Traffic: we all want it. We all need it. Traffic creates leads, and leads create sales. But what creates traffic?

Getting people to your website is one of the biggest challenges new entrepreneurs face. In fact, it might be the number one stumbling block that holds people back from pursuing their own business.

You can create the greatest content in the world, but how in the heck can you get people to see it?

In an online marketplace so crowded with content, it can seem almost impossible to stand out and be heard. That’s why you have to get creative. You have to pull moves that other people won’t. You have to veer off the beaten path and come from a new angle. You have to give yourself the advantage of competing against fewer people doing the same thing you are.

The following four strategies are different. They take a little time and work to implement, but it’s well worth it. Because most people don’t even attempt these tricks, the results can be way, way better than run-of-the-mill SEO strategies.

So get clever, get creative, and give these untapped techniques a try!

“Affiliate” Programs

When most people think of affiliate programs, they think of an arrangement in which people sell their product in exchange for a cut of the sale. That’s all well and good, and can be a great business booster. But what about the marketing end?

What if you adopted the affiliate strategy for traffic rather than sales? Get your current audience, however big or small, to find your new audience!

It’s simple. You offer incentives (other than cash) to your current audience in exchange for introducing new visitors to your content. Contacts of yours who refer other people to your website get a free month of services, or free shipping, or an upgrade, or whatever you deem a fair price for being your evangelist.

You’ll measure your affiliate’s performance in subscriptions. For every referral that becomes a new blog or newsletter subscriber, your affiliate gets credit towards the incentive. There are some tools online just for this kind of program; e-commerce stores can use Gather for a simple, stripped-down tool. For a more complex (but more powerful) affiliate marketing tool, check out IDevAffiliate.

Write a Book

Before you scroll past this, think about it for a second.

Everyone’s writing blogs, as they should be. But not everyone’s reading blogs — and not everyone who’s writing blogs is necessarily gaining the level of credibility it takes to drive traffic. For all the SEO power a great blog has, there is an alternative that’s slightly more involved, but potentially waaaaay more powerful: writing a book.

And if you can write a blog, you can write a book.

It’s easier than ever to self-publish, especially through Amazon. It doesn’t have to be a War & Peace; a 100-page e-book can be enough to have the desired effect. It can even be an amalgam of the blogs you’ve already written, reworked and repackaged into a bigger narrative or instructional form.

It also doesn’t have to be a New York Times best-seller. It just has to reach the segment of the market you want on your website. Charge a dollar, or two, or zero! The goal isn’t revenue, it’s traffic to your site. Include calls to action or incentives that link to your website, and watch the contacts roll in.

A solid, helpful, valuable book sticks with readers in ways a blog never can. It engages the reader over a longer period and creates a deeper relationship. That relationship doesn’t just drive traffic, it lays the groundwork for sales. Book-driven contacts aren’t casual contacts — they’re essentially pre-qualified leads.

It’s a no-brainer.

Guest Edit

We’ll get to guest posting below, but this brilliant strategy is just too good, and too creative, for me to wait any longer. I have to give credit where it’s due, however; this idea comes from the King of SEO, Brian Dean of Backlinko. It works like this:

Step 1: Google the most relevant search terms related to your niche.

To use an example, let’s say you’re a travel blogger who specializes in European travel. You Google various terms like “Europe travel visa” and “Europe rail pass,” etc. You get the idea. Find the most popular blogs and articles related to those terms.

Step 2: Identify older posts that still get heavy traffic.

You’ll find that posts from years ago still rank high in the search results, despite potentially being outdated or full of less relevant information — which is exactly what you’re looking for.

Step 3: Identify which of these older posts are in need of updating.

To use the European travel example, there are tons of high-ranking posts about the European visa system from 2016, 2012, and even further back.

Since they were written, different nations have changed their rules and policies regarding visas, new nations have agreed to enter certain visa agreements with others, political realities like immigration and Brexit have changed the game, etc. There’s more to know since these posts were written, but they’re still being read, every day.

The same holds true for just about every niche. Fitness, food, ferret grooming, whatever. Times change, and that’s good news for you.

Step 4: Offer to update the outdated posts in exchange for backlinks.

Simply decide how best to make the outdated posts relevant and correct for today, then contact the author. Propose that in exchange for reworking your post, you get to include a link to your own website.

It’s a win-win. The original poster’s SEO (to say nothing of their reputation) gets a boost from being updated, you get new traffic, and readers get better information. What’s not to love?

Not everyone will say yes. But spend a day or two per month doing this, and the results can be incredible.

Traffic-Similar Cross-Niche Guest Posting

Yes, guess posting on another website is always a good move. But finding the right site to post on can be tricky, and getting them to let you put your content in front of their audience can take some convincing.

That’s why you have to think just slightly outside the box.

Instead of offering a guest post on a site that’s directly in your niche, find a website that’s niche-adjacent. If you’re a fitness coach, try to post nutritional tips on a food blog. If you’re an interior designer, try to post staging tips on a real-estate site. I once guest posted on a photography website, discussing the business end for professional photographers.

A different but relevant perspective from someone outside the usual circles can be incredibly valuable. Website owners are always looking for more content, but unique content is worth its weight in gold.

The trick is to find niche-adjacent websites with similar traffic to your own. This way, they’re more likely to accept your proposal. It’s an opportunity for them to reach people they may never reach normally, just as it is for you. Go to SimilarWeb to figure out what websites in your chosen niche have roughly the same traffic as yours, and go from there.

As in every aspect of business, you have to find your own path.

To make it in an overcrowded marketplace, new entrepreneurs have to find angles that other people miss. Try these 4 strategies, and you may find that the best things come out of left field. Don’t be afraid to be an outlier — most successful entrepreneurs are.