Guest article by Ryan Robinson.
So you’ve finally launched your website, or maybe you’ve recently taken the reins as your company’s lead marketer. Now, it’s time to figure out the most effective (and least expensive) ways to drive website traffic, so that you can begin building relationships with those new readers—and attract more qualified leads for your company.
Over the past four years, I’ve gone from stumbling around with learning how to start a blog, to now bringing in over 2 Million readers to my website in the past year alone.
I say this not to boast, but to show you I have real experience when it comes to driving qualified traffic and generating leads, both for my own blog and for dozens of client companies—with overwhelming success.
Pulled from exactly what’s working best today in driving 250,000+ monthly readers to my blog, here are eight smart ways to generate leads from your website:
8 Smart Ways to Drive Website Traffic and Generate Leads
Let’s get into it!
1. Commit to Creating Transformational Content.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “it’s easier to sell gold than it is to sell rocks”? Well, when you’re going up against established competitors who’ve already been creating digital content and building a brand for years, you can’t afford to try and peddle rocks.
In the beginning, it’s tempting to create a high volume of articles at the expense of depth. However, you’ll often end up churning out the same recycled 500-1,000-word advice articles offering a similar 10 quick steps to achieving XYZ. Not only is there no shortage of that content, but it’s the last thing that’s going to make you stand out from the crowd and make a lasting impression. It’s not transformational.
If you instead go for depth in your content, rather than breadth of topics, a promotion will become much easier. Look at what everyone in your niche is publishing—then if you show up to the 500-word post party with a 5,000-word step-by-step guide that actually helps people, your readers will notice. You’ll not only have a much greater chance of selling people on the quality of your content, but it’ll also be more likely to go viral and search engines will rank it higher since it’s more in-depth, thus rewarding you with more leads over time.
2. Nail Your On-Page SEO.
Learning best practices of using target keywords and phrases should be a top early priority with your website if you hope to rank well in search engines.
Not only should you be using your target keyword (the search phrase you’re looking to rank for) in the headline, throughout the article, and in your image file names, there are a lot of other best practices to get familiar with, like making your URL SEO-friendly and using keyword synonyms. There’s a lot to learn.
If you want some help, consider installing a WordPress plugin like Yoast SEO on your blog. Yoast is a tool that guides you through the steps of optimizing your page with a wizard that tests your page and asks you questions about your keyword.
3. Optimize Your Content for Strategic Keywords.
If your site already has a high domain authority (DA), you don’t have to worry about this step as much. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, domain authority is a search engine ranking score that ranges from 1 to 100, and it predicts how well the site will rank in result pages—it’s based on age, popularity, and size.
Your brand new website will have a ranking of around 1 (sorry), while sites like Facebook and Google have rankings more like 100. As you get bigger and better, your DA score will get higher.
Because your site likely has a really low score, you’ll want to start targeting relevant keywords and phrases—but don’t immediately aim for the most competitive terms like “business ideas” because you’ll never make meaningful progress toward that goal. Instead, aim for long-tail keyword phrases, like “best side business ideas”.
4. Guest Posting (the Smart Way).
There are a lot of different avenues you can go with this one, and I’ve tried quite a few different methods. The first is finding related bloggers in your field and reaching out to see if they’ll accept a guest post from you on a related topic. Understand, however, that the majority of popular bloggers receive dozens of pitches each week, so be sure to carefully craft your outreach approach and focus on providing value to them first, before asking for a guest post in return.
For example, if you’re hoping to publish a guest post on a major design blog about pitching design sprints (because your business is facilitating sprints), don’t immediately make your ask in the first conversation—instead, reach out with a helpful suggestion, piece of advice, or offer a creative work trade that gets them more interested in wanting to build a relationship with you.
Naturally, there will be some trial and error with this approach, because you’ll get a lot of rejections and non-responses in the early days, but reaching an already established audience of potential readers in your niche can really pay off in dividends.
Another tack you can try related to guest posting is to publish on a more community-focused site with a different sort of established audience—like Medium or Quora. I’ve personally used Quora to drive website traffic by simply sharing my answers to questions with a lot of search volume, by quickly rewriting portions of content I’ve already published on my blog—getting more use out of the articles I’ve already taken the time to write.
