Blog Traffic Sources: Everything You Need To Know

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Do you know where your blog’s visitors are coming from?

More importantly, are you getting the right kind of readers to your website?

That’s what this article is all about. The best traffic sources for YOUR blog.

Having a good understanding of who is reading your articles and where they’re coming from lets you to focus on 1 to 2 traffic sources that deliver the biggest bang for your buck.

Doing so allows you to get more visitors to your blog.

Also, it saves you the frustration of seeing tons of people go through your content only to realize that none of them are clicking anything. This means no followers, subscribers or sales.

By the end of this post, you’ll know why BLOG TRAFFIC IS A VANITY METRIC. And, the reason why some blogs with large amounts of visitors don’t make as much money as other smaller blogs with fewer readers.

Best of all, you’ll be able to spy on your niche competitors and influencers to see what their best sources of blog traffic are.

Best Traffic Sources: How Do I Get Visitors to My Blog?

One of the things you’ll quickly realize as your website grows is that 1-2 traffic sources will dominate where your blog’s visitors come from.

The thing is, there’s really no BEST traffic source.

What I mean to say is that the kind of website you run will determine which is the best kind of traffic for you.

Here’s how it works.

Best Traffic Sources: Short-Term vs. Long-Term

Each type of traffic has its own characteristics, which I’ll go into in-depth below. That means some take longer to develop, while others require less time.

So, it’s important to plan for both the short- and long-term in order that you’re able to drive visitors to your blog soon after you launch your site. This way, you don’t end up waiting months before seeing a decent number of visitors come to your website.

That can be very discouraging. And, if drags long enough, you may find it hard to stay motivated.

To help you distinguish between the two, here’s a breakdown of the types of blog traffic based on whether they’re long-term or short-term sources.

Short-Term Traffic Sources: Best Kinds for New Blogs

For our purposes, short-term traffic refers to visitors that you can get fairly quickly. They may not all come overnight. But, it doesn’t require 6-12 months just to get a solid amount of readers on a consistent basis.

As a result, these are the best kinds of traffic for new blogs.

Short-term traffic is ideal when you’re starting out. It cuts down the “patience” factor. And, it keeps you from feeling down about your progress. The latter by the way is why many bloggers fail.

Here are the best types of short-term traffic to quickly get visitors to your site:

Social Media Traffic Sources

In particular, Pinterest and YouTube.

Why?

Because Pinterest and YouTube are similar to Google. That is, they use search engines. The only difference is that Pinterest and YouTube use internal search engines.

This lets them search all the Pins (on Pinterest) and videos (for YouTube) in order to find what you’re looking for. So, if you optimize your pins or videos correctly, you’ll have a chance at getting found by users in each platform.

Here’s an example of what happens when you type in “vegan recipes” into the Pinterest search bar.

Pinterest Search Results

Notice that it gives you all sorts of recipes. In addition the “balloons” on the top allow you to filter the recipes to certain criteria like healthy, easy, dinner or for weight loss.

This makes it easier for your posts to be found by users on Pinterest.

Similarly, here’s what happens when you type in “how to cook rice” into YouTube’s search bar. I still remember having to search for a video tutorial on how to cook rice. Sadly, despite the useful videos, the first try still didn’t come out great. It’s gotten much better though.

YouTube Search

So, if you create videos around keywords people search for, you have a better chance of “getting found” by YouTube users.

In contrast, people don’t really go to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to search for things. You pretty much “live” within your own community of friends and followers. That makes it harder for a new blog to get found.

That said, joining Facebook Promo Groups that are geared towards your niche works well too. These groups let you post your new content so that others in the group can see them. If someone likes it, they can click on your post which will bring them to your site.

Paid Traffic Sources

Paid traffic is another great short-term traffic source. In fact, it’s the fastest way to get visitors to your site.

The only downside is, you need to pay for those visitors.

That’s a big downer, especially if you’re starting out and aren’t making any money from blogging yet.

