18 Lessons Learned About Blog Traffic From Driving 595,497 Visitors To NicheHacks In The Past 1.5 Years

Filed in Case Studies, Traffic by on September 28, 2015

 Are you interested in how I took NicheHacks from a blank website to getting 595,497 visitors in the past 1.5 years?

Despite the fact I've done no promotion or advertising for the past 12 months?

I started the blog with no connections, no recognition in the niche, and no audience yet still turned it into a 50,000+ visitor a month website, with a list of 12,000 subscribers that makes over $6,000 a month profit. (See here if you want to learn from my lessons as an affiliate)

And you can do the same just by copying my strategies and implementing the lessons I've learned (and avoiding the mistakes I made)

Ready to turn your own blog into a traffic (and profit) monster?

Let's do it...

Here's my 18 lessons learned about blog traffic over the past year and a half...

 

1. Google Is Not The Internet (But They Are Important So Use Them To Increase Traffic By 49.86% )

So many people make the mistake of thinking Google is the only source of traffic.

It's NOT and it's not even the “best” source of traffic.

And here's why:

You have no control over Google, you don't know whether your site will rank ever, and even if it does it can be taken away from you at ANY time.

No way to build a sustainable online business.

However they cannot be ignored....

If you've followed NicheHacks for any amount of time you'll have seen my “anti-Google” rants and how I don't do any SEO. (But I do have great articles about SEO here)

This is true, I've done practically no keyword research, no on page SEO and built no forced links to this blog.

But that's more because I was busy focusing on other traffic methods and don't like wasting time on something I have no control over (Google makes it's rules up as it goes along)

However Google still sends 49.86% of all traffic to NicheHacks....so just imagine what it would do if we put some effort into optimizing for SEO?

A more sensible method would be to write content that your readers really want to read (solve their problems and use “The Skyscraper Technique”) which we do here at NicheHacks.

Then source out some related keywords you believe you can rank for and sprinkle them throughout your posts paying attention to good on page SEO.

Have a strategy in place for manually reaching out via email to influential websites and blogs that have linked to similar content as yours and try and pick up links (this can be outsourced).

That way your content does what it should...solves your readers problems.

AND you get maximum exposure for it too, picking up links and social shares and getting on the radar of top bloggers and marketers.

And if you pick up enough high quality links (and you should if your content is good enough and you outreach to enough people) you'll rank.

So I would never make SEO your main focus but don't ignore it either.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 traffic hacks click here or the image below)

 

2. You Need A Content Promo Strategy In Place If You Want Your Content To Go Viral

This has been touched on above but to explain it more...

There's absolutely no point in spending all that time, effort (and possibly money if outsourcing) creating content

IF:

You've no content promotion strategy in place.

Because then no one will ever see it...and certainly not as many people deserve to see it.

All your hard work is just wasted.

Creating EPIC content is NOT enough.

You must promote that content too if you want it to go viral, get in front of your target audience and be seen by influencers.

Good content doesn't go viral by it's self no matter what Matt Cutt's at Google and other bloggers tell you.

So you need a strategy for social media to get it in front of big social hubs and groups and a strategy to outreach to influential bloggers (here's 7 places to find them) so they share and link to it.

There's plenty of social media groups, content sharing sites, and blogs that you can get your content featured on or linked back to.

Sadly we've failed at this here on NicheHacks . We had no real strategy or process in place for it, sometimes we did and sometimes not.

I will be hiring a “viral content manager” soon to work solely on this task.

 

3. If You Want More Traffic Hire A Writing Team & Watch Your Traffic Soar

Hiring a writing team was one of the best things I did.

Not only do I get epic, fresh, content from top class writers.

They also bring in their own social shares, traffic and followers to NicheHacks without me doing any work to promote them.

Combine that with the traffic I generate from the social pages and email it adds up to a nice stream of steady traffic.

So if you can afford it look to outsource experience freelance writers in your niche that have their own followings.

The benefits are endless and traffic is just one of them.

 

4. Facebook Is Junk For Traffic....Or Is It? (Get 8% More Traffic When You Do This "Hack")

Until about a year ago I had a FB page for NicheHacks.

Interaction was low, no one got involved, little traffic back to the site.

