How To Drive Traffic To Your Website (All Things Considered)

Cody is a cofounder at Assisted Reach and an analytics and SEO aficionado. He counters his bad posture with yoga and is a fan of corny jokes. When it comes to data analysis, he "Excels."

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    A lot of people and businesses will pour money into a professional website only to find out that visitors won’t magically begin appearing on their site.

    As a digital marketer, one of the most frequent questions I get asked is “how do I get traffic to my website?” I probably get this question a lot because when you Google it, all the search results have one problem in common…

    They don’t differentiate by the type of website you are trying to drive traffic to!

    The goal of this post is to describe how to get new traffic to your website, no matter what type of site you have. There is one important distinction to make before we dive in.

    When it comes to getting visitors to your site, you want to grow your audience and also keep them coming back. But for the sake of scope, we will be focusing on driving new users to your site. This will allow you to grow your traffic over time, instead of keeping it constant.

    The objective of this post is not to teach you how to drive traffic because there are a lot of “it depends” situations. Instead, you will get to see examples of how real websites go about obtaining new visitors, and at the end, you will notice that we link out to resources that show you exactly how to drive traffic using specific strategies.

    The strategies used to drive traffic to an ecommerce website can differ based on the type of product you sell. For example, you could be selling vacuum replacement parts or the world’s strongest coffee. Instead of differentiating by product type, we will cover every traffic acquisition approach for ecommerce products. We will then briefly mention which type of products each strategy works best for.

    Paid Traffic For Ecommerce Sites

    I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “pay to play.” For an ecommerce site, paid traffic (i.e. Google Adwords, Google Shopping ads, banner ads, Facebook ads, etc.) is a practical way of driving traffic and obtaining sales, especially when you are first starting your online store. For example, Crucial Vacuums is a company that sells vacuum replacement parts online. Here is their marketing mix:

    Crucial Vacuum Marketing Mix

    As you can see over 40% of the traffic to their site is through paid search. Paid search is excellent for products (like vacuum replacement parts) that have a short buying cycle.

    With paid search platforms like Google AdWords, you are essentially paying to be at the top of the search engine. Even if you rank #1 organically for a particular product, paid search ads are placed above the organic results which is why paid search is so useful to ecommerce stores.

    For each product, you should have a list of keywords with high commercial intent to bid on. To find the right keywords, just look to see what your competitors are bidding on using Ahrefs. First, enter the URL of your competitor’s site into Ahrefs Site Explorer and then select “PPC keywords.

    Crucial Vacuum PPC Keywords

    These keywords are what your competition is bidding on. Pull out the ones that have a high commercial intent and bid on those. You can also use the Google Keyword Planner to find good keywords to bid on. Here is a guide on how to use the Google Keyword Planner.

    Paid search does not work well for specialty products or products with unique characteristics because consumers usually don’t search for them. An example of this type of product is Deathwish Coffee; a coffee brand that markets their coffee as being the world’s strongest coffee. Here is their marketing mix:

    Deathwish Coffee Marketing Mix

    As you can see, they rely very little on paid search. Most consumers who want to buy coffee online are not looking for coffee with the highest amount of caffeine. However, if someone were, this wouldn’t be a bad search term to bid on.

    Coffee and specialty products are sought out by consumers who are loyal to a specific brand or want the unique characteristic of the product. Paid social (i.e. Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Pinterest ads, YouTube ads, etc.) works extremely well for specialty products like this.

    Here are some resources if you want to learn more about paid traffic strategies:

    Organic Search For Ecommerce Sites

    Ranking organically in search for product keywords should be an ecommerce stores end goal because this brings a consistent passive stream of targeted traffic to your website. These terms are typically very competitive and can take awhile to rank for (if you can even rank at all) because of sites like Amazon.

    When ranking your ecommerce site, you need to do all the little things right first on site. This includes having great product descriptions, images, videos, reviews, etc. Google and other search engines love when your pages have a lot of useful content. But your customers will love it even more. Check out this guide to learn all about ecommerce SEO.

    Once you have your on-page SEO sorted out and optimized, you will need to build backlinks to your pages to rank. This will prove to be difficult because not many websites will want to link to product pages (which are the pages you want to rank).

