I’m on my journey to 10,000 monthly visitors.

Every month I post a traffic report summarizing my traffic progress.

March is our second month since we started Growth Text and we had a lot of fun growing our traffic this month.

My blog traffic increased 380% in March over February numbers.

I’m going to share with you the techniques I’ve applied so that you can take what you read here and implement it on your site.

So, let’s dive in:

March 2016 Traffic Report

The numbers below include March 1st through the 31st:

increase website traffic

In March, I added 3 new blog posts.

Each the traffic spike in the graph above was when I published a new blog post.

Notice that the 3rd traffic spike was higher than the 2 previous spikes.

That was when the traffic stayed on my site longer and shared and distributed the post on social media.

Later in this report, I’ll show you how I got influencers to share my blog posts on social media, creating a longer-lasting traffic flow than I would have gotten from only alerting my subscribers to the post.

Let’s get back to the Google Analytics stats:

We had 2428 unique visitors in March.

Average session duration was 1:58 minutes.

The bounce rate was 75.39%, higher than what we experienced in February.

This is because a significant portion of this month visits came from Facebook and Twitter.

Social traffic is usually less sticky than community forum traffic, thus the higher bounce rate.

How to lower the bounce rate?

Build a mailing list.

As we increase website traffic, we get visits from everywhere: social media, friends telling friends, online forums, other blogs linking to us, and search engines.

Traffic is channel into our site from different sources, but not all traffic sources are equal…

For example: niche related community forum traffic is usually more targeted, but they lack volume.

Social media provides large traffic numbers, but the traffic tends to be less targeted.

Not everyone from Facebook or Twitter is super excited about learning to increase website traffic (that’s the niche Growth Text is in).

They might land on my site because they saw my content was shared on Facebook, take a peek then leave within a few seconds.

That’s totally fine.

We only need the attention of those who resonate with our content, not everyone who visits the site.

What we do is offer something in exchange for for interested visitors filling out the subscriber form.

Every additional subscriber is an additional lead.

By building a list (of leads), we channel interested people into our circle of influence.

These are the people who will spend a longer time reading my content and marketing messages.

As a result, the average time spent on my site will increase and the bounce rate will decrease.

Now, let’s see where our traffic is coming from…

increase website traffic

Direct Traffic

As you can see from the numbers above, direct traffic drove the highest number of viewers.

A “direct session” in Google Analytics occurs when someone clicks a link in an email, types a domain name into a browser, or uses a bookmark to access a web site.

These visits are from our mailing list subscribers and referral traffic when friends tell friends.

Here is our direct traffic growth rate:

Last month direct traffic: 167 visits

This month: 1767 visits

Growth rate: 1000%… with just 3 pieces of new blog posts.

Want more direct traffic?

Tell your unique story.

I’m sharing my journey to 10K monthly visitors on this blog.

It’s authentic; it’s unique to this blog.

Quality content is nice, but unique stories command attention.

This type of content makes traffic growth so much easier because the word spreads faster.

Blogging about Hawaii?

Move over to the islands, spend a couple of months there and showcase your real island life.

Blogging on a diet?

Make a commitment to lose x amount of pounds within the next 6 months. Share your progress on the blog.

Blogging about Facebook advertising?

Run live ad campaigns, show what works, what flopped.

Our unique story separates and differentiates us from everyone else.

Otherwise, we’re just one more WordPress install that doesn’t own a space in our readers mind…

and isn’t that our objective? To be memorable?

Without that, and your viewers’ desire to share your content, it’s nearly impossible to grow your audience.

Social Media Traffic

Facebook came in at number one social media traffic source.

Twitter (t.co) was the second highest driver at 121 users.

Combined, Facebook and Twitter traffic accounted for 33% of the total traffic I had.

I drove most of my social traffic to just one blog post:

increase website traffic

Here is the link to the post: 18 Free Stock Photos Websites Professional Designer Won’t Tell You About.

In the post, I curated a list of free stock photo websites.

Most of the photographs in the sites are free from copyright restrictions.

These sites are very helpful as they save marketers a lot of money buying pricey stock photos for their web projects.

As of today, the post has received more than 400 shares.

How did I promote the post?

Here was what I did:

After I published the blog post, I headed over to Google.

I Googled “free stock photo websites” to pull out blog posts which share content similar to my post.

This page ranked number 1 on the search result:

increase website traffic

The bootstrapbay.com blog post was created back in 2015.

It was shared 157 times on the social media.

What I would do is hunt down the people who have shared this 2015 piece of content and reach out to them to see if they would share my new blog post.

Since they shared the “2015 list”, the chances are pretty high that they would share the latest list.

That’s no brainer, right? …at least in theory.

But how do I find them?

Buzzsumo.

Buzzsumo is a research and monitoring tool with several powerful functions like content research and influencer outreach.

All you have to do is type in a URL of a blog post and Buzzsumo will spit out a list of the influencers who tweeted the post.

I logged in to my Buzzsumo account, inserted the bootstrapbay.com link and here is what I got:

grow website traffic

84 influencers.

I get to access to each influencers name, twitter handle and their website.

Buzzsumo doesn’t reveal the influencers email address though.

I have to find a way to reach their inbox.

It’s not hard though. Most of influencers have a contact page on their website, so I can contact them from there.

The influencer must speak to the same general audience that I’m trying to reach though.

I’m blogging in the “increase website traffic” niche, so obviously I don’t want spending time reaching out to a hip hop artist like P Chill:

targeted website traffic

Influencers in areas like blogging, seo, social media, and digital marketing are a perfect fit for my blog.

