To make money from your affiliate website, you need traffic.
There are a bunch of techniques and tactics to get more visitors to your website.
In this article, we’re going to cover the difference between free and paid traffic…
...And the pros and cons of each so you can decide which is better for your affiliate business.
We’ll also reveal 28 ways you can drive more traffic to your website and make more money from your affiliate promotion.
- Free Traffic vs. Paid Traffic
- Pros & Cons of Free Traffic
- Pros & Cons of Paid Traffic
- 28 Tactics to Increase Traffic and Attract More Visitors to Your Affiliate Website
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Paid Traffic
Free Traffic vs. Paid Traffic
There are two types of website traffic: free and paid traffic.
As the names suggest, the significant difference between free and paid traffic is the cost. Free traffic is free, and paid traffic costs money.
With paid traffic, you are essentially leveraging somebody else’s audience online.
That could be a search engine, a social media platform, or another website.
Because you are tapping into an existing audience, paid traffic can be a fast way to drive visitors to your website.
Free traffic comes from SEO, organic social media, guest posting, etc.
You can generate substantial traffic without spending a single dollar on advertising…
...But it takes longer to build momentum and see a boost in traffic to your website.
Both free and paid traffic come with advantages and disadvantages.
To help you determine which is better for your affiliate site, let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
Pros & Cons of Free Traffic
Pro - High-Quality Traffic
Free traffic is generally high quality.
When people find your content in search engines or come directly to your domain, they have made an active choice to visit your site.
They come because you have what they are looking for, and they are generally more likely to be interested in your affiliate offers and product recommendations.
Pro - It’s Free
The biggest benefit of free traffic: it’s free.
While you have to pay per impression or click for paid traffic, free traffic doesn’t have any direct costs.
Pro - Organic Search Results Get More Clicks
Despite paid ad placements appearing above the organic results in the SERP (search engine results page), 71.33% of people click on an organic result on the first page.
People are generally more trusting of the organic search results.
They can spot which results are ads, and most choose to click on an organic result.
Con - It’s Slow
The leading trade-off of free traffic is that it can take a long time before you see a substantial lift in traffic.
When you go live with a brand new website, it can take up to 6 months to rank in search results.
Even free tactics like guest posting and community building take time to see significant results.
With paid traffic, you can start driving traffic to your site immediately.
Con - Less Control
Free traffic techniques generally leverage social media platforms, forums, online communities, and search engines to drive traffic.
Because you have no direct control over the source of the traffic, it’s harder to scale up and drive more visitors.
You can optimize your content and publish what you think your audience will be interested in, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll drive more traffic.
Pros & Cons of Paid Traffic
Pro - It’s Fast
Paid traffic is fast.
Once you have created an account and set up your ad, you can have traffic heading to your website in minutes.
Pro - More Control
As long as you manage your account properly, you have lots of control over the amount of traffic you send to your website.
If you want more traffic, put more resources into your ad accounts, and you’ll get more people visiting your site.
Pro - Scale-up Successful Campaigns Quickly
Once you have some data from your campaign, you’ll be able to determine your conversion rate and the average cost per click (CPC).
With this data, you can quickly scale up profitable campaigns to drive more traffic and make more conversions.
Con - Temporary Success
While paid traffic can generate immediate results, the success of every campaign is temporary.
While an organic search result can rank for months and years to come, a paid result disappears as soon as your budget runs out.
Con - The Cost
Paid traffic can be expensive.
If you’re bidding for buyer intent keywords, PPC costs can quickly mount up...
...And if your website isn’t great at converting visitors, you’ll struggle to cover your outgoings and fail to make a profit.
Con - Need to Be Skilled to Make a Profit
With free traffic, you become more knowledgeable about SEO and other free tactics as you experiment and grow your affiliate site.
This process of trial and error doesn’t cost you anything.
With paid traffic, you need to be skilled and know how to run a successful campaign.
Mistakes and wasted clicks cost money.
If you’re in a competitive niche, you’ll struggle to make a profit if you don’t know how to add negative keywords, write compelling ad copy, and build a persuasive landing page.
