The Top 10 Ways to Get the Traffic You Crave

The Top 10 Ways to Get the Traffic You Crave

Reader Comments (124)

  1. Nice list. I have given thought to all of these except the last, the #1, most important one. Re-writing the titles of my posts if they are old and established with some links coming into them already is going to dork up those links… but, if they have few links anyway… I guess, it’s better to re-write. Maybe?

    I’ll give it a shot. And, BTW, I do have a 50 Reasons Ebooks are Better, at my site – and it was pulling the most traffic for a long time, but now I have other posts that have pulled ahead. It’s a good idea. Few people can write a list of 50 anything. Fewer still even bother!

    I guess that’s why it works!

  2. Truly great post, Jon. I like the style too, really makes it difficult to get bored while reading. Also, information written makes a lot of sense, especially supported with all these examples. To sum up, one of my favorites post actually, thank you for writing it.

    I do have a question though. Isn’t starting with only one social media channel to little? I mean, it will be easier to provide your followers with better-quality content, but running a couple more channel won’t make it much harder. Plus it enables you to work with somewhat bigger audience from the very beginning.

  3. That’s a great list!

    There are a couple of things I could improve on my own blog from reading this, but I’m glad I picked up the ‘headlines are important’ thing early on.

  4. A way that’s helped myself and my clients is to go and connect with the audience we want to reach where they already hang out—like guest blogging on sites they read (as mentioned above), comments on those sites too, participating in chats/message boards, facebook groups, answering questions on quora, etc.

    It’s worked as well. If the audience you want isn’t coming to your website, go to THEM first. And eventually, they’ll start coming to you.

  5. PPC can work but it depends on the product or service you are selling. In some markets PPC is only profitable if you have a lot of experience or a huge backend with upsells. You always pay for your traffic anyway, either by paying money or by spending time to create and promote it.

    • @Stefan, I agree, PPC is not for everyone. PPC CTRs are really good for dating sites, but are almost non existent in other markets .

      I compared PPC to billboards in recent article I put out, take a look and tell me what you think.

    • Yep, you’re right. It’s better for some topics than others. Some platforms are also better matches than others.

      For example, PlentyOfFish would be great for a dating site, but it probably wouldn’t do that well for selling WordPress themes or something. 🙂

  6. I like that idea about headlines. I recently wrote something that didn’t get a lot of visits, so I changed the title and it really helped. Catchy titles are important in getting traffic anywhere.

  7. Thanks for the list Jon. I already have your Headline Hacks list and it is illuminating. I changed all of my previous headlines because of it and I wouldn’t post anything now without referring to it. The headline is the most important aspect of any blog post and your Headline Hacks is worth its weight. Thanks to you I have made sure that I use this every time I post. Like anything else, we need to have the fundamentals in place and I consider Headline Hacks to be a fundamental :). All the best, Laurie.

  8. Jon, great stuff as usual, with a stirring call to action. I enjoyed the honest prioritization of items (Guest Blogging #5, really? Are you trying to get less people to sign up for your course?). I bet priorities is the next thing you’re studying in trying to get engagement and shares.

    • Well, guest blogging is #1 in effectiveness, but it’s also pretty difficult to do. Of course, my course is designed to make it easier, so that bumps it back up to #1, assuming you’re a student. 🙂

      • Jon, I am your student, although currently a very bad one. I got crushed with free lance assignments from Sports Illustrated right after I enrolled. But I will complete the course. I took you seriously when you said I could do this at my own pace 🙂

  9. Great list here, Jon.

    I think one major benefit you left out with regard to guest posting on a major blog is the long tail effect of residual traffic that keeps dripping in from people discovering your post long after it was published.

    My first post here at Copyblogger (which was in fact a big ol’ list post) and another that came out recently on Tiny Buddha continue to pay those dividends in the form of new subscribers to my blog. And now with the new focus on Author Rank, those benefits will only increase over time.

    And as a practitioner of your Headline hacks, I have no more doubts about the importance of those headlines as the X factor in the success or failure of a post’s popularity.

    • Yep, the long-term trickle of subscribers really does add up. I easily get 1,000 visitors per month from all of my old posts here at Copyblogger, and it’s high quality traffic.

