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How to Get 10x More Traffic Without Spending a Dime on Advertising

Posted By Guest Blogger 11th of August 2016 Blog Promotion 0 Comments

photo-1414690165279-49ab0a9a7e66This is a guest contribution from John Stevens of Hosting Facts.

If you want tons of traffic, you better be ready to pay for it, right?

Not true.

Besides the obvious – share content on social media, connect with influencers, invest in SEO – there are dozens of clever hacks you can implement to get more traffic for free.

In this post, I’m going to share 7 unusual tips you can use right away on your blog to get more traffic and shares, without spending a penny on advertising.

1. Turn your images into an imgur.com album, and share it on Reddit

If you’re like most bloggers, you probably share your posts to a relevant sub-reddit, collect some upvotes and call it a day.

But what if I told you that you could get twice, even thrice the traffic through a simple hack?

Here’s how: by turning your blog posts into Imgur.com albums.

Imgur, for the uninitiated, is an image hosting site founded by a redditor. It is now one of the fastest growing websites in the world, thanks in no small part to its close integration with Reddit.

More importantly, Imgur has evolved into a platform of its own with a thriving community where people shares images and albums.

You can use this to your advantage by turning your blog posts into images and sharing them on both Reddit and Imgur.

This tactic works due to two reasons:

You get traffic from two sources – Reddit and Imgur’s user-submission gallery.

Redditors are more likely to upvote an Imgur link than a link to a website. Imgur, for instance, consistently ranks as the most submitted domain on Reddit.

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Here’s an example: the site KickAssFacts.com frequently turns its list of factors into visual albums and shares them on Imgur and Reddit.

This album earned close to 350,000 views:

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Follow the steps below to use this method.

Step #1: Turn blog posts into images

Start by turning your blog posts into images.

Not every blog post would work with this tactic, but if you work in any consumer-focused niche – say, cooking or photography – you’d be right at home.

This template from KickAssFacts is a good place to start – an illustrative image with white text and a black outline. You should be able to do this MS Paint or any other image editor of your choice.

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If you’re not comfortable with image editing, you can even simply use images and write your content in the image description box on Imgur. This album of photography tips is a great example:

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This tactic works best with list posts. Thus, if you have a blog post about “7 Lighting Tips for Photographers”, you would turn each of these 7 tips into separate images.

Do remember to add a watermark to your website URL at the bottom of each image.:

Step #2: Turn images into an album

First, make an account on Imgur.com by clicking here.

After you’ve made an account, sign-in and click on “Upload Images” in the navigation menu.

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On the pop-up screen, click on “Browse Your Computer”, then select all the images you made in step #1.

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Make sure to select “Create an album” and click on “Start Upload”.

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Once you’ve uploaded the images, click on “Edit image titles or descriptions” in the right sidebar. Here, you can add sources or text to each image.

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If you’re making a claim, it helps to add a source. It’s also a good idea to include a link to your website at the bottom of the last image in the album. This way, people who’ve seen your album can click on the link and check out your site.

Step #3: Submit to Imgur and Reddit

Once you’ve added all titles and descriptions, click on “Share with the community” to share the album on Imgur.com.

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You can also add a title and choose a topic on the next screen.

Next, copy the “Share Link” under the “Share this Album” tab on the sidebar:

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Use this link to share the album on a relevant sub-reddit on Reddit.

This way, you’ll get your content before two massive platforms – Reddit and Imgur – with half the effort.

2. Reshare your content on social media multiple times

If you’re sharing your content on social media just once, you’re missing out on a lot of traffic.

Here’s why:

Your users are in different geographic locations and will check their social media at different times. Your followers living on the other side of the world will likely miss your content if you only share it on your time.

Not all your followers (regardless of where they live) are logged in a same time and might miss your post.

According to Wiselytics, a tweet has a half-life of just 5 minutes. That is, after 5 minutes, a tweet reaches only half its audience.

The solution is to repost your content multiple times spread out over several weeks.

