The No-Nonsense List of Pure Practical Tips to Drive More Referrals to Your Blog
Are you sick of generic tips of increasing blog traffic? Tired of strategies that are just too impractical to implement? Well, I am, and that’s why I have created this no nonsense guide, with only the most practical methods that anybody can understand and work with.
Now, if I’m not wrong, you own a blog that’s close to your heart, and are striving to get the traffic counts up. Because you’re reading this post, I know you are looking to benefit from referral traffic. That’s understandable, after all, the most successful blogs out there are also the ones that significant referral traffic.
What is Referral Traffic After All?
To make sure you understand this guide better, let’s understand referral traffic better. Any website traffic resulting from the visibility of your website’s content on any other website, social media platform, communities and forums, physical printed advertisements and promotional materials, YouTube, etc. is referral traffic. More simply, any traffic that’s NOT directly from search engine results is referral traffic.
If you use Google Analytics (I hope you do), do this right now. Go to the Dashboard, and click on All Traffic under Acquisition in the left sidebar, and click in Referrals. You’ll see something like this –
Read this KissMetrics guide on Analytics of Referral traffic some time after you get your referral campaigns off.
You get the idea, right? Now, what can you do to get more and more referral traffic? Let’s take it step by step.
Step 1 – Referrals from Other Website and Blogs
Blog readership works a lot like any market. More the number of good companies and good products, more the market grows as a whole. This makes other websites and blogs from your niche very important from a referral perspective. Here are some strategies.
1. Blog Commenting
- a. Prepare a list of 100+ top blogs for your niche. You can compile this list by doing Google searches for the most competitive keywords for your niche and noting URLs of top 10 blogs in the search results.
- b. Every week, target 10 blogs, and identify 3 posts from each (that means 30 comments per week), with high readership. Look for recent posts, ones on trending topics, and of course, one with most views.
- c. Read the post thoroughly, identify two or three points that you can share vital information on, compile a short and crisp comment on the same, and post in the comments section.
Blog administrators are willing to showcase value adding comments on their posts. Even with a 20% success rate, you will have 6 comments activated on top blogs per week. With more comments under your name adding every week, it soon becomes a thriving ecosystem that brings referral traffic to your website.
2. Guest Posts
This will take more time, but shows better results as well. Because conversion rates are on the lower side, you want to target the right blogs. Again, the key is to identify blogs with massive readership, and invest genuine effort in creating your guest post.
- Here’s a pretty cool guide to help you get better at guest posting.
- Here’s the famous Buzz Blogger page for all your guest post destination searching.
- GuestPostTracker is a good tool to organize your guest posting efforts; it costs $47 for lifetime access.
- Alternatively, check out these other free or more inexpensive tools and portals that aid your guest blogging and outreach efforts.
Two Stunning Blog Targeting Tools And How to Use Them
1. All Top: It’s a directory of blogs. Just put a niche in the search box, and you get a list of top blogs for the niche. Here’s what I got when I searched for SEO.
2. FollowerWonk: It’s a Moz tool dedicated to integrating your Twitter research and marketing efforts. But you can use it for blog curation too. Here is how to use FollowerWonk :-
- Go to FollowerWonk
- Click on Search Bios
- Enter your keyword in the search box.
- Select ‘search Twitter bios only’ in the box next to the search.
- Click on Do It.
Here you are –
You see, it’s a lot like link building, and apart from the referral traffic, you also get quality backlinks from your guest posts.
Step 2 – Referrals from Social Media
Social Media drives significant referral traffic. Since Facebook and Twitter are the biggest contributors of this referral traffic, let’s focus our attention on these two platforms.
There are so many ways to leverage Facebook for getting referral traffic. Basically, it’s about creating crisp posts, messages, and comments, and adding your blog posts’ links in there, and hoping that readers would click.
- Identify active, relevant, and high membership count groups to post your content in.
- Use social media post scheduling tools to automate your work. Check PracticalEcommerce’s list of such tools.
Here are some lesser known tips to help you with your Facebook efforts for getting referral traffic.
- A recent study explains that visual sneak peeks improve the appeal of Facebook post previews. So, make sure you’ve given access to Facebook Crawler, to create previews from your post titles.
- To optimize your content for Facebook Crawler, use these Open Graph meta tags
- Use tools like Canva and Recite to create stunning visual content in a jiffy.
Even if you don’t have a massive number of Twitter followers of your own, you must keep the foot on the pedal by motivating readers to click and head over to your blog to know more on trending topics of their interest. Here’s a simple way.
