It’s time for another edition of the Traffic and Conversion Series!
The idea behind these posts is to show what’s actually working with my traffic generation efforts. By following this series you’ll get ideas and tactics that can be used with your online business.
I’m writing this post after completing a seven week cross-country trip across the United States.
So I didn’t get a chance to do much in the way of blogging.
Did my traffic go up? Did it go down?
More importantly, what am I doing to grow these numbers moving forward?
I’ll answer these questions. Plus I’ll analyze ten different traffic sources for the last 1.5 years – Showing what’s currently working and what’s not.
There’s lots to cover today.
So let’s get to it…
First lets recap the stats from July:
- 17,067 Visits
- 72.82% Bounce Rate
- 1:56 Average Visitor Duration
- 4,372 Returning Visitors
- 793 Email Subscribers
So what happened in August?
Here is a screenshot from last month:
I use five metrics to measure the “success” of my traffic generation efforts. Here’s how they did in August:
- 16,835 Visits (1.36% Decrease)
- 77.07% Bounce Rate (5.86% Increase)
- 1:32 Average Visitor Duration (20.82% Decrease)
- 3,746 Returning Visitors (14.3% Decrease)
- 576 Email Subscribers (27.4% Decrease)
I’m not surprised at all by these low numbers.
<– You can even see my shocked face.
These low numbers in traffic, visitor retention, and email subscribers are the direct result of me traveling for the last two months…
…And that’s the price you pay when you basically ignore your business.
The one benefit I got from this vacation is it gave me ample time to think about this blog. When it comes to SteveScottSite.com, I’ve tried to do too many things to grow traffic. What I recently realized is the best way to get more visitors is to see what’s working and simply do more of that.
Which brings us to…
[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]The Top 10 Sources of Free Traffic – DISSECTED [/title]
We all want more web traffic. The problem is it’s hard to know where to focus our efforts. Even worse – It seems like every day there’s a new, “hot” way to promote your site.
So what’s the solution?
I recommend a simple strategy – Follow the 80/20 rule of traffic generation (Tweet this!)
As you probably know, the 80/20 rule states that 80% of your outcome comes from 20% of your efforts.
In regards to web traffic, this means analyzing what’s currently working and doing more of that.
With this in mind, I went back and studied all of my traffic since May 2011 (when I installed Google Analytics.) In the last year and half, this blog received 349,804 visitors (or 285,283 uniques):
What I found was interesting – Only a handful of techniques generated real results.. The rest were a complete waste of time.
Today I’ll analyze ten of these traffic sources. We’ll first look at the raw numbers. Then I’ll give you my thoughts on whether it’s worth pursuing in the future. And finally, I’ll detail a step-by-step plan for what I’ll be doing in the future – In the hopes that you follow my plan.
[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]#1 – Organic Search Engine Traffic[/title]
- Google.com Visitors: 195,988 Avg. Duration: 1:00 Bounce Rate: 83.70%
- Yahoo.com Visitors: 3,311 Avg. Duration: 0:56 Bounce Rate: 84.93%
- Bing.com Visitors: 2,648 Avg. Duration: 0:47 Bounce Rate: 88.97%
- Ask.com Visitors: 762 Avg. Duration: 0:40 Bounce Rate: 88.85%
- Aol.com Visitors: 513 Avg. Duration: 0:45 Bounce Rate: 84.80%
I get a LOT of traffic from Google and other search engines. Unfortunately the numbers show that your average search engine user is not being engaged. Usually they come in, read one post, and then immediately leave. Not good at all!
For the last few months I’ve given up on trying to please Google. It’s still important to do on page optimization. Just don’t spend all your time worrying about getting search engine love. Actually, it’s better to concentrate on some of the other traffic techniques that I’ll cover in a bit.
My Action Plan:
- Focus on creating great content to get natural links back from other blogs
- Re-optimize the top posts that get organic search engine traffic
- Pick one target keyword for each new post and do basic on-page optimization
- Stop worrying about getting backlinks – Just let it happen naturally
[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]#2 – Referral Traffic[/title]
- Nicks Traffic Tricks Visitors: 1,240 Avg. Duration: 3:28 Bounce Rate: 63.95%
- Leaving Work Behind Visitors: 1,074 Avg. Duration: 2:46 Bounce Rate: 55.96%
- Adsense Flippers Visitors: 868 Avg. Duration: 4:34 Bounce Rate: 52.19%
- Traffic Generation Cafe Visitors: 799 Avg. Duration: 5:24 Bounce Rate: 43.55%
- Smart Passive Income Visitors: 690 Avg. Duration: 3:32 Bounce Rate: 61.45%
- Joseph Archibald Visitors: 594 Avg. Duration: 4:58 Bounce Rate: 57.41%
- Associate Programs Visitors: 558 Avg. Duration: 6:15 Bounce Rate: 51.49%
These are just seven of the hundreds of websites that send traffic to this blog. (I owe a big thanks to these sites…so go check them out!)
