So you have just set up your blog and published a few posts. But all you can hear is the sound of crickets. No clicks, comments or meaningful traffic.
That self published e-book, guide and online course is not selling like it should. That dream of a Caribbean holiday is on hold. Your significant other wonders why you are spending all that time late at night writing, tweeting and twerping but with nothing to show for it. Maybe it’s not time to give up the day job.
So…should you pack it in and give up the dream?
Blogging is not a “get rich quick” scheme and it has become a serious business that a few years ago was seen as only an activity for geeks and dorks. Some blogs and bloggers are now making some serious money. The Huffington Post (a blog) was sold for over $300 million and other bloggers such as Timothy Sykes, the Gothamist and Smashing Magazine are making 7 figures. But where do you start ?
You need traffic.
Old fashioned high street retail businesses needed passing foot traffic to make sales. The greater the passing crowd the more money they make. Bloggers need web traffic.
So…how to get more blog traffic?
Here are 100+ tactics including social media, search engines, email, joint ventures and more… to drive traffic to your blog and websites.
The Ultimate Guide to Blogging for Small Business
1. Social media
The channels and networks you concentrate on will vary according to your business target audience. Lets look at the following tactics for building a global distribution network to reach prospects and fans.
It’s like building your own media company.
Growing your Facebook “likes” combined with fan engagement and contagious content that begs to be shared is one way of earning attention online and driving traffic to your blog.
Earned marketing tactics
Here are some tips for improving your organic Facebook reach by attracting more likes
- Ensure your profile and “about” tab is clear and linked to your “owned” portal that displays your credibility and expert content
- Run a competition that needs a “like” to enter
- Ask open questions with a photo in your Facebook updates
- Include a Facebook widget on your Website or blog in a prominent position that can be “liked” without visiting Facebook
- Link to your Facebook page in your emails and newsletters
- Create a custom tab using an app like Shortstack that provides free premium content for a “like”
- Promote your content on Facebook to your Twitter followers by tweeting
- Update your Facebook page several times a day
- Provide a prominent icon on your blog or website that links to Facebook
- Include your Facebook links on your free ebooks
- Create and form a small group on Facebook, dedicated to sharing each member’s new article on their own specific day
Capture emails by setting up and running a competition in a matter of minutes using an app like Heyo. See the image below on how it looks
The tips above were tactics that didn’t need an advertising budget but time. If you want to accelerate the process then paying for advertising is also a viable method.
One of the easiest ways is to select “Boost Post” option after posting an update on your page that links back to your blog. In essence Facebook now has two types of options.
- Custom audience advertising: Facebook’s Custom Audience features are virtually unrivalled by any other social medium. A Custom Audience is one a company can create on Facebook, by picking and choosing which targets to include. Custom Audiences comprise clients that a business already has a relationship with elsewhere.
- Lookalike audience: Lookalike Audiences are another unique feature to Facebook’s marketing tools. A Lookalike Audience allows users to target a new audience that has similar characteristics to an already-known audience.
Twitter allows an unfiltered stream of tweets. So the better the headline the larger the following on Twitter then the larger your distribution network. Content without promotion is often wasted.
- Ensure your profile on Twitter links to your major “owned” online portal. This could be a website or blog
- Create tempting headlines
- Include #hashtags
- Leave 20 characters in your tweet so people can easily retweet without cutting and pasting
- Tweet content that adds value to your audience. It can be inspiring, informative (news), entertaining or educational
- Quotes are a great way to encourage a Twitter following
- Tweet images and pictures.
- Make it easy for people to follow you from your blog or website
- Include a link to Twitter in your email and newsletter
Use the law of reciprocation. Follow other people that match your target audience. Learn how tools like Tweepi are great for that this.
Paid tactics with Twitter
Twitter has 3 key types of advertising options. They all can drive more traffic.
- Promoted tweets
- Promoted accounts
- Promoted trends
LinkedIn has opened up its platform to content creators with its publishing platform. This has made it more content centric and open.
it looks like Linkedin is awakening to the open social web! Here are some tips to grow your distribution network on LinkedIn.
- Invite connections by email
- Update your status daily
- Participate in (or start) a LinkedIn group discussion
- Follow influencers and ask or answer questions on their posts
- Join and focus on 3-5 relevant LinkedIn groups
- Send one new invite daily
- Prominently display your contact information
- Endorse people you know
- Promote your LinkedIn profile including card and email signature
- Tweet your LinkedIn updates
- Include the 3 links to your website/blog and other key social networks such as Facebook
- Publish your best blog posts on LinkedIn’s publishing platform. (these can be linked back to your blog and attracts more traffic.
