How You Can Build Big, Valuable Traffic in Your Small Niche

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One of the ways I work from home is by having a network of small niche blogs and websites that earn money with Adsense and other revenue streams. A lot of these sites are in niches so small that I used to want to give up on them.

Not any more.

Over the years I have learned a lot of ways to grow traffic. More importantly, I have learned a lot of ways to grow valuable traffic. And that is what this post is all about: finding traffic that is not just big, but valuable to your business.

Let’s dive in and find out what you can do to grow traffic when it feels like there just isn’t any around.

The fixation on traffic needs to be killed

Let me start this post by saying that the fixation that the blogging world has on traffic needs to be shot down for good. It is a myth that does more harm than good.

Why?

Because people start blogs hearing about all the massive amounts of traffic and visitors that is possible (and the money that comes from it) and then when they don’t achieve that in the first month, year or at all, they get depressed and give up. This is a huge mistake because big money can be made on small amounts of traffic. If it is the right traffic.

Example:
I have one website (not this one) that gets about ten visitors per day. But, about once a week/fortnight I get a call from one of those visitors and end up earning between $500 and $15,000 from the job. So I would much rather have that small amount of valuable traffic than huge amounts of useless traffic.

I’m writing this post for my friends over at The Study Gurus who asked me on Twitter how to grow traffic in a small niche where you don’t have a lot of big, centralized players who can help to grow your traffic and business. I am also writing it after getting back from another trip in India where I constantly see small players make big money amidst hundreds of thousands of competitors.

The point of this first rant is to reassure you that you can make money on small amounts of traffic and that you need to learn to focus on big and valuable traffic as opposed to just big traffic.

Defining valuable traffic vs big traffic

Trolley
Photo credit: macieklew

We need to take a look at some loose definitions here so we are clear what is going on.

Big traffic: This is the magical traffic amounts that we always hear bloggers talking about. Anything over 2,000 or 3,000 visitors a day. The problem? It isn’t necessarily valuable and has a lot of wastage.

Valuable traffic: Valuable traffic can be both big and small. It is where you have a high conversion rate per number of visitors. The more people that purchase a product, sign up to an email list, etc. the more valuable the traffic is.

Traffic is only as useful as its conversions. If you get a million visitors per day it is pretty useless unless you can generate some revenue.

Is the value 100% on the traffic side?
No. What you will find is that you can make traffic more valuable by tweaking your website. For example, if you are getting a 2% sign up rate on your blog’s email subscription form you might want to look at changing the copy, colors, offering, etc. to see if you can increase it.

However, this will only work if the traffic is relevant. For example, if I took out an advert on a tampon website and sent it to a blog about car racing I would not be able to convert anything, no matter what on-site tweaks I made.

How to build big, valuable traffic in a small niche

The relaxed bookseller
Photo credit: uitdragerij

Let’s get into it now and start looking at some ways you can build relevant and valuable traffic to a website or blog in a small niche. I am going to give you a mixture of resources, marketing methods and tools for you to explore.

1. Fix the site first, don’t lose customers

As far as I am concerned you need to make sure your site is leak proof first. There is no point getting huge amounts of traffic if you are losing them with bad copy, design and so on. Some things you need to look at include:

If you have any posts that you have written about making sure your blog or website is clean and user friendly please leave a comment with the link so people can check it out.

2. Research keywords carefully

If you are a blogger you need to be researching your keywords very carefully using Market Samurai. This is an extremely important step because one or two little words can be the difference between a trickle of traffic and a major torrent.

Here’s an example. Say you are selling dog collars. You might want to target “collars for big dogs” and so you build your site around that phrase. However, if you look in Market Samurai you might find that the phrase “large dog collars” gets double the amount of traffic.

You need to be doing this type of keyword test on every article you write if you are in a small niche. Make sure you are targeting the best keywords with the most traffic and the least competition. Its hard to find them but it does pay off.

Glen from Viper Chill just wrote an incredible, massive post on keyword research which I highly recommend you check out. It can be a bit overwhelming but just bookmark it and learn it bit by bit. It will save you years of work.

