Menu

Top 20 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website (2019 Edition)

By: Joyce Chou — November 30, 2018

night lights in city

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for driving traffic to your website. Visitors can land on your site in a variety of ways, whether it’s by way of search engine or a friend’s referral.

That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive guide to boosting traffic.

You’ll see that each strategy below includes details on the duration of time needed for implementation as well as the amount of effort required. Use these as a reference point for how long it’ll reasonably take to start seeing results.

Ready to get started?

Table of Contents

  1. Optimize for Search Engines—Especially Google
  2. Target Long-tail Keywords
  3. Use Captivating Headlines
  4. Create Viral Content
  5. Create Evergreen Content
  6. Write Guest Posts and Invite Guest Contributors
  7. Syndicate Your Content
  8. Use Social Media
  9. Use Email Marketing
  10. Link Internally
  1. Update Old Blog Posts
  2. Post on Forums like Quora
  3. Repurpose Your Content
  4. Get Listed on Relevant Directories and Review Sites
  5. Host Giveaways and Contests
  6. Offer Samples to Bloggers and Influencers
  7. Begin a Referral Program
  8. Post on Forums like Reddit
  9. Invest in Sponsored Content
  10. Pay for Advertising

1. Optimize for Search Engines—Especially Google

Research shows that websites ranking on the first page of Google’s search results receive the overwhelming majority of user clicks. It goes without saying then that search engine optimization (SEO) is critical to making your blog visible in order to generate what is known as organic traffic.

There’s much that goes into SEO, but here are just a few major points to make note of:

  • Create a list of target keywords relevant to your business.
  • Do research to understand what kind of content ranks for your target keyword phrases. In other words, learn what your competitors are doing to drive relevant keyword traffic.
  • Give your content a clear and accurate title tag.
  • Write descriptive and compelling meta descriptions that entice readers to visit your page.
  • Use appropriate alt tags for the images in your content.

Above all, you’ll need to create compelling content that your audience will want to read and engage with.

Since Google’s algorithm regularly changes, that means optimization should be an ongoing effort—not a one-time project. And though tedious, it’s the difference between zero and high visibility for your website.

Time: Ongoing Required Effort: High

2. Target Long-tail Keywords

For those unfamiliar with the term, long-tail keywords refer to highly specific keyword phrases that have lower search volume. Though less frequently searched for, their level of specificity is often indicative of a user’s higher likelihood of converting.

Long tail keywords and probability of conversion graph

(Image credit: Advanta)

Creating highly targeted content means you’ll face less competition than if you were simply creating content aimed at high-volume keywords. This will increase your chances of ranking well in Google for long-tail keywords and getting traffic that’s ready to purchase your goods or services.

Time: Ongoing Required Effort: High

3. Use Captivating Headlines

By captivating, we don’t mean writing clickbaity titles—it means writing provocative and enticing titles that pique reader interest. If your blog has plenty of high-quality content yet lackluster traffic results, try editing your post titles to be more attention-grabbing; this will help make your content more clickable, shareable, and even help it rank better in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).

What makes a headline captivating? Here are a few tactics to consider:

  • Use powerful descriptors and/or verbs. For example:
    • “outstanding” instead of “good”
    • “excel” instead of “do well”
  • Be clear and accurate—or in other words, don’t make any false promises.
  • Make it short, ideally under 70 characters so as not to get cut off in search engine results.
  • If it’s relevant, include a number, e.g., “18 Tips for…”
  • Avoid overused words and phrases.

If you’ve published a host of articles with bland titles, set aside some time to give them a makeover. A more captivating headline could be a major game-changer in driving new users to actually click on your posts.

Time: > 1 week Required Effort: Low

4. Create Viral Content

Generally speaking, viral content tends to be short and topical; it also tends to elicit strong emotional reactions. Of course, there’s no guarantee as to what kind of post achieves virality, but done successfully, it can lead to a massive traffic spike.

Vox article example of viral content

This viral article from Vox has been shared over 500,000 times—and it’s no wonder, given its particularly contentious headline.

To brainstorm ideas for developing viral content, consider:

  • What subjects are currently trending in the news?
  • Is there an unusual or controversial stance you want to take on a subject?
  • Do you have access to any news or hidden information?
  • Do you have any uncommon tips or hacks to share?

Remember to come up with a compelling headline and to also format your work in such a way that promotes easy consumption, e.g., a listicle.

Time: 1-3 weeks Required Effort: Moderate

5. Create Evergreen Content

Don’t get us wrong—time-sensitive content can generate substantial traffic in the short term. However, incorporating evergreen posts into your blog’s content strategy can lead to passive traffic for months, even years, after publication.

Evergreen content are posts that remain relevant regardless of when they were published. For instance, a post about why it’s important to have an emergency fund is evergreen, but not a post recommending the 10 best stocks to buy right now. Can you see why this makes evergreen posts valuable for generating traffic? Their perpetual relevance means people will search for and stumble upon them any time of the year.