Different social media channels demand different reposting schedules. Here is what buffer recommends:

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Since tweets have such a short half-life, you’ll have to reshare your content thrice the first day itself. For other channels, reposting after a week is good enough.

Mashable, for example, shares its content multiple times to make sure it reaches as many readers as possible. This tweet was first shared on April 27, then reshared:

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Cracked.com frequently reshares its old content under the hashtag #CrackedClassics on Facebook:

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You can use tools like Buffer or Oktopost to automate this whole process.

3. Tell readers exactly what you want them to do with your content (link/comment/share)

Suppose you spent a good amount of time creating quality content. Now you’re starting to get some traffic. Your readers are even staying on your page long enough to read entire articles.

But there is one problem – they come, read and leave, without performing any action.

This is a problem faced by most bloggers and it has a surprisingly easy fix:

Ask readers to perform an action, and

Make it as easy as possible for them to do it.

You’ll be surprised to know how many of your readers are happy to share your content if you explicitly ask them to.

For example, ViralNova doesn’t just stick a couple of share icons at the bottom of its posts. Instead, it asks readers to “Share on Facebook”:

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Aplus.com ends its posts by directly asking readers to share the content with their friends:

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Similarly, Neil Patel ends all his blog posts on Quicksprout by asking his readers to leave comments.

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This helps Quicksprout get an average of 176 comments per blog post!

On Buffer’s blog, they end each post with a bunch of questions and ask readers to share comments.

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It’s important to remember that something that might be natural to a blogger – clicking an icon to share content – might not be quite as intuitive for most of your users. They need to be told what to do and how to do it.

By directly asking readers to do something, you can easily get 2-3x more shares or comments.

4. Create shareworthy headlines

80 percent of your readers will only read the headline, not the article.

Yet, most bloggers dash off a headline within seconds even after spending hours working on the article.

The result? Low shares, poor CTRs and a perpetual lack of traffic.

The solution is to create more shareworthy headlines.

These are headlines that make readers want to stop and say to themselves, “I want to read this”.

Here are two ways to do this:

A. Generate curiosity

If you can get readers to say “I wonder what happens next?”, you are almost guaranteed more shares and traffic.

All curiosity-generating headlines usually have two things in common:

They make the reader wonder why something is happening.

They make an exaggerated claim, but don’t include the resolution in the title itself.

Upworthy’s blog is a great example of such headlines:

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If you read the last headline, you’d probably wonder why the photo of the 93-year old woman is going viral, and you’d click through.

Be wary with outright clickbait titles though, and over-using them. It can be one of the fastest ways to turn readers off.

B. Use exclamations and power words

Power words are words you don’t generally come across in everyday speech. Think of words like “spectacular”, “stunning”, or “dangerous”.

It’s the same with exclamations like “Oh My God!” or “Wow!”. Since you’re not likely to see them used often in normal conversations, they grab your attention when you come across them.

This is why including at least one exclamation or power word can make your headlines much more shareworthy.

Buzzfeed is notorious for doing this. For example, in this headline, the “Oh My God” immediately grabs the reader’s attention.

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Here’s another example from Buffer. The words “secret” and “confession” drive clicks like moths to a flame.

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Use CoSchedule headline analyser to gauge the quality of your headlines. It gives you an overall score based on how unique, emotional and powerful your headline is.

ProBlogger’s post on “7 Tips to Help You on Your Way to Blogging Full Time”, for example, scores an A+ grade.

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5. Incentivize your readers to share or sign-up for your email list

Offering customers an incentive to get others onboard is a time tested growth tactic used by established companies and startups alike. Dropbox, for instance, used incentives in its growth stage to get 60% more sign-ups.

But that’s for tech startups and service businesses. How can a blogger use incentives to get more shares and emails?

Here’s an example from none other than Bill Gates:

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Gates offers an incentive – donating a flock of chicks to needy farmer – for every action a reader performs on the blog.

