Getting traffic to your website is the number one job that every single one of us has as an Internet Entrepreneur. Now while hiring us to do SEO work for you will definitely make a massive difference in getting the job done, it’s not the only thing that you can do to bring in large amounts of traffic. Here are 20 other great ideas for bringing in gobs of traffic to your site:
1. Write Link Bait
Not only is link bait a great way to get a massive, viral amount of traffic to your site, it’s also the only method of SEO which Google fully and happily endorses (they tolerate folks like us who help you build links, but they would prefer that links get built completely naturally). The thing is, link bait is not always easy to come up with.
In essence, for those who are new to this business, link bait refers to the process of writing content which is so interesting and or so controversial that it’s going to be the sort of thing that people naturally want to share with their friends and as such you get viral traffic which grows at an exponential rate. Not every post on your site can or even should be link bait, but you should do enough of them to get your site noticed.
The way to do link bait by the way is NOT to engage in shock. Trust me, no matter how disgusting or ridiculous or outrageous you think your post will be, it’s been done and people are not likely to share it because of it. This method worked about 5-10 years ago but not today.
Instead, your post should be something extremely controversial. Ideally, you want to be able to reveal (with reliable proof) some shocking new detail that people didn’t know about someone famous. This may mean being kind of like a paparazzi type and chasing someone famous with a camera. It could also mean reaching out to sources that you have to find useful information.
If you can’t do that, the next best thing is to take a controversial position on a hot button, trending topic and then offer strong support for your argument. For example, if you were writing a political blog, you might put together link bait where you discuss the fact that Joe Biden is known for gaffes and that he seemed like a loud mouthed jerk or a forceful supporter of the president’s policies in the recent debate.
In other words, you do some research and dig up old video of Mr. Biden either doing other things people might find stupid or you show why his interruptions, laughter and smiling would be considered presidential form.
You can take either position but the important thing is to back it up with evidence and to be there as soon as possible after the initial reactions so that you can ensure that your post is picked up and spread around (by the way, while I usually leave politics out of these blog posts, I want to apologize to any Biden supporters because I personally found the Vice President’s actions offensive. I had wanted to hear what Mr. Ryan had to say and found Biden annoying in the way he acted, though I’m not taking positions on what he or Mr. Ryan had to say, at least not here).
2. Do a Publicity Stunt
Another great way to grab lots of attention and to get tons of viral traffic to your website is to pull a publicity stunt. As I have said in the past on these pages, publicity stunts don’t have to cost millions of dollars and be the sort of thing that involves hiring professional stunt people. Instead, a publicity stunt needs to be creative and daring and something people might not have thought of before.
The example I love to give is that of a dating website which claimed to only allow “beautiful people” to sign up for their service. They released a press release saying that they had been infected with a malware virus called Shrek (as in troll) which allowed lots of ugly people to sign up. It was brilliant because it called attention to their core service and it was in fact faked an entirely a publicity stunt.
Are these things hard to come up with though? You bet. If you don’t have millions of dollars to spend (if you do, you could always give away cars or airline tickets or whatever to the entire audience at a major talk show, or you could try some death defying feat) then you need to be creative. Like link bait, this is a matter of thinking carefully about your business and then finding a way to make your publicity stunt truly a publicity stunt and not an also ran.
3. Check Out HARO and Get Reporters to Notice You
Want to crash your site with hundreds of thousands or even millions of hits? Then start looking to get the mainstream press to pay attention to you. Even though the newspaper industry has been hit with all kinds of problems recently, it is still a very viable way to get your message out there. You could also get your message out through a journalist at a major news show.
The key here is to be aggressive but polite. Often, this is a matter of making a list of which magazines, news shows and newspapers may be interested in covering your story and then pursuing them. Look for the names of specific reporters who seem to be covering your particular niche and then send them fan mail. Let them know that you enjoyed their report on this that or the other place which is in your niche.
The next step is to contact them and pitch a story to them. You don’t need to write the actual story for them. You simply need to have a good idea for something they may want to cover but which they have not yet covered. Don’t be afraid to get a bit aggressive here. Make phone calls. Reporters do take them from the public because that’s often how they get turned on to good stories.
