Updated December, 2014.
I’m getting a lot of e-mails lately from people who have just started a blog and are looking for tips and suggestions for getting more visitors and traffic to their blog. Here’s an example:
Hi Mike. I have just recently started a blog and I have a question about promoting it or getting the word out about it. Right now it’s small and I only have two posts but I’m lost on that part. Can you give me some actual advice or something that I can do right away in order to start receiving more visitors?
It’s not an easy task, but if you get things right at the beginning you will start receiving some traffic and it WILL increase over time. I’m suggest you follow the methods below, and if you do, you will see some results. However, don’t wait for a miracle and be prepared to wait at least 2-3 months for a decent traffic flow.
1) Create good content / well-written blog posts
This should be your number one task from the beginning. You’ll need to write compelling and interesting blog posts. If you are having writer’s block or just don’t know what to write about, then I suggest you check my post titled: 101 blog post ideas
Furthermore, make sure your blog posts consist of:
- Information that other people (your blog readers) may not be aware of. It’s even better when it’s valuable and up-to-date.
- Help or actual advice that helps your readers to succeed in something particular (for example: I’m writing this post in order to help you get more traffic to your blog).
- If possible, add images & videos – people love to browse with their eyes.
- Bullet points and well-organised paragraphs are all parts of a good blog post as well as outgoing links to different authority sites/other blogs that give out even more information on this specific topic.
- In addition, you can share you own stories or news that might engage your readers from the very beginning.
- The longer the better (usually). After blogging for more than four years, I’ve found that longer content gets more shares/likes and links. Keep in mind though, that your ultimate goal is not to stuff your blog posts with fluff and empty words, but rather improving the overall quality with useful, actionable and informative content.
Once you have at least 4-5 compelling blog posts or articles you can start thinking about promoting your blog. If your blog is unfinished and you don’t have much content to read then people will just think “OK, it seems like this blog is a work in progress and there’s not much to read. Perhaps I should come back later.” But here’s the sad truth: they don’t usually come back later.
For further reading: How to write killer posts that attract visitors
Conclusion: Believe it or not, content is king. You might drive thousands of people to your blog, but if there’s nothing to read, they will leave and most likely never return.
2) Make a public announcement on your social media profiles that you’ve started blogging
Most people are present on different social media platforms, such as; Facebook, Google+, Twitter and others. Check where you have the biggest number and most active followers and make a public announcement that you’ve started a blog that covers [TOPIC]. Write your industry/niche there and add a link to your blog. The first readers are usually your friends, family and acquaintances. They are easy to catch online.
Here’s an sample of my presence on Google+ :
P.S: Right after I published this on my Google+ account, I started to receive feedback that was excellent! Your friends and colleagues might think that you’ve done a lot of work to set up your blog, but you know the truth – it’s easier than it seems at first glance.
Conclusion: The first few readers are probably your friends. Make sure you let them know about your blog so they can give you feedback and help you make improvements. At the end of the day, you’d want to make your blog the best.
3) Ask a small favor from your close friends
Pick 5-10 friends and send them a short and personal message asking for a share or like. You can send this through Facebook as well, but I personally think that email is way more personal. (The script for doing this is listed below.)
Another option is choosing people who are interested in the same topic that you cover. For example I’m covering blogging and how to get started, so I targeted people who already have blogs but who have friends that may want to start one.
I launched my new blog called [YOUR BLOG NAME] yesterday where I cover [YOUR TOPIC OR INDUSTRY]. I’m asking for a small favour to share the blog on your Facebook and Twitter feed. It won’t take much time and may be useful to your friends who are interested in blogging.
You can use the script below: “My friend [YOUR NAME] has started a new blog where he covers [YOUR BLOG TOPIC]. He publishes great content and useful tips. Feel free to have a look: YourBlog.com”
I appreciate your share very highly!
Conclusion: Using emails to let others know about your new blog is a great way to gather feedback as well as new visitors.
