Larry Brauner

This is an article about how to get more web site traffic. Unlike most articles discussing how to get more website traffic, this article focuses on optimizing sources of website traffic rather than optimizing links or keywords.

I’ve had some success getting web site traffic. Admittedly, I may never catch up to Seth Godin whose blog currently ranks 6,028 in Alexa for traffic. However, my blog did recently pass 50,000 in Alexa after a couple of years blogging.

Get More Web Site TrafficFriends wonder what I’m doing that they’re not, and whether they’re looking for website traffic in the wrong places.

Hard work and consistency are certainly key success factors, and I am hard working and consistent. I’m also very hard thinking, and I’ve concluded that there aren’t right and wrong places to look for traffic, and that diversifying traffic sources is a critical strategy for achieving long-term success. Most web site owners don’t diversify enough.

Rationale for Diversification of Traffic Sources

It’s true that some website traffic sources deliver greater, higher quality and better targeted website traffic than others. It’s also true that some traffic sources are less time consuming and easier to use than others. Nevertheless, 80/20 rule notwithstanding, to rely only upon your best website traffic sources is a questionable strategy for at least seven reasons:

  1. Quantity - Obviously, using more website traffic sources tends to generate more web site traffic. While some website traffic sources aren’t as efficient to use as others, their website traffic is no less valuable.
  2. Stability - Using more website traffic sources reduces risk and increases stability. Putting all your social media eggs in one basket is risky, since social media is in a constant state of change. We often see social networking sites rise and fall in popularity and even disappear completely. Search engines are also unpredictable. They can revise algorithms or remove web sites at their discretion. My strategy has allowed me to adapt gradually to changes over time.
  3. Opportunity - Testing to uncover the best approaches is a widely accepted marketing concept. Using more website traffic sources, you find opportunities you would otherwise miss. You also increase your chance of getting lucky.
  4. Diversity - Using multiple traffic sources, you can reach audiences that are more diverse and richer from a marketing perspective.
  5. Frequency - Using many website traffic sources, you tend to reach people more often which helps you build your relationships with them more effectively and reinforces your messages.
  6. Synergy -Some website traffic sources complement each other and create synergy.
  7. Latency - Some website traffic sources require persistent usage before they yield results (e.g. search engines) or the source itself may not have matured (e.g. Twitter).

Places I Look to Get More Website Traffic

Without going into detail, a partial list of sources that have recently helped me get more we site traffic are: search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) Entrecard, Twitter, Ning sites, Facebook profile, Facebook page, Facebook NetworkedBlogs, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, BlogCatalog, Google Friend Connect, and other blogs.

While you can use my partial list of website traffic sources for starters, you’ll need to develop your own long list of sources that’s geared to your audience and your marketing strategy.

I’ve intentionally excluded video websites such as YouTube from my list for now, but in all likelihood it will be on yours. Furthermore, I don’t generally buy website traffic, but it might make sense for you to do so.

Okay. We’ve reached the point in the post where you usually comment. Please share your favorite traffic sources and ways you like to get more web site traffic. :-)

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24 Responses to “Looking for Website Traffic in All the Wrong Places”

  1. Blog Tactic on November 30th, 2009 3:47 am

    Traffic from search engines can be very erratic. It really depend on the hotness of a particular keywords. Some days, I get lots of traffic for a keyword. Other days, it’s very quiet.

  2. Mark on November 30th, 2009 4:44 am

    I agree with the hard work bit. Been blogging about trading for 8 months now and the blog is moving up the ranks at a snail pace, but is moving. I do get some traffic from YouTube and other video sites, but most of the traffic comes from search engines. I get some traffic from Facebook (set up a page there) and some from Twitter. I have never bought traffic to this site although I do buy traffic for more commercial ventures, such as affiliate marketing and CPA. Thanks for the blog, always read and learn something from it.

