Regardless of whether you’re running an e-commerce website, blog, or even just want to create a page that is a handy resource – every website needs traffic. The more people that you’re able to channel to your website, the more likely it is to be successful and fulfill whatever goals that you may have in mind for it.
Just remember that not all traffic is equal, and what your website really needs is highly targeted traffic comprised of visitors who are interested in what it has to offer. The more specific their interest, the better–for example, if you’re running a website that sells hockey gear it is better to attract visitors already interested in buying hockey gear, as opposed to visitors who simply enjoy hockey.
Unfortunately generating traffic (particularly highly targeted traffic) is a lot easier said than done. Not only are there significant challenges involved, but the fact of the matter is that the landscape of the internet changes from year to year and what worked at one time may no longer work now.
As such it is important that your traffic generation methods are current, and here are eleven tips that can help you to improve that for 2017:
Prioritize specific social media platforms
Odds are you are fully aware of just how large a source of traffic social media can be, and you may already be trying to generate traffic from it. The trick to doing so effectively, however, is to prioritize specific social media platforms – ideally those that are popular with your target market.
Another consideration to keep in mind is that some social media are inherently better at distributing certain types of contents. For example, Instagram is great for images and short videos – whereas Twitter is good for short-form content, and Facebook represents a middle ground of sorts.
Create video content and use it to channel traffic
Simply put there is no form of content that is as engaging as videos, and that it something that you should take advantage of to channel traffic to your website. Typically that will involve publishing your video on various platforms (e.g. YouTube) and then convincing viewers to visit your website by clicking on a link.
Although most people assume that creating video content is difficult – it doesn’t have to be. With a smartphone or webcam, you should be able to cobble together a decent video, or you could opt to create a slideshow video or record footage from your screen instead.
Be more mobile-friendly
Did you know that a huge chunk of traffic nowadays consists of mobile device users? It may surprise you but effective this year almost half of all online traffic comes from mobile devices – which is why it is extremely important that you’re being mobile-friendly.
Not only should you take this into account when publishing content on social media and other platforms to generate traffic, but your website itself should have a responsive design so that it is displayed properly on differently-sized screens.
Get into guest posting
Writing content and publishing it on other blogs or websites in return for a backlink is a great way to generate traffic. The backlinks that you create will help increase your rankings on search engines, but more importantly, they will allow you to directly generate traffic from more popular blogs and websites.
It is important that you pitch articles to websites that are closely related to yours, popular, and generally well-regarded. Additionally, if you’re hoping to entice readers to visit your website the quality of your guest posts must be up to scratch.
Try to leverage smaller influencers
Even big brands nowadays have cottoned on to the power that social media influencers and some bloggers wield over their followings, and they leverage it to advertise their websites, products, and services. If possible you should do the same–just be aware that it isn’t easy.
Most of the top influencers will generally require a (sometimes hefty) fee if you want them to promote your website or products, which is why you should focus on smaller influencers instead that may be willing to do so for some sort of exchange instead. It will require time to find the right influencers and negotiate an agreement, but it could be worth your while in traffic.
Blog commenting, forum and Facebook group posts are still useful
In the past blog commenting, and posts to forums and Facebook Groups have been used to generate traffic – and they are still as relevant today as they ever were. The only caveat is that you need to choose the blogs, forums and Facebook groups that you try to use to generate traffic carefully, and don’t run afoul of any rules or guidelines they may have.
Keep in mind that when using these methods to generate traffic, you should never spam or simply try to ‘advertise’. Instead, you should engage and respond to existing conversations, and simply suggest content on your website that may be relevant to the topic at hand.
Stay current with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Needless to say, you don’t want to ignore search engines, as they are still a massive source of traffic. In fact you will want to make sure your cover all your bases in terms of SEO, and stay current with new developments.
Over the last few years, the best approach to generate traffic from search engines is to create high quality and original new content. While you want to make sure you don’t keyword-stuff the content that you publish, it does help to target a few good keywords (see below).
Constantly research new long-tail keywords to target
In most cases, short-tail keywords tend to have a lot of competition, and it is difficult to rank well for them on search engines. While you will still want to target two or three short-tail keywords, your main focus should be on long-tail keywords that have less competition instead.
Rather than simply carrying out keyword research once and finding a couple of long-tail keywords to target, it would be better if you start by listing a few, then update that list with new keywords periodically. Not only will this let you expand the range of long-tail keywords that you’re targeting, but it will also let you experiment and see which ones yield the best results.
Consider using advertising to gain an advantage
One of the best ways to generate a considerable amount of traffic quickly is by advertising – either via Google AdWords, Facebook, or any other advertising network. While many people shy away from advertising due to the fact that it does require capital, you should be able to gain far more value from the traffic that you generate.
Unlike other traffic generation methods that take time to bear fruit, advertising will provide faster results that are often able to be more targeted as well.
Diversify your traffic generation
At first, you may want to focus on just a few (i.e. two or three) methods of generating traffic, but as you progress it is important that you diversify it a bit further. The reason for this is simple: With just a few sources of traffic you are going to be extremely vulnerable to any changes that take place, and if one or more of those sources are affected it could cripple your website. On the other hand with more diverse methods of traffic generation, you’ll be able to weather any future issues and challenges more easily.
Install analytics and track all your traffic generation efforts
If you seriously want to generate more traffic, you need to track all your traffic generation efforts. By installing analytics on your website you should be able to keep tabs on how much traffic you’re able to generate, where they’re coming from, and a variety of other metrics.
The reason why you want to track all this data is that it can help you to evaluate which traffic generation methods are bearing fruit – and possibly focus on them. On top of that, it will let you evaluate any improvements that you make so that you can see how effective they truly are.
Hopefully, the eleven tips listed above will give you some ideas that you can use to improve your traffic generation for this year. While there are definitely significant challenges involved in generating traffic through any method, these tips should help you to overcome some of them and streamline your efforts so that they are more likely to be effective.
To add to the eleven tips above, there’s one more that is worth keeping in mind: Don’t give up. Although at times it may seem difficult to generate the kind of traffic that you want, and you may be tempted to throw in the towel – it is important that you persevere, evaluate your efforts, and try new approaches. So long as you keep going and keep trying new things, you’ll eventually strike gold and the traffic will start flowing in.
Will is the Executive Managing Editor at Feedster. Will and his team from Content HOW work with venture capital, marketing co-ops, and companies to attract and gain qualified leads.
His primary focus on developing a sales funnel for a company and finding out of the box / growth hacking style ways to convert and drive traffic.