3. Get on Youtube

Bloggers need to start expanding their minds and their horizons. Content is still king but the king is really starting to need help. And when you take a look at the breakdown of traffic on the net these days you will see that there is a lot going to waste on Youtube and other non-content based sites.

Oh yeah, Youtube gets over 2 billion views a day!

As you might have seen I started making some really simple Youtube videos a while ago. They are nothing special and they don’t bring huge amounts of traffic but it all counts. It is also a lot easier to get a Youtube video to rank on Google than it is a regular post nowadays. So get on them. They work particularly well for niches where you can display the use of a product or results of a system.

4. Start Podcasting

Podcasting is so easy and it can help you tap into a new market while building trust and authority by adding your voice to your product. I’ve been doing a few of them here.

Its a little bit like Youtube in that iTunes is now getting huge amounts of independent traffic. And as the iPhone market grows you are going to see more and more traffic there. It is a great time to get started with a Podcast because all you need is a mic and some free recording software. You can see the details of what I use on my post about adding audio to my About Us page.

Setting up a Podcast in WordPress actually took me almost a full day to figure out; its not as easy as I had thought and I only figured it out thanks to some help from expert Podcaster Pat Flynn. If enough people want help with this I will do a post about it so let me know in the comments.

5. Find the big players, even if they are hidden

Up above I talked about how my friends over at The Study Gurus were concerned that they didn’t have any big players in their niche in order to connect with, create alliances, etc.

What I think they mean is that in niches like blogging, for example, there are big players like Problogger, Copyblogger, etc. where you can try and get guest posts and as such launch a readership. But not every niche has these. At least, not every niche has big overt ones.

What you need to do is find the big players in your niche, even if they are hidden somewhere else. For example, I once did a guest post a non-fitness blog about abdominal training to build traffic and back links for my fitness blog. The post got a huge reception, went viral and ended up getting indexed on Google in a top position for the keyword. It opened my eyes to the fact that sometimes you need to go outside your direct niche to find players that can massively influence/change what you are doing.

Take the luxury car niche as an example. You don’t just see Lexus ads in car magazines. In fact, that would be a really small part of their marketing. Instead they market in industries and niches that might attract and hold the attention of potential consumers like men’s magazines, airlines where business people travel, football and sport matches, etc. Think narrow with your niche, but market broadly.

The Study Gurus, I imagine, would have some huge opportunities on college humor blogs, parenting and motherhood blogs, University websites, etc.

6. Develop a resource and give it away for free

One of the best ways to get attention to your blog is to develop a free resource that adds a huge amount of value and then give it away for free. Marketers have been doing it for a long time and it is an especially powerful technique for online marketing.

The best free giveaways add value to people’s life, save them time or money. If you can develop something that will enhance a person’s life there is a good chance it will get shared around. Sometimes it can take the form of a tool that you hire someone to build or it could be an eBook, report, etc.

Here is another cool thing you might not know: Google actually indexes blogs with tools higher than those without. For example, you will often find that the highest ranking fitness websites have things like Body Mass Index calculators and calorie calculators on them. Why is this so? Because Google wants to send people to highly useful sites. If you have taken time to develop a cool tool then you are obviously useful.

7. Get offline

Who wrote the rule that websites are only promoted using online methods? Its just not the case. Some of the best marketing for websites can be done on offline media like print, radio and TV.

Now, you have to be careful about this because you can waste time and money pretty quickly. But, if you have a good idea and a website that translates well to offline marketing you can generate a lot of valuable traffic even in a very small niche.

Some ideas for The Study Gurus would be to develop a small advert that can be placed in school and College newsletters, posters for the cafeterias, etc. A small ongoing deal with one or two schools could yield really big results.

8. Get social and get clever

Clever social media marketing can bring a torrent of valuable traffic if it is done properly. Most people, sadly, just sort of fizzle out with their Twitter and Facebook marketing. To avoid that you need to:

  • Have a goal for yourself
    What are you trying to achieve on Facebook and Twitter? How many exact conversions, sales and followers are we talking about?
  • Know exactly why people should use your social media pages
    Why should people share your stuff? What will get them involved? What are you doing to motivate them? Just talking about stuff is not enough. You need to find a way to use social media to enrich people’s lives in relation to your product.
  • Connect quickly but carefully
    Social media is as much about which peers follow you as it is about which customers follow you. Connect with big people who will share your stuff occasionally. You need to do this by striking up a relationship off of the social sites and slowly do favors and ask for favors in return. I’ve written a bit about this here.