  3. Cheryl H on November 30th, 2009 10:03 am

    Keep up the good work Larry and you’ll catch Seth in no time! For us we have found the industry blog/article sites have been really helpful in the traffic drive, in our case sites like Gizmodo and TechCrunch. They have also been helping to build a network of “experts” to go to for advice and tips. I think in the end it boils down to what you have pointed out in several of your posts, it’s a matter of dedication and persistance. Once you master those the traffic will follow.

  4. Debbie Morgan on November 30th, 2009 12:18 pm

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for the tips. Like all web site owners, I’m always looking for more traffic, and after that high quality converting traffic. I utilize pay per click to a small degree as well as social media.

    Deb

  5. Larry Brauner on November 30th, 2009 12:49 pm

    @Blog Tactic I’ve enjoyed watching my traffic from search engines rise steadily. After 150 posts, I’m receiving 5,000+ search visits per month, for my keywords, but mostly for long-tail keywords.

    @Cheryl Happy you’re enjoying blogs. The plug you gave me on that freelance blog has brought me some traffic. In any case I’m happy to have you as a reader and wish you and your company much success.

    @Deb See if you can incorporate the multichannel approach I recommend. Also, see if you can get more social: Try Google Friend Connect and perhaps a Facebook page linked to your site. Look at my sidebars to see what I mean.

  6. Hillel on November 30th, 2009 1:06 pm

    Great post.

    I think the point that many bloggers miss is that its all about marketing information. Here is what I tell people: The more information you put out on the web - then the more “space” you will own on the web and the more space you own on the web - the more traffic you will get.

    Best,
    Hillel

  7. Larry Brauner on November 30th, 2009 1:54 pm

    I completely agree Hillel. That traffic combined with social interaction, to me, is what building a web presence is all about.

  8. Jake Jacob on November 30th, 2009 5:37 pm

    Larry,

    Another great well thought out and nicely written piece. I think the days of the wild wild west are coming to an end in cyberspace.

    Good sites and good advice. Getting traffic more and more is having the proper domain name: in other words something that has to do with what the front page is about.

    Next in my opinion learn or hire someone who really understands WordPress.

    Finally don’t overdo it. Put in pertinent, appropriate content consistent and the traffic will come.

    There are a multitude of tiny things that do make a difference. But those are like the waves of the ocean. Constantly changing.

    Jake Jacob

  9. Larry Brauner on November 30th, 2009 6:40 pm

    I agree to some extent Jake. However, I’ve found that focusing of basic factors such as those I outlined recently in 10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Blog or Website can make a big difference.

  10. EdZee on November 30th, 2009 9:11 pm

    Hi Larry,

    I’m glad to be back reading your good blogs about blogging. I was offline for two months, and it did affect my blog traffic, but not from you. I consistently saw your among its recent viewers the few times I got online. Thank you very much for that.

    EdZee

  11. Sam Ragnarsson on November 30th, 2009 9:27 pm

    Very good post - especially the sites you recommended, such as Entrecard and NetworkedBlogs on Facebook. As I have just recently started my own site, these will come in handy.

  12. David Salo on November 30th, 2009 10:32 pm

    I’m using NetworkedBlogs and the Facebook pages, but what worked better for me is StumbleUpon and the TweetMeme plugin. This Saturday I posted something about best tips on marketing analytics to measure the ROI of your social media campaign, and I had six retweets in fewer than five minutes, after eight hours I had more than 70. Then I discovered one thing: according to Google Analytics I had 6-7 visitors from Twitter, 7 from bit.ly and more than 50 from direct traffic.

    This issue solved me a problem, I was wondering why didn’t I have visits from Twitter if I have 15k followers, and the answer was in the amount of visits from direct traffic.

    My highest peak of traffic was due the StumbleUpon. I suppose that the trick is to write about things that can use a very popular tag, like cars, SEO, oddities, etc.

  13. Larry Brauner on November 30th, 2009 10:48 pm

    David,

    I wrote about the direct traffic problem in my previous post, Twitter Stats Defy Measurement.

    I don’t know if it’s best to write about what’s popular on StumbleUpon. I believe that it’s best to write about what is important to you, and then to find the best way to market your content.

    Why let any site determine what you write about?

