25+ Ways to Increase Website Traffic: A Definitive Guide

Everyone wants to increase their website traffic. Most focus on SEO and content marketing. But that’s not the only channel that can grow your traffic. There are other channels that can bring traffic to your site and help you grow your business. 

In this post, you’ll learn about the different channels that drive traffic to your website, why you shouldn’t obsess about one channel, and neglect the rest and, most importantly, how to do it.

Let’s dive right in.

Different Channels that Drive Traffic to Your Website

There are various channels that generate traffic to your site. These are commonly known as the default channel groupings in Google Analytics. Here is a high-level overview of these channels:

What is organic traffic?

Organic traffic is traffic the comes from search engines like Google, Bing, and Duck Duck Go. When people type something on search engines and people click on the results that lead to your website, that traffic is tagged under organic traffic. When you do SEO well, organic traffic grows.

What is direct traffic?

Direct traffic is traffic that results from users typing your URLs directly on their browsers. Autocomplete suggestions and bookmarks also fall under here. It’s also the catchall or fall-back channel in Google Analytics. This means untagged traffic like email links and shares on communication apps (Whatsapp, Messenger) show up here as well. 

What is social traffic?

This is the traffic that comes from social media networks. Whenever you share links on social media sites and people click on it, that is counted as social traffic. 

What is referral traffic?

Referral traffic comes from other websites. If you click on a link on this page and lead to another, that visit counts as referral traffic from my site. Granted search engines and social networks are also websites, they all fall under specific channels in Google Analytics. 

What is email traffic?

Email traffic are visits that come from emails that are tagged properly with the medium email. Unless you configure this properly using UTM parameters, traffic coming from email will fall under direct traffic.

What is paid traffic?

Paid traffic comes from your advertising efforts. These are commonly known as PPC campaigns.

The list above is only the most common channels that help increase your website traffic. 

2 Ridiculously Simple Ways to Increase Organic Traffic

There are only two proven ways to grow your organic traffic:

  1. Create new content
  2. Update old content

After doing those two things on my site, my organic traffic increased by 76% in just 3 months.

Google Search Console Performance

I’ve already beaten my entire 2019’s website traffic by March 2020. Since I am continuously writing more blog posts and updating my previous articles, I’m expecting to grow my organic traffic by 250% this year. My current numbers as of 30 June is already at 128.79%.

What Is Content and Why It Helps Growing Your Organic Traffic

There are different types of content like blog posts, videos, infographics. Ebooks, white papers, landing pages, and podcasts all fall under content. The reason why it works is simple. Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. This information is content. So, when you perform SEO, you’re simply helping Google achieve its mission better.

Search engine optimization is all about making individual pages on your website (i.e. the content itself) rank on search engines. Google uses over 200+ ranking factors to filter and prioritize which pages on the internet they should show first when people Google something.

That’s why content marketing and SEO should be taken together. You can’t expect to grow your organic traffic by focusing solely on one.

What Type of Content Should You Create?

Create content that is focused on the user. Help them solve their problems, needs, and wants. That’s how you grow your organic traffic.

Search engines care most about the people using their site to search. So when you add value to their users, you’re rewarded with traffic.

HubSpot

All the individual tactics that fall under SEO and content marketing are all geared towards adding value to users. Keyword research, competitive research, topic clusters, and pillar content are all about helping users find what they are looking for and providing them with the best possible experience online.

When you do this, you will undoubtedly pass all the individual ranking factors that Google use:

And many more. That’s why it’s never a bad idea to put your customers at the center of your business.

4 Ways to Increase Website Traffic Using Social Media

There are various ways to increase your social media traffic. The main way to achieve that is to use the algorithm to your advantage. Below are ways you can do that. But first, what do I mean about using the algorithm to your advantage? 

Have you noticed that the people and brands you often engage with (whether that’s commenting, liking, sharing, reading, or simply viewing) are the ones that keep showing up on your feed? 

