Kevin Costner certainly wasn’t talking about websites when he uttered the famous line, “if you build it, they will come.” Building site traffic is both hard and takes time. You may have the world’s best (and fully optimized) website, but what happens if people aren’t visiting it? To help solve that problem, we’ve put together a list of five surefire ways to boost site traffic.
1. Guest Blog
Guest blogging is one of the best ways to gain visibility and traffic for your website. When done right, it not only helps promote your site and increase visitors, it also helps with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to boost your site’s visibility in unpaid search.
The first step to guest blogging is finding blogs you’d like to contribute to. Whether through a Google search or social media, this has gotten a lot easier:
- In Google, you can search your industry + the term “popular blogs.”
- Using Twitter, you can monitor hashtags or search Twitter lists to identify some of the more active participants in your space, and then see if they have blogs.
- Or you can identify influencers in your industry through tools like Topsy and Buzzsumo, and then research where they’re currently posting their blog content.
Perfecting Your Pitch
Now that you’ve got a targeted list of blogs, it’s time to make contact. You’ll want to look through their site to see if they have any information about guest posting. You may find a pitch form online or you may find nothing.
If there’s nothing on their site about guest submissions, email them a pitch letter. Your pitch letter should be no more than two paragraphs and should include:
- A Greeting: I’m a fan of your blog and this is why.
- A Request: I would love the opportunity to contribute a guest post to your blog.
- Reasons to Consider Me: Here is why you should say yes.
Be honest and use your own words, although if you’re tapped out of ideas, then check out these examples of guest blog pitches for inspiration. Once you send your query email, give it a week, and if you don’t hear back, reach out again. Putting yourself out there’s hard and nobody likes rejection, but it’s better than never trying.
Writing the Guest Post
After all the research and reaching out you’ve done, writing the blog post is the easy part. When you write your post, make sure you provide value. Don’t just write a sales pitch; instead, aim to create a learning piece that will teach readers something new and have them wanting more.
Make sure to include links throughout your post to relevant content on your site. Don’t go overboard—but try to identify 3-5 link opportunities throughout the piece. Including links to your site will help drive traffic and provide enormous SEO value.
Lastly, include a call to action (CTA), a one or two sentence blurb at the bottom of the post that tells the reader exactly what you want them to do next. If you have a newsletter, encourage readers to sign up for it. If you don’t have a newsletter, use a different CTA such as encouraging readers to comment. Not sure what you want readers to do? Check out this list of CTA examples for ideas. Whichever method you choose, keep in mind that the goals are relationship-building and engagement.
2. Engage on Social Media
With nearly 1.7 billion people active in a social network, there’s no doubt that social media is an incredible way to drive traffic and promote your site.
Define Your Strategy
The first step is to create a strong social media strategy. Your strategy should define your goals, the social media platforms that are best aligned to help you achieve those goals, and the types of content you’ll need for each social media platform.
With your strategy, you’ll want to develop an editorial calendar — that’ll help you with consistency and accountability — as well as a process for reporting and optimizations.
Participate in Conversations
The world is ever-changing and so are popular, trending conversations on social media. Stay current on what’s relevant and participate when you can add value to the conversation.
One way of doing this is through trendjacking. Trendjacking is when you connect your brand to a hot or trending topic in order to make it more relevant to the marketplace. When done well, you can create attention for your brand and drive increased traffic to your website.
However, make sure you’re adding value and using good timing. When done inappropriately, trendjacking can really hurt your brand. Consider the social-media fallout of the Epicurious tweets after the Boston Marathon bombings.
With consistent participation and an acknowledgement of what’s going on, trendjacking can be a fun way to stay current and participate in social conversations.
Just as with blogs, you’ll want to also identify and engage with relevant social media influencers. When you find your influencers—through hashtag monitoring, twitter lists, or tools like BuzzSumo — aim to connect regularly. You can do this by mentioning them, commenting on their posts, or retweeting.
