Today marks exactly 4 months since I launched this website and I wanted to share with you the traffic generating strategies that we used over this period of time. You will basically see how Inet Solutions has steadily grown towards its “checkpoint” of 50,000 page views and where the visitors of the site come from – the distribution between referral traffic, direct traffic, organic traffic, and social traffic. For show.
What You’ll Learn
- A quick overview of the stats – how much visitors and page views has the website generated since its launch? What is the main angle of our traffic generating strategy? Where does the growth of the site come from?
- The first 4 months – an in-depth month-by-month look at all the traffic channels that we used and are still using to drive visitors to the website.
- What I have learned – extremely important tips, tricks, and notes from my own personal pursue of traffic generation and growth.
- Future plans – how will the site get even more exposure? What traffic channels are to be included in our strategy? Will any of the current traffic channels be dropped?
- Summary – in a nutshell…
Overview Of The First 4 Months
I’m going to be honest here. When I first launched this website, I had no clear plan of how I was going to drive traffic to it. I mean, I knew I was going to focus all my energy on content and that I would get the visitors “somehow”. Maybe that was wrong, maybe it was right.
In any case, I did not read many posts on traffic generation strategies, nor was I interested in that. I knew one thing and that same thing has generated about 50,000 page views on this website in its first 4 months of existence:
Think logically, find where the target audience for each individual article resides, and engage them in the most effective manner.
And that’s basically it. That is the thought that got me on the “right” path towards the growth of this website’s monthly traffic. You’ve probably heard the term “find your target audience” a lot of times before, but have never actually really understood its meaning or maybe you just didn’t think it was that important – trust me, it is.
Basically, if you want to find your target audience, ask yourself this:
Where on the Internet would you go if you wanted to find answers to the questions which your content answers?
Only then will you find your target audience. Now, I know what you came here for, so let me show it to you – the traffic stats of Inet Solutions over its first 4 months of existence:
You can easily see the nice and steady growth of the website over this period of time. Now, pretty much every single spike of traffic you see is caused by one of the following:
- A new traffic channel was added.
- A new article was posted.
- An existing traffic channel has become more popular/viral.
- An email was sent to our mailing list.
Without a further a due, let’s dive into the promised in-depth look at each of the first 4 months and the traffic strategies employed in each of them.
The First 4 Months
Here’s how this is going to go down. Each month after this website’s launch will be looked at individually including all of the new traffic channels added to the strategy and the improvements to the old traffic channels. A traffic channel is basically anything that drives visitors to the website – organic search, forum marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, etc.
Google Analytics groups these in a more abstract way into 4 main traffic channels, and we will use that to overview each month’s traffic. So, each section will represent one of the months since the website has been launched and include detailed information and stats about the performance of all the traffic channels in that same month.
Now, before we get to the interesting part, I want to emphasize on the most important part to keep in mind – self-promotion. People (generally) don’t like self-promotion, because who likes something being forced on something right? Naturally, most people who self-promote their “whatever” will get some (a lot) of hate depending on the quality of the “whatever” they are promoting.
I understand this concept completely since without some people trying to bring someone down there wouldn’t be this twisted natural selection that we have nowadays. It is Nature’s test for you and if you are not good/strong enough, you will get nowhere.
What I’m trying to say here is that if you are to do self-promotion, which is almost inevitable these days, you have to be extremely smart about it. You cannot allow yourself to get discouraged at the first negative feedback nor can you allow yourself to respond to said negative feedback with something negative.
Always think before you respond to a hateful/negative feedback because you never know who’s watching and you never know how and in what manner you can hurt your business beyond repair with a single bad outburst.
Now that being said, negative feedback can be (99%) avoided if the “whatever” that you are promoting is being promoted to its exact target audience and is of the highest quality – I don’t mean of quality that has already been reached, but on a next level.
Sure this website’s posts have received a few negative comments, feedback, etc, but it has been less than 1%. I really believe that if you know in your mind that you have written something really helpful and that people would benefit from reading it, and then you self-promote it from that same mind-frame, you will enjoy a lot of positive feedback.
I wanted to note that because I have done a lot of self-promotion these last 4 months, and have seen a lot of other people doing it the wrong way, failing, and then giving up. This was for all those other people.
Now let’s get to the story you came here to read.
I had been developing the website for about 2 months before its release and the moment finally came – I had set a date for the launch of the website on July 27, 2015. Before noon, I had finished writing the original lead magnet of the website, then I implemented the first email marketing strategy as illustrated in this article, and the site went live.
I did not expect much of course – after all, a brand new website with little to no social following cannot expect much traffic in its first few weeks/months. I did share it with a bunch of friends and clients so it did get some initial exposure.
July Traffic Overview
Up to that point, we were only focused on our Fiverr business, but not anymore. Now we had an official website and it would go on to become more successful (up until now) than I had ever expected. Here is a graph of the traffic in those first 5 days after the launch (the last 5 days of July 2015):
Not too shabby at all right? 154 unique visitors and 663 page views ain’t bad for a brand new website. The average session duration and the bounce rate, as you can see, were also looking good, as was the percentage of new sessions.
July Traffic Channels Overview
Sure there were already a bunch of referral spam requests, but not too many. However, what was surprising was that the website even got a few visits from the organic search traffic channel. Let me show you what I mean:
As you can see, there are some organic search visits and I think it’s because even though I had checked the setting in WordPress to discourage search engines from crawling this website, it was crawled anyway – I had already written 10 posts before the launch of the websites and I guess they were found by the spiders. Now, before we get to the organic search traffic channel, let’s look at the first three – in order of amount of traffic generated.
July Direct Traffic Channel Overview
This one’s easy. I basically shared the website with friends and clients over Skype, and a few other social network platforms that I had connections on that could not be classified by Google Analytics as any other of the three traffic channels – so they went into the “Direct” group.