28 Tactics to Increase Traffic and Attract More Visitors to Your Affiliate Website
1. Keyword Research
Keyword research is the backbone of your SEO strategy.
You can drive free traffic to your website by identifying the keywords people are using to search for topics and products related to your niche.
It’s important to be selective about the keywords you target to avoid wasting time and resources on keywords you have no chance of ranking for.
You want to maximize your results for the effort you put in by targeting keywords that have a reasonable search volume and low competition.
If you’re not targeting long-tail keywords, you’re missing out on free traffic.
Long-tail keywords account for over 70% of all search terms.
These terms are longer, usually with three words or more.
They don’t receive as high a search volume but are less competitive and easier to rank for.
2. On-Page SEO
Optimizing your web pages is vital for increased search ranking and more organic traffic.
There are some great free and paid tools to help with your on-page SEO.
Yoast SEO is a free plugin that will be familiar to anyone that has dipped their toes into SEO before.
It helps you to optimize your web pages to be as appealing as possible to search engines.
In terms of paid tools, SurferSEO is a powerful on-page SEO tool that provides excellent insights to help you improve your ranking.
3. Technical SEO
Technical SEO deals with the backend of your website. It covers a number of factors, including:
- Page speed
- Language meta tags
- Broken links
Technical SEO is a crucial factor in search ranking and how much free traffic your drive from search engines.
By optimizing for technical SEO, HubSpot was able to boost organic traffic by 50% in one month.
There are a bunch of free tools to help you with technical SEO.
You can use the free version of Screaming Frog to audit your website and identify technical SEO problems.
4. Link Building
Backlinks are an important factor in search engine ranking algorithms.
The more links you have from relevant websites with high domain authority, the higher you will rank in search results.
According to a study by Backlinko, top-ranking pages have more backlinks than lower-ranking pages:
You can build links organically by creating valuable content that other websites in your niche will want to link to.
Avoid black hat SEO companies that offer links to your website for a fee.
If you want to actively seek out high-quality backlinks, the best way is to identify relevant authority websites and reach out to ask if you can write a guest post.
We’ll go into guest posting in more detail later.
5. Longform Evergreen Content
Content is king.
But which types of content generate the most traffic and interest online?
BuzzSumo conducted an extensive study of a million articles to answer that very question.
They wanted to see which types of content performed best.
The study revealed that long-form content generates more backlinks and social shares than shorter content:
Content that was 3,000 words+ performed best.
When they looked at the types of content that performed best:
They discovered that listicles outperformed every other type of content.
When you’re creating a content plan for your website, focus on listicles and long-form content to generate more free traffic from search engines.
To maximize the lifespan of your content, you should also focus on evergreen topics that will generate interest for months and years to come.
6. Content Upgrades
Choosing evergreen topics and updating your content is essential to keep your content relevant and interesting to your audience.
Search engines like fresh content that offers the best answers to search queries.
You can go beyond simply updating facts and statistics to keep your content up to date.
Content upgrades can help you to rank content that is not ranking high in search results.
You can upgrade your content by:
- Adding images and video content
- Linking to authoritative external websites and sources
- Writing new sections containing additional information
- Linking your older content to recent posts
You can find ideas for upgrading your content by analyzing the content that is currently ranking higher than you in search results.
See what those web pages include, and upgrade your content to make it more comprehensive and better than what’s already out there.
7. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is an excellent strategy for gaining backlinks and driving relevant free traffic to your affiliate website.
However, guest blogging has changed over the last few years.
Google still uses backlinks as a ranking factor…
...But it’s the quality and relevance of the backlinks that really matters.
If your affiliate website covers weight lifting, a backlink from a musical instrument website won’t help you to rank higher in search engines.
Identify high domain authority websites in your niche and reach out to the webmaster to see if you can submit a guest post.
A quality guest post on a relevant site can boost your credibility, gain backlinks, and drive traffic to your website.