  10. Great Post as usual…made me chuckle a bit in the beginning… i think everyone has been there checking their blog traffic and craving for more.
    The funny thing is that i want to convince myself that i don’t really care. So why in hell am i here now? 😉
    Should i write “50 ways to avoid getting obsessed with traffic on your blog??” yeah why not, 50 is a damn long list. I’ll surey get distracted while i’m writing it! lol

  11. Great thoughts…I will definitely be trying out some of these tactics in the coming days with my blog. Thanks for sharing.

  12. I knew this was Jon’s work from the email post.

    “And it gets worse.”

    That’s classic. Great post.

  13. I’m usually a bit impatient and often scan down to the bottom to get the bottom line, but this time I started on top and read every word. When I arrived at number 1, I was expecting a loud drum roll and some way out method I had never heard of. But a headline? Even I can learn to do that with a lot of practice. Thanks for an interesting post and opening my eyes.

  14. I just have to say I love the fact how you are talking about how list posts are effective ways to drive traffic to your site IN a list post 😛 Overall great ideas, with one suggestion from my own writings in the past: be original. There’s a lot of useful information that is circulating out there, and you may not always be the first to grab it. Being first to put it in a new light, however, could win you some big hits.

    • So true. I’d only make one slight adjustment to your advice: APPEAR original, not necessarily be original. With some effort, you can make almost anything fresh.

  15. Hi Jon,

    I dabbled in PPC back in 2009 and it cost me. I thought I was making money until I saw how much I was being charged for each pay per click. I broke even and decided to stop using PPC as a way to earn extra income. Fast forward to 2013, and I know more about PPC (I’m not an expert) and would consider dipping my toes back into the ‘PPC pool’ to see how I do.

    Regarding guest blogging… Thanks to your GuestBlogging course, I found out that it’s important to study a blog before submitting a pitch. Reading comments is a good way to get to know the audience. Also, it makes sense to submit guest posts to blogs that receive traffic.

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

    • Yeah, maybe the worst part about PPC is almost everybody loses money at first. None of the gurus tell you that. To really learn what you’re doing, you really need to be prepared to lose a few thousand dollars at first. You can make it back later, assuming you stick with it and keep learning, but those first few months are expensive.

  16. This was very helpful – I’ve only been Blogging since September 2012 and I find myself with an “ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure” when it comes to traffic. The way I have structured my Blog (potentially) limits me in your Top 2 ways to get traffic – which concerns me. My Blog title is “Notes from the Edge” by me – Sam Edge. My headlines are all Based on some type of play on the “The Edge of ….” or the “The Edge on ….” For example “The Edge on Success” or “The Edge of Obscurity”. While I am confident this is a catchy and unique way of Branding my Blog and Structuring my Headlines its awkward to post on the “Edge of 10 thing I hate about Sushi” with out selling out my “Brand” . It is also limiting in that I have hemmed myself into “the Edge on this and that”

    There are ways around this and I will get creative.

    As a new Blogger, now is the time to make these decisions. Any tips on how would I test or measure the importance of my Brand vs the Importance of more flexibility in my headlines? Thanks and Great Post!

    • The best way to build a powerful brand is to make it an extension of your readers. Talk about what THEY want to know. Make the title of it something they would find interesting. Write headlines you know will captivate them.

      The reason you’re struggling is, right now, your brand is an extension of you. It’s a mistake many of us make, but it’s a deadly one. Usually, the only way past it is to start over.

      So, that would be my advice. Painful to hear, I’m sure, but I think it’s the only way you’ll be able to build momentum.

  17. I really enjoyed this post! But the most exciting part about this is I was actually reading and using this a check list for what I am currently doing. I am so excited that I could say I implementing 7 or 8 of the 10 posted here!

    That just really gets me excited and I know that I am on the right track and that only great things will result from all this. Because like you mentioned for #5 it’s a lot of hard, I will testify that all those when done correctly, effectively, and with passion is hard work…but maybe I am weird because I am having so much fun!

  18. If you get tired of writing big ol’ List Posts (#2), try Buyer Guides instead. Similar concepts but positioned differently (#1).