July Social Traffic Channel Overview
I knew that I would be getting social traffic right from the get-go even though the website had little to no social following. How? Well, I had already researched and prepared BuzzBundle. This tool is simply amazing when it comes to social media reach out and embodies the term we talked about earlier – finding where your target audience resides on the Internet:
I wasn’t strongly focused on traffic increase in the first month as much as I was focused on the improvement of the user experience of the website and the growth of its content, so just a handful of social traffic was seen in those first 5 days. However, wait until you see how much social traffic the site gets nowadays…
Now, in those first 5 days after the website’s launch, most of the SMM I did was use BuzzBundle to reach out to people on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, VK, and several other social media platforms and Q&A sites. I also joined most (all) Facebook groups and Google Plus communities relevant to the posts I had written so far on the site and started promoting them heavily in those social gatherings.
BuzzBundle’s functionality to post on Yahoo Answers was welcomed and utilized to a great degree. However, there’s a twist to it – you have to first answer a bunch of niche relevant questions without linking out to anywhere or linking out to other authoritative sites (not yours), before you can answer a question with a link back to the post you are promoting.
I wasn’t aware of that at first and started blasting every question with an answer linking back to a post on my website. Not long after, my Yahoo account got suspended and I had to start from ground zero. Generally, you will need around 5 – 10 generic answers before you can post an answer linking back to your website.
Also, if you have had an account suspended on one IP, you will have to create a new one from another IP – which is where private proxies come in real handy.
Aside from Yahoo Answers I also registered on Quora and utilized the same strategy there as well – first make a few generic answers and then answer with a link back to the website. Keep in mind that since August 2015, all Quora links are “noreferrer”, so you basically can’t identify the visitors coming in from this Q&A site as they go into the “Direct” traffic channel in GA.
One important thing I want to note is that I wasn’t feeling like I was spamming or anything like that, nor have I ever felt like this when sharing a post from this website. I simply believe that the posts I write are extremely helpful to their target audience and it is beneficial to them to find and read said posts.
July Referral Traffic Channel Overview
As I said, a lot of the referral traffic back then was spam, but I was already starting to post on Warrior Forum. Not only that, but the site already had a few email subscribers and the email marketing strategy I had set up was starting to show results:
The first referral domain you see shows the users referred to the site by the messages sent to our mailing list. And yes, the site has been getting email subscribers from day 1. As you can see, Warrior Forum also sent a few visits, however, not too quality.
Now, while in the first 5 days after the site’s launch referral traffic was not a huge factor, it became one after I took my forum marketing efforts to a whole other level – more on that in a minute.
Now, WF is not really (at all) self-promotion friendly. Basically, you have no chance of opening a thread that simply shares your post – I tried and all of them got deleted in a few minutes.
However, responding to other threads with your own posts is (somewhat) tolerated if the post directly answers the question in the OP. I didn’t want to take any chances and get banned since I had plans on later promoting our services on the forum’s marketplace.
So, I did post a few replies to threads without including a link to a post from this website like this one and that one. Then, I thought I would finally share my posts in strongly relevant threads. I remember a person looking for a GSA SER tutorial, so I shared our post on the subject. And quite naturally, warriors started coming to the website.
However, eventually, Warrior Forum moderators removed all of my posts that included links back to my website – what a waste of time. I guess, free helpful content is not something tolerated by WF. Oh well, I’m not one to be discouraged by difficulties – accept, adapt, and grow.
As for the traffic from emails for those 5 days, there isn’t much to say here since I already wrote a post about our email marketing strategy from the very start up until now. So, for each sequential month we review here, you can assume that the EM from this post was active and driving traffic.
July Organic Search Traffic Channel Overview
As I already mentioned, Google and other search engines had probably already crawled my website before I launched it to the public and so, right after I did that, it started getting a hint of organic traffic:
The URL keyword searches were performed by me in a test to see whether the posts were indexed by Google – and yes, they were. For those unaware, the only reliable way to check if an URL is indexed by Google is to simply paste it into Google’s search bar and then perform a search for it. If you see the post in the SERPs then yes, it is indexed, if you don’t see anything, or you see something else (happens sometimes), then no, the post is not indexed by Google.
July Traffic Summary
In summary, those first 5 days after the launch of the website went pretty well – traffic was already being generated, email subscribers were growing, and the foundation of the website’s traffic generation strategy was laid down. Why were people coming to the site in the first place?
Well, they wanted to read some good high quality content:
Above you see a breakdown of the top posts from those first 5 days. The ultimate local SEO guide stole the show with the homepage being a close second – of course, this one was the main target of referral spam. Then we had our free Fiverr success e-book and the in-depth FCS Networker tutorial that was one of the few posts which was already generating organic traffic.
And that pretty much sums up the first 5 days after the launch of the official website of Inet Solutions. I was extremely happy with the results already, but I had no idea what was headed my way…
August would come to mark the first full month of traffic generation and also, the month in which I optimized the website for speed. The latter was extremely important since it helped tremendously with the retention of our visitors. Check this out:
The lines went up so I was happy. Now, I want u to notice how the first week of August was declining and it was like the website was dying. I knew this point would come from a blog post I had previously read on Moz (I think, but am not sure), and I was ready for it.
There’s a lot of people who would quit right there and say “it’s just not working”, however, my thinking was different. I knew that I simply had to do something new (find some new traffic channel) in order to start growing the website’s exposure some more.
The spike of visitors that you see on August 8 is the results of this exact same thinking. So, a key point to remember here:
If your website is declining in visitors, you have to change (expand) something in your traffic generation strategy and all will fall into place.
Do not give up at the first sign of trouble. A decrease in traffic is website growth in disguise, because it will push you to further better your website and traffic generation techniques. And that will transform this decrease in traffic into an increase of traffic – it’s simple as that.
August Traffic Channels Overview
Now, It was more than clear to me that the website won’t be getting too much organic traffic in this first month since its launch. I knew it would get some, but nothing spectacular. So, if it was to continue its traffic growth, I had to focus on other channels – referral traffic and social media traffic. And so I did:
As I said, organic traffic was (as expected) timid, but the other channels grew nicely over those 31 days of August 2015. However, they did not grow on their own, but with a healthy amount of pushing from my side. Let me show you exactly what I did in August traffic-wise.