I wrote FB off as being junk for traffic outside of paid ads (more on that later)

Then I opened up a “Private Mastermind Group” initially just for paid customers of my products which I later opened up to the wider blog audience. (You can join the mastermind group here)

Now we've over 5,000 members, interaction is huge, traffic back to the site is massive (8.2% of all traffic is coming from FB now).

Making the group “private” and calling it a mastermind gets people interested.

Then you can share your content to this group day in day out and drive traffic back to your site as well as building up your relationship and trust with your readers through the group.

Don't write off Facebook....just set up a group, make it private, and call it a “mastermind” or similar and use it to drive masses of traffic back to your site.

 

5. Your Email List Is Your Biggest Asset...But You're Probably Doing It Wrong

You know “the money is in the list” as you've heard it a million times.

But either you're still not building one at all, building one in the wrong way...or not doing your email marketing properly if you're not seeing massive traffic from it.

You can't just ask people to “subscribe for updates” and expect them to opt in, no one cares about updates they can just come to your blog and read new blog posts.

You need to be offering problem solving lead magnets that give your audience the solution to their core problem(s).

For each category of your blog have a lead magnet.

Then when they opt in they go through a series of emails (7-14 days of daily emails works best) where they see content (from your blog and the odd exclusive) related to what they just opted in for.

Your open and click rates will soar because everything you are showing them is relevant to what they've just opted in for.

If you're just adding everyone to the same list regardless of what they sign up for you're leaving loads of traffic (and money) on the table as someone who signed up for an SEO lead magnet may not be that interested in blogging content / posts.

Segment your lists, keep it relevant and have 7-14 days of follow up content (your best blog posts) that they go through.

Your traffic from email will soar.

My open rates increased by 9% and clicks by 2% after implementing this strategy and my profits by over $1,500 per month on auto-pilot (because they go through a sales funnel automatically).

 

6. You Need To Master Paid Traffic ASAP Otherwise You're Wasting Time AND Money

If you're just starting out the last thing you probably think about is paid traffic. (Learn how the experts use Facebook traffic here)

That's for the experts, isn't it?

Well no actually it should be part of your plan from almost day 1...

Free traffic isn't free. It sucks up loads of your time.

Free traffic takes too long and cannot be scaled. You always have to be hustling to get it or it dries up.

Paid traffic one you've figured it out can be scaled up almost indefinitely and is hands off.

Once you have your ads and system in place to make your money back you just keep paying for more traffic.

You do however need to know your numbers and have a system in place to generate that cash back otherwise you'll just lose it.

So be sure to know how much a customer is worth to you and have a sales funnel in place to generate income before you start throwing money at paid ads.

If you don't have it in place you have 2 choices...test it with “free” traffic first (slow!) or use paid traffic to test it quickly (just start small and build up).

 

7. Free Traffic Isn't Really Free It Sucks Up Loads Of Time (Do 'This' Instead)

We touched on this above...free traffic is a huge time waster.

SEO is unpredictable and not guaranteed. You can spend 6 months trying to rank and end up with a Google penalty instead.

Social media traffic is hit and miss and wasted time...people are distracted.

Guest posting takes a massive amount of time and effort to find relevant blogs accepting content and writing the posts plus the traffic it brings can often be disappointing. (You can learn how to guest post here)

Forum traffic and blog commenting....oh come on...don't you have better things to be doing?

And I think your time is best spent doing things other than hustling on forums and blogs posting links, sharing content in social media groups and doing other free traffic methods.

Paid traffic is the way forward. You can scale it indefinitely and once you're ads are in place there's no more work required by yourself.

 

8. Expert Round Ups Bring In Lots Of Traffic And Shares (But It's Not Always Of The Highest Quality)

Expert round up posts are great pieces of content. (See the best types of posts that bring in the most traffic)

You feature experts and get a wide range of opinions.

They get a lot of interest, social shares and traffic and expose your blog to new audiences.

However:

The traffic they bring isn't always of the highest quality.

Expert round up posts on NicheHacks have a bounce rate of around 80% on average compared to 60% on average for other posts.

The experts featured share them with their audience sending a flurry of traffic but often that target isn't completely targeted and they bounce quickly when they've had a quick glance at the post.

The solution?

Make sure every expert featured in your round up is SUPER targeted to your blog and not an expert for the sake of including them.

 

9. LinkedIn Can Bring Lots Of Traffic If You Follow This Guide

LinkedIn is one of those often overlooked social media sites, especially when it comes to generating traffic.

