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Content Marketing

How To Generate Traffic and Kickstart Content Marketing For a Brand New Website

The internet is full of tips about how to improve your website, grow your traffic, and how to “earn links” (and hence rankings) by writing great content. That’s great and everything, but it’s also pretty infuriating if you have a brand new website and no traffic yet.

If this sounds like you, you may well be asking:

  • How can I earn links (and rankings) when I have no traffic?
  • Without any way to earn links, how am I supposed to get traffic?

It’s a vicious cycle, and the truth is that one of the hardest aspects of SEO and internet marketing is making a start and getting the ball rolling.

800px Empty Freeway 380x196 How To Generate Traffic and Kickstart Content Marketing For a Brand New Website

But the good news is even brand new websites can leverage content marketing to start earning links and building traffic. The aim of this post isn’t to make you an SEO expert, it is to help you to do (arguably) the most important three tasks that befall any brand new website on the modern web:

  • Start producing great content
  • Generate targeted traffic
  • Start ‘earning’ links

Avoid Time Wasters

There are plenty of advanced SEO strategies you can use later, but while you don’t have any traffic, many of these things will make a negligible difference. The risk is focusing on the minutiae will take away from time spent doing something more useful and effective.

Start With On-Page

Your very first goal should be to get your website in order. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but it needs to look good. Don’t worry about getting indexed or whatever, just worry about what your first visitors will think when they arrive.

This means that your first few goals should include:

  1. Write your first blog post (here’s a good how-to from Mack Collier)
  2. Create a few more blog posts
  3. Ensure your blog front page looks presentable
  4. Create a list of all of your pages and posts
  5. For each post, create a unique title and description
  6. Ensure your site looks good and works on all browsers

Numbers 2 and 5 in particular will be ongoing tasks, so while these steps are important, don’t get bogged down in the on-page SEO at the expense of starting to actually drive some traffic. Try to make good habits now and keep your alt tags in order and your titles and descriptions the right lengths.

Generating Traffic

As soon as your site looks presentable and lived in, you need to start driving some traffic to it. Without traffic, no one will find your content and you certainly won’t earn links. So where should you start? There are plenty of options, but here are four which I have found to be particularly effective:

Option 1: Blog Commenting

Commenting on blogs which are relevant to your niche is an important way to become known. You will have the opportunity to show off your expertise and give a little insight (your comment must be useful) and you get a link back to your site.

Now I should note that blog commenting is NOT directly beneficial for SEO. But that’s not what we’re trying to achieve here. We want to generate traffic and get the attention of the right sorts of people.

  • It can generate a little bit of traffic
  • The traffic it generates is likely to be highly targeted
  • People who read comments are often influencers
  • It is a great way to get on a blogger’s radar

The power of commenting on blogs is in the types of people whose attention you can attract. If your comments are insightful and show you as an expert in your field, then when people read your comment your personal brand will be boosted. In particular, it is a sure way to get the attention of the owner of the blog, and that person is likely to be an influencer in your niche. For more insight, I recently wrote a post at ThinkTraffic.co.uk detailing a full strategy for blog commenting as a way to drive traffic.

Option 2: Industry Forums

Every industry has them, forums where people hang out and help each other with whatever issues they might have. Quora is an example of a more generic site, but there are also more specific ones.

At Think Traffic, a lot of our traffic comes from business forums where we participate and help small business owners with their SEO related questions. This is normally very good quality traffic, although with fewer content creators then generated by commenting.

Our favourite forum for small businesses is UK Business Forums. Another good forum in the UK we use is Business Labs. Of course which forum you use depends on where you are and what you do (I have no affiliation with either).

 

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(the start of) A typical conversion in the UK Biz Forums SEO category

Some forums can be spammy no doubt, but many forums exist with highly engaged audiences either looking for help or eager to help others. When looking for forums to use, read past threads and see what sort of questions are being asked and what sorts of topics are being discussed to see if they are a good fit.

Option 3: Paid Traffic

Remember that for now you are trying to get the social ball rolling. Even if paid traffic isn’t part of your long term marketing strategy, a little paid traffic now could help to get the ball rolling for your business.

To pull this off you need to use social traffic sources and drive traffic to your blog and your content. This stage isn’t about selling, it’s about getting your social audience established. If you have the budget, this can push your marketing forward.

Option 4: Social Media

Generating traffic from social media isn’t nearly as instant as the first two options, but getting your social media accounts started now will help you to seem more established and credible in the next few weeks as you start using content marketing.

Content Marketing

You have almost certainly heard this phrase banded around a lot lately, but the reason it that it works, really well. But only if you do it right. Once you have followed the steps above, you should have a trickle of traffic, and content marketing is how you will grow that to a steady flow.

Step 1: Set a content schedule

One of the most important steps is being consistent. Setting a schedule and sticking to it will ensure that you adapt your mind to the content writing thought process, and this will help you to write better content. Aim for two posts per week if you can, but whatever you do, stick to your schedule.

Step 2: Continue commenting

Keep up your blog commenting, because this is how you will drive traffic to your content. The more you do it, the better known you will become and eventually bloggers will start to notice.

Step 3: Link bait

The most important thing is taking the time to write really awesome content, but there are other ways to increase your chances of getting your content linked and shared. Here are a few:

  • Write posts in response to other bloggers’ posts
  • Agree or disagree with other bloggers (explain why)
  • Find old content and update it
  • Link to other bloggers (and tell them)

Guest Posting

The strategy I have outlined above can work on its own. The whole thing is based around the principal of producing consistently great content and getting the right sort of traffic to see your content until you eventually get traction and your content starts generating its own traffic.

