This post is updated annually to add and remove ways to drive traffic to your site. It was last updated January 2018.
You need more website traffic. If you run an online business, traffic is your lifeblood because it enables your business model to work and pay your bills. Therefore, you need to employee multiple strategies to bring new visitors to your site and keep old visitors engaged with your content.
Here are 48 ways to drive traffic to your website in 2018.
First Time User Acquisition
Audit your website
The best way to drive scaleable and consistent traffic and customers to your website is through SEO. Instead of just doing things, take a strategic approach instead and audit your website to create a gameplan so that you can focus on the highest leverage opportunities.
Do this using a combination of a site crawler and a digital marketing tool like SEMrush to both proactively discover current opportunities/issues and to proactively learn about new challenges and opportunities as you go about building your business.
Create New Content
The best way to increase traffic to your website from organic traffic is to increase the number of pages on your website that can rank for your important keyword terms. Look at where you can add new category pages, new blog posts, or new pieces of attractive content (visuals, quizzes, etc) to target specific keywords.
Optimize Old Content
Because you are tracking your keyword rankings (you are, right? If you’re not, use SEMrush), you can find the keywords that you rank near the bottom of the first page and go add useful content to those pages to help them rank better. Google also prefers updated and new content over old stale content.
Launch New Products
A great way to attract new users to your company or website is to launch products that meet their needs. The great part is that you can often charge for these as well and make money will getting new users into your full conversion funnel.
Create Online Courses
The great thing about the Internet is that you can publish any type of content you want. By creating longer form content like courses that are targeted around both user needs and specific keyword phrases (don’t forget keyword research!), you can drive more traffic to your site and convert them into email addresses that you can then take down your funnel.
Plus, online course websites exist in plenty so you can put them on places like Lynda.com to further your reach.
Write Guest Posts
By using a site like SimilarWeb, you can find sites related to yours. If they have your audience, you can usually get content onto their site that helps them build traffic while at the same time getting access to their new audience.
Accept guest posts
Similarly, many sites want links for SEO purposes and access to your customers. If they’re not a direct competitor, let them guest post on your site! Then they are invested in your company and will promote the content that they’ve produced, which also gets you in front of their own audience. Double win!
If you have a designer in your company or can find one online, create useful graphics that tell a story and help people see your content in a new way. Do outreach for links, promote on Pinterest, etc.
Give Podcast Interviews
Podcasting is HUGE these days, and one of the best ways to grow a podcast audience is to invite influential people onto your podcast. Think about it like audio version guest posts. So, get one or two podcasts under your belt (or launch your own) then start targeting podcast producers to get onto their shows.
Social advertising on Facebook, Twitter, and other networkds is still relatively cheap today as compared to Adwords. Many of them also allow you to segment down by demographics or target by keywords so that you hit your ideal audience.
PPC is usually best used for conversion-oriented keywords, which is great because it gets you a new audience that is also ready to convert.
Create and Sell Courses
What better way to show your expertise and get people reading all of your content than to teach what you already know? If you have a craft, create a course to teach it then sell it on places like Udemy while simultaneously selling it on your site from a page targeted towards a high volume keyword for SEO.
Create Pinterest boards
Pinterest is a super strong domain and your Pinterest boards can rank very well. Do your typical keyword research for your website, then take some of those keywords and target them on Pinterest. A pro tip is to use your other online resources (website, Instagram, etc) to get them indexed faster and ranking better.
Promote pins on Pinterest
In this day and age, it’s not just enough to create content and expect it to rank and drive traffic. Rankings are influenced by engagement stronger than ever before, so use some budget to promote pins on Pinterest to your target audience.
Especially in B2B spaces, partnerships can be gold for customer acquisition. Build out referral programs with complementary companies to yours and try to funnel some of their traffic back to your site, either through website mentions or even their email marketing.
This feels like an old school tactic, but it’s still true that the more links you have to your site, the better your site will rank. So acquire links to your site from content, from relevant resource pages on other sites, and from outreach that you do.
Promote content via Outbrain/Taboola
Content promotion is so cheap these days that you’d be silly not to do it. I know people with content sites making literally thousands of dollars a day all from promoted content.
Create satellite websites
If your main website is around one niche yet you operate in many niches, you can build out websites specifically targeted at those other niches and use them to funnel traffic to your other sites. You need to disclose that you own those other sites, but this is a great way to spread the organic reach.
Speed up your website
A fast site not only converts better, but on a big site you will also get more organic traffic because the search engines are able to crawl your site faster and find more content. Start with switching hosts then optimizing your code, all while making sure you are using aggressive caching and a content delivery network (CDN).
Do new keyword research
If you’re really struggling to increase traffic to your site, go do new keyword research to get new content ideas, then go back to point 1 above and create new content!
Target the longtail of keywords for SEO
If you don’t have a very strong website, you can target longer tail keywords (<50 searches a month) which are often much easier to rank for. From this you can start building up a base of content that you can then use to earn links and propel rankings for more competitive terms.
Target HackerNews/Reddit/relevant forums with content
If you can get content or a product to go hot on a site like Hacker News, Reddit, or ProductHunt you can literally get tens of thousands of visitors and often signups and sales. I (John) personally make over $70k from my site sitting on the first page of ProductHunt for a day, and I’ve seen Reddit drive tens of thousands of visits to sites.