I know the numbers don’t look as gaudy as Google. But these visitors stick around and read my content. So they’re pretty cool people in my book 🙂
You’ll find that referral traffic is the #1 way to get people to your website. It’s like getting one person to tell all their friends that you’re someone worth meeting. Frankly, a personal recommendation is WAY better than any traffic from the search engines.
My Action Plan:
- Focus on creating great content to get natural links back from other blogs (Sensing a pattern here?)
- Create a database of the top sites in the Internet marketing/blogging space (This post lists 600 places to get started.)
- Write one guest post each week on these sites. (Watch my interview with Danny Iny to see how he uses guest posting to explode his traffic.)
[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]#3 – Twitter[/title]
- Twitter.com Visitors: 33,984 Avg. Duration: 2:02 Bounce Rate: 73.33%
Twitter is an incredible source of traffic. The best part is the whole process can be mostly automated. (This is the primary way I generated visitors to my blog early on.)
I follow a very specific system with Twitter. So check out my post on how I get 5,293 (automated) monthly visitors from Twitter. While I’ve changed my tactics a little recently, this article still provides a great step-by-step breakdown of how to get Twitter traffic.
My Action Plan:
- Keep doing what I’ve been doing (Why fix what isn’t broken?)
[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]#4 – Stumble Upon[/title]
- StumbleUpon.com Visitors: 11,650 Avg. Duration: 0:54 Bounce Rate: 72.88%
11,000+ visitors might seem a lot of traffic. Unfortunately these are low quality visitors who don’t stick around very long. I’ve found they’re scanners – Not readers.
Moving forward, I’m not going to worry about Stumble Upon.
My Action Plan:
- Nothing. I’d be cool to get extra traffic from Stumble Upon. But I’m not going to lose sleep if this doesn’t happen.
[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]#5 – Email Marketing[/title]
- Mail.Yahoo.net (1) Visitors: 1,172 Avg. Duration: 3:16 Bounce Rate: 66.13%
- Mail.Yahoo.net (2) Visitors: 385 Avg. Duration: 3:39 Bounce Rate: 64.94%
- Mail.Live.com (1) Visitors: 76 Avg. Duration: 3:55 Bounce Rate: 51.32%
- Mail.Yahoo.net (3) Visitors: 69 Avg. Duration: 2:29 Bounce Rate: 60.87%
- Mail.Live.com (2) Visitors: 61 Avg. Duration: 5:35 Bounce Rate: 50.82%
- …Plus traffic from dozens of other email clients
You might wonder: “How is email marketing a source of traffic? Isn’t it the goal of a blog to get people on your email list?”
Actually, linking to blog posts is a great way to retain and engage your email subscribers. They should still get exclusive content through autoresponders. But it’s also important to let them know about what’s currently happening on your website.
My Action Plan:
- Segment a list of people who have completed my existing autoresponder sequence
- Send an email to these subscribers (1x a week) about a new blog post
[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]#5 – Forum Marketing Traffic[/title]
- WarriorForum.com Visitors: 2,463 Avg. Duration: 2:49 Bounce Rate: 71.17%
In the past I was never a proponent of forum marketing. But my viewpoint changed when I received 1,861 visitors from a single forum thread. Now I’m starting to see that it’s a viable way to generate web traffic.
The trick is to treat forum marketing as something to do only if you have extra time. Your average forum traffic numbers are usually pretty minimal. So your time would be better spent creating content that magnetically draws people in.
My Action Plan:
- Write 2 to 3 “thought leadership” forum posts each week (if I have time.)
- Analyze the results and see if this traffic source is worth pursuing
[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]#6 –Facebook[/title]
- Facebook.com Visitors: 2,463 Avg. Duration: 2:49 Bounce Rate: 71.17%
People love talking about social media sites like Facebook. Unfortunately it doesn’t provide the flood of traffic that’s often promised.
I’ll admit I’ve been pretty lazy when it comes to Facebook. In fact, I’ve only started going to this site on a daily basis. (Check out my page here.)
I’ve found that Facebook is not the greatest at generating new traffic. Instead it provides the perfect vehicle for re-engaging regular readers (Say that 5x really fast.) The more you interact and add value – The more you’ll get people to come back to your site.
My Action Plan:
- Create a “Facebook publishing schedule,” where I plan out my status updates on a daily basis
- Like and comment on the status updates from my favorite pages
- Post updates about important trends and ask affiliate marketing related questions
- Link to new articles on my blog as they’re published
[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]#7 – Google Plus[/title]
- Plus.Google.com Visitors: 151 Avg. Duration: 2:12 Bounce Rate: 74.83%
I have to say I’m disappointed with my Google+ numbers. I’ve spent a lot of time engaging people, making connections, and supporting lots of different content pieces. All this effort only led to a handful of visitors.