    I know of one hyper local blogger who found that her Buyer Guides out performed her List posts by a huge margin in both traffic and links; and because they became so popular, she got some free local press (#9) from it.

    • Yeah, interviews are powerful. I wouldn’t do them and nothing else, though, because while they are great at building relationships, the content is usually unremarkable. For example, I’ve never seen an interview go viral and get 5,000 tweets. So, try interspersing them with some original content of your own as well.

  19. Here’s a list of what I appreciated most about this post:
    – the fact that we can spread ourselves too thin. I’ve listened to those who make you afraid of missing out on the next big thing and it’s foolish.
    – the truth that we’re competing against entire staffs whose career is dedicated to social media. The truth is similar in finance and helps you not to invest too much time for too little return.
    – encouragement to interview big names. I’ve been considering it to drive traffic to a book website and I will do it.
    – an example of how much a title matters. Before I thought it was in the category of nice, but not necessary.
    – surprised to see that it was written by Jon. I thought I knew his style, but didn’t know til I got to the byline. No wonder I like the post so much.
    Thanks a bunch!

  20. Guest blogging is a lot of work, but it’s really worth it. You’re getting your work out there in front of a brand new, and bigger audience. It’s a great way to pull people in. Headlines are also so important. It’s what provokes people to click or read. You’ve got to generate a buzz quickly, and that’s what a good headline does. Nice post!

    • Thanks Matt. Yes, I agree, guest blogging is definitely worth it if you can put in the time. There’s a reason pretty much every popular blogger in existence has done it. It works. 🙂

  21. Great List!
    was reading in such a rush that I couldn’t realized that you kept ‘Buying PPC ads’ at 10th number and was analyzing why it was at number 1.
    Yes last five points are really strong and can do wonders to improve traffic. If we can manage (any how ) to interview the best authority in our niche it brings lots of traffic as well as increase credibility once that authority refer to our blog!
    Thanks a ton for great insights!

  22. Great Post! Good to see a new Jon Morrow post on Copyblogger!

    You are right that different forms of social media have completely different audiences. A topic that does ok in one space can be wildly popular on another, depending on the particular tastes of its audience.

  23. Great tips, but you know what’s the best part of this post? The reverse numbering order of list items. We’re so conditioned to seeing 1 through 10 in blog posts, but reversing it to 10 to 1 order was a surprise that had me scrolling and reading through to see the ‘top’ tip.

    Nicely done.

  24. Great post–a lot of these I am doing, but still can be better. Working on trusted sources is important, and let’s just say I’m a long way from having Seth Godin link to my blog.

    I’ve worked for years on improving headlines, but never considered deleting the entire post and redoing with the new headline–that will change the link.

    • No need to delete, just update the headline and update the publish date if you like. It doesn’t have to change the link (you would want to use the old slug to preserve the links you did get.) If you *did* want to change the slug, you could create a new post and redirect the old one.

  25. Amen to that. When I got my start online it was stressed that you should get traffic through any practice you could…that ended up being a bummer. What did work was content, just simple, informative and easy to parse through content. Thanks for the post Johnathan, and I am hitting your site so here comes some traffic…

  26. I rarely ever stop to give you anything but praise but I have one critique. This is a fantastic article, as always, but in the first paragraph, you meant to say “compliment,” not “complement.” Sorry, it’s hard to turn off the grammar nazi sometimes….amazing content!

  27. I can’t agree enough about list posts. Most of them are just regurgitated information that has been thrown around a million times before. And, there are some people who try to differentiate their list posts by making them some ridiculous number to make it seem like they really know what they are talking about. What ends up happening is when they reach the last 1/3 of the list or so, they are stretching to come up with addition items.

    The other thing make these types of posts lame is the fact that they often consist of simple bullet points without much other info. Just listing things doesn’t really provide much value, but if there are real descriptions and detailed information along with them, then it could be pretty beneficial to readers.

  28. OMG! I love this phrase “wouldn’t recognize an original idea if it arrived priority mail from God, with neon lights and polka music.”

    Great article

    • Indeed… it’s a good one. But look— this is ranked waaaay too high as a viable option for Copyblogger readers.

      I WANT people who can recognize an original idea (and not those who cannot). I’m just sayin’ 😉

      • Go back and take another look at the point.

