Readers ask me all the time about ways to increase traffic. They see the success of a few of my sites and they believe that there is some secret to getting traffic that I’m not sharing.
They want to know what I do to rank high on keywords within Google, whether I pay for advertising and how much time I spent marketing my blog.
To those readers, I often tell them that the secret to traffic building is time.
There are many things you can do to increase traffic, but all of those things take time to build. Sure you can write a killer article that gets to the front page of Digg and end up receiving a few thousand unique a day for a while, but that traffic is short-lived and not sustainable.
How Do People Come To Your Site?
In order to increase traffic for the long term, we should look at how people come to our site: direct traffic, referral traffic, and search traffic.
1. Direct Traffic
This category consists of readers that regularly come to your blog, the ones that regularly comment on your post, people who you know, and generally everyone that remembers your brand.
It could be someone typing in your domain name in the address bar, the ones that have bookmarked your site, or even those that have your page as their homepage.
In order to increase this type of traffic, it requires quality content that people value and creative branding to help readers remember you.
At first, a casual reader might read a good article from your blog and not come back, but if he/she comes across your blog and reads articles on your blog, again and again, that person will become a subscriber and keep coming back for more.
2. Referral Traffic
This type of traffic is the best and often the most satisfying to receive. Having other bloggers link to your posts is like others telling you that your article is one that they believe their readers will find interesting.
Links on other sites will also help you reach new readers because it spreads the word about your brand out to different people.
Unless you are very famous or you have a major advertising budget, you won’t get much referral traffic at the beginning as it takes time for other bloggers to remember coming to your site.
It takes time to build your network and it takes even more time for people to link to your articles.
The key is not to lose patience in the beginning and keep writing good articles. Eventually, others will notice your great articles and links will flow to your blog.
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3. Search Traffic
This is the area that everyone seems to spend the most time optimizing when time is actually the best optimizer.
Since a search engine’s existence is to bring qualified pages to a search term, blog content eventually will rank high because we write blog content day in and day out on one particular subject.
Search engine’s ranking is complicated but it is somewhat based on:
- Other sources of traffic
- Number of links to that particular blog and article
- How long have those links existed
- How long the blog has been in existence within the search engine
Most of the factors affecting keyword rankings like the ones mentioned above are directly or indirectly time-dependent.
There is no way to gain an incredible amount of inbound links naturally in a short amount of time (search engine’s actually flagged your site if it happens), and unless you can manually manipulate the search engine’s ranking formula, there is no way to increase the time those links or your blog has been in existence.
You will always see some sites having a ton of visitors from day one, but if you are just starting out and don’t have the means of those people (connections, budget, etc), you need to keep writing quality content.
Instead of being impatient, have confidence that people will take notice of the great content that you are writing. As they often say “If you build it, they will come”.