LinkedIn has advertising options and they include two key categories. Self service and partner solutions. For bloggers the realistic option is “self service” . Here are the two ways to advertise on LinkedIn.
- Display and text ads: PPC display ads. These ads appear up in a number of places, such as the user’s inbox and on the side and bottom of the homepage. Self-service display ads give you the ability to include an image or video, as well as ad copy with a hyperlink. These can drive traffic back to your blog
- Sponsored content: When creating an update, you have the ability to pay to have that update distributed to a larger audience on the LinkedIn network. Where other ads show up on the sides or at the tops of pages, sponsored content appears right in the user’s news stream, which will typically lead to more engagement. That update can include a link back to your blog and again more traffic.
More reading: A Complete Guide to LinkedIn Ads
Google+ is Google’s social network that was created to create a social media foundation that would help Google capture important demographic information.
It also helps Google determine by the “Plus ones” what content is valuable.
- Complete your profile as it adds credibility
- Include follow buttons on your blog
- Follow other people in your niche
- Add people to your circles
- Publish engaging content daily
- Comment in communities
- Comment in Google+ Hangouts
- Start and promote a hangout
More reading: 53 Ways to Market Your Google Plus Hangout on Air
Instagram now has over 200 million users and can be a great source of traffic for visual and consumer brands. Beyonce used it to announce her latest album with great viral marketing results.
Earned marketing tactics
Here are some tips to grow your followers on Instagram.
- Connect your channels between Instagram and your other networks and sites.
- Post quality, personable visuals
- Use #hashtags
- Be interesting and genuine
- Host a contest
- Post at peak times
For more in depth tips read “6 Tips for Instagram Marketing Mastery“.
Other social networks
Create a YouTube account and make sure that the following basics are done. This makes sure that you follow this best practice to make it easy for people to click through to your blog.
- In your “About” tab section of your channel include a link to your blog
- When posting a video ensure there is either a link back to the blog or the article (if the actual video is embedded) in the “about” section of the individual video.
- Create a large number of boards on your Pinterest profile and pin the images from your blog post, these will contain the links to your published articles.
- Design and use a custom-designed image that encourages the reader to share your published article onto their Pinterest profile.
Triberr is a hidden goldmine for you to promote your newest article on and get a ton of social shares from it. It allows your whole group to easily share your article from your blog.
- Create a well-designed slideshow based on the topic of your newest, published article and link back to your blog in the description and the slideshow.
- Subscribe to the paid version of Slideshare and it will create leads for your blog
- Link back to your blog in your account description
Organic search engine traffic can often provide over 50% of your traffic for free if you have a well optimized plan and strategy. So what are some top tips to bring free organic search traffic to your website or blog.
- Identify the top 20-50 keywords and phrases that customers use to find your business (or your competitors)
- Make sure that your website designer and developer includes those terms in the major headings in the site so that search engines can discover them
- Create content that includes those terms
- Make sure that the content is so good that people want to share it and link to it
- Optimize the content on your website or blog using a plugin or tool that ensures search engines can read (crawl) those keywords
- Promote that content on social networks so that people discover it and link to it
- Allow other bloggers to syndicate or post your content on their websites that links back to your site or blog
- Offer to guest post for major and influential blogs
- Create valuable long form content that is 1,000 to 2,000 words or even more that is such a great resource people and bloggers have to link to it. Become the “resource” for your industry.
- Make sure that your content is unique to your site when publishing.
For more information read “50 One Sentence SEO Tips for Bloggers“
The reduction of organic reach on social networks like Facebook (For more read “Why You Should Forget Facebook“), is making organisations reconsider their focus social media. It mean building not only your social media presence on other networks but also by building your email list.
So how can you use email to drive traffic and create online attention?
Earned email marketing tactics
- Create a free ebook and offer it to anyone that subscribes to your email list
- Turn your homepage into a massive subscribe form
- Use a non-annoying pop-over which appears 20-30 seconds after a visitor hits your blog post
- Use a pop-over that asks people to subscribe on exit.
