How to Get Direct Traffic
If you read this blog regularly, you probably think I write way too much about search engine optimization (SEO). Apologies, occupational hazard. And I like free traffic. Some argue that SEO is a slow path to growth, and it can be. And it's not the only way to grow. Over the years, I've worked with people who got traffic other ways. Analog ways even. And one of those roads is getting people to type your URL into the address bar on the browser. Yes, here's a few ideas how to get direct traffic (which is what that means).
Word of Mouth
"Dude, I saw this amazing blog called RenegadeBlogger.com!" If you deliver great content, if you're a true renegade with the right stuff, people will talk about you. Think Seth Godin, Joe Rogan, Gary Vaynerchuck, and Tim Ferriss (I read his "5-Bullet Friday" newsletter every weekend -- see that word of mouth?). Great content. Great reputation. People talk. NB: having a simple URL helps immensely (e.g., How2BSmarter.com sucks -- if you have to spell your domain out, think about changing it (I once worked for the cleverly-named company YTransl8, which taught me this valuable lesson)).
Print Business Cards
I'm an introvert, not a big fan of in-person meetings. But I have cards to hand out, just in case I have a real conversation. "So, Scotty old boy...what do you do?". After wincing, I explain I'm a technical nerd who builds websites and blogs. "If you know anyone, here's my card." BOOM. Nine times out of ten, they want to see what a geek like me could possibly have to say. Cost of goods? Maybe a penny for that card. Even if you're a school teacher (ahem, Michael), you could have cards for your side hustle blog. Something simple is fine. Hit Vistaprint or Moo and Bob's your uncle.
Give a Presentation
If you're blogging, you're somewhat a subject matter expert on whatever you're writing about. Find a Meetup [https://meetup.com] group or a local community where you can share your expertise in person. Whether you write a foodie, sewing, business, technology, or political blog, there's most likely a physical community you can stand in front of and share. Giving a PowerPoint talk? Include your URL on the cover and last slide. Mention it at the beginning and end too. And give folks one of those business cards. By the way, the bigger the stage, the more direct traffic you can drive. Want proof? My"frient" (friend who is also a client) recently showed her product on ABC's show for entrepreneurs, Shark Tank. Guess what THAT did for Click & Carry traffic (and sales).
Put Your Web Address on Your Product
If you have a book, a tool, or really any physical product, include your website address. Putting your URL, hopefully a memorable one, encourages those who see it to visit the site. Years ago, I worked with a company that manufactured sporting goods. They were easily the first company of their type to put the URL on the product. Yes, literally, on the (in this case) ball. Every time a player served the ball, they probably read the URL. Genius. Another idea, by the way, is to put it on apparel. You can print t-shirts inexpensively - google "print one t-shirt" and start clicking around.
Appear on a Podcast or Radio Show
Yes, this idea is similar to giving a presentation, but it's a bit nuanced. I listen to tons of podcasts, and I've discovered (far too) many blogs, books, and products, which led to site visits, subscriptions, purchases, and referrals. Sometimes I have to Google it, but many times, I punch the URL in the address bar and get started. So if you have the chance to be a guest on a show in your niche, it's a great thing. And most shows help you drive referral traffic too (subject of a future post).
So THAT's How to Get Direct Traffic
Analog doesn't always suck. Offline marketing can be as cost-effective as online. With a modest investment, you can drive direct traffic to your blog. Like SEO, it's cheap. And unlike SEO, it's stuff you would probably do anyway (at least now that you know). Take a shot soon, and see if you get more direct traffic.
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