Serious about blogging? Then I bet you’ve Googled, “How do I make money from my blog?” or “How do I drive traffic to my blog?”
In between those two questions are hundreds of permutations all asking roughly the same things but the answers to both queries are intrinsically entwined, because you can’t do the first without having the second.
So how do you create a system that generates traffic to your blog?
The old method for gaining attention
In the real world, the time honoured (and now retro) way to gain attention to yourself, your business or your services was to advertise in the media. And let’s face if you were offered free billboard advertising in the middle of the Kalahari desert miles from anywhere you probably wouldn’t take it, but you’d be prepared to expend a little more cash for a busy street sign in a huge city like New York .
And if the online world was a simple space it would be easy because you’d simply choose to pay more to be seen more, but it doesn’t work like that even if Facebook would mostly have us believe so.
How do I drive traffic to my blog?
So I hear you say, ‘I should just write good content, attract loads of readers, sell advertising space to hungry advertisers and Bob’s your proverbial Uncle’. Sorry, No. It doesn’t really work like that either.
Because the real world of the internet universe is very different and much more complex than it was even just a few years ago, and there is so much noise about how to be successful, much of the babble drowning the good stuff out.
So much noise out there, where should I start?
We are overwhelmed by so much advice, and lots of it in bite size pieces – bits of this regarding SEO bits of that regarding social media, how to write newsletters, why guest posting is important, what to do when your stats suck, and so it goes on and day after day we tend then to have a shot gun approach to blogging, putting out fires when necessary. And traffic is tiny, or non existent.
It all seems just too difficult.
What we need is a reliable system that generates traffic , and something that we can implement day after day.
So let’s start at the beginning and from the knowledge I’ve gleaned from blogging over the last three years, here’s all that I know about attracting traffic to a blog. From it, I hope that you will devise your own list and create your own system to drive hits and comments and conversation to your blog.
Design your Roadmap
When you embark on a journey in unfamiliar territory in the real world, the first thing most of us reach for is a map, or Google Maps perhaps on our mobiles. We don’t just wing it through alien territory hoping for the best, at least not if we want a cold beer and supper before midnight. I have driven three times around Madrid in Spain trying to find our hotel, with no map and no cellphone, and believe me, there was nearly a divorce.
An online roadmap will give you confidence. It will keep you on track and keep driving you forward to the next stop, and the next landmark, and so on to your destination.
“A roadmap sounds like common sense, and also sounds a little cheesy,” says Zion Ong, founder of Alyka a West Australian company which has been named as one of the fastest growing companies in Australia. Alyka is a Finnish word that means ‘smart’ and Alyka’s main business is online marketing for small businesses, while attempting to make the online world simple.
“But there’s a lot of brainstorming needed to create a good Roadmap. You need to plan your SEO and your social media strategy, and you need to plan and write rich content for your site and newsletters too, and it all takes time. It’s not a quick fix. I’d suggest that you first need to decide on your goals, what you want to achieve in 6 or 12 months time and get a system in place that you can automate to a degree – there’s no such thing as a shot gun approach to successfully getting more traffic, ” he continued at a recent seminar at the Bunbury Chamber of Commerce.
Zion’s 5 basic steps to creating a Roadmap for success.
- Build a great site
- Get traffic
- Convert traffic
- Re- market back to that traffic using a mailing list
- Measure the results and refine
Build a great site.
The importance of a well designed site
“You need a great site. People start reading a website from the top left. The left hand side gets a lot of attention, and remember it takes less than a second to make a first impression,” Zion said, “And although pictures are important, text attracts more attention.”
Zion went on to say that horizontal navigation is also good and that there should be no more than nine navigation buttons along the top, going to no more than three buttons deep vertically.
“Is your site Mobile friendly? These days, it needs to be,” Zion said, “And Testimonials need to be in a prominent place because this creates confidence in readers and buyers. Do you have SEO footer links, and an awesome site map? Google has an 86% share of search engine queries and it’s much harder to rank today than it used to be. Key phrases don’t work as well these days, landing pages are of less value, and Google is huge on quality content and keen to see that you’re contributing something of value.”
24 Tips to drive traffic traffic to your blog
- Post unique, interesting, useful, helpful or entertaining content regularly. Remember, your words must add value.
- Make sure you link to other posts within your own site, but don’t stuff the post with links.
- Likewise link out to other sites where readers can find more information about the same topic
- Don’t fall foul of Google algorithms and accept paid text links, clean up your broken links, and don’t cut and paste anything, ever.
- Make sure that you have an SEO plugin to help you remember to use key phrases in your posts, and to jog you to use them in headings, permalinks and sub headings. I use WordPress SEO Plugin by Joost de Valk
- Write interesting, intriguing or useful comments on other people’s blog posts.
- Write Guest Posts (Learn to do this by signing up for Jon Morrow’s course here: Boost your Blog Traffic, Here’s How.) Yes, I’m an affiliate.
- Tweet other people’s posts, links or interesting tweets on a daily basis, post news about your industry, and also Tweet something relevant to your life or industry that’s interesting each day. Check out TwiTips for more ideas.
