The 10 Most Effective Things You Can Do to Build Traffic

  • November 8, 2010 by Corbett Barr
  • 41 Comments

After 90+ comments containing over 10,000 words I have to say thanks to everyone for sharing your most effective traffic-building tips last week.

You confirmed what I suspected. As a group we have some killer knowledge about building traffic to our websites and blogs. Thank you, thank you to everyone who participated. Thanks for helping create such a great resource.

If you haven’t checked out the comments on that post, don’t miss out on the goldmine of audience-building advice. I highly recommend reading the whole thing if you have time.

As promised in the post, I’ve chosen one of those 90+ commenters to win a complimentary coaching session with me. See below for the winner.

There were so many great tips in the post that I’ve chosen 10 of my favorites to share with you.

The 10 Most Effective Things You Can Do to Build Traffic

Here are my 10 favorite traffic-building tips from the comments you left. In most of these, I picked out just a snippet, so click the “continue reading” link to read all the details.

#10: “…Writing epic posts. And that means: longer posts – tiny ebooks within themselves – with 100 % value and 150% personality. Writing long-ass, valuable posts and posting them LESS helped me get some awesome traffic spikes.” continue reading
Mars Dorian, Mars Dorian

#9: “I Listen; I’m listening to what people have done, finding out what works and what fails, and I’m implementing the gold. Little by little, the traffic comes…and if I’m not mistaken, that should be at the forefront of my mind, right?” continue reading
Jason, 67Dollars

#8: “Joined a mastermind group.”
Adam Baker, Man Vs. Debt
Editor’s note: I loved this one because my mastermind group has been a huge boost to my traffic this year as well.

#7: “I interviewed the most successful people in the industry, asked them a single question and included it into a post.” continue reading
Rob Rammuny, Rob’s Web Tips

#6: “What turned the corner for my blog was the release of the e-book. It gave me credibility. But more importantly, it gave other authors a reason to invest in my work.”
Joshua Becker, Becoming Minimalist

#5: “…I began reaching out to a big group of bloggers that are very similar to me and asked them to participate in a series on my blog.” continue reading
Ms. Jenn, {Bits of Beauty}

#4: “The single most powerful strategy I put into action was building a real relationship with another blogger with a very similar message to my own.” continue reading
Everett Bogue, Far Beyond the Stars

#3: “…give yourself a break from all the frustrating brainstorming sessions and get back to your roots, developing relationships naturally.” continue reading
Adria, The Emerald Closet

#2: “I’ve made a point of really listening to my readers and creating posts that address their concerns. There are many excellent bloggers in my niche but few take the time to get specific about information, showing readers how to synthesize it in a meaningful way. I really want to give readers the tools they need to learn on their own. I’m encouraging DIY not instead of codependency. I’m creating a group of empowered, enthusiastic, dedicated readers.”
Michelle, AstroFix

And The Winner Is…

I asked for comments and tips about what you’ve done to build traffic this year. John Anyasor from HiLife2B ended up writing enough for a whole blog post.

Now, don’t conclude that I chose John’s answer as the winner simply because he wrote the longest comment. In fact, I almost always prefer brevity. Getting your point across in fewer words is an important skill in this age of too much information.

The more I read John’s comment, the more it resonated with me and the journey I’ve been on since I started blogging.

Here’s the start of John’s comment:

The most effective traffic “strategy” I’ve used is simple: enjoy yourself.

Sounds weird, but hear me out.

What I mean is, when I stop trying to get people to come to my site or bait them with an intriguing post title that the content doesn’t live up to, I get the most sticky traffic compared to my other blog posts.

There are a lot of techniques and tips out there on how to get more people to come to your site or get more subscribers to join your movement, but those tactics aren’t going to build traffic, they’ll simply spike traffic (leading to a typically demoralizing traffic dunk).”

Read the rest of John’s comment for his complete thought.

My experience has been exactly the same. When I focus on writing from the heart, enjoying myself and genuinely helping other people, I attract the most valuable traffic. When I try too hard to come up with some smart tactic for viral content and neglect to create content that really matters, the effort falls flat (or I attract a lot of traffic that doesn’t become part of my core audience).

So yes John, I agree with you. You have to enjoy yourself and create content that really matters. Too much focus on “what can I do to get visitors” leads you down the wrong path. People respond to authenticity and genuine helpfulness.

