Startups and any new website will have a little challenge getting traffic from the get go. If you’re an established brand it can be a little easier or if you have some offline form of promotion going it can help.
But if you’re like many it will be a challenge. But that shouldn’t deter you from doing what you can to start bringing in traffic for the short and long-term.
The other issue is figuring out what you should focus on to drive traffic to your site. There are many options. I’ve observed businesses that have started and these are the priorities I feel work best for a startup business to grow at a good rate that will bring in the right kind of traffic in the long-term.
1. Build A Solid Website Foundation
Before you start thinking about traffic you have to create a solid foundation. This gets a little bit into the conversion discussion where you’re getting traffic and turning it into leads and new customers.
Before you starting bringing in traffic you have to get the basic rights. It’s like getting the fundamentals right in any sport or any game.
I like to start with the sales process. You might not know it entirely with your startup business, but do the best you can. Then create content on your website that takes a potential customer through the sales discussion. There is probably more content on the site than you would think. It can take a lot of discussion to get someone from being brand new to buying what you’re offering.
Next, look at the onsite SEO side of things. Focus on finding the important keywords. You can see what keywords your competition is going after. Start there and look for other keywords. From this knowledge, create the title tags for the pages on your site.
Finally, focus on the various calls to action on the site. You’ll probably want early stage calls on blog posts to ease people into the site. On the homepage or deeper into the funnel you can start asking for later stage calls.
Do this and you’ll have a solid foundation to start bringing in traffic.
2. Start A Regular Blogging Schedule
Next I would start a blogging schedule. Obviously there is some bias so take this suggestion as you will, but I believe it’s great to start blogging as soon as you can.
In my experience, starting a blog is like starting a business – people that have done it only wish they would have gotten started sooner.
A blog won’t yield SEO results immediately. It will take 3-6 months of regular blogging and promotion to start seeing those results, but over time the authority of your various posts and your overall site will grow.
But it starts with getting the blog started. Commit to a regular schedule. If that’s one post per month that’s fine. If it’s one per week even better. Stick with the schedule.
Start by focusing on the questions your target customers are asking in relation to your industry and answer those with your posts.
3. Start Building A Following On Social Media
It’s never too early to start building a social media following. Even if you don’t have content to share right away you can start sharing some of the best content from your industry.
Find what influencers in your industry are sharing and share that content. Build up to the point where you’re adding short comments on the articles they’re sharing.
Over time you can begin sharing and re-sharing your blog posts.
You can also start by answering questions. Use hashtags. Follow hashtags and answer the questions people have.
Again, it’s a long-term strategy, but the time to start is now. You won’t get there overnight, but the earlier you start the sooner you’ll get a good following.
4. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging has gotten a bad reputation the last few years, but only because people started chasing links like crazy.
If you’re thinking of guest blogging as that kind of opportunity then you’ll have to change your thinking or forget it all together.
Guest blogging remains a great strategy for any stage business, but it can really help startups. You don’t have traffic or an audience so you can go where both of those things exist and in exchange for great content you get access to an audience and the opportunity to earn traffic.
Think of it as an opportunity to build your overall brand or reputation. You have to share really good content. Find the big questions your audience is asking and create great posts around those questions.
Identify the top 5 sites in your industry. Don’t be afraid if they’re really popular. Look at the popular posts. Find a hole in what’s being offered and create 5 titles that would work to fill that hole.
Then email the site owner. You might not hear back from them all, but you’ll get a few. And over time you can use past posts to help you get more opportunity.
5. Co-Content Opportunities
Along the lines of blogging is what I call Co-Content. This is when you partner with someone in your industry that is complementary to what you’re offering; not a competitor. You work with them to create great content. It could be a blog post, but more likely it’ll be something like a webinar, guide or maybe even a podcast.
How this usually works is you find a person and present an idea. You work together on an outline and then you do the majority of the writing and creating.
That’s the trade-off. You’ll have to do most of the work in exchange for the access to the established audience.
6. PR Push
Next up is PR. This involves looking for opportunities to be quoted in articles. You can give interviews for blog posts or podcasts and things like that.
Content creators are always looking for experts to include in interviews or to add quotes to articles. This involves work, but if you make it a system in your weekly routine to follow things like HARO and to submit a certain number of responses and emails each week it will build over time.
7. Paid Advertising Opportunities
Finally, you have paid advertising opportunities. This is a good option if you have the money and if your industry isn’t too competitive. You can get some traffic right away by investing in advertising and it can be a good supplement to all the efforts above.
The first six opportunities are geared for the long-term while advertising is a short-term option. It can also be a long-term option, but will always have the same cost. The others are more time intensive up front and pay off in the long run.
But to supplement traffic early on you can use advertising.
As you can probably tell, all the traffic opportunities above are geared for the long-term. The idea is to start now so you can start building a solid reputation online.
I would say that the fasted methods for getting traffic would be the guest posting opportunities along with the PR opportunities and the co-content opportunities. But you need to do the others on the list as well to build that foundation on your own site.