Our last post listed 15 ways to drive traffic to your website including online advertising options, offline options and email marketing.
Today, we’re going to explore how you can use non-paid online promotion to get more traffic – plus how to leverage your own network and your own site.
Let’s get started.
Online content promotion
You’ve got a blog. You’ve written some fantastic posts. But if people don’t know about your site, they don’t visit. And they don’t read your fantastic content.
So think laterally. Where else can you publish content so people find it? And find you!
What about Duplicate Content?
Publishing your blog articles elsewhere tends to create duplicate content. There’s a perception that Google will penalise sites seen to have non-original material, which is not something you’d want if you’re trying to drive traffic. But it’s more perception than truth. Google knows that many sites will syndicate content. That many e-commerce businesses will use the same basic product description. They don’t all get penalised. Here’s an extract from what Google say about the issue (my highlight):
In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we’ll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved.
If you’re still concerned, consider some of the following options.
- Post highlights of your article with a link to the main article.
- Wait a little before publishing offsite. (And also before publishing a guest blog or similar on your site.)
- Include a comment “this was originally published on such and such a site” when you republish.
- Publish a snippet of the article rather than the entire post. For example, if your post is a list of five tips for something, you might want to write about one tip for another site. Call the article ‘top tip for French polishing” and then say, “This and four other tips were originally posted <here>‘, including a link to your website. Or you could publish the start of the article, then say “read on for more.”, with a link back to your site.
Now the duplicate content monster is dealt with, where can you repost your content to help drive traffic back to your website?
16. LinkedIn Posts
Everyone’s posting on LinkedIn these days. The great thing is that, if some of your network like, share or comment on your post, you get visibility within their network too. You not only drive traffic to your website, but those visitors have a small connection. They’re not hot leads, but they’re not icy cold either!
If you haven’t started, the easiest way to get there is from your home page. Just click on the ‘Write an Article’ link.
Now it’s an easy task to copy and paste your original blog post (or part of it) into LinkedIn. You will have to upload images separately, but the rest is all easy.
Once you’ve published your post, don’t forget to promote it. Go back to your home page and share an update. (Or schedule a few via Buffer.)
Medium is a kind of long-form Twitter, founded by the same people. People can and do write about anything.
As with Twitter, to get the most out of Medium, you need to be involved and interact.
SavvySME is an Australian membership site for small to medium businesses. You will need to register before you can post or view other posts.
Don’t just post though. If your market also includes small to medium business owners, complete your profile! You can also answer other people’s questions, comment on posts or even make an offer to other members – all actions which help drive traffic to your website.
Flying Solo is the ‘Solopreneur’ version of SavvySME. Once again, it’s Australian-based. And once again, you need to register to post.
20. Business 2 Community
Business 2 Community is a global ‘open community where business professionals can establish their thought leadership, increase exposure for their business/organization, and network with others.’ It is a well-respected and highly ranked site – any links from this site to yours will enhance your reputation significantly.
Content is vetted before publishing. You can submit individual articles to be published or ask for syndication of your blog. There are strict contributor guidelines.
21. Online Press Releases
There are many sites which will take a press release and distribute it online. Some charge, some are free.
This list includes Australian press release distributors, and is updated regularly.
22. Social Media
If you have social media profiles, use them!
Tell people about your content, but don’t just tell them about your content. You might want one in five or six of your social media posts to promote your site and encouraging people to click through to you. Apart from that, share useful posts from other companies – and get out and make connections. Check out this post about using social media effectively for more details.
23. Comment on other blogs and in forums
If you’re writing about a particular topic, find other blogs, discussion forums and online content on the same theme. Wherever possible, interact and communicate.
Don’t always post a link to your website if it’s not relevant. Try instead to add value.
For example, at NoBull we have a post about how to use your personas. There are a great many blog posts out there teaching you how to create a persona. There are far fewer where people say, “Once you’ve created your persona what can you do with it?” So it was very easy to reach out to ‘creating persona’ posts and say, “This is a great article. We like these particular bits of what you’ve said about building personas. However, a lot of people don’t really know what to do with their persona once they’ve done it. Here’s an article which talks about what you do with your persona and your existing content.’ So we create a link and we add value to the original post.
That’s the difference between spamming and adding value to the conversation.
Using your network
24. Reach Out to Individuals in Your Network
Consider reaching out to people you already know who are interested in your topic. Say something like “Here’s something I wrote which you might find interesting. I thought of you, I remember this about what you did.”
The more personal you make it the more likely you are to get a response. Ideally, some of these people will share your post with their community – more traffic and potentially another link to your site!
25. Reach Out to Industry Experts
An great way to combine content creation with industry networking! You do need to have a bit of cheek and the nerve to do it, but remember you don’t have to do it all the time!