5. Publish Quote Round-ups.
When I’m doing research for an article I’m going to write—say for example my recent breakdown of the best small business CRMs—I’ll send emails to influencers who are authorities in the area I’m writing about. I’ll then ask each influencer for a quote to include in the article, and either compile a list-style article that breaks down their advice or use their quotes to support the broader story I’m illustrating in the piece.
For more inspiration, here are a few examples of successful quote roundup posts I’ve written over the past year:
- 8 Entrepreneurs Share Best Advice for Starting a Side Business
- 25 Ways to Be More Productive: Genius Productivity Hacks from Top Entrepreneurs
- 112 Motivational Quotes to Hustle You to Be a Better Entrepreneur
Don’t worry too much about non-responses or rejections during your outreach, because as long as a few write back, you’ll have a solid contribution for a type of article that’s very naturally designed to attract a lot of shares on top social media platforms.
And because the article’s contributors are authority figures, it not only lends the piece credibility but if they happen to share the post, it’ll get that much more additional exposure to their audience as well.
6. Interview Thought Leaders in Your Industry.
This is one of my favorite ways to connect with other bloggers and entrepreneurs, chat with them, build a relationship, promote their story (and projects) to my audience—and usually learn quite a lot from them in the process.
Today, I feature the interviews I conduct on my podcast, The Side Hustle Project and on YouTube, but before I launched the show, I’d simply take to writing up a post for my blog, sharing the highlights, takeaways, and advice from our conversations.
When new podcast episodes air, most of my guests are excited to share their episode with their audience, thus increasing the exposure for my own blog where their followers come to tune in to the episode.
7. Secure a Publication Column.
For this strategy, the most important thing to keep in mind is that your goal should be finding a publication with an established base of relevant readers and landing a column to share your advice & experience on.
It doesn’t have to be a massive name-brand publication like Forbes or Entrepreneur either—which will be incredibly difficult to land in the beginning with your website unless you’ve already achieved something notable.
Instead, what you should focus on at this stage, is finding smaller industry-specific publications that fit with your style, niche, and audience. For example, if your content tends to cover more engineering-focused subjects like how to create technical documentation, then you’d want to stick to pitching tech publications like Computerworld, CIO, TechRadar and others in the space your readers already spend their time online.
This more nuanced approach will help you build your brand in the right channels, get connected with interested readers, drive more qualified traffic, look great for networking opportunities, and most importantly increase your website’s domain authority.
8. Host Joint Webinars.
This is a very creative way to actively connect with the audiences of other related brands and influencers in your space—getting together for a thirty or sixty-minute live webinar to chat, educate, and generate new leads.
To put together a webinar, begin by choosing a subject that you’re interested in, knowledgeable about, and has a direct connection to the topics covered on your website. Next, you’ll need to iron out the logistics (and tech tools) for hosting the webinar, including the creation of your partner list and sending outreach invitations that’ll convince them your webinar is a worthy time investment. Then once you have partner’s on board, it’s time to start promoting the event.
The best part about webinars is that everyone involved brings some of their own audience, and you can get a message in front of new potential readers. As an added bonus, webinars can also be used with great success in your go to market plan when you’re ready to release a new product or service to your readers, so it’s great to start practicing this tactic early on.
Capturing Leads on Your Website
Once you begin to drive website traffic, your next mission is to make sure you’re actually building an email list of subscribers who want to learn more about your product, inquire about your service offerings, follow along with the content you’re releasing, or otherwise keep in touch with your brand.
Building an email list all starts with asking your readers to subscribe because if you never ask, they won’t take the extra step to join. Luckily, AddThis has a suite of free list building tools you can install and begin collecting email subscribers in a matter of minutes.
Whether through a combination of popups, sliders, banners, discounts or other free downloadable pieces of content like my free in-depth blogging course, what’s important is that you’re offering something in exchange for website readers giving you their email address—and continuing to provide value long after they opt-in to your messaging.
Ryan Robinson is a blogger, podcaster and side project aficionado that teaches more than 2 Million yearly readers how to start and grow a profitable side business on his blog, ryrob.com.
Last modified: December 5th, 2018