Though as Brain Lang mentioned in his guest post publishing content to LinkedIn can drive masses of traffic to the right sites.

If you're in a tech or business related niche it can be a great generator...if in a niche like cooking, fashion or make up...then no.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 traffic hacks click here or the image below)

 

10. These Types Of Posts Will Drive The Most Traffic To Your Blog

After digging into my Google Analytic account and using BuzzSumo to see which posts get the most social shares it's clear that the following types of post drive the most traffic...

  • Expert Round Ups
  • List Posts
  • Actionable Posts
  • Ultimate Guides

Now this will differ for every niche and every website but if you're a new blogger and not sure which posts to go with...these are a good start.

We list the other type of high traffic posts here: 20 Types Of Blog Posts To Drive More Traffic To Your Blog

 

11. Use The Skyscraper Technique To Increase Your Posts Social Shares by 564%

The Skyscraper Technique by Brian Dean must be one of the most talked about content and traffic strategies on the net.

Why?

Because it flat out works.

Me and my writers use this technique on about 75% of the posts we create to find a proven viral topic and create something bigger and better.

And since we implemented this technique now the average post gets over 160 social shares on auto-pilot before any manual outreach or promotion.

Compare that to just a pathetic 35 shares before we implemented the technique that's a 564% increase in shares.

You can see why you need to implement the Skyscraper Technique right now, yeah?

Do it...

 

12. You Don't Have A Traffic Problem. Your Content Probably Just Sucks

There's no such thing as a traffic problem.

Traffic is everywhere all over the web.

It can be got for free with a little elbow grease or it can be bought.

There's no shortage of it.

If you're unable to get traffic to your site you're either not doing anything to get it (it won't turn up by magic) or what you're offering doesn't appeal to anyone.

Does your content suck?

Be honest. 90% of content on the web is junk and yours might be too. (See here for the ultimate guide to blogging so you can start off with an epic blog)

No matter what traffic strategies you have in place if your content sucks or isn't tailored to the people who you are showing it to then they aren't going to be interested.

Make all your content EPIC. Make it super relevant to the people you are trying to target.

And of course get out there and do SOMETHING to get that traffic to your site...it won't turn up by magic.

 

13. 100% Of People Read Your Headline, Are You Losing Out By Making It Terrible?

Your headline is the only thing 100% of people will see.

If it isn't great then most people aren't going to read any further.

So there's no point in sending traffic to your site is your headlines don't entice anyone to click on anything.

Writing headlines is NOT hard.

You just have to follow proven headline formulas like the ones here: Copy And Paste Headlines

That way you make the most of your traffic and get it involved with your site.

 

14. Do You Know About The 3 W's Of Traffic? Without Them You Are Useless...

Traffic is about 3 things.

  • WHO your target audience are.
  • WHERE they hang out online.
  • WHAT you'll do to get them to your site.

Before you try to get traffic from anywhere you need to know EXACTLY who your traffic is, their sex, age, country, race, interests, hobbies and more

Where they hang out online...blogs, forums, social media groups.

And what you'll do to get them back to your site...place paid ads? Guest post? Blog comment? Share content on social media?

Know this BEFORE you drive traffic using the “3 W's” system and suddenly it becomes easier because you know who you are targeting, what makes them tick, where they hang out online and can put a strategy in place to get them back to your site.

 

15. Guest Posts Bring Lots Of Targeted Traffic But....

Guest posting is a really great way to drive super warmed up and targeted traffic back to your site (from the guest posting I've done the bounce rate is low at 53.83% and time spent on site high at 00:04:03)

However it IS time consuming and it doesn't always bring as much traffic as you expect (at least not to begin with, it often adds up over time)

Some people have built their whole online empire around guest posting as their traffic strategy so it DOES work for those willing to make it works.

For me however....

I've managed just one, accidental (it started out as an email) guest post, in the past 18 months of NicheHacks being live.

It brought in a lot of traffic.

But if I was to continue to guest post on a regular basis it would suck up a LOT of time.

I believe the best strategy is to guest post when your blog is new and you're needing to build up your authority and traffic quickly.

Or if you can outsource it and have it ghost written.

Otherwise it's going to be a huge time consumer.

 

 

16. Traffic Is Useless If You Aren't Capturing Emails. Here's How To Increase Traffic By 25.18%...

If you're driving traffic but not capturing the email addresses of those visitors you're just wasting your time and losing money.