        I wasn’t saying a list post has to be unoriginal. Ideally, it’s not. The format is just so powerful, it allows people to get away with being unoriginal. If have original ideas, it’s even more powerful.

        Also, many of the most popular posts in Copyblogger history are list posts. So, methinks it’s not ranked too high.

  29. Thank you for the email which “drove” me to the blog once again.
    I found myself reading over many posts and am now reading the Headline Hacks.

    Great work!



  30. List posts = drive by traffic.

    Sean and a few others have said it in different ways.

    So “traffic” yeah. But ultimately I don’t need traffic. I need people who visit my site, read, crave more and are ready to act on that craving I just created.

    So I don’t know that creating lists is worth my time. I say this based on experience. I understand the feel-good fascination with traffic spikes and such but I prefer to write stuff that puts bread on my table!

    • In general, there are two types of posts: traffic posts and bonding posts.

      List posts are a type of traffic post. They bring lots of new people to your site, but they’re not so good at making readers fall in love with you. Bonding posts, on the other hand, are great at creating a relationship with readers, but they generally don’t get much traffic.

      It’s important to have both types. Without one or the other, your overall growth will suffer.

      Also, to take advantage of the traffic from list posts, you need to have a way for people to join your email list. Ideally, 10% of new visitors should be subscribing, giving you a chance to build a relationship with them over the long term.

  31. Great Post sonia! Definitely an enlightening one. Ever business, blogger crave for just one thing and that is Traffic. They incorporate all the tricks out of their books and still end up with traffic less than their expectations. So your post is definitely going to help all those out there looking for more traffic.

    • Doing social good is definitely important, but it depends how you define it. A lot of people think they are doing social good just by publishing great content, and then they get upset when they don’t get any traffic. The truth is, no “good” occurs until people consume your content, and that means being strategic about promoting your work.

  32. Oh yes. I guess we just can’t help craving the attention and affirmation of social media traffic. Great tips here. I agree with Paul about commenting and getting involved in groups and forums. But we have to be strategic about that otherwise we can end up devoting hours to this! I really appreciate the headline info. I was a copywriter in an agency for years, so I should know better. When I first started blogging I was trying to be clever with one word headlines…but that meant no one really knew what they were getting…oops! Working on better headers now.

  33. I definitely appreciate this post. I like the fact that you focused on interviewing authorities within one’s niche. I have been interviewing authorities within my niche for about 4 years and I have found that they serve as recyclable content.

    Before being exposed to Copyblogger, I would just post new music and I found that artists did not appreciate my time and energy.

  34. I agree with your list, but have not found much use in the pay-per-click ads. Yes, they bring traffic, but most of that traffic does become repeat visitors and I have not made one sale from pay-per-cleck ads that I know of. That’s not good ROI. I stick with organic methods for now.

    • In general, I’ve found traffic from advertising much harder to convert, because it’s totally cold. The people don’t know you from Adam. That’s why it’s so important to have a rockstar sales funnel that builds a relationship with them and warns them not before asking for the sale.

  35. Fantastic read! I agree the title of a blog post is very important. I usually think up titles when I go running. I need to improve though. Your titles are ace.

  36. Great article – lots of points to implement.
    One question though – regarding headlines. What is more important? A catchy headline that attracts people’s attention or having a headline that may contain a keyword or phrase.. Headline or SEO?
    Sometimes the best headline SEO-wise wouldn’t attract anyone’s attention!

    • Sometimes the best headline SEO-wise wouldn’t attract anyone’s attention!

      I disagree with that. Some of the best headlines I’ve ever written are perfect for both people and search.

      That’s because the “keyword” is simply the topic the audience is interested in combined with the way they describe that topic in their own words.

      And, if there’s really a conflict, use an alternate title tag for search, and the better-constructed headline for people on the page.

      • Brian,
        You’ve been telling Chris Brogan for a while now that he can improve his headline writing skills.

        And, he has.

        They’ve been a lot better for SEO , eh?

        And, he still comes across as really human.

        Thanks for all you do, Brian!

        The Franchise King®
        Joel Libava

  37. Jon,

    Great job on this post.

    (As usual)

    You have been an inspiration to me…in many ways.