But guest posting in the right way is a powerful way to boost this traffic and can get your content noticed faster.

You have probably already heard of guest posting and you know that it is a controversial topic right now, but everyone agrees that doing it in the right way is a great way to build traffic and find a new audience.

Guest posting the right way usually includes the following:

  • One great guest post per month is better than 100 ok ones
  • Use blog commenting and social media to get noticed
  • Reach out to bloggers who already know you (see above)
  • If your links are nofollowed, that’s absolutely fine
  • If a post does well (get’s you traffic) ask to write for them again
  • Follow up on posts, respond to comments

Just as with blog commenting, the more you guest post, the more recognizable you start to become and eventually you will find that bloggers even ask you to guest post for them.

And Finally… Be patient

As you start building more traffic there will be more you can do in terms of SEO and optimizing your site. But for a brand new website, if you want to build your traffic base as quickly as possible, this strategy is hard to beat.

As with everything though, you get out what you put in. Many websites have gone from zero to several thousand visitors per month in only a few months using strategies like this. But in those first weeks it can be slow progress. The more persistent you are, the more the more recognizable you will become, and the more credible you will seem (and often, credible = linkable).

 

 

Featured image created by author. Second image via Wikimedia Commons.

 How To Generate Traffic and Kickstart Content Marketing For a Brand New Website

Alex Johnson

Owner / Manager at Think Traffic
Alex Johnson is the founder of ThinkTraffic.co.uk, a UK based website development agency who specialize in Ecommerce and Wordpress sites. Alex loves helping small businesses to get started online, he is also an expert in traffic generation and conversion rate optimization and loves every aspect of online business.

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13 thoughts on “How To Generate Traffic and Kickstart Content Marketing For a Brand New Website

  1. Those are all very excellent tips. You would be surprised how many people have came to my website because of blog commenting. It’s not a significant amount, but more than I would have imagined.

    I haven’t done forum commenting, but I like your strategy of commenting on small business forums and other business forums, helping people out with SEO and other online marketing needs.

    A lot of great points. I liked all of it really so thanks for the awesome article!

    1. Hi David.

      Thanks, glad you found it useful. The Think Traffic site gets a decent amount of traffic through blog comments too. More than that though, it is often highly engaged traffic.

      If you combine all of those traffic sources with great content you can have a lot of success.

      1. Well, we really don’t know if blog commenting is directly beneficial to seo or not, really. I believe it is directly beneficial, but like the other 200+ signals search engines use, it is probably beneficial to varying degrees.

        In fact my comments on this blog have continually shown up in my Google Webmaster Tools most recent backlinks report. Like everything else SEO, there are good ways to blog comment, and bad ways to blog comment, and many in between.

        Anyway, your article said it was not directly beneficial. I think it is, to some degree, but neither one of us really know. Cheers!

  2. Interesting thoughts Norm. I am open to the idea that comments could have an impact, although of course any NOFOLLOW comments SHOULDNT impact SEO. Having said that, what Google say and do are two different things.

    As far as I’m concerned though, it doesn’t really matter. The benefits for branding and traffic far exceed and potential SEO benefit, in my experience at least.

    I guess we can both agree that it is best to comment for the benefits outlined above and avoid the mind-set of commenting to build links, and any SEO benefit, direct or otherwise is a nice bonus.

  3. I recently launched my own website/blog and these are helpful tips to keep in mind, thank you! I find constantly creating new content/blog posts to be my biggest challenge.

  4. Some great points. The problem for most SEOs these days is finding scaleable ways of earning links in a natural way as links are obviously still a huge ranking factor.

    A couple more link bait ideas I would add to the ones you have mentioned above are:

    Dead content recreation (a little similar to updating old comments), where you identify broken links within a website, then contact the owner and offer to create new content for that page/post.

    Create roundups of great posts your niche to gain attention and possible links from their authors.

    I agree that if done correctly, Guest Posting can still be a valuable tactic, if not for improving rankings then definitely for building your brand’s reputation and earning more traffic.

  5. The two techniques i am using is Blog Commenting and Forum Discussions and i am getting good visitors from there. Paid marketing is also a good option for me, and i am looking forward to it.

  6. This is a most helpful post. I just launched my content marketing and social media strategy consultancy. I have deep experience with content development, the customer journey, and using social channels, however your advice regarding commenting on other people’s blogs to drive traffic to my site is one thing I had shied away from. I will make a more concerted effort to do so with more regularity, and will definitely integrate this practice in the plans I construct for my clients. – Talia Wise

  7. This is more of a UX idea, but one thing to add is to start the categorization of posts as soon as possible. It becomes more difficult to categorize content you post to a blog as it ages. Getting that in place as early as possible is a great way to allow users to easily find similar content on your blog.

    Overall, great ideas though! Look forward to reading more of your articles.

  8. I’m doing really really well with blog commenting and the daily amount of visitors to my website is awesome, I tried the other methods but not working as blog commenting. And thanks for the useful tips.

  9. I’ve read several blogs but this post certainly gets +1 from me! What you mentioned here about startups is absolutely correct. I feel that in order to quick traction its better to use contextual ppc that is easy on your budget :-)

  10. Great post Mark.

    I also think submitting your new blog to various directories is important so you can let Google know that you’re out there. Scoop.it, stumble upon are a great place to start.

  11. Great post…..In Above all things patience is the most certain thing. SEO is not a game of one night or just few time. It’s a ling time process which needs quality work and take time to grow. I have seen many people which want their rankings and traffic only in just days or month and if they don’t get it just got frustrated and leave things suddenly. Thanks for sharing useful information Mark and it’s helpful for new starting websites.