4) Search for people who have previously tweeted/shared posts covering similar topics
Search for some popular posts (use Google to do that) in your topic and see if someone has left a comment under the post. If you’re lucky, you’ll get their contact details by clicking on their profile:
Once you have found the contact details, send them a quick email like the one below and see if you get a response:
The second useful way to reach people personally is via Twitter. Just go to twitter.com/search and type in the keyword(s) that are related to your blog. I used “WordPress Cheat Sheet” as an example.
Usually a couple of results show up:
Now check their profile and see if they usually share other posts or not and reach out to them in 140 characters. It can be hard but it’s doable! It is very important to keep in mind that spamming is no good. Remember, you main goal should be helping people not begging for a re-tweet.
— StartBloggingOnline (@StartBlog101) July 2, 2013
… and he tweeted about my blog post.
Conclusion: This “method” is a good way to gather more tweets and likes for your content; which may result in a huge spike of traffic. On the best day I received approximately 1000 visitors from Twitter alone.
5) Use tools to look for important people in your industry/niche. Check their posts, add comments and become active in the community
Influencers in the industry gather a lot of attention and traffic. There are many ways to find them but one of the easiest ways is using Topsy.
Go to topsy.com and pick “Influencers”. After that search for keywords that are related to your blog.
I picked “Blogging” and got a list of people who are active and considered to be authorities in the blogging niche. Now, do some research about them.
Check their blog, posts and tweets, and see where you can step in and add value with your comments and discussion. There are several other tools you can use, for example Klout, Twello, Tehnokrati and more.
The easiest way to start interacting is by posting VALUE-ADDING blog comments to popular posts. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pick recent articles and also the ones where you feel you’re competent and able to say something.
Keep your eye on their social media activity, re-tweet their updates and answer their questions. Connections don’t come overnight; they take time but are totally worth it in the long run.
Conclusion: When you manage to build a relationship with the authorities in your niche, you will start gaining more exposure. And when you do, it’s only matter of time before you also become an authority.
6) Start participating in forums and blogs that are similar to yours
Another great way to start receiving traffic from different sources is to become active in all sorts of discussions that are relevant to your blog. Here’s what you should do:
1) Become an active member of 2-3 forums that have a lot of contributors. Start sharing your opinions on different boards/threads and don’t forget to add your blog link in your signature. I used this strategy a few months back; every single day I made approximately 5-6 threads/replies on different forums and I received >100 visitors per day from it. Not too bad
2) Become an active reader on blogs that are similar to yours. For example, if your blog is about fashion, then it’s also wise to leave comments on other blogs that already have some sort of audience. That way you can literally “steal” readers from other blogs. However, make sure you don’t “spam”; instead you should leave meaningful comments that actually attract others to read your own blog.
Conclusion: Getting into discussions is not time consuming, but it’s a very efficient way to drive laser-targeted visitors to your blog. Don’t miss that opportunity.
7) Establish relationships, get links & optimize your blog for Google
Another way to get traffic to your blog is by making your site “Google friendly”. That way you can get more traffic from Google, as well as from Bing and Yahoo. In a nut shell, in order to get better rankings, they all want you to have:
- Good content
- Links to your site from other blogs/resources
- Social shares/likes
In order to get links, you need to share your content. If people like it, they will most likely share it on their blogs and websites. If they don’t FIND your content by themselves, you have to build relationships and use e-mail outreaching (See steps 4 – 5 again).
To get you more familiar with this method, I’ll point out two strategies that I’ve personally used in the past.
1) Resource linkbuilding – Go to google.com and search for queries like “intitle:YourBlogTopic inurl:resources” or “intitle:YourBlogTopic inurl:links”. I used “intitle:blogging inurl:resources” and this is the search results I got:
Your next step is to get in touch with the webmasters and blog owners who have those “Resource pages” on their blogs/websites. Keep your email simple. Here’s an example:
I was reading your blog this morning and noticed that you have a awesome resource page. I actually have a similar blog that might be helpful or useful to your audience.
