Anyone can create a website, but attracting visitors is contingent on several factors — some of which you probably haven’t considered. Interesting, quality content can certainly bring in web traffic, but that alone isn’t enough in many cases. It doesn’t take long for many new website owners to recognize this fact, as they quickly realize their original content goes unnoticed beyond a small niche. As a result, some wonder if it’s even possible to boost your site’s traffic without spending a fortune.
The truth is that it’s possible to boost your site’s traffic without spending a dime. The strategies below may take some time, but the traffic-boosting opportunities make them worthwhile. They’re absolutely free to accomplish — they require nothing but your time.
Here are a few free methods to boost your site’s traffic.
Deviate From Common Keywords
If you’re a fairly new site, trying to get on top of the Google search results for a common search term (such as “music”) is often futile in the short-term. Instead, aim for a more niche-friendly approach in writing your content. A first-page placement on a Google search for a niche term is a lot more effective than being on the fifth or sixth page for a popular search term. For the “music” example, a website would be better off aiming for a specific genre, like “indie music” or “running music” instead — they have competition, but not nearly the same degree.
This strategy is commonly referred to as long-tail SEO, which is a white hat SEO process that targets less competitive and highly specific search terms. Over 70% of all search queries are for long-tail key phrases, so it’s not like you’re tapping into a dead part of the internet.
In reality, targeting long-tail keyword phrases can help a website establish a firm presence on search engines, with keywords in the top 10,000 often not being worth the effort in comparison.
Get Creative with Meta Titles and Descriptions
WordPress and other content management systems provide an easy-to-use location below the post to edit your content’s meta titles and descriptions. These fields are important — they serve as the lead to get prospective visitors interested.
Uniquely eye-catching titles and descriptions are crucial because they appear in search engines. Highlight the post’s primary keyword, preferably a long-tail variation, at least once in the title and description, and allow it to flow naturally. Write the description and title like an advertisement and perhaps include a call-to-action or teaser to encourage people to click.
Dig Into Search Engine Optimization
SEO (search engine optimization) is a broad field that understandably intimidates many website owners as they explore methods to increase their online visibility. There are so many strategies and niche-specific selections that the lack of a one-size-fits-all SEO strategy makes some webmasters abandon SEO strategy entirely. Long-tail SEO and meta description configuration demonstrate that SEO does not necessarily equate to overly complex maneuvers.
All website owners should read the latest on SEO. It’s a constantly evolving process, and there are a variety of free resources, such as Moz’s SEO training course, that provide a great introduction. Understanding the basics of SEO and its overarching importance can make implementing the best strategies easier.
Immerse Social Media Followers
Simply re-posting your website’s content on social media is boring. People are following your site on social media not only to be updated of new content — they want to be immersed in the site as well. Consider hosting contests or giveaways to bring in more traffic and entice people to engage with your brand. Brands in your site’s niche will often be willing to provide a product for a giveaway because it provides them free publicity.
Some fun ideas include asking followers to caption a picture or requiring a comment on social media to enter. Aim to immerse your social media followers and keep them coming back for more, either to see if they’re the winner of a contest or to check if you’re hosting more in the future. People love games and prizes.
Prioritize Valuable Inbound Links
Many search engine algorithms analyze a site’s importance based on several factors, perhaps most notably how many websites of importance link to that site. If sites like CNN and Wired frequently link to a website, it’ll likely have good standing compared to a site that only small blogs link to.
The best way to appear on prominent sites is to market your original content. Spammy emails to publications are not the way to go. Instead, try mentioning content on message boards, social media and other forms of web-based interaction. It’ll increase the likelihood that your content is noticed by someone who writes for a prominent site. There’s no clear strategy to ensure linkage from prominent sites, but keeping up with original content and effectively promoting it will increase your likelihood of success.
Similarly, make a habit of linking to your own site’s internal pages via your blog posts, specifically those with high search engine placement. Internal links provide both visitors and search engines a clearer picture of your site’s most respected pages.
As the strategies above show, it’s possible to boost your site’s traffic without any monetary investment. Whether it’s via more realistic keyword targeting or enticing visitors with captivating meta descriptions, there are a variety of methods to bring new eyes to your website without spending a dime.
Lexie Lu is a designer and blogger. She actively contributes to the design world and usually has a cup of coffee in close proximity. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.