How to Get Website Traffic Fast

How to Get Website Traffic Fast

how to get fast trafficYou guys know I love Darren Rowse and the whole Problogger community (in fact, I still owe him that fruit basket for all the work I’ve found on his Jobs board…). But I’m going to disagree with him on something today – the idea that you shouldn’t target fast traffic for a blog or a niche site.

In a past interview on his site, Darren recommends the following when it comes to quickly generating traffic for a new site:

“Forget the word ‘fast’. Really – forget it. You can probably use some techniques to get fast traffic but a more profitable strategy over the long haul is to build a blog that people become loyal to and proud to belong to over the long haul.”

Of course I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be working on developing the kind of brilliant content that will sustain your site for years and years – just that courting fast traffic has its place as well.

On Thursday, I introduced you to the site that I’m going to be re-working as part of my Conversion Rates Case Study. One of the biggest challenges I’m facing with the site is that it doesn’t get much traffic, and no traffic means that I can’t quickly split-test elements of the site to improve its performance since it’s not getting enough eyeballs to validate my tests. Basically, I need traffic, and I need it now!

Whether you need additional visitors in order to rapidly improve your conversion rates or you simply want to see your traffic numbers go up to justify the time you’ve invested into your site, there are certainly situations where it makes sense to pursue fast traffic.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising – In general, I prefer to build up traffic to a site through search engine optimization (SEO) and social networking (whether through blog commenting, forum commenting or social bookmarking). This traffic is free and its sustainable, which makes it ideal for my strategy of scaling up affiliate niche minisites over the long run.

But at the same time, this strategy runs into the problem I described above. Getting ranked for good keywords and getting noticed in the crowded social media space takes time, and when I want to quickly determine whether or not the changes I’m making to a site are successful, time is the one thing I don’t have. This is where PPC comes in.

Now, I’m not a Google Adwords expert. In fact, I’m probably the opposite of the person you should be taking advice from on this issue, as the most I’ve ever managed to achieve with that program is to blow through hundreds and hundreds of dollars… But what has worked for me in the past is 7Search. It’s a second-tier search engine, which means that it doesn’t get as much traffic as the big dogs, but it’s much, much cheaper than posting ads to Google’s PPC program.

There are several of these second-tier PPC providers, but after testing them all I’ve found that 7Search provides the highest quality visitors. I’ve also found that targeting long tail keywords on this service is pretty much useless, so my campaigns on this site are usually pretty narrow in scope. For now, I’m planning to commit $5-10/week to a small campaign on this site to see if it can help bring a little extra traffic my way.

Blog Commenting – It’s not exactly a secret that I love blog commenting, but one of my favorite parts about this technique is that it can be used to get traffic fast. There’s no waiting around for a target keyword to get ranked in the SERPs – just post a comment with a link back to your site and people will take notice.

Of course, there’s a lot of variation in the blog world, so in order to get the fastest possible traffic from this technique (instead of having my comments languish unseen at the bottom of some no-name blog), I’ll be following a few guidelines:

Only target high traffic blogs – I’ll be using Market Samurai to identify the most popular blogs in my niche, based on estimated traffic, Alexa score and other variables. This will ensure that as many people as possible see my comments.

Only comment on recent posts – Sometimes, searching for blogs in my niche on Google will turn up relevant, interesting posts… that are three years old. Instead of commenting on these older posts, I’ll add the site to my RSS feed and only comment when new posts go up to ensure that my link is seen by as much of the site’s readership as possible.

Leave exceedingly helpful comments – I haven’t worked with blog commenting in the self-help/skin care niche before, and I know I’m at a disadvantage that my links will be pointing directly at a sales page. So to build trust with both the site owners and readers, I plan to leave incredibly helpful comments without any hint of a sales message in the text.

As a variation of this technique, I’ll also be targeting Yahoo Answers for traffic. I’ve used this site with great results in the past in the self-help niche, and I’m confident that it’ll help send some quick traffic my way.

Basically, succeeding here requires following a similar set of principles as described above – look for open questions, provide helpful information and include a link back to your site as a resource. However, there are a few other tricks I’ve picked up from using this service that you might find helpful if you plan to pursue it as well:

Set up a separate Yahoo account to answer questions – No matter how helpful you are, you’re going to get reported for breaking the rules and the last thing you want is to have your main account shut down because of it.