I included people like Tena Moore to my contact list:

target website traffic 3

And people like John Miller:

targeted website traffic 2

Once I collected a list of influencers I wanted to reach out to.

Here is what I did:

I commented on their blogs, and tweeted their posts FIRST before writing them a personal email.

Why?

Because cold emails are deleted FAST.

Before you invade someone’s email inbox, make sure you’re not a nobody to them.

In 2015, an average person received 85 email messages per day.

I would guess that people in our industry probably receive between 100% and @200% more.

A cold email will usually be deleted even before it’s opened.

So getting your name in front of an influencer FIRST is important.

They see you when you comment on their blog.

They see you again on when you tweet their content.

When they scan their inbox, your email will more likely be open and read.

Here was an example email I sent:

=====
Hi Tena,

Love your post, just tweeted 😉

While doing research, I saw you shared this post on Twitter some time ago: bootstrapbay.com/blog/free-stock-photos

I’ve compiled an updated list for 2016, would you be interested in taking a look at my article on the latest “top free stock photo websites on the Internet”?

Sincerely,
Verena
=====

When I got the green light to send over my link, here is how I replied:

=====
Hi Tena,

Thanks for getting back.

Here is the link: http://growthtext.com/free-stock-photos

Sincerely,
Verena

P/S: Special tweet ready to go if you’re inclined to share http://ctt.ec/G6L2e
=====

The result?

Boom!

My new blog post was distributed around Twitter when the influencers’ tweets went out.

The post then spread to Facebook and other social media when it was picked up on Twitter.

The whole idea is pretty straight forward:

Approach influencers who have tweeted similar content in the past to tweet out a new post.

The chances of getting them to say yes is high if they’ve already shared the same type of content before.

There’s a method to doing this, so pay attention…

In my first email, I didn’t just send them a link to the post; I asked for permission to share my content, and asked if they would be interested in reading it.

Always remember, your first email is a cold email to the influencer.

Don’t slap a link in a cold email and hoping that person will tweet it.

Most of the time, you’ll be disappointed.

Do we meet a stranger on the street and ask for a tweet?

No, we don’t, so don’t do it in your email, either.

Always remember: Don’t ask for a favor until you’ve provided value first.

The rule is, give someone a gift and they are automatically driven to do you a favor.

Think about it.

The value you provide must be something that is of value to the receiver; in this case, the upgrade of content they have already considered to be of interest to their followers.

In my first email I politely ask if I can send over my link (upgraded content, the value), and I do not ask for anything.

Once I get the okay, I send over the link and make it easy for them to share it.

That’s how it works for me.

Warrior Forum Traffic

Right behind social media comes traffic from the Warrior Forum.

The epic content I posted on the Warrior Forum in February still drives traffic to Growth Text.

As of today, the post has been viewed more than 17,000 times and still keeps sending me traffic and subscribers (through my link in my forum signature), though it contributes to a smaller portion of my traffic compared to February.

Those are the major sources of traffic in March.

The rest of the traffic sources are too small to report on and insignificant; not worth writing about.

So there you have the traffic break down for Growth Text’s second month on the Internet.

Now let’s get to the list building part.

List Building

Here is my main list subscriber growth:

grow website traffic

According to Aweber, my subscribers grew to 445 in March.

Last month, it was 215.

That’s nearly a 100% increase, the result of site-wide pop ups and calls to action on every post to motivate viewers to sign up for updates on my 10K-visitors journey.

That’s the main list…

Apart from my main list, I started building a new list on Growth Text this month.

If you scroll down on this post, you will notice that I offer to give away 8 more free stock photo sites that are not listed in the post.

Here is a snapshot of the offer:

increase website traffic tips
That’s a content upgrade offer.

Since the offer is highly related to the post, lead conversion via content upgrade is way way higher than the regular sign-up forms on the rest of the site.

The result?

I added 54 subscribers to my list with the content upgrade.

Conversion rate: 4.15%

It converts 264% higher than my site-wide exit subscription pop up.

I use Thrive Leads to build, run, and track my content upgrade form.

The plugin powers my site-wide exit pop up, too.

In conclusion

I hope I’m providing the value you are looking for.

Every month I’ll be posting a traffic report like this to summarize how I increase website traffic.

Now I want to hear what you have to say:

What’s the #1 takeaway point you got from today’s traffic report?

Leave a comment below.

14 thoughts on “How I Increase Website Traffic By 380% In 30 Days Without Spending a Dime on Advertising

  1. I was wondering how can I get notified when my blog post is shared on the social media. What if others don’t tag or mention me?

    Is there a tool that can show me a list of those who shared my blog posts? (Buzzsumo?)

    Ali

  2. A very easy to follow and methodical article Verena. I liked the way you explained step by step how you reached influencers & got them to take the action you required – kudos to you!

    Cheers
    Mark

    1. Glad to hear that you enjoyed the post, Mark. This is a great way to start driving traffic to a brand new blog. Let me know if you have any questions about the process.

  3. Verena, Great stuff! I never knew you were a blogger. I seen you on the Warrior Forum offering your great website services. You’re definitely multi-talented! Keep up these awesome posts.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to stop by, Corrisa. I’ll definitely keep you posted when my next post is released. Just make sure you’ve signed up to join my 10K monthly visitors journey.

  4. A lot of great and easy to follow information here. I will be putting this process into action on my own websites very soon. Thank you Verena for sharing this with us!

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