    Here are some resources on linking building for ecommerce sites:

    The best work around for this link problem is to create content that ranks for terms that are topically relevant to your product, but less competitive. For example, below you can see Deathwish Coffee has created the following blog posts:

    • How to Make Coffee in a Coffee Maker [4 Easy Steps]
    • Does Coffee Go Bad?
    • 5 Tips For Strong Coffee
    • How Many Pots of Coffee Come From One Pound of Coffee

    Deathwish Coffee Top Pages

    These blog posts rank considerably well and drive a fair amount of traffic to Deathwish Coffee’s website. Creating content increases your website’s traffic potential and helps answers top of funnel product related questions. Answering these questions moves potential customers down your funnel and gets them ready to buy. There are also a number of things you can do with this traffic once you have it like:

    • Retargeting these visitors with ads
    • Converting these visitors into email subscribers
    • Converting these visitors into actual sales

    Referral Traffic For Ecommerce Sites

    Another great way to drive traffic to your ecommerce website is to get other websites reviewing or talking about your product. To do this, you usually need to incentivize them with an affiliate program or pay them with product or money. People are rarely interested in talking about you unless they get their cut. Here are two examples of websites that have written about Deathwish Coffee, likely producing referral traffic for them.

    Here are some resources to learn more about influencer and affiliate marketing:

    Social Media Traffic For Ecommerce Sites

    Social media is another traffic acquisition avenue that can be pursued by ecommerce stores. Promoting to your social media following is great, but this type of traffic isn’t necessarily new traffic.

    An important distinction to make here is that the goal of social media is to get your followers to share your posts or products with their followers, not to just promote to people already aware of your brand. People rarely share products unless the product is incredibly cool.

    That’s why ecommerce brands use content. People eagerly share cool content. Sharing creates a ripple effect that drives new traffic to your website, ultimately increasing your reach and growing your brand.

    Here is an example from Deathwish Coffee that received over 600 shares:

    Here are some resources to learn more about social media marketing:

    Mail Traffic For Ecommerce Sites

    Building an email list is important for most businesses. Email allows you to reach your customers directly, immediately, and for free. Email doesn’t necessarily drive new traffic to your website, but it allows you to engage past visitors with information and offers that make them come back to your site when they wouldn’t have otherwise. Here is an example from Deathwish Coffee:

    Deathwish Coffee Email Marketing

    For more information about email marketing, check out these resources:

    A niche blog is a website whose content is focused around a particular topic of interest (e.g. travel blogs, photography blogs, parenting blogs, etc.). They are typically monetized via affiliate links, display ads, and sometimes products and services. Depending on the niche, the traffic acquisitions methods can vary, but the main marketing channel is organic traffic and possibly social depending on your site.

    Organic Traffic For Niche Blogs

    Blogs like Knife Informer specialize in being a thorough and comprehensive information source for the niche their website covers. In the case of Knife Informer, they specialize in reviewing knives.

    The majority of traffic received by a niche blog is going to be non-branded organic; just look at the marketing mix for Knife Informer.

    Knife Informer Marketing Mix

    To obtain organic search traffic, you will need to perform SEO on your website, so it ranks in the major search engines. To learn SEO, check out this guide.

    If you enter Knife Informer’s URL into the Ahrefs Site Explorer and then select “Organic keywords” you will see the following page:

    Knife Informer Organic Keywords

    Knife Informer’s top keyword (regarding traffic) is “best survival knife,” which generates close to 2000 visits a month! However, they weren’t ranking for this term when the website started. So how do you drive traffic organically without ranking for these terms?

    The answer is to create content around low competition keyword. Here are some resources to get you started:

    As you create and rank for these low competition keywords, your backlink profile and regular readership will increase. This makes it easier to rank for more competitive terms. This low-hanging fruit method of content creation and promotion scales very well and will result in first page rankings for many of your target keywords with enough determination.

    Social Traffic For Niche Blogs

    With a niche site, although your audience may share your posts (tweets, etc.), most of their friends and followers won’t engage well because they may not be interested in the niche. If we take a look at Knife Informer’s Facebook page, they have just over 1500 page likes, and Facebook is their largest source of social traffic.

    Knife Informer Social Traffic

    There are exceptions to this, especially if you go the route of an entertaining click bait type site. But if you were to focus on one channel for a niche blog, you would choose to spend your time doing SEO and improving your organic rankings.