August Referral Traffic Channel Overview
Throughout the 8th month of 2015, the website had seen a huge growth in referral traffic and it’s no coincidence. I boosted the time I invested in forum marketing by a lot which resulted in the aforementioned referral traffic growth:
Now, I will talk about the forums I posted on in a minute, but I just want to note that at that time, I hadn’t yet filtered out the most “notorious” referral spam from my GA view. As you can see there’s a lot of sessions from floating-share-buttons.com and its derivatives, but not for long.
I did include these requests in this view because I wanted to portrait just how much referral spam you might be seeing even though your website is brand new. For those unaware of referral spam and the way you can filter it out and remove it from GA stats, check out this detailed post on the subject.
Now, after the initial tries to generate visitors from Warrior Forum did not bring the desired results, I knew that I had to find some other forums to post to. There was still some traffic generated from WF as we see from the referral channel overview above, however, it was nothing substantial.
So, what I did was perform a Google search for all forums related to my niche i.e. online marketing and I made a list of every site that I found – I think they were about 30 or something like that.
I also checked out a few posts that listed forums in that same niche and added them to my file. Now, I was going to take my forum marketing efforts to a whole new level. Or was I?
I started posting on every single one of these forums, but since I didn’t have the time to engage in anything else other than self-promotion, every single one of my posts was deleted and I was banned from almost all of them. Who would have thought right?
All this is happening in the first week of August as I watched the site’s traffic head towards that infamous zero. Then, on August 14, I finally found one of the long lasting forums that I still post in – the GSA Forum.
At that time, a lot of the content on the website was related to GSA SER and all the software you can combine it with to run decent link building campaigns, so it was only natural for me to give it a shot there.
I opened a new thread that promoted our ultimate GSA Search Engine Ranker tutorial and the feedback I got was amazing. Not only wasn’t my thread removed for self-promotion or anything like that, but the tutorial was also added to the official documentation of the software.
If you look there now, you will see that our website has 3 backlinks from that page alone. Sven (the CEO of GSA) doesn’t care about self-promotion and only cares about value – which is the right way to go and I am very thankful for people like him.
Now, after this first thread got some awesome feedback from both Sven and other members of the forum, throughout August, I opened another 5 threads promoting other posts on my website, which exploded the amount visitors that came to the website. The blankrefer.com domain that you see at the top of the referral traffic channel is basically traffic coming from the GSA Forum.
Also, at that time I was only opening my own threads and not posting in anyone else’s. When I did that the following months, the traffic from that forum alone started growing exponentially.
Aside from the GSA Forum, I also found another one where they didn’t mind helpful self-promoted articles – Full Control SEO, which is the forum of FCS Networker. Why this one?
Well, it’s because I had written a really nice and detailed tutorial on their software and I decided to share it on the forums to help other people using FCSN and not understanding its functionality. Again, the feedback was great, however, activity on the forum is not as high as on the GSA Forum since it is available only to FCSN members. Still, a good amount of traffic was referred by Full Control SEO.
And that was basically it for the August forum marketing strategy. I know what you’re wondering – why didn’t I post to BHW? We’ll get to that, don’t worry.
August Direct Traffic Channel Overview
This one is always easy – any source that does not send referral header in the request goes here. Now, it can be hard to identify where your direct traffic is coming from, however, if you know what you’ve been doing in terms of traffic generation strategies, it will come to you.
In my case, in August, the direct traffic was coming from Q&A sites such as Quora and Yahoo Answers, and a few other sources like mailing clients and friends with direct links and not the traceable ones by MailChimp.
We already covered why Quora’s referrals are counted as direct traffic, but what about Yahoo Answers? The links there don’t have “noreferrer” right? Yes, that’s right, however, when an “https” page is referring someone to an “http” page, the referrer is blocked – check this out.
One important thing I want to point out that concerns the “Direct” traffic channel of Google Analytics is the fact that as much as 60% of it might actually be misidentified organic traffic. For more information and experimentation on this “conspiracy”, check out this post by SEL.
August Social Traffic Channel Overview
Just like the last 5 days of July, I was strongly using BuzzBundle to engage people on social media – now more than ever. And it was working:
As you can see, targeted Facebook traffic is just amazing. Aside from BuzzBundle, I was also posting in all the groups I had joined as well as running a FB likes ad for the official Inet Solutions Facebook page.
At that time, I was using only BuzzBundle to engage the Twitter audience and it was still doing great. The rest of the social traffic you see from above is (mostly) generated by BuzzBundle again and a lot of manual work. Of course, we would always reach out to people in our niche so as to not destroy the user signals of the website.
The way I was utilizing BuzzBundle was to write 5 – 7 lines of promotion text for each new article I wrote, for example, “I think you will be extremely interested in reading this step by step tutorial on finding cheap high PR expired domains %link%”, and then reaching out with those message variations to all of the tightly narrowed target audiences that BuzzBundle returned relevant to my target keywords – social media messages, relevant posts, relevant forums, YouTube, Yahoo Answers, etc.
Facebook groups were used heavily as well as Twitter replies and Google Plus communities, even though the big G+ was not generating much traffic at all. However, it’s still Google’s very own social network, so there’s a lot of value, in terms of SEO, in sharing your content there.
As for the Q&A sites, I was really active there in August – especially on Quora. I know that the links are “nofollow”, but still, I am more than certain that they have affected the rankings of this website – even if it was in the slightest manner.
And as u saw, a decent amount of traffic is generated by these platforms – considering you know what you’re doing and you are answering questions tightly related to the post you are promoting.
Towards the end of the month, I was already stopping the Yahoo Answers “campaign” since many of my answers were getting deleted and only a handful of links were left alive, so it was becoming inefficient in terms of time to post there. And I had no time to spare.
So logically, the focus shifted from Yahoo Answers to Quora – the latter I am still utilizing strongly. And that was basically it for SMM in August 2015.
August Organic Search Traffic Channel Overview
As I said, I didn’t expect much from organic traffic in that month alone. I knew that it would grow steadily as I added more and more content to the site and as the user signals from Inet Solutions became stronger and more powerful – and I was completely right.
August Traffic Summary
August was still a month where I was more focused on content creation, but traffic generation strategies were also more on my mind now. After all, you can’t just publish a post and wait for people to find it – it doesn’t work that way. You need to promote it otherwise, there’s a good chance no one will find it.
