So you’ve launched a blog. Now it’s time to learn how to drive traffic to your website, and build relationships with those new readers.
If you want proven strategies for how to drive traffic to your startup’s website or company blog, then you’ve come to the right place. Over the past four years, I’ve gone from fumbling around with learning how to start a blog, to now bringing in nearly 2 million readers to my website in the past year alone.
I say this not to brag, but to show you that I actually know what I’m talking about when it comes to driving traffic. And to prove that I’ve been putting my traffic driving strategies to use, both for my own blog and for dozens of clients—with overwhelming success.
Now, before we dive in, the purpose here isn’t to be a comprehensive step-by-step guide or instruction manual for driving traffic to your website—it’s a compilation and brief explanation of all the most effective types of traffic strategies that are working well today.
Think of this not as a guaranteed roadmap to success, but as an introduction for you to go and dive deeper into each strategy—expecting to soon invest in a lot of experimentation and creativity to learn, adapt and apply these tactics to your website.
Most of all, strive to aim for depth on a few strategies, not breadth of a dozen all at the same time. When a strategy is starting to show positive signs, dig deep and prioritize executing that strategy so that it can live up to its full potential.
Pulled straight from exactly what’s working best today in driving 250,000 plus monthly readers to my blog, here are 10 proven ways to drive traffic to your website:
10 proven ways to drive traffic to your website
1. Invest in creating share-worthy content
Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s easier sell gold than it is to sell rocks”? Well, no website starts out as minted gold right off the bat, so make sure you’re not trying to peddle rocks.
In the beginning, a lot of websites try to create useful blog content for their audience, but end up churning out all the same 500 to 1,000-word articles offering the “10 quick steps to achieving xyz.” Not only is there no shortage of that content, it’s the last thing that’s going to make you stand out from the crowd and make a lasting impression.
If you go for depth in your content, instead of breadth of topics, promotion will become much easier. Look at what everyone in your arena is providing—your 5,000-word step-by-step guide that actually helps readers will blow the competition’s 500-word advice post out of the water, and your readers will notice. You’ll not only have a much greater chance of selling people on the quality of your content, it’ll be more likely to go viral and Google will rank it higher in organic search because it’ll be longer and more in-depth.
2. Perfect your on-page SEO
Learning best practices of using target keywords and phrases should be a top priority early on.
Not only should you use your target keyword 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.
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 long-tail 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 around 1, while sites like Facebook and Google have rankings closer to 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 right way)
There are a lot of different avenues you can go down 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. 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.
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 tactic 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 quite a bit of traffic to my website by simply sharing my answers to questions with a lot of search volume. The trick is, I quickly rewrite 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. Publishing quote round-ups
When I’m doing research for an article I’m going to write, I’ll send emails to influencers who are authorities in the area I’m writing about. I’ll ask them for a quote to include in the blog post, and ask them a single question—then after enough responses roll in, I can compile a list-style article that breaks down the advice and wisdom from numerous authoritative people on a given topic.
For inspiration, here are a few examples of successful quote roundup posts I’ve written:
- 60 Top Entrepreneurs Share Best Business Advice and Tips for Success
- 112 Motivational Quotes to Hustle You to Get Sh-t Done
- 25 Ways to Be More Productive: Genius Productivity Hacks from Top Entrepreneurs
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 his or her audience, as well.
6. Strategic pre-linking in your content
Mentioning brands, articles and related influencers within a piece is always a great opportunity to promote your own content in a roundabout way.
When I publish a new post, I aim to have between 10 and 20 external links in the piece, from either articles I used as sources, or to posts that serve as strong additional reading on subject I’ve mentioned in my article.
Then, when I publish my own post, I immediately have 10 to 20 people, brands, or businesses to email, kindly letting them know I featured them on my blog. Most often, I’ll keep the first outreach email very brief and to the point—just giving them a heads up about the mention. Then, if they reply positively, I’ll ask them if the article is a good fit to be shared with their followers on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
As an added bonus, remember that the relationship doesn’t have to end there. I’ll often go back over time and ask if they want to collaborate with me further, like accepting a guest post.
7. Interview thought leaders
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.
8. Land a publication column
For this traffic driving 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 and experience with.
It doesn’t have to be a massive name-brand publication, either—which will be incredibly difficult to land in the very 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. It’ll help you build your brand, get connected with interested readers, drive incremental traffic, look great for networking opportunities, and most importantly, increase your website’s domain authority.
9. Host 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 30- or 60-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 and knowledgeable about, and one that 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. Then, once you have partners 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 your startup’s 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.
10. Engaging in niche-focused online communities
The right platform to spend your time engaging with community members on will depend on what your niche is, but I’ve got a few suggestions that’ll be relevant to any somewhat business-related website:
- Hacker News: If your business is in computer science and entrepreneurship, check this one out. You published an article, you think it’s in-depth, creative and intellectually interesting—submit it here and if the community finds it fascinating, you can be rewarded with tons of traffic.
- GrowthHackers: Just to get a little meta here, this community is focused around growth. This is a great destination to provide in-depth comments to engage with others’ articles, and submit your own articles about marketing and growth.
- Business 2 Community: This is a great place to network with other business professionals, engage with their articles, and submit your own to be accepted. They openly encourage others to use the platform to establish themselves and increase exposure, which makes it a perfect fit for content outreach.