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How Can We Drive More Traffic?

Increase-your-trafficI am always looking for new effective ways to drive more traffic to my site and help others do the same, so I wanted to explore the most effective ways to do that without organic search engine rankings. Not everyone can get in the top 10 on Google. Luckily that is not the only way to get users to our sites.

I have come up with a list of different ways agents can drive traffic to their sites. I have put them in order of what I think are most effective and where I would spend my time, money and energy. I based my list on tracking the results through analytics of agents I have been helping. I would love for you to share methods you have had good success with and anything you think should be on the list.

1. Craigslist definitely is the best affordable way to drive a lot of traffic to your site and it is free. It has a pretty low average bounce rate (24%) compared to other methods. The average page views per user is 10, which is pretty good. Plus the conversion rate of sign ups is slighter higher from the Craigslist users than the Google CPC users.

2. Google Adwords is probably the most effect way to drive a lot of traffic to your site if you have a marketing budget. If the ads are put together correctly and land on the right page you will have a higher conversion rate. The agents sites I have been helping have been getting around a 20% Bounce Rate. The average page views per user has been 13 from the campaigns we have been tracking. Some of the agents I have been helping have also been using Homegains CPC product and the bounce rate has been running about 21%. The average page views per user is 16, but it is much more expensive than Google Adwords to get the same amount of traffic.

3. Syndicating listings through Real Estate Portals like Zillow & Trulia, Realtor.com, Listhub & others.  Although the traffic from these portals is not even close to Craigslist or Adwords, I would definitely still get your listings syndicated in as many portals as you can as long as they link to your site or at least have your contact information. The traffic from them was not significant.  Realtor.com drove the most traffic but had a higher bounce rate (48%) with a lower page view per user (2.3). Zillow was the next most effective source of portals with a bounce rate of 32% with 5 page views per user.

4. Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube & Activerain) can drive some traffic to your site, but the users appear to be less focused on buying or selling homes. Of the sites I tracked Facebook & Twitter actually drove more traffic then the real estate portals, but the bounce rate and page views were horrible.  Here are the stats:
FaceBook – 55% Bounce rate / 1.7 page views per user
Twitter – 78% Bounce rate / 1.3 page views per user
Youtube – 49% Bounce rate / 3 page views per user
Activerain – 44% Bounce rate / 3.6 page views per user

5. Directories like Yahoo, Dmoz and industry ones. These may drive some traffic, but  are more worth getting listed in for the link back to your site. It is a bonus if they drive some traffic.

The analytic stats used a combined average of the following 4 sites: St Louis Real Estate Today, Coastal Bay, The Desert On The Market & Home Sales San Diego.

It is very important when implementing any marketing campaign to make sure that you have some sort of analytics or tracking system in place. I prefer Google Analytics. It is free and you can set up goals to measure your results. If you do not have a way to measure your conversions, you will never have an efficient, effective & predictable way to drive traffic to your site.

These are the most effective ones I have been able to come up with that are track able through analytics. I am sure there are probably other effective methods of driving traffic to your website and would love for you to join the conversation & share them. 🙂

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  • Jeff,
    Good post. I would be interested to see an ad on craigslist that you have had that success with. In the past, I got a lot of spam from craigslist. Thanks!

  • “…looking for new ways to drive more traffic to my site…”

    These are not new ways. Perhaps you need to get out more often Jeff. [grins]

    • Did you have anything effective you have been doing that you want to share?

      • Hmm, nothing new, but how about effective. We've learned to not only optimize YouTube videos, but our YouTube channel as well, in order to rank video screencasts for local search. For instance, search 'panoramic heights kennewick wa homes' Not only do we have several of the spots on page 1 of Google to various sites we submit to, but our video ranks as well.

        • That is great Joe! How are those videos converting for you?

  • JoeColleen – New ways for agents that have not done them 😉 Thanks for pointing that out. I think I will change that to effective ways. I am looking for agents to share other effective ways that will drive traffic to our sites. The top two are the most effective and then it drops off pretty drastically from there.

