Every visitor that enters your website is an opportunity…
…but only if they’re the right kind of visitor.
In the rest of this article I’m going to talk about traffic sources, what they really mean for marketers and website owners, and most importantly, how to get more traffic!
But before we get into all that good stuff, you need to know what I mean by ‘the right kind of visitor’.
Having tons of traffic sounds great at parties, but in the real digital world, it isn’t anything more than a vanity number unless it’s the right kind of traffic.
The right traffic are people who are looking for solutions in your industry, they’re people who want answers, they want fixes, to learn, discover, be entertained, buy or gain something that they regard as valuable in your specific niche.
In other words:1 of the right kind of visitor is worth 1,000 of the wrong kind.Click To Tweet
Before you go any further, make sure you understand the importance of that sentence. It is crucial to your success.
Really think about who your ‘right kind of visitor’ is (create a Customer Avatar if you’re not sure) and use the explanations, tips and tactics in the rest of this article to arm yourself to reach them.
Website Traffic Sources
For the purposes of this guide to traffic sources, I’ve stripped everything back-to-basics.
As amazing as it is to go into tons of detail, it’s also crucial that you REALLY understand the kind of traffic you’re driving and what it means for your website.
Let’s get into this…
What is Organic Traffic?
Organic traffic refers to visitors from search engines.
What does Organic Traffic mean for marketers and website owners?
This is arguably the most valuable type of traffic for website owners and as a result, the hardest to get.People use search engines to make purchase decisions, find answers and discover solutions, making it an amazing traffic source for marketers and website owners. Click To Tweet
To truly understand how good this traffic source is, look back through your most recent search engine queries:
- What did you ask?
- What did you learn?
- Who do you know now that you didn’t before?
- What did you buy?
- Did that search have anything to do with a purchase decision?
If you’re able to rank high on search engines for keywords or queries that relate to your industry and website aims (e.g. sell, generate awareness, collect leads) you will take huge leaps towards achieving them.
We regularly see Organic Traffic as the best performing in terms of lead generation and on-page behaviour.
This is because these visitors are seeking solutions to their problems that relate to our website, services and knowledge.
We are a leading digital marketing agency who share anything that we think will help businesses online. When these businesses and marketers search for solutions on search engines, they find us, and when these solutions work for them, they come back again, subscribe, tells others about us, download our free resources…
…and this is why organic traffic means so much for marketers and business owners.
How To Get More Organic Traffic
Organic traffic (in any serious quantity) takes time and consistency to achieve.
Unfortunately for marketers, Google don’t share a roadmap to page 1 of their results page, but there are a few things that anybody can do to help boost their appearance on search engines.
BTW: If you’ve launched a new website, don’t expect to drive a lot of Organic Traffic to start with. Website age directly affects Domain Authority, which influences your appearance on the SERPs.
Organic traffic can be a long, hard road when you’re starting out, but if you’re consistent with the following strategies, the pay-off can be huge.
Here are a few strategies that will help you drive more organic traffic:
- Create content: Written articles, blogs or guides will help your website rank. Target keywords that are relevant to your website’s aims, do it consistently (nobody will care when you start out) and pour tons of value in there. Make sure all your pages are optimised for on-page SEO.
- Build links: Google regard external links as a big indicator of a high-quality website. If there are a lot of other websites that recommend yours, it tells Google that yours is a trusted source. You can get links by Guest posting, becoming an industry resource, emailing other webmasters and asking.
- Website Speed and Safety: If Google recommend poor websites to their users, people will stop using their search engine. That’s why you must make sure your site is optimised for speed (improving UX) and is secure, this is usually indicated by a SSL certificate (indicated by a HTTPS URL)
What is Direct Traffic?
Direct traffic are visitors who arrive at your website by typing your website address into their browser (e.g. www.einsteinmarketer.com). There is no middle-man that refers or links to your site, they are literally ‘directly’ visiting.
What does Direct Traffic mean for marketers and website owners?
Direct traffic is achieved in two ways:
- A visitor who has already been to your website, enjoyed their experience and wants to come back again.
- A visitor who has had your website recommended to them or has heard of your site from somewhere else (usually offline).
It’s these two reasons why Direct Traffic is a great measure of the true value of your website (to your visitors).