Time: 1-3 weeks for one post, depending on post length and quality Required Effort: High

6. Write Guest Posts and Invite Guest Contributors

Whether it’s a link in the author bio or the content itself, guest posts get your name and work out there to other websites’ readerships. You should aim for posting on sites in the same or related industry, though, as this will help direct the most relevant traffic your way. For instance, if you run a blog about pet care, it wouldn’t make sense to guest post on a website specializing in new artificial intelligence technologies.

On the flip side, having others write for your blog can also cause a traffic boost given that guest contributors typically promote their work to their own followers. Be warned, though: not every writer will produce quality content for your website, so it’s best to be prudent when deciding what and what not to publish.

Time: Anywhere from 1 to 6 months, depending on other websites’ publication schedules Required Effort: High: you’ll need to produce quality content that other websites are happy to publish, and/or filter through guest contributors coming from all sorts of writing backgrounds

7. Syndicate Your Content

Like guest posting, syndication on high-authority websites can widen exposure of your content to audiences who might not have stumbled on your blog posts otherwise. Take for example major websites like Business Insider and Fast Company. Syndication on one of these sites would help direct massive amounts of new visitors your way.

Skillcrush example of syndicated content

This article was originally published on Ellevate, but has been syndicated and clearly labeled as such on Skillcrush.

While it may take time to build relationships with editors of other websites, especially well established ones like Business Insider, you can start by syndicating your own content on platforms like Medium and LinkedIn.

Time: Varies, depending on the media outlet Required Effort: Moderate

8. Use Social Media

Given that there are over 3 billion active social media users worldwide, social media is a no-brainer for driving traffic. To start engaging users, try the following:

  • Post your latest news or products on Facebook, Pinterest, and other social channels. Don’t be afraid to add some personality, which will help shape your brand voice and attract new customers.
  • Interact with your followers. Whether by replying to their comments or asking for their opinions, direct interaction fosters customer engagement.
  • Share blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social channels. A post that resonates with readers may take off, resulting in user shares and thus, more views.
  • Add social sharing buttons to your posts. These buttons help to further engage your readers and encourage them to share your content to their own networks.
  • Come up with a catchy hashtag. A catchy hashtag can make your content or product more distinct and pique new interest—it might even go viral.

Though time-consuming, establishing and maintaining a social media presence can create massive returns in terms of customer retention and loyalty.

Time: Ongoing Required Effort: High

9. Use Email Marketing

You can also boost traffic to your website by implementing email marketing—that is, email outreach to your target audience. This can be conducted in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Welcoming new subscribers
  • Informing customers of new products and updates
  • Announcing promotional deals
  • Providing educational materials

So long as your email copy is compelling enough, email marketing can easily draw users to check out and explore your website further. Although you’ll have to handle drafting the emails, services like MailChimp and Constant Contact make the formatting and design process a breeze.

Time: < 1 month Required Effort: Moderate

If your landing pages and blog posts don’t link internally, your readers are, in effect, trapped and limited to the specific page they land on. Thus, by incorporating more internal links, visitors will be better able to navigate your website.

In addition, internal links help create a framework of your site. This ultimately helps search engines like Google understand which pages make up your website’s cornerstone content, or in other words, your most important content. A solid website hierarchy makes it easier for web crawlers to find and index your web pages.

Time: < 1 month Required Effort: Low to moderate, depending on the number of pages on your website

11. Update Old Blog Posts

It’s natural for blog posts, even evergreen ones, to grow “stale” over time. That’s why you should periodically update old posts and republish them for a second chance at traffic. These could be posts that have done well historically, or posts that have flopped and could be better optimized. Either way, updating old content can increase exposure and also save you the trouble of developing completely new material altogether.

To refresh outdated content, try making some of these changes:

Google’s algorithm is ever changing, making keyword rankings shift from time to time. As a result, your content shouldn’t remain stagnant—make periodic updates to ensure that your blog posts stay relevant.

Time: > 1 week per post, depending on the extent of edits Required Effort: Moderate

12. Post on Forums like Quora

Are there any Quora questions that are relevant to your website? If so, you should create a profile and answer accordingly. This doesn’t mean you should be overly promotional about your website, though. Only where appropriate should you link to your site; that might be in your profile information, or in any answers where you’ve got a relevant web page or blog post to link to.

Check out author James Altucher’s profile for an example.

Quora James Altucher's profile

If you’ve got a catchy byline and provide answers related to your website’s topic, you may draw in curious readers who come across your responses. There’s some strategy required here, though—you should obviously provide quality answers and look for questions that aren’t already saturated with responses.

Time: Varies Required Effort: Moderate to high, depending on the level of depth you aim for in your answers

13. Repurpose Your Content

If you’ve got a particularly successful blog post, it’s worth considering repurposing it for continued traffic. After all, a blog post is just one medium of content—who knows how many more users you can draw by repackaging it in different forms?

There’s no single technique for repurposing content. You can do so in a number of ways, such as by creating:

  • An infographic
  • A podcast
  • A slide deck on SlideShare
  • A webinar
  • Video content

Regardless of what form it takes, a repurposed piece presents an additional opportunity to take old but successful content further.