That said, new blogs and websites that have funding or investors can go straight to paid traffic sources in order to get visitors to their blogs almost immediately.

So which are the best paid traffic sources?

Facebook Ads and Google Ads (Adwords).

To summarize, these are the best short-term traffic sources I recommend for new blogs:

  • Social media: Pinterest for blogs and YouTube for videos. Facebook Promotions Groups for your niche also work well.
  • Paid Search/Ads: Facebook Ads and Google Adwords

Long-Term Traffic Sources: Best Types as Your Blog Grows

In the long-term, nothing beats search.

That is, traffic that comes from Google. Technically, search traffic can come from different sources including Google, Bing, Yahoo, Duck Duck Go, and other search engines.

But, since Google dominates this arena by a mile, you’re better off just focusing on the 800-pound gorilla.

So why search traffic?

It’s FREE!

Not just that, it also “takes almost no work” at all.

Notice the quotations. That’s because you do need to do work. But, all the work is done beforehand.

Once you’ve ranked and can stay within the top spots (#s 1 to 4) for your main keywords in Google, you’ll be able to get free traffic every day to your blog without lifting a finger.

But, there’s a catch.

The path to ranking at the top 1 to 4 spots takes a lot of work, and time.

This is why it’s an ideal long-term traffic source.

You can work on growing your blog’s authority over months and years, which in turn will help you rank higher for your main keywords as your website grows.

Besides search traffic, another important form of long-term traffic is Direct Traffic. Basically, this involves building your brand such that people know your blog by heart.

When this happens, they don’t even need to go to Google to search for your site. Instead, they just type your blog name into their browser.

More importantly, they are return visitors! As such, they keep coming back.

Finally, you can likewise rely on Paid Traffic or Ads. It works as a long-term play as well because you can keep doing it over the course of months or even years.

The key with ads is, being able to make a return on each campaign. This lets you use part or all of the revenue for the next one. It’s important to understand that just because you’re paying for ads doesn’t mean they achieve their goal.

In fact, a past study on small business owners found that 62% of Facebook Ads didn’t hit their target. This can become very costly for you, just like this $600,000 Facebook disaster.

Best Traffic Sources: Temporary vs. “Permanent”

Another thing to consider is how long does the traffic last. Or, as I call it temporary vs “permanent” traffic.

Notice the quotes on the word permanent? I’ll explain below.

Temporary Traffic Sources

A temporary source is when traffic that doesn’t last. By that, I mean you need to keep working to get visitors in. And, the moment you stop, traffic stops as well.

Examples of temporary traffic include all forms of social media and paid traffic.

When you stop posting on social, be it Facebook, Pinterest, or YouTube, you’ll see traffic coming from these platforms dwindle fairly quickly.

And, after a week or two, they’ll be reduced to a fraction of what they once were. Although, YouTube takes a little longer.

So, it’s important to post new content consistently when it comes to temporary traffic sources like social media.

It’s also good to mention that viral traffic, or when a post or pin goes viral, is another source of temporary traffic. You’ll see a HUGE spike for a day or two. Then, it will disappear.

And, you’ll be back to more or less the same number of visitors before the viral event happened.

Similarly, paid traffic is also temporary.

The moment you stop paying for ads, the visitors coming to your site from this source dries up.

You probably noticed that both types of short-term traffic are temporary.

Unfortunately, the saying “easy come, easy go” kind of applies here.

As such, while they’re fairly quick to achieve, you need to work on them on a regular basis to keep the traffic flowing.

“Permanent” Traffic Source

In contrast, “permanent” traffic lasts longer. That is, once you get there, the traffic pretty much takes care of itself.

You don’t have to do anything at that point.

But, it’s the getting there that’s hard. And, often takes a longer amount of time to do so.

You’ve probably guessed that the traffic I’m referring to is search traffic, or that from Google.

The reason why there are quotations around the word permanent is that Google traffic can also be fickle.