People would not return to your website if they didn’t take value from it (and they certainly wouldn’t recommend you to anybody).Direct visitors are the lifeblood of your website, they will refer others, regularly return, buy your stuff, sign-up for almost everything you offer, share your content and ultimately, become a true fan of your brand.Click To Tweet
When you start out, nobody will know who you are and you’ll gain very little direct traffic, but as time goes on (and you generate more traffic from the other sources in this guide) you’ll see a steady increase in direct traffic (provided your website is valuable).
No matter what traffic source you’re trying to attract, your aim as a marketer or website owner is to make them regularly return as a direct visitor.
Never lose sight of that.
How To Get More Direct Traffic?
In order to get more direct traffic, you must build a website (and experience) that visitors will want to return to or recommend to others (preferably both).
And to do that, you need to pack tons of value into your website.
There are two types of ‘website value’ that appeal most to visitors:
Look at all the websites in your favourites tab (or you most visited sites), I bet they all tick one or both of those ‘value’ factors.
You must figure out a way of incorporating one of these into your website if you’re hoping to generate a healthy stream of sustainable traffic (without paid ads).
On the Einstein Marketer website, we use the blog as a point of education to provide value to our readers and this is why we see more and more Direct Traffic every month.If our website didn’t have the blog, we’d receive barely any traffic, capture very few (if any) leads and generate no new business for our agency.Click To Tweet
What can you do to make traffic (that arrives from other sources) stick, return and recommend? Where is your website’s real value?
What is Referral Traffic?
These are visitors from outside sources (e.g. other websites) that have clickable links taking visitors to your website.
What does Referral Traffic mean for marketers and website owners?
Referral traffic can be achieved in a number of different ways and that makes it difficult for me to give a definitive answer to this question.
That’s not going to stop me trying though.
I look at referral traffic like recommendations from other digital marketers and website owners.
These recommendations can either be manufactured (by myself or outside sources) or occur organically (because our website’s content is killing it).
As referral traffic can be manufactured (which I’ll explain how to do in the next section) it’s an awesome measurement of how well you’re marketing yourself online.
If, as a marketer, you’re able to generate tons of traffic by putting your website in a place where there is already a lot of (relevant) traffic, you’re doing an awesome job. And you stand a good chance of achieving more Direct Traffic in future (and leads or customers).
Referral traffic can also be gained by other websites recommending you (without you doing anything!). This is another great way for marketers and website owners to measure the value of their content or website purpose (e.g. product).When a peer recommends your stuff, it shows that you’re a resource for others who are working in your industry. This is only achieved by having awesome content, thought-leadership or a product/offer that is making serious waves.Click To Tweet
How To Get More Referral Traffic
You can get more referral traffic by:
- Giving your website’s links a presence in places that your target audience congregate online
- Gaining links to awesome content (you’ve created) from outside sources
In order to ‘manufacture’ referral traffic, and effectively take control of the situation yourself, you first need to research where your audience are hanging out online.
The most effective ways of doing this are to ask customers/leads, analyse your existing referral traffic links, reverse engineer the traffic sources of your competitors (using a tool like SimilarWeb), discover industry resources (think online magazines and content sharing sources) and guest post on high traffic websites.
When you know where your target audience are congregating, you need to do anything possible to make a presence there. Whether it’s as simple as sharing your existing content or commenting, it doesn’t matter. Do what you can to make people notice your website.When you create awesome stuff (that’s hosted on your website) other websites will link to it as a resource and you’ll gain referral traffic (as well as a SERPs boost).Click To Tweet
You can also encourage other websites to link to you, by emailing them and telling them about your extensive piece of content. Some (but not all) webmasters will accept if your content is up-to-scratch and relevant to their audience.
What is Social Traffic?
Visitors who arrive at your website from a link on social media.
What does Social Traffic mean for marketers and website owners?
High volumes of social traffic is a brilliant measure of your popularity, content value, engagement in your followers and your overall social media strategy.
People don’t log on to social media sites to leave them and visit a different website.It takes powerful content and engaging posts to convince people to leave a newsfeed full of content from their friends, family and other brands, and visit your website.Click To Tweet
Social traffic sounds easy, but it’s actually a lot more difficult than you’d think. It takes time, persistence and a real understanding of your target audience…
…because social media sites are fiercely competitive.
