We’ve already tackled buying old domains with PageRank and outsourcing web design and writing in the first two articles in this series. The steps taken in those articles set the foundation for the success of Better Parenting, but people don’t pay top dollar for attractive sites with fresh content that have no visitors.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the strategies for how to get traffic to your website that I implemented in this launch. Now, before I get into bringing the visitors to the site, there was one major thing I absolutely needed to take care of first:
Make Your Site Sticky
If you’re going to make a serious effort to drive traffic to your site, you first need to make sure you’ve done everything you can on your site to make visitors want to stay (and come back frequently). It’s hard enough to get that initial stream of traffic flowing — you don’t want to have to work hard to get that same user to come back later.
- Published at least 1 article every single day
The more quality content you have, the more likely someone will delve deeper into your site and find enough value to remember your site, bookmark it or subscribe to RSS / email updates. More content also means more opportunities for search traffic (particularly long-tail phrases).
- Prominently featured my RSS feed and email newsletter signup
Being able to reach out and touch previous visitors is HUGE. You can instantly call up a flood of traffic to your site by sending out an update. It also helps to keep your site “top of mind.” A lot of people may visit the site and love it, but just forget about it. If you can put a few reminders in front of them early on, they’re more likely to come back regularly on their own.
- Tried to engage my audience
If your readers feel like they have some ownership of the conversation, they are much more likely to come back. I encouraged friends, family, and acquaintances to comment on articles for me. I also ran a “Comments Count” contest, where I gave away a $50 gift card to a random commenter (and gave bonus entries for RSS subscription, email newsletter signup, and Twitter following).It’s important to make sure you communicate back, too. Try to respond to all comments — let your visitors know you appreciate their contribution. I ended up with some commenters at Better Parenting who provided great insight, augmenting the information I supplied in the initial article.
- Interlinked my posts
You see me doing it here on Flip Websites. I’ve created a series of articles that start out by linking back to any previous articles in the series and end by linking to the next articles (once they’re written). Make it easy on your visitors to take that next step, get that next piece of information. If you link with good anchor text, you’ll also be helping to rank your site for the search terms you’re after.
- Gave readers something to do at the end of an article
Ask them to subscribe to your RSS feed or email newsletter, show a listing of other popular posts, ask them a question that they should answer in the comments. Don’t let them hit the end of the article and look for their back button or address bar — provide the next step for them.
- Wrote for the web
I almost forgot to even mention this one because it’s become second nature for me, but this is WAY too important to skip over. People read websites differently than they read books. Keep your articles relatively short, but more importantly keep your paragraphs short, use bulleted lists, and create subheadings in your articles. Make your posts scan-able and easy to read. Look at any post I write in this series and you’ll see lots of subheadings and lists.
If your site is “sticky,” then your traffic-building efforts will be even more valuable. These simple steps provide a multiplier effect on everything else that you do.
How to Get Traffic to Your Website
There’s no magic bullet for getting traffic to your website (at least not real, stable traffic), but if you bought an aged PR domain with a decent link profile like I did (see the first article) then you’ll have a head start.
- Organic search traffic
- Paid traffic (cpc)
- Referral traffic
- Social media traffic
- Direct type-in traffic
- Repeat visitors
We already took care of repeat visitors by making the site sticky, and direct type-in is directly tied to the quality of your domain name and its brandability. We can’t do much about that now. Unless you’re selling a product, paid traffic won’t be too helpful for a flip. You may consider using it to get that initial influx necessary to get off the ground, but if you do, you absolutely MUST do everything you can to capture that visitor’s information. You need a compelling offer to get them on your email list so that it’s not a once-and-done visit situation. I generally steer clear of paid traffic for sites I’m flipping (I didn’t run ANY cpc for Better Parenting) and highly recommend the same for you.
That leaves us with organic search, referral, and social media. We’ll tackle them in that order. The next article in this series covers keyword research and SEO. Then we’ll move into link-building for traffic (and online relationship building), and finally I’ll give you some really sneaky tactics for enhancing your social media presence.
P.S. — If you don’t want to miss any of the articles in this series, be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed (see what I did right there?).