Traffic – it's that thing that every blogger wants but most bloggers can't seem to figure out.
It would be awesome if we could all put together a piece of content and then all of a sudden have thousands of people come to that article, video or podcast episodes.
I can see it now – we would all have hundreds of comments on each post and a highly engaged community.
Unfortunately that's not the way it goes. Most of us struggle to build up that traffic, especially when we're just getting started.
Ready, set, go . . .
1. Create AWESOME content
This is where it all begins. If your content sucks, nobody will care about it and nobody will share it. However, I've seen relatively obscure, unknown bloggers create an awesome piece of content that resonates with the right person who shares it and starts a viral effect going.
Not to mention, the more content you have, the more potential entry points you have for people to land on your blog.
2. Cover trending topics
When a topic is trending, a lot of people will be searching for it and sharing it. Sometimes it’s good to simply jump on the bandwagon early in the game because by doing so, you are able to take advantage of that additional exposure. For example, at the end of 2014, Facebook announced that it was changing the way promotional posts were handled for Facebook pages, essentially eliminating the reach of those posts. The blogosphere was up in arms about it. So what did I do? I wrote a post about it. The result? Well, see for yourself.
Also, the keyword phrase “Facebook changes 2015” is now ranking #4 in top searches sending traffic to my blog.
3. Be a guest contributor on other blogs
One of the best ways to get traffic is to get it from people who already have traffic. If you can nurture relationships with other bloggers in your niche and ultimately contribute content to their blog with a link back to your blog in your bio at the end of the post, that can result in a significant amount of traffic.
Do you have an article that’s doing particularly well for traffic? Why not take that content and create a slideshow to post on Slideshare.net? How about an awesome video to post on Youtube? That same content can be used in multiple ways, media can be embedded in the post to enhance the post, and since that media is housed on different platforms those can all be linked back to the original article.
5. Use social media channels
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, etc, etc. Pick one, get on there, test things out and master the platform. Take courses about the specific platform you are trying to master and then get your content out there using that platform. Here's the key – it's all about engagement. The more you can engage people in your ideal target audience, the more likely they will be to click your links when you do post them in a NON-SPAMMY WAY.
6. Use Social Sharing Plugins
This one should be a fairly obvious one. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to share your content. I've stumbled onto a number of blogs where I've thought – “Man, this is great content. Let me share it with my friends on Facebook”. Then I look for the easy sharing buttons and they don't exist. Make it easy. Oh, and if you're wondering, the one I'm currently using is the Monarch plugin.
Do you know that one of the best ways to get the word out there about your online business is to actually connect with REAL PEOPLE in your niche face to face? This has done more to help grow my blogging business than anything else I've done. By attending (and speaking at) conferences, I've made strategic alliances with movers and shakers in my industry that have resulted in a significant amount of traffic in multiple ways.
8. Be Interviewed On Podcasts
This is something that has also brought a lot of traffic my way over the years. Connect with podcasters in your niche and offer to contribute specific valuable content in the form of an interview. Make sure you have a very clear value proposition and then make the pitch. You will get turned down sometimes (especially if you're just starting out), but the more you get yourself out there the easier it is to get out there. Here's an example of an interview I did on Entrepreneur On Fire.
9. Interview popular individuals in your industry
One of the potential benefits of interviewing popular individuals is that they MIGHT actually share the interview with their audience, ESPECIALLY if you make them look really good. People like to look good in front of other people. Why not help them do just that? Click here for an example of one of the interviews I've done on Learning With Leslie that has gotten a lot of shares.
10. Do A Roundup Post
Come up with a very interesting question and then send it to a bunch of influencers in your industry. Then create a roundup post of all their answers. There are two main benefits to doing this. You have some great content for your audience and there is a possibility that the influencers in your industry will share that post with their audiences. Click here for an example.
11. Do a Top Influencer Post
This is similar to the one above except that it doesn't require any work from the influencers, because all you are doing is coming up with a list of the top individuals in some aspect of your business. Once again, people love to look good, and if you can put together a well-researched, well-thought out post with the top X amount of INSERT SOMETHING HERE, you might be surprised at how many of them will share your content. Click Here for an example.