Your incentives don’t have to be quite as dramatic, of course. You can get equally strong results (well, almost) by giving away information.

Here are two incentives you can use right away:

A. Offer a prize through a giveaway

A giveaway is a simple contest where you give away a prize to contest participants chosen at random.

Josh Earl used this tactic to grow his email list by 3,418% by giving away a copy of Sublime Text Editor (that costs just $70).

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B. Offer information in exchange for emails or shares

This is something most bloggers are already familiar with – offer an incentive of information to get emails or shares.

This could be a downloadable guide, a PDF version of an article, or even hidden content in a blog post.

Backlinko.com, for example, offers readers “content upgrades” in exchange for an email:

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VideoFruit does the same by offering readers a “swipe file”:

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Yet another way is to use content lockers to get more shares. You simply hide part of your content behind a social lock and incentivize shares by giving away valuable information.

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Over to You

Getting more traffic without spending on advertising isn’t hard, but it isn’t a cakewalk either. By taking advantage of these unusual hacks, you can quickly get twice or even thrice as many readers, shares and subscribers.

Here’s what you should take away from this post:

Take advantage of untapped channels such as Imgur.com to get more traffic to your site.

Share your content multiple times and ask readers directly if you want them to perform an action.

Use incentives to get more shares and subscribers.

Spend at least half as much time on your headlines as you do your content.

Which of these hacks have you used on your own blog? Let me know in the comments below!

John is the CEO at Hosting Facts, a startup he created to ensure consumers can find clear, unbiased facts about web hosts.

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  • Posting blog posts as image albums is a very nice trick to get audience. I must say I learned something new today from out of the box to get traffic to our blogs. Really good one. But this would apply to the posts with list factors only I guess.

    • Ack! now if only my comments could be as well written. (face palm)

      • Imgur is a great place to boost your traffic.

        I’ve already tried this tactic with one of my niche blogs and I got a TON of traffic almost instantly. It has NEVER stopped since then.

        The only thing you need to do is to create funny memes, stunning images or quotes and then use your website’s address wherever possible to let others easily find your site.

        Great stuff and lots of points to takeaway.

  • Who doesn’t want good traffic on his blog or site? answer is no one as every blogger loves traffic coming to their blog. you post is really very helping to sort out this “pay for traffic” problem. thanks as i was really a good post to read.

  • Hey John, this post is superb. I love all the tips here.
    Going to set up an account with Imgur and try out the tactic and see how it works.
    And yeah, you are right about driving traffic. It may not be complicated, but it may not be easy too, and it requires a lot of work.
    Thanks for sharing eh. :)

  • Hi John,

    Really digging each one of these tips.

    The one which is simple, easy and so darn powerful is asking specifically for social shares both at the end of your blog posts and at the end of social media posts on FB, G Plus and LinkedIn. Ask people clearly to share your content on specific platforms and people share your content on specific platforms.

    Simple and too easy but many bloggers are in too much of a rush to spend 10 seconds to ad this call to action to a post or social share.

    Titles are major traffic builders if you think them through.

    I ranked #3 on Page 1 of Google for “how to submit a guest post” today, at least for a little bit. Really, I picked a competitive keyword – which is not my usual strategy – but wrote a practical tips laden, resource-style piece that my readers were having specific probs with. I did my SEO optimizing with Yoast and here we are.

    Of course, the title, overall content and asking for social shares played a huge role in this success but really, it just takes a little more thinking and planning to make your blog traffic rise without spending any dough on advertising.

    In a quandary now; my developer fixed my commenting system after a design overhaul and I’ve had much SEO success by doing onpage stuff and getting massive social shares, as well as driving traffic through SEO optimized guest posts on top shelf blogs. My targeted traffic has increased by doing all this stuff so methinks I’ll keep comments closed, only because it adds a heavier workload that would much things up a bit.

    Think I just answered my question ;) Keep taking the discussion to social, a’la Copy Blogger, and I’ll take it from there.

