Can I be straight with you a second?
Because, there’s something I really need to tell you, and you’re probably not going to like it. But you definitely need to hear it.
Your traffic building strategies suck.
In fact, they’re probably the least effective way you could be spending your time, ever, in the history of Niche Marketing.
Because they build pointless (even worthless) traffic, that doesn’t really do anything. It doesn’t even scrape the surface of making you any money. And serves as nothing more than a nice ego boost when you look at your stats.
Don’t believe me?
Take the next five minutes to check the amount of traffic you get, the amount of people who have converted to your e-mail list and the end product in your bank balance.
Go on, I’ll wait…
I’m going to guess it looked like this:
- A lot of ‘little’ pieces of traffic from difference sources
- A conversion rate of around 1-2% to your e-mail list
- Not a lot of people buying your products
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 traffic hacks click here or the image below)
How close was I?
Chances are I was right on the money. Because, well, that was how all my Niche Sites used to look as well.
I’d have a lot of people looking at my site, viewing my blog posts and watching my YouTube videos. Then, the occasional person would download my free eBook or download my podcast. And then, that would be the last I heard of them.
Like a one night stand, where you’re in love with the other person, but they can’t even remember your name.
But, as a Niche Marketer, you’re blinded. Traffic can never be the problem. There is no such thing as bad traffic to you, because as long as people are on your site, you’re happy.
You’ll quickly blame your content, your ‘Buy In’ and the design of your site. But, you daren’t ever even consider that thought that you might be getting low-quality traffic to your site.
Or, even worse, that your most common traffic strategies might actually be a complete waste of time. When, they could actually be holding you back and using valuable time that could be spent elsewhere.
In this article then, I want to change your view of traffic building upside down and show you:
- The 50 ways of building traffic that are a complete waste of time
- The 5 strategies you should be using to build traffic instead
- How to get the best return on investment of your time
- Why all traffic should have a purpose
- The difference between High Quality and Low Quality traffic
- How you can implement everything from this post as soon as you close your browser
So, let’s get on with it.
Page Views Mean Nothing (If They Don’t Have An Outcome)
There is one huge misconception about traffic: having more people visit your niche site is better for business.
When, in actual fact, that’s not entirely true.
That belief should be changed to: having more of the right people visit your niche site is better for business.
Because, if your traffic has no reason to benefit from being on your site, then it doesn’t matter how many people visit your site at all.
Having people visit your site isn’t enough. That’s the same as owning a shop and inviting people to just browse, without buying anything. It doesn’t really mean anything.
In order to start getting the right people, your traffic should have a specific, well-defined and measureable outcome.
When they’re on your page, you want to try and get visitors to do at least one of the following:
- Join your mailing list
- Buy your products
- Share or comment on your posts
Explain why people still let Phil Collins make CD’s (I mean, seriously)
- Engage with your site
If none of the above is happening at all, or at a really low percentage, chances are you’ve got a severe dose of low quality traffic.
For example, Ramsay over at Blog Tyrant wrote about getting 9,226 useless viewers per month to one single post, who never convert to anything on his site.
In fact, this particular post has an 80% almost instant bounce rate.
So, for him, that’s low quality traffic. There’s no engagement, subscriptions or quick browse of his site for at least 7,300 people who visit that post.
The same goes for you.
It’s a great ego boost to have a high amount of visitors per month. And, the more visitors you have, the greater chance you have of converting people to your mailing list, products or engagement.
But, if that traffic isn’t specific, targeted and relevant to your Niche Site, it’s going to be absolutely pointless.
Take the following two scenarios:
- 10,000 people visit your Niche Site per month, but you only convert 1.5% (150 people) to your Mailing List
- 5,000 People visit your Niche Site per month, but you convert 5% (250 people) to your Mailing List
Which one would you rather have: more visitors per month, or more conversions per month?
Well, that’s a no brainer really, isn’t it? You’d want more conversions and better engagement with your audience any day of the week.
Because, 250 people who are actually engaged in your site is more important that 9,850 people who aren’t.
But, which ways are effective for building that engaged traffic, and which ways are completely wasting your time?
Let’s find out…
The 35 Least Effective Ways Of Building Traffic
When it comes to building traffic, there are those strategies that bring about the high quality traffic incredibly effectively. And, there are those that don’t.
Sadly, Niche Marketers spend a lot of their time on the ones that don’t.