Again, the root of the success of your website is high quality content:
The ultimate GSA SER tutorial stole the show (as expected), with the YouTube videos ranking strategy exploding in that month as well as the future most popular post gaining some speed – the finding expired Web 2.0 profiles tutorial.
All in all, August was the first month of reaping the results from the long pre-launch preparation I did for this website. Growth was steady and relatively fast, not explosive, but still decent and I was extremely happy with the way things were going.
However, the 4,500 page views generated that month did not satisfy my traffic hunger at all. So, I set a goal in my mind for the achievement of 5 digit page views as soon as possible – and that meant getting back to work.
I knew that simply using BuzzBundle and posting on the GSA forums won’t get me to the promised land of 10k+ page views per month. I had to improve my outreach, but in order to do that, I had to write some new posts that would justify people visiting the website. All in all, September exploded the traffic to the site:
As you can see, the page views had almost doubled compared to August and the rest of the stats were also all looking solid. Now, I’m sure that you have noticed the huge spike of traffic right after September 10 and the reason behind that is BlackHatWorld – we’ll get to that in a minute.
First, let’s take a look at the 4 default traffic channels of Google Analytics and how they all improved from the previous month.
September Traffic Channels Overview
Now, before I show you the stats, I want to note that September was one of the months that I was really busy with a lot of other parts of our business and so I didn’t really give it my all in terms of traffic generating efforts, if you will:
Yes, the site grew a lot in those 30 days, but it was mostly due to the new content I put out there and the employment of the same traffic generating strategies as in August – BuzzBundle and the “self-promotion-friendly” forums. However, one new traffic source emerged that month that would explode this website’s growth in terms of visitors. Let me show you.
September Referral Traffic Channel Overview
If you recall, in August, a total of 988 sessions were generated by referral traffic. In September, this number more than doubled and there is an extremely simple explanation as to why this happened:
Yep, it’s our beloved BHW at play here. And it wasn’t me who initially started sharing there. It was a member from the GSA Forum who saw my threads there and liked them, and then decided to share our ultimate GSA Search Engine Ranker tutorial with BHW members, thus opening this iconic (to me) thread.
You probably have a few questions here. First, why didn’t I share my posts on BHW in the first place? And how did I find this thread that was created by someone else?
The answer to the first question lies in the fact that I didn’t have a BHW account in the beginning, which is a huge mistake on my part and for anyone in this niche in general, and also the fact that I had no idea that BlackHatWorld would tolerate the sharing of your own content in such a friendly manner.
The answer to the second question lies in the fact that I was and still am constantly looking at the “Real-Time” tab of GA for any abnormalities, traffic jams, new sources of traffic, etc. So, right around that time when this original thread was opened, I started seeing a burst of traffic from BHW.
All I had to do was check out the referral traffic, click on BlackHatWorld as a source, and then I found the URL to the thread. Once I opened the thread and I saw all of the positive feedback from 99% of the people who responded, I knew I had to get in on all the fun – so I created my BHW profile. However, I wouldn’t start opening my own threads for another month. Why?
Quite simply because I wanted to research the forum extremely well before I started sharing posts by watching at the Black Hat SEO section and what people were talking about and questioning. So, I had found a new place where my target audience resides, and now “all” I had to do was understand them.
This not only gave me great ideas for blog posts, but also helped me improve a lot on my knowledge not only of online marketing, but of the people interested in online marketing. Think about this for a second, because it is an extremely important note.
Now, we said quite a lot about BHW and they deserve it for creating this awesome forum. But, let me say a few words about the rest of the referral traffic. As you have probably guessed, pretty much the same forums were used with the addition of the FBN forum, which is also private like FCS Networker’s Full Control SEO.
The reason I started posting in FightBackNetworks’ forum was the fact that I had written an extremely detailed review and tutorial of their software and I wanted to share it there in order to help FBN beginners.
As for the GSA Forum, traffic had close to doubled compared to August, but I was still not posting in other people’s threads and I started only 4 new threads in September – each for every new post I published on the website.
So, most of the traffic was still coming from the original threads I opened that were more tightly related to GSA SER link building, however, people were also extremely interested in the finding expired Web 2.0 profiles tutorial as you can see from this thread.
Aside from that, I also opened another 3 threads only 1 of which was relevant to GSA SER with the others being more general, but still focused on link building.
The increase in traffic from Full Control SEO came from the fact that I opened 2 new threads there as well – both included the use of FCS Networker in particular link building strategies.
You can see here that Warrior Forum was still driving a few visitors to the site, but not for long. I was posting here and there, but I got to no more than 3 – 5 posts for the entire month. Yes, traffic from WF is decent as well, but their policy doesn’t allow the free sharing of helpful info.
You have to open a thread in their WSO and then you can share whatever you want in it. I’m not complaining or anything, I’m just stating the facts. WF is still an awesome online marketing forum, but it is more geared towards those who want to sell something – whether it is information, services, products, etc – not share something for free.
And that was pretty much it for September’s referral traffic. This month marked one of the first big explosions of the website’s referrals and it was also the first time I started to feel that my brand is getting seriously established since people were sharing our posts on their own – and the feeling of seeing someone else share a post from your website, without you forcing them or paying them or anything, is just an endless well of gratitude.
September Direct Traffic Channel Overview
The direct traffic was coming from pretty much the same sources as far as I could tell – sharing the new and old posts with people via channels that couldn’t be classified by Google Analytics as any of the others. In September I was also quite active on Quora since the shift of focus from Yahoo Answers to it at the end of August. Wrap.
September Organic Search Traffic Overview
In August, the organic traffic generated amounted to just 157 session while in September, this had grown by about 500%. Just as I thought, simply putting out amazing content that generates decent user signals was doing the trick:
And I was seeing the growth myself, because I was following the rankings of a few of the posts for a chosen set of keywords and they were climbing on a daily basis, after eventually reaching the promised land – 1st page of Google.
I was really happy to see see my posts get indexed by Google just about 4 hours after I published them and then watch them jump to page 2 – 5 (depending on the difficulty of the keyword) in a few days – it was just beautiful and no, I’m not kidding.
