Last Updated on June 15, 2020 by Fabrizio Van Marciano
How many articles have your read on the subject of increasing traffic to your blog? Quite a few I reckon. In this post, we're not going to focus on using every channel to drive traffic. Instead, we're going to focus on just one... Referral traffic. This is something that's not really discussed much, at least not in greater detail. So, let's go.
Before we get started, there's a few things you need to do .
I'll assume that you have a Google Analytics account set up for your blog. Under the acquisition and all traffic tab in your dashboard, you'll notice there is another tab for channels.
Take some time to study the information on this page carefully. By default, your blog's traffic is grouped into these channels.
You should see organic search, direct, referral, social, and other.
If you generate traffic to your blog via email as well, you may see those on the list too.
In the screen capture above, I've highlighted Referral traffic because that is what we're going to be focusing on.
If you're a complete beginner to online marketing and traffic generation, what is meant by referral traffic?
Referral traffic is essentially visitors that come to your blog or your website from various other channels, both online and offline.
For instance, you might get referral traffic from websites and blog articles that have linked directly to your blog.
You may also get referral traffic from email links, social media posts and mentions, blog network sites, push notifications, eBooks and PDF links, or even print marketing (offline, direct), etc.
Important note: Before you go through the list below, I don't expect you to implement every single strategy or tactic mentioned. Chances are, you're probably already using most of these methods right now.
If the above is the case, you're already doing what you can. If it's not the case, then let's get started below.
Let's start with the undisputed king of content marketing... still to this very day, and that is guest blogging.
Out of all the blog promotion strategies, guest blogging has to be up there as one of the most effective ways to increase exposure for your blog.
Guest blogging is a great way to connect with other people in your blogging niche too. Use it to build new relationships and find new readers and subscribers for your blog.
Just a very quick note if you're thinking about using guest blogging for SEO, i.e. building backlinks, etc. While this tactic might still work to some degree and for some bloggers. Just be very careful with your results. The last thing you want is to get a link spamming penalty from Google, right?
These days, so many blogs will have the 'no-follow' and 'sponsored' attribution applied to their outbound links for guest posts. So the value of a link, at least as far as SEO goes, is pretty low.
Anyhow, instead of thinking of SEO gains when it comes to guest blogging, what you should consider is using this marketing strategy for relationship building and increasing exposure to your blog.
Just think, exposure can help you boost your blog traffic anyway, and that's what you want, right?
Check out this post by Matt Cutts titled the decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO.
Although it's a good six years old now, it still provides some decent information and insights about the dos and don'ts of guest blogging.
Take the rest of what you read on that post with a pinch of salt, though.
The part where Matt quotes -
guest blogging is done...
That part you can ignore completely, because guest blogging is far from done.
Matt Cutts, by the way, used to be the head of Google's webspam team back in the day.
Email marketing has survived the test of time. It still, by far, the best way to grow your blog audience.
Your email newsletters can be a great source of referral traffic to your blog, if, you create them with the intent of providing 'value'.
I think every blog should send out an email newsletter once a week, or at least a few times each month to benefit from referral traffic.
Also, all your other outgoing emails should be considered as opportunities to drive referral traffic to your blog.
How can you do this?
Well, if you check out the WiseStamp App, you'll discover how. This little extension/app enables you to add a custom signature with a link to your blog from your outgoing emails in Hotmail or Gmail.
Check out mine below.
Did you know that Pinterest is considered to be the 4th largest traffic driver on the web, beating out sites like Yahoo for organic traffic?
If you have a Pinterest profile, start making it work for you.
Connect with other bloggers and influential people in your niche or industry who are already owning it on Pinterest.
Learn from them, and start pinning their content, videos, and infographics to your own boards. Do the same for your own content too, of course, mix it up a bit.
When you promote someone else's content, they will almost always come back and help to promote yours.
Use high-quality images and optimize them correctly for Pinterest.
Make your content more 'visually interesting', don't just use unedited free stock images downloaded from the web. Instead, add some fancy text, cool filters, and quotes from your blog posts even.
All these little 'attention to detail' things can help encourage users on Pinterest to come and repin your shared content to their own Pinterest boards.
Micheal Stelzner has written a magnificent post over on his blog, Social Media Examiner, on how to drive more traffic to your site from Pinterest. I do recommend that you check it out.
By the way, you can find me on Pinterest here if you'd like to connect with me 🙂
Content curation can be very beneficial for driving referral traffic, although I will say, it can be a little time-consuming.
Plus, you may have to wait a while before you start reaping the rewards of doing content curation.
What is it?
Curating content involves collecting interesting and relevant pieces of content from around the web. You can combine with content of your own, and then share it out with your followers.
There are two ways to curate content.
There are some great blog community websites around right now, and new ones are cropping up all of the time. That said, you don't need to invest all your time in these sites. I recommend building your own community on YouTube or Facebook Groups.
The trick is to find the blog communities most relevant to your niche, and the most popular (active) ones.
From my own experiences, I've had great success with sites like BizSugar, Inbound.org, and GrowthHackers.
These sites are great for not just promoting your own blog content, but also engaging with other bloggers and influencers. Providing value and helping other people is what it's all about. This will help towards driving new readers back to your own blog.
I've followed some of my favorite bloggers now for the last 10 years, and I cannot believe that in all that time, some of them are still plodding along without harnessing the power of YouTube and video marketing.
If you haven't yet, then what the heck are you waiting for? It's 2020, and you're still shying away from using video?
YouTube is considered to be the 2nd largest search engine on the web, processing more than 3 billion searches per month.