JustReTweet is a lesser known but awesome tool to get Twitter referrals. Here’s how it works.
- Sign in to JustReTweet.com with your Twitter account.
- You start with 100 free credits. Earn more credits by re-tweeting content from others.
- When you post something awesome, assign your credit points to it, and maximize the prospects of other users re-tweeting it.
- Activity Summary sections clearly shows how many followers you gained, credits spent, content shared, etc.
Step 3 – Referrals from YouTube
Why YouTube, you ask? Why not! It records more than 3 billion views daily.
To get referral traffic from YouTube:
- Create short video content for all your blog posts, and promote on YouTube.
- Identify the most relevant high viewership videos relevant to your niche and leave value adding comments.
- Add a crisp 5-6 word phrase such as ‘check out this SEO 101 list’ and add your link to begin the video description box. Then, describe the link to entice the reader to actually click.
To lead a YouTube video visitor to your website, focus on detailing these 3 elements to the viewer-
- What to do? (visit my blog)
- How to do? (click on the link in the description)
- Why to do? (get a free ebook on SEO!)
Here’s something you would want to try out – get paid advertisement on YouTube videos, with Call To Action Overlay. The Call to Action Overlay is a sort of a banner ad that is visible over the lower portion of the video screen. You can add a thumbnail image, write some teaser text, and give links to your blog posts in this banner.
Here is how to setup ads for your Youtube videos :-
1. To activate, go to Ads.YouTube.com, and click on Get Started.
2. Add the link of the YouTube video you wish to promote.
3. Choose the ad title, and 2 lines of description for the advertisement.
4. Decide whether you want to send users who click your ads to your YouTube channel, or to your website.
5. Start slow, and try out with minimum investment.
6. Now, choose a target audience to get more targeted referral traffic.
7. Click ‘Save and Continue’ and You’re done.
Monitor the Youtube Performance
I recommend you use Google Analytics to study how YouTube is contributing to your website traffic. Go to Acquisitions in the left sidebar, go All Traffic, and then Referrals. Now, type in Youtube.com in the search box. You’ll see something of this sort –
YouTube referrals are critical for your blog’s success; invest thought, time, and effort in this direction.
Step 4 – Other Smart Methods
Apart from the tips and tricks discussed above, there are more sources you can target to drive referral traffic to your blog or website.
Focus 80% of your referral traffic efforts towards social media, YouTube, and other authority blogs. The remaining 20% can be distributed over options such as:
A – Blog Communities
Check out BlogEngage. It’s a blog community where you can share links to your blog posts for other members to visit, comment, and share. The key is to stay active, contribute to the community, and soon you will start getting referral traffic. Every month, measure the number of blog visits you get from BlogEngage using Google Analytics (like I explained above for Youtube). If this seems to be working for you, extend your efforts for other renowned blogging communities; here’s a list.
B – Social Bookmarking
Social Bookmarking used to be a must-use option of referral traffic a few years ago. Even today, social bookmarking websites such as StumbleUpon and Digg are relevant for bloggers looking to improve referral traffic. Other top important websites for social bookmarking are-
Reddit : http://www.reddit.com
Delicious : http://www.delicious.com
Dzone : http://www.dzone.com/ (for tech content)
Tumblr : https://www.tumblr.com
C – Influencer Platforms
These are platforms that bring influencers of industries together, in the form of groups. By being a part of such groups, you always give yourself the chance of enjoying the benefit of the reach and visibility some of these influencers have. Imagine Neil Patel sharing one of your posts. Hurray!
One such platform I can recommend is Triberr. Here’s how to use it.
- Sign Up on Triberr.
- Add your blog feed in the Account settings
- Connect Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (at least) accounts.
- Follow relevant groups that match your interests (you need to request a promotion to share your content, and lay back as tribe members share your posts.
- Stay patient and keep on sharing a lot of content for the first few weeks. Things will pick up weight, and Triberr will soon start becoming an important source of referral.
D – Infographics
This is a tough, but exciting option, especially for passionate bloggers who love to research and create the most comprehensive content. Canva Infographic Maker is among the easiest to use tools, and free; try it out. There are other free infographic creation tools on offer, but I suggest you try Canva first.
When you post an infographic, you can add a list of sources in the end, and 3 to 4 of the source links can be your own blog posts. Here’s a terrific post to help you overcome challenges in creating infographics.
My final words as I close this guide – experiment, try different methods, measure results, and do more of what’s working for your blog.
I’d love to hear your experience on driving referral traffic to your blog; share with friends, subscribe for more tips, and see you in comment. Cheers.