I had just launched my blog.
The first post was published and it was there for all the world to see. But no one knew it existed. I had no budget for marketing, no traffic and to be honest I was struggling. Sort of like a tree in a Siberian forest. A bit green, very unknown and hidden.
It was 2009 and blogging and the social web were new and just emerging from the primordial swamp on the start of the journey of digital evolution. Tools were raw or non-existent and everyone was trying to work out how to get traffic without paying for it. SEO scammers were still plying their trade and Google AdWords was getting too expensive.
Social media was free back then.
You could get traffic easily from Facebook, Twitter and other social networks without paying for it. I started to work out that Twitter was very effective for getting traffic to my blog. My email list was so small it might as well been non-existent and my SEO traffic was feeble.
So how do you get free traffic?
If you’re expecting an easy answer you are in the wrong place. You are going to have to earn it!
…and that takes time and effort.
Here are the top 3 tactics to start and focus on.
1. Social media – This where I started. You need to start building a tribe on social networks (Twitter was the one that worked best for me)
2. Search engines – Earning authority with Google takes persistence but research shows that this will produce 300% more traffic than social over time.
3. Building an email list – This is vital. It means that you can let your audience know about your latest blog post or offer when you want to. Not at the whim of a Google or Facebook algorithm. Do this from day one.
Now for a lot of you this is not big news.
But it is still surprising how many people still don’t do the work to make these tactics work.
But there are some simple ways to get free traffic and here is a secret on how to double your traffic.
The real secret
The real secret is optimizing your blog and website with tools and technologies that make your site work harder. That means that your primary goal should be to take the traffic you already have and optimize it. That means two things.
- Making it easier to share
- Make it compelling to subscribe to your email list
How do you do that?
The simplest way to start is to use simple to use sharing buttons. When I did this for the first time the results were incredible. Just doing that one thing increased my traffic by 200%
But I am still surprised today how hard people make it to share their content. Often they are almost impossible to find, at the bottom of the post or not even setup.
An awesome app
Today we have so many tools and platforms to choose from that it is overwhelming. Late last year I decided to try out an app that I had heard about but hadn’t the time to implement or test.
What I love about the app is that it makes it easy to optimize and test. It also focuses on the two key things that you need to make your blog and website work harder.
Optimizing your content sharing and email subscribing.
Making your blog work harder and smarter is the best place to start rather than chasing shiny new toys that offer the world, add clutter and just plain waste your time.
SumoMe is the best tool I have discovered in a long time! Here are 7 ways to use it to start on the journey to doubling your traffic.
“Get 12+ free tools to grow your website traffic”
4 ways to optimize your email list building
The best place to start is with the tools that help you grow your email list. Here are 4 cool ways to make it easy and compelling for your site visitors to do that with Sumome.
The default designs are a great place to start. But you can create your own design by using their large range of templates. The stats show that the welcome mat is one of the highest converting list building tactics you can use.
Sumome data shows that it can triple your conversion rate with its full-screen call to action.
Welcome Mat displays a full-screen call to action that shows when visitors land on your site. It encourages your visitors to join your email list and check out your latest and popular blog post!
Popular features include:
- Ability to customize the background, add gifs, videos and completely change the colors
- Mobile and web optimized
- Automatically loads when visitors arrive on your site
- Ability to use display rules to control where your popup shows
- Easy newsletter integration with Mailchimp, Aweber, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, GetResponses, Infusionsoft, Mad Mimi, Vero and many more!
The scroll box is a sliding banner that pops out when people have read a certain percentage of your content or post. The default setting on this is 40%.
You could use this to also promote webinars and other landing pages.
This operates like most pop-ups but is easy to design and configure the settings.
If you go the top of my blog you will see the “Smart bar” that links to SumoMe and you can start setting it up today. You can also use it on your website to start building your email list.
3 ways to boost your sharing optimisation
Making it easy for sharing on a social web is critical. If you don’t work on this then you are leaving a lot of traffic in the shed. Here are 3 easy to boost your sharing.
People love sharing images. So make it easy for them. In a few seconds you can set up your site for sharing to Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. In just a few days I have had nearly 100 images shared which drives brand awareness and traffic.
That alone will increase your traffic!
Now there are huge selection of sharing button apps on the market but again they are easy to design, configure and setup. The sharing buttons can also be configured to float down the side as people read your post and increase your sharing rate.
Here is how Sumome looks on the Social Media Examiner blog.
With Highlighter, your visitors can highlight sections of your articles to share with their friends, coworkers, and more. This does two insanely valuable things:
1. Drives you social traffic
2. Highlights popular sections for you readers.
Features worth noting:
- Enable highlight of any text on your page
- Get way more shares on Facebook and Twitter
- Offer ability to share any content via Facebook or Twitter
- Ability to fully customize the color of the share box
- Works instantly
Other cool features
Along with the sharing and subscribing tools the app also provides some other cool features.
- Mobile friendly
- Measures your performance with Google analytics integration
- Perform A/B split tests.
It is so easy to add another scroll box, list builder or welcome mat to a campaign and compare the results. To put this in some perspective a welcome mat that converts at 1.9% versus 1.6% means that you will capture 300 more emails per 100,000 welcome mats shown.
That’s worth testing!
You can set up another mat for testing in just a few minutes and start measuring straight away.
Let’s double your traffic!
So now you have a lot of ideas to grow your traffic. You should also know what to focus on. I would recommend you implement SumoMe today and get 12+ free tools to grow your traffic.. If you can’t set it up yourself then get your web tech partner to do it for you.
I would then implement the following as a minimum.
- Welcome mat
- Scroll box
- Image sharing
With some focus, effort and testing I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that you have doubled your web traffic.
Look forward to hearing your stories about how you grew your traffic with SumoMe.
About the author: Jeff Bullas
Jeff is an entrepreneur, blogger, author, marketer and speaker and works with personal brands and business to optimize online personal and company brands with emerging technologies, content, social media technologies and digital marketing. He has spent most of his career involved with information technologies, telecommunications and the web.