Most will come to your website once then vanish never to be seen again....even if they liked your site.

People are busy, distracted and forgetful...you need their email if you want to get them back to your site over and over again.

Don't waste those visitors...capture emails via problem solving lead magnets and follow up with them via email to build a relationship and drive them back to your site OVER and OVER again.

This is the strategy that helped me take NicheHacks from an empty WordPress site to 595,500 visitors in the past 18 months and growing fast.

I haven't done any active promotion or marketing for over 12 months now yet traffic grows months on month and shows no sign of slowing down.

This is mostly due to my email list and the traffic it sends back 25.18% of all traffic to the blog.

Get capturing emails and sending your new and best content via email to your list ASAP. (See our archives on email collecting here)

 

17. Your Email Traffic Is Still Useless If You're Not Doing This...

Even if you're capturing emails but not segmenting your list by interest it's still fairly useless.

Better than nothing but you're wasting so much opportunity.

If you are like most blogs and have different categories on your blog (we cover traffic, blogging, amazon, affiliate marketing etc) then people all come to your site for slightly different things.

Someone who signs up for a lead magnet on SEO may not be interested in blogging or Amazon.

So having them join your list then showing them content about blogging or Amazon doesn't make sense.

Some will like it. Many not. They won't check it and might even unsubscribe.

So make sure each category on your blog has it's own email list where they get content about EXACTLY what they signed up for.

SEO lead magnet gets SEO content. Blogging gets blogging content. And so on.

My open rates have increased by 9% and my click rates by 2% since doing this meaning thousands of extra visitors back to the blog every month.

Segment your email lists NOW for more traffic.

 

18. Your Traffic Is Still Quite Usless If You're Capturing Emails But Not Doing This Next...

The job of your blog is to draw in traffic / leads.

The job of your list is to capture their emails to follow up with them. (See here how you can quickly build up your list)

Most bloggers stop there. This is wrong.

They are missing the most vital and fundamental part of the puzzle here.

What good is traffic / leads and an email list if you're not turning these SUBSCRIBERS into CUSTOMERS.

That's what your email list is supposed to do. Convert from subscriber into customer.

The third and most important part of the puzzle is to instantly and automatically send your new prospects through a sales funnel and turn them into paying customers (or at least a percentage of them anyway)

Hardly any bloggers are doing this.

I wasn't until recently.

But since I've implemented it around 3 months ago I've automatically made $3,047.71 in extra income just by people who opted into the blog.

No new traffic and no additional work after the initial set up.

Now 5.3% off all subscribers are instantly becoming paid customers. (See here how you can write emails to win affiliate competitions)

Can you see the potential here for income on auto-pilot?

An email list of subscribers is better than no email list at all BUT you need to be turning them into CUSTOMERS or it's a pretty useless email list as they might unsubscribe before you get a chance to show an offer or sell a product to them.

Use your traffic wisely.

 

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free checklist of 31 traffic hacks click here or the image below)

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Utilize paid traffic from the start, paid traffic is not free it sucks up your time and cannot be scaled, as once your ads are in place and you are recouping your ad spend you can scale up indefinitely.
  • Your email list will be your biggest source of traffic (and income) IF you do it right – problem solving lead magnets for each category on your blog, segmented email lists with relevant content, sales funnels in place to turn subscribers into customers.
  • You need to know the “3 W's” of traffic if you want to drive lots of traffic – WHO your audience are, WHERE they hang out online and WHAT your plan is to get them back to your website. (See here how to identify your audience)
  • If your content headlines suck most of your traffic won't bother to read your posts – so make them count.
  • There's no such thing as a traffic problem. Your offer (content) just isn't good enough or not relevant to who you are showing it to.
  • Don't guess at what type of content works – someone else in your niche has already figured it out so scout out the most popular posts and create something similar but bigger and better.
  • You must have a content promotional strategy in place from day 1 otherwise your contest is wasted and not getting the exposure it deserved, it won't promote it's self.
  • Google is not the only traffic source on the internet and it's unreliable and not guaranteed. So don't rely on them BUT don't ignore them either.
  • Hire a writing team as soon as you can afford to you, not only will you get high quality content and fresh ideas they'll increase social shares and traffic from their own audiences too.

 

Conclusion:

Traffic is like an enigma for most bloggers. They just cannot seem to get any to their site.

