All of us who own websites get stuck at one time or another and sometimes we stay perpetually stuck.
We don’t have traffic or we don’t have sales or we have a little of both but not nearly enough.
In this article I’m going to provide some ideas for getting moving again. You will not find step by step detail for each method but hopefully you will find nuggets and principles that can point you in the right direction.
We’ll group these ideas into two important categories, traffic and revenue.
Getting Traffic to Your Website
Improve rankings of existing article content
- Analyze keyword rankings using Google Search Console (webmaster tools). Tweak article titles and meta descriptions to optimize rankings for the keywords that have higher search volume. Realize that every change you make decreases the ranking for some keywords and increases for others. I cover this process in detail here.
- Analyze existing links to articles that are getting traffic and find ways to create similar links. Links are still the single biggest factor for increasing the search ranking of articles. Identify links to your articles using http://ahref.com, http://moz.com/researchtools/ose/, Google Search Console, etc. Visit important links to your content and understand how they came to exist. Are they links in blog post comments, links in Youtube video comments, links in articles, links in Pinterest or other social media, links from people you know, links from industry sources, links in news articles? Whatever the source of the link, think about how it got there and whether you can personally create the same kind of links or whether you can influence other people to create those links on your behalf.
- Analyze links that competitors have acquired and create similar ones. Perform the same exercise as 2. above except analyzing links to your competitor’s content.
- Create Youtube videos with links to your articles. Google likes Youtube and anything it links to. It builds traffic both by having a Youtube video description link to your article AND by having a Youtube video embedded in your article. It may seem daunting to create videos, but they can be very short, like less than 30 seconds. The script of the video might be as simple as “To reduce mosquito bites wear long sleeve clothing. Read the ultimate guide on preventing mosquito bites on MyMosquitoSite.com”. You can do PowerPoint slide shows with a music background. You can take article content like images and quotes and use screen capture software to create short videos.
Create additional website content
- Do keyword research using SE Cockpit and create new content around high search, low competition keywords. The best and easiest way to get natural organic traffic is by creating articles that target keywords people are searching for, but for which there aren’t any good existing articles that really match what users are searching for. You can find these keywords in even the most competitive niches. Using SE Cockpit you can see the search volume and level of competition for a list of keywords. You then take the best candidates and write a lengthy (1000+ words) and high quality article with the keyword very clearly expressed in the title and article content. Even without any backlinks, this process almost always yields traffic over a period of a few months and sometimes the traffic can be significant. If you also find ways to link to the articles it will speed up the ranking and resulting traffic.
- Create Youtube video content using the keyword research strategy above. Create articles with the embedded videos and link back to various articles on your site from the description in the Youtube videos you create.
Buy a website that already has traffic
- Forget about your own website and buy one that already has traffic. Sometimes it is better to buy into something that is already working especially if you don’t have the time or patience to build up your own site from scratch.
- Buy a site that is in the same niche as your own. Buying websites that are symbiotic with sites you already own has several advantages. You may interlink between the new site and your other sites to build authority. (Yes, even though Google probably knows you own both sites, there still seems to be an advantage interlinking between small groups of sites. If you try to scale this up, you will get in trouble.) You can cross sell products between the sites. You can use the new sites as an additional source for collecting email addresses.
- Buy a site that has a repeatable process for attracting traffic. Sometimes sellers of websites have no clue why their site gets traffic (even if they think they do). But other times, sellers are smart and experienced and have implemented a repeatable process for getting traffic to their site. These are gold mines. I look for sites that have figured out a repeatable method for getting traffic. When you buy a site like this you 1) get the traffic but more importantly 2) get a working process for attracting traffic. The process may be content creation, social media posting, content amplification (native ads), paid traffic from Adwords, Facebook, etc., Linked in article posting, or a thousand other methods. The great thing about this approach is that you are buying a method that you can use on your other sites and implement on new sites that you buy.
Open up entirely new traffic channels
- Create an email list. If you are not collecting email addresses, you need to begin to do so. There are tons of information available about how to do this effectively, but here are the big steps. Signup for an email service provider like Aweber, MailChimp, Drip, etc. Find something to give away as an incentive like a whitepaper, physical gift, guide, video course or coupon. Create a popup that offers your giveaway in exchange for the email address. Create a series of emails that each person who signs up will get in sequence (called an autoresponder). After the new people stop getting the autoresponder email sequence, start sending them broadcast messages on a regular basis to build a connection with them and sell helpful resources to them.
