They say in this day and age, it’s easier than ever to start a business. Due to the world wide web, you can reach millions all around the globe from day 1.
But truth be told, that rarely ever happens. The Internet is becoming a very competitive place, where it’s becoming harder and harder to stand out, especially for new kids around the block.
It’s for these people I’ve compiled a list of 5 unconventional ways that will get your startup’s site a steady stream of traffic.
1. Leverage Other Sites
During the teething stage, Google is not a friend for many startups. Your website simply does not have any traffic or authority to show up in search engine results.
Luckily, there are a couple of ways you could generate traffic without Google. The best possible way to grow your online business is through guest blogging. If you have 0 readers on your site, why write for yourself? Instead, go write a 3,000-word article for someone else.
You might argue guest blogging isn’t really unconventional anymore, and you’re absolutely right! Here’s what we did to make it unconventional (and more effective):
Every time you write an article, keep track of every outbound link you include. As soon as your guest post goes live, use it as an opportunity to start a professional relationship with the author of the article you link to.
Don’t overdo it though, every outbound link should above all provide value to the audience. You’ll often have the choice between different content resources from different authors to link to.
Reach out to these authors and go for the one that is most likely to engage in a reciprocal, mutually beneficial relationship.
Congratulations, not only do you now have a backlink from a bigger site, you are now on the radar of other authors, who will feel inclined to return the favor and link to you in future articles.
If you guest post consistently, over time you’ll be able to publish articles on bigger sites and become an authority within your space. So it’s important to start pitching guest posts as early as possible.
Apart from guest posting, you can also leverage authoritative sites such as Quora, Medium or Reddit. Simply create a post or reply to questions relevant to the keyword you want to rank for. This guide on startup customer acquisition channels goes more in-depth on how to achieve success with this tactic.
2. Create Highly Shareable, Interactive Content
One of the best ways to attract traffic is by creating content.
Ideally, not the average run-of-the-mill content, but shareable, quality content. Unfortunately, creating such content is easier said than done.
But contrary to what some people think, producing amazing content, the kind that people will eagerly share, is not guesswork, and it’s certainly not luck. It’s a combination of great storytelling, self-interest (theirs, not yours), and consistency.
Instead of writing another blog post, consider creating a piece of interactive content. You could even repurpose previous posts.
Here are some of the benefits of using interactive content:
- Highly shareable
- More attention-grabbing than static content
- Better conversion than static conversion pages
One particular type that has been proven to be effective are quizzes.
Creating a quiz in this day and age isn’t as hard as it used to be. You don’t need any coding or tech skills to create an engaging quiz. Most survey makers you can find online, also provide quiz capabilities as well as ready-to-use quiz templates.
Jaiya is an internationally recognized sexologist who worked out the framework of erotic blueprints that help people discover and talk about sex and their sexuality.
They built the Erotic Blueprint Quiz to build their email subscriber list with an ongoing lead generator and provide immediate gratification by automatically emailing prospects highly personalized content around their sexuality and erotic blueprint.
Because of the sexual nature of Jaiya’s content, options such as Facebook ads aren’t a possibility. They share quizzes through affiliates, podcasts, and blog posts.
The quiz has been up and running for less than a year and brings in, on average, 5000 new leads each month with peaks that go as high as 20.000 leads.
By incorporating more advanced calculations in the backend of the quiz, they could build more accurate profiles and optimize personalization. Which allows them to send more targeted content in their follow up communication.
That’s what interactive marketing is all about: it generates interaction, two-way communication with your audience. A normal article, on the other hand, is more of a “static content” or one-way communication.
3. Build a Glossary or Knowledge Base
Every business or niche has its own jargon and abbreviations. You could assume your target audience has a firm grasp of your jargon or you could create a glossary or documentation page. I suggest the latter.
Ideally, you could set up a separate page to explain every popular term within your niche. Make a list of as many terms as you can think of and start writing a piece of content of around 300 words per term.
Give them some time to gain traction. Check back 4 weeks later which terms get organic traffic. Next, make a dedicated blog post about the most popular terms (1000+ words) to drive more traffic to your website.
Don’t forget to 301-redirect the old glossary pages to the new ones to prevent two of your pages competing for the same keyword.
We tried this tactic ourselves with great success. We never expected to get 2500 visits per month from people looking for ‘closed ended questions’.
4. Don’t be Afraid of Low Search Volume Keywords
When you first start out, you won’t have the authority to rank for the big, high volume keywords in your market. Instead, focus on keywords that are close to your USP or combine one of the big keywords with something that makes you unique.
These keywords won’t have the largest search volume. But it will rank a lot easier and you’ll get traffic from long tail variations.
For each keyword candidate, make sure to check that there are a sufficient number of closely related keywords with some search volume. To look up these long tail keyword variations, you can use the same tools and methods as you do for regular keyword research.
We’ve put this to the test. One of our best performing blog articles (in terms of organic traffic): the keywords don’t have the largest search volume, but they have loads of long tail variations (1000+)
The thought behind this approach is that long tail keywords are simpler to rank for. Furthermore, on the off chance that you combine the volume of those long tail keywords together, they break even with the pursuit volume of a solitary high-volume term.
5. Translate Your (Best) Content
Like mentioned before, the internet can be a competitive place. Especially when you focus on an English audience. However, when you move away to other languages (spoken by your target audience) you open up a whole new can of opportunities.
This is where international SEO comes in. We translated one of our top blog posts (in terms of organic traffic) from English into 5 languages. The Spanish version proved most successful because it has the largest population.
When you combine all 5 languages, these translations generated an additional 60% in monthly traffic.
Beware! There are some pitfalls concerning International SEO. For example, make sure to optimize your keywords for each language, just because a keyword performs well, doesn’t mean its (literal) translation will do too.
As most, if not all, startups, we all have to start at the bottom. I hope these tactics will provide you with some inspiration or guidance on how to jumpstart your site’s traffic. Entrepreneurs, don’t forget; building your startup is a marathon, not a sprint.
This is a guest post by Stefan Debois who is the founder and CEO of Survey Anyplace, a tool that enables you to make fun surveys, quizzes and assessments. By providing respondents with a better experience, you’ll get more and better data in return.