In this post I want to talk about how I grew the web traffic to my side project Real Email.
My first idea was to use Q&A sites, find people that had the problem Real Email solves and tell them about it. I was mostly using stackoverflow. For my very first answer I was on the 3rd or 4th page, where very few people would see it. Eventually it got voted up a bit. But mostly I had to target less popular questions in smaller niches to get my answers ranked higher and get some visitors through to my site. Most of the questions were like “How to validate emails in X?” where X is a different programming language.
Nobody likes a hard sell, so I was always trying to give back at the same time. For me I would often give a solution where they could validate the email address pattern and say they should use use Real Email to do in depth validation.
Search Engine Results
The next thing I wanted to do was to get better results from google search. This means that someone searches for a question on google you want your site to be one of the top results.
The main tool to help you with this is Google Search Console which charts your performance and tells you what terms are working best.
You can see in this chart the page rank is going up. Higher is better. You can see in early 2020 there were some days where there were no results at all. This chart is filtered to my most successful search term, the average for all terms is lower and noisy.
In Search Console you can also see which page people are clicking on. For me a big one page was “How to validate email addresses in Python”. I had a handful of guides for different use cases and those first articules were not very good. I kind of just threw mud at wall to see what sticks. And it was sticking. Once I was seeing results I expandend on the articles which had the other benefit of increasing the page view time which is another factor for SEO.
Given that I’m just one guy without much marketing experience or budget im stocked that I’ve been able to come in to an established field and get ranked so high.
At this point google search organic traffic was doing the best for me and I was looking for ways to make it even better. One important way google ranks sites is with back links. Back Links are when another sites links to your site. The more sites linking to you the better your site must be.
I already had lots of back links from stack overflow but I wanted more, so I found some quora questions some reddit posts and listed Real Email in a few directory sites like saashub.com and alternativeto.net. I found a list of 100 sites to submit to, but that was a grouling task that I didnt get very far through. It was hard to know if this was really helping.
Its interesting to monitor your back links. I was doing this by searching for my site in google. I learnt there were other websites that were translating my content from stackoverflow and posting other language Q&A sites. I also found one of users liked Real Email so much they wrote about it. Its a good example of a customer become an advocate.
Getting your site ranking well in google can be a bit of slow to get started but once your going its a nice steady stream of customers.