Completely fill out your profile – Go through and build an avatar, fill out your personal information and provide whatever other details you can. Readers are more likely to trust responses from more complete profiles.

Limit the number of links you include – For every five questions I’ll answer, I’ll only post a link back to my site in 2-3 of my responses. Although it won’t totally eliminate spam complaints, it’ll minimize the number of infractions you have to deal with.

I should point out that promoting your own site through this service technically violates the TOS of the Yahoo Answers community, so use this technique at your own risk. Personally, I feel that if I provide the kind of helpful, authoritative information a person is looking for in my response, whatever I choose to link to as a resource should be my own business.

(Besides, considering the caliber of answers that come from the legitimate community members, I believe that anything that helps to generate better quality answers (even if it’s allowing a personal link as a resource) should be encouraged!)

Social Bookmarking – In the past, I’ve had trouble understanding the power of social bookmarking, because it’s incredibly difficult to get noticed amongst all the competition in this space. However, since Stumbleupon is currently blowing up this site to the tune of 30K+ visits per month, I’m a little more open to investing time in submitting social bookmarks… :)

Obviously, it’s not something I’m going to put a ton of time into, especially since I’m not planning on writing any of the real linkbait quality posts that usually get noticed on these sites. However, since it only takes a few minutes to submit my main site and any subsequent blog posts to social bookmarking sites using tools like Onlywire or Ping.fm, I do plan on incorporating this strategy into my traffic plans for this case study.

So these are my plans, but I’d love to hear your ideas as well. If you had 30 days to bring in as much traffic as possible to this (or any other) site, what would you do first?

Image: mightymoss

42 Responses to How to Get Website Traffic Fast

  1. […] How to Get Website Traffic Fast by Common Sense Marketing […]

  2. Wilson Usman says:

    I just want to say that you have a massive plan of attack and you can’t fail if you what you’re doing. Seriously there’s probably a ton of other tips and tricks that you can do but I think with all the work you’re about to put into it, Sarah, that site is going to probably blow up too. haahah

    All kidding aside, the strategy you’re about to do I tried it with a CPA website I had and it made me a killing for a couple of months but later it got knocked down with the latest panda update. I sold the site and took the profits.

    If you’re trying to build the site the right way building links to fast can send wrong signal to google, but then again I don’t know if that’s why I lost rankings for.

    Got luck with this strategy I hope its a success though.

  3. Chas says:

    Could you please clarify ‘separate Yahoo account’ for answers to me? I have an e-mail account there & thus a profile- do you mean separate from that? Thank you.

    • Sarah says:

      Chas – What I mean is that I’d set up a totally new Yahoo mail/profile account to use for commenting. That way, if your account gets flagged for violating the community terms, you don’t lose your main Yahoo account.

  4. Ian Cook says:

    Hi I like the article but marketing your website to get traffic has got to be one of the hardest things to do, it takes time and there are many scammers out there to take your money. Now the question is how much do you have to pay for good traffic as the big players in we have control of it and to break into their game is not easy.

    • Sarah says:

      Ian – Honestly, I think that’s a really limiting way of looking at it. There’s plenty of internet, and there are plenty of lower volume keywords/sub-niches out there that aren’t worth the “big players” time to go after, but that are perfect for my needs.

      That’s not to say that getting traffic isn’t challenging, but it’s definitely still possible if you’re willing to work hard and provide something valuable.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • wilson usman says:

        Love your attitude, this is why I like reading the comments section in your posts. I don’t like being rude but I think you should have a huge banner on your site that says, IF YOUR LAZY AND YOU WANT TO MAKE MONEY FAST, LEAVE NOW!

        Seriously I feel uncomfortable saying what I just said but Ian really needs to understand this. I think the link to his website explains everything.

  5. Gregory C. says:

    Hey Sarah,

    Found your blog via the MDBP, and I think you have an interesting mix of writing & marketing tactics on here.

    I have to wonder, since I’ve had similar StumblUpon experiences, how did the SU traffic convert for you?

    In my MDBP “journal” (http://www.sparringmind.com) I was just about to right a post on converting “fly by night” traffic, which I lump StumbleUpon into.

    I’ve found certain ways in which to keep SU users interested and drive conversions to respectable rates (for SU at least), but I’ve found that StumbleUpon traffic generally seems to be garbage.