8. Interview Experts & Influencers
You’ll be surprised how many high-profile people in your niche will agree to an interview if you ask them.
It’s free publicity for your interviewee, but it brings a lot of benefits for you too.
Create a shortlist of experts in your niche that you would like to interview and send out an email invitation.
Focus on people that have a similar audience, and people that your audience will be interested in hearing from.
Here’s an example from Inspired Health:
Associating your website with an expert will help to boost your authority in the niche, and it can also drive lots of free traffic.
The name recognition will help you to generate traffic, and the person you interview will likely share the content on their social channels.
Webinars are a great way to educate your audience on a topic or product…
…And they’re really effective at driving traffic to your website.
You’ll need to build anticipation by promoting the webinar on your social media channels.
If you have an email list, you’ll want to send out an email promoting the webinar a week in advance.
You can send out more frequent reminders as the webinar gets closer.
Once you have finished the webinar, you can repurpose the video content to create a YouTube video and smaller clips to share on social media.
10. Publish Video Content on YouTube
According to Alexa’s list of most visited websites, YouTube is the second most popular website in the world:
It has a huge audience of people that you can attract to your website.
However, you’ll need to get their attention on YouTube before you can send them to your website.
You do that by creating engaging video content and sharing it as much as possible.
Just like any other type of content you publish, you should use keyword research to identify the topics that people are searching for.
Once you have created your video content, you need to ask people to visit your site.
You can do that at the start and the end of your video.
Make a very brief introduction and tell people you’re from “myaffiliatesite.com.”
At the end of the video, you can go into a bit more depth and ask people to visit your site.
Your viewers have watched your video and are more likely to visit your website for more great content.
11. Ebooks & Whitepapers
Publishing a free ebook is a great way to attract your target audience to your website and establish credibility in your niche.
It’s also an effective way to build an email list.
You can create a landing page that requires people to give you their email address in exchange for your free ebook.
To convince people to give you their email address, your ebook needs to be packed with valuable information on a topic your audience wants to know more about.
White papers serve a similar purpose to an ebook.
The significant difference is that a white paper is more data-driven and technical, covering a topic from multiple angles…
…An ebook generally uses more conversational language and sticks to one specific angle on a topic.
Once you have created your ebook or white paper, you can repurpose the content for future blog posts.
Infographics are highly shareable content that presents information in an eye-catching visual format.
They are great for generating social shares, attracting backlinks, and driving traffic to your website.
The best way to use infographics is to communicate data and statistics in a visual and easily understandable way.
Infographics are more widely used than they were a few years ago.
To stand out from competitors, you need to find unique data or present your information in a way that is more appealing and dynamic than other infographics covering the same topic.
13. Promote Content on Relevant Online Communities
The internet has made the world a smaller place.
No matter what you’re interested in, you can find and connect with likeminded people around the world.
Online communities are a great place to share your content with your target audience.
If you have an affiliate website on running shoes, you can find online communities like the one below and share your content:
You need to find where your target audience is spending their time online and join the community.
However, you shouldn’t spam forums and groups with links to your affiliate content.
Offer value by answering questions and engaging with the community.
You need to build a relationship with the group and take part to establish trust.
If you have content that covers a topic being discussed, join the conversation and include a link to your content as a supporting resource.
Podcasts have really taken off over the last decade.
According to Edison Research, 37% of the U.S. population listens to a podcast at least once per month:
Podcasts are a great way to reach a wider audience and drive more traffic to your affiliate website.
You can use your podcast to discuss trends in your niche, review products, and interview experts.
If you don’t have the time or resources to start your own podcast, appearing as a guest on other people’s podcasts is a great way to get in front of a new audience
15. Invite Guest Bloggers
Guest blogging isn’t just about submitting content to other people’s websites.
You can invite people to submit guest blogs on your website too.
Not only will you get new content on your site that can rank and bring in people from search engines, but the guest poster will usually share the article on their social channels and encourage people to visit your website.
However, it’s important that you maintain your editorial standards.
Don’t accept low-quality content that doesn’t offer real value to your audience.
