A blog, like any other website, survives on attracting traffic. Every blogger’s underlying goal is to attract readers. That can be a challenge for established websites let alone for a new blog with absolutely no online presence.
As a blogger, I’ve been through the daunting task of making a name for myself in an already crowded blogosphere. Based on my experience and research, here are the 10 most effective strategies I personally used to drive traffic to my once brand new blog.
1. Writing Remarkable Content
The saying “content is king” might not be absolutely accurate these days, but it still holds enough weight to matter. SEO techniques, social media and all forms of Internet marketing attract visitors, but good content turns those visitors into loyal followers.
Focus first on creating unique and well-written content readers won’t find anywhere else. That will give them a reason not only to keep coming back, but also to share what they’ve read with others, effectively growing your audience.
2. Commenting on Other Blogs
The Internet was made to connect people so, once in a while, leave the confines of your blog and enter discussions on other blogs. Leaving a comment of praise or gratitude is good, but starting a conversation with meaningful questions or overlooked insights is better.
Most comment sections allow linking to your own website and/or e-mail so make use of that feature to let bloggers know where to find you. If bloggers find your content interesting, they may send their own set of readers to your blog. Don’t, however, spam the comment section of each of their posts with your own blog.
3. Connecting with Similar Blogs
In relation to the previous tip, try to build relationships with bloggers in the same niche as yours. Posting a well-thought-out comment on a tech blog and expecting that blogger to link to your blog about pets isn’t very clever.
Join a community of like-minded bloggers through message boards or social media groups – and be active. There are plenty of experienced website owners who are more than willing to help out
4. Linking to Other Blogs
Being part of a blog network is a give-and-take relationship. In exchange for getting invaluable advice from other bloggers, show your appreciation by linking to their blogs on your own website.
You can also take the initiative by linking to them first – they’ll be sure to notice. Whether it’s through your blog roll on the sidebar or through direct links in your own articles, bloggers will be grateful for the exposure.
5. Joining Blogging Directories
Blogging directories provide plenty of exposure. In addition to making your blog visible to new audiences, such directories are also targeted markets because the people who visit them actively search for blogs to read.
Make sure to list your blog in appropriate directories and avoid link farms.
6. Sharing Content in Social Bookmarking Sites
Having your content on the front page of a site like “Delicious.” gives it a stamp of quality because it shows there are plenty of people who have read your blog and appreciated it enough to bookmark it.
The number of saves next to the link will also pique the interest of potential readers due to the social proof phenomenon. This, in turn, will lead to more traffic for your blog. Digg and StumbleUpon follow the same concept and are worthy alternatives.
7. Guest Posting
As part of connecting with another blog, guest posting is a major step up. Bloggers will not trust you with space on their website if they do not believe in the quality of your content, so this opportunity does not come right away.
If you’ve fostered a good relationship with another blogger, give the suggestion politely. You will be opening up your own blog to a whole new audience while establishing your credibility in the niche you’re in.
8. Accepting Guest Posts
Leverage the trust you’ve built with other bloggers by asking them to write for you. The inverse also works to your advantage as their followers will find their way onto your blog in search of their favored blogger’s content.
Once this new batch of people has landed on your site, many of them will check out the other posts on your blog. Before long, they will be part of your own growing audience.
9. Integrate Blog with Social Media
The power of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter cannot be understated. Content on social media sites has the potential to go viral. Free blog hosting sites like WordPress have built-in social media sharing capabilities.
It is also important to know when to post your content to optimize traffic. For Twitter, 1-3 p.m. on a Monday is the best time to share, while 3 p.m. on Wednesdays is the best time for Facebook.
10. Learning SEO
When people want to look for something, they go to Google or another search engine. Search engine optimization (SEO) will make your blog more visible to the rest of the world because it will appear higher in search results.
Start with the basics such as inserting simple keywords in your posts and linking to the other pages on your own website. Work your way toward more advanced practices once you understand these foundational concepts.
By making use of these strategies, I established a respectable following on my own blog while earning the trust of my fellow bloggers. If you’ve already tried these 10 strategies and found them lacking, here are five more tips that are guaranteed to boost your traffic.
1. Create “how to” articles. There is never a shortage of people using the Internet looking for instructions.
2. Add share buttons. These little social media buttons make it much more convenient for your readers to spread your content.
3. Make sure your code validates. This is just one form of advanced SEO that ensures a better ranking for your blog on search engines. There are plenty of sites that offer well-designed codes and layouts for a price.
4. Start contests with prizes. You can hold these in comment sections or through social media, and the increased activity will attract attention. You don’t have to offer expensive prices as long as you make the contest engaging and useful.
5. Be consistent. Create a publishing calendar and commit to it. This assures readers not only that your content is fresh, but also that you care about your blog and your audience.
Employing all of these tips and strategies requires hard work, but don’t expect results immediately. Patience is a necessity. You will be rewarded for your efforts in time with an ever-growing community of readers and colleagues.
Todd Mumford is the co-founder and CEO of SEO Visions, an online marketing company that provides SEO services in Vancouver for different types of business.