    (Some deeper than others)

    You, (and Brian and Sonia) have taught me a hell of a lot about writing.

    I’ve learned the importance of having a great that pops, from you and the gang at Copyblogger.

    And, I’ve used a couple of your headline hacks.

    The traffic on my main site-my main blog has actually started to increase.

    You are one of the reasons for it.

    Thanks, Jon.

    The Franchise King®

    Joel Libava

  38. PPC is a good strategy when you are driving traffic initially to a website, but it is troublesome in that the investment only has short term returns (ie. once the campaign ends traffic falls off very quickly). It is imperative to choose the right moment to employ this strategy and to have supporting strategies (some of which you suggested) to back up your efforts!

    • PPC can work over the long term too. The trick is getting visitors to opt in, so they stay with you. Also, having something to sell helps cover costs.

  39. One of my favorite is answering questions on websites like Quora, Yahoo Answers, Linkedin Answers (albeit this one is being closed end of this month – a shame!).
    Answering questions is more targetted, because people are actively looking for answers, solutions and why not, products and services that solve those problems.
    But that’s a different strategy from the content intensive approach you mentioned above.

    • Yep, it’s targeted traffic. The problem is, it’s a fairly small trickle, and in my opinion, there are better ways of using the time. Part of becoming a popular blogger is looking at the amount of traffic you get per hour invested. The techniques above are all superior from that perspective.

  40. This is great!

    I have a photography website that offers virtual tour services as well as professional food and interior photography, and i have been contemplation to either start my PPC campaign or use some money and hire a blogger to write blogs with keywords for us.

    Any suggestions?


  41. I’ve bookmarked this post! the first lines really got me…newbie blogger, posting bits, then started getting some readers…exactly how you said it. craving for traffic? indeed! 🙂 thank you very much. I’m learning so much. I would really want to focus on nos. 1, 2 & 3. Thanks!

  42. What an excellent post! SEO and SEM is constantly changing and evolving. I will say just one thing – if anyone is serious about their website or online brand then your 10 ways is the only way to success.

  43. Very helpful advice, Jon.

    I actually agree with your ” top three” traffic generation choices, though, I have not tried guest posting out yet……….

    Building a decent sized email list and maintaining the loyalty of those who subscribe, is of the utmost importance…and it’s something I need to work far more harder towards achieving…

  44. PPC is great but true, it can be quite costly. And based on my experience traffic usually comes in the early stages of the campaign and slowly depreciates in the course of time. Do you have any other tips for effective PPC Advertising?

  45. Nice post Morrow! I liked all of the ways you mentioned, but mostly I liked number #4 – Interviews. It will be great way for getting traffic. How did you interviewed those best selling authors? And in what way did you contacted them? Just small and easy questions for you. Hope you will answer them : )

  46. Thanks for sharing these.
    Personally I never found forum posting to be particulary useful for me.
    I post a lot on the the Warrior Forum, but get few people clicking the signature and coming to my site.

  47. Just wanted to say thanks for the tips. 🙂 I just started out my own blog and I find this blog very helpful.

  48. Super duper helpful! Thanks! A local publisher suggested I start a blog … so I did! About a week ago. The trick is – I am pretty much computer challenged and don’t really have a clue what I’m doing! So far – the response has been quite good – but your tips have helped so much! Thanks again!!!

  49. Great list, some I had never even thought of. I have been twiddling my thumbs for a year now and only in the last few months have I started to de-procrastinate myself and actually do something. It well thought out posts like this, which is helping to grow my strategy and style. My blog is not much at the moment, but it is ten times better than it was prior to June 2013. Thanks to these sorts of tips I hope by next year it will be 100 times better, thanks!

  50. I was expecting the 10 things I’ve heard and read over and over when I clicked to this post. Amazed at the explanations you convey on the lists you wrote here

    Writing amazing titles is my weakness; I always write the same boring stuffs “Product X review” “Product Y review”… need to learn some new tricks

  51. The one of the list that I enjoy the most is #8. I keep telling myself that there is no need for me to get involved with all of the social media websites. I am not a big fan to start with so I certainly don’t want to spend my time on any of those sites if I don’t have to. Therefore I’ve selected Twitter as my one platform to use.


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