But, it’s not because you don’t get a consistent flow when your post ranks in the top 1 to 4 positions.

Instead, Google can change its algorithm.

And, when that happens, your ranking can quickly change as well. With that goes your traffic, be it upwards or downwards.

That said, permanent traffic is what you want to achieve over the long-term. Here’s why:

  1. It’s much larger than social traffic
  2. There’s more consistency, providing that your rankings stay steady
  3. It’s free
  4. There’s literally no work involved in getting the traffic once you’re ranking well on Google

Best Traffic Sources Based on the Kind of Website You Run

It’s also important to note that the kind of website you run determines which kind of traffic works best for you.

For example, if you have a:

Curation Blog

Your main source of earnings is display ads. And, your main goal is to get as much traffic as possible to get people to click on ads.

So, the bigger the potential traffic source, the better.

In this case, search is the best. Next comes social.

Paid traffic doesn’t give you the ROI (return on investment) needed to earn your money back since you’ll be spending more on advertising to get people to your site compared to the amount you make when visitors click on an ad on your site.

Amazon Affiliates Niche Site

To a degree, your goal here is similar to that of a curation blog.

But, you need to qualify your visitors more.

That’s because you REALLY want visitors who have BUYING INTENT.

The reason is that to make money (commissions) from Amazon, you need your visitors to BUY SOMETHING.

That makes them different from those in the curation blog where display ads just need to get clicked to make money.

Niche Blog

With niche blogs, you want visitors who fall under your customer avatar or buying persona.

So, your traffic needs to be even more targeted than either of the two above.

Here’s why.

Take for example you have a yoga blog that teaches the different sequences to help people lose weight, get more flexible, be stronger and all that.

Bringing in readers who are interested in health may not be enough because they may be more interested in nutrition, fitness, using weights or running.

If that makes up bulk of your traffic, it will be very difficult to sell yoga courses or products to them.

Instead, you’re looking for people who are yogis or are open to learning yoga (for whatever reason they may have). Attracting these types of readers increases your chances of them being interested in your yoga courses or products.

Best Traffic Sources: Cold vs. Warm Traffic

Now, we get to something a little more advanced. Cold vs. Warm Traffic.

In general, the temperature of the traffic you’re attracting gives you an idea of how well they know you, your blog and what your selling.

Cold Traffic

Cold traffic refers to visitors to your site who don’t know you. As such, they’re not loyal to you and don’t have an affinity with you.

This makes it harder to sell to them.

It also makes them more likely to spend less time on your blog, which means shorter dwell times. Just as importantly, they’re more likely to leave at any time, which will increase your site’s bounce rates.

Both of which aren’t great considering that dwell time and bounce rate are important factors in Google’s ranking algorithm.

That said, cold traffic is the largest kind of traffic. That is, unless you’re Google or Facebook, where almost everyone in the world has an idea of who you are.

So, your blog’s ultimate goal is being able to attract a lot of cold traffic and CONVERT THEM into warm or hot traffic.

This is the holy grail of blogging. If you can do that, you’ll be able to increase your loyal readers fairly quickly.

Examples of cold traffic are visitors coming from:

  • Search engines like Google
  • Social media (for the most part, excluding those who follow you)
  • Paid traffic from ads
  • Referral traffic (ie. visitors referred to your site by other blogs and websites)

Warm Traffic

Warm traffic refers to visitors to your blog who know you, kind of or really like you, and are aware of what you do and create.

If they’re your loyal and raving fans, they’re considered hot traffic, not just warm.

Warm and hot traffic are better than cold traffic because you’re more likely to sell to them. They also have a relationship with you. So, they’ll likely stay longer and read more of your stuff.

Examples of warm and hot traffic are visitors coming from:

  • Your email list (these are the hottest form of traffic, assuming you have an engaged list)
  • Direct traffic
  • Social media (those who are your followers)
  • Referral traffic (from blogs who take the time to introduce you to their audience)

Which is Better Cold or Warm Traffic?

