The 100K Challenge: Increase your web traffic by building relationships

Find out why who you know is as important as what you know when it comes to increasing your web traffic.

During the 100K Challenge series of articles on increasing your web traffic I’ve covered creating valuable content and using keywords strategically and given examples of how I do this on my grand slam tennis blog.

In this article I’ll cover why it’s important to build relationships with people in your niche and your target audience 

By now we’re at the stage where you’ve created your content and added your keywords.

In terms of organic traffic, at this point in time you website might be well enough optimised to get traffic from search engines. Or it might not be. Organic traffic is fantastic if you can get it, but there are also a lot of other ways that you can increase your web traffic.

Your online marketing mix

Include different activities in your online marketing plan, including:

  • Building a list of people to receive your new content via email.
  • Sharing your new content via Social Media like Twitter and Facebook.
  • Promoting your URL (the domain) of your website to your network, for example on your business card, car and printed materials.
  • Writing guest articles for other websites that include a link back to your website. This is a good strategy for building inbound links, which can help to increase your organic traffic.

Review your Traffic Sources in Google Analytics

The screen shot below shows my main web traffic sources.

  • The first is organic traffic from Google
  • The second is people who know about my blog and go their direct
  • The third is people clicking on a shortened link which are the links created by the “tweet” share button that appears at the top and bottom of my articles.
I also covered Traffic Sources in a previous 100K Challenge article. 

The importance of building relationships

In my opinion, all of the marketing options above other than increasing your organic traffic are best achieved by building relationships.

Sure you can go ahead and email people that you’ve never interacted with asking if you can write a blog post for them, or continually share links to your content on Facebook and Twitter.

But… if you have a relationship with the people receiving your content, you’re more likely to get a better response.

More Retweets.

More Likes.

More email opens.

More positive replies.

More people going direct to your website looking specifically for your content.

Continue relationships that start offline, online

When you attend networking events or meet people at other events, ask for their business card.

Have a look at their website when you get a chance and send them a follow up email, which includes your contact details. Depending upon who it is, you can also follow that person on Twitter, connect with them on LinkedIn, “Like” their Facebook page etc.

If the person has a blog you can sign up to receive their updates and comment their articles. If they have a similar target audience to you once you’re familiar with their content you could ask if you can write a guest post for them or if they would like to write a guest article for you.

Once you’re connected, starting communicating.

It’s probably not advisable to connect and then contact your new contact via every platform to say it was nice to meet (seems a bit stalker-ish to me but maybe it is OK! Let me know what you think in the comments) but use at least one platform to make contact.

Build relationships online

This point flows on from the one above but it can easier to engage with someone online when you’ve already met him or her face to face. Particularly because you know a bit more about them, what their sense of humour is like etc

If you’re starting online, I suggest doing some free market research to find other websites and blogs in your niche. Here are some tips for online marketing research. Once you’ve found the right blogs in your niche it’s generally pretty easy to work out how to connect with the blogger via social media. You can get to know the blogger by leaving comments on their articles.

It’s recommended to have a Gravatar when you’re commenting on blogs, so that a picture of you appears next to your comment, which for personal branding consistency is ideally the same picture that you use as you Twitter avatar, Facebook thumbnail etc

Make the most of Twitter

For me, Twitter is the ultimate way to connect with tennis fans. Before I started using Twitter I knew I was a crazy obsessive fan but didn’t know anyone else who was. Then I started using Twitter and realised there are thousands of tennis fans located all around the world, a lot of them way more obsessive to me. And because of Twitter we can all get connected.

The tennis fans that I’m connected to on Twitter add so much value and enjoyment to my tennis experience. Sharing tips about the tournaments, giving updates when needed, general chatting, sharing the sadness of missing Rafa and understanding the commitment that it takes to watch a grand slam tournament for 14 days straight.

It’s the people who I know on Twitter that are most likely to Retweet and Comment on my articles, and give me feedback and input when I need it.

Tips for Good Twitter Etiquette

I know that different people use Twitter in different ways. Personally I’m on Twitter to meet like-minded people and have a laugh. I’m not interested in any conflict, controversy or trolling.

A few tips which I think help to make the Twitter world a better place.

Follow people back.

Unless there’s a reason not too. For example if they are a Russian Bride type account with a lot of cleavage in the avatar, generally no followers and they have sent the same tweet to a whole list of people. If someone new follows me and I see that they are a tennis fan, I always follow them back.

Reply when people tweet to you.

This seems obvious but a lot of people don’t do it.

I always do my best to reply when people Tweet me to continue the conversation and get to know people a bit more.

Say “Thank you” for RTs.

Acknowledge people and show your appreciation if someone Retweets one of your blog articles.

Opportunities arise

Some of the opportunities that can come from getting to know people on Twitter, or having a large number of targeted Twitter followers:

  • Attending a local event on behalf of someone who can’t easily get there, and Tweeting from their account. Ideally their account has a lot of Twitter followers. They’ll probably let you introduce yourself and your Twitter handle, which can help you get more followers.
  • Same as above but you tweet from your account, using a specific hashtag to help give that hashtag more exposure within your network.
  • Attending an event on behalf of another publication in order to write an article on their behalf.  Ideally for a website that has a big readerships. You can link to your website in the article and also gain kudos when you tweet that you’re writing for that publication.

All of the examples above can get you access to events that you may not otherwise be able to go to. You’ll enjoy the experience and once you’ve met your agreed commitments, ideally you’ll be able to share content on your own blog too.  I attended several pre Australian Open media events and several sessions of the Australian Open based on opportunities that arose via Twitter and my blog.

In terms of other opportunities, once people start finding your blog you’ll probably also get people contacting you asking about advertising and payment for links included in your articles.

You may need to ask

Haven written everything that’s above, some opportunities may come to you, but they don’t always. Sometimes you need to make them happen by coming up with an idea and then approaching the right people.

Ready to increase your web traffic?

I’ve covered the main principles that I follow in order to increase web traffic to my blog. I hope it’s been helpful and if you have any questions, please leave them below.

Need help with Twitter?

Twitter for Business is a Grassroots eBook jam packed full of step-by-step instructions that will help you understand how to use Twitter to build relationships and market your business.