How do I get free website traffic? – said every website owner I have ever spoken to.
So you have built your shiny new WordPress website or blog and you have published some high-quality content.
Now you are scratching your head wondering how to drive lots of targetted traffic to your website for free.
The reality for most website owners when they first launch is that there will be a distinct lack of traffic, sometimes complete silence.
and I am sure it’s no surprise that traffic and visitors are the lifeblood of your website.
If this is you then you aren’t alone. We have all been there.
Most bloggers and new websites can’t even sustain 100 daily visitors let alone thousands.
The bad news is that there is no magic button or secret trick to instantly take you to thousands of hits a day.
The good news is that with the right strategy you can gradually start to increase your website traffic and provided you keep it up and double down on the formulas that work for your site and industry you can turn this into a snowball effect.
Impress your visitors and keep them coming back for more while continually bringing in unique visitors.
Here are some great ways to start bringing in new traffic for free from various sources.
Social Media Marketing
I’m sure most people reading this will already be familiar with social media marketing or at least understand what it involves.
But for those that are just getting started Social media marketing or SMM as it’s often abbreviated is the art of using social networks to drive traffic to your website or generate sales directly.
No two social networks are created equally though and each platform requires a unique strategy to generate traffic and exposure.
Since I am in the digital marketing and web development space I use or at least test the majority of the social media platforms that come around however that isn’t the advice I give to my clients.
Depending on your industry or niche you may want to use a specific combination of social platforms.
A good place to start is by looking for your known competitors on the various platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc.
Analyse how regularly they are using the platforms and how engaged the community is to see what is working and what isn’t.
Two areas to focus on in 2018 that are still great ways to generate traffic is Pinterest Marketing and Facebook Groups.
If your product is visual or creative and you can create attractive imagery then pinning these images on Pinterest is a great way to increase your visibility and generate some easy traffic.
If you collaborate with other Pinterest users and group boards then you can instantly tap into a large subscriber base without having any followers yourself.
Chances are you will be able to find Pinterest “group boards” in your niche pretty easily, some of which contain tens if not hundreds of thousands of followers.
Use PinGroupie which a great tool to help you find groups in your niche.
Follow the Group Boards and then contact the admin with a nice introduction message letting them know you would like to contribute.
Of course, you need to make sure you have a professional looking profile first.
We advise you create 10 boards, each on relevant topics within your industry and populate them with other peoples pins.
Then create a “Best of” board and gradually fill that with pins from your website’s pages or blog posts.
Two important benefits of investing time into social media that go beyond traffic and potential sales include
- The ability to use these tools to reverse engineer your competitor’s efforts
- To nurture relationships with potential customers or collaborators.
Over the past few years, Instagram has grown to become one of the major social platforms however since it’s focused on images and video you need the right kind of content to make it worthwhile.
If you have visual content to share, you should definitely be using Instagram in your social media marketing stack.
Social media should be a part of any online marketing strategy, whether you are B2C or B2B may impact which platforms you use but the bottom line is you can’t ignore social media.
Just look at the numbers in the image below to see how many people are loitering on the popular social media platforms in 2018.
If you aren’t actively promoting your website across these channels and running an omnipresent marketing strategy then you are leaving money on the table.
Content Upgrades & Freebie
People love free stuff, in fact, free is one of many power words that make people take action, what we are talking about here is giving something free as a tactic to both acquire more traffic and get more people to sign up for your email list.
Ultimately you want to make money but in the short run giving away freebies is a great way to build a relationship with your audience and get attention from your peers.
Examples of great content upgrades you can offer on your website include:
- eBooks – Doesn’t need to be the Encylopedia Britannica, even a 5 page eBook can work.
- Checklists – These are a great complimentary upgrade to a blog post. Create a checklist summary that can be downloaded as a PDF.
- Swipe Files – These basically refer to marketing templates for emails, presentations, sales funnels and other materials that involve copywriting.
- Think outside of the box – Go through your existing posts and look for opportunities to create a complementary product that will help users reading that article even more.