No doubt hot traffic. Warm is next, and cold is the least.

But, when it comes to volume, cold traffic is your biggest source of visitors/readers.

What does this mean?

It means if you want your blog to grow, one of your MAIN GOALS is to:

  • Bring in as much cold traffic as you can
  • Then convert them into warm traffic
  • Eventually, turning them into hot traffic so that they’re ready to buy your products.

What Are the Different Sources of Traffic to A Website?

If some of the terms above like Direct or Referral threw you off, don’t worry.

In this section, you’ll get more familiar with each of the main types of traffic sources.

As you know, visitors who come to your website get there through a variety of ways. It can be from an app, an advertisement, search engines, another bloggers site or social media.

For the most part, you can group them into 6 different categories.

Organic Search

These are visitors who get to your site from search engines. It can be from Google, Bing, Yahoo or other platforms.

Why is Organic Search/Search Traffic Important?

In general, organic traffic is potentially the biggest source of traffic. That’s because there are so many people using the internet. All of whom at some point or another will search for something.

Because of its nature, these visitors know what they want. After all, they typed the search into Google.

So, if they don’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll be quick to click the “Back” button on their browser and look for another site that will give them the answer they need.

As such, they have short attention spans. And, want instant gratification.

In all likelihood, they don’t know you, don’t care who you are, and probably won’t bother to come back to your site again.

That is, unless you give them a reason to.

That’s your job here. Convince them that they should be reading your blog more because it’s valuable to them to do so.

How Do You Get Organic Search / Search Traffic?

SEO.

This involves both on-page and off-page SEO. A large part of which includes link building in order to boost your blog’s authority in the eyes of search engines, particularly Google.

Generally speaking, you’ll need to:

  1. Target the right keywords (for the most part, long-tail keywords)
  2. Build backlinks from authoritative sites and blogs
  3. Optimize your blog posts for SEO

How Long Does It Take to Get Organic Search Traffic?

It depends.

If you’re good at doing the 3 items above, it can take anywhere from 3-12 months to get decent traffic from Google.

Among the reasons it takes a long time include:

  1. Google’s sandbox policy
  2. The top 1-3 positions in search corner bulk of the searcher’s clicks. So, it’s not enough to rank in the top 10 if you want good volume unless you target a lot of keywords.
  3. You don’t really have control over how Google will ultimately rank your blog posts. You can only influence it by doing the right things.

Social Media Traffic

These visitors arrive on your blog from different social media platforms. Whether it’s from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or other social media channels, they clicked on your post to get to your site.

Why Is It Important?

Social media traffic is important because it’s a much faster way of building solid traffic compared to search.

Plus, on those rare magical moments when a blog post goes viral on social, you’ll see traffic spikes like you’d never thought you could imagine.

In addition, traffic from social media can yield very large volumes as well. It all depends on how many followers you have, what’s your reach and how often you post.

Unlike organic search, social media requires you to “show up” every day. You need to be active on social to get traffic.

Once you stop posting or engaging, the traffic dwindles away just as fast as it arrives.

How Do You Get It?

How and where you get your social media traffic will depend on the kind of blog you have, and which platform you’re active in.

Here are a few of the top choices:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • LinkedIn

If you’re into video:

  • YouTube
  • Vimeo

The thing with social media traffic is that a lot depends on how the platform operates.

So, if it’s traffic you’re looking for, it’s a good idea to go for the search-based social media platforms. These are:

  • Pinterest – if you run a blog
  • YouTube – if you focus on video

With both, people find what they’re looking for by entering queries on the search bar, much like they do in Google.

For a beginner blogger, that’s a good thing!

You don’t need to be well-known, have tons of followers or be an influencer to get visitors. Instead, you stand a chance of getting seen whenever someone enters the keyword your blog post or video focuses on.

How Long Does It Take?

With search-based social platforms, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to start seeing some traffic.