However, realize that reporters are busy people and your story pitch needs to be short and to the point. It also needs to offer them something worth reporting on (the fact that you launched a candy making operation in your kitchen is not news. The fact that your candy making operation, which launched in your kitchen is now moving into a 10,000 square foot factory with 3 dozen workers is news.
You can also check out Help a Reporter Out. It’s a website which works to connect reporters and potential news sources. They send out notes to industry people from reporters interested in interviewing specific types of people for specific stories. While it can be a bit hit or miss, it is a good way to get your name out there as well.
You obviously know a great deal about your industry, whatever it is, so why not take what you know and roll it into a book which people will be able to read and thus learn why your business is such a great one for their needs? You can then take that book and upload it to hundreds of different sites which take books and reports and disseminate them widely. Make the book truly useful and people will beat a path to your door.
If you don’t feel you can write the book yourself, consider hiring a professional writer to help you with the job. A ghost writer can either write the entire book from scratch or can take your notes and turn them into a book which you can be proud of and which you can give away. It can also be offered as an inducement to get people to sign up for your mailing list, but I’d even suggest doing a second item for that. Get people in the door by disseminating your new book widely.
5. Flatter Someone
Look for people with big egos and who have serious numbers of followers. For example, Stephen Colbert, who’s persona on TV is an egomaniac. You can however start with somewhat lesser known personalities who may be interested in such things and who are not likely to be the target of hundreds of thousands of efforts to get noticed by them already.
I’m reminded of a lecture I took many many years ago about fund raising. The person who was lecturing talked about how dinners (which are held for pretty much every charity with a real budget in the United States) work. In essence, it’s all about stroking people’s egos. You ask a person who has money if they want to be “honored” and they in turn go out and invite all of their friends (you can even help them do it).
The same basic concept can be applied to someone who is somewhat influential in your industry but is perhaps not as noticed as he or she might like to be.
So instead of a Stephen Colbert, you might stroke the ego of a comedian who has a large YouTube following but who is not necessarily in the big time yet (it’s pretty easy to find people who have followings in the hundreds of thousands or even a few million who are not superstars yet).
In essence, you would write a post where you support them and talk about how great they are. Be sure as well that you have started to develop a relationship with the person by writing fan mail to them on a regular basis and that you are familiar with their work. Insincere flattery likely won’t get you far. Then, you can let them know about the post you wrote about them. When they mention it in their next appearance, you get boatloads of traffic and possibly attract even bigger names to your site.
6. Create Funny Images
I have a friend who is constantly sending me e-mails she gets from her friends with various images in them. Sometimes, it’s cartoon images, sometimes it’s just really amazing images from somewhere in the world, but it’s always interesting and or funny to look at. Do the same thing with your own website and you are that much more likely to get people to forward the links.
Now I know what you’re probably saying – where the heck do I find these funny images? Well there are three basic ways to do it, some of which are harder and some of which are easier. The hardest way to do is to create them yourself. Get your camera out and start hunting for places to take great pictures. Animal pictures are especially fun. You can then add funny captions on your own if you like.
For those who aren’t interested in lots of effort, you can download free to use images from any of dozens of sites. Personally, I’m a really big fan of Every Stock Photo, which provides a meta search service to allow you to find millions of free to use images to use in your work, all at no extra charge.
Sometimes, you need to provide a link back to the owner and other times, you can use it without any attribution. In almost all cases, you can modify these images for your needs (be careful with images of people though – you may need a model release and you definitely cannot suggest that they agree with something you say on your site by giving them speech bubbles unless you get written permission).
Another source of great material I recently found is this website which offers hundreds of free comics. While you cannot edit them in any way, they tend to be pretty funny and should make your website more likely to be one which will go viral.
7. Look Into Press Releases
Yet another great method of bringing plenty of people to your website is to use press releases. Now contrary to what you may be thinking, those $5 press releases on Fiverr are probably not the kind that are going to get you published in the major trade publications. You will need to either do the job yourself or invest the money to hire a professional to do the job for you.
