Talk to any experienced investor or wealth creation expert, they’ll tell you the key to long term success is to diversify your investments. When it comes to building traffic to a website, diversification is not only a smart investment, it may be critical to your success.
Many websites rely on one source to provide the majority of the visitors to their site, often that source is Google. Google is currently the clear front-runner in search engine referrals and provided a rich, flowing source of traffic for many years, but there’s no reason to limit yourself to one source. Many websites have actually noticed a decline in traffic from Google and there are a number of reasons why.
For one, Google makes it money by selling advertising, in fact over 96% of their 37.9 billion dollars revenue in 2011 was generated via ad sales. Apart from the standard the little ads you see above and beside your search results, Google now sells ads in maps, local listings and shopping results. The fact is, the organic (non-paid) search results are getting pushed lower and lower down the screen.
Case in point, the first organic search result is pushed to the bottom of the screen:
Another reason is simply to protect your site from big drops in traffic when Google decide to update their ranking algorithm, and suddenly no longer like the way you’ve built links or optimised your site. A number of innocent, or at least ignorant website owners were recently affected by a major Google update and are struggling to recover now that Google is not sending them the same levels of traffic.
So, while high rankings in Google are still important and may still generate a ton of traffic to your site, it’s definitely a smart move to consider which other channels you can use for traffic generation.
How to Diversify
Have a look at your web analytics, you’re no doubt already receiving traffic from a number of sources other than Google, or search engines. If you have conversion tracking implemented on your site it may be easy to identify which sources perform better than others and focus on those. If not, here are some ideas to get you thinking:
Guest Blogging: The idea here is to write awesome content for someone else’s blog. In return they give you a link back to your site. If you actually provide great content and/or an offer (even if it’s just more great content) people will follow the link back to your site. Obviously two things are required for success in guest blogging. One, awesome content. Two, somewhere to post it that will reach your target audience.
Social Media: Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Tumblr, among many others, can be a rich source of traffic back to your website. The key is not signing up to every social site available and blasting your message. The key with social media is to research which site your target visitors frequent and engage with them there. Social media may look easy, and even fun (and it can be) but it can be hard work to establish yourself an earn followers before you see the rewards.
Email Marketing: Dust off that old email list, or start one today. It used to be a lot easier to get people to sign up for email lists, so if you already have a decent size list that you’ve been neglecting, you may be sitting on a gold mine. If you’re just starting out you may need to incentivise sign ups, offer visitors something for signing up to your list. That might be a guide, some content, access to exclusive offers etc. Treat email like any other channel, be awesome in what you provide, don’t spam your list or you’ll lose them faster than you can say unsubscribe!
Advertising: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! So long as you can generate a positive return on investment with online advertising, there is no reason no to. If you’ve never tried advertising with Google Adwords before, I don’t advise jumping into the deep end without doing some research on how the auction model works. You’d be best served getting some help from a professional (hi!) that can supply you with a voucher for a credit to experiment with (hi, again!)
Note: This post was originally published to the Resonance Online blog here.