But, like everything else, you’ll need to work hard to build that traffic. This can take months and years.

As for the other social media platforms, it’s all about having followers. Your posts get seen primarily by people who follow you. So, growing your followers is a big deal.

Direct Traffic

Direct traffic refers to visitors who come to your blog by typing your domain name into their browser’s address bar.

They’re one of the more valuable types of traffic because they likely know who you are. These include your loyal readers, those who check your blog once in a while or people who are checking out your site because they heard of you from somewhere.

Why Is It Important?

Direct traffic is very valuable because they have an idea of who you are. This makes it easier to sell to them, ask them for favors or get their feedback.

In the same way, they’re also more open to what you have to offer.

Plus, the portion that’s loyal to your brand become consistent returning visitors. And, if they’re raving fans, they’ll likely also help spread your brand’s name as well.

How Do You Get It?

Building authority and furthering your brand.

For someone to type your blog’s name directly into their browser means that they’re familiar with your blog. Whether they know it just by name or do so intimately is another question.

As such, getting your name out there is key. And, in all likelihood, it takes time to build this kind of traffic.

This is why if you do the exercise below, you’ll notice that it’s the big, authoritative blogs that have a larger chunk of direct traffic.

That said, building your brand works both on- and off-line. You can do it via networking with other bloggers, speaking at events, getting interviewed, interviewing influencers, getting featured and many more.

How Long Does It Take?

Because of its nature, this is one of the longer-term traffic sources. That is unless you’re a marketing/networking ninja. Then you’ll be able to cut down the time it takes to build a brand.

Email Marketing

These are the people who signed up for your newsletter.

They’ve given you their email address and/or name. More importantly, they’ve given you permission to send them email messages.

That last part is ESSENTIAL.

Why Is It Important?

This type of traffic is by far the most important kind of traffic. That’s because they’re YOUR PEOPLE.

They know you, take the time to listen to you and are likely to buy from you as well.

You get to talk to them 1-on-1 on a regular basis, just like you do your friends.

And, if they’re engaged enough and like you enough, they technically become “your traffic” or “traffic you control”.

That is, you can talk to them anytime you want, you can give them stuff, ask them for favors or offer them your products and services.

How Do You Get It?

Building your email list comes down to two parts:

  1. Getting people to your blog
  2. Getting them to sign up for your newsletter

The better you are at doing both, the faster you’ll be able to build this traffic source.

How Long Does It Take?

Building a big email list takes time. To give you an idea, large blogs have lists that run between 100,000 to 500,000 subscribers.

On the other hand, a new blog should target 1,000 subscribers first.

Getting to about 3,000 to 5,000 subscribers gives you a solid base to work with.

And, when you get to over 10,000 subscribers, that’s when you start making six-figures a year.

That said, how fast you build your list depends on how well you’re able to entice people to sign up for your newsletter.

Paid Search / Advertising

Here, visitors reach your site by clicking on ads they see. These ads can be anywhere.

They can be ads Google show when you search for something. They can come from Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. They can come from another blog or website that you pay to display your ads.

For the most part, these ads work pretty much like the ads you see on TV, hear on the radio or that are on billboards. But they’re more effective because people can immediately click on them which instantly brings visitors to your site. With TV, radio or billboards, they still need to go to the store.

In any case, you pay to have these ads show up on these platforms.

Why Is It Important?

Ads are the fastest way to get visitors. But, they’re also the most expensive.

More importantly, the moment you stop paying, the traffic stops coming in as well.

For a beginner blogger, ads aren’t going to be a big part of your blogging strategy.

But, as your site grows and you make money, they become a viable option. That’s because they give you more control compared to Google or social media. Plus, they’re more consistent, as long as you keep paying.

This is one reason why big digital media companies can grow so quickly. They can spend tens of thousands to millions of dollars on ads to bring in visitors who will sign up for their email lists and/or buy their products.