That’s the social network’s algorithm in action. These sites want to keep you on their platform. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, and every other social media site work this way. If they keep showing you posts that you have engaged with, you will most likely keep engaging and stay on the site more. 

Use this to your advantage. 

Tip #1: Post Links

First, the only way people can visit your website is if you post links on your social media accounts. If you don’t post links, how would they visit your site? 

If you keep posting images, they might visit your profile and find your website. But why make it harder for your audience? Why not post a link directly so they can read your post?

Sample Facebook Post with Link to an Article by Business Insider

Tip #2: Be Funny, Entertaining, Educational, or Controversial

On social media, you have a ton of competition as well. The algorithm isn’t your friend. At least, until you’ve proven that people keep engaging with you.

Instead of constantly promoting and selling your products and services, which no one will read, post funny, entertaining, educational, and controversial content. That way, people engage with you. Your updates show up on other people’s feeds more often. Then, when you finally post a link or ask them to buy from you, it will be seen by more people. 

Tip #3: Use Rich Media

Mix up your posts. Find a good combination of rich media and link posts. 

  • Images
  • Gifs
  • Videos

Or any combination of those. For example, you can use a video but it’s composed only an audio file and a photo. There are a lot of ways you can apply this. The idea is to take a single piece of content then repurpose it. You can also post an image with a link as an option.

Sample Facebook Image Post with Link

Tip #4: Post Multiple Times

The final tip that you can use to increase social media traffic is to post multiple times. No, it’s not spamming especially if you’re not constantly selling. If you’re posting funny, educational, or entertaining content, people will enjoy it.

But, as mentioned above, your enemy is the algorithms of social networks. It’s been said that only 5% of your audience get to see your posts on Facebook. And bigger brands can expect a much lower reach.

So if you only post once, there’s a very high chance that people won’t see it. That’s why there is nothing wrong with posting multiple times. If you follow tip #3, then you should worry about duplicates or annoying your audience. There’ll be a variety in your posts.

That’s why new software tools like Meet Edgar or RecurPost are gaining momentum in the last few years. They make “reposting” your content easy by automating it. You create a library, set a schedule, then it goes through it and cycles through your post until it runs out. Only then will it go back to the start. So, if you prepared 50 posts and decide to post only once a week, it will take a year before you post the same thing again.

7 Simple Tips to Increase Referral Traffic to Your Website

Referral traffic is traffic from other websites apart from Google’s own search engine. If you clicked on one of the links here on this page and it led to another website, my website is counted as referral traffic in their Google Analytics account. It also works the other way around. 

Here are some ways to grow your referral traffic.

Tip #1: Perform Co-Marketing Activities

The main goal of referral traffic is to get traffic from other websites to yours. Hosting online events or partnering for campaigns with other websites or brands help you get referral traffic because they would create several pieces of content on their platform and link back to yours.

Whether that’s a single landing page or several blog posts, people can find you in those posts. I’m not familiar with other industries but in marketing, these are when you’d see two or more brands partner up for campaigns.

CoSchedule and AgileSherpas Co-Marketing Landing Page

Tip #2: Do Guest Blogging

Another way to get referral traffic is via guest blogging, or posting on other websites.

Again, the purpose here is not to get links to manipulate rankings — which is a very controversial issue lately. Rather, guest posts are a great way to increase your reach and awareness.

If the 3rd party website is relevant and has a good readership, then people will find your site. Then, it’s up to your content to get them to stay there and, hopefully, keep coming back.

Tip #3: Create Linkable Content

The easiest way to get referral traffic is to get other people to constantly talk about you or that thing you did or made. That’s why tools (see below) and awesome content work best to get referral traffic.

For example, I was shocked when my recently published article on how to use Google Optimize suddenly is getting dozens of views. When I looked inside Google Analytics, most of them were coming from referral traffic from Search Engine Roundtable.