Guest post content shouldn’t feature spammy links, and it should be relevant to your niche.
Social Media Marketing
16. Promote Content on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
You need to be proactive with your content promotion to drive traffic to your website.
One of the easiest ways to promote your content is to share it on social media.
It’s essential to choose the right social media platforms and the right messaging to increase the chances of your content gaining traction and driving traffic to your website.
A LinkedIn audience is very different from an Instagram audience.
There are a bunch of tools and plugins you can use to automate your social media publishing.
Once your content has been shared on social, engage with comments and answer people’s questions to increase the reach and engagement of your post.
17. Submit Content to Industry-Specific Aggregator Sites
Content aggregator sites collect content from around the web and place it in one location.
You can submit your content to aggregator sites for some free traffic to your affiliate site.
Some aggregator sites also offer paid promotional slots to place your content higher up in the list of content.
You want to find aggregator sites that are ranking in Google, and that cover your specific niche.
There are a bunch of spammy aggregator sites out there, so you need to be selective about which ones to use.
AllTop is one of the most well-known aggregator sites, covering a range of topics and niches:
Once you have signed up, you usually only need to provide a link to your content to submit it to the aggregator.
To increase the chances of your content going viral on the aggregator, you can analyze the types of content that are currently performing well and use that information to inform your content creation.
18. Repurpose Content on Linkedin, Medium, YouTube
Once you have published your content, you can reuse elements to develop new pieces of content in a different format.
This is known as content repurposing or recycling.
If you spend hours gathering information and statistics to create a piece of content, you want to get as much value out of the content as possible.
You can do that by repurposing your content into a new format.
For example, if you create an ebook on a topic in your niche, you can repurpose the content by creating a video for each chapter and publishing it on YouTube.
Repurposing content helps you to extend the reach and lifespan of your content.
Some people prefer to watch videos rather than reading content.
By utilizing lots of formats, you can reach a much wider audience and drive more traffic to your website.
19. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is about leveraging the reach of other people to attract new visitors to your site.
According to MediaKix, 80% of marketers believe that influencer marketing is effective:
By connecting with the right influencers, you can tap into an existing audience of people that will be interested in your content and your affiliate products.
Rather than reaching out to a celebrity with millions of followers, you want to target micro-influencers.
These are the people in your niche then have a small audience that is interested in topics and products you cover on your website.
A micro-influencer can have an audience of anything between 1,000 and 20,000 followers.
They also tend to see a much higher rate of engagement than influencers with a huge following.
Once you have identified influencers in your niche, reach out and ask if you can work together on a piece of content, conduct an interview, or if they are willing to promote your content or website for a fee.
20. Build Your Own Community
There are lots of spammy affiliates that think shouting out about their latest content and affiliate offers will attract an audience and drive traffic to their website.
No shares, no likes, and no website traffic.
These kinds of affiliates look like they are in it for the money.
They fail to inspire trust.
The affiliates that do well on social media and generate lots of free traffic build a community.
By putting the needs of your audience first, you can establish a transparent and trusting relationship that can be very profitable.
The way to succeed as an affiliate marketer is to get to grips with the needs and pain points of your audience.
When you understand the problems your audience faces, you can recommend the products you know will help them.
When people know that you care, they’re more likely to visit your website and buy your affiliate products.
21. Share Images on Pinterest
If you’re targeting a female demographic, Pinterest is the ideal social media channel for sharing images and driving traffic to your site.
According to Oberlo, 70% of Pinterest users are female:
By regularly posting images, custom graphics, and creating boards that target relevant keywords, you can drive lots of free traffic to your affiliate site.
According to 99 Firms, Pinterest drives 33% more traffic to e-commerce sites than Facebook.
As with all social media promotion, identify the content that your target audience is already engaging with and produce similar content that offers even more value.
22. Build an Email List
Building an email list is something you want to start in the early stages of growing your affiliate website.
As we mentioned earlier, a free ebook or whitepaper works well as a lead magnet for gaining new subscribers.