If you’re generating lots of social traffic it demonstrates a social media strategy that is paying off. If you aren’t, it’s probably time to go back to the drawing board, check out your competitors and consider some of the tips in the next section…
How T0 Get More Social Traffic
There are two (main) strategies that will increase your traffic from social:
- Nurture an engaged audience with quality content
- Run paid campaigns to drive targeted audiences/traffic
Let’s start by looking at nurturing an engaged audience to drive more social traffic.
In the real world (away from digital), you wouldn’t expect a stranger to do something for you for no reason, so why would you expect a social media user to click your link without first proving your worth?
The mistake that most brands and businesses make on social, is that they try to use it as a traffic source, rather than an audience building and brand awareness platform.
When you treat social like a traffic source, you’re constantly asking people to leave social and visit your website. And if all you do is ask, you can get annoying really quickly.
When you do this, and OCCASIONALLY ask your followers to visit your link/content/offer they are much more likely to accept, because you have already proven your worth and given them value BEFORE they have to do something for you.Remember, social media users are people. You must appeal to their psychology and earn their credit and respect to get the clicks and followers you deserve.Click To Tweet
The second way to boost your social traffic is via paid campaigns.
Within our agency we spend £3 million+ on social ads per year (for our clients), so we know a thing or two about it.
BTW: Facebook own Instagram, meaning advertisers can run ads on Insta using FB Business Manager.
If you’d like to learn how to set-up campaigns on these networks (from start to finish) check out our Complete Guide to (Winning) Facebook Ads.
What is Email Traffic?
Visitors who arrive at your website from a link in an email (usually a campaign, broadcast or newsletter).
What does Email Traffic mean for marketers and website owners?
Email traffic demonstrates how well-nurtured your list (or subscribers) are and how well you’re remarketing your business to leads.
People don’t hand over their email addresses lightly (anymore). They know that it can mean tons of irrelevant emails spamming their inbox.
That’s why it’s so important to nurture and look after your mailing list, otherwise they won’t open or click on anything you send them.Lots of email traffic demonstrates a high-quality list of people who are really tuned into your brand.Click To Tweet
Similarly to Direct Traffic, a lot of your true fans will be inside this list, look after them and they’ll look after you.
How To Get More Email Traffic
The answer is simple, look after and grow an engaged email list!
A classic beginner mistake is to send as many emails as possible, thinking that it’ll generate more email traffic.
This is the quickest way to be seen as ‘spammy’, have more people unsubscribe and lower click rates in your emails.
If you really want to increase email traffic, you’ll need to start by growing an engaged email list and then nurturing everyone in that list.As an agency, we’ve tried tons of stuff to get more email subscribers, but the highest converting (and fastest) way to grow a list is to create something of MASSIVE value for your target audience and give it away for FREE in exchange for an email.Click To Tweet
^^^This is known as a lead magnet.^^^
High converting lead magnets include eBooks, Templates, Case Studies and Industry Reports. Think about a problem that’s affecting your target audience and try to solve it with your lead magnet (and make their life easier).
The best lead magnets include information that your competitors would normally charge money for.
If you want to grow an awesome email list, a lead magnet will be your best vehicle.
The next thing you’ll need to do is nurture your list so they open and click.
To do this you must strike a balance between not emailing them too much (and being seen as spammy) and emailing them too little (so they forget who you are).
You also need to continue to give your list value with your emails. When you do this they actually like receiving your emails and are much more likely to open and click on your link.
In order to keep our click rate high (and our list engaged), I email our list no more than twice a week (and only twice if I have enough value to send them).
I send them personalised emails that include value heavy articles and if we launch a new eBook (to increase our list size) I send it to all our subscribers too, without asking for anything in return.
By doing these two things, we’re able to gain above average open and click rates from our broadcasts, and when it comes to making an offer to our list, they are much more tuned in and likely to purchase.
The secret to having an awesome email list is to give more than you receive, don’t spam them, be personal and don’t hammer them with offers.
These are the most common traffic sources and the most effective strategies to increase traffic from each.
Remember, it doesn’t matter what kind of traffic you’re aiming to increase, every visitor that enters your website is an opportunity.
If you can’t convince them to purchase or subscribe on their first visit, you must aim to get them to return and recommend you to others.
Keep that aim in mind and you’ll build a highly successful and sustainable website with the right kind of traffic.
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