This removed any doubt in my mind and I knew from that month that the organic search traffic will grow exponentially as I publish more and more content on the website – of course, of the same high quality as all the previous posts and even higher.
September Social Traffic Channel Overview
Now, the only traffic channel that didn’t grow in September was social media. As I mentioned in the intro for this month, I had a lot of work on other parts of my business and I had less time for social media, namely reaching out to people via BuzzBundle:
However, still a decent amount of traffic was seen from social networks. Google+ was one of the few platforms that increased in terms of visitors driven to the site, while the rest remained pretty much the same with some dropping down to zero.
Now, a key new traffic source that I had introduced was Reddit. Oh yea, the amount of traffic you can drive from Reddit is just ridiculous, however, there is one huge problem – people on Reddit are not what I’d call self-promotion friendly no matter how helpful the article shared might be (with a few exceptions).
The things that I was doing on the GSA Forum and on other forums were not well received on Reddit – not that I cared, nor have I ever cared about negativity (much). My Reddit journey first started out with a few comments on the SEO subreddit and of course, after a few comments that all linked back to posts on my website, I started getting the downvotes, natural selection responses, etc.
Of course, there were those that were extremely thankful, but while on the forums 99%, if not 100% on most threads were positive responses, on Reddit the ratio was more like 50/50. Not only that, but most of my shares would be live for a few hours before a moderator legged in to the subreddit and deleted them.
Only a handful of posts survived the environment like this one with most getting deleted after 2 – 3 hours. However, even if they were live for just those 2 – 3 hours, they still managed to drive a lot of traffic to the site in such a short amount of time.
And as you can see from above, Reddit traffic is extremely high quality. Now, if you want to see this mix of positive and negative feedback that I mentioned above, you can check out this Reddit share of mine – enjoy!
I just want to note that it was posted on the Big SEO subreddit which is, well, let’s say more friendly than the SEO subreddit.
Even though I had a lot of obstacles posting on Reddit, one with all the negativity and post removal, I still knew that I couldn’t give it up, because firstly, the people that actually read the posts I shared knew their value and were more than grateful, and secondly, the traffic coming from the social network was really good.
So, in the coming months, I would not quit Reddit even though I got my first account “suspended”, but more on that in a minute.
But in order to create a more self-sharing friendly environment on Reddit, I created the Marketing Gods subreddit. This one is for all people who have great content (theirs or found) which they want to share with people in the marketing niche who would benefit from reading it – join now guys and let’s create a high quality sharing friendly marketing environment on Reddit.
Now, aside from Reddit, I was also starting to look at Pinterest after reading this blog post which basically states that the pinning social network had brought in 3 times more traffic than Google Plus, YouTube, Twitter, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn and Reddit combined, which I doubt, but was still a statement that I was not going to overlook.
Plus, it was an additional social signal to the website and I can’t tell you how much I respect social signals nowadays.
September Traffic Summary
At the end of September I still hadn’t achieved my goal of 5 digit page views per month, but I was more than confident that I was going to reach it in October – and I did.
One important thing that I learned in the 9th month of 2015 was that I had to write as much content as possible while still keeping the same level of quality and value from the posts I had written before:
As expected, the ultimate GSA SER tutorial once again stole the show after that first share on BHW. However, the new viral post on the block was the finding high PA expired Web 2.0 accounts tutorial that was not only getting a lot of attention from referral traffic, but also was already on 1st page of Google for its target keywords.
Another great post I wrote in September, namely, the finding cheap high PR expired domains tutorial, was also getting a lot of attention, but that was expected. This is probably the post that I have spent most time promoting via BuzzBundle out of all other posts ever published on Inet Solutions.
Bottom line, September 2015 took the website to new levels in terms of traffic improvement, but, I feel like I could have exploded it more had I not been so busy with other areas of my business. However, wait till you see October traffic growth…
While up until September I had focused most of my writing on GSA Search Engine Ranker related topics, in October I decided to shift the focus a little bit to other areas of my knowledge where people could benefit from – Fiverr.
While the first post of the month was still focused on GSA SER, it made me realize that the traffic to the website won’t grow much more if I keep on writing only about that software since, most probably, everyone using Search Engine Ranker had already read all of my posts.
I mean there was still a steady amount of growth, but as a real human being, I wanted more and I wanted it now. So, I knew that in order to get it, I had to add a new audience to the website, one that had not yet benefited from the website:
And once again, the traffic close to doubled in one month. However, unlike September, I had put in much more effort on traffic generation and general content marketing. Let me show you what I mean.
October Traffic Channels Overview
While in September, we saw significant growth in 3 out of the 4 Google Analytics traffic channels, October marked the first month in which all 4 of the channels grew tremendously, especially the social traffic channel – I have zero tolerance for “non-progress” situations, so the small decrease in social traffic from the previous month had no chance of repeating itself:
As you can see, huge growth spur in all traffic channels. Of course, the referrals leading again by far because I, once again, upped my forum marketing efforts, however, the SMM did not fall back by a lot this month either. Actually, in terms of percentage, social traffic grew more than referral traffic. Let’s dive into more detail.
October Referral Traffic Channel Overview
Not much had actually changed here since September. For the most part, the same forums were utilized, however, I tried to add a new one to the referrals and I’m sure you’ll notice it:
Yep, it’s right there at the bottom of the screenshot above – the Fiverr forum. As I mentioned in the beginning of the overview of this month, I knew I had to expand my target audience in order to increase the traffic of the website, so, I asked myself what can I write that would benefit people who have not yet been reached out by my brand?
The answer was Fiverr because firstly, a BHW thread gave me an idea about a post (knowing and understanding your target audience at play), and secondly, because I think that our Fiverr business ain’t doing bad at all for the time it has been running.
Also, in the beginning when we were trying to bring visitors to our Fiverr gigs, we used to post a lot on the forum and people seemed to be quite engaged. So, logically, I thought they would be even more engaged with a thread that shared a post with a lot of valuable info concerning success on Fiverr. Boy was I wrong…
The first article I shared there got a few negative feedbacks because it was shared with the “purpose of capturing all of the Fiverr forum members’ emails”. Right there I knew that the Fiverr forum won’t be the new traffic source I thought it would be.