  14. Jeff Aspacio on December 1st, 2009 12:28 pm

    Dropping 300 ECs using the most popular campaign in Entrecard has always given me traffic and has allowed me to break the 150,000 Alexa which had really been difficult in the past.

  15. Bjorn on December 1st, 2009 9:50 pm

    Thanks for an interesting article. My way of saying this is: Traffic is the food your online business needs to survive.

    There are a couple of things I would like to comment, firstly - multiple traffic sources - relying on search engine traffic or PPC can be catastrophic. If Google slaps you or changes its algorithm you are in trouble. I have seen and heard of web sites where most of the traffic more or less vanished over night. If you don’t have other traffic sources its only a question of time before you are out of business.

    I also agree with you that buying traffic is fine as long as its good traffic. Especially if you are building a mailing list, which is something I recommend everyone do.

    The tricky thing is knowing how to handle traffic from different sources. You mention it too under latency. Visitors from the various sources may also have different mindsets, so it can take a while before you understand them and manage convert their actions as you desire.

    Thanks again, great post :)

  16. Chinaren on December 2nd, 2009 3:00 am

    You haven’t mentioned forums. There are plenty of very popular forums that allow you to put links to your blog etc. in you sig.

    As long as you’re active on them, and don’t spam, they’ll get read and indexed quite a lot.

    There are also forums dedicated to advertising, so worth remembering those too.

  17. Larry Brauner on December 2nd, 2009 3:29 pm

    You are right Chinaren.

    If this had been an article about different traffic sources, I would have included forums.

    However, since the article is about diversification of traffic sources to get more web site traffic, I include only those traffic sources that are part of my current repertoire.

  18. James Avory on December 3rd, 2009 5:55 am

    I could repeat that endless: content, content, content. The most important thing to get indexed by google on the highest place possible. Give a site stable concrete to work properly with many original pieces of text that is written properly. No copy/paste option here, only original content. That is the clue.

  19. Data Processing Specialist on December 7th, 2009 1:09 pm

    Another interesting post Larry, I agree with you about consistency, you have to be consistent and look for quality sources where you could create more traffic to your website. However, I believe in quality more than quantity, I usually get high traffic from sites like ezines, Squidoo, StumbleUpon and other high ranking directories. I’m trying to build my Facebook and Twitter page right now and see if I could get positive results from these sources. Cheers!

  20. Will on December 10th, 2009 2:39 pm

    Hi Larry,

    Hard “work”, hard thinking and above all persistence are all key factors as you mention - and absolutely agree about Twitter which , for me anyway, yielded very few benefits early on … but is now becoming an increasingly important source of traffic - and, more importantly, excellent contacts.

    One social network that I’ve so far almost ignored - but have heard can be brilliant, is Stumble Upon (just subscribed to you there!). You mention it above - and I was wondering if you have any particular Stumble strategy that you could recommend/share?

    Ok, hope all is well with you

    Will

  21. Larry Brauner on December 10th, 2009 5:31 pm

    The key on StumbleUpon and other quasi social networking sites is to build relationships.

    If you review other people’s sites, Stumble their favorites and send an occasional note, you’ll make friends, and your friends will do for you.

    Targeting is also important. The more closely another’s niche matches yours, the more valuable a review from them will be.

  22. Lorraine Arams on January 25th, 2010 12:21 pm

    Every time you post, Larry, do your blogs automatically go to all these SEO sites? If so, how do you do it? I use Wordpress and have All In One SEO - I’m not really sure it does much of anything but I do submit to Digg manually - that seems to work well. Stumbleupon - I use it because it’s accessible and it adds diversity.

  23. Larry Brauner on January 25th, 2010 2:56 pm

    It’s not automatic Lorraine. I use Social Marker and the Add This plugin for Wordpress.

  24. How to Hit the Right Mix of Traffic Sources | Online Social Networking on December 19th, 2010 9:46 pm

    […] be the cause for not hitting the right mix of traffic sources. A lack of proper experimentation, adequate traffic diversification and perseverance is a more likely cause for disappointing website […]

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