    If you are in a niche where your audience is active on a particular social platform, it’s important to capture them as followers right away. This could be by using a lead magnet of some kind or a social locker.

    Mail Traffic For Niche Blogs

    When someone searches for “best survival knife,” it doesn’t necessarily mean they are a knife enthusiast. It could just be a searcher who wants to buy a survival knife as a one-time purchase. That person will probably never be back to the site unless that person needs another knife.

    However, if Knife Informer can capture the searcher’s email, they now have direct communication with that person. To try and hook them as a consistent reader (or at the very least bring them back to their site from time to time), they can send them interesting content and offers.

    One of the best ways to obtain an email is a lead magnet that provides the searcher something of value. For Knife Informer, this could be a video training on how to clean and take care of your knife or something along those lines.

    Mail traffic is not nearly as important as organic for a niche blog. However, setting up a system for capturing email is very straightforward and can turn one off organic traffic into long-time readers. Here are some resources on email marketing if you are interested in learning more:

    When starting a news blog, you should focus your efforts on one of two content strategies when producing news:
    • Topically relevant content (e.g. Cover only one niche like politics or sports)
    • Locally relevant content (e.g. Cover news in a local area like Texas)

    Search engines will reward you if you focus on one or the other and it’s also easier to grow an audience. As your audience and resources grow, you can expand into other topics or locations.

    Organic Traffic For News Blogs

    Texas Monthly is a news blog that focuses on creating content locally relevant to Texas. If we throw their URL into Similar Web and look at their marketing mix, you can see the majority of traffic is coming from organic search:

    Texas Monthly Marketing Mix

    Their two types of content that news sites like Texas Monthly can create to drive this organic traffic.

    • Timeless content
    • Timely news

    Timeless content is content that searchers will always search for. Here’s an example created by Texas Monthly covering the subject “how big is texas.” This post ranks 2nd for “how big is Texas” and drives a lot of traffic to the Texas Monthly site.

    Here are the top traffic driving pages for Texas Monthly:

    Texas Monthly Top Pages

    So what is so special about Bumble and OkCupid banning white supremacists that that makes it the top post in terms of traffic?

    If you look at the Pos. (position in Google) column, you’ll see a small blue icon that looks like a document. The icon means that the page is ranking in Google’s Top Stories. Google’s Top Stories is a section of Google News that showcases trending news stories.

    There are many things you can do to rank your content in Google News, but it really comes down to creating timely and relevant content. To do this, you need to be aware of what’s trending in your niche. Here are some resources to get you started:

    Once you decide to cover a topic, speed is everything. If it takes you a week to publish the post, there is a good chance the topic was already covered by other news blogs and readers won’t be interested in it anymore. Determining the right balance between speed, quality, and accuracy of information is everything for time-dependent content. To read more about Texas Monthly, check out this article by Glen Allsopp.

    Social Traffic For News Blogs

    As a news blog grows its social following, the amount of website traffic also increases. But how do you grow your social following?

    The answer is to create high-quality, viral content that people want to share. People share content they see on social media and also content they find through other methods like organic search. But how do you create viral content that accomplishes this?

    Here are some resources to get you started:

    Mail Traffic For News Blogs

    Capturing email is important for news blogs to keep readers coming back. Most news blogs send out daily emails containing their most current news stories.

    The important part of email marketing for news blogs is to get click-throughs from their email to their website by utilizing intriguing headlines, interesting images, and a number of other things. Here are some resources to increasing click through on your emails:

    Driving traffic to your startup’s website can be tricky. Before getting into this, let’s first define a startup. Essentially any business that is newly formed could be classified as a startup, but we will use a more strict definition.

    Startup: a company working to solve a problem where the solution is innovative and new. This business is also newly formed (founded within the last 5 years or so).

    Under this definition, the products or services the startup is providing will fall under two categories:

    • Products or services that solve a specific need that people search for
    • Products or service that are so unique, no one will search for them

    Organic Traffic For Startups

    Organic search can be utilized by both types of startups to drive website traffic.

    Startups that sell a product or service that people search for can build unique landing pages to target relevant search queries. Using Ahrefs as the startup example, the following keyword phrases describe Ahrefs’ software, hence we want to rank for them:

    • Backlink checker
    • SERP checker
    • SEO toolbar

    To target these keywords, the following landing pages were built:

    Here are some tips for optimizing your landing page. To rank your landing pages, you will need to optimize them for SEO and then build links to them.