That said, you do need to know what you’re doing when it comes to advertising online. Just because you have the money to spend on ads doesn’t mean they’ll work. There’s a lot that goes into creating successful ad campaigns.

How Do You Get It?

You pay for them.

In order to run ads, you need to create ad campaigns. This allows you to design the ad and all the text in it. In addition, you’ll be able to target these ads so that they’ll show up only in specific situations.

For example, you can set up ads on Facebook such that only your fans see them. Similarly, you can do the same so that the ads only show up to FB fans of an influencer in your niche.

These features make ads very versatile, as long as you know how to use them.

As far as ad sources go, here are a few options:

  • Google Ads (Adwords)
  • Facebook Ads
  • Pinterest Ads

How Long Does It Take?

Online ads work instantly.

As long as you pay for them, they’ll show up.

Thus, the trick with ads is to:

  • Make them enticing enough for people to click
  • Have the right people click on them

The latter is by far the most important.

Whether your goal is to get people to sign up for your email list or sell them a product, having the right people click on your ads is key.

Otherwise, you pay for each click they make only to see them leave your blog without doing anything. That’s money down the drain.

Referral Traffic

These are visitors who arrive from other websites. This happens when another blogger or website mentions you or your blog.

And, in doing so, they include a link to your blog or blog post from their site.

When their readers click on that link, they arrive at your site.

Why Is It Important?

Referrals are another source of free traffic. If they come from the right places, they can become returning or loyal readers of yours.

That said, not all referral traffic is created equal.

The best kind of referral visitors is those that are within your niche and have an interest in the topics you write about.

Just think about it.

If a food blogger mentions your yoga blog on their site, they’re likely sending foodies. While you may get a lot of visitors from them, these readers aren’t likely to stay on your site for long or come back in the future.

That’s because the majority of them may not care about yoga.

In contrast, if a big yoga blog mentions you, then the traffic you receive from that site is likely to be more interested in what you have to say.

More importantly, some of them may sign up for your email list. And, a few may even buy your products or services.

How Do You Get It?

Build relationships with other websites and bloggers.

When you do so, these blogs may mention you or your site in their articles.

So, when the right article comes around, they’ll think of you and include a link or reference in their post pointing to your blog.

Similarly, you can increase your odds of this happening by getting featured in other blogs and websites. You can do so via guest posting, getting interviewed or interviewing them.

Here are a few common ways to get referral traffic:

  • Guest posting on other blogs
  • Being featured by other bloggers
  • Being interviewed
  • Interviewing or featuring other bloggers
  • Leaving comments on blogs
  • Influencer marketing
  • Leaving responses on Q&A sites like Quora, Yahoo Answers and Medium
  • Being active on niche related forums

How Long Does It Take?

Referral traffic is another source that you don’t have control over. And, because relationships take time to build, it is another long-term traffic source.

How to Find the Best Traffic Source for Your Blog?

Great! You now know all the different kinds of traffic that can get to your blog.

So how do you use this knowledge?

In this and the following section, we go in-depth into figuring out what’s the Best Traffic Source for Your Blog.

We’ll do so using two methods:

  1. See what the main traffic sources of your competitors are
  2. Work with the traffic you already have

How to See Where Your Competitors’ Traffic Comes From

The key here is to figure out where blogs in your niche are getting their traffic.

This will make you understand:

  1. How your niche works
  2. Which traffic sources work and don’t work in your niche
  3. How and where the big sites in your niche are getting their visitors
  4. How you can be like them

So, let’s go.

Step 1: Make a List of the Blogs in Your Niche

Ideally, you want to make a list of 20 to 50 blogs in your niche. You can collect a bigger list if you want to use this information for other types of research like competitor or product research later on.

Just as importantly, you can make this list comprehensive so you can refer to it later when you start building relationships and partnerships with fellow bloggers in your niche.