The ultimate approach to me though is actually a hybrid of the two. The ultimate is to be authentic and helpful but also smart about giving your content the best shot at going viral. It’s a delicate balance that takes some time to learn.

Visit John’s site and learn how to achieve personal fulfillment by opening your mind to what’s possible.

Thanks again to everyone who left a comment on the original post. I really appreciate it.

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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Ivan Walsh November 9, 2010 at 12:00 am

Nice one Corbett,

but does these also apply to other sectors?

For example, if you’re run an Entertainment or Gossip site, what would be the best strategies. Most of us on this blog are into SEO/blogging but there are other industries where these may not apply.

Not trying to rain on your parade by any means just trying to cover our bases re: different niches.

Does that make sense?

Ivan

MKR November 9, 2010 at 9:53 am

If you’re in an industry where currency of information is more important than quality, then I would think that would be your focus.

But even news sites occasionally post stuff that people still read years later. :)

Corbett Barr November 9, 2010 at 9:56 am

Hey Ivan, great question. I know a lot of the readers here are into blogging like you said.

But here’s the thing. Most of the comments I chose here focused on listening to your audience, creating great content and building relationships with people.

I can tell you from first-hand experience that John’s winning comment especially applies to any situation where you’re trying to attract an audience, whether online or off. I’ve been in situations where too much focus on building the audience and not enough on enjoying yourself and being authentic had negative consequences.

Great question Ivan – thanks for bringing it up. I try to make sure the advice at TT generally applies to all kinds of websites.

Michael November 9, 2010 at 12:01 am

Thank you for sharing this, it’s epic! :)

TrafficColeman November 9, 2010 at 12:15 am

This blog is marketing 101 of online marketing..Corbett..many people look up to you man..so keep doing great things online bro..

“TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

Corbett Barr November 9, 2010 at 9:56 am

Thanks man, I appreciate that.

Mars Dorian November 9, 2010 at 4:42 am

That’s awesome man, too bad I’m number 10 ;)

But John’s comment is ass-kicking. It’s easy to write straight from the heart, putting my whole character into it. But it’s quite challenging to make that kind of content super-useful to a lot of people.
But it’s a that I can definitely balance with enough practice.

Thanks for shining so bright, Corbett !
Mars

Corbett Barr November 9, 2010 at 9:57 am

Honestly, Mars, the top 10 aren’t really in a particular order. Thanks so much for the contribution.

Murlu November 9, 2010 at 5:41 am

Ya know, if you go back through and really look at those posts that you’ve loved the most – they are the ones which really rank in the traffic. Love those ones because you feel so passionate about writing it – it didn’t feel like some research session where you had to craft every little detail – you popped open the editor and just started pouring out what you had in mind. You can never go wrong when you take that approach.

Congrats on others with their own suggestions – mastermind groups are quite excellent and responding to reader’s questions will always be a fundamental way to make an impact :)

Peter Saydak November 9, 2010 at 7:11 am

Great post, I particularly liked what John had to say at the end there. I’m just starting out with this whole Internet thing so that was good to read.

Jason November 9, 2010 at 7:31 am

No doubt in my mind that John Anyasor would win. He went above and beyond and his words ring true to just about every one of us.

After going through most of the tips I think they can be wrapped up into two main categories:

1.) Content
2.) Relationships

Write great, passionate, useful content and start a conversation about it with like-minded people.

Glad I made the list. :)

Corbett Barr November 9, 2010 at 10:02 am

Thanks for helping make the comments on that post so useful, Jason. I really like what you’re up to over at 67Dollars. Congrats on the early success.

Jeffrey Morgan November 10, 2010 at 10:25 am

I agree with Jason, content and relationships have help to build my traffic to where it is now. I have great traffic! Problem is with out relationship, they just bounce.

I’m thinking there should be a traffic store somewhere around here!
Good idea, yeah?

Caleb Miller November 9, 2010 at 7:55 am

Thanks Corbett! In the past I’ve focused too much on “what I can do to get visitors.”

Now I’m slowly letting myself be influenced by other bloggers with a healthier long-term business mindset. Establishing the right habits and practices.

John Anyasor November 9, 2010 at 8:19 am

Sweet, I won!

Let me take this in….slowly…

Haha, seriously though, I didn’t expect to really win. Just wanted to make a point.

Can’t wait for the coaching session, man. Thanks so much.

Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion November 9, 2010 at 9:42 am

Congrats to you John…your comment really did take the cake. Well done man.

Justin Dickmeyer November 9, 2010 at 9:32 am

Corbett,

Thank you for the synopsis, a great series altogether my man…I appreciate your time in putting it together!

Justin

Sherryl Perry November 9, 2010 at 9:54 am

Thanks Corbett. I really appreciate the link back to your original article. There were a lot more comments there then when I read it the first time.

AstroFix November 9, 2010 at 10:10 am

Wow! Thank you for including my comment Corbett. I really enjoyed your recent interview with Pat Flynn.

Adria November 9, 2010 at 11:18 am

Thank you Corbett for including my comment! I’m happy that I could pass along something of value to your readers. I thought my comment was a novel, but I was outdone by John. I’ll have to best him some other way :-)

John Paul Aguiar November 9, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Great list Corbett.. I seem to do #10 a lot haha Even when I sit down to write a “normal” post, it turns into a mini novel.

Onibalusi Bamidele November 10, 2010 at 2:03 am

Awesome answers Corbett,

I also love John’s response and it’s nothing but the truth – he really deserves to win.

With the above tips I will be able to take my blog to a new level of traffic generation.

Thanks so much for the awesome post,
-Onibalusi

Michael Doven Gray November 11, 2010 at 12:55 am

Hi I’m late to the party but this was too interesting not to jump on. The top ten list was valuable and I resonated with many of the sensibilities put forth. I think one has to start with a an interesting and unique concept within their niche and then use personality to get behind it. The rest is backing that up with techniques to get the information widely seen by others.

I am glad I stumbled on to this group. Seems like a cyber mastermind group in its own right.

kaleem November 12, 2010 at 3:23 am

We shouldn’t try to reach for our goals directly, but rather, we should reach all the conditions that will make reaching our goal inevitable. If our goal is to “make money,” I think we’ll be prone to being suckered into the kinds of things you mentioned, Darren, like Tweeting for $10k. But if what we’re trying to do is create all the necessary conditions for us to make money, we’d approach it differently. We’d focus more on writing great content–OVERdelivering. We’d be more consumer-focused and less bottom-line focused. And in the end, that’s the kind of stuff that converts

Brandon@Make Money Blogging November 12, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Excellent advice from all of them. It’s hard to choose a winner IMO.

Nea November 13, 2010 at 9:14 am

I love all of the tips. I think that when you’re doing #1 (enjoying yourself), all of the other tips work out even better for you. I love what I do and I will cease to do it (no matter what) if that ever changes.

Vinay November 14, 2010 at 12:36 pm

great post and really learned lots from the comments in the previous post. It seems there is lots around relationship building which I think is definitely very important. How did you go about joining a mastermind group?

Elise November 18, 2010 at 5:29 pm

“enjoy yourself”

Love it. Nothing could be farther from the truth when it comes to building real sticky traffic. This post really holds some incredible information and is a great reality check for some of us who just get way too caught up in the technical aspects of traffic generation. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Eric | Starcraft 2 Strategy November 27, 2010 at 9:09 am

I love the analogy of the “traffic dunk” where you get a spike that drops off – that always seems to happen to me, and I’d love to make my traffic more consistent. I’ll let you know how it goes…thanks for the post.

Mike E. December 22, 2010 at 10:04 am

Great stuff! Especially tip #1. No point in doing it if you’re not enjoying yourself.

Vijay December 26, 2010 at 2:56 am

perfect 10. and top of that when you write from your heart people listen to it as they found value in it.

great points anyway. need to try many of these :)

Brian Johnson March 30, 2012 at 4:37 am

This is simple and plain and I like it. I think sometime we think of this big complex way to build traffic and it all comes back to building trust and relationships with fellow website owners.

Thanks for your post.

Jason November 9, 2010 at 10:19 am

My absolute pleasure, Corbett. Thanks for the encouragement.

By the way, what is Traffic School all about? Did I miss the signup window? Bummer.

Corbett Barr November 9, 2010 at 11:24 am

Traffic School is a new project I’m developing. It will launch after the first of the year. Sign up to be notified here:

http://trafficschool.thinktraffic.net/

Jason November 9, 2010 at 11:29 am

Tried to. It says “Traffic School is currently closed to new enrollment.” and there’s no signup form…at least on my iPhone.

Corbett Barr November 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Ah, got it. Thanks for the note. Should be working now.

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