However:

It's not actually difficult to get...it's everywhere. You can buy it if you have the cash or do any number of free methods if you don't. (See here for 31 ways to promote your blog posts)

It's simply about knowing how to get it and where to get it from.

There are endless tried and tested strategies to drive traffic to your blog.

I hope my 18 lessons will help you speed up the process to getting massive traffic to your blog and learn from the mistakes I've made so you don't have to make them.

Tell me in the comments section below which lesson was the biggest surprise for you and what your plan of action is to get traffic to your blog since reading this post...

NicheHacks
To date, Stuart has revealed well over 1,500 hot niches.

He's living his dream of being location independent, and having traveled the world, thanks to internet marketing.

The aim with Niche Hacks is to help you live your dream thanks to online marketing, whatever that may be.
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Comments (12)

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  1. I am still not convinced about doing guest blogging. It seems to consume a lot of time that I could use writing content for my site. But maybe you can get really good authority links that way and some referrals.

    • NicheHacks says:

      Yeah but if your site has no visitors then you're writing content that no one will read. Hence why guest blogging can be a great way to build an audience and get traffic to your site when you don't yet have your own.

  2. Nurul Afsar says:

    That's an amazing article. I have never tried to capture emails. I hope to start it soon 😀

  3. Great post as always Stuart,
    A blog without traffic is really meaningless and of no use because it will go nowhere however, if you can learn ways to get these traffic then, you will end up creating a very successful business.

    Its indeed fun to know about the lessons you've learnt so far with Niche Hacks when it comes to traffic generation and i must agree with all the points you made here.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Nathan says:

    Great article Stuart, you always brings a lot of good info for us to learned.

  5. Bill Joyce says:

    I am a member of the paid group, but I didn't pick up on the Skyscraper links. This is a great article and needs to be read by anyone with a blog.
    Is there an autoresponder service that can buils predone follow ups? I have a tough time writing those follow up emails to be pasted into GR or Aweber.
    Thanks agian for the article.
    Bill

  6. Sean says:

    Hey Stuart,
    I noticed that this post was a little underloved with social shares, so I made sure to spread the good word via Facebook.
    I found your blog over a year ago by typing in a search for "how to hack a niche". Before I landed here, I was being bounced from shiny thing to shiny thing at a certain forum related to internet marketing.
    Once I found your blog, I found many others that you link to and give shouts-out to. Matthew Woodward has become a favorite read, solely focused on the blogging side. Backlinko and QuickSprout are my other new favorites.
    It's night and day, the difference between the common IM bubble, and the actual pro's.
    NicheHacks changed my life.

    I have a challenge for you!!

    Matthew Woodward's main post about his Zero Link Experiment goes into a lot of detail about how his traffic and income have grown, month to month. Would you answer the same question?
    In other words, you mentioned nearly 600K viewers in 18 months, but would you break that down for us? What was your first month like? 3rd? What kind of 'AHA' moments did you have that spurred new growth? Where did things level off? You mention not promoting for the past 12 months...does that mean that you experienced epic growth early and have been rewarded with SERP/referral/direct traffic? It's awesome that a few great bloggers are willing to put this kind of info out there, as it really helps to ease the anxiety/panic that most of us 'noob's may have about getting started. It also helps to keep us motivated and willing to fight through the early SMH moments.

    I hope you're up to it. You could probably salvage a killer post out of that.
    Thanks in advance,
    Sean

  7. Gaz says:

    Great Article! As Always, very useful article with a lot of info and very interesting to read

  8. Mike B says:

    Excellent post! Valuable info, broken down into a very concise guideline. Really enjoy your content. Thanks again.

  9. Esteban says:

    Very interesting post, very different from what I usually read!
    I will come back to this regularly!

    Thanks,
    Esteban

  10. SoY Yo says:

    Nice article.tx

  11. Josh says:

    This is an excellent post. I am encouraged to know success is possible without some of the techniques termed essential by other sites (such as guest posting).

    I really like the segmentation idea. I am one who failed to narrow my niche well, so narrowing within my blog to separate lists seems a great idea, although the idea of setting up more autoresponder sequences is a little daunting since I still have so much work to do on just the one.

    Out of curiosity, are your segmented lists each getting just the 7-14 day sales funnel and then "new post" emails to drive traffic, or do you have another approach?