    Thanks for the helpful post John.

    Ryan

  • I agree with this! Being creative on your marketing gets you most of the traffic. Having pictures to highlight what you market really helps as most people don’t really read text.

  • I can see how the Imgur hack could totally work getting traffic, but I think the overarching success would depend on whether Reddit traffic was the right kind of traffic for your blog or business?

    Do you have any demographics on Reddit people? Who are they typically?

  • In fact really outstanding techniques, especially turn blog post into images to share. It’s aways nice to have something new to learn were free traffic is getting harder to get at every time. Thanks 4 sharing.

  • I have often turned blogposts into images but I never tried it with Reddit and Imgur. I will certainly give the technique try. Also, facebook’s new algorithm on punishing sites that share lot of make believe and click bait content which often happens with blog post turned into image posts.

  • Who doesn’t want free traffic? Great tips, I never through of using Reddit to gain traffic.
    Learned something new today. Now it is the time to take actions.
    Thanks for the wonderful tips.

  • Thanks for this new options. I really appreciate that. I also use buffer, its great und sometimes IFTTT as well to connect it easier. It works great for me, but i still have a better conversion rate if I post it on my own and not over buffer. I don’t have any idea why.
    Your first point is something new. I will try it even I don’t know if its the write thing for my niche. I’m writing about mental strength for athletes. What do you think?

    Regards,

    Johannes

  • Been using this trick with imgur the Video Gaming niche’s for a little while now. With streaming as popular as it is, that’s only increased our foothold into imgur (not to mention the returns we see from twitch.tv!). Pairing myself up with one of the somewhat well known “Lore Guys” (gamers that passionately follow the timeline and history of any given game), we managed to break 500k hits just off of a story-board breakdown of a stream he wanted to do. Using our storyboard as a promotion of sorts for the stream it was based on really cranked up the viewership on youtube as well! Hope we don’t see this abused too much, it’s a really nice cross-promotional (and legitimate) technique. Well layed out!

  • Very interesting tips and very do-able! I did not know the imgur album strategy. The same album can go on Slideshare, right? Can’t wait to try it! Thank you!

  • Awesome piece. I have a page of notes from this article. Thank you so much for your recommendations. Creating graphics like kickassfacts.com is brilliant. Would be easy to also share those images on social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest (depending on the size of image).

  • Thanks for giving great tip on traffic generation through Imgur . Nice Post

  • Thanks, great tips. I am very much looking forward to use this strategy in order to increase the overall traffic of the site.

  • Good info! A word of warning — Reddit is a very interesting place. A great potential source of traffic, but the rules vary from subreddit to subreddit. They don’t take kindly to overt promotion and they will quickly ban you if you’re being too self promotional. So use it … but be a part of the community. Comment often. Share other people’s work.

  • Hi John,

    This is a great article – I love the tip with the Imgur albums!

    I personally always try to include as many useful images as possible in my posts, such as graphs and quotes in order to get more shares with the ‘SumoMe’ Image Sharer.

    Cheers for the useful post John!

  • Really a nice tactic to generate more traffic.

  • I agree that sharing images of your content can drive traffic. Inforgraphics are also pretty popular as you can convey lots of complex information in an interesting andmemorable way. While infographics are easily shared and found on Pinterest are they as effective on Reddit as an album?

  • Thanks for some very relevant 2016 share. It’s a good reminder that organic traffic does still exist and it’s worth peeling yourself away from your paid traffic to try and tap into some of the “free” stuff. Free stuff was put into quotes because it does contain some sweat equity; but if you hit the right chord, that little bit of sweat equity can generate an exponentially greater amount of traffic then you might have expected.

  • That is a really good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.

    Short but very accurate info? Appreciate your sharing this one.
    A must read article!

  • Great tips! thanks for sharing

  • Sam

    I enjoyed the post. These seem to be helpful tips for increasing blog traffic. Most of the things are already implemented.

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