Some websites have even gone as far as to create free software, apps and even side businesses and websites to generate more traffic and buzz in the community.
The idea is to get users to sign up for free and give you their email in exchange for one of your free products.
You can segment your sign-ups based on the which content upgrade they opted in for, this means you can then re-target with more specific emails and promotions at a later date.
Once you have some free products to giveaway you can use social media to announce and promote it and create content on your website and even do some guest blogging to drive more traffic to the freebie.
Follow that up with email outreach to influencers or other bloggers that might find it useful and you can also build some high-quality backlinks.
And it’s all totally white hat!
You can list your new product on ProductHunt which is a fantastic website for generating buzz for apps, websites, books, software and pretty much any other kind of product but is also one of my favorite websites to browse for new tools.
The benefits here are threefold.
- More social media ammunition
- Way to increase email sign-ups
- Build backlinks from relevant websites
Bottom line, don’t spend all of your time creating content for your website, work on creating a product you can grab peoples attention with and use as a traffic and lead gen tool.
Here’s a content upgrade of mine coming right up…
Email List Building
This is a topic I go on about, but with good reason!
Despite what the hardcore social media marketers will have you believe, email marketing is alive and well and while you might not get the open rates you did 10 years ago you will still be able to nurture stronger relationships with your most serious followers.
You see, it takes more of a commitment to give someone your email address these days than to simply subscribe or follow on your favorite social media platform.
Your inbox is sanctum and you don’t just let anyone have access, so when you do you usually have a higher level of interest and commitment.
I made a mistake!
It took me way too long to appreciate the importance and power of email marketing and building an email list.
Once I did, everything got easier! EVERYTHING!
The reason was down to a few reasons.
I was able to better understand what content my subscribers wanted to see once I was able to build a better line of communication and nurture the relationships.
Once you establish trust and ask for your follower’s help, they will usually oblige and share their pain points.
When you have several thousand subscribers you can start to see the commonalities and use that to influence your content creation.
Keeping my subscribers informed of awesome new content, hot off the press via email leads to a lot more traffic returning to the website to consume more.
My email newsletter gets more visibility than any single social media network.
With social media to get visibility in the organic feeds, you need to re-publish your content multiple times to get even a fraction of your audience to see it.
When you have a product to promote, either one you have created yourself to sell or a product you are affiliated with, using email marketing is the easiest way to generate sales instantly.
Your email subscribers trust you more than your social media followers, you can send out an email to your list and have sales within a matter of hours.
Having more income from your website means you can double down on working on the areas that offer the best R.O.I whether that’s creating content or doing more outreach and marketing.
If you have been generating some traffic but you aren’t retaining the traffic or converting it into new subscribers then it may be worth doing a content audit.
Your website needs great content to give people a reason to check it out and to come back for more.
Sometimes we fall into traps of working on the wrong things and that’s nothing to be ashamed about.
In fact, failure is key to success, you have to find out what doesn’t work to know what does.
Of course, it saves you a lot of time and money by taking a leaf out of the book of those that have gone before you, the crash test dummies if you will.
If you haven’t read back through your content recently then it might be good to do an audit and ask yourself the following:
- Is it easy to read? A short and succinct intro to capture the reader’s attention and get them to continue reading?
- Are you using graphics and photos to break up the content and make it look more interesting?
- Are you breaking your content down in simple terms? Apply the Hemmingway Test and avoid being verbose.
- Is your content accessible? Are the font sizes big enough for people with poor eye-sight?
- Does your content contain paragraphs that span 6 or more lines? Consider reducing your paragraph lengths to make your content easier to digest.
- Does your website render well on small devices?
- Are the colors calm and easy to look at while reading?
- Are you using lists? Lists help people to progress through your article.
Another aspect of the content audit should include on-page SEO.
You can’t expect to bring traffic to your website organically until your website contains content targetting your ideal audience and buyer persona.
This includes ensuring your website includes relevant keywords.