I really think people need to start studying social media marketing more. I hear so many people saying that Twitter and Facebook doesn’t work for them and as such they give up. Rubbish! These sites can send masses of useful traffic and generate a lot of business. You just need to make it work for your situation.

9. Get other people to sell your stuff for you
Affiliate programs are a really good idea if you have a product that someone else can promote for you. Not enough bloggers do this.

Take clothing label Calvin Klein as an example. They don’t just make the products and then sell them themselves – they get other stores to do it for them. You can find their knickers and fragrances in department stores all over the world. These are affiliates. They get paid a percentage of the sale (in essence).

Setting up an affiliate program can be a bit of a nightmare or it can be totally easy. Services like E-junkie make it really easy to sell eBooks but physical products can be a little bit more difficult. My only advice here is to make sure you capture all the data (emails, etc.) and give your sellers a 60% or higher payout to encourage as many sellers as possible.

If anyone would like to know more about this I can do a post later on.

What has worked for you?

I’d really like to open up the comments now to anyone who has had any experience generating big, valuable traffic on a blog or website that lives in a small niche. Even if it was just one post that got a lot of love, please share it with me. If anyone has any other questions about how to grow traffic to a small site I would be happy to answer your questions.

Top Photo credit: JimReeves

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64 Comments. Join in. *Closed after 30 days*

  • Glen Allsopp

    Thanks for the link!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      No worries man.


  • chris

    BT IS ALIVE!!!!! More comments coming soon. πŸ™‚


    1. Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper

      I was just thinking the same thing. πŸ™‚


  • chris

    One comment on podcasting…KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!

    I did a survey of my visitors. One of the questions was “would you be interested in a podcast?” The “no’s” far out-numbered the “yes’s.” That’s not to say your visitor’s wouldn’t want a podcast. I’m simply saying that it depends a lot on your site topic and your audience desires.


    1. Cristina

      Chris,

      if the purpose of the podcast is to attract new traffic, then that survey you did might not be relevant.The podcast wouldn’t target your existing visitors, since they are already engaged, but new ones who prefer different formats like audio instead of the traditional written post.

      I’m not saying it will work necessarily. I’m just saying that the podcast could open a new way for you to attract traffic.

      Cristina


      1. Daniel Wiafe

        I second what Cristina said. Even if 90% of your current audience won’t listen to a podcast… you will definitely be reaching a NEW untapped audience in the iTunes field.


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          I talked to Pat from Smart Passive Income about this and he said that iTunes brings him a heaps of new traffic.


          1. Trent Dyrsmid | 200 Sites

            Hey Dan,

            I agree completely. I recently did my first podcast (on iTunes) and it got more comments than any post I’ve ever done. In the days that followed, both traffic and subs were up.

            @Blog Tyrant – I have a site, howtocleananything.com that gets over 1000 uniques a day. I just recently bought it from a friend and am now in the process of testing and tweaking to get the Adsense income up. In two weeks, the average daily income is up about 40%. I’ll be blogging about some of the stuf I’ve been doing very soon.

            You have a terrific blog, by the way!


  • Linda

    Hi Blog Tyrant–

    Fortuitous timing on this one! I recently responded to a commenter on a biz coaching site who groused about the lack of opportunities for people in our industry (psychotherapy) to access social media, and promote our work on blogs…Suffice to say, there are limitations (client confidentiality being a big one), but there are tremendous and innovative ways to spread the mental health world.

    I actually like when my brethren complains, b/c it motivates me to work harder at finding that in…

    Yes, our niche is small, but the possibilities are not. We all have issues, and nobody is immune.It’s impossible to go through life not addled by depression, or anxiety, at some point. And frankly, sometimes being a parent sucks…but not usually:).

