Many new website owners and bloggers hope to use SEO to generate floods of traffic.
More often than not they fail to get any rankings or traffic and often destroy their own site through spamming it with links.
This article is meant to show you some of the possibilities outside of Google and SEO.
I also want to emphasize the power of guest posting and also tell you about some lesser known traffic generation techniques. In the end, it all comes down to the people you know and the network you’re able to leverage.
Find out how to tap into traffic sources you might not have heard of before or just never thought it would benefit your business.
These exact tactics enabled me to jumpstart my blog and get over 15 000 visitors in the first three months online without having a mailing list or other connections.

Stumbleupon

2 Use Stumbleupon

There are several things you can do to open the floodgates for Stumbleupon traffic each time you hit the publish button. I have written about them here are the main tips:

  • Write awesome content of 700+ words
  • List posts with lots of images do very well
  • Choose the right category. Food, animals and photography is huge on Stumbleupon
  • Make your content visual using unique pictures and videos
  • Have a catchy headline
  • No ad stuffing (AdSense)
  • Pay for Stumbles, when you see it gains traction

There’s a lot more to it, but you are off to a good start when you implement these quick tips. Even Neil Patel used this network to push his content to the blogging world.

Email Your List

3 Email Your List

No matter how big or small your current list size is, send them an update about your new posts.
It happened to me and it also happens to the big boys:
You’re busy doing “stuff” and forget to mail out! That’s a no go.
Having an email list is your most important asset and you should definitely use it.
Even when you have set up an autoresponder sequence you can still send out newsletters.
Those guys opted in because they WANT to hear from you and read your stuff.
If you are still on the fence and didn’t start your own list I highly recommend getting started with email marketing and pump up your subscriber conversion rate like Stuart recommended to Matthew Woodward.

Images and Image Hover Plugins

4 Compelling Images
This is one of my biggest traffic drivers right now.
Just install a plugin like Frizzly or Monarch to get nice sharing buttons on image hover.
I create images to illustrate posts, use them for internal linking through post thumbnails, featured images and more.
All of these also show up in my Twitter cards, Facebook updates and so on.
These days it’s quite easy to create nice images without being a graphic designer. Here are my favorite resources:

It depends on your preferences, but with some stock photos and Canva you can come a long way. To make them even smaller and load faster on the web I use a free webresizer and the Kraken image compression tool.  

Share Content Multiple Times on Social Media

5 Share Content
The folks over at Buffer recently posted an article where they analyzed the benefits of sharing content more than once on your social media channels.
Especially on Twitter this works exceptionally well.
You can reach followers in multiple time zones this way or just people who weren’t online when you shared it the first time around.
This can result in more re-shares, increased blog traffic, higher CTR and many other positive effects.
Bufferapp can help you to automate this, but there are also several other tools you could use.

Social Metadata (Twitter Cards, Facebook Open Graph…)

6 Use Social MetadataOne traffic generation technique that is totally passive – but works really well – is applying social metadata. Like rich snippet markup for Google there are equivalents for social networks.
Here are the most popular I use and I recommend for you too:

  • Twitter Cards
  • Rich Pins
  • Facebook Open Graph

This will set you up to get more traffic from Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and even Google+ without working harder. It allows your shared articles to include images and look nice.
I use a plugin called WP Social (Pro) which allows to customize nearly everything related to social metadata. You can also get some of the above-mentioned benefits using Yoast WordPress SEO which is a popular free plugin.

Improve Site Speed

7 Improve Website Speed
Improving your website speed can be a legit method to get a lower bounce rate which in return can lead to better conversions and higher rankings in Google.
You should aim to get any WordPress site to load under three seconds to achieve the best results.
I recommend installing a caching plugin like W3 Cache or WP Super Cache.
On top, you should lazy load images and have a pretty clean coded theme. Premium hosting can also help to improve your site speed and traffic a lot.
No matter which plugins you use, keep in mind every plugin may slow down your site if not executed properly.
As a rule of thumb, one could say lesser plugins installed equal a faster website.
No need to geek out on site speed, but it is something very important you should check from time to time in your online journey.