For each blog, take note of the following:

  • Blog name
  • Blog URL
  • Owner
  • Email address – optional for later on if you want to use the list for networking
  • Domain Authority – gives you a rough idea of how authoritative the blog is

Step 2: Divide the List into Segments

The goal here is to break up the list into big, medium and small blogs.

This lets you analyze the traffic sources of the blogs in your niche as they evolve from a new site all the way until they become an influencer.

You’ll notice that their traffic sources will vary over time.

Here’s how to do it.

1. Install SimilarWeb Browser Extension to Chrome

The SimilarWeb Chrome Extension will let you see a few of a blog’s statistics, including traffic and demographics.

  • All you need to do is load the website on your browser.
  • Then, click on the extension on the top right corner of your browser
  • The SimilarWeb stats box will show up on the right side

Note that the data is not 100% accurate. But, it will give you a good idea of how much traffic a blog is getting.

Doing so will let you categorize it as a small, medium or large blog.

For our purposes, let’s use the following:

  • Small blogs: 25,000 or fewer monthly visitors
  • Medium-sized blogs: 25,000 to 100,000 monthly visitors
  • Large blogs: 100,000 monthly visitors or higher

Of course, you can adjust the numbers as you see fit.

2. Note Down the Statistics

Let’s take Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s blog Making Sense of Cents as an example.

  • All you need to do is load the URL in your browser’s address bar like you normally would any website.
  • Then click on the SimilarWeb button on the top right side of your Chrome bar.

When you do this, you’ll see the traffic statistics of the website that’s loaded in your browser’s tab, in this case Making Sense of Cent’s stats.

SimilarWeb Traffic Statistics

Here’s what you want to note down in your spreadsheet.

  • Monthly Visitors – is an estimate of how many people visitors the site gets per month, ie. traffic
  • Visit Duration – how long visitors tend to stay on the site per visit
  • Pages Per Visit – how many posts they look at per visit
  • Bounce Rate – the percentage of people who leave the site without clicking on any link or visiting another page in the blog

Right now, noting down their monthly visitors is your main priority. That’s the traffic estimate per month each blog on your list gets.

The others are more advanced metrics.

However, it is a good idea to keep track of the others. Doing so will allow you to understand how the blogs in your niche behave better, which I discuss below.

Similarly, you can use them as a benchmark or a guide to see how you’re doing in your own Google Analytics.

But, don’t get caught up with them too much yet. Focus on the important 20% that will bring in 80% of results in the beginning.

Step 3: Take a Look at Their Geography

Now, scroll down.

This will take you to the Geography section, as shown in the red box below.

SimilarWeb Geography Data

This section gives you a breakdown of which countries visit a website the most.

I’ll assume you’re in the U.S. because most of my readers are. If that’s the case, your blog should show a majority of U.S. visitors.

Similarly, you’ll want to pick blogs in your niche that focus on the same country as you’re targeting. The reason is that different countries have different cultures and audiences. As such, using them as a comparison isn’t always as helpful.

Step 4: Check the Breakdown of Their Traffic Sources

Finally, scroll down a little more.

This will take you the the website’s traffic breakdown.

SimilarWeb Traffic Breakdown

Next to the monthly visitors, this is the most important thing to consider for the moment.

It gives you a breakdown of which traffic source that site gets the most.

From here, you’ll be able to analyze the different blogs in your niche to see what their main source of traffic is.

Did you notice that the 6 sources are the ones we discussed above?

From there, you’ll be able to analyze and try to figure out:

  • Where their traffic is actually coming from
  • How they achieve them
  • How you can “copy” their traffic sources

Similarly, you’ll probably notice a few things:

  • Each site will have different top sources of traffic
  • There’s always 1 (at most 2) main sources of traffic
  • Blogs in a niche tend to get most of their traffic from the same 1-3 sources
  • Big blogs have different traffic source breakdowns from smaller blogs
  • Authoritative blogs often have larger chunks of Direct and Search traffic. That’s because of the branding and SEO they’ve built over the years.