    Additionally, Yahoo Answer traffic only seems to work well with niche sites in my opinion, have you been using it for blogs?

    How did the StumbleUpon traffic effect your more “permanent” statistics on this blog, such as your Feedburner count?

    Best,
    Greg

    • Gregory C. says:

      Ahhh, I hate replying to my own posts just for an error, but I meant “write” instead of “right”, d’oh.

      • Sarah says:

        Haha – No worries :)

        As for Stumbleupon, it’s not great. The bounce rate is high and the average time on site is pretty low, but I’m having some luck picking up new email subscribers after putting a special opt-in form on the top of the article. And, if nothing else, it’s increased exposure for my site, which might have some value down the road.

        And yes, definitely Yahoo Answers for niche sites. I’ll be using it to promote the site I’m working on for this month’s case study, but not this blog.

        Thanks for stopping by and best of luck with your MDBP site!

        • Gregory C. says:

          I saw that you added a separate opt-in that addressed StumbleUpon users, really smart idea!

          I’ve heard that Yahoo Answers is especially powerful with higher level accounts, did you work your YAnswers account up manually or did to buy into one?

          I’m just wondering if the time to start from a level 1 account is worthwhile at this stage for my niche site.

          • Sarah says:

            I usually build up my own accounts because I hate paying for things if I don’t need to, but the tricky thing (if I’m remembering correctly) is that you don’t get clickable links until Level 2 and it can be tough to get to that point without getting reported.

            Not that you won’t get some traffic at Level 1 if your answers are good enough, but if you have a good way to buy in, it might be worth looking into.

  6. Sean Davis says:

    Hey, Sarah!

    I just subscribed to your newsletter. I can’t wait to get my first lesson tomorrow.

    I have to agree with you about getting traffic from blog commenting. On a daily basis, I comment on a few big blogs and they always seem to be at least 40% of my daily traffic. Granted, I don’t have outstanding amounts of traffic anyway, but it’s still a big chunk.

    I’m looking forward to reading more. Traffic is what I need these days!

    Cheers

    Sean

  7. I think another helpful strategy for fast traffic is to time a number of guest posts to go out at the same time on popular sites. I know as a guest poster you don’t have the privilege of setting up when exactly your post gets published, but if you can write up a number of guest posts ahead of time, and then submit your articles around the same time to popular bloggers in your niche, you’ll be sure to get noticed.

    When other bloggers see your posts on all the sites they are reading they will be curious about what you are up to and head over to your site.

    • Sarah says:

      Bryce – Interesting strategy. I haven’t done much with guest posting yet, although I’ve had a few coming out in the next few days, so I guess I’ll know soon if that helps :)

      Thanks for sharing!

  8. Andrew says:

    I think the “blog commenting” thing runs a lot deeper than random views and backlinking. You build bridges, make friends, *network* so to speak. Oh, and the social bookmarking thing – do you use any automators like social monkey or demon? I wanted to try them but didnt want to get hit by google’s pimp hand.

    Fab post sarah!

    • Sarah says:

      Thanks so much, Andrew! You’re right – blog commenting is about a lot more than traffic generation. I’ve made some great connections and learned a lot from hanging out on other peoples’ sites.

      As for social bookmarking, I have a copy of Incansoft’s auto-submitter, but most of the time, I just wind up using Onlywire or outsourcing bookmarking on Fiverr. If you’re worried about slaps, build up some free blogs or Web 2.0 sites pointing back to your main site and social bookmark the heck out of those. They can handle a lot more backlinks, but your main site will still get most of the benefit.

  9. I think you’ve converted me to your blog commenting beliefs – I see you pop up everywhere. I’ve been thinking about streamlining my approach to reading blogs and commenting to be more efficient with my time. Do you do anything like that?

    There’s certainly no substitute for great content (such as your very popular post that’s gone viral). Congrats on your success!

    • Sarah says:

      Hey Jeffrey! Glad to hear I’m pulling you over to the dark side (er… light side?) with blog commenting :)

      And yep – I do prioritize. For the first few months, I commented on anything and everything that I found interesting, but that’s a lot of effort, so I used Google Analytics to choose the top 10 blogs that send me the most traffic and make a priority of commenting there.

      If I have time or find something really interesting, I’ll comment there as well, but narrowing things down helps me get the most bang for my buck :)

  10. Great tips Sarah. Recently I’ve increased my blog commenting and guest posting, that has increased my traffic so far, no doubt.

