The DIY Traffic Checklist: 2016
By Sophorn Chhay, Inbound Marketing Specialist at Trumpia
Traffic is the lifeblood of any online business. Without traffic there is no data, basis for testing and measuring and of course most importantly sales or conversions. With more than 3 billion users now using the internet you can imagine how many marketers and entrepreneurs are constantly testing new strategies of traffic acquisition. Once one method becomes successful and is shared with others, it has a very limited time to remain valuable. As with all good things, it must eventually come to an end. Which breeds the new strategy of traffic hacks until the next algorithm. Some tactics remain applicable for longer than others, but here are some definite actionable traffic hacks for 2016.
Study Niche Influencers & Build Relationships – Who are the experts in your industry or niche? To effectively build relevant traffic it is a must that you begin subscribing to their blogs, reading their publications and make an effort to connect with them. There are many tools to help you organize and identify whom these people are but ultimately you want to be able to relate to their past content and use social media to potential begin a relationship. These are the people that have highest value of potentially sharing your product, idea, etc. and have an audience to benchmark or tap into. Tip: do not assume that you will be greeted upon first email, it will take time. Offer something of value first before all else. Typically, I will link to an influencer in an authoritative blog (high perceived value) to show them I am serious about digital marketing and appreciate their efforts online.
Engage The Traffic you have. Search Engines use a lot of data gathered from your site to determine future listings. When they have metrics that a large number of people are staying on the website for a good period of time and engaging it is an indicator that the website can handle traffic efficiently. If you want to get a higher number of returning users back to your site (search engines love this as well) then set-up an opt-in form. This will enable more loyal subscribers the chance to read your blog posts first and increase their engagement on-site.
Email. Building an e-mail list is imperative to online success. It should be noted that you need to build an organic list over time based on the value that you give. If you are actually producing content that is relevant and offer's legitimate solutions to your audience you should eventually be able to build a list within a year or so of outreach and gaining more traffic. Email lists are important to get even more traffic as well because they influence metrics that once again Google stores. If you are blasting your blog posts out each week and can have a steady tribe of loyal subscribers engaging and sharing this content first your posts are going to do much better. It opens up the gate for inbound links and very high quality social signals associated with the post. Don't overlook the importance of email these days.
Guest Post. Its likely Influencers will not accept right away but start small and contact bloggers that you genuinely appreciate. My advice is to expect to spend hours before you successfully get some communication and be very patient. First I suggest you create a list of topics custom to the blogger you reach out to that: he hasn't fully written about yet, are trending or viral subjects and finally would offer value to his/her audience. Once you get the approval, make sure you take the time to write a piece that isn't standard or status quo. This is your chance to start the relationship off right and use this piece for future guest post requests as well. Add specific imagery to your word document and cite all resources so you are handing the content over on a silver platter.
Social. I know what you may be thinking, it's obvious to have a social strategy in place these days. However, I am taking about making sure you prioritize social sharing and make it extremely simple for users to take action if they are aligned with your message. See this image from a digital marketing consultant website below. Something as simple as setting up sumo me on WordPress gives you the functionality to enable your custom images to be shared on social channels. Having the social share counter provides a sense of social proof and just makes it seamless for your users to press on button to share to their audience.
Solidify NAP. Name, Address, Phone Number. Make sure you are listing a uniform NAP online. So many websites have simply overlooked the importance of listing these correctly on-site as well as off-site with listings in Yelp, YellowPages, etc. These details are what search engines use to cross-reference your business in a variety of web sites and determine that you in fact are running a legitimate business. If you have scattered or un-organized details it confuses the search engine and in turn will suffer for local results. The search engine wants to weed out businesses that are not offering value and in turn has focused more heavily on brands in the SERPS. Brands have a reputation and should carry consistent NAP.
Content that kills it. If you still do not believe you will achieve a quality level of traffic without putting in the time and effort it requires to write quality content read this. Here are some tips on creating the best type of content that excels in the search engine. Keep your content solution based, providing real life examples and data with images to support. The more media you offer (video, photos, etc.) the better users tend to absorb the page as well. If you try to stick to these guidelines you are increasing your chance of your content to go viral. By the way I went back to write this in so you are aware, this piece of content took 7.5 hours and that's not including the structuring and brainstorming involved.
Reviews. In 2016 reviews are crucial to your business and should even be valued higher than testimonials on your website. Reviews not only increase conversions on your website but tell the search engine whether or not you are the best result for a query service. If a user types in "Black Shoes" the search engine will factor in the reviews of a broad range of third parties and do it's best to return the highest ranking listing. If you have left some reviews on the table be sure to send those old clients that opportunity to leave you a review so you can increase your authority.
Repurpose Existing Content. Okay, I'm assuming you've read this but how do you effectively do this? Create your old blog posts or articles into PDF's and slideshows to syndicate. It doesn't take much time or effort and once you have these PDF's you can share on websites with high visibility and existing traffic to gain even more eyes. Scrib'd, Docstoc and Slideshare are just a few to name.
Optimize Blog Posts That Have High Bounce Rate.
Blog posts that suffer from high bounce rate do not assist your SEO. Your goal should be for users to navigate through to the important pages on site. Sometimes your blog posts with high bounce rates are still converting, if users are opting in or using the call to action but most times you can use some improvement. Pinpoint these low performing pages and add relevant images, more in-depth content and variety of media (audio/video) to gain more favorable metrics which can then help influence the overall SEO of your website.
Consider Audio/Video Channels. These days if you are not listening to podcasts I highly encourage you to start especially if you are like myself and learn via audio. If you are on a mission to ramp up your online traffic this is a perfect avenue to build a community toward your brand. YouTube is a viable option and very affordable and these days you can start a podcast very easily.
Link Bating. Sorry I know this sounds negative but unfortunately this is the word but in 2016 it will bring a different meaning. Create something of tremendous value. Be creative. E-books are everywhere now and honestly are not my idea of effective link bait (excluding some valuable link building e-books). Some of the most unique link baits I've come across are downloadable contractual agreements to use, WordPress plugins and real estate calculators. If you want to build your traffic and pay it forward, create a solution for your audience that they current lack. A solution that your audience would pay for. Then simply give this away free. Watch the inbound links and viral buzz began and soon enough you will see an influx of traffic funneling into the site.
CDN & Good Hosting. Don't overlook the value of having a quick website that load fast and gives users what they want quickly. Take the time to get top notch hosting and fix any website issues that are slowing down your site and traffic. Google Analytics offers speed suggestions to give you better guidance and there a many hosting plans available if you're current hosting is lacking.
So there you have it. These are some guidelines for a necessary checklist to get a higher level of inbound traffic in 2016. Share your thoughts, what did I miss?
Sophorn is the marketing guy at Trumpia, a mobile content delivery service that allows users to customize their one-to-one marketing efforts by interconnecting and optimizing all digital platforms. As an innovator in two-way SMS/MMS marketing, Trumpia's mission is to empower brands and public figures with interactive access to their audiences, reaching targeted affinity groups in a personal way.More from Sophorn Chhay
Phone: 415.484.4215 ext. 1322