One of the best ways to build an email list and therefore a new audience is through giving away high value items and incentivizing your entrants to share as well in order to get more entries. I use the Kingsumo Giveaways plugin for this.
Speak at conferences
If you enjoy speaking, conferences can be a great way to get in front of a targeted audience. If you encourage them to tweet about it (put your Twitter handle on the bottom of every slide), you also get in front of their social media audience.
Advertise at conferences
While speaking is the best way to get in front of your audience at conferences, advertising is second best. You can leverage advertising for brand recognition, offer discounts to those at the conference, get links from people doing roundups, and more. It’s a big win especially if you can tie revenue directly back to your company.
Free swag at conferences
I have constantly been amazed at how well quality swag works for advertising your brand, and what better place to give away swag than at conferences to your customers? You’ll build brand recognition and good will.
Create content for Slideshare specifically
Slideshare is its own content social network. By creating content for Slideshare specifically and promoting it, you can also land on the popular content sections of their homepage which drive great traffic. Make sure you link back to your site from Slideshare too.
Create videos for YouTube
If you can create videos in a cost-effective manner, YouTube is a great distribution platform. It takes time to build the channel but has a huge audience if done well.
Run YouTube Ads
Can’t create videos, but there are videos on YouTube that your target audience watches? You can run YouTube videos.
Webinars can drive a new audience for you when you invite guests, or do advertising, that have an audience that they will promote your webinar to. Try to bring on guests who already have a large audience.
Use HARO to acquire contributors
Help A Reporter Out is a great way to find great sources for stories you are writing. While this won’t directly get you a new audience, by including their quotes and tagging them on social media you can access their audience.
Teach a class
Teach people how to do what you do, put your content on Slideshare, rinse, repeat.
Mentor a startup
Mentoring startups is a great way to build goodwill within your industry. Often you can also then get guest posts or leverage their name to get content elsewhere or to be quoted as an expert/source.
Meetup.com is one of the most popular websites online for organizing groups of people to get together. Many of them accept sponsors, who do things like give free meeting space or pay the bar tab. This can be a great way to get your company or product in front of your ideal target audience.
Do outreach to get included in email newsletters
Some companies do daily, weekly, or monthly newsletters that curate content from around their industry, and many of these have a lot of subscribers. If you have content that fits their audience, reach out to them and see if they’ll include your article in their next edition.
Once you’ve attracted your customers to your site, whether to a piece of content via social or a conversion page via SEO, they’ll often leave your site and come back a few times before they actually convert. Sometimes they’re doing research, sometimes they get distracted by other sites, and sometimes they’re just not ready to buy or give you the information you so badly need from them to drive your business forward.
Here are 8 ways to get people back to your site
Collect email addresses and send consistent emails
One of the simplest things to do that most people don’t actually do is send consistent email marketing to their customers who have given their email address. Whether this is a weekly newsletter or a daily piece of content to teach and sell, this is the best way to keep your users engaged. The best part is that once you set it up once, your customers will all see that same content.
Guest post on similar sites
Similar to acquiring new users, guest posting on similar sites that likely have your audience and have read your site is a great way to remind them about your site/product as well. Pro move – advertise on these sites too (see below)
Do retargeting advertising
If you’re not doing retargeting and you operate a business online, you are literally leaving money on the table. With all the different display networks available, not to mention Facebook, you can easily target people who have come to your site but not purchased to come back and finish their conversion.
Advertise on similar sites
Once again using SimilarWeb or SEMrush, find the sites similar to yours who are not competitors and see if you can advertise there. Now their audience is yours.
Bid on competitor keywords
This one is slightly greyer on the ethical scale than many of the others, but Adwords allows you to bid on many competitor branded terms. If they’re searching for your competitor, they should also know about you.
Promote content on social
You might not know this, but your followers on social media (especially Facebook) don’t see all of the content you post. If you see a piece of content being successful and getting good exposure, either boost that post or promote it to your custom audiences that you’ve put together.
Let users subscribe to content
Some CMSs, like WordPress, will let people subscribe to replies to their comments that they leave on your content. You can also use a myriad of tools (like SumoMe) to capture email addresses to which you can send content when it publishes.
Email users when something happens onsite
If you’ve had someone sign up to your product, email them when something happens (a product goes out of stock or comes in stock, metrics change, etc) to get them back to engage with your product again.
Email users who abandon their shopping cart
If you run an ecommerce site, email them when they’ve left something that they wanted to buy.
If you run a site that has products or things directly for sale, you could consider an affiliate program. While affiliate programs take management, they are also a great way to get others to talk about your products for free and you only pay if they buy something.
If you’re a B2B company, partnerships can be a great way to drive relevant traffic that is ready to convert to your site. This has been a major way Credo has grown. Begin with outreach to sites that have written roundups of alternatives for your competitors and see if they’d like to include your site. Bonus points for getting them to add you at the top.
2017 was the year of influencer marketing, and this will only continue into 2018. Get influencers to post about your products, blog on your site and share it, or interview them and provide it for free to your users.
We recognize that not all of these will work for every site, but many of them will. After all, marketing isn’t about the tactics you employ, but the tactics that drive your strategy forward. Leave your comments about how you drive traffic to your site this year!
If you are looking to find help driving traffic to your business but do not meet the minimum budget requirement for Credo, consider using FreeeUp. Credo has partnered with them to refer businesses who are not yet ready for a full agency.