Ok, so on to my first post.
For the last year or so (probably more, I didn't note down the date), I've been upping my game when it comes to driving non search engine traffic. While I love search traffic as much as the next guy, I know that it isn't a 'forever' type of traffic source. Algorithms will change, and rankings will come and go. I don't mind when they come, but I also think it's important you set up a business model where your online company will still be profitable if that search traffic is taken away from you.
With that in mind, today I want to share a few key things I've noticed while diversifying my traffic away from being all about SEO. I hope these lessons are useful, and show you there is another way to do things:
1. It Doesn't Have To Take Long To Drive Traffic To Your Site:
When I was first starting out, I was told the main way to get traffic was to rank keywords and wait a few months before you start to see trickle traffic. While I did this and it worked, I was never keen on waiting months to see if you've picked a good niche or not. But, I didn't know any better.
Now however I do. I now know you can start driving traffic to your site literally on the first day of launch! What's more, you can also drive buying customers from the offset if you're in the right niche.
While it's a lot harder to do drive these buying customers with Amazon sites and the like (it's not really possible to convince someone they need to buy a new oven, they either need it at the time or they don't... usually they don't), if you're focusing on sites based around something entertaining or a 'how to' product, it's possible to drive traffic and make sales from day one. I know this for fact.
Give people value, give them the knowledge on why they need something, then make it easy for them to buy. You'll get a % of people taking you up on that offer if you've been convincing enough.
Gust posts, forums, Twitter, ebooks, apps and the like can all drive instant traffic to your site, so don't wait for search traffic to kick in.
2. Retaining Visitors Is Just As Important As Getting Them In The First Place (If Not More So):
I've never understood why people would go through all the effort to drive traffic to their site, but not have anything in place to capture their contact details once they're there. A facebook like box, a email opt in form, a 'join' type button for your favorite social network. The thing is, people don't generally give you the most value on their first visit to your site. It usually takes a few visits before they're ready to buy (not always, but as a general rule), and the longer they stick around, the more likely they'll benefit you in some way. Sharing your posts, repeat visiting your sites and clicking on ads etc. Therefore, you're going to want to encourage people to stay interactive with you for as long as possible!
A lot of the traffic to my main site is based around people who have found me before, and carried on coming back to my site as I send them emails or send regular updates on my social sites. What this does is send a wave of traffic whenever I have a new blog post or something to promote, as well as get new visitors seeing my stuff when people share it round. This leads to a snowball effect, and means my audience keeps growing and reaching new people. So be sure to have opt in forms and social buttons on your site to encourage a more long-term relationship with your visitors. Don't let them bounce off your site never to be seen again.
3. Don't Get Upset By Google Changes, No Traffic Source Is Guaranteed (So Diversify):
While a lot of people have been angry at Google recently for making all these changes, the reality is no traffic source is guaranteed. At one point I was making some nice money from Kindle short stories, and was almost making a full time living from that alone. They started to change their algorithm though and the sales of all my books greatly slowed down... Sound familiar?
This also happened to a lot of other people from what I could tell; short stories just don't sell as well as they used to.
Now I could have given up on Kindle books and moved on to something else, but instead I changed the way I handled things. I've now got a series of longer books up that are selling quite well, probably better than the short stories before.
This is the same with some apps I've got, they were doing really well then took a drop. It happens, nothing is guaranteed. I made some changes to the way I ran that side of my business, and now things have picked up again.
My point though, is I've tried my best to diversify my traffic sources and income streams. So when all of the above set backs happened, I wasn't left back at square one again. I could still work on picking things back up while my other streams of income continued to bring in the fruits of my labor (I hope that didn't sound too cheesy).
While it's a good idea to focus on getting one project up and running initially, once you have something that's earning, spend at least 25% of your time on setting something else up while growing your earning business. It's not smart to have all your eggs in one basket, whether that's in terms of Google, another traffic source, or a method of earning.
So there you have it, three things I've learned since I actively made the decision to rely less on Google traffic. While search traffic is still important to my business, it's still wise to diversify and use other traffic sources to stabilize your income. I hope you've found this guide useful, let me know if so and I'll be sure to add more in future. If you've any questions feel free to ask.
Teach Mate Shaun.