    Building links to landing pages isn’t an easy undertaking because landing pages are by nature a sales page. Not many websites want to link to some other site’s sales page. One of the best ways to rank your landing pages without building links directly to them is through content marketing.

    College Raptor is a startup that created a tool to match students to colleges. They also do an excellent job with content marketing. Here is their marketing mix:

    College Raptor Marketing Mix

    If you look at their top pages in Ahrefs Site Explorer, you’ll notice most of their pages are informational content assets, which are great for building links to your website.

    College Raptor Top Pages

    The more links you build through content assets, the stronger and more trusted your overall domain will be. This makes ranking your landing pages easier by requiring fewer links.

    Pro Tip: Interlink your content asset to your landing page to give it an SEO boost!

    The page that drives the most traffic to College Raptor is an article on the best planners for students. Although this post has some backlinks pointing to it, this isn’t the only reason it was created.

    For one, the content is relevant to searchers who may find the college match tool helpful. By writing a post on planners for students, the majority of people landing on the article will be students. This is exactly the demographic of people College Raptor wants to target.

    If you read the post on planners for students, it says nothing about College Raptor’s college match tool, but they do have a Facebook pixel that fires when someone views the page.

    College Raptor Facebook Pixel

    They can now use retargeting to show the College Raptor college match tool to these visitors via Facebook ads. If you are wondering what to do about the students who searched for planners that are already in college, you can set up your Facebook ads to show only to visitors that are 18 or younger.

    Optimist wrote an interesting case study on their content marketing strategy for College Raptor. You can read more about it here.

    Paid Traffic For Startups

    Paid search works well for startups that fall under the first category of products or services that solve a particular problem people search for and that have some decent traction.

    For example, College Raptor could bid on the keyword “college match tool.” Here are some resources for learning and implementing a paid search campaign:

    Paid social can be beneficial for both categories of products or services because it allows for a very targeted reach as long as the startup has some initial traction. A paid social platform like Facebook and YouTube have a ton of data about their users. When you advertise on these platforms, you get access to this data.

    If you know your audience well enough, you can advertise to them using extremely targeted ads. Here are some resources for learning Facebook Ads and YouTube ads:

    Referral Traffic For Startups

    Another effective marketing channel for startups is referral traffic. Here’s an article the Washington Post wrote where College Raptor in mentioned. This type of mention is great for SEO because of the backlink College Raptor received but probably won’t drive too much referral traffic. Startups should focus on obtaining referral traffic from websites that write about how their product or service helps solve a problem.

    For example, if you read the article by Ahrefs on how to carry out a detailed competitor analysis, you’ll notice one of the tools mentioned is Similar Web. People searching for how to conduct a competitor analysis have a problem (they don’t know how to perform a competitor analysis). This article provides them with a solution and the tools and instructions needed to accomplish this.

    This is great exposure for Similar Web because the article by Ahrefs shows how Similar Web can help solve a problem the searcher has. This article likely provides Similar Web with referral and branded search traffic.

    Social Traffic For Startups

    Social media channels can help drive traffic to a startup’s website, but one thing has to be true for this traffic strategy to be effective; the startup needs to actually be awesome. Social media for startups should be passive. This means that you shouldn’t have to actively engage with people on social media to get the word out about your startup.

    You should instead be putting your time and effort into creating high-quality, viral content that showcases your product or service. If your product or service is cool enough, it will spread without you having to do much promoting.

    Magic Leap an excellent example of this (definitely check out the videos on their website if you haven’t heard of them). They have grown a Facebook page to almost 90k likes and haven’t posted more than a few times a month. When they do post, however, their content gets a ton of shares. Here’s an example:

    Magic Leap Facebook Post

    If you search for “Magic Leap” in the Ahrefs Content Explorer, the first three pieces of content that come up have all gone viral, and as a result, have probably driven a ton of traffic to the Magic Leap website.

    Magic Leap Content Explorer

    When you look at the marketing mix for software as a service companies that are well established, the majority of their traffic is going to be direct traffic. For example, here’s the marketing mix for Ahrefs.