In essence, a press release is similar to going after reporters which I mentioned earlier. The difference is that instead of pitching a story to specific reporters, you are creating ready made content which can be placed onto people’s websites as is. It can also be published in newspapers or magazines as is. The key here is that it has to sound like news and not like you trying to get publicity.
This means that your press release should first and foremost be about something which is truly news worthy. It should include something that you would expect to read in the local paper or a trade magazine. If what you intend to mention in your news release doesn’t honestly pass that test with you, don’t bother. It will be a waste of time.
Second, your press release should be written something like a news story. This means for example that quotes should be included from you or someone else in your company.
Don’t worry – the quotes don’t have to be ones you said anywhere. You simply need to write something which sounds like you would have said it at a press conference. For example, you might write “we’re very excited about the possibilities of working with NASA on our new prototype space plane,” David Johnson, CEO, Space Company Ltd. said (and yes, that’s all made up and not real).
Finally, your article should follow the five Ws and H of journalism – who, what, where, when, why and how. By doing this, you will create a quality news story which may well be published by major media and bring in boatloads of traffic to your website.
Remember as well to follow proper press release format when writing your press release. If you’re not sure what that means, either hire a professional or look it up. There are specific things that must be included, including things like contact info, a dateline and release date (hint: in 98% of cases, you write “for immediate release.” Dated release dates are usually used only by bigger companies and even then very rarely).
8. Do Some Guest Posts
The reason that most people don’t succeed with guest posts is that they don’t do them correctly. You have to understand the logic behind such posts and then you will understand why they are so vitally important in getting your website noticed in the larger world. Here’s what you need to know about doing them correctly:
First and foremost, your guest post should not be some piece of junk that you banged out when you had a few minutes to spare. It should be a well researched work of art. In other words, your guest post should be something which is really worth reading and which actually seems like something that people would genuinely like to read.
Why do you need such guest posts? There are two reasons. First and foremost, if you are trying to get a guest post into a popular blog or website, the owners are likely inundated with offers to write guest posts in exchange for a backlink to the owner’s website. This means that they can pick and choose and they will indeed be very, very choosy about which ones they actually decide to run.
Second and just as important, you are trying to get people to click your link and not just get a backlink which will be noticed by Google. This means that you need to put your best foot forward because the readers of another website or blog won’t know who you are and will therefore judge whether or not you’re worth looking at based solely on your guest post.
For this reason, it’s important to make certain that your guest post goes up on high quality blogs and not just any junk site you find. The ones with a PR0 may well take your work without much comment, but they also don’t have the kind of traffic which will make much of a difference for you. On the other hand, as I said, in order to get into the high quality websites, you need the kind of material which is worth their while.
You should take the time to do some research on the various blogs that you are considering and learn what they generally publish before you rush to do a guest post. Consider as well asking for the right to republish the same post elsewhere while perhaps giving that site first run rights. In some cases, you may also be able to offer them some of your best posts from your own website and allow them to republish them. The advantage here being that you get to reuse the same material.
In all cases however, your pitch to the webmaster of the site you want to be published on should sound highly polished. I’ve seen too many requests to write guest posts where people didn’t even take the time to use proper grammar and spelling and I simply ignored them because I felt that it was a waste of my time (since one can assume the guest post will be equally shoddy junk).
As in all things, if you don’t feel confident in your ability to get the job done, feel free to hire a professional to do the job for you. You can hire a pro for part of the job (i.e. just writing the actual guest post) or you can also hire someone to actually do the whole thing from start to finish, including finding an appropriate site and getting the post published there.
9. Write Great Headlines
This is especially important for those of us who tend to focus on the SEO aspect of getting traffic to our websites – too often, we write our headlines to attract Google bots instead of trying to write headlines which will attract clicks from actual human beings.
Remember that your headline is the first thing that people will likely see when they are scanning the search results on Google. This means that your headline needs to be compelling and interesting enough to get people to want to take a look at it.
Consider as well using special characters which can be accessed through ASCII codes. These will show up on Google search results and may mean the difference in getting clicks or not getting clicks.