Pick a topic relevant to your industry that you’d like to write about. Go out and interview industry leaders, people in your industry who know about your topic. Ask them what they think. Then create a post which lists their advice or opinions. Interview anything from 5-50 people, depending on your style and your time.
When you publish, reach out again. Tell them the post is live. Thank them for their input. Invite them to comment, or even to share the post. Now, they’re reading a post which includes their thoughts, so there’s a really high likelihood that they will be willing to promote it. This gets you more links, it increases your search ranking overall. More than that, it also gives you links from industry experts, exactly the kind of people that your target market are already reading. That’s a great opportunity to get referral traffic as well as better SEO.
Making your own site work harder
A good website with good traffic can create a virtuous circle. Traffic generates referrals, return visits, a higher ranking and so on. Overall volumes grow.
26. Load Speed
First of all, no brainer, you need your site to work technically. What that really means is you need it to load reasonably fast. Under three seconds is the rule of thumb.
If your site is not loading fast enough, half the people who click will get bored and click away before your site has even loaded. And it doesn’t matter how great your site is if they never even see it.
27. Mobile Friendliness
Secondly and closely related, have a site that looks good on a mobile. More and more web traffic is on mobile devices and smart phones. Most sites look okay on tablet but smart phones are more challenging.
On rare occasions, you may find that desktop visitors are not staying on your website either. This points to a deeper problem. There’s no point in making a website mobile-friendly unless it’s attractive or useful enough for people to spend time on it. Read this post for more information.
28. Regular Updates
Any website needs fresh content and frequent updates. It’s not just because out-of-date news on a website looks absolutely terrible.
Every time you put something up new Google knows that your site is still active. It’s not a neglected garden full of weeds – it’s cared for, cultivated, and growing. And when Google see that, they think more of your site. They rank it more highly, it shows in more search results – which helps drive traffic to your website.
A good content strategy and a solid editorial calendar can really help make this work.
29. Variety of Content Formats
You might love Chinese food but that doesn’t mean you want to eat it every single day. Everybody likes a bit of variety. It’s the same online. So try to mix things up a bit. (Confession time – this is something that NoBull Marketing could do much better!)
Some people like video. Some like pictures. Infographics are popular because they’re a light read. Other people want something long and meaty to get their teeth into. Some people who spend a lot of time in the car like a podcast that they can download and listen to.
Consider also quizzes or surveys. Maybe a light-hearted joke posting once in a while, or an end-of-year compilation of the best to date. There’s a whole range of options which just add variety.
30. Basic On-Page SEO
You need to get the basics of your on page SEO right. I wouldn’t spend hours sweating over every single little detail but do try and get the main things right.
- H1 tag
- page title
- page description
- use of keyword and semantically related keywords in other headings and in the main text of the page
- use of keyword in image filenames and alt tags
It’s also important for SEO to choose keywords you stand a chance of ranking for. But that’s a whole other blog post, yet to come.
31. Internal Links
You may have noticed a number of times I’ve referred you to previous articles on our website. Links within your own website can help increase traffic overall.
If that doesn’t make sense, consider it this way.
- Google wants to send people to sites that appear informative, interesting, and useful. They use time spent on site and number of pages visited to assess that.
- Internal links mean visitors already on your website have more places to go, more to explore. More of your pages get more exposure. Visits get longer.
- Longer visits raise your Google ranking. So you show up in more search results, higher in search results. You get more traffic.
What should you do first to drive traffic to your website?
If you use the tactics in this post to drive website traffic, you won’t necessarily pay a lot but it will cost you in time. Be aware of that and budget for the time.
Also, these more organic methods take longer to grow traffic. If you want or need to drive traffic to your website quickly, go for paid advertising.
Paid advertising turns the tap on fast. But when you stop paying, the tap turns off.
For a long term business the more organic, non-paid methods will probably work better. They take longer to implement but once something’s up there and working, if you have a referral, it doesn’t go away when you stop paying for it.
Compare it to dining.
- Your paid advertising is like getting take away. It’s there immediately but if you stop paying for it it’s gone.
- Your on page SEO and setting up your site right is about having a conveniently organized, well stocked kitchen where you can deliver up a wide variety of meals that people like. It takes a bit of time, and you need to maintain it over time too. But it’s more affordable than eating out every night.
- Your off page SEO, all your promotion and networking is pretty much about inviting guests. No matter how great your kitchen is and how great your cooking is if you never invite the guests, nobody comes. And in just the same way, if you have on-page SEO but no off-page SEO, nobody comes.
Most of us get by with a mix of takeaway, eating quietly at home and having lots of guests. Website traffic is the same. You need to get the right mix for you!
Hope that gives you some ideas. If you’d like to work out which are the right ones to put together for you, let’s have a chat. Remember, the first meeting is free and there’s no obligation at all.