- Create a forum or social media page with links to your website. Some sites are well suited for a connection with a Facebook page, a Pinterest board or an Instagram account. Others might do well with a moderated forum that lives on the site itself.
- If you have an audience, share or barter your audience with others. The idea here is that if you already have traffic to your website or a list of emails, you can collaborate with other site owners to share their audiences. You can send an email to your list advertising their site or product in exchange for them sending an email advertising your site or product. The effect is that both parties have the potential to grow their list size. The same thing works with referral links in articles. If you put an article on a partner’s site, the visitors to that site will be exposed to your brand and may visit your site through a link back to your site.
Revenue – Making money from existing visitors
Create additional revenue streams
- Supplement current revenue streams with new and complimentary ones. This is often the easiest method for making more money from the same visitors. If you are earning from advertising, why not sell affiliate products as well? If you earning affiliate commissions why not experiment with adding your own product to the mix? Convert an Amazon affiliate site to an Amazon FBA site for example. If you have only display ads, why not ad on native ads. If you are selling a video course, is there also a piece of software you could sell as well? Could you create a premium product that includes a video course on how to use the product?
- Introduce tiered pricing. If you have a single product with a single price, you can almost certainly generate more revenue by creating a 3-tier product strategy with a budget, mid-range and premium version of the product or service. Differentiate the products with add-ons like expedited shipping, free consultation, information guides, extended licenses, increased support or higher-lesser quantities.
Increase your conversion rates
- Eliminate choices and clutter. The most important thing you can do to get visitors to take a particular action is to reduce the number things they can click on. Web pages that are focused on selling a product (landing pages) often ONLY link to a call-to-action (CTA) button. There are no other links that might distract a visitor from making the choice you want them to make. The same thing applies to informational websites or sites monetized with advertising. For these kind of sites you only want visitors to do two things. 1) click on an ad or affiliate offer or 2) stay on your site and keep reading articles. So (generally) it is best to have very few choices for your customers other than links to your other articles and ads you want them to click on.
- Improve clarity of your call to action. Make sure your CTA button is crystal clear. It should be: easy to find, clear that it is a button and is clickable, clear that clicking the button is the means to taking action. The button should be labeled in a compelling, beneficial way like Neil Patel’s example “Learn how to double your traffic in just 30 days” -> “Yes, let’s start the FREE course”
- Use a large, clear font. Bigger is usually better.
- Use exit popups with a slightly different but compelling offer. Some percentage of your visitors are tempted to buy or opt-in when they finally decide to leave. Giving them one more opportunity is often enough to push them over the edge.
Steal your competitor’s ideas for monetization
- Research your competitor monetization strategies. Open up your competitor websites (those sites that rank for the same keywords you are ranking for). What are they selling? Their own products, affiliate products, advertising space? Consider whether you should sign up for the same ad networks, the same affiliate programs, create similar products of your own.
- Note HOW your competitors are selling. How have they arranged their products or CTA’s on the page? Are they pushing high-end or low-end products? Do they make the same offers to mobile customers as to desktop visitors? Do they emphasize collecting customer emails and only sell in follow-on emails or do they try to sell directly on the web pages? Do they promote on social media?
- Experiment with alternative monetization options. Using Content.ad? Test RevContent. Using Adsense? Test Ezoic. Pushing JVZoo offers? Check out Clickbank.
- Don’t confuse selling with greed. Look, no one gets anything done in business without resources. We all need tools, training, information and services to accomplish our online business goals. There are numerous suggestions and strategies in this article. Some can be performed much faster and more effectively with resources that you have to buy. I have absolutely no hesitation in “selling” these resources to you the reader via affiliate links. It is not greed, it is leveraging my knowledge and experience for your benefit and making the occasional sale to make it worth my while. As long as you understand this principle you should never have any apprehension about selling to people you are genuinely trying to help.
- Spend more of your time “selling”. Some say “Always be selling”. Most of my websites are designed to be passive earners. Still this principle applies. To the extent that I focus my time on making sure my websites actually sell, I will make more money. This means adding offers where there are none, collecting email addresses when I’m not, optimizing my conversions, tracking my revenue, testing different offers, etc. There are many other things that can sometimes be at cross purposes with selling. These may include: a focus on entertaining, a focus on not being offensive, quantity of content, focus on information but not on offers that will assist in the utilization of the information.