Mind you, it’s also important to make sure that whatever you do, your headlines do have some SEO elements in them as well. Thus it’s important to think carefully about your headlines and not just rush to pop off whatever you happen to think of first and consider it to be good enough.
10.Try Article Marketing
I’m going to burst a myth that many, many people in our industry seem to hold to endlessly. I keep hearing from people that article marketing is dead. The truth is that the people who make this kind of claim have never done article marketing and have no clue whatsoever what it takes to do article marketing properly.
In reality, what you want to do with article marketing is NOT what used to be known as BUM marketing. That method really is dead – it involved creating thousands of different versions of an article and then spamming the article directories with your articles. The idea was supposed to be that these would provide you with links back to your website which Google would see but humans would likely never see.
There’s just one problem – Google is not interested in such links anymore and they have set up their system to pretty much ignore these kinds of backlinks altogether. You’d need thousands of them to make even a mild dent and then you’d risk running into the Penguin update’s dreaded over-optimization letter.
Instead, article marketing is a lot like writing guest posts (which as I said above, people tend to do incorrectly as well). In essence, the idea is NOT to try to get more clicks through Google and the search engines but to instead focus on trying to get the clicks by going through the major websites which may republish your article.
Basically, what you want to do is to write a high quality article (again, this should not be something you dashed off in half an hour – this needs to be long, in the 1,000+ word range and well researched) which you then publish on your own website. Make sure that you wait a few days for the article to get indexed on your site.
Once you have done this, you can then go ahead and publish the article on various article directories. Places like Ezine articles were originally intended to be the place to find such material, which can be freely republished in exchange for providing a link back to the original website which wrote the material.
You should also find some subtle ways to change the article based on the various article directories that you publish to (and no, there is no need for thousands – half a dozen of the biggest is fine. Do this by hand. Don’t automate the process).
Your goal when making these subtle changes is NOT to make them appear unique to Google either. This means that a single word changed or even just a slight change in punctuation will do the job. The purpose of this is that you want to be able to search for your articles and find the websites which have published them.
Why do you care who published them? Well aside from knowing whether or not you are hitting the kinds of sites that you want to hit, you also want to make sure that you can get more stuff published by those sites.
Basically, you do a Google search for specific sentences from your article so you can find it and then you contact the website owner directly and say by the way, if you liked my article which you found on XYZ site (this is why you need those subtle changes, so you know where it came from), I have others I can offer as well. You can also contact them directly when you have new material, which means that you will be more likely to get published on these major sites and thus increase the traffic to your own website.
11.Write an InfoGraphic
Infographics have become all the rage lately. They’re really popular with website owners as well as with the public because they distill complex information into easily digestible pieces which can be looked at without the trouble of trying to sift through piles upon piles of nonsense which most articles tend to include.
The thing is, the best way to use an infographic isn’t just to simply create one which you keep on your website. Offer to spread the thing around and let other website owners check it out as well. They’ll put it up together with the link back to your website and you’ll drive traffic back to your site very easily.
There are a number of guides available online on how to write successful infographics and of course, you can also hire professionals to do the job for you. However, the key to an infographic is what I always say – follow the KISS procedure (keep it simple, stupid). You want your infographic to be interesting without being overly complicated and hard to follow. If you can do that, you’ll have a winner on your hands.
12.Give Away Software/Music/Videos
Finally, if you really want to bring in tons of traffic, nothing says come visit my website like cool free stuff. This can include any number of different products, none of which needs to be particularly expensive.
You can for example give away a free software utility. This can even be used to create additional backlinks for you because it would also upload the software to hundreds of software sharing sites which will make it spread even further (of course, it’s helpful if your software is truly useful and not buggy). You can also require people to register on your site in order to unlock the software, thus growing your mailing list.
Other possibilities include giving away useful videos, again with links back to your website or even free music. You can usually find some pretty decent local garage bands which are not famous and who will happily record a good song or even a whole album for you for a few hundred dollars. You can then give it away and include links to your website. This benefits the band, which gets exposure and you, since you get lots of extra traffic coming to your website which you otherwise would not have gotten.