They sure are popular, aren't they?
It's one of the easiest ways to create a post, get shares, comments, and pats on the back.
But how many of you actually took those “21 Sure-Fire Ways to…“, “57 Best Resources for…“, or “11 Unbeatable Strategies to…” and USED them in your businesses?
You know why?
It gives us a lot of comfort to know that there are soooooo many incredible ways to build more traffic to our sites.
However, we get quickly overwhelmed by all the possibilities and choose the easiest way out: save the post “for later… when I have more time…“.
File it into the bottomless pit of all the posts we'll never read again.
Looking at my Instapaper account, I've got hundreds of posts saved there – some dating all the way back to 2010.
Yep, all the stuff I've never touched since I put it to its final rest there. And never will.
So what's my point?
- Stop reading list posts.
- Most of them (not all, of course) are a waste your time.
- The kind of time you don't have.
- Find and focus on ONE starting point.
- Figure out how it works.
- Figure out how to put it into practice in YOUR business.
- Master it.
- Put it on autopilot.
- Move on to the next strategy.
So grab a cup of coffee (I've got mine) and let's see what we can do about that traffic generation of yours.
Traffic Generation Starting Point
So you need more traffic.
Welcome to the club.
Do you start with Neil Patel's incredible Massive Guide to Getting Massive Traffic?
Sure, you'll get a lot of ideas of what you can potentially do to increase your traffic.
So do you start with…
- writing a collection of ultimate guides to whatever?
- work on getting discovered by the big media?
- harnessing the power of Tumblr?
- start designing infographics?
But how do you know which traffic generation strategy might be best for YOUR niche?
Side note: I am writing this post in hopes of giving you practical step-by-step guide to do ONE thing – discover your best current traffic source and work on multiplying that traffic.
Don't file this post for later.
Do it now.
Step 1: The Discovery
I wrote about the basics of this strategy in my new social media traffic guide, but we'll discuss it here in more depth.
The best way to increase your traffic is to find out which current traffic source has the potential to grow exponentially and focus on it exclusively.
Better a tanager in your hand, than a stork in the sky.
The easiest way to find your traffic tanager:
Let's take Oliver Tausend's blog as an example here.
Here's the screenshot of his current top 5 traffic sources:
Look at that: TGC is Oliver's #5 traffic source… I should start charging him referral fees…
By the way, if you want to know how to get traffic from ME, check out my 5 Ways to Get Feng Shui Links from Traffic Generation Cafe post.
What we are looking for here:
- The top traffic generation source (naturally), that also has…
- …the most pages per visit and…
- …the highest average visit duration and….
- ….the lowest bounce rate.
This is not exact science, folks.
We are not going to spend all day analyzing the stats.
Take a quick look at the numbers and ballpark your conclusions.
How I'd analyze Oliver's stats above
Let's start with a side note first: Oliver's bounce rate is unnaturally low.
If your bounce rate is in single digits, it doesn't mean you are doing that well; sorry.
It just means that one way or another you managed to paste Google Analytics tracking code twice in your blog.
For instance, you embedded it into your theme manually, then installed Google Analytics plugin.
Or you have Google Analytics plugin running, plus All-in-One SEO pack – and added your tracking code to both.
How do you know for sure?
Look up the source code for your home page and see if it mentions the tracking code twice.
If you don't know how to do it, check out my post about bounce rate for instructions.
In Oliver's case, he is using two SEO plugins (WordPress SEO by Yoast and All-in-One SEO pack) and both of them contain his GA tracking code.
1. Most of his traffic comes as a result of direct visits.
To learn more about what direct traffic is and what value it brings to your blog, read Where Does Website Traffic Come From: Direct Traffic.
There's not much we can do to actively increase our direct traffic.
It usually builds up naturally as we increase our brand presence and overall authority.
The stats are good, the visitors seemed to stay a while and read a lot, which makes Facebook the perfect candidate for Oliver to focus on.
A word about Twitter: Twitter is not much of a traffic driver for Oliver's blog. As of right now, it's sitting in position #10.
Now it's possible that if Oliver engages on Twitter more, then his traffic will increase.
However, remember what I said before:
Better a tanager in your hand, than a stork in the sky.
There's no need to mess with Twitter at THIS point.
Focus on FB, learn to generate more traffic from it, and once you've mastered it and found ways to put it on autopilot, THEN move on to the next source like Twitter.
3. Google Organic traffic:
Search engine traffic is great, but it also takes time, knowledge, and consistency to start seeing results from it.
Plus with Google's constant updates, it's quite unreliable.
Not that you shouldn't strive to increase your SEO traffic, but I'd do it in parallel to something that brings more consistent results a lot quicker.
For an extra credit: to start your SEO journey, get my free SEO report that will walk you through the maze of SEO traffic step by step.