Now, as you can see, just 19 session were generated by the Fiverr forum for the entire month which is close to nothing. So that was case closed on the whole Fiverr forum exposure. But, it wasn’t case closed on my articles concerning success on Fiverr. I had shared the first one on other websites and it did very well there – more on that in a minute.
The rest was pretty much the same except for the boost in performance – I posted a lot on BHW (104 posts to be exact) and the GSA Forum (5 new threads were opened) that month and it was also the first month in which I started responding to threads opened by other members of the GSA Forum. Quite naturally, the traffic from there just exploded compared to the previous month.
October Direct Traffic Channel Overview
This month I had not posted at all on Quora or any other sites that could have driven traffic classified as “Direct”, however, compared to September, it still grew quite nicely – almost doubled.
October Organic Search Traffic Overview
While in the previous month, organic traffic accounted for about 700 sessions, this month the number had more than doubled reaching a total of 1796 sessions:
Again, the same principle was applied this month as well – just write flawlessly-structured, media-rich, link-including, perfectly-styled, high quality, extremely valuable content. I know, a lot of build-up, but that’s basically the gist of the articles I write.
And it seemed like it was working – and still is. However, what I also think helped the growth of organic traffic in that month was the fact that I had shifted my writing focus on other online marketing topics i.e. Fiverr. That meant more exposure, new target audience, and ultimately of course, more traffic.
October Social Traffic Channel Overview
And finally, we have the social media traffic of October. Now, the previous month’s decrease of this type of traffic was not to be repeated and I made sure of that. I had a new traffic source in mind in the face of Reddit and I was bound to share my content there as much as possible:
And as you can see, it worked out pretty well. Reddit traffic quickly surpassed all the other social platforms and exploded the traffic of the website. Now, I already talked about the situation of self-sharing on Reddit, so I’m not going to talk about it again.
What I think I missed out on saying is the fact that if you are going to be sharing you posts there, you need to make sure that they are “self-promotion-tolerable”. This means that they include more than enough helpful content (to their target audience) and a low amount of methods from which you would benefit (make money) from people reading the post – affiliate links, services/products promotions, etc.
Most people, including the moderators of the subreddits, will tolerate such posts and might not delete them unless they get reported a billion times of course. So, the situation on Reddit is really subtle and you have to be really (really) smart about your shares.
Another huge method I added to my SMM was FollowLiker – and it is the reason why Twitter traffic is more than Facebook traffic in that month and will blow up even more in the next month.
Now, for those unaware, FollowLiker is basically a desktop application that allows you to automate your reach-out on social media platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram. Currently, I had only implemented the Twitter edition of the software and was looking at the Pinterest one as well.
At that time, I was already doing manual work on Pinterest by following other people in my niche, pinning their pins, replying, etc, but it was too much time consuming. So, I had to find a better and more efficient way to reach out to my target audience on these social networks whilst focusing the manual work on strategies that really required it.
I’m more than confident to say that FollowLiker is the tool that saved me a ton of time on manual SMM. So, I grabbed an “SSD One” VPS from PowerUpHosting, and I bought FollowLiker. Set up takes no more than 10 minutes and after that, it’s all hands off for the most part.
All you have to do is log in to the VPS from time to time to check for new updates of the software – that’s it. For those wondering, I had set up the tool to follow, unfollow non-followers, favorite, retweet, and reply to tweets that contained certain keywords and hashtags in my niche and relevant to the post I was sharing.
The reply part here is very important because each time I released a new post, I would not only promote it manually via BuzzBundle, but I would also go on to set up FollowLiker to reply to people who might be interested in that new article. The results?
The big blue arrow points to the day I added FollowLiker’s Twitter edition to my SMM campaign. You can clearly see how quickly it has grown my Twitter outreach and not only that, but now Inet Solutions’ Twitter account is sitting at 1,250 followers as opposed to the ~50 before I started using FollowLiker.
Now, the best part about this is not only that I am reaching out to many people, but that (most) of the people I reach out to on Twitter like the content I reach them out with and favorite/retweet my reply which brings in even more exposure and social proof to the website.
The rest of the SMM for that month was pretty much the same – sharing content on Facebook niche relevant groups, doing the same on Google+ communities, and a few shares here and there on LinkedIn. However, next month would see the implementation of FollowLiker's Pinterest edition which would skyrocket the outreach on the red pins platform.
At the end of October I was also starting to look at StumbleUpon as a viable traffic source, even thought all of the posts I shared there had only 1 view – generated by me. So, I did a bit of research on driving traffic from StumbleUpon, and I knew that the only way was to gather a following so that my posts get a few initial views and likes and then build up from there.
So to sum up social media marketing in October – we had the new explosive traffic source in the face of Reddit, the improvement of outreach on Twitter, the development of the engagement on Pinterest and the build-up on StumbleUpon.
October Traffic Summary
The first month in which the website brought in 5 digit page views did really well as you might have guessed. Not only that, but now I had a new audience – people more interested in Fiverr success and making money on Fiverr methods:
Once again, the ultimate GSA SER tutorial took that champions belt – I guess those ~20k words I wrote were not in vain at all right? However, this month, the expired web 2.0 accounts tutorial got really close to it – missing out on that desired 1st place by just a couple hundred page views.
The posts on position 3 and 4 are both great tutorials covering everything on the topic of GSA Search Engine Ranker site lists which is just a hugely misunderstood subject. So, I had to write a few posts to clear up the confusion.
And then, towards the end of the top 10 we have the 2 Fiverr articles I wrote that month – the one that explains how Fiverr ranks gigs in its SERPs and the making money on Fiverr blueprint. They would both go on to perform even better in November, especially the Fiverr success blueprint.
Actually, one of the very few well received shares that I got from Reddit was from the Fiverr ranking algorithm article – yes, I was surprised too, but you can see for yourself.
Drawing the line at the end of October made me think of those 20,000 page views per month, which would actually become reality in November…
We’re finally at the end – the last month of the first 4 months. However, it will not feature the full month, but only the days up until the 27th of November since I wanted to exactly hit the sweet spot of 4 months – remember that the site was launched on July 27, 2015:
So, you can see that even though I have selected only 27 days of November, there’s still more traffic than October and that for the full month, the page views will certainly go over the 20k mark. Why am I so confident?