Time: 1-3 months, depending on the method of repurposing Required Effort: High

14. Get Listed on Relevant Directories and Review Sites

There are round-up articles all across the world wide web, with millions of users consulting them daily for guidance and recommendations. With that in mind, you should identify and contact their webmasters to get your website included.

I've Tried That screenshot

Getting mentioned on sites like I’ve Tried That, which regularly produces product reviews and listicles, helps give your website more exposure.

Note that reaching out to these websites may take some persistence. Some webmasters may even ask for a payment or link back on your site in return for including yours, in which case you should be wary.

Time: < 1 month Required Effort: Low to moderate

15. Host Giveaways and Contests

You can generate traffic while simultaneously ramping up customer engagement by hosting giveaways and contests. The prize in question must be something of value to users, but it should also be easily recouped in terms of cost.

You can draw inspiration from fitness influencer Cassey Ho, who hosts regular giveaways on her website Blogilates.

Once you’ve decided on a prize, you can promote the giveaway or contest on your website as well as through social media. To up the ante and further increase traffic, you may even require that interested participants share your post or tag a friend in order to be eligible to win.

Time: 1-3 months Required Effort: Moderate

16. Offer Samples to Bloggers and Influencers

If you’ve got a product you’re trying to sell on your website, partnering with influencers can help benefit your website’s exposure as well as lend you some social credibility. By publicly endorsing your products, bloggers and influencers help to make the sale to otherwise skeptical customers.

This isn’t limited to targeting A-list celebrities only, though; “micro-influencers” are a cost-effective way to reach audiences without having to pay hefty sponsorship fees. Though they have less followers than big-name influencers, micro-influencers see more user engagement from their audiences.

(Image Credit: Takumi)

Time: 1-2 months Required Effort: Moderate, involving blogger outreach

 

17. Begin a Referral Program

The success of referral marketing is based on the premise that people are four times more likely to make a purchase after hearing a friend’s recommendation.

In this way, referral marketing begets both traffic and conversions by virtue of customers reaching out to their respective networks. It’s thus no surprise so many ecommerce behemoths have implemented these programs—take for example, Dropbox’s two-sided program that rewards both new and old users with additional storage space.

Dropbox referral promotion

Dropbox’s referral program increased the number of users by 3,900% over the course of 15 months.

To create an effective referral program, your incentive, or reward, needs to be sufficiently enticing. That could be a discount, an upgrade, free sample, or store credit—something that motivates customers to actively share your website.

Time: > 1 month Required Effort: Moderate to high

18. Post on Forums like Reddit

Since it was founded in 2005, Reddit has climbed the ranks of internet popularity to become a major hub for news, entertainment, and networking. Users vote “up” or “down” on submitted posts, which impacts their subsequent rankings and how visible they are to other users.

Now the third most popular website in the U.S., it stands to reason that Reddit provides ample opportunity for generating traffic—provided that you advertise tactfully, of course.

That is, you should avoid being overly promotional. Look for relevant subreddits that it would be appropriate to post in, and get to know the users there. Submitted links that are labeled with misleading titles will be considered spam and may get you banned from the platform.

Time: 1 week Required Effort: Low

If you’ve got the budget for it, a sponsored post on another website presents an opportunity to share your brand with another website’s audience.

Sponsored posts emulate a website’s style and editorial content, but are in fact a form of advertising. They’re far less advertorial than traditional ads, and may otherwise blend in if not for a label explicitly stating the relationship.

Take a look at Qualcomm’s sponsored content on The Atlantic for an example.

How do you know this is sponsored content? The page’s header clearly notes that it was paid for by Qualcomm.

The “Touchpoints” article series is largely informational; though it promotes Qualcomm’s brand, it isn’t overtly salesy. In this way, sponsored content helps to drive traffic from another website by more subtle means.

Time: < 1 month Required Effort: Low to moderate

20. Pay for Advertising

Got a decent marketing budget? For immediate results in traffic, you can pay for digital advertising. That includes strategies like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

PPC is a form of search engine marketing in which advertisers bid and pay for ad placement in a search engine’s page results. They then pay a fee each time someone clicks on their ad.

Google Adwords is the king of PPC advertising.

Note that while traditional ad campaigns can show fast results, they’re costly in the long run and far less sustainable. On the other hand, it may take months or years to see the fruition of content marketing, but creating SEO-friendly quality generally builds more trust between websites and their target audiences.

Time: < 1 month Required Effort: Low

 

Final Words

Just remember that traffic numbers are important, though they alone do not mean everything. You’ve also got to account for the quality of your traffic—that is, are your visitors part of your target audience?

For instance, you could have millions of visitors, but if none match your target audience, you likely won’t see many conversions.

With that in mind, make sure your chosen traffic strategies align with the demographic you’re aiming to reel in. You’ll see the greatest returns when visitors are targeted for your website’s specific niche.

Compose.ly's Free Content Outsourcing Ebook Cover

The Content Strategist's Playbook: How to Outsource Writers to Save Money, Drive Traffic, and Win Big

Outsmart your competition with cutting edge content outsourcing strategies used by experts worldwide. 2018 Edition.

Download Now