Tip #4: Build a Tool

Have you ever tried Googling for a tool that lets you do stuff online? Like convert PDF to PNG, or create gif from images. You’ll notice that there are a variety of tools that’ll show up on Google. Their output is similar but the rankings will differ every now and then. It’s because more and more tools are being created.

And since they are useful, people are linking to them on their own websites.

Sample SERP for Tools

Tip #5: Engage in Old-Fashioned PR

Press releases are usually used by big companies or those with full marketing teams. They send PRs to media and news outlets in advance so that on a certain day, all these websites are talking about them which greatly increases your reach.

PRs are used on all stages of a company— from getting funded, launching a new product, to relaunches. The downside is that since most are coming from media outlets, referral traffic spikes then suddenly die down.

Unless you get picked up by other sites that focus on your niche or continue to produce evergreen content, then the traffic will be short-lived. That said, the reach might be worth it for your company.

Tip #6: Do Something Controversial

What’s a good way to get people to talk about you? Do something controversial.

And it doesn’t have to be negative ones. It just needs to be something that is not widely accepted like those examples above.

The underlying principle here is that it has to be inherently good. Unpopular. But good.

Increasing salaries of everyone in the company? Good. Publishing everyone’s salaries so there’s no guessing whether employees are earning enough or not. Good.

What can you do that is widely unpopular but can be a great way to get other websites talking about you?

Tip #7: Answer HARO Emails

This is commonly used as a link building tactic but is also a great way to get referral traffic. Think about it. You simply answer emails, and if the journalist (the person who requested for info) likes your pitch, then you’d get cited for their article.

This gives you a high authority backlink and traffic as well. If there’s a good fit, relevance, and readership from the requesting site (big site names are Forbes, Entrepreneur, etc.), then you’ll get a lot of exposure from it.

Increase Email Marketing Traffic in 9 Easy Steps

Increasing traffic from your email marketing is one of the most underrated strategies you can do to increase your overall website traffic. Most websites aren’t using it to their advantage. This is why they aren’t getting the ROI email marketing promises—depending on which study you’re looking at, email marketing is known to generate between 3800%-4400% return on investment. 

Email has an average ROI of $38 for each $1 spent.

Below are some tips to increase your email traffic. While this list is not exhaustive, these should be enough to get you started.

1. Continuously Build Your Email List

Email lists naturally decay at ~22.5% per year. What that means is a contact in your email list will be practically useless in 4 years. This could be for a number of reasons. People change jobs and with that change, their email addresses. Your content might become irrelevant to them for no fault of your own. And many more.

Make sure that you continuously generate new leads so you replenish your email list. Here’s a simple 7-step process to generate leads online.

2. Don’t Rely on Newsletter Signups as Your Lead Generation Tactic

First, email marketing is not limited to newsletters. Newsletters are the worst kind of lead generation tactic you can use on your website. Why? 

Because it doesn’t add any value to your readers. They don’t benefit from it. Most businesses only use this to continuously send discounts and promos.

Sample marketing offer to increase email traffic

Instead, create marketing offers. Distribute them on social media and use them in ads to reach a wider audience (like the image above).

3. Develop a Lead Management Strategy

A lead management strategy allows you to segment your email list allowing you to personalize your messages later on. Segmentation is what separates successful email marketers from the annoying ones.

You can do this easily in ConvertKit or other email marketing software. You ask a question that, when clicked, people get added to a segment. 

Sample email that allows readers to self-segment

You can then use this information later in the other tips. 

4. Send Only Relevant Emails

This builds on the lead management strategy above. What this means is once you are able to segment people coming in your list, you only send relevant emails to them. Let’s say you are an eCommerce shop that sells to dog and cat owners. 

If someone identifies as a dog owner, will an email about cat products appeal to them? Chances are, they won’t even bother reading your email. Or worse, they might unsubscribe from your list altogether. This is the reason why segmentation and sending relevant emails is key to growing your email traffic. Here are 35+ ways you can segment your list and some use cases.