    Hmm, the only time I got really big traffic was when I posted an older article on Twitter. The topic was how the word “no” should be a parent’s BFF. I guess it struck a chord b/c it was shared on FB a lot.

    Thanks for the above-the-fold reminders…I’m working on a re-design,so again, timing is awesome.

    Wonderful tips!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Thanks Linda. Look forward to seeing your redesign.


  • chris

    And to answer the question…what has produced valuable traffic…

    1. Once a week, another site publishes one of my articles as a syndicated post. Each time that site posts an article, my visitor count and email subscriber rate increases.

    2. I posted an article that was “my prediction of the future of [my site topic]” which got numerous comments, a syndicated post, and a number of requests for re-print. Writing a post on the future of your topic shows you are concerned with your topic so much, that you are placing a call to action in advance of problems. That get’s the attention of the people who are passionate about the topic.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Prediction of the future – can I steal that idea?


      1. chris

        Please do!


  • Cheryl

    This is just a quick comment that yes, I’d be interested in a post about e-junkie pros/cons, comparisons to similar tools and the popular shopping cart systems (1 shopping cart) which perform some of the same functions but for a much higher cost.

    Thanks!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Alright, will look into doing it soon.


  • Jamie

    I didn’t blog about clean design, but I did blog about designing your blog with what you want your customers to do in this post: http://www.themoderntog.com/get-more-business-by-treating-your-prospects-like-sheep

    Nice to see you back. It’s been quiet around here. Good article.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Sorry for the quietness Jamie. I often think about the Buddha’s quote, “Do not speak unless you can improve on the silence.”


  • Neil @ Looking Towards Home

    Hi there, great post as always. I’d be interested in the easy way to produce and distribute a podcast using wordpress. It’s something that I’m thinking about doing in the not so distant future and your insight would be an invaluable help!


      1. the Blog Tyrant

        Think I might have to do this. There don’t seem to be many posts out there about it.


  • Cheryl

    One other thing, in #3 you call YouTube a “non-content” site and I’m curious as to why.

    In my view (and others) content is defined as offering information or communicating to your audience to educate, entertain, establish credibility, and to persuade to take action in the case of a website or business. Based on that definition, the format or vehicle can be written, both online and off, audio or video. Based on that YouTube is a video content site basically.

    Your thoughts, or anyone else’s?


    1. chris

      You can’t browse a YT video and google can’t rank based on what you say. For those reasons, I’d say it’s a non-content site. A person who is watching a youtube video has already been sold on your content previously.

      My two cents.


      1. Cheryl

        While I see the logic there, and I’m building my knowledge in SEO, my understanding is YouTube is one of the top places people are searching now.

        For example, if someone wants info on how to train a dog to sit, that can be searched via keywords in YouTube and some people go straight there because they want visual not text. They may not ever even search in Google. Some marketers also just imbed or link to YouTube videos and their channel is a main platform of communicating. It’s all definitely inter-related and some predict video marketing will over take text based in the not so distant future. Who knows on that one.


        1. the Blog Tyrant

          Hi Cheryl. You are both totally right I think. What I meant to say was written content.

          I think as an old blogger (I’m 26 now!) I’m just so used to content referring to text but now it is so much more.


          1. Cheryl

            LOL, if you’re old, I’m in trouble πŸ™‚


  • Cristina

    Happy Birthday BT!

    This is a great post. One of those to bookmark and read quite often.

    I would love to read a post about podcasting.
    E-junkie would be interesting too, but for now I am very interested in podcasts.

    Thanks,

    Cristina


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Thanks Cristina!

      Post on its way soon.


  • Parley

    BT. I’m slowing getting ready to start my own blog. Every one of your posts gives me more to think about and implement. I like this one a lot because of item #1. Making my site leak proof before I really start driving traffic. By Saturday the blog portion of my website will be live. That’s a commitment to me and to you.


    1. Parley

      That slowing should be slowly. Funny how the meaning changes.


      1. the Blog Tyrant

        Looking forward to it!


  • Sandra Boehner

    Love the imagery you chose to accompany your blog post – authentic & persistently high quality just like your content πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing


  • John Hoff

    Great post BT. I’ll add that you should be careful when building backlinks to a new website and how soon you get those links.