- Follow new people on Twitter – make it a daily habit
- Tweet out your new blog posts – perhaps consider using Hootsuite to schedule these posts several times throughout the day or the week.
- Post a daily question or inspiring thought on Facebook, and Tweet that with a link to your Facebook page.
- Post your new blog posts to your Facebook page.
- Post news about what’s happening in your life to Facebook and relate this back to others.
- Follow new pages on Facebook and drop them a polite note asking them if they would follow you back.
- Post to other Facebook Pages within your niche – occasionally mention and link to a blog post you have written IF it adds to the conversation.
- On Pinterest? Make sure that each post you write has a pinnable photo that links back to your site. Pin one every time you post. Consider creating a poster photo or a badge – one that has the heading of your new post written across it – like the cover of a magazine, or create a beautiful badge with the text at the side of the photo.
- Create an Editorial Calendar. If you have WordPress you could use this Plugin or you might consider writing manually to a desktop calendar, or perhaps a diary, but have a plan and stick to it. Here’s a short Video to the WordPress Editorial Caldendar.
- Write fabulous headlines, because they will draw traffic. If you haven’t signed up for Jon Morrow’s course which includes an in-depth cheat sheet called Headline Hacks, then consider doing that right now (yes, I am an affiliate).
- Nurture your email list and write an engaging newsletter
- Create a free product to give away in return for subscribers (and emails)
- Devise a month by month plan for all your social media so that you’re not stuck for ideas. Travel Blog? Post to Facebook about a different country each month. Cookery Blog? Post about puddings one month, starters the next. Lifestyle Blog? Pick a lifestle subject and remain consistent with your photos and Tweets for that month.
- Run a monthly poll, survey or competition. This could be done via your Facebook Page or as a blog post. Competitions are popular in Australia, but make sure you know the rules about running competitions.
Convert browsers into loyal supporters
How are you going to keep readers coming back for more when the internet is an Alladin’s Cave of information, always with more sparkly bits being dripped before their eyes?
The answer is that you need to convert those internet browsers into loyal supporters and get them to take action after reading your posts, hopefully fill out a form so that you can create an email list. I use Mail Chimp for my email newsletters, which is free, many bloggers I know use Aweber.
Now you can market your wares, your services or just your new blog posts legally. Without spamming anyone.
Tip: Once you’ve created a good newsletter format then stick to it – don’t surprise people by constantly changing either the text in the subject line of the email, or the name of who it comes from, the design, or the type of content you provide. Be consistent.
The best way to encourage people to sign up to your newsletter is to give away an information product in the form of an eBook for free in return for email addresses. Here’s a great post about How to create an eBook by Ali Luke on Copyblogger.
Keep your contact list entertained
Once you have this product you can market to your Contact List, and keep entertaining them so that they return to read your blog posts.
And by marketing I mean, keep them intrigued as well as promote your services and products. You’ll be writing rich content and giving them wonderful fresh new ideas and information (stuff that possibly you don’t put on your blog in order to maintain some exclusivity to your newsletter content).
Measure the results of your blog’s success via Analytics
- Sign up for Google Analytics and study the results.
- Which posts get the most traffic? Could you write more of these?
- Do readers stick around to read more or do they just ‘bounce’ off because the information isn’t what they expected?
- Which words are your blogs posts being found for?
- Where are your readers are coming from?
When you know all this you can tweak and refine future posts to be the most effective they possibly can.
And you might also like to look at Google Analytics for WordPress.
Here’s a short video: Video – Google Analytics for WordPress
Measure the results of your newsletters
Do this via the stats provided by your email list manager, and then keep tweaking your newsletter information until you get optimum results. From the stats you should be able to see which newsletters got the most ‘opens’ and ‘click rates’ . Decide … why do you think that was? Could it be down to the timing perhaps, or the content?
Measuring Facebook stats
In order to how many people are engaged, commenting, looking at or sharing your content on Facebook, then look at the stats and your “Reach”. Try different tactics to increase your reach. Find out ways to be more engaging and interesting, and remember that as with getting links from established blogs, traffic directed to your blog from social media sites is given a ‘good tick’ by Google.
That’s all Folks!
Developing a system to drive traffic to your blog is not a 5 minute exercise. What works for one person, may not work for another.
I’m continually implementing the tips above as well as adding new strategies and tweeking my roadmap for success. Everything changes so quickly that my best advice is to just get cracking and implement as much as you can, before the scenery changes.
Of course all of this information has been collected over time, and I have to thank so many people for adding to my database of knowledge over the years. Particularly of course is Darren Rowse at Problogger whose site, ideas and books have been a constant source of helpful information. Today I’m linking to a post about writing “How To Posts” where you’ll find lots of other helpful How to Posts from an awesome array of bloggers. Why not read some and share the links?
Share with others your best tips for driving traffic to your blog in the comments section below and lets see if we can make this an awesome resource for everyone.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it on your Facebook Page or link to it in a blog post of your own, and I’ll return the favour however I can.