What’s Your strategy to drive traffic to your blogs?
Organic traffic has died down, thanks to the many algorithm changes made by Google. Competition has increased manifold and everybody and his dog has a blog and wants to drive traffic to them. Backlinks don’t work and neither is social bookmark link building. You keep refreshing your stats in the hope that the traffic graph will finally show an upward trend.
Is this where you are?
Most bloggers are in the same situation. They do everything that they can and then the strategy is a “hope” that they will see traffic. But the fact is that “Hope” is not a strategy.
If organic traffic is the only thing that you are relying then, if you are not ranking on the first couple of pages for your keywords, then your blog is dying a slow death.
So what is the solution? How do I drive traffic to my blogs?
Targeted Traffic to Blogs using Content Discovery Platforms
“Content discovery”, though the term sounds a little too technical, in simple terms refers to a method through which recommended and related content is shown to a visitor reading an article. To put it into perspective let me give you an example. You might have seen the below recommendations at the bottom of all my blog posts,
and another recommended content just after each post,
Both of the above are examples of content discovery and this is achieved by 2 different content discovery plugins – Jetpack and Outbrain. What these plugins do is, they show a list of posts that are similar or, related to the post that the reader was just reading. These related posts could be from your own blog or, from other blogs on the internet.
Before you start scratching your head on how this related to driving traffic which was the point that we were discussing, let me tell you that this is one of the easiest and most effective ways of driving traffic to your blogs.
So the obvious question is, how would showing a related posts plugin in my blog bring traffic to it?
If you read the above paragraphs carefully, you would have noticed this line, “These related posts could be from your own blog or, from other blogs on the internet“. What it essentially means is that visitors on your website have an option of clicking over on one of the links in the list of recommended posts, that goes to another website and visit that website. That is traffic to that site. And this same plugin would be showing related posts on that blog as well and one of the post in the list there could be your blog and people can click through to your blog from those links. Check out the below screenshot from CNN.com.
The links under the widget “around the web” is the content provided by a content discovery platform and if from different websites that are participating in it.
Let me simplify it. This is how it works –
- You join one of these content discovery platforms and add your blog to it.
- You agree to show the related post plugin on your blog.
- Content from other blogs who are part of this same content discovery platform starts showing up on your related posts list.
- Similarly your posts start showing up on the other blogs that are part of this content discovery platform.
- Exchange of traffic happens and you get a different set of audience just as the other blogs in the network will get.
The best part about this traffic is that, it is extremely targeted. This is because your content gets shown to a visitor on a post that is related to your post. So the visitor who is clicking on the link has been prepped about the topic and is ready to read more about it. That is when he clicks on the link to be taken to your website. So you have his attention and then it is all about just keeping him engaged.
Recommended Content Discovery Platforms
I tested out some of the content discovery platforms out there. When I started off, my biggest constraint was investment and hence I did not want to invest a lot of money into any kind of advertising. And since content discovery was a new thing for me, I did not want to put in a lot of money into testing something.
So, my first quest was to find a platform that didn’t require too much of investment. And that’s how I stumbled upon Outbrain and they have since been one of our best sources for traffic.
Below are some of these content discovery platforms that we recommend, in case you are looking for some nice and targeted traffic for your blogs.
Outbrain is one of the biggest content discovery platforms out there and its enormity can be judged from the fact that news websites like CNN, Time etc. use them to serve related content on their websites. These websites use Outbrain to both advertise their content and publish recommendations as well.
They serve about 190 billion recommendations monthly to their users. So you can expect a lot of targeted traffic to you in a very short span of time with Outbrain.
Since the initial deposit with Outbrain is pretty low, their platform is a nice way to test out the traffic and plan your funnel in order to find the one with the best conversions.
Taboola is very similar to Outbrain and is a decent competitor. But the problem with them is that their preliminary requirements to accept you into the network are very high. Also the initial deposit in also on the higher side. But their traffic is good. No wonder big brands like BBC, Forbes etc. use them to serve recommendations.
They also serve about 200 billion recommendations monthly to about 550 million unique users and that is a lot of fresh visitors that you could acquire for your blogs and websites.
This is one and the only content discovery network that is free. They have been in the industry since a long time and have more than 3,000 quality publishers partnering with them. The only caveat with their network is that their recommendations are not family safe and is slightly mature. Hence, you might want to use them if you are in the dating niche or, any other similar niche.
Gravity is another decent content recommendation platform. They have been in the business since 2009 and sends some decent traffic from a variety of interest areas. They have an interest graph on their website which gives you a fair idea of what niches are their visitors from.
Technology, Relationships, Society, Lifestyle and Entertainment are the top interests that they serve their content in.
Joining them requires filling up a contact form, post which their representatives will get in touch.
This was our 2nd best network in terms of conversions. Content.ad is relatively new but recommends your content to high-traffic and premium websites thus ensuring that the traffic that you get is of top quality. I found that their traffic converted well and showed better engagement that most other content discovery platforms.
You could start with a very low deposit of about $100, with them and get some good traffic in a very short period of time.
Which one do you plan to use?
The platforms that worked the best for us were Outbrain and Content.ad and that is what we recommend, if you are just starting out. With Outbrain, you have the advantage of testing it out with little money and that is the way we recommend that you start. Once you have tested out this traffic method, you an add Content.ad as well to your list of platforms.
Whatever the choice of platform, content discovery platforms have proved to be a good traffic source to a lot of my web properties. I have been able to generate extremely targeted traffic using this channel and I would recommend that you try it out, if you have already.
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