    So if your website or blog is new, don’t all of a sudden use a program to generate hundreds or even thousands of backlinks in only a couple of weeks.

    Get a few links slowly and over time. Then once the site has built up a little and Google begins to trust the site (has a PR etc.), then it’s okay to speed up the link building a little.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Very true John. Mistake all grey hats have made I reckon.


  • kara rane

    hi Chris-
    i enjoy your use of photos (not istock) and especially the story / tip behind the first image.
    completely true about discovering who your audience is = Quality over Quantity. thank You.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Kara.

      Who is Chris?


      1. the Blog Tyrant

        Oh right, from TSG. Got it.


  • Marcus

    I was wrestling with this very problem of how to build traffic to a new blog, so very timely of you write about this. Here are some tactics that have helped me.

    1) Attend events in your niche. Lately I’ve been going to meetups and “tweetups” of other professionals in my industry, online marketing and social media. I’ve learned a huge amount and the networking opportunities are insane. I nearly doubled my Twitter followers after going to only a few events.

    Furthermore, it’s just rejuvenating to be around people who are passionate about the same things as you. Sometimes it can be isolating and lonely if your family and friends don’t “get” what you do. Finding positive, like-minded people is valuable to your emotional health. Plus, if you like what you do, these things are more fun than work.

    If there are no events in your town, that’s an even bigger opportunity: you could START an event and become a leader. A friend of mine started a “blogging boot camp” to teach people to use WordPress and do professional blogging. After only two meetings, the audience has exploded and he has brought tons of new readers to his website.

    2) Read widely and often, then share articles via e-mail with new contacts. This is far and away my most successful method of turning new contacts into lasting friends.

    When I meet someone new, I try to be a good listener and find out their interests. Usually, I can think of one or two really interesting, relevant articles they would like. The next day, I e-mail them that article. People are flattered and grateful when someone pays sincere attention to them.

    I continue to share articles, which strengthens the bond.

    3) Put your website, blog, and social networks in your e-mail signature. This alone has given me steady, consistent traffic.

    Most of my methods revolve around the ideas of being personal and meeting people “in real life.” (IRL) I look forward to reading what others have to say about online marketing.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Events is a really good one I totally forgot about. Especially in the USA, there seems to be lots of them going on.

      Thanks Marcus.


  • Chris | The Study Gurus

    Hey BT

    Thanks so much for your post (and the dedication)!

    I really like your suggestions. I feel like we’re heading in the right direction, we’ve just got to use your suggestions to help point us in the right direction.

    We’re getting reasonably consistent traffic (20-30 hits/day), so we definitely need to start there and work on increasing our existing conversion rates.

    If anyone (particularly parents of teens – our target audience) would have any suggestions on what we could offer/show/do up front to increase the conversion rates we’d LOVE to hear your ideas.

    Further than that I’m definitely going to start putting your other tips into action – especially 2, 5 and 8!

    Thanks so much again BT!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      No worries.

      I think you guys should really consider putting your price up. A lot.


  • Mk Akan

    Chris,
    if you look for certain groups on facebook and ning where your target group hang out,you can share those tips there and link back to your website /blog posts and build traffic in the process…


  • Tim

    For me it was a niche no one else was addressing.

    Go to site on the interwebz for my topic now.

    Found another site (run by someone who eventually became a friend, he lives in Melbourne too) that gets many many thousands of visitors per day. Spent a lot of time commenting, answering questions in his post comments.

    Came to be seen as valuable. His readers started recommending my stuff to his other readers.

    Now if he mentions me, my Mailing List subs increase 5-10% every time.

    Deliver value


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Nice work!


  • Allie

    The power of video is amazing. I just started making easy, not sophisticated videos and placing them on YouTube.

    I sold ProBlogger’s First Week of Blogging eBook with just a video. I wasn’t checking my email very often and when I did, Darren had sent out email notices of discounted presales that were going to happen the next day. I hurried and bought the eBook. Read it. And made a video review about it. I talk faster than I type, so video was a better option.

