those great questions with strong answers of your own. Here’s how you can write a strong Quora answer:
- Use the first few lines to hook them in. Users can only see the first 3-4 lines in their feed, so you need to hook them from the beginning so they’ll click on your answer.
- Tell stories. Some of the best Quora answers contain personal stories of beating obstacles and figuring out problems
- Use correct grammar and formatting. If your answer isn’t scannable and easy to read, users probably won’t bother reading it.
- Add relevant links back to your site. Throughout your answer, sprinkle a few relevant links back to your website. The more relevant they are to the question, the more clicks and traffic they will generate. You can also end your answers with a link to your lead magnet, concluding with something like: “Want to know more about how to start a business? Check out my free checklist with 10 steps for starting your first business!” and link to the lead magnet (in this example, the checklist).
Used right, Quora can be a powerful traffic generator for your website. And unlike most other social media, a viral Quora answer can generate steady traffic to your website for a year or more. So, make sure not to overlook this platform.
11. Post and Promote on Reddit!
Reddit is another powerful, yet underused social media platform that can increase website traffic. If you can find where your audience hangs out on Reddit, and deliver the right content, you can generate tens of thousands of visits literally overnight.
(That’s right – you don’t have to hit the Reddit front page to make a big impact!)
So, how do you find your customers on Reddit and promote your content the right way?
Use this 2-step strategy:
Step #1: Find Your Relevant Subreddits
1) Once you go to Reddit.com, use the search box in the top right hand corner of the screen.
2) Search for a relevant keyword and hit “enter”.
3) From here, you’ll find a list of subreddits related to the keyword. Skim through each one and subscribe to those you think are a good match.
4) Repeat this process for the most relevant keywords related to your business.
Got it? These will be your target subreddits. These are the places your audience hangs out on Reddit.
Step #2: Post and Add Value
Once you know your target subreddits, it’s time to start posting.
(Note: before you post in a subreddit, make sure to look at the posting rules for that subreddit on the right sidebar.)
You should include a few elements in your posting strategy:
1) Answers questions and respond to comments in popular threads. This will build your reputation.
2) Post a link to one article per week in the most relevant subreddit (if you can get 100-200+ upvotes on the link, you can expect upwards of 2,000-3,000 visits depending on the subreddit)
3) Always focus on adding value. Balance your links with good advice so you don’t appear spammy.
4) Mix it up. Don’t just submit links to Reddit. Switch it up and add text versions of your blog posts or advice, then, add a link to your post at the end.
5) Post at the right time. Let’s say you want to post in the r/Entrepreneur/ subreddit, but there’s already a post in the #1 spot with 200 upvotes, and it was posted 4 hours ago. If you post then, you probably won’t overtake that #1 spot, and you’ll get less traffic. However, if you wait a day, check back, and see that the new #1 spot only has 12-15 upvotes, then you have a golden opportunity. It will be much easier for you to hit the #1 spot and get hundreds of upvotes.
Step 3: Content Outreach
12. Use Republishing to Get Featured on Large Websites
Your website and social media are optimized, but you still need the final step: get your content in front of new audiences.
One of the best ways to do that is to get your content republished on large publications. This is ideal because you won’t have to spend hours writing tons of guest posts every month – and you can also get the link juice from large publications with high rankings.
Now, you may have heard the myth that republishing is bad for SEO. However, Matt Cutts, Google’s “Head of webspam” dispelled this myth. In reference to republishing content, he said, “I wouldn’t stress about this unless the content that you have duplicated is spammy or keyword stuffing.”
So, you’re in the clear here.
As for how to get your content republished on larger publications, it’s a simple process:
Step #1: Find large publications in your industry that republish content.
Large publications have huge content needs. So, if they allow republishing, and you have good, relevant content, then you’ve got a good shot.
With a simple search through their “contribute,” “write for us,” or “guest posting” page, you can see if they allow republished content.
So, find 5-10 large publications in your industry and start this process.
Here are a few publications that republish content to get you started:
- Huffington Post
- The Next Web
- The Verge
Step #2: Choose relevant content for the publication
What type of tone, style, and content is the publication looking for? Which one of your content pieces matches up with this tone, style, and content?
If you don’t have any content that matches up exactly, you can tweak it to make it a better fit.
Step #3: Pitch the Publication
Your pitch is key. It’s best practice to submit an original piece of content first, so you get your foot in the door before pitching content from your site.
So, you should always be networking and trying to connect with influencers. The more influencers and connections you have, the easier it will be to get published on the larger publications.
As for the actual pitch, here’s how to do it right:
- Craft a strong subject line
- Make sure to pitch the right editor
- A reference to a personal connection (if possible)
- A quick explanation of how your content will add value to their audience
- A link to the content (or a Word doc)
Step #4: Prepare your content
Once your pitch is accepted, you need to prepare your content for republishing. Here’s a process you can follow:
- Review and follow the site’s publishing guidelines
- Aim to include 3-4 backlinks to your blog posts, as well as a bio with a link to a lead magnet (if you have one)
- Change the title (so Google doesn’t get confused when ranking the posts)
With this strategy, you can get 3-4+ posts a month republished, without much extra work on your part. And these can bring you a ton of traffic.
13. Get More Guest Posts With This Outreach Strategy
It’s nice to get your content republished, but you should still write 2-3 guest posts a month (or more, if possible). Guest posting helps improve your SEO rank, and it also introduces your content to new audiences.
Now, when it comes to guest posting, the outreach email is very important. But we have an outreach strategy that works well, and we recommend you try it out.
Here’s the basic format:
1) Introduce yourself and explain that you’re a huge fan of their work. Reference something you learned from a specific blog post, ideally one that is a few months old.
2) Explain aside from thanking them for the awesome content, you’re also reaching out because you’re interested in writing a guest post for them. Tell them you have 4 ideas you think their audience would love based on some of their most popular articles.
3) From here, go to Buzzsumo and type in their URL. Then, take a screenshot of their top results. Here’s an example below using Entrepreneur.com:
4) Send 4 related guest post ideas that are somewhat related to these most shared topics on Buzzsumo (include the title and a 1 sentence explanation for each idea).
5) Explain that you know they’re busy, and that you can write everything up and sent it in one Word document. Also explain that you’ll handle all the editing as well, so it’s all super easy for them.
6) Close it out by promising that it will be engaging content that their audience will love, and asking, “What do you think?”
7) Sign off with your name and website URL
That’s it! That’s all it takes to get more traffic.
You no longer have to wonder about how to increase website traffic.
If you take action and use this proven system, you will get more traffic to your website – and that traffic will stick around for the long haul.
To recap, here is the three-step system:
Step #1: Optimize Your Website Content
Step #2: Crush It With Social Media
Step #3: Master Content Outreach
Interested in getting your visitors back to your website? Build an email list. Here are couple of well-known email marketing software that I recommend using.
You now have all the action steps. So, start putting this system to work and take your website to the next level.