The people that sign up to your email list are already familiar with your website and more likely to be interested in your latest content and affiliate offers.
When you publish a new piece of content, you can promote it to your list for a quick boost in free traffic.
Building an audience of regular visitors is the best way to grow a sustainable stream of passive income from your affiliate website.
23. Promote Your Content through Email Newsletters
If you’re regularly publishing lots of content, a newsletter is a great way to share your latest posts with your subscribers and boost free traffic to your site.
It’s a great way to direct traffic to your website without waiting for your content to rank in search engines results.
You can include a CTA button on your homepage, blog posts, and about page to encourage people to sign up for your newsletter.
Here’s an excellent example from the coffee niche affiliate website Home Grounds:
Pay per click (PPC) is the most common type of paid content promotion.
Lot’s of affiliates use ad platforms like Google Ads to display their content in search results.
Google displays promoted results above the organic results on the SERP:
Bing has a similar ad platform that enables you to display your content on the first page of the SERP.
These platforms work on a keyword bidding format.
You select the keywords you want your content to be displayed for, and when someone searches for those keywords, your ad is shown in the SERP.
When somebody clicks on your ad, you pay the advertising platform.
Pay per click.
It can be an effective and profitable strategy for generating traffic if you know what you’re doing.
Around 75% of searchers won’t look beyond the first page of search results.
If you’re not ranking on the first page, PPC can dramatically improve your visibility and boost traffic to your website.
25. Display Advertising
Rather than appearing in the search results, display advertising places your ads on relevant third-party websites.
Display ads come in lots of different formats.
Banner ads have been around for a long time, and are one of the most common types of a display ad.
They are usually displayed at the top of a webpage.
Interstitial ads are displayed to users as they navigate between web pages.
Before the user can access the webpage, they are shown the interstitial ad.
There are also video and image ads that can be displayed in sidebars, headers, footers, and used for interstitial ads.
Display advertising works by a PPC or cost per impression structure.
With cost per impression, you pay every time that a user views your ad.
26. Social Media Advertising
Social media advertising platforms offer advanced targeting capabilities to get your content in front of the people most likely to engage.
Facebook Ads is an excellent platform for directing paid traffic to your affiliate website.
You can target users according to their interests, location, and demographic information.
If you have an email list, you can take advantage of the lookalike audience feature to target Facebook users that match the profile of your existing subscribers.
Ads on Facebook usually appear in the newsfeed of targeted users. Here’s an example from Virusfree.live:
Instagram is another great platform for paid promotion.
Just like organic social media promotion, you need to have a clear understanding of your audience and the types of content they engage with before you start spending your hard-earned cash.
Retargeting is a powerful way to engage the people that have previously visited your website.
When somebody visits your website, a cookie tracks the user and the web pages they viewed.
Once the user has left and visits another website, you can display ads for content similar to what they have engaged with previously.
If someone has shown interest in a product you promote, you can use retargeting to encourage them to visit a landing page for the product and encourage them to click through and make a purchase.
28. Content Discovery Platforms
Content discovery platforms are a useful tool for increasing your reach and driving paid traffic to your site.
Platforms like Outbrain and Taboola can place your content around the web on relevant websites.
It’s similar to display advertising.
However, your content appears as a sponsored post that looks more organic than a display ad.
Here’s an example of a Taboola ad:
These platforms usually charge a pay-per-click fee.
When somebody clicks on your ad and is directed to your website, you pay a fee.
The targeting isn’t as impressive as Facebook Ads or Google Ads, but content discovery platforms can be a fast way to generate lots of traffic.
Hopefully, this guide has given you plenty of ideas to drive more traffic to your affiliate site.
It’s vital that you track your results to determine which channels drive the most traffic.
Pay attention to Google Analytics and set up the right tracking for any paid promotional tactics.
Once you know which source drives the most traffic and generates the most conversions, you can invest more time and resources into that channel.
Affiliate marketing is always about learning and improving to generate better results.
That’s how you sharpen your marketing skills and make more money from your affiliate promotion.