4,5. Other blogs:
SEOlunatics.com and yours truly happen to be Oliver's traffic sources #4 and 5.
Getting referral traffic from other blogs can certainly do wonders for your readership.
The usual ingredients to a successful referral traffic formula are:
EPIC CONTENT + RELATIONSHIPS + LUCK
Luck refers to being at the right place at the right time, like SEOlunatics.com.
I've never heard of them before, but now I'll be sending them traffic simply because they happened to send some traffic to a friend of mine.
For an extra credit:
You can teach yourself how to write epic content.
- Read more:
- Conduct Unbecoming a Dull Writer
- To learn more about how to build profitable alliances:
- How to Increase Website Traffic Through Profitable Alliances
What if your Google Analytics just doesn't give you enough data to work with?
What if you have a brand new blog or returning to blogging after a long break or haven't really kick-started your traffic generation yet?
It's hard to qualify what “enough” data is, but here's a good example:
This is a screenshot of Lou Barba's Short Story Kitchen traffic sources.
Since we have such a small sample of traffic here, it's hard to determine which one might be the most viable to focus on.
So we are going to take a look at some of Lou's potential competitors via Alexa.com and see what their biggest traffic source is.
It stands to reason that, if one site in a specific niche drives a sizable amount of traffic from a source, then another site in the same niche should be able to do the same.
By the way, this technique only works for sites that generate enough traffic for Alexa to compile their data.
In Lou's case, I looked up “short stories” in Google and found two potential competitors with enough traffic to analyze: short-fiction.co.uk and classicshorts.com.
How to Find the Right Data on Alexa.com
1. Go to http://www.Alexa.com.
2. Enter your competitor's URL in the search window.
3. After the search is completed, scroll down just a bit and click on “Clickstream” tab.
4. You are done – it's that easy.
In Lou's case, both of the competitors I looked up are driving the majority of their traffic from Google.
If you click on “Search Analytics” tab in the screenshot above, you can also see which keywords bring the most traffic.
So, Lou – stop giving out tracks in the desert.
Your potential customers are looking for you on Google.
Time to kick up your SEO traffic.
My best potential traffic source
As I walk you through these steps of finally discovering and harnessing your best traffic source, I am actually right there with you figuring out where my next best traffic source is.
So here's my Google Analytics screenshot:
Search engine traffic is currently my top traffic source.
As I mentioned in my last income report, this is a dangerous place to be.
Too much dependency on any one traffic source (especially when it's as capricious as Google) could mean a quick downfall should it unexpectedly dry up.
My next traffic source (direct traffic) is great and will hopefully continue to go up as I continue to grow TGC.
Now comes the toss between the two social media platforms: Twitter and Facebook.
My traffic sources #4 and 5 are both Twitter-related; the first one (t.co) is Twitter URL shortner and the second one (Sharedby.co) is what I use to embed my own toolbar into every link I tweet – whether it's mine or not.
Those two sources combined yield more traffic than Facebook does.
However, I've worked on developing my Twitter traffic for a while now and got pretty good at it; so I feel it's time to finally step up and start bringing in more FB traffic.
And thus, Facebook – here I come!
Step 2: The Learning Curve
Now that we know what traffic source is our best bet, it's time to get down and dirty and learn everything we can about it.
Much of the knowledge we need we can pick up from various bloggers working hard to help us grow our businesses for free.
When you visit those blogs that provide you with exceptional information, please make sure to return the favor: leave them comments, share their content, and yes, buy products via their affiliate links.
Sometimes, it's much more efficient to find one exhaustive paid product on the subject, rather than spend too much time surfing the net putting it all together bits and pieces at a time.
Not that I have that many suggestions here, but most of the paid stuff I've used to build up Traffic Generation Café is listed here.
Trial and Error
No matter what you learn elsewhere, you won't know it works for YOUR business until you put it into practice.
Some things that work incredibly great for other bloggers might be a complete flop with your audience.
Don't be afraid to make mistakes.
If something doesn't work, get rid of it and try something else.
I know it sounds easier said than done, but this is the part that no one can really teach you – your business depends on how adaptable and creative you are.
Step 3: The Comfort Zone
Now that you know the new strategy works, you need to test it, tweak it, work on it until it becomes profitable.
By “profitable” I mean until you can make one cent more than what you put into it.
Step 4: The Autopilot
Yes, we are getting close.
Once you are making one more cent than you invest into any specific traffic source, you need to figure out how to put it on autopilot.
That might mean getting automated software or outsourcing the task altogether.
Step 5: Rinse and Repeat
After you complete all four steps, all you need to do is monitor the progress and move on to the next strategy.
Overtime, your sources will continue to grow and your business will start working as a well-oiled machine.
But remember, it all starts with ONE strategy and 4 simple steps to follow to make it work for YOU.
Off to learn more about Facebook,