I am trying to get more traffic to my site, so naturally I read articles on how to get more traffic.
I see people share them on social media, so I click through and start reading.
Lately it’s resulted in this:
Some of these articles are clearly written by people who have no idea what they are talking about.
I just read a Quora answer that said to post in forums to get traffic that had 17 upvotes. Forums? Really? 1998 called, they want their advice back.
Am I a traffic expert? No. But I know crappy advice when I see it.
I run a few different sites, one has pretty high traffic, and the others have low traffic. I’ve written blog posts that get 5,000+ views per month consistently.
I’m not an expert, but I know what I’ve tried that hasn’t worked.
These articles are giving bad advice, and people reading them will follow it and wonder why they aren’t seeing results. They will struggle and struggle when they could be focusing on other things and actually get results.
It’s time to expose the bad advice so you don’t have to waste your time.
Advice: Post more on social media to get more traffic.
Posting more on social media does not inherently get you more traffic.
I spend a lot of time on social media (too much probably).
Sure, being active on social can help you engage customers and influencers which may pay off down the line. You can post your articles there and get a few clicks, maybe even some extra shares.
What if you don’t have very many followers? You could spend all day on social and get no clicks to your site.
The problem with this advice is that being more active on social media is about engagement, not about traffic.
It’s not that engaging on social media is a bad thing to do, it’s just not a traffic strategy. Telling someone with 12 followers on Twitter to start posting more to get more traffic is bad advice.
What to do instead
Social media does play a role in getting more traffic, it’s just not about posting more.
- Engage with influencers who can help share your content later.
- Be helpful and knowledgeable and build your following.
- Share your content and valuable content from others.
Social media is about providing value and building relationships. If you do these 3 things consistently, you will get more traffic to your site as an indirect benefit.
Advice: Spend lots of time on your technical on-page SEO.
I’ve seen articles mention that you should work on your SEO to get more traffic.
Sweet, SEO all the things!
I’m all about SEO, but that can mean a lot of different things.
An article I read recently suggested that things like url slugs, long tail keywords, post tags, and meta descriptions will help you get more traffic.
Is this stuff important? Definitely.
Will it make a difference for a low traffic site? Nope.
High traffic sites can benefit from technical SEO, but most people reading an article about “how to get more traffic” probably don’t have high traffic already.
If you don’t have a lot of traffic, then it probably means you aren’t ranking high in Google for many relevant keywords.
Editing your meta description isn’t gonna matter if your site is on the 22nd page of the search results.
Your time would be better spent doing other things like content marketing, link building, and manual outreach.
What you should do instead
Don’t get me wrong, technical SEO has it’s place and you should think about your keywords, description, and url structure.
Think about it for about 5 minutes while you are writing an article, then move on to more important things. Technical SEO is not a traffic strategy for low traffic sites, it’s a minor detail.
Do your best with the minor details, and get back to focusing on creating great content and telling people about it.
Once you start getting more traffic, these things will matter more. Get traffic to your site first, then start worrying about the little stuff.
Advice: Your content sucks, make it better.
You’ll hear over and over that you need to write great content.
Everyone knows this, and of course I agree. The problem is that this advice is incomplete.
If you have a low traffic site, and you write a few amazing articles and expect people to start showing up, you’re going to be disappointed.
The hard truth any blogger learns is that creating great content is not enough. You have to tell people about it, to get shares and links. If you don’t have a big budget or a large following, this is difficult.
What you should do instead
If your content isn’t good enough to share, first make it better.
Promoting terrible content is like polishing a turd.
If you want your promotion to be successful, make sure you have something worth sharing. Craft a better headline, add more statistics and quotes from industry experts, and make your content unique and interesting.
Next, promote the crap out of it.
- Email your list, and ask them to help you share.
- Spend $50-$100 on Twitter and Facebook to boost your post if you don’t have a lot of followers to promote it for you.
- Contact anyone you quoted or linked to in your article and tell them about it. They are usually more than happy to share. Hint: adding more quotes and links is an easy way to get more people to share your article. Just make sure these are influencers you can reach, not super famous people that you can’t get in touch with.
- Find people who have shared similar content, and email them asking for a share or a link.
- Engage on a site like Quora or in relevant Facebook groups, and provide a link to your content when it makes sense. Don’t be too self serving or spammy though.
Telling you to create better content is not bad advice, it’s just not complete. You can have the best content in the world and it won’t get you any traffic if you don’t promote it.
Advice: Write more often
Neil Patel says his traffic increased when he started writing twice per week, and I’ve read lots of articles that mention writing more frequently as a traffic strategy.
Is this bad advice?
Let me give you a scenario. You are starting a new blog, or trying to ramp up traffic when you have very little. You decide to write 3 posts per week.
It’s just you writing, and you can’t spend all day because you have other responsibilities. You’re busy, but you manage to crank out 3 posts per week, just barely. The posts are short, and the topics aren’t that interesting, but you manage to hit publish each time.
No one shares your posts, and your traffic isn’t increasing much. Once in a while you get lucky and get some shares and traffic.
Here’s another scenario.
You decide that because you have such limited time, you’ll write one post per month. You spend 20 hours on a comprehensive guide, making it incredible.
When you share it, tons of people love it and share it as well. It gains backlinks and traffic because it’s so much better than the other articles shared that month.
Which one is better? I’d say the second scenario, and blogs like Backlinko have been built the same way.
I’ve created long form articles that get more traffic than multiple other posts combined. One article in particular became the 3rd most popular page on a high traffic site, with more pageviews than most of the main site pages!
Spending more time on a single article instead of creating multiple articles was well worth it in these cases.
What you should do instead
If you already have traffic, and you have the means, increasing post frequency is a no-brainer.
More content = more traffic. If you can make great articles more often, by all means, go for it.
The problem is that a lot of times quantity sacrifices quality.
If you don’t have a lot of traffic/followers already, you might want to focus on making high quality, shareable content. This will help you stand out from the crowd, and start to build an audience.
Writing more often is not bad advice, it’s misleading. Writing boring posts more often is not a good traffic strategy.
Focus on making great content as often as possible, even if that means once per month.
Post on Blogs and Forums
I get a ton of spam comments each day by people who think this is some type of traffic strategy.
More often than not, it’s a company that was paid to do “SEO” and get a certain amount of backlinks. They spam blogs and forums to get these backlinks, the problem is that they are worthless.
Google knows that it’s easy to link to your own site in a blog comment, so they don’t count it to help you rank higher. Most of the time blog comments have a “nofollow” attribute, which tells bots to ignore it.
This is not a way to get traffic.
What you should do instead
Posting on blogs and other public places is not bad in itself, but you need to be strategic.
Spamming for backlinks does nothing for you.
Instead, comment on blogs and in forums to add value and develop relationships.
For example, if you want to build links to your articles, find an influencer and post a thoughtful comment on their blog. Follow them on social media, and retweet their articles.
When one of your articles will provide value to them, introduce it organically. You have a much better chance of getting links and shares this way than just cold emailing.
There’s a lot of bad advice out there about how to get more traffic.
Most of it is well meaning, but incomplete.
Just because someone else has had success blogging 3 times per week doesn’t mean you should. Spend as much time as it takes to make something worth sharing.
Technical SEO can make a big difference on high traffic sites, but if you are just getting started it won’t make a dent.
There are lots of different tactics for getting traffic, make sure you choose a strategy that fits with your goals and resources.