I can feel the hate mail already hitting my Gmail account, so before you read the list, please consider a few things.
Firstly, not all of these strategies are ineffective, but they’re not the most effective ways to build your traffic.
As John Morrow of Boost Blog Traffic says,
“There are two types of traffic…those that work when YOU DO have an audience, and those that work when you DO NOT have an audience”.
But, if you had an audience, you wouldn't still be reading this article, would you?
If you’re happy with all of that, let’s take a look at the 35 Least Effective Ways of Building Traffic:
1. Posting On Reddit
Posting on Reddit is great ego boost. You can rack up 3,000 views in no time at all, and suddenly feel like the supreme king of your niche.
But, views are all you'll ever end up with. You won't increase any of the most important metrics: e-mail subscribers, customers, shares or comments.
Reddit Users have become numb to people posting articles on there. And, whilst it could make your post go viral, it won’t deliver any of the targeted traffic you need.
Save your time, effort, and avoid all the potential internet-death threats, too.
2. Posting On Facebook
Your customers aren’t your friends.
Let me say that one again, your customers aren't your friends.
And, one of the most common mistakes Niche Marketers make is trying to promote your site to all of your Facebook friends. It may lead to the odd view here and there, but nothing that converts into a real customer.
Until you have a legion of friends on Facebook because they know who you are as supposed to knowing your personally, this is a poor method of building High Quality traffic.
Instead of sharing your site, stick to sharing those drunken pictures of your best friends. They’ll definitely get more traffic than your Niche Site ever would.
3. Having A Facebook Page
Facebook want your money. And, they’ll do just about anything to ensure you want to pay for a greater reach.
To test this, I created a Facebook page for my niche site and did a little test.
The page has 36 people who like it, and it took 2 weeks for my post to reach 17 people. In fact, it was sat at 6 people for an entire week.
Until you’ve generated enough ‘likes’ to actually get some penetration, or want to go the advertising route, this page is a non-starter for driving traffic back to your site.
4. Twitter Posts
Twitter is a one of the most accessible ways of getting your site in front of people. You post a tweet at the right time, and it’s there for everyone to see. Then, someone sees it, retweet’s it and it becomes a smash hit.
Sounds wonderful, right?
In fact, until you’ve got a following, it’s one of the lowest converting forms of Social Media there is.
Until, well, you have a substantial following.
The engagement with the tweet itself isn’t particularly high, especially when it’s a plug for an article/content/product. With people opting to focus on more human interaction.
For example, let’s look at big twitter user and blogger, Chris Brogan (who, for the record, has 297k followers).
A tweet focusing on his product managed to gather this much interaction:
Whilst one offering advice, but in a more human way, managed to get this much interaction:
In short, people will interact with you on Twitter, but it takes a large fan base to do so. Or, really lucky viral hit.
Until you’ve built a following on human interaction, it’s not the right place to focus your traffic building time.
5. Google Plus Updates
If it didn’t happen on Facebook or Twitter, it’s damn well not going to happen on Google Plus.
6. Other Types Of Social Media
Starting to get the social media picture?
Unless enough people know who you are, on any particular platform, it’s not a worthwhile way to spend your time getting traffic.
That includes Pintrest and Linkedin, too.
7. Begging For ReTweet’s and Shares
You know what is a great way of networking with people? Begging.
Honest. It really is.
Okay, maybe it’s not. For the simple reason that people will share you stuff if it’s good enough or that it appeals to them.
Focus on creating good quality, worthwhile content for the right audience, and stop pestering people to share your stuff.
8. Forum Comments
This one can really go either way. If you’ve got a very targeted, specific post you can help out with, then you could be on to something.
But, this has become pretty similar to Reddit Posts and Blog Comments and there isn’t a lot of follow through after the article has been read.
My advice? Wait until you really do have an established audience to adopt this method.
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 traffic hacks click here or the image below)
9. Creating Infographics
These really do have an incredible viral potential. And if they’re good enough, people will share them But they probably won’t drive any traffic back to your site, unless there is a direct link.
Think of it this way; when you’re driving around and you see a Billboard, how often do you actually go home and follow up on what you saw?
Pretty rarely, right?
That’s because, in psychologically, B.J Fogg calls these ‘Cold Triggers’. They create a thought process right then and there, but you can rarely create action from them, because it can’t instantly be done.
