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If you’re building a long-term web publishing business, relying on a single traffic source can be dangerous.
Many niche site publishers have focused on Google as a traffic source for years. That isn’t to say we were writing “for Google,” but that we used various strategies to try and find our audience among Google searchers. In my case, my primary method was to find underserved longtail queries and create content around those.
I blogged about that here and explained why the longtail strategy specifically, though it has its perks, tends to have a limited shelf life. But even going beyond longtail, relying on Google traffic alone proved to be a risky move during the updates of the fall of 2023.
Moreover, relying on any single algorithm to drive traffic to your site is risky. For example, my sites get a healthy number of visitors from Pinterest and Facebook. Those sites also employ algorithms, so building a web publishing business to rely on any of these as a single – or very prominent – traffic platform wouldn’t be very smart.
With that in mind, we continue to diversify. You may recall that I’ve set this as a strategic goal for my business in 2023. And now we’re moving forward with diversifying even more.
Where is our audience?
I’m in the business of creating helpful online resources for people. These resources are typically in the form of articles that include advice, inspiration, or entertainment. Ideally, a combination of all three.
My content isn’t worth much if people can’t find it. If my sites were print magazines, I’d try to get them displayed where folks typically find such publications:
- Checkout lines in grocery stores
- Doctors’ office waiting rooms
- Barber shops & hair salons
The holy grail of distribution could very well be subscriptions – but to get people to subscribe, you have to introduce them to your magazine, right?
We should be doing the same with our websites. The Internet is a big place, and there are many places where we can place our virtual magazines.
I’m creating a list of potential website traffic sources to map them out. The idea is to cover as many of the available options out there as I can. I won’t be going into detail about the “How” or trying to rank them based on any specific parameter. I won’t even go into the pros and cons at this point (though I may down the road).
Consider this a brainstorming post. While I have tried some of these methods, my experience with them may not count for much. What worked for me may not work for you, and vice versa.
In short, don’t follow any of the suggestions below based on their inclusion in this list. Research thoroughly to see if any of these methods are a good fit for your site.
To quote my favorite digital buddy – let’s dive in.
Social Media & Networking
Many of these offer more than one way to promote a site. While there is some correlation, these methods often require specialization, so I’m adding them separately.
- Facebook Pages
- Facebook Groups
- Facebook Reels
- Instagram Posts
- Instagram Stories
- Instagram Video (IGTV – for longer-form video content)
- Regular Tweets
- Twitter Threads
- Twitter Spaces
- Twitter Communities
- Pins on your board
- Group boards
- Idea Pins for interactive content
- LinkedIn Posts
- LinkedIn Articles
Other Social Media Channels
Content Syndication & Aggregation
These are the general ones I found. There are probably more – and possibly niche-specific ones.
These take more work because you create more content to promote your brand. Some can be monetized, though. Again, these are the ones I found, and there are probably others.
- YouTube Videos for sharing informative content.
- YouTube Shorts for quick, educational snippets.
Other Content Platforms
Collaboration & Outreach
- Guest blogging (not for link-building purposes – imagine that!)
- Partnering with influencers – by sponsoring content or other forms of collaboration
- Roundups with industry experts and encouraging them to share the post on their social accounts
- Being a guest on podcasts and YouTube channels
- Publishing e-books on Amazon’s KDP with links to your site
- Offering free courses to generate interest and traffic on platforms such as Udemy.
Email & Community Engagement
I left these for last because they can’t exist on their own. You need to find your audience first and get them to subscribe to your list. Then, you could use the following to generate return visits.
- Forum or online community
That’s the list I have for now. I plan to add to it as I learn new ways to get traffic. If you can think of more ways, do please leave a comment below or shoot me an email. Also, if you can comment on any of the less common methods in this list based on your own experience, please do. I’m curious to hear what works for you.