Having multiple and diverse sources of traffic is important to the long-term success of any website. Although it can be tempting to only pursue the traffic sources that produce the most visitors, relying exclusively on a particular traffic source can have adverse effects. Diversity is important for the following reasons:
1. Relying on one source of traffic is dangerous. What do you do if that source dries up? In that situation your website will be very seriously impacted and in extreme cases it could become almost useless. What is Google penalizes you for something that is outside of your control? What is the social media traffic that is pounding your server suddenly stops coming? By building up several different sources of traffic you won’t be so dependant on any one source, and you’ll be safer if something goes wrong.
2. Diversity of traffic means that your site will get exposure to more people. If you are only targeting Google users or social media users, you are missing tons of potential visitors. By drawing traffic from many different sources you’ll increase the chances of being exposed to visitors regardless of how they find you.
3. Different types of visitors respond differently. Maybe Digg is a great source of traffic for you right now, but those visitors are going to be much less likely to turn into repeat visitors, to click on ads, or to buy anything from you than search engine visitors would. Likewise, visitors who come from other websites that refer you will also have a different perspective, and they will likely respond differently. Each type of traffic has pros and cons. Diversity of traffic gives you a well-rounded approach.
4. Diversity of traffic allows you to track and analyze different sources. If you are relying only on one source of traffic, how do you know how it stacks up to another source? How do you know if PPC ads generate better response than organic search traffic or referrals from other sites? When you have traffic coming from a number of different sources you can use analytical tools to determine which types of traffic are the best for your purposes.
A Six Step Approach to Build Diversity in Traffic
1. Build a Search Engine-Friendly Website
Of course, we all want targeted search engine traffic. By building a site in a search engine-friendly manner you will give yourself a chance to draw this traffic. Part of this is knowing which keywords and phrases you want to target. Do some keyword research if necessary and come up with a few terms to target and optimize the site accordingly.
2. Build Links
Inbound links are important for search engine rankings and for click-through traffic, so link building should be a focal point in building traffic diversity. There are a number of different ways to build links including:
- Directory submissions
- Paid links
- Reciprocal links (within reason)
- Link requests
3. Focus On Building Direct Traffic
Direct traffic is often overlooked when discussing the various sources of traffic. Those who visit your site directly are some of your best visitors. They’ve been to your site before and they’re interested in what you have to offer. I wrote a post at Daily Blog Tips, Direct Traffic: 5 Reasons Why You Should Care. The article included 3 tips for growing direct traffic: 1) create a strong brand, 2) be remarkable, and 3) use a domain name that’s easy to remember. Direct traffic can’t be taken away by a change in search engine algorithms or by fickle social media users.
4. Take Advantage of Social Media
Social media traffic is notorious for being fairly low quality, but it’s also highly sought after because of the huge spikes of traffic that can result. Although it is certainly less targeted traffic than many other sources, it is one of the best free methods for quickly gaining visitors and exposure. Especially for new websites and blogs that aren’t going to rank well in search engines for a while, social media can be a valuable source of traffic. Find a few social media sites that are a good fit with your website, and start getting involved.
5. Grow Your Network
A strong network can help you in a number of different ways. Bloggers who are well-connected get more links, more social media votes, and more personal referrals from other bloggers. Of course, networking is also about what you can offer to others, so be willing to help and you will get back what you put into it.
Although many website owners and bloggers don’t like to pay for traffic, it can be extremely effective and open up new sources of traffic. Low cost methods like PPC and banners on other blogs are a good place to start. Paying for advertising is one of the few ways you can control what traffic you receive. Even new sites and blogs can get traffic with a bit of an advertising budget.
What’s Your Experience?
How do you go about building diversity of traffic? Have there been particular methods that have worked or have not worked well for you?