Infographics have become the Billboards of the Internet.
If someone is going to have to write down, type up and then google search your Niche Sites name, you’re going to be in the same situation, too.
10. Submitting To Blog Directories
How often do you use the Phonebook?
No, not the one on your phone. The big yellow one that comes through the door from time to time?
If you’re totally honest with yourself, the answer is only one of the following two options:
You have absolutely no idea where it is, or if you still get one.
It’s propping something upright somewhere in your house.
That’s because, put simply, nobody uses the Phone Directory anymore.
And, the same goes for Blog Directories. Nobody is looking for a cold blog, they’re not sure if they can trust, from a source that is questionable at best.
People are looking for a blog that comes recommended by a friend, a colleague or an online mentor.
Even if you were doing it for the SEO Factor, it’s now not even considered by Google.
So, using the directory is pointless on all accounts.
11. Writing For LifeHack (and others)
If blogging is your thing, writing for LifeHack and other online magazines can put a reputable name behind you.
But, in the world of traffic building, the returns to your website or product can be pretty insignificant.
For example, my good friend Daniel Wallen had the great fortune of going viral through LifeHack earlier this year. This post managed to go super-viral for him, and was at one stage, over 114,000 shares.
However, when I asked him how many of those people converted to his e-mail list, guess what his number was?
Go on, guess.
That’s just over 0.05% of the people who shared his post that converted to his e-mail list. Not to mention the people who actually read his post.
Still thinking of building traffic this way?
12. Writing a Kindle eBook
This is a point of contention for a lot of Niche Marketers. Do you create a Free eBook that drives traffic back to your website, or not?
My take on it is this:
eBook’s have the potential to drive a lot of targeted traffic back to your site, if done properly and written well.
But, the real sticking point comes with the question “How do you drive traffic to your Kindle eBook?”
If you’re just starting out, and looking to drive real traffic to your website, this isn’t the place to start. But, it will be a great addition to your products and services down the line.
13. Creating A Free Course
When I first started my new niche blog, I got really excited with the success I’d had with YouTube videos.
Turns out people love this debonair, handsome British Guy in front of the Camera after all.
So, I went ahead and created a free YouTube course, coaching people how to start their online Writing Businesses.
You know what happened?
I put in 5 hours worth of work, for minimal return.
There was the odd subscriber to my channel, few to my mailing list and an all but exemplary amount of traffic that trickled through to my blog.
For Authority blogs, you really should be giving a lot of valuable content away for free.
But, Free Courses are a little too much to give, for too little return.
14. Press Releases
If your story is incredibly valuable, and needs you to connect with the press or other forms of mainstream media, then you might find success from these.
But, as a general, run-of-the-mill traffic building strategy, you’re going to be really disappointed with the end result.
Press releases have a tendency to lead to a lot of untargeted, low-quality traffic. Which brings us full circle to my earlier point – do you really want that type of traffic?
15. Creating Untargeted ‘Viral’ Posts
Having a specific, targeted blog post that goes viral to the right audience is a great way to build traffic.
Mini-Viral is the most important kind of sharing you can get, as pointed out over on Start Up Bro’s in their epic guest post, How To Blast Out Of Obscurity.
But, you always want to aim for full-blown-everyone-sees-it viral. And, to do this, it’s easy to take the ‘untargeted approach’.
For example, let’s look at Personal Development blog, Tiger Freedom.
The recently ran this post:
And, from looking at the stats on the side of the post, it didn’t do too well.
Because falling in love with wolves has nothing to do with motivation, personal development, business, affirmations or any other self-improvement aspect.
The post might have got a tonne of views, but it didn’t serve the right audience, or the current audience.
Now, to be fair to Tiger Freedom, this strategy is tried by a lot of Niche Marketers – theirs is just the first I picked out.
Don’t make this mistake with your blog (like so many others do), and focus your posts around real content for the correct audience.
16: Creating ‘Quote’ Pictures
17: Blogging Multiple Times A Day
The more posts you have, the more traffic will come through to your site, right?
It works for websites like LifeHack and Buzzfeed, so why shouldn’t it work for you?
Well, before you even think about this approach, you need to look at two specific factors:
1. Is your Niche Site built around Viral Content?
2. Can you create quality content multiple times per day?
For, 99% of you reading this article, I’m going to go ahead and answer those questions for you, with a resounding “No”.
