The number one question I hear from new bloggers is “How do I get more traffic?” It is our number one burning desire isn’t it? More traffic means more engagement from people. More people reading what we are writing. And we all know more traffic leads to more money.
But the question remains, how do we get that coveted traffic?
Before we dive into the details let’s talk about how not to get traffic.
4 Don’ts To Grow Your Blog Traffic
1. Your Own Social Media
When you are a new blogger your social media following is about as big as your traffic. You have 50 likes on your Facebook page. You have 100 Twitter followers. Your followers on Instagram consist of your friends and family.
Basically your social media following is non-existent.
If your social media following is small don’t waste time on it promoting your content. But all new bloggers do it anyway. Why? Because it’s easy and free. Also because there is hope there that one social media post will go viral. And that viral post will solve the blog traffic problem forever.
I am not saying never promote on your social media sites. But when you are starting out that is not where you should spend the majority of your time. Your time is limited and you want to get the most return on investment. There are better ways to get traffic than posting on your non-existent social media sites.
2. Link Parties
Link parties were a great way to get traffic when blogging was new back in the early 2000’s. You visit a site more popular than yours and leave a link to your blog post. Ideally your post would drive like-minded people to your blog.
Then social media hit and bloggers everywhere experienced a sharp decline in comments. Yet link parties lived on. Why is that? I think one reason is to drive traffic to the host blog of the link party. This is why I think they are still around.
The host of the party receives the greatest benefit with more people reading her blog posts. Her posts are highlighted at the top of the page where the link party is hosted. Then when you read one of her posts you click to one related to it. Do this times 100 people visiting her link party and that is a good source of traffic. But only for the host of the link party, not for the people participating. People get lost in her posts and forget to click on yours.
Link parties=good for the host, bad for the guests.
3. Inconsistent Posting
There is nothing that kills a blog’s traffic faster than inconsistent posting. This is especially true if you have written a few great posts and then follow-up by posting sporadically. People like your posts and want to know they can count on you for the long-term. When they come back and see the same post at the top of your list for the last month, they think you are done blogging. They are bummed about it, but they move onto the next blog to see what they can get from it.
Now I am not saying you need to post five days a week, in fact I think that’s one of the worst things you can do. If you commit to posting once a week, stick to it, and build your editorial calendar around it. This consistent posting schedule will lead to growing traffic.
4. Posting Every Day
There is this myth out there that the best way to drive traffic to your blog is to post every day. I think this is the worst piece of advice given to new bloggers. The absolute worst!
How do I know this doesn’t work? I did it. And it was painful and I came thisclose to burning out on blogging.
In my previous blog, I took this misguided advice and posted every single day in November. The first week it was fun. The second week I was getting nervous about the ides of keeping up with this pace. The third week I was producing mediocre content. The fourth week I burned out and the content was just bad.
Lucky for me I came across a post on Smart Blogger that said posting every day was the worst thing a blogger could do. For one reason it pushes your good content down the page and people don’t see what you are writing.
Second it’s exhausting. Even if blogging is your full-time job you can’t keep up with the pace of posting every day. There are so many other things you have to do with a blog then write. If you are writing every day you can’t keep up with marketing your blog and networking with others. There isn’t time to learn more strategies or heck just take a break.
So Blogger I give you permission to stop posting every day. Go down to posting three times a week or even only once a week. It will take the pressure off of you to produce awesome content all the time. It will give you back the time to try some of the traffic strategies I am sharing with you in this post. Most of all it will give you breathing room and make you like your blog again.
How do I know? That old blog I mentioned? I went from posting every day to posting twice a week and my traffic increased 300%. Take a break from posting every day while your following is small. This will help you stay in it for the long haul.
Now that you know what not to do to get more traffic, let’s look at a few solid strategies to grow your blog’s traffic.
5 Do’s To Grow Your Blog Traffic
1. Guest Posting
Guest posting is one of the best ways to grow your blog’s traffic. The goal is to guest post on blogs that are in your niche and have a lot more traffic than you. This accomplishes a couple of things.
First it gives you credibility. The host blogger is well-known in your niche and is good at what they do. So if you are writing for their site you must also be a good writer and good at what you do. Guest posting gives you instant credibility.
