When Steve Martin was doing standup as an up-and-coming comedian, he had a bit that went something like this:
You can be a millionaire and never pay taxes. How, you ask? First: get a million dollars.
Every article I've read about how to increase traffic to your website is the same as Steve Martin's advice on how to be a millionaire and never pay taxes. These articles are nothing more than vaporware.
The definition of vaporware is: unfinished software that looks great but still isn't functional. In other words, it's useless. Just like these articles on increasing traffic. They don't tell you how to do it; they either just repeat the obvious or tell you what to do without the actual "how to."
Let's look at the most frequently used "tips" for increasing traffic:
Write great content. Gee, thanks Captain Obvious. Who sets out to publish poorly written or uninformative articles? Nobody. Also, everyone thinks their crap doesn't stink, so this tip is useless regardless of what you're publishing. Still, everyone knows people will not flock to a dumb idea or a topic nobody cares about. Also, you could write the best article ever written and it won't magically bring traffic. Remember Field of Dreams? "Build it, and they will come." Just like the movie, that statement is a fantasy.
Write a catchy title. Again, pretty obvious, but they're also setting a trap for you. Then you start reading articles on catchy titles and realize it's all about click bait. A serious writer should not be lumped in with these clowns. The title should reflect the content and certainly should catch the eye, but don't be gauche. I won't even read articles anymore that have "Hack" or "Masterclass" in the title. "Hack" implies the writer is imparting some secret that nobody else knows, but alas, these "hacks" are blatantly obvious tips that everyone already knows. And "masterclass" implies some level of brilliance someone highly regarded is imparting, like Warren Buffet, who will tell you to first, get a million dollars.
Promote through social media. I agree with this, but this only works if you have a lot of followers and plenty of engagement. So what's their first tip regarding this topic? Get a million followers. Again, they don't tell you how, just what.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization). These articles say things like, "If done precisely, you will see results," and then they proceed to tell you generally how to do it. One of the reasons they advise broadly is because SEO algorithms are constantly changing. In addition, it's just too damn complicated. And finally, it doesn't work. Yes, you should tag your articles and include the keyword in the title, etc. but ultimately, this won't drive much traffic to your site. Why? When you Google key words, it may return billions of pages. Do you really think your article will magically appear at the top because you assigned some tags? You know what will get you closer? Paid ads and hiring a professional SEO agency. There's no free ride here. But they don't tell you that.
Email Marketing. And of course, the first thing they say is "Get an email list." Then the article proceeds to discuss the benefits of email marketing which are wonderful but also useless if you don't have an email list. They do, however, offer the suggestion to embed an email list sign-up box on your landing page or via a popup to build that list even though you have no traffic yet. So essentially, you can only really build this email list after you get traffic. This tip consistently offers advice on what to do with your email list not how to build one.
Be patient! These articles like to end with the most useless tip of all. You've offered nothing of value in your article and now you tell me to be patient. Don't patronize me.
These articles have been around for a long time and continue to be churned out, offering little or no actionable tips. Why? Because none of these writers know how to get traffic to your website. Or they do, but they're not telling you because it's something nefarious. People know how to game the system, but they won't tell you the details either because it's shady or they don't want the competition to know. I wish I could tell you how to increase traffic by 500% in just a month, but I'm only less knowledgeable about the task after reading these worthless articles. If you figure it out, let me know. Just go to my website and sign up for my mailing list--then I'll have your info (will that work?).