    Well, the next day I sold 8 copies. I know that is nothing. But that was the first time I had ever sold any affiliate stuff AND my traffic was low, like 30 views a day. I think that is good conversion. QUALITY.

    I love making the videos to promote and talk about subjects that would engulf large posts/many words. And they get a pretty good amount of views for a small time blogger like me.

    ~Allie


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      That’s awesome Allie. Now you have to scale it up.


  • Lisa Chiodo

    Hi BT,

    Recently I was invited to join an Expat group and have found multiple contacts and now friends in our Niche. FB has been great for us, I now find people coming into the site through this page. I find it very easy to remember who is who and have built up some fantastic contacts now I need to work on value we can provide for them etc.

    Time to work through all your suggestions, we have finished our renovation and as soon as we sell we head to Italy and finding a way to renovate the village. Then things will get interesting!

    Thanks for the article, I feel I have an unseen mentor, if you ever get to Italy you have a place to stay (incognito of course)
    ciao Lisa


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Awesome! I’d like to sit and eat pasta for a week.


  • Codrut Turcanu @ SEMRush

    Another method that works in niche markets. Ask people to interview you (go the extra mile and provide the q’s yourself) and they get fresh, original and practical content for their blogs.

    What do you guys think?

    P.S. I believe Study the Gurus should offer podcasts and strike deals with anything that has to do with teens (mags, blogs, forums, online and offline) – guest posts, reviews, quick tips, etc.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Interviews is another good idea. Have you had this bring in big traffic for you?


      1. Codrut Turcanu @ Keyword Research

        Yes, but not on my niche blogs yet πŸ™‚


  • Ana | Traffic Generation

    This is a great post!

    I could write an essay on the topic, but I’ll keep it short and sweet.

    In certain niches, you can get away with less traffic. If you have a high conversion rate, that’s great, but if not, you will have to work that traffic generation!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Perfect!


  • Rachelle

    Here you are writing about me again πŸ™‚

    As you may or may not know real estate is very local. I blog for landlords in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Some of the stuff I say can relate to other areas but most of what I blog about relates only to this very small part of this small country. The total population is around 13,000,000 and only a small percentage of them are landlords.

    However I get (when I’m writing regularly) about 600-1000 visitors per day. About 50% of those are search.

    I give away tons of free info and I don’t really care because people who want to do this themselves can, it’s not rocket science. If they can learn from me great. But if someone happens to have a question about just about anything related to landlord issues I’m on the first page of google here.

    I get enough clients to keep my family alive πŸ™‚ and just landed a whopper client, consulting gig and so on. If I have the time I get free press passes to expensive seminars and so on.

    Now I have to hire because I have too much work. So…


  • Calvin Mac

    Great valuable information here. I really enjoyed the article. There are some great insights to build a profitable blog here!

    Mac


  • Heather @ Work At Home Market

    “Find the big players, even if they are hidden” That’s a great point and one that I often overlook. I’d be interested to know more thoughts and advice on this!

    Giving away a free product & simply hosting giveaways has always been a hit for both my website and blog!


  • jef menguin

    This is truly useful. I’ve read these tips somewhere but you have a way of putting words together and they all sound easier.

    Thank you. I hope to get more value and not just traffic for my websites.


  • Andrew Scherer @ Passive Profiteer

    A lot of solid advice, I especially like the mention of that site where you get $500+ leads off of. That’s pretty interesting. If you’re only doing 10 visits a day why wouldn’t you make a solid effort to turn 100 visits a day considering the amount of money you make off your closed deals?


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Unfortunately its not the type of work I can really scale up.


      1. Andrew Scherer @ Passive Profiteer

        I see, thats too bad. Well looking forward to that webinar if you end up doing it, keep in touch.


  • chris

    How about an article next week entitled “How I Destroyed My Traffic By Rarely Posting Articles.”

    I’m just saying I’ve been through those “busy times” before and it’s killed my traffic. I don’t want to see others go through the same.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Not sure I understand Chris.


  • Feebie

    I can’t believe I even came across this, this was absolutely informative. I just wish that there were people looking for guest post in my niche.


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