Quite simply because I have been writing this post for about a week and the slum of traffic you see at the end of the screenshot above is caused by the absence of new posts on the website. However, once I publish this one, the stats will shoot right back up again. Let’s get into more detail here.
November Traffic Channels Overview
I want to note here that just like in September, I wasn’t entirely focused on traffic generation and content promotion since I launched a new product and I was also writing posts all of which were ~10k words.
So while in the previous months I would release one post every ~7 days, this month saw 3 posts in total with a time span of about 10 days between each of them:
As you can see, all traffic channels have still grown compared to the previous month, even though the stats above do not account for the entire month of November.
Now, while the top 3 traffic channels grew just a little bit, the social traffic channel exploded once again by more than doubling in traffic compared to October – more on that in a minute.
November Referral Traffic Channel Overview
In contrast to previous months, November was the first month in which I didn’t try to add a new referral traffic source to the show. Basically, everything that was done in October in terms of forum marketing was repeated and improved this month.
The posts on BHW increased and so did the traffic referred by the forum. However, I did see a small decline in visitors coming from the GSA Forum since, as you saw, in October I wasn’t mainly focused on writing GSA related articles and thus had not much to share with that target audience.
And while the Fiverr posts I wrote were well received there as well, they didn’t get nearly as much attention as a GSA SER related article got. The older threads that I had opened had dropped from first page, but people were still finding them here and there and bumping them from time to time with some questions they had.
And that was pretty much it for the referral traffic in November. Just a nice and steady improvement of the strategies employed so far, but no addition of new traffic sources. To be honest, I wasn’t satisfied with that so next month will see a huge push in that regard.
November Direct Traffic Channel Overview
As opposed to October, this month I had posted a couple of times on Quora – I made sure that each article I published had at least 1 backlink from the Q&A site. I also returned back to Yahoo Answers (for a bit) by creating a few backlinks from answers relevant to the latest posts I had written. Of course, not long after they were removed once again. No more YA that’s for sure.
November Organic Search Traffic Channel Overview
Compared to the organic traffic growth in October, November was pretty scarce and I’m sure it was due to 2 reasons:
- Not releasing as much articles as previous months.
- The latest posts were in more competitive topics compared to previous ones.
Even so, I had watched my older posts keep on climbing in the SERPs with some already reaching 1st place on the 1st page of Google:
Yes, there was still growth as you can see, but it was much more steady and stable. One thing that I noticed and I want to share with you was the fact that a simple internal link to the homepage from one of the posts in that month shot it straight from 6th page to 2nd page overnight – no kidding.
The homepage was previously not linked to from the contextual part of the website, but I had no idea this could influence it so much and so quickly. I mean I was interlinking nicely up to that point, but after this, I had a whole new mind-frame in regards to internal links.
November Social Traffic Channel Overview
The only traffic channel that grew significantly in the 11th month of 2015 was social media. And it was mostly thanks to FollowLiker and a few other tweaks I added to the website:
As you can see, since FollowLiker was running 24/7 on the VPS, Twitter quickly became the number one source of social traffic for the website. The huge increase in Facebook traffic was due to natural shares on the site.
See what I did was add a slide-in section to the website, courtesy of Social Share & Locker Pro, which would basically show up if a visitor on the website scrolled below the 50% mark. Once he goes over, a window slides from the right asking them to share the post if they had found it helpful.
You will be surprised how many people share if you simply ask them politely, especially when they found the answers to the questions they had and are now emotionally charged.
Another great addition to my SMM was FollowLiker's Pinterest edition. As you can see, Pinterest traffic had grown by about 1,000% compared to the previous month and it’s all because of that software.
Just like the Twitter edition, you simply set it up once and that’s it. So, I installed it on the same VPS where the Twitter edition was and I set it up to follow, unfollow non-followers, re-pin, like, and reply to pins that contained certain keywords relevant to the post I was sharing with people.
So now, I’m not only getting a nice amount of visitors from Pinterest, but I am also growing my profile there and getting a ton of social signals from a great and respected platform.
Last but not least, StumbleUpon was and still is in development mode with me following about 20 people every day – you can’t do more than that. So, day by day I grow my social following there and soon enough, traffic will burst from the stumble platform as well.
November Traffic Summary
The picture in November was completely different compared to the previous GSA-topics dominated months. Again, I had focused on completely different subjects and I was reaping the results from helping and bringing value to new target audiences:
The ultimate guide to WordPress speed optimization broke all records so far by taking that first place with no post being even remotely close to it. However, a new knight had arisen from the depths of our archives in the face of our ranking YouTube videos strategy which had jumped to second place – already getting a lot of organic traffic as well.
Then we had the champion from the previous 3 months – the ultimate GSA SER tutorial, now on 3rd place. I guess he got old and the new kids on the block took over as soon as possible.
Then we had the finding expired Web 2.0 accounts tutorial and the blueprint to Fiverr success which is probably the post that has gotten the most positive feedback right next to the champion from November – who doesn’t like speed right?
And there you have it. Four months of traffic generation strategies and stats revealed right in front of your eyes. Now, I could end right here and it’d be cool, however, I want to share a few things that this period of time has taught me and I believe you can benefit a lot from.
What I Learned From All This
If you copy everything that I have shared with you today and you employ it on your website, you will (most probably) get very similar results. However, laying out a blueprint traffic generation strategy was not the main purpose of this article.
The main purpose of this article was to show you, month-by-month, the development of a brand new website from ground zero, so that you can learn from it and not copy it, but take it to the next level. And the first step towards getting there is consciously understanding the key points from all the information laid out here.
Here’s what I have personally learned from this 4 month journey:
Now that you have improved your traffic generation mindset, even if it’s just a bit, you should be thinking (partly) in terms of future growth – and so am I. In the last section of this article, I will share with you what I’m thinking of doing in terms of traffic generation improvement for Inet Solutions in the near and not so near future.