    Ahrefs Marketing Mix

    The reason our traffic is overwhelmingly direct is that customers of Ahrefs are going directly to our site to use our software. This doesn’t explain how to obtain more traffic as a SAAS company but should clear up any confusion resulting from the marketing mix above.

    A lot of direct traffic is a result of word of mouth. When your customer’s love your product or service and talk about it on and offline, more and more people will start coming to your site.

    Referral Traffic For SAAS Companies

    The next largest traffic source for Ahrefs is referral traffic which is a result of people and website’s talking the Ahrefs Marketing Suite (i.e. word of mouth), With many SAAS companies, there is an inherent learning curve because of the complexity of software nowadays. A potential user of a SAAS product is usually concerned with three things:

    1. Does the software solve a problem they have?
    2. Is the software intuitive and easy to learn?
    3. Is the software within their budget?

    One of the best ways to growth hack your way through this learning curve and validate to the potential user that your software satisfies their concerns is through influencer and affiliate marketing.

    Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that utilizes the influence an individual has over an audience of potential buyers. Usually, the influencer is paid by the company that wants to advertise to the influencer’s audience.

    Affiliate marketing is when a company pays a commission to an external website for sales or traffic generated from the external site.

    Effective influencer and affiliate marketing strategies for SAAS companies usually show potential buyers how to use the SAAS companies software to solve a problem they have (whether it is known or unknown).

    Again, we will use the same example we used for startup referral traffic. Ahrefs wrote a blog post titled How To Carry Out A Detailed Competitor Analysis (With Only Two Tools). In the post, Similar Web’s digital market intelligence and website traffic software is one of the two tools mentioned. This type of post is excellent referral traffic for SAAS companies because it shows potential customers how to use the software to solve a problem they are searching for (in this case how to conduct a competitor analysis).

    These types of guides can be engineered through influencer marketing and affiliate programs or can occur naturally like the guide above. Regardless of how or why the content is created, the referral traffic that results from it is usually highly qualified.

    Here are some resources on influencer and affiliate marketing:

    Organic Traffic For SAAS Companies

    To increase organic traffic, SAAS companies can utilize landing pages that target different keywords they want to be ranking for. For example, Asana (a project management software company) created some pages that target keywords that describe different use cases of their software. Here are a few examples:

    When first starting out, ranking for a term like “project management software” is very difficult. The domains that rank for this keyword are very authoritative and have on average 595 referring domains. Not exactly a low competition keyword, as Asana doesn’t even rank on the first page.

    Ahrefs Keyword Explorer Project Management Software

    Instead, you should focus your efforts on creating and ranking content that is lower competition but still related to the software your company sells.

    Using Ahrefs as the example, if you input Ahref’s URL into the Site Explorer search bar and then select “Top pages” on the left side menu bar, you’ll see the pages on Ahref’s website that receive the most traffic.

    Ahrefs Top Pages

    The page that receives the third most traffic is an article on how to do keyword research using Ahrefs. This article ranks 3rd on Google for the term “keyword research,” which receives an estimated 11,000 searches per month. The vast majority of people searching for “keyword research” are probably looking for an article that shows them how to actually do keyword research. This article does exactly that.

    The searcher has a problem they are trying to solve (they want to learn how to do keyword research). Ahrefs created a piece of content that shows searchers how to fix this problem by using their software.

    It is entirely possible that someone who searched for “keyword research” has never heard of Ahrefs. By reading the article, they are now aware of who Ahrefs is and also how Ahrefs’ software can help them solve a problem they have.

    These types of posts are ideal for SAAS companies because they build brand awareness and showcase the functionality and features of the SAAS product while helping a potential customer solve a problem.

    Paid Traffic For SAAS Companies

    Paid traffic is another way SAAS companies can drive qualified visitors to their site. For this strategy, you bid on keywords that describe the capabilities and functionality of your software product. For example, Asana would bid on a keyword like “project management software” because they don’t rank organically for that keyword and it accurately describes what their software does.

    When it comes to paid search traffic for SAAS companies, there is a right and wrong time to advertise. According to Rocketship Growth, you should only invest in paid search traffic when you have accomplished all of the following components:

    • A proven sales funnel
    • An offer that converts
    • Happy customers that you know love your product

    Here are some resources for paid search traffic:

    Part of the problem with paid search traffic for a SAAS company is the intense competition. If you look at the PPC keywords Asana is bidding on in Ahrefs, you’ll see extremely high CPCs.