12. Strategic Blogger Outreach
When I started my Interactive Biology blog, I wanted to get the word out there quickly. In order to make that happen, I searched the internet and came up with a list of 80+ blogs (or websites) that covered similar topics and then reached out to them in a strategic way with the goal of getting some of them to link to my blog. Most of them didn't, but some of them did, and that was exactly what I needed to give my blog a boost in traffic. Four years later and many of those sites are STILL sending me lots of traffic.
13. Hand out Business Cards
WHAT? Leslie, did you just say? Did you really say business cards? Oh no he di-in't. Actually, yes I did. I know it's old school, but it works. Just a few days ago someone was asking me about what I do and how they can do the same thing. I knew there was only so much I could tell them in the time we had, so I decided to give them a business card and instruct them as to how they could get my free training. Yes, that's only one person, but on the bright side – it's one MORE person.
This goes along with the networking concept. When you attend a live event with like-minded individuals, you are able to make connections with people that can potentially open up the world of opportunities – even traffic opportunities. Sites like Meetup.com make it really easy for you to find relevant meet ups in your local area.
15. Grow your own traffic
How do you do that? By building an email list. When people come to your blog, you want to capture their email addresses. You can do that by offering something of value in exchange for them signing up to your list. By doing this, you are growing a list of subscribers that you can send an email whenever you have new, awesome content for them to consume. The result – recurring traffic back to your blog.
This is something Social Media Examiner does that generates A LOT of buzz for them. They put together an Annual Social Media Report with all kinds of statistics about what's working for businesses and marketers in Social Media. This gets shared like gangbusters and has been a key component of their growth. Click here to see how Social Media Examiner does this.
17. Cultivate a sharing “inner circle” network
One of the best things about blogging that technology makes it that we don’t have to go at it alone. I’ve already spoken about the importance of networking with others, and this one takes it a little further. Try to connect with a small group of bloggers in your niche who actively promote each others’ stuff. This can go a long way because you all get the benefits of exposure within your niche to a new audience. When you have something awesome that just needs to be shared, let them know about it.
Whenever I go to share an article on Facebook or another social network and it doesn’t pull up an optimized image, I think twice before sharing it, and in most cases, I won’t unless the content is just that awesome. Part of the reason is that I know that the reach won’t be as good if the images aren’t optimized. I use the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast to take care of all of the images and it works perfectly.
19. Use your analytics data to determine the right content to create
I took a look at my analytics data today and discovered that I was ranking relatively well for things I wasn’t trying to rank for – things that if I were to try, I could dominate the search engines. Let's look at specific examples for my biology blog. Take a look at the following chart:
Lets just take the first 3 queries.
Erythropoiesis, spinothalamic tract and law of dominance are all topics that are related to what I cover on that blog. Those three ALONE get searched in Google a total of 8,100 times. I rank between the 5th and 6th position for those terms even though I haven’t covered ANY of them in detail. If I were to focus on creating posts covering those topics in more detail, I can see myself dominating the search engines and getting significantly more traffic. Also, keep in mind that those are only 3 of 2,923 different keyword phrases that I rank for.
20. Use your email signature
Whenever you send an email, that’s an opportunity to introduce the recipient to your blog. A signature with a call to action to check out your blog can go a long way in getting someone to check out your content. You just might be surprised to see how many of your friends would love to check out your content. That’s why my signature says:
Changing the world one blog at a time.
So there you have it, 20 ways to get more traffic to your blog. The truth is that there are MANY ways to get your content out there. You might have some strategies that you’ve tried that may have worked for you that I didn’t mention.
If so, please feel free to share them in the comments below.
- 359: Leslie Samuel Is Changing The World One Blog At A Time. Source: Entrepreneur On Fire
- 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. Source: Social Media Examiner
- Top 25 Business Podcasts for Entrepreneurs. Source: Entrepreneur
- 20 Social Media Marketing Tips From the Pros. Source: Social Media Examiner
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- 145 How To Get A Ton Of Interaction On Your Facebook Page – With Rachel Martin
- 176 How To Build Your Email List – Part 1 – The Setup
- 146 How To Network With People In Your Niche – A Candid Convo