5. Create Lead Nurturing Campaigns per Segment

The next step after segmenting your list is to create lead nurturing campaigns per segment. 

Let’s go back to my example in the previous point. When people identify themselves as a dog owner, you enroll them in a sequence that automatically sends them information about dogs. 

This can be as simple or as complicated you like. You can start with only one lead nurturing campaign. Then, once you build that out, create another one. This way, future leads will then enter nurturing campaign A and some will enter nurturing campaign B. 

Here’s how it may look like in your email marketing software.

Sample Automation in ConvertKit
  • Someone fills out a form, an email is send thanking them and ask them self-segmenting questions
  • If they identified themselves as a cat lover, they will be enrolled in a nurturing campaign that focuses on cats; works the same way with dogs
  • The email sequence can go something like this:
    • Email 1: Your most popular ebook on raising a cat
    • Email 2: A PDF of your customers’ cat photos (which you compiled with their permission of course)
    • Email 3: Video on common cat behavior problems and how to solve htem (scratching, litter box, etc.)
    • Email 4: Most popular cat products

Notice how the emails are set up to build a relationship and trust before mentioning anything about your products? I wrote a step-by-step guide on how to create your own lead nurturing campaign here.

Feel free to bookmark that page as I’m sure you’re going to go back to it a couple of times.

6. Don’t Forget to Add UTM Tags

Don’t forget to add the proper UTM tags in the links in your email. Otherwise, when people click on links to it, they will not be tracked under email traffic. If your email service provider has an integration with Google Analytics, make sure you complete this integration. This ensures all links you are using are tagged automatically.

If there’s no option for that, you can use the URL Campaign Builder by Google. You fill out the fields then copy the link it provides.

Google's Campaign URL Builder

7. Add Multiple Links to Your Email

While this may seem obvious, adding multiple links to your email is one way to improve email traffic. If you’re sending a simple blog article summary/roundup, that email usually has two things: copy and an image. For example, here’s Pocket’s daily digest email…

Pocket Email with Links

For each blog article, there are 3 links to it:

  1. Image 
  2. Title of post
  3. Save to pocket button (call-to-action)

Bottom line: Add links wherever you can.

8. Include Links in Your Email Signature

One other tactic you can use is to add the links to your website in the email signature. If your marketing and sales teams are aligned, this can be the campaign priority for the quarter. Or maybe a big event coming up soon.

What will happen is all your marketing and sales team’s email signature use the same copy and link to the registration page. Just make sure you add the proper UTM tags so they get tagged under Email Traffic in Google Analytics.

Of course, this can be easily done through an email signature manager, but if you don’t have one, it’s best to create a template then send it out to the rest of the team. That way, they just copy and paste it instead of re-creating it themselves.

9. Link to Your Articles in 1:1 Email Conversations

You use email every day to communicate with your customers, vendors and suppliers, contractors, and many more. If your company is truly creating helpful content, you shouldn’t hesitate to link to them and include them in your email communications.

It’s as simple as, “hey, we recently published an article on lead nurturing. I remember that you mentioned you were having trouble creating a lead nurturing campaign a few weeks ago. Hope this helps. (Insert link here)”

Get the Most Out of Your Advertising Budget to Grow Your Paid Traffic

As the name suggests, paid traffic is traffic that comes from advertisements. But not all ads fall under here. For example, if you advertise on Facebook or Instagram and get traffic from them, that traffic will fall under referral or social traffic. That’s why it’s important to add parameters on your ads when creating one.

URL Parameter Builder in Facebook Ads

Two Goals of Advertising

Most marketers advertise by bidding on keywords and send the traffic to their homepage. This results to high costs and poor conversion rates.

Homepages are typically built for returning visitors who already know the brand. They are not great at getting people to complete one action quickly. They tend to overwhelm the user by cluttering with multiple offers.