    Asana PPC Keywords CPC

    When you are just starting out, you probably don’t have the above three requirements accomplished and you also probably don’t have the budget to spend on this type of advertising.

    Instead of paid search, you can invest in paid social traffic, specifically Facebook ads. There is a science and strategy to using Facebook as a profitable advertising platform. Check out this guide to learn more.

    You can easily waste your advertising dollars on Facebook ads if you don’t know what you’re doing. Ryan Stewart does a good job explaining how you should be setting up a Facebook ads funnel in the following video:

    Here is another resource that covers 60 SAAS Facebook Ad Hacks. This article will get you thinking down the right path when you begin building out your funnel.

    The strategies for driving traffic to your local business’s website depends on the type of local business you are. There are two different kinds:

    1. Traditional local businesses
    2. Specialty local businesses

    Traditional Local Business

    This category of local businesses include plumbers, roofers, cleaning services, etc. Companies that fall under this category will use organic and paid search as their primary sources of traffic, but can also utilize traditional local advertising.

    Organic Traffic For Traditional Local Businesses

    Ranking organically should be the ultimate goal for a traditional local business. If someone needs a cleaning service, they are going to go to Google and search for “cleaning service near me” or something along those lines. Here is the marketing mix for a Chicago cleaning service called Access Maids.

    Access Maids Marketing Mix

    As you can see, the majority of traffic to their site is from organic search.

    If we throw Access Maid’s URL into Ahrefs Site Explorer and then look at their top organic keywords, you can see that the majority of searches are geo-targeted cleaning service related keywords.

    When someone searches for “cleaning services Chicago,” they are more than likely looking to hire a Chicago based cleaning service. This is exactly the type of traffic Access Maids wants to come to their website. To acquire this traffic, you need to optimize your site for search engines around the keywords you want to rank for using SEO.

    Here are some great resources for learning and implementing local SEO strategies:

    Paid Traffic For Traditional Local Businesses

    Traditional local businesses can utilize both paid search and paid social to land potential customers on their site. For companies that are just starting out, ranking organically will take some time. While you are optimizing and ranking your website for organic search, you can set up a paid search campaign to bid on the same exact keywords you are trying to rank for. You will likely just use Google Adwords for local paid search traffic, but you could also set up Yahoo and Bing ads.

    Here are some resources for learning Google AdWords:

    Paid social can be a bit trickier for traditional local businesses, but if done correctly, can be very effective. Instead of bidding on keywords, you are going to want to target people in your local area with Facebook ads. For example, Access Maids could run a campaign targeting homeowners in Chicago where they offer a 20% off coupon for a house cleaning.

    Here are some resources for learning and utilizing Facebook ads for local businesses:

    Referral Traffic For Traditional Local Businesses

    Referral traffic for a traditional local business can be perfect for driving qualified visitors to your site. Getting other websites in your local area to talk about you is the tricky part. This requires some creativity.

    A local cleaning business isn’t something most websites are going to want to talk about unless you can find a way to make yourself interesting. For example, you could form a cause marketing agreement with a local charity where you donate a portion of your revenues to them. This creates a story around your business and makes your pitch to other websites and local press more attractive, making them more likely to cover you.

    To get referral traffic, you need to actively reach out to local websites and news outlets with your pitch. Here are some resources on getting local press and pitching local bloggers:

    Referral traffic can also come from directories like Yellow Pages and Yelp. Make sure your profile on the directory is complete, and your business is listed in the correct category. Here is a great resource for optimizing your directory profiles:

    Offline Marketing For Traditional Local Businesses

    Online marketing techniques are typically more effective than traditional offline methods, but that’s not to say traditional advertising is dead. Direct mail is a marketing strategy that can complement a local businesses online efforts. For example, Access Maids could purchase a third party mailing list and then send the list house cleaning coupons.

    Here are some resources to get you started using direct mail:

    I would argue that the money used on print advertising, T.V., and other traditional advertising methods would be better spent on a digital marketing campaign. However, here are some resources if you want to try some of the other traditional types of marketing:

    Specialty Local Businesses

    Specialty local businesses include bars, restaurants, wine and paint places, etc. that have unique qualities. For example, El Hefe is a bar and restaurant with locations in Arizona and Illinois. However, they aren’t your typical Mexican food restaurant. You can think of them like a hip Mexican food restaurant mixed with a Las Vegas nightclub. Here is El Hefe’s marketing mix.