Whilst posting multiple times per week can work really well for your Niche Site, publishing multiple times per day isn’t going to do much for you in the long run.
Other than, well, burn you completely out.
Save your energy and focus it on the other, more effective, methods of marketing.
18: Blog Comments
Way back when, this was the way to get noticed. Especially with an Authority Blog.
The basic premise here being; if people see your name enough, and can click through to your site, you’re onto a winner.
But with so many people adopting this approach, the return on investment just keeps diminishing. The only way I see this being of benefit to you know, if to show you’re an active user on a blog you want to Guest Post on.
19: Trying To Rank #1 On Google
Oh, you have a six figure budget, and a tonne of investors?
Wait, no. No, you don’t.
You don’t have the time, money or resources to try and rank as the top hit possible on Google. So, I’m going to save you a lot of time and effort and say this:
Unless you have a incredibly specific keyword niche don’t worry about hitting the top page at all.
20: ‘Lead-In’ YouTube Videos
YouTube videos, if you’re confident in front of the Camera, can be a great way to serve your audience. You can get some great content across, such as product reviews, in a really fun and interactive way.
However, the current trend of ‘lead-in’ YouTube videos has become a poor way of converting traffic to your content.
Not sure what a Lead-In video is?
It’s a video that serves no purpose, other than to set you up to click a link to a blog post or article.
This may work well for an audience that is already established, but for generating high quality, organic traffic, you’re setting yourself up for a fall.
21: Replicating Your Posts In Other Places
Basically, replicating your post anywhere is a waste of time.
By copying and pasting your post, you run the risk of giving people the benefit of reading your post, with little traffic driven back to you.
22: Answering Quora Questions
Once you’ve answered the question, you might drive traffic to your site from that one person who you helped.
Because, they’re nice enough to pay attention to what it is you’ve said, and give some gratitude to the fact that you’ve helped them.
But, all you’re really going to convert is that one person.
And, whilst each individual person counts, it’s a lot of time and effort to spend on gathering one piece of traffic.
Who, may not even convert at all.
23: Using StumbleUpon
Did I just tell you not to use StumbleUpon? But, it’s the source of all that is great in the world of traffic building.
Or, is it?
StumbleUpon can do wonders for the amount of traffic driven to your page, especially if you do it right.
But, it takes a lot of time and effort. Building a following there can be just as hard as building a following for your Niche Site, and you’re taking a gamble on whether the traffic will actually pay off.
Time that can be much better spent elsewhere on targeted traffic building.
This is one of the methods you should leave until after you have 1,000 e-mail subscribers.
24. Creating A Newsletter
You don’t read them. I don’t read them. Your audience definitely doesn’t read them.
Instead, take the NicheHacks approach and offer something of insane value each and every day.
25. Paid Guest Posts
As you’ll find out in a minute, Guest Posting is one of the most important ways you can build targeted traffic to your site.
But, paying for it isn’t a great strategy.
For sure, it will get you in front of another audience and drive more targeted traffic back to your Niche Site. But, by paying for links you forgo a couple of the most important after effects of guest posting:
- Networking with Authority’s in your niche
- Future Guest Posts
- Connecting With An Actively Engaged Audience
Sites with paid guest posts tend to result in low-quality traffic. Because, it’s what their audience have come to expect from that site.
Instead, focus on wholesome, networked approaches to guest posts.
26. RSS Feeds
This is another blast from the past that keeps rearing its ugly head from time to time.
Great RSS numbers mean nothing if the users aren’t completely engaged in your site.
The feed builds up, people forget to read them, and they’re suddenly overwhelmed by the amount of articles they should have read, but never got around to.
Don’t get lost in the fog, and focus yourself (and your time) on something much more meaningful.
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 traffic hacks click here or the image below)
27. Over Optimising Your Page
SEO is important for your Niche Site. In fact, I’d hazard a guess that your site is built predominantly around two or three keywords.
But, on-page SEO isn’t that important for each individual post.
Google is a harsh mistress when it comes to SEO. And, what worked last year, probably won’t work today.
By focusing your time on optimising your page to the point where everything that’s there relates to SEO: the theme, the widgets, the content and the ads – you run a fine line between ranking highly and being penalised.
Spend your time building your audience, then worry about On-Page SEO.