Here’s another important note:

Don’t just take the percentage at face value. But, take both the percentage and absolute amounts into consideration during your analysis.

  • For example, if 59.87% search x 374,600 visitors = that’s a lot.
  • But, the same 55% or 60% of search for a smaller site with say 80,000 monthly visitors is much less.

This is important because it gives you an idea of which traffic source is worth pursuing.

So, let’s say Social makes up 2.5% of 400,000 visitors. That’s Still 10,000 visits per month, which is big traffic for a new site.

That means it’s still worth researching what they’re doing despite that fact that it’s just a paltry 2.5% of their traffic breakdown.

Just as importantly, in the case of social media, you’ll need to do extra digging. That is, see which platform they’re most active in. Often, that’s usually the one where they have the most followers.

Here’s How to Use The Data

  1. Start by focusing on 1-3 traffic sources. Decide on which sites you want to be like and consider the stage/maturity of the site. Focus first on sites that are about your level or a few notches ahead of you, then adjust as your site grows.
  2. This gives you a good starting point of which traffic sources to target.
  3. Over time, you can narrow it down depending on the results.
  4. Don’t be afraid to “dump” one source of traffic if you find another that’s more effective.

Also, as you grow, things will change. So, don’t be afraid to experiment with different traffic sources as time goes by.

But, in the beginning, try to focus on 1-2 sources so as not to spread yourself too thin.

It’s always better to be very good at one thing than be a Jack of all trades and master of none.

Finally, this exercise will also let you know who’s good at email marketing. You’ll be able to see this by analyzing the email percentage in their traffic breakdown. Study, learn and see what and how they do it. As your email list grows, you’ll want to focus on it more and more.

How to See Where Your Blog’s Traffic is Coming From

In addition to checking out the traffic sources of other blogs in your niche, you also want to know where you’re getting traffic.

The best way to do this is with Google Analytics. This is a free tool offered by Google which allows you to track and monitor your blog’s visitors and other traffic information.

Here’s how to get the data on Google Analytics.

  1. Log into your Google Analytics account.
  2. On the left sidebar, click on Acquisitions
  3. Next, Choose All Traffic
  4. And finally, click on the Channels report

This will show you the screen below. Of course, the data will be different because yours will show the stats of your blog.

Google Analytics Channels - Traffic Sources

As a guide, here are the important things to look at in your Google Analytics screen.

(a) Channels. Click on this option in the left side of your Google Analytics account. This will show you the breakdown of your traffic.

(b) Traffic Sources. These are the different sources of traffic your blog is getting.

(c) You can toggle between the data and percentage options. This will switch between your traffic numbers (as seen above) and the percentage breakdown in a pie chart form.

Things to look at on your screen.

  1. The rows on the main panel will show you the different traffic sources your blog currently gets. This lets you know where your biggest source of visitors come from. It also lets you compare with other blogs in your niche to see how you can improve on what you’re doing.
  2. Google Analytics will show you its Data View. That is, you’ll see how many visitors come to your site. It also tells you how long users from each source stay, their bounce rates and how many pages they look at per visit. These give you an idea of the “quality” visitors from each site.
  3. Similarly, you can click on the Pie Chart on the right-hand side. This will shift the data into Percentage view to allow you to see the percentage breakdown of each traffic source.

Analyzing the data and percentage views and all the information they offer gives you a better idea of where and what kind of visitors your site is currently attracting.

Together with the competitor research information you gathered using the SimilarWeb Chrome extension, you’ll be able to double down on or modify your current traffic strategy.

Conclusion

Not all traffic to your blog is equal.

Depending on what type of blog you have and how you make money from it, you’ll value one type of visitor over another.

If you follow the steps above, you’ll be able to figure out where the biggest blogs in your niche get their readers.

This will give you an idea of where to look, how to attract them and what method of monetization to use in order to get the best results.

What’s the main source of traffic for your website? And how do plan on increasing your visitors?

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