    El Hefe Marketing Mix

    Organic Traffic For Specialty Local Businesses

    Specialty local business can’t rely on the same type of organic traffic as a traditional local business does. Sure, El Hefe could try to rank for “Mexican food Scottsdale,” but this doesn’t accurately represent why people come to their business. They may have great Mexican food, but the majority of people are there for the atmosphere. Instead of targeting buyer keywords like “Mexican food,” El Hefe could start creating top of funnel content targeting locally relevant keywords.

    For example, in the Nifty Guide To Local Content Strategy and Marketing, Mike Ramsey talks about Airbnb’s local content strategy. Airbnb creates neighborhood guides in popular travel destinations. These guides include posts on things to do in the select cities covering things like the food scene, nightlife, sightseeing, and parks and nature.

    Using this strategy, El Hefe could start publishing content relevant to their locations. For their Scottsdale, Arizona location, maybe they want to create a post titled “Things To Do In Scottsdale During Spring Training” (baseball spring training is a big event that occurs in Arizona).

    An article like this will drive organic traffic to their website and increase brand exposure and awareness. They could also retarget this traffic with Facebook ads offering a promotional coupon to get people to come in (more on this will be explained below). Here are some resources to learn more about local content marketing:

    Social Media For Specialty Local Businesses

    A company like El Hefe isn’t trying to drive traffic to their site through social media, but it is worth mentioning that social media is the main marketing channel they utilize. Instead of trying to acquire traffic from social media to their website, they use social media as a direct way of communicating with their target audience.

    If you look at El Hefe’s Facebook following for their Scottsdale location, they have over 22,000 likes.

    El Hefe Facebook Likes

    Here they post pictures, special promotions, and entertaining content to engage with their audience. Here are some resources to learn about social media marketing:

    Referral Traffic For Specialty Local Businesses

    The same strategies for acquiring referral traffic to a traditional local business apply to specialty local businesses. The only real difference is a specialty business is usually already interesting by nature. It won’t take any extra effort on their part to get local websites to talk about them, as long as they take the time to pitch the site.

    Here are some resources on getting local press and pitching local bloggers:

    Referral traffic can also be acquired through business directories (e.g. Yellow Pages, Yelp, etc.). Here are the referral traffic stats for El Hefe.

    El Hefe Referral Traffic

    As you can see, they get a decent amount of traffic through Yelp.

    The following post is good for learning to optimize your profile on these business directories.

    The goal of a portfolio website is to inform visitors of your brand and showcase your work. A portfolio site could belong to an individual or a company, but regardless, it should be visually appealing and highlight what you do.

    For this section, we are considering a portfolio website to be a small website that doesn’t engage in any content marketing. Although sites like Chase Jarvis’ may begin as a portfolio site, when they start producing niche content, they become a niche website. Driving traffic to these types of sites is a combination of niche blog and portfolio site strategies, but for the portfolio site section, we are assuming that the only content on the site is the individual or businesses portfolio.

    Social Traffic For Portfolio Sites

    When you initially launch your portfolio site, social media traffic will be your best friend. Assuming your website looks great and represents your work well, you need to get your work out in front of people. Social media is the best way to do this.

    Finding the right audiences, making them aware of your work, and then getting them to talk about you is the best way to bring visitors to your site initially. Here are some resources on finding your target audience and building your brand on social media.

    Organic Traffic For Portfolio Sites

    The only organic traffic a portfolio site will receive is when people search for the individual’s or business’s name. They usually will discover you via word of mouth, on social, or in real life.

    Referral Traffic For Portfolio Sites

    Getting another website to write about you and showcase your work is another great way to bring visitors to your site. Here is the referral traffic Chase’s website gets.

    Chase Jarvis Referral Traffic Sources

    The first blog (blogdelfotografo.com) is a large photography blog that gets over 300k visits a month. This article on Blog Del Fotografo features Chase Jarvis and is a good example of a post that is bringing his website referral traffic.

    Referral traffic can occur naturally, or you can engineer it with influencer marketing.