- Place a subscription box at the end of all your blog articles
- Give amazing value in your writing
- Create a strong incentive to subscribe
- A/B test key elements
- Build relationships with your current subscribers
- When sending out your blog posts via email make sure you only include the first paragraph or excerpt that is tempting enough to make people click the hyperlinked call to action to read the rest of the article. An example is …”Click here to read the rest of the article“. Dont give them everything in your email.
- Leadpages.net is a lead generation platform that provides easy to customize landing pages (and already optimized templates). The pages can capture emails and be connected to your email platform such as Aweber or Mailchimp.
More in depth reading: 6 Tips to Grow a Large Email List
4. Joint ventures
What is important to realise is that the social web allows you to work with other bloggers and businesses to reach each others customers. These “Joint Venture” relationships will amplify and multiply your marketing. With internet marketing this is often called “Affiliate marketing”
Think about this for a moment. If you were able to work with 10 other bloggers who all had 10,000 emails each and you have 10,000 then you have just connected to a network of 100,000. That is an increase of 1,000 percent!
This has to be done with high quality content and must be done with care, credibility and trust.
“Your network is your net worth” – Porter Gale
- Find and foster producing relationships with non-competitive and even direct competitors that sell to the same audience category as you with sizeable email lists and social networks. Bigger is better!
- Create a compelling and irresistible offer that is easy for the partner to execute.
- Market to each others email list
5. Content marketing
Content marketing is the new “black” when it comes to driving traffic. Its about attracting traffic rather than chasing it.
It improves your SEO (Search engine optimisation) for your blog and this drives “organic traffic when you are found in search results. It also leads to referral traffic when people find your content is so good they “hyperlink” back to your articles.
Content marketing tactics
- Create tempting headlines that drive “clicks”. I can’t stress how important developing and continuing to hone this skill is.
- Make sure you have social sharing buttons that are “very” visible at the top or a floating bar on the side. (Don’t hide them down the bottom)
- After publishing, share your content in as many appropriate social networks as possible
- Write long form content. Google is rewarding long form content (some say 1,500 words or more) by ranking it higher in search engines.
- Create evergreen content. This allows you to keep tweeting and posting it on a recurring basis over time to social networks and hence builds more traffic from one piece of content
Turn one piece of content into multiple formats. A written blog post can be turned into a podcast, a slideshare presentation, video and even an infographic
- Create or use “infographics”. People love to share quality visuals. They also tend to be embedded and hence continue to drive referral traffic
6. Other traffic boosting tactics
The magazine app Flipboard now allows you to create personal Flipboard magazines that link back to your blog posts. The result more traffic.
More information: 6 ways Brands Can Amplify Their Marketing With Flipboard Magazines
Don’t forget that a lot of people are now reading posts on mobiles. Many people have large mobile phones (often called “phablets” because they sit in size between phones and tablets) and they can raed while travelling on the train bus or even on the beach.
- Make it easy for people to share your articles when reading on a mobile
- Create a mobile “app” for your site
- Build your blog or re-design it with a “responsive” WordPress theme
Social proof is a concept that is as old as time. It has just begun to gain traction amongst online marketers as it explains a lot about the success of some online ventures, and the failure of others.
To put it simply:
“Social proof in a social media context is the theory that accounts that have high follower numbers are trusted and followed more often”
It can be used to build trust in a social media environment for your business.
Social proof marketing is not new but often forgotten. It also is a powerful factor in driving more shares and hence traffic
- Use photos to provide “real” evidence of social proof
- Display the number of shares on social networks. If you see a blog that has hundreds of shares then you take notice and are prone to come back.
- Any awards that provide evidence of success such as “Mentioned in the New York Times or “Listed in the top 50 on Forbes” are powerful influences attracting traffic
More reading: Insights into the Powerful Influence of Social Proof
So where do I start?
You have just read nearly 3,000 words and are overwhelmed. There are four key tactics you need to focus on when you have finished this post :
- Create a free ebook and upload it to your blog and start building that email list from day one
- Create the best content for your readers and promote it to your social and email networks
- Build your followers on social networks
- Optimize your blog and posts for search engines.
Blogging is not a “get rich quick” scheme. It takes focus, time and persistence. That’s why building it on your passion and purpose will provide the foundation for a marathon called “blogging”.
What about you?
Are you building a range of organic and earned tactics on a range of digital platforms that drive traffic without relying on paying for it? Are you paying for traffic? Is that Facebook or Google or somewhere else?
Do you have your eggs in just one basket? Is your Facebook activity a diminishing return?
Look forward to hearing your stories and insight in the comments below.
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