One final tip I often advise clients of when it comes to content creation is to consider the difference in the impact you can have with evergreen content compared with time orientated content or ephemeral content.
Evergreen content refers to content that can stand the test of time and is relating to something that remains fairly consistent.
Time orientated or ephemeral content refers to content that is related to something that will be of little benefit to your website in the near future. This includes things like news posts, events and anything that will become irrelevant shortly after publication.
Invest more time in the kind of content that will keep working for you for years to come.
Sure you will have to do periodic content audits to freshen your content up from time to time but that’s fine and a much better investment than pumping out hundreds of medium quality or time-sensitive posts.
Quality over quality! I’ve said it before and I’ll damn well say it again.
Easy SEO Wins
How much thought have you put into your search engine optimization?
There are typically two areas of SEO.
On-Site or On Page SEO.
These are factors pertaining to your website it’self and can include:
- Content – The quality and depth of your content.
- Keyword Density (Caution, keyword density has evolved and involves a more holistic approach and the use of LSI keywords)
- Site Speed – Website speed impacts the user experience, Google puts a preference on fast loading websites.
- Site Structure – The structure of your pages and posts, how deep is the hierarchy, no pages should be more than 3 levels from the front page.
- Internal Links – Hyperlinks between relevant pages and posts on your website are a great way to show Google which content is most important.
- User Behaviour – Dwell Time and other ways of measuring how visitors use your site.
- Clean HTML Code – Poor code may be a ranking factor.
- and an ever-changing list of other factors.
and then there is Off-Site SEO.
This includes anything search engines can measure about your website externally, such as:
- Backlinks – Hyperlinks pointing to your website from other websites.
- Online Mentions – Mentions of your brand online
- Social activity – Traffic to your website from social channels. (Highly debated but good marketing practice regardless of SEO impact)
Arguably Off-site SEO is pretty much all about the backlinks, getting high-quality backlinks from other websites to point to pages on your website.
Search engine optimization is a confusing subject for some and I am going to just focus on the basics and easy wins.
If you are running your website on WordPress, and you should be then, check our WordPress SEO Tips.
This article covers lots of common mistakes people make and easy fixes to improve your On Page SEO.
Back to the easy wins.
Here’s a list of things you can get started working on straight away:
- Add some internal links pointing to your best content or where relevant.
- Apply the SEO tips in the article linked above.
- Start to build some backlinks if you haven’t already.
- Check your site speed on GTMetrix and see if you could speed it up.
- User experience and conversion rate optimization. The easier your website is to navigate the longer people will stay on the website.
That’s enough to help you make some good SEO improvements that can use to climb the rankings for your focus keywords and bring in some more traffic.
One more time for good measure…
Website Traffic Analytics
Of course, when you are working on increasing your website traffic it’s important to be able to report on your progress.
It should go without saying that you should have Google Analytics installed on your website so you can monitor your performance but it’s also important to consider a few other tips.
Install Google Search Console so you can isolate the traffic you are getting from Google search results and get a better idea of which keywords are driving the most traffic.
Use this tool called Finteza to report on your traffic and filter out any bot traffic that might be obscuring your data. You can also set filters in Google Analytics to remove any fake traffic.
Also, consider using Google Data Studio to create more advanced traffic and performance tracking.
Ready to Get More Web Traffic?
We have covered a few areas to get your new website or blog some free website traffic.
My advice is to start with the low hanging fruit, the easy wins and then work through to the more time-intensive marketing concepts.
Building up your traffic takes time, the number one reason why I see people fail is giving up too early.
Keep at it, create great content not lots of content and if you spend 2 hours creating a piece of content spend 4 hours promoting it.
Most people just create content, hit publish and expect traffic to magically pour in.
If you find you have produced a lot of good content but you aren’t really ranking in Google then evaluate your websites domain authority (DA) and consider whether you need to focus more of your time on building backlinks.
One of the best ways to build organic backlinks safely is through blogger email outreach to connect with others tactfully request backlinks and build relationships.
Don’t be that person, take your post publishing promotion seriously!