    Rob – I am pretty sure you are handling vacation rentals and not sure about that space.

  • Jeff,
    I would be interested to see if craigslist was more effective while the economy was struggling than previously. Seems like most people go there for a deal.

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  • arliejacobs

    If you want to drive a large amount of traffic at your blog than you will have to do the effective SEO on the particular site.
    flats

  • Great post, Jeff. I would also add social bookmarking. If you add an interesting page to your site, share it on stumbleupon, reddit, delicious (and all the rest). Although the traffic may have a high bounce rate, it can lead to potential leads (it has for me).

  • Interesting findings. I have posted my listings on Craigslist have had minimal success, but, I haven't been consistent in posting my listings. I think Craigslist is a great tool and consistency will pay off. I sell homes in Atlanta, GA; we are successful in selling homes in Atlanta, GA. We work w/Buyers in northeast metro Atlanta, we also specialize in foreclosed, bank owned, reo and short sale properties. I have spent much $$ on realtor.com with minimum success. It is quite expensive and I have owned zip codes, etc. with no luck.

    • Thanks for sharing Kathleen 🙂 It all depends on how often you are posting, where you are directing them and how good your idx is. If you have an easy to use idx search and a high converting sign up process if you should be able to have a lot of users to follow up on.

      We not only track the bounce rates, we also track how many times the sign up form is displayed and how many times it is actually submitted for each traffic source. That way we can focus on what is converting the best. This Santa Cruz site http://www.coastalbay.com had 1177 visitors from craiglist in the past 27 days with 187 sign ups from craigslist ads. 40% of the craiglist users were displayed the sign up form and of that 40%, 29% of them actually signed up for daily email alerts.

  • Thanks Jeff, You
    You've written a thoughtful post. I like the idea of using analytics to measure the success of an initiative.
    One idea I came across: publish the content of your web site in an RSS feed, and then register with feed services.

    Eileen Sarson
    Tandem Training & Consulting, LLC

    • Eileen – sounds like a good idea to get your content out there. If you are running analytics you can then measure its success and also see if the traffic is actually converting.

  • Hello Jeff,

    I've also had reasonable traffic (better than Zillow) by also posting to Backpage. Their service is free, the ad stays up for a month, and they don't add the no-follow tag.

    Thanks!

    John

  • This topic should be even more interesting now with the roll out of caffeine. I have always been a fan of long tail keywords and from what I understand the big G is placing more value on just that. In short I am excited to see improvements. I saw a nice drop in traffic one the Mayday update was implemented. Real estate/apartments for rent/homes for sale is a very competitive niche as we all know. Let's only hope the new G updates with help our social media efforts as well. 🙂

  • This topic should be even more interesting now with the roll out of caffeine. I have always been a fan of long tail keywords and from what I understand the big G is placing more value on just that. In short I am excited to see improvements. I saw a nice drop in traffic one the Mayday update was implemented. Real estate/apartments for rent/homes for sale is a very competitive niche as we all know. Let's only hope the new G updates with help our social media efforts as well. 🙂

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  • craigslist

    Yeah – craigslist can be spammy but as always there’s some good fruits burried in all the spoiled ones 🙂 I get a lot of crappy traffic from craigslist but not only 🙂 I recomend it as a way of getting new visitors – if they won’t buy, they’ll improve Your stats by UU visits and thats good for You as far as seo is concered. And good ranking in SE will mirror in buyers 🙂

  • I was beeing scouring the WWW for such information and just wanted to thank u for the post. BTW, just off topic, how can i find a copy of this theme? – Thanks

  • hello jeff,
    The stuff has really peaked my interest. I am going to save your website and keep searching for new content

  • Thanks for these tips. Craigs List is becoming tighter these days, so we’re seeing less traffic from that resource. Optimizing our websites through good content and authentic backlinking has helped build traffic for us more than anything these days. Have you found any new outlets post Penguin? Thanks for a great post.

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