10 Ways to Get Traffic to Your Site for Completely Free

Getting traffic to your site isn’t always easy, but it can be free. Here’s how you can grow traffic to your website without spending a single dollar.

How to increase website traffic

Today, there are 164 million blogs (yes, million) online, but 71% of those get less than 5,000 visitors a month.

Seems like a shocking statistic, right?

The truth is, getting traffic is one of the biggest struggles when you run a blog or an online business. With so much competition out there, it can feel like you’re wading uphill through toffee a lot of the time.

To top it off, if you’re a new business, chances are you don’t have any spare cash to splash on advertising. Which means you have to get traffic to your site for free – double the challenge.

So let’s dig into how you can attract free traffic without spending a single dollar.

DID YOU KNOW? 2 million blog posts are written & published every day across the world wide web. How will you make your content stand out?!

1. Write Irresistible Headlines

Your headlines are the first thing people will see from your site, whether it’s via a social media update or they’ve found you while searching through Google.

This means your headlines need to give off a great first impression.

According to research, five times as many people read the headline than read the actual post, and 59% of people will happily share a post without reading the content (a.k.a. they just read the headline).

Overal headline preferences graph
A selection of headline types that perform well. Source.

It’s worth taking the time to generate numerous headlines for a single piece, especially if you plan on sharing it over different social media channels.

QUICK NOTE: The writers at BuzzFeed and Upworthy supposedly write more than twenty headline variations before settling on the final one.

2. Guest Blog on Popular Sites

When you don’t have an audience at all, it can be disheartening putting content out there and receiving crickets in response.

One of the best ways to get around this is to guest post on popular blogs in your niche. These sites already have an established audience and you therefore don’t have to worry about getting eyeballs on your piece. One blogger saw direct traffic increase by 41% after guest blogging.

Let’s take a quick look at the important steps you need to take before you start guest posting because you don’t want to write for any old site.

  • Step 1: Qualify sites that have the same target audience as you and that are popular in your niche (look at the amount of social followers they have, how many shares each piece has, and whether there are lots of comments on each post)
  • Step 2: Pitch a piece that is a good fit. You want your piece to engage their target audience, so create something epic that people need to read.
  • Step 3: Add a short bio or byline with a link to your website. This is where you’ll drive the traffic to your site, so make sure your author bio is compelling enough to make people want to click through.

3. Expert Roundups

Getting influencers to share your posts is a great way to get more eyeballs on your site. But influencers are influencers for a reason, and they won’t just share your post because you’ve asked them to.

Instead, you can include a quote from one of their sites, a link to a blog of theirs, or reach out for a snippet of information from them to include in a piece.

When you’ve added that into the mix, you can reach out afterwards and ask them to share the post that they’ve been included in (which they’re much more likely to do because, well, we like sharing things that we’ve contributed to or been a part of – it’s just human nature).

By using this method, Brian Lang attracted more than 4,000 shares with his expert roundup, which remains one of the most shared posts on his site.

expert roundups

4. Make Sure Your On-Site Stuff is Working

It’s not all about getting people to your site in the first place. I mean, what happens once they’re there?

Before you start going out and looking for traffic, you want to make sure your on-site stuff is working well. That means:

  • Internally linking to other posts of yours to keep people on your site for longer
  • Adding keywords to each post to increase your chance of getting higher up on Google
  • Making sure your site is user-friendly, so people know where to go and when whilst they’re on your site

5. Interview Industry Thought Leaders

I spoke earlier about including influencers in expert roundups, but this idea takes the concept a bit further.

Industry thought leaders tend to have a large following behind them and they’re well respected in their communities. Which means, by proxy, you get some of that respect and audience if they share your post or become a part of your site.

Interview industry leaders to increase traffic
An example of an interview with an expert on HubSpot.

You might be thinking, “what’s an industry leader want to be included on my little blog for?” but you’d be surprised at how many of the big guns will be willing to answer a few questions you send them – after all, it’s publicity for them, too.

Ask thoughtful questions and encourage the thought leader to share the interview when it’s published for maximum results.

6. Show Up in the Comments Section

I’m willing to bet there are a few sites in your niche that you visit on the regular. Perhaps they are some of the top blogs in your niche and you love their content, or you simply want to keep an eye on what they’re posting.

Regardless, you spend a few minutes there each week, so why not spend a little longer and drive traffic?

Most of the popular blogs in a niche have a lively comment section that’s filled with useful comments and links to other sites. You want to get in on that action, and here’s how you can do it successfully:

  • Identify 4-7 key influencer blogs in your niche and set up Google Alerts for them, so you get a notification each time a new post goes live
  • As soon as a new post is published head on over there and skim read the content (being quick is vital here, as you want your comment to be one of the first)
  • Leave a lengthy comment that touches on one or two key points in the piece (no “great post” comments allowed!)

Include a link to your site or a specific relevant post within the comment or as your name.

7. Submit to Aggregator Sites

Aggregator sites are places that bring together similar content in the same category. We’re talking sites like Reddit, but you can also go ahead and syndicate your content to relevant sites in your niche.

The idea here isn’t to spam these sites with your content, because users are generally very savvy. Instead, you want to include your posts in thoughtful comments, share it in the right section, and follow all the rules to a T.

8. Repurpose Your Content

Once you’ve created an epic piece of content, it takes a lot of work to get it out there in front of as many people as possible.

To increase your chances of it being seen, you want to post it in as many places as possible, but that can get tricky when different platforms favor different kinds of content.

types of content that is shared
A graph showing which types of content are shared the most.

Cue repurposing content. Once you have the basic structure of your piece, you can mix it up into different formats so it performs well on different platforms. For example, you could turn a tutorial into a video on YouTube and a presentation on SlideShare for maximum impact.

9. Add Share Buttons

One of the biggest mistakes site owners make is not giving visitors the chance to share their content. When someone likes a piece of yours, give them the opportunity to share it by adding share buttons.

This really simple step might mean the different between one or two people seeing your piece and hundreds of people seeing it – especially if someone with a large following lands on your site and likes what they see.

10. Get Guest Authors on Your Site

I’ve already touched on guest posting on other sites, but what about getting people to guest post on yours, too?

You get free content and they get free publicity – win-win, right?

What’s more, once someone has a piece published on your site, they are likely to share it with their audience, friends, and colleagues, giving your site more exposure.

Getting guest posts on your site takes much less effort on your part than creating content from scratch or guest posting on other sites, and it’s a great way to build up a portfolio of content quickly.

As you can see, getting traffic to your website doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. In fact, we’ve covered many ways here that you can attract visitors without spending a single dollar. What’s more, many of these methods not only give you traffic, but also boost your authority in your niche and get your name in front of influencers and big-name brands.

About the author

  • Lizzie Davey
  • Lizzie Davey is a professional marketing and business writer who helps start-up tech brands and digital marketing companies create content that converts. When she’s not experimenting with the latest lead generation technique or researching new marketing trends, you can find her exploring new cities or attempting to write the next bestseller (usually with a cup of coffee in hand).
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