See it yourself: YourNewBlog.com
Let me know what you think of it. Perhaps it’s worth mentioning on your resource page.
Either way, have a nice day,
Feel free to tweak the email text and subject. Just keep it short and straight to the point. Those blog owners and webmasters tend to get tons of emails on a daily basis and if your email is not straightforward, they may just delete it.
2) Broken linkbuilding – In short, it’s a strategy where you need to find a website or a blog that is no longer available (domain expired, owner abandoned it or even deleted it for some reason). Let’s say AwesomeFoodBlog.com used to be a great blog for finding smoothie recipes, but it’s no longer available.
Now you need to head over to Ahrefs.com and type in the broken URL. Once that’s done, you will most likely see list of sites that have linked or mentioned this blog on their own blogs. All you need to do is to get in touch with them with a short email:
I was reading your blog and I noticed that you previously linked to AwesomeFoodBlog.com from your blog post here: LINK
However, it has been taken down and thus is no longer available. If you ever plan to fix/edit this link, I recently published a similar blog on this very topic. See it yourself: YourNewBlog.com
Let me know what you think,
Looks easy, right? Here’s a more thorough post about broken linkbuilding.
For further reading about Search Engine Optimization, I suggest you read these articles/blogs:
- Beginners Guide to SEO (Moz)
- Guide to SEO (SearchEngineLand)
- Out of the box SEO (Brian Dean)
- Want to be an authority? (Bing)
Conclusion: Optimizing your blog content for search engines is definitely a great way to drive organic traffic to your blog. Of course, that means you have to learn the basics (which are all covered in the links above).
8) Use guest posting to drive more traffic to your blog
Another great way to get more visitors to your blog is to guest post on other similar blogs. In short, instead of writing something on your OWN blog, you write it for another blog.
At first you might think it’s a silly idea – but it’s not.
Here are some of the benefits:
- Your post will be seen by a bigger audience. Try to get your guest post placed on blogs that have a lot of visitors
- You will get a link back to your site – great for SEO.
- You will attract interest in your own blog
To get started, I suggest you use Google once again to scrape together a list of similar blogs in your niche. Once you’ve found 20-30 of them, start sending emails. Again, let other blog owners know that you are a new blogger who is interested in writing a guest post. Make sure you don’t “beg” or “spam” anyone. I’ve used this email to get the most successful responses:
I was browsing your blog this morning and noticed that you are accepting guest posts. I’m extremely interested in *TOPIC/NICHE” and I’d like to write something useful and helpful to your audience. What do you think?
If that’s cool with you, I can send you a couple of blog post ideas and you can choose which one you’d like to publish on your blog.
You can also have a look at my previous blog posts here: YourNewBlog.com
Have a nice day,
I used the exact same email template to get in touch with EventManagerBlog.com. Here’s my guest post that I wrote a year ago – How to use WordPress for your event. I still get some referral traffic from that post – awesome, isn’t it?
9) Submit your site to famous social bookmarking/discussion sites
You have probably heard about StumbleUpon or Reddit. If not, they are sites where users (yep, you need to register) can share something that they have liked. If you share your blog post and other people “like” it, you will get more exposure. Sometimes great blog posts can go viral out there.
Make sure you publish something awesome in order to get it viral. Here are a couple of sites where you can share your blog posts:
For further reading, check this awesome post by Neil Patel. He explains how you can make your blog post go viral on Reddit.
10) Create videos to land new visitors
Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine – but most bloggers never use it the wise way? One simple option is to create a short video or a video series where you talk about one of your recent posts, like a review or a summary. Just make sure you write a comprehensive description under the video and definitely add a link in the first line that directs people to your blog.
I’m sure you’ll land some visitors from time to who will actually become long-term readers. If you’re using a Mac, iMovie is the best software you can use for editing, but here’s a list of alternative options. YouTube is definitely a powerful channel that can be used for traffic acquisition.
P.S: If you need more help or guidance, feel free to leave a comment below. And if you have your own strategies to drive traffic to your blog, don’t be shy to share