I am more than happy (not satisfied) with the level of website traffic growth I have achieved in the first 4 months after the launch. But, I already have my eye on a few traffic channels that might take said traffic to even higher levels.
The Future Of Referral Traffic
In terms of referral traffic, I plan on improving a lot on my current methods. This will basically come in two parts:
- Writing more amazing content to share.
- Finding new traffic channels.
I also plan on sharing some of my newer posts on forums that I had stopped visiting such as Full Control SEO, which has become a bit more active this last month, and FightBack Networks’ private forum. This will bring in new visitors to the website since the original shares I did on those forums included only articles tightly related to their software.
But, I have a few posts that portrait link building strategies using these software and a couple other posts that, even though, they do not include the use of the software that the forum is focused on, however, I still consider them to be helpful to the target audience on each of these forums.
I also plan on, sooner or later, start guest posting on some niche relevant blogs. I know I should have probably already started doing that, but I just haven’t had the time. I barely manage to write the blog posts for this website with all the work I got on my mind, but soon enough, I will have some spare to invest in guest posting.
Another thing I have scheduled on my mind is to create an outstanding presentation of one (or more) of the newer posts on the website, then share it and promote it on SlideShare. I mean, just take a look at this blog post and you will understand the reasoning behind my will to engage SlideShare’s audience.
As for the current main sources of traffic i.e. BlackHatWorld and the GSA Forum, I plan on continuing to share my posts there, but I also plan on starting to respond to almost any kinds of threads that I am knowledgeable of, not only to threads that I know I can respond with a post from my website.
These two websites have given so much to me, it’s only fair that I give back as much as possible. I mean, I am so thankful to the members and moderators there, it’s beyond measure – for real.
And that’s it pretty much for the near future of the referral traffic of Inet Solutions. Next stop, social traffic…
The Future Of Social Traffic
To me, social traffic is every bit as important as all the other website traffic channels. In being so, I plan on investing a lot of time in the future in improving it as much as possible including:
- Improving Reddit outreach – so far I’ve been posting only on the SEO and BigSEO subreddits, however, I plan on stating to post on other subreddits as well. Many of the new posts I write have their own smaller target audiences for which I can find subreddits with a few hundred subscribers and share the post there. Even if I get just a few visits from that, I’m happy with it. And now that I have researched this it’s actually not that bad. Even though these smaller subreddits have like 300 – 500 subscribers, they have 5 – 10 currently viewing users while the bigger subreddits I have been posting at so far have 10k+ subscribers and only 10 – 30 active viewing users.
- Steadily establishing a presence on Twitter and Pinterest – bit by bit, the following of my brand on these social platforms will grow and so will the outreach. That means more laser-targeted traffic for each post and a much stronger social proof of the website. Of course, I would never spam these platforms even thought I have automated the process via FollowLiker – I basically outreach to people as much as I was when I was manually doing it, with the only difference that now I am investing that time in other more productive parts of my business. Also, I don’t know if you’re aware, but Twitter is the only website with PR10 – even Google has PR9.
- Building up the StumbleUpon presence – I still have a relatively low amount of followers on SU, however, they are growing on a daily basis, and soon enough, traffic will become serious from there as well.
- Growing the Facebook page – I recently felt the power of FB compared to the rest of the social networks when in one day I got a few natural shares on the ultimate WordPress speed optimization tutorial and I guess, whoever shared, had a following which was interested in that kind of stuff. So, in an hour, the site saw 200 new visitors – yep, that is the power of Facebook. There is so much traffic there, all you have to do is build a following and reach out to it. The way I plan on doing that is run ads for the official Inet Solutions Facebook page.
- Growing the Google+ page – Even though the traffic on G+ is not even remotely close to FB or the other more popular social networks, there’s a twist to it. When I share a post on my page, this share will appear on page 1 instantly in Google’s SERPs to all the people who have followed my page on Google+ and are logged in to their Google accounts. So, if I have 1,000 followers on my G+ page, and I share a post, I can be certain that over the next days/weeks, traffic will be steadily coming from the SERPs and Google Plus directly.
- YouTube exposure – So far I have only uploaded just a handful of videos on our YouTube channel, but I plan on exploding it in the near future. I have been asked numerous times to make videos along with the tutorials I write, so I’m pretty sure that they will be watched quite a lot.
- VK growth – I’ve lately noticed that a lot of marketers play from Russia, so I am obliged to give the “Russian Facebook” a shot and I have already started that via BuzzBundle.
And that’s it pretty much for the social growth of the website in the following months. When I employ all these things, I’m expecting to see a huge spur of growth in social website traffic and rankings in the SERPs. Speaking of rankings…
The Future Of Organic Traffic
All of the future improvements mentioned above in terms of referral traffic and social traffic will influence organic traffic as well – in a very strong manner. Basically, this is what I expect (know) will happen:
- I will write new even more high quality articles.
- I will promote them and share them using the aforementioned traffic generation strategies and improve on them even further.
- Said articles will get indexed in a couple of hours by Google and other search engines.
- Said articles will shoot to the 1 digit pages right after indexation – depending on target topic difficulty.
- Said articles will keep on climbing in the SERPs as I continue to promote them.
- Said articles will, sooner or later, reach page 1 rankings as the page and website itself grow in terms of authority and will eventually get to that 1st spot in the SERPs.
And that’s basically what will happen with the future of the organic traffic of Inet Solutions. But if I were to make some exact predictions, I’d say that within several months, the website will be looking at about 50k page views per month – provided I keep on pushing like I am pushing now and even more – and I will.
There you have it. I have shown you, in extreme detail, what I’ve been doing for the past 4 months in terms of website traffic generation techniques. I have also summarized each month for an easier look at the whole picture and have also shared private stats from our Google Analytics account which can also be seen in real-time on our Advertising on Inet Solutions page.
Basically, I think this post has shown everyone that thinks of starting a website from ground zero or anyone that has a website and isn’t seeing much traffic coming to it, that you can grow it exponentially if you put in the hours and hard work required by Nature – by default.
And finally, I shared what I’ve learned since the launch of the website, which are extremely key points to a successful business, at least in my opinion, and I also shared my vision for the future of this website’s traffic growth. But, what will actually happen?