Do the same for your engaged followers. Make sure you’re responding to mentions and comments across your social media channels.
By putting yourself out there you’re making more people aware of your existence, which is exactly what you need if you want to drive traffic to your website.
Use Images to Increase Engagement
With all of the noise and congestion on social media, it’s hard to grab your audience’s attention. That’s why you should absolutely make it a rule of thumb to accompany every social media post with a catchy creative. Consider using a funny meme, a flawlessly designed infographic, or a stunning photo.
However, what’s important here is that it’s not just about including a creative asset, it’s about getting people to engage with your post. And there a few tips and trick you can use to do this:
- Tag a Friend: Share a photo and ask followers to comment and tag a friend to share the event with.
- Offer exclusive discounts and promotions.
- Use a strong CTA (and try to limit it to just one).
- Provide a sneak peak that has them wanting more.
3. Cross-Promote Your Offerings
Cross-promotion is a form of marketing whereby customers of one product or service are targeted with a promotion for a related product or service. In other words, marketing your t-shirts to a customer who has already bought your pants. And it’s extremely effective for driving web traffic and increasing conversions.
One of the most effective tools for cross-promotion is a newsletter. Newsletters allow you to market classic products, new product lines and any discounts or promotions to individuals you know are interested in your brand. You’ve probably been on the receiving end of a similar newsletter. Ever buy something from J. Crew or Macy’s? It’s not by accident that you start receiving targeted emails advertising their new fall line or discounts on kitchen utensils.
Another tool that can help with cross-promotion—directly on your website—is AddThis Related Posts. The tool allows you to cross-promote other content on your site that is specifically targeted to each consumer’s interest and tailored to that audience member.
Cross-Promote with Other Businesses
Cross-promotion doesn’t only have to be internal, you can cross-promote with other companies. For example, a local artist and a coffee shop teaming up. The coffee shop displays the artist’s work to its patrons, who might be interested in buying the art, and the artist drives traffic to the coffee shop by letting their family, friends, and fans know that their artwork is on display.
During one holiday, GameStop and PayLess ShoeSource partnered up on a cross-promotional campaign. Shoppers at the video game retailer received coupons for shoes, while shoppers at PayLess got discount coupons for games.
It may seem like slightly more work, but cross-promotion is well worth its weight in gold.
4. Host Contests and Promotions
Another way to drive traffic to your site is through contests and special promotions. By requiring individuals to participate in the contest through their social media accounts, you exponentially increase your exposure and reach. Citizen Eco-Drive’s launched a popular social media competition in 2011 that offered free tickets to the U.S. Open every day for the length of the tournament.
Setting up a contest may seem like a whole lot of work, not worth the effort, but it doesn’t need to be. According to Mashable, all you need are five steps to set-up and run an online contest.
Perhaps a contest is just the perfect little oomph you need to increase visitors to your site.
5. Create a Referral Program
Referral programs not only help bring new users to your site, but they also help you build brand advocates.
There are quite a few ways you can design your referral program, and a couple different tools you can leverage to help out. One way to solicit referrals is through a web form such as Google Forms or WuFoo. You can share that form with current customers through email, on social media, or your website. A second option is to use the AddThis Overlay Tool. By targeting the overlay just to returning users or past customers, you can control the messaging and remind consumers of your referral program.
Don’t expect a high participation rate off the bat. You’re more than likely going to have to incentivize referrals. For example, if you refer 10 friends to Uber, you receive a $150 credit in your Uber account. Remember the more enticing the reward, the higher the level of participation. Consider breaking out your reward per person versus in bundles, for example, $5 for each referral rather than a lump amount.
The more you put yourself out there, the easier it will be to build traffic to your site. It’s definitely a lot of work and takes a significant amount of time, But when done well, it’s totally worth it. Your audience is out there, you just have to help them find you.
Not using AddThis Website tools to increase engagement and drive more traffic to your site? No better time to get started FREE!
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Last modified: August 4th, 2016