  11. Rochelle says:

    Hi Sarah-
    Just Found your blog on copy blogger.
    All great tips. Very useful. I get so much traffic from commenting on at least 50-100 blogs a day. I don’t spam with silly comments, I write something meaningful, that they would want to reply to. Basically making online relationships with people that will draw them to your site. Something like “thanks for the post” never gets acknowledged. :) Just my thoughts. Rochelle.

    • Sarah says:

      Rochelle – Absolutely! I’ve found that posting lots of helpful comments to blogs (especially if you can be one of the first to post on a new entry) makes people curious about you, which results in traffic. Glad to hear you’re experiencing the same success :)

  12. ES says:

    If I had 30 full days, I would rather be writing two quality articles each day and wait for organic (best converting) traffic. It sure takes some time to get recognized with Google/ Organic search engines, but once your blog does, the traffic is not only high but extremely interested in what you have written. Its that kind of traffic that converts into email subscribers.

    • Gregory C. says:

      That would leave you with 60 articles that barely anyone would read!

      You can’t rank in Google if people aren’t visiting the articles and linking back to them in the first place.

      At the very least, you should engage in guest posting to get people over to your blog.

      • Sarah says:

        Gregory – That depends. At least in the past, it used to be possible to get a well-optimized article ranked faster than your main site if was hosted on one of the top, high PR directories. And it still is possible, although it’s harder, which is why I’ve taken a lot of my focus away from this method.

    • Sarah says:

      ES – Thanks for sharing! Do you find that your success with this method has changed at all since Google Panda eliminated a lot of the SERPs spots that articles were holding?

  13. Tram Tran says:

    hi, I have seen you everywhere but never had a chance to say hi;) just wanted to say I love your tittle. It works;) and good job on leading the MDBP;)

  14. Sarah, I saw you blew out your bandwidth from generating too much traffic! A lot of us wish we had that problem. Glad to see your site back up, I enjoy reading your articles here. Thanks for the tips!

    ~Israel

    • Sarah says:

      Haha – I love the traffic I’ve been getting from Stumbleupon, but I need to be better about making sure it doesn’t crash my site… :)

      Thanks for stopping by :)

  15. […] How to Get Website Traffic Fast by Common Sense Marketing […]

  16. Jeff Carson says:

    Hi Sarah, great post…blog…it’s always obvious you are on a good blog when you’ve been reading for 15 minutes and forgot you were there just to leave a comment.

    Nice job. It’s given me some inspiration for my own blog. (I mean that in a good way, not a “I’m going to copy the crap out of this blog” way, but more like, I’d like to have my blog be like this way)

  17. Randy says:

    When you say you love blog commenting, do you make a new identity for each site you are trying to get links too?

    Love the blogs, thank you!

    Randy

    • Sarah says:

      Hey Randy – Thanks for stopping by!

      For my niche sites, I usually do have a pseudonym for every general industry I’m in (ie – one for health, one for parenting, etc). Using pseudonyms prevents people from identifying (and potentially ripping off) all of my sites, and using one per industry means I don’t have to create a new persona for every site I build.

      The site in the case study came with it’s own defined identity (plus relevant email addresses and such), so that’s the name I’ll use when commenting on blogs and doing other types of promotion.

  18. Philip Buuck says:

    Have you ever visited or commented on any of the various stack exchange sites online? In particular, I like to go to webmasters.stackexchange.com and participate in the conversations going on over there. It tends to be full of knowledgeable people that can both help me with my questions and newbies that I can help.

  19. Ryan Bradley says:

    I think a healthy mix of SEO and PPC never hurt anybody.

  20. Sam Kiranga says:

    I love I love I love!! This [post answers like a million questions I had in mind about getting traffic to my blog.

  21. Mark says:

    I have learned that networking is the best way to build traffic. Sooner or later, someone who realized the hard work you have put into a blog is noticed and then synergy is created when more than one are helping. Im glad I found your blog. I also have a gravatar site that showcases blogs and I am willing to share if anyone would like to see some examples. Scaling up seems to be the best way for me so far as well. There is no majic wand. You have to add quality content over time and eventually it finds you. Other examples of blogs I have used this are at http://gravatar.com/followmeleadtheway

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