Guest Posts

8 Guest Posts

Often talked about and often done wrong.
I’m talking about guest posts. This is one of the best traffic generation strategies I know of, but also one that needs more work on your side.
Put out your best work and publish it on another blog to get the biggest results.
Your own blog may have no traffic yet, but the popular blog you submit your post to does.
If you establish a relationship with the blog owner he might even allow you to post again (thanks, Stuart!) or promote some content on your blog.
You could also work together on future projects, do interviews or roundup posts and more.
Guest posting often is the next step after commenting and helps a lot with networking.
Maybe the blogger can introduce you to somebody you didn’t know before? A single influencer connection can make it or break it.

Google+ Communities

9 Google Plus Communities

This is something I recently discovered while I joined a niche Google+ group founded by Jon Haver.
These kind of communities can drive some serious traffic if you get your hands dirty and give value to the group.
You need to participate by answering questions from other members, help out with links (not your own links only!), +1 other peoples comments and so on.
After some time, you will earn respect from the group.
Now you can start spreading your own links into the discussion, but never stop interacting on other posts.
I already recognized large groups aren’t necessarily the best, sometimes small groups are more active.
Share free tools you know of, posts from authority blogs and simply be helpful.
It may be some work in the beginning, but it definitely pays big time. Similar tactics can work for Facebook groups, but I’m not experienced there.

Be Effective by Using Tools

10 Tools New

Most marketing and outreach can be done manually, but that’s not always the most effective way.
It can take you longer and be ineffective because your time probably is spent better elsewhere.
I always recommend tools like Buzzbundle, TweetAttack, Buffer, Hootsuite and others to automate parts of your daily tasks. This will help you to get more done in less time.
In the end, it definitely will bring you more short term visitors to your blog and traffic will even increase over time.
Many of those tools are either available in a free version or you can get a free trial. Start with those and pick the software or web app you like best and see success with.

Content Aggregation Sites

11 Content Aggregator Sites

Spending some time on research you can find several places to submit your links to.
Submit your site to aggregators like AllTop.com, Affposts.com, AffBuzz.com, and AffDaily.com.
Some of them are paid, some free. I have good experiences with AllTop.com which took some time to get approved, but sends quality web traffic now. Just a trickle, but it adds up.
Here are some other popular sites you could give a try:

On top of the free traffic and exposure, you will gain some high-quality links to improve your off-page SEO. I think it’s time well spent to check out those sites and pick the ones that are helpful for you.

Paid Traffic

12 Paid Traffic

Don’t be afraid to use paid traffic. If done right, paid advertising can result in a crazy ROI and earn you decent money. Almost every social network has its own ad platform built in.
Here are some of the leaders right now:

  • Facebook Ads (best targeting options of all networks)
  • Twitter Ads (useful to collect leads)
  • Reddit Ads (can be cheap if done right)
  • Stumbleupon Paid Discovery (drives huge amounts of traffic in a short time frame)
  • Pinterest Ads (quite new on the market, try it yourself)

I’m sure you can find more on your own if you need to.
There are also classic options like banner advertising on the Google Ad Network or BuySellAds.com.
You could even go out and find individual blogs to advertise on or use someone on Fiverr.
Content Discovery Networks also can be interesting for “viral news” type sites. These are more advanced, but can work well.
For example:

  • Outbrain
  • Taboola
  • Gravity
  • MGID
  • Disqus
  • Content.ad
  • nRelate

I would recommend these only if you can afford a decent budget. Paid content discovery networks can be a lot of trial and error to find converting headlines to make them profitable.

Recycle Old Posts

13 Recycle Old

One of the most effective strategies to get the most traffic out of each post you write is to re-purpose it on other sites. This doesn’t mean content syndication, but changing the medium.
This means in case of a blog post you can do the following after publishing it on your own site:

  • change it into a PDF as leadmagnet
  • submit the PDF on doc sharing sites
  • create a Slideshare
  • turn the Slideshare into a video
  • turn the video into a podcast
  • rewrite your notes as a guest post

Many of the above-mentioned steps do not take much time to complete, but the traffic you will get can be worth it.
I like to call this satellite marketing because you not only get traffic from your own domain, but several satellite sites also.

Traffic Generation Summary

No need to be an SEO professional, you can still make it.
It’s all about being consistent and putting the work in.
It may take you several hours or even days to write a guest post, submit content to third-party sites or implement social metadata on your blog.
Believe me, your time is not wasted. The word will spread, your blog traffic will grow and so will your income.