Tinuiti

There are two general approaches to paid advertising:

  1. Conversion
  2. Awareness

Conversion is focused on getting leads or sales. This is the most commonly used strategy by most brands. But, unless you have a big budget or know your way around the system, you almost always end up with poor results.

Awareness advertising are often thought to be a waste of budget or only afforded by big brands. It’s mainly focused on promoting a piece of content (blog posts and videos).

An Alternative Way to Advertise

The reason why advertising costs too high is marketers keep trying to convert cold traffic to paying customers.

Instead of aiming just to sell, you should build relationships with people that are relevant to their stage of the buying cycle:

  1. Introduce your business to those at the early stages.
  2. Convert those who are deeper in the process into leads.
  3. And, finally, monetize those who are ready to buy.

If you want to grow your paid traffic using the same budget, here’s how you do it.

Step 1: Setup Your Tech Stack Properly

The first thing you need to do is add a piece of code that will help you track your ad performance.

The reason to add these tags or snippets of code is to gather more data about your visitors. Instead of advertising to a cold audience—a list of demographics or bidding for certain keywords, you will switch your ads targeting to warmer audiences.

Step 2: Promote Your Blog Posts First

Cold traffic are people are who haven’t heard about you. If you’re a small business, you’re probably advertising to cold traffic all your life. That’s why you’re getting terrible results.

If you want to get the most out of your money, promote a piece of content first. This allows you to get cheap clicks to your website. Here’s why it works:

The costs and competitiveness of pay-per-click have gone through the roof in recent years. Audiences—especially business audiences—know when they’re being sold to. They tend to avoid clicking or giving any attention whatsoever to sponsored posts in their newsfeeds, especially when they’re from a brand who they’ve never seen or heard of before.

Audience Ops

Step 3: User Remarketing for Conversion

Now that you’ve received cheap website traffic, it’s time to convert them into leads and customers. That’s where remarketing ads come in.

You target the people who visited your website and read your posts with ads designed to convert them into leads or customers. This way, you are reaching a warm audience. Because they know you already, i.e. they read you posts and/or engaged with your brand, they have high likelihood of converting. In addition, remarketing ads are cheap too!

Search ads in super-competitive industries can cost several dollars or more per click – and that’s just the average (with some keywords costing more like $50 per click). Display and social remarketing ad clicks by contrast might cost anywhere from 2-100x less.

WordStream

Follow this strategy if you want to increase your website traffic using paid advertising. With the same budget, you can get more traffic and increase conversion.

Grow Your Direct Traffic

Direct traffic is a sign of brand recognition or repeat visits. As I mentioned earlier, it’s also. the catch-all or fallback channel in Google Analytics. If GA does not know where it came from, that traffic will fall under direct traffic. Take a look at this image to see how it works.

How Google Analytics Process Campaigns and Traffic

There is no one way to increase your direct traffic other than to build brand awareness. That means getting your brand in front of other people.

  • Writing content
  • Posting on social media
  • Sending emails to your list
  • Advertising

All these contribute to building your brand.

Over to You

Increasing your website traffic needs to be tackled holistically. Most focus on SEO. It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s just one channel.

Jeff Bullas wrote, “It was a game-changer, but it’s not the only game-changer, and to focus on SEO exclusively is a bad strategy.” 

There are other channels that can bring you quick wins and drive growth to your business. Get the fundamentals right (on-page and technical SEO) but don’t forget to apply a holistic digital marketing strategy. 

It’s kind of like focussing on being happy. That never truly works. Instead, you focus on doing stuff that you like, hanging out with people you care about, and keeping busy and productive. Happiness ensues.

Jeff Bullas

Don’t put your eggs in one basket. Yes, SEO is helpful in growing your website traffic. But so do other channels. 

What about you? Do you rely on one single channel to grow your traffic? Or are you applying a holistic approach? Either way, I’d love to know.

Ariel Lim

Ariel Lim

Management consultant / MBA / Inbound marketer who helps startups generate leads, create and execute strategies.

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