How to Get Traffic to Your New Blog and Keep it Coming
Creating anything from scratch requires a lot of foresight and planning, whether it be a new mobile application, a new blog website or even just one of those dodgy flat-packed desks from IKEA. I’m not going to give you a step-by-step on how to put a desk together but what I can do is give you a few tips, based on my personal experience, on how to drive traffic through to your brand new website.
When you’re first developing a strategy for your new blog it’s really important to set yourself some targets that have time-scales placed upon them. More importantly, these targets have to be achievable. There’s no point in setting yourself the task of achieving 10,000 unique visitors to the blog within your first couple of weeks unless you are prepared to dedicate some serious financial resources toward it. A lesson that I have learnt very quickly during my time within online marketing is to be prudent in your predictions.
If I Make Great Content Then People Will Pay Attention
This statement is true in the sense that once someone is presented with your content in front of them and they get a chance to actually see it and enjoy it then yes, people will certainly pay attention to it. The only issue lies in the visibility of the content itself. Having good quality content that is genuinely interesting to your target audience is crucial to the sustainability of visits to your blog, however quality content isn’t always enough.
Depending on the time-scales and general objectives that you have for your blog, there are a number of activities that you can engage in. To make for an easier read I’ve broken these different activities up into short-term and long-term methods of pulling in traffic.
Methods for Bringing in Blog Traffic in the Short-Term
- Banner Advertising – This can end up being quite costly but if you take the time to hand-pick the best locations for your banners then you will see much better results. What I mean is that instead of simply going through the Google Display Network where, although you can select relevant genres of websites for your ads to be displayed on, you can’t pick the exact website for it to be placed within. By going through and finding other websites that your target audience regularly visit and then getting in touch directly with the webmasters of these sites can often result in better quality traffic coming through to you. Not only this but you will often be able to negotiate a much better price and start a relationship with the webmaster that could result in future opportunities, like guest posting.
- Guest Posting - This is another great way of building relationships with other blog owners and a way of driving through some extra traffic, plus some valuable links, to your blog. I’ve personally found this to be really effective in growing your social network as well, which you can leverage as a major distribution route for your content. Some blogs will charge you to post on their site, which is known as an advertorial, and is often considered black-hat within the SEO community. I personally oppose this opinion and think that, like many other marketing activities, this is a completely legitimate way of getting your brand in front of your target audience. Using this method just for the purpose of gaining back-links, on the other hand, is not necessarily something I agree with.
- Pay for a Tweet – Yet another questionable tactic that many people within the marketing industry criticise. What it involves is paying someone to send a tweet from their account (often with a large and relevant follower base) that links to your content. This can be done through a number of legitimate websites, such as Buysellads.com.
Like having a banner on someone’s website that will be exposed to a large audience, paying someone to tweet your content can be a great way of driving some traffic to your blog, whilst also helping you to increase your own social following (if you append your Twitter handle to the end of the tweet).I’ve tested this method out in the past and it has had mixed results so make sure you have weighed up the trade-off between the cost of the tweet and the potential traffic influx. My advice would be to try it out on a small scale first before committing to something larger.
- Collaborative Posts - Getting other bloggers to collaborate with you in your posts will help you to utilise their distribution routes alongside your own, which can often help drive larger volumes of traffic to your content. This can be in the form of interviewing influential bloggers within your niche, quoting them on a subject or just using each other’s data (if applicable) to create a piece of content.With collaborative posts you will find that anyone mentioned within your content will be eager to share this with their social following and maybe even link to the piece of content on their blog. This is what we call ‘egobait‘.
Methods of Bringing in Blog Traffic for the Long-Term
- SEO - Anyone who has read my articles before knows that I am an advocate of search engine optimisation as a sustainable long-term online marketing strategy. Depending on what your blog is focussed on will largely dictate the direction that you head in for the SEO. For example, I recently started a travel blog to write about my journeys around East Asia and spent a lot of time on creating a solid architecture to the site in order to rank well for a wider number of long-tail keywords related to each individual post. If I tried to rank on the first page of Google for ‘Travel Blog’ then I would be going up against some serious competition that my resources just wouldn’t stretch to.In short, your blog’s search engine optimisation efforts should be focused around maintaining a steady flow of traffic through to your site through appearing for regularly searched for phrases.
- Build a Community - This strategy can come in a variety of forms, whether it is specifically registering on your blog or through a flourishing social media following. Building a community is an important aspect of any blog and since the dawn of social media we’ve seen a colossal rise in the success of the individual blogger. Things can, or should I say will, be slow at the start but over time your social following could become instrumental in the building of traffic through to your website. Make sure that you have an appearance on social media website that your readers are likely to be a part of and focus heavily on them. For example, there’s no point in placing all your time into Instagram if your blog is focused around law. If your have a photography blog then I’m sure that Instagram, along with Pinterest, will be one of your first ports of call. Alongside this you should make it easy for your readers to find more of your content in the future by letting them subscribe by RSS or sign up to your newsletter.
- Create Genuinely Interesting Content – People often say that your content has to be fresh and original for it to be read but I don’t think this is always the case. Half of the stuff that I read on the internet is very similar to the last thing I read but would I say I didn’t find it interesting? Certainly not. If this was the case then all the news outlets in the world would really have to rethink their strategies! Give your content something that is truly unique; give it a bit of yourself. Add your own views, write in your own style and in a way that would most appeal to your target readership. If you just go onto Google’s keyword tool and find what loads of people are searching for in order to find out what to write about then all you are going to be doing is writing about what loads of people have talked about anyway. Find something that you and your readers would be interested in and then make it interesting to view.
Making your content ‘genuinely interesting’ doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be about a traditionally interesting topic. Over the past two years, during the infographic craze, people have been finding ways of making traditionally boring information very exciting. This example from ‘Trucker Classifieds’ that displayed some statistics from America’s trucking industry in an amazing scrolling infographic is a prime example.
- Website Acquisition - This method involves acquiring someone else’s website, usually for a sum of money, in order to capture the website’s existing readership. Once you have acquired a website, there are a number of different approaches that you can take towards filtering traffic through to your personal blog. This could be that you simply redirect the blog and all its content over to your website, integrate the existing website’s content into your own or you could simply run the acquired site as usual and link through to your blog within articles or through banners, etc.
Website acquisition can be a very expensive tactic to use but it can often yield great results. Make sure that you inherit the social media accounts of the website as well in order to further boost your online community. You can find websites that are for sale on sites like Flippa. A little tip that I have though is to search for blogs that have slowed down in the regularity of their posting. For example, if a site used to post a blog every day and now only posts around once a fortnight it could be a sign that they are getting a bit bored of the whole venture and would be a good target to approach privately to get a better deal.
These are just a few of the different methods of driving new traffic to your website and I haven’t mentioned many other strategies, for example PPC advertising through Adwords, primarily because I could go on writing all day if this was the case! Hopefully this has given you a few ideas though and can help you to bring in some more traffic to your shiny new blog.
Have you got any great ideas for increasing the traffic on your blog? If so, I want to know so drop me your suggestions within the comments box below