    Here are some articles that will help you strategize different ways for obtaining referral traffic and utilize influencer marketing:

    Paid Traffic For Portfolio Sites

    Paying for traffic can also work in getting visitors to come to your portfolio site if you have the budget. Bidding on specific keywords with the right intent via paid search can work, but paid social is more common for a portfolio site.

    For example, let’s say you are a photographer who lives in Phoenix and are looking to get some more clients. Before anyone hires a photographer, they usually want to see the photographer’s portfolio. This is a great opportunity to use Facebook ads to take potential clients in Phoenix to your website and showcase your work.

    Check out this article to learn some specific strategies for FaceBook ads that photographers can use. Depending on the type of portfolio site you have, the ad strategy will change, but the approach will stay the same.

    Here are some resources for learning to advertise with paid search and social.

    Conclusion

    When it comes to driving new visitors to your website, the right strategy is always “it depends.” Not every method of driving traffic that was mentioned above will work for every business. This guide should have provided you a framework for what strategies to pursue depending on the type of website you have.

    The only real way to find out if a traffic acquisition strategy will work for you is to try it, decide what “success” would look like, and then analyze the results. Anyone claiming they have a strategy for traffic acquisition that works for every business is selling snake oil.

    This post was a very high-level introduction to driving traffic to various types of websites, and unfortunately, we couldn’t dive too deep into any one topic. If you have any specific questions about driving traffic to your website, please feel free to put them in the comments below!

    Cody is a cofounder at Assisted Reach and an analytics and SEO aficionado. He counters his bad posture with yoga and is a fan of corny jokes. When it comes to data analysis, he "Excels."

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    • Awesome post Cody! the E-commerce, Local business, and news sites sections were really informative. Thanks a lot.

    • Anthony Myers

      1. Huge fan of ahrefs, I use it religiously.

      2. I love that you mentioned referrals… unfortunately gets ignored and it converts like crazy. I’ve been working with Ambassador for 2 years now and their platform is second to none. If you’re a marketing manager and having trouble scaling your paid, organic, email, etc… you need to give a referral marketing a shot (so long as you sell a high quality product/service that people are willing to recommend)

      • Cody West

        Nice, yeah referrals definitely work depending on the product/service and who is doing the referring.

    • Paul Granger

      Awesome post Cody, with regards to the paid advertising part can i suggest a source for avoiding rookie mistakes?

      • Cody West

        Thanks and sure thing!

        • Paul Granger

          sorry Cody, does not look like its going to work I tried to share the URL in the comment but Ahrefs has removed it.

      • sure gread advice

    • its good information

      • Cody West

        Thanks Jackson

    • Reading took 1 hour, my friend was impressive and detailed content.

      • Cody West

        It’s a very long post indeed 🙂

    • Simone Rossignoli

      Great post, what about web directory like Yelp?

      • Cody West

        Thanks Simone, I decided to exclude directory sites and brick and mortar national business sites because I assumed there would be a very small percentage of searchers who’d want to learn how to drive traffic to these types of websites. The post was already getting extremely long so I took out those sections 🙂

    • Thank you for the information, For getting more traffic do more social media participation in linkedin, tumblr, stumbleupon, twitter and facebook. Participate in the forum, it is very helpful to get high traffic.

      • Cody West

        No problem Andrea!

    • Adnan

      Hi Cody,
      Mind blowing post!
      You explain the method very beautifully. We hardly find informative and actionable post on the web(expect some), but, this post have many actionable tips and its newbie friendly. I really enjoyed the post.
      Thanks

      • Cody West

        Awesome, glad you liked it Adnan 🙂

    • Getting good amount traffic is always a big challenge for everyone, whether you are blogger or business owner. Thanks for the useful tactics you shared here.

    • awesome explanation

    • awesome, you made each thing clear

    • Thank you Cody. A great article.

    • it is really beneficial for me.and It’s timely for us as we are currently building our marketing strategy

    • Thank you Cody. A great article.

    • Nice post and strategy Cody! Thanks a lot for all the hard work to making these awesome one

    • Hello Everyone
      Great Blog! Pay Per Click and Social Media Marketing also plays an important role to drive additional traffic to your site.

    • well explained and great ways to increase traffic.

    • Great article Cody! And thanks for giving a shout out to my Search Engine Journal article “The Guide to Local Content Marketing” — Much Appreciated!