28. Trading Links
Nothing says, wholesome-audience-based-engagement like a nice link swap with someone, does it?
Your potential audience can see right through this. If there isn’t good quality content surrounding the link, it might as well not be there.
29. Offline Marketing
Business cards, leaflets, newspaper ads – none of these are ‘Hot Triggers’ to convert your audience effectively.
People want information, and they want it right in front of them.
30. Buying Links
Exactly like trading links, only you’ve actually spent money to get nothing back in return.
31. Creating ‘Short’ Blog Posts
The Content Marketing Institute once claimed this about Blog Posts:
“A blog post is like a Mini Skirt.
It has to be short enough to be interesting, but long enough to cover the subject.”.
But now, unless you’re Seth Godin, the 200 to 500-word blog post is essentially dead and buried.
Especially, if you’re looking to use your content to build traffic and shares.
In fact, recent research done by Buffer shows that a post needs to be at least 700 words long. With 1,500 being the sweet spot.
If you think creating short, slightly insightful content for our Niche Blog is still an effective way to build traffic, you need to let go of the year 2009 and move on.
32. Focusing Solely On Google SEO
It might seem a little far-fetched, but there are other search engines out there too. And, people use them, from time to time.
Think about the other people when you’re focusing on SEO on your site, it might just get you some essential people you never even knew existed.
33. Trying To Build Your Alexa Ranking
It really doesn’t mean as much as you might think.
34. Social Media Competitions
if you don’t have a fan-base, getting people to partake in this ‘game-ified’ is a real uphill struggle.
For example, a building company in my local area ran a Facebook competition where, if any one particular person managed to gather 100 ‘likes’ for their page in less than 30 minutes, they could win £50.
And, of course, nobody ever did win the £50. But the competition resulted in a lot of likes.
Great. But, now what?
You have a Facebook page with a tonne of ‘likes’, but none of them targeted to the right audience. Because, the way that interaction as gathered was by someone posting:
“Hey, could you guys like this page? I might win £50”
As supposed to, “Need a great building company? Like these guys, they’re amazing”.
Their reach has expanded, but for all the wrong reasons.
Which makes all those ‘likes’ really low-quality traffic.
35. Spending A Lot Of Time And Money On Unique Designs
If your site doesn’t look the business, you probably won’t get any business.
But, you don’t have to have to have a $1000, completely unique design to get a good looking website, that does the job. In fact, you can set up your site really cheaply.
Your design should look good, it should look clean and it should make your Niche Site look like you’ve actually invested some money into it.
However, having a unique looking site doesn’t naturally equate to having more traffic.
Get a Premium Theme, a niche logo and be done with it.
So, How Should You Be Generating Traffic?
Being honest with yourself, how many of those 35 ineffective strategies are you trying?
I’m pretty sure that you could tick off at least 20 without even breaking a sweat.
How do I know that?
Because, I’ve made all of these mistakes too.
I’ve not just decided that they’re a complete waste of time; I’ve learned the lessons the hard way. And, I want to completely prevent you from doing the same.
That being said, you’re left with the question, “How should I be generating traffic then?”.
Simply put, there are fours most effective methods of building traffic you should be using:
- SEO: Because, your site is built around a set of keywords, after all.
- Guest Blogging: Building targeted, relevant and easily converted traffic from other peoples websites.
- Podcast/Interviews: Connecting and networking with influencers in your niche, getting interviews and focusing on building organic traffic from other peoples audiences.
- Audience Engagement: Learning from, understanding and creating content that really applies to your niche and the audience you’re looking to reach out too.
Each of these methods results in high quality, targeted traffic, each and every time. And, they’re much easier to implement than you think.
Really, Is That All You’re Going To Tell Us?
Of course not.
But, building the most effective traffic streams is an article all in itself. And, I couldn’t do it justice by just tacking it on to the end of this article.
Instead, if you want to know more about building your traffic using these streams, in a comprehensive, actionable manner, then, you’ll have to wait for part two in this series:
The Four Most Effective Methods Of Building Traffic
So, between now and then, cut out these least effective strategies and get ready to learn how to play ball in the big leagues.
Author Bio: This is a post by James Johnson. James is a copywriter, author and speaker from England.
He teaches people how to make money through their writing over on his website, Intentional Freelancing. If you can't find him there, he'll be over on Facebook, or promoting his new Content Marketing eBook.