Creating YouTube videos is something that every blogger, online business owner, freelancer, and solopreneur should be doing right now.
Video marketing is a HUGE deal and can help YOU not only drive traffic but tap into one of the largest resource hubs on the web.
If you're wondering where on earth you can find content to put in your YouTube videos. Well, you already have tons of it on your blog! You're halfway there already.
Check out my YouTube channel, because that's exactly what I've been doing over the last couple of years. Repurposing my blog content and turning them into useful videos.
In 2020 and 2021, I plan to go all out with video content as well as create a weekly vlog!
According to BrandWatch, the number of searches for "how-to" videos on YouTube is growing by 70% year on year.
Last year, YouTube became the third largest source of referral traffic to my web design blog!
Social media accounted for just 0.96% of the annual traffic to Magnet4Blogging during 2019.
That's low, right? So who the heck am I to tell you you should be using social media for traffic?
Here's the thing:
I simply don't do enough on social media. I post links on Facebook and Twitter. But most of my time is spent on Instagram and YouTube. I know I can do more, and you probably know you can do more for your own blog too.
As of updating this post (June 2020), my top 5 referral traffic sources from social media sites to Magnet4Blogging were YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
And for my main web design blog at Fabrizio Van Marciano Dot Com, YouTube and Instagram dominates.
I know that social media marketing can be extremely time consuming, but you can't ignore it. It works if you are prepared to put the effort into it.
The connections I've made via social media over the years have been priceless, even with a poor engagement rate. Not everyone on social media is chatty.
To make social media marketing work for your blog, you need to have a strategy in place for regularly promoting your content. Your marketing needs to be creative and there are plenty of tools you can use to get creative on social media. Check these out.
And don't forget that many social media platforms are now Pay-to-Play. So if you want more likes, shares, followers, engagement. Doing it organically will only work so much.
So, here are some things you can do to increase engagement and traffic to your blog from social media -
The next strategy I want to share with you is a very smart and effective content marketing method.
I'm sure you know what an infographic is, but if you don't and you're totally new to all of this, that's cool. You can click here to learn more about infographics.
According to this infographic, 41% of marketers said that infographics and other original graphics were the most engaging.
Whether you create your own or share somebody else's, infographics can attract a lot of attention, including referral traffic, social media shares, links, comments, and so on.
Once again, creating a great information graphic takes time. It's not a quick process by any means. However, this post will teach you how to create infographics for your blog.
Here are some free tools you can use to create your infographics with -
Asides providing some referral traffic, blog commenting when done correctly, is a great way... -
The mistakes a lot of bloggers make when they do blog commenting is that they leave useless, pathetic, one-liner comments. A spammy link is usually included in the mix.
Secondly, they try and comment on way too many blogs. That's an alarm bell right there. No one has the time to read 1,000 blog posts per day and leave meaningful comments on each one of them.
The tactic of "Comment on as many blogs as you can" sadly is just a total waste of time, in my opinion, of course. That might not be your opinion.
Here's the thing:
No blogger is remotely interested in entertaining one-hit commenters anymore. In other words, the people that visit your blog once and never, ever again. In that one time they visit, they leave a hopeless comment.
The best way to do blog commenting, by far, is to pick just a small handful of relevant blogs.
Then spend some time getting to know the author, show your face, and read their content frequently. Share a few of their posts even.
Then, and only then, leave 'meaningful comments'.
When I say leave meaningful comments I don't mean just write - 'Hi there, great post man, thanks for sharing it'. I mean, really leave a great comment.
Here's an example of what I consider to be a powerful comment. This is one I left on a blog I used to follow. Sadly the author no longer blogs anymore.
As you will see, it's a good few paragraphs long. I've tried to share my thoughts, stories, and personal experiences. All to add some value to the conversation.
I think the best way to get on other blogger's radars, as well as get the most benefit from blog commenting, is to write meaningful comments.
One-liner comments don't get noticed. A thoughtful, lengthy comment gets noticed.
One of the best blog commenters I've ever come across in my blogging journey has to be Mr. Ryan Biddulph from Blogging From Paradise.
In fact, Ryan even wrote a book about doing blog commenting the smart way here. Do check it out on Amazon here.
Is Triberr still worth your time?
Yes, and this is one great way to not only drive REAL traffic to your blog but also, and more importantly, to connect with even more like-minded folks and grow your blog's audience.
Triberr allows you to connect with your peers, folks who share similar interests and passions as you.
If you're creating awesome content for your blog, you want as many people to see it, read it, share it, and so on, right?
Triberr is one of those amazing places to share your awesome content. Get on it, join some tribes and even create your own tribe.
Click here to learn more about how Triberr can benefit you as a blogger.
Room for one more tip? Of course you are.
If you haven't already done this, I highly recommend that you set up Push Notifications on your blog.
Push Notifications is a great way to let people subscribe to your content updates via their web browser notifications.
Each time you publish a new post, you can send out a notification which will appear in your subscriber's browser as a small pop-up.
Check out this detailed post I wrote on how to set up push notifications on your WordPress blog using PushCrew (Now VWO).
Well, I hope you've enjoyed reading through these top blog referral traffic generation tips.
Like I said at the very beginning, you don't have to go nuts and use every single technique mentioned above. Just add one or two to your traffic generation strategy and I'm positive you'll come out on top.
Getting traffic takes time, so be patient.
Let's finish with a quick summary of the things we've covered that you can do to increase referral traffic to your blog.
So what other ways can you increase referral traffic to your blog?
Best of luck!