Maybe it’s just me. Perhaps I’m a lousy Google+ marketer. What I do know is this site is not a great source of traffic.
I’ll still use Google+ for networking and meeting cool people. But no longer will I try to use it for traffic generation.
My Action Plan:
- Post useful content from other blogs
- Link to new posts on my blog
[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]#8 – Pinterest[/title]
- Pinterest.com Visitors: 77 Avg. Duration: 3:35 Bounce Rate: 70.13%
Here is another complete waste of my time. I know Pinterest is the new darling of the Internet. Too bad it’s not a great a source of traffic.
I’ve tried a number of things on Pinterest. I posted images/quotes full of helpful tips. (My VA did these and I think they’re pretty awesome.) I’ve connected with other Pinterest users. I’ve re-pinned till my eyes were bleeding. And I regularly post images on this blog and my other social media accounts. The end result is a whopping 77 visitors.
Again, my lack of results might be due to bad marketing on my part. Perhaps Pinterest is not the right fit for the IM/blogging market. What I do know is it’s not worth my time to worry about getting traffic from Pinterest.
My Action Plan:
- Continue to post “tip images” to Pinterest
- That’s it.
[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]#9 – Blog Commenting[/title]
- ComLuv.com Visitors: 148 Avg. Duration: 2:58 Bounce Rate: 53.38%
- 4HourWorkWeek.com Visitors: 211 Avg. Duration: 1:58 Bounce Rate: 63.37%
It’s actually really hard to track traffic from blog comments. Usually all you’ll see is that you’re getting traffic from a specific website. But it won’t say if it’s from an internal link or from a blog comment.
So the best I can do from an “analytics standpoint” is to look at the stats where I know that 100% of this traffic is from a blog comment. Like Comluv.com & 4HourWorkWeek.com. Overall, I’m pretty confident that I’ve received thousands of visitors through blog commenting…I just don’t have the stats to prove it.
Blog commenting was how I generated the first visitors to my blog. Way back when, I commented on 5 to 10 blogs every single day. Eventually this strategy snowballed into some pretty decent traffic numbers. So I know it works!
I no longer use commenting as a promotional strategy. But I still read 20 to 30 blogs a week and try my best to leave a comment whenever I have time.
Here is a post if you’re interested in blog commenting as a traffic source. While the formatting of this article is god-awful, it does provide a good step-by-step plan that I’ve successfully used in the past.
My Action Plan:
- Nothing. Just leave comments when something really catches my eye.
[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]#10 – Podcasting/YouTube[/title]
- YouTube.com Visitors: 54 Avg. Duration: 3:00 Bounce Rate: 55.56%
This one is pretty silly – I’ve known about the traffic potential of podcasting and YouTube for years.
So have I taken action?
Not at all.
I did have a YouTube account at one point. But it was shut down because one of my videos had the words “make money” in the title. Love you too Google!
With all that said, YouTube and podcasting can be real game-changers when it comes to traffic. In the next few weeks, I’ll start posting quality videos to my channel. (Till then, click here to subscribe, and be one of first people to check out what I’m doing.)
My Action Plan:
- Create a format for my videos
- Post 2 videos per week to my channel
- Integrate YouTube with other social media channels and this blog
- Start learning about podcasting.
[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Your Step-by-Step Traffic Generation Plan[/title]
This post covered ten different techniques for getting traffic to your blog. As you saw, there are only a handful of strategies that produce actual results. My advice is to follow the 80/20 rule and concentrate on the traffic techniques that actually work.
I’ve just detailed the plan that I’m following. Perhaps you should do the same:
- Post 1 to 2 quality blog articles each week
- Target one keyword phrase for each article
- Write one guest post per week (Check out this webinar to learn how to do this.)
- Build up a Twitter & Facebook account that engages people while generating traffic
- Create a strong multimedia channel full of excellent content (YouTube or Podcasting.)
- Integrate this multimedia content into your blog and social media accounts
- Build up an email list where you send awesome content – Including updates on your latest posts
- Do forum marketing and blog commenting only if you have time
Listen… I’m not a fan of bullshit marketing tactics. It’s easy to get distracted by the bright, shiny objects on the Internet. My advice is to find what’s currently working and then focus on that.
Looking back over the last year and a half, I’ve had a few traffic strategies actually work. So I’m not going to waste my time on things that sound good on paper – But never work in the real world.
Instead I’m going to follow a step-by-step plan that’s focused on getting results.
Care to join me?
Comment below…Take Action. Get Results.