Second, guest posting introduces you to hundreds of thousands of readers instantly. Readers that would take you years to meet. Through guest posting you get to meet readers that are in your niche. These are people who are already interested in what you are writing about. When you write a guest post that helps people they will be drawn to your blog to read more of your posts.
2. Email Marketing
You want more traffic? Then focus on building your email list. When you send out your email newsletter to the people on your list, they will visit your blog. If you include links to your blog posts in your email newsletter they will visit those posts. The more people on. Your list, the more page views you will get every time you send an email.
How is this different from social media? There is a lot of noise on social media, a lot of competition. When you email people they have one decision to make, read your email or delete it. If you send good, valuable emails your subscribers will read them. On social media your message is one of thousands. Plus you can’t guarantee that people will see your social media posts (Facebook I’m looking at you). The best bet is to focus on your email list that you own and control to grow your blog.
3. Facebook Groups
Facebook groups are the new hot thing and are a great way to get traffic to your blog– if you do it right. I started my own Facebook group to connect with my ideal audience, get to know them better, and serve them. Because it is my group I can share my blog posts to help others. Being the owner of a Facebook group also increases my visibility. People see me as a resource and an expert for marketing ideas. I drive traffic to my site by answering questions from the group and turning them into blog posts.
If creating your own group isn’t part of your marketing strategy you have another option. Actively take part in other Facebook groups. There are two rules to follow with this strategy. First, find Facebook groups that match your niche. If you blog about parenting, don’t go into a personal finance group and think you will get a lot of traffic. You want to spend time in Facebook groups where your niche is hanging out.
Second, do not go in there and puke your message all over everyone. Do not do this. The trend is for bloggers to go into groups and write these long posts under the guise of “helping.” Yet the messages are a clear sales pitch for their services. This is especially true when it includes a photo with the URL to their site. Nothing offends a group owner more than people doing this. It is seen as selfish and not giving to the group. Group members also find it offensive because they see the group owner as the expert. Members see this as infringing on the owner who they are loyal to.
Finally, don’t comment on every post with a link to your blog. Go in and leave genuine comments on threads where you can help. If someone asks for a link give it to them but don’t link drop for the sake of getting traffic. If you are being helpful people will be drawn to you and will ask you more questions about how you can help them. They will see that you are about giving and not only taking.
4. Comment on Other Blog Posts
One tried and true method to grow your blog traffic is to comment on posts on other blogs. But you don’t want to do this at random. Like everything you do for blogging, you need to be strategic with this method.
First look for blogs that are more popular than yours. I search Google for the “top 10 marketing bloggers” and then check their ranking on Alexa.com. Any blog with a rating under 100,000 is a good blog to comment on. I also search Pinterest to find bloggers in my niche that have popular pins. More often than not their Alexa rating is also under 100,000.
Second, leave a good, insightful comment. Don’t just say “Great post Blogger Name. It really gives me something to think about.”
That isn’t a helpful comment. You want to add to the conversation the blogger started with her post. If she wrote about “The top 10 tips to lose 50 pounds” see what you can add. Maybe you tried tip 5, it really worked for you, and you can share your experience. Or maybe there is another tip you can add to the blogger’s top 10 list. Add a comment that is kind, helpful, and insightful.
And don’t forget to add your blog URL to your name when you comment. I will often leave mine like this: Jen | Women Winning Online.
The key here is you want to find blogs in your niche or related to your niche. If people are hanging out on these popular blogs there is a good chance they want to learn more about the topic.
5. Connect with Others in Your Niche
As a new blogger networking with other bloggers, new and experienced, is a must. Out of this networking friendships are born. Blogging is a tough business and no one understands that then fellow bloggers. When you have rough days your bloggy friends will commiserate with you and lift you back up. They also understand what it is like to have a guest post go live on a big site and will celebrate with you.
When you build those friendships you share each other’s content with your readers. You work together on products and on launches. You help each other grow in your blog and your business.
How do you network with other bloggers? The first thing I recommend is finding or creating a small mastermind of bloggers. Connect with 3-4 people who blog within your niche if possible. Meet regularly to help each other with strategies and any struggles you may be going through.
I also recommend connecting with bloggers in your niche that are bigger than you. Share their content on your social media sites and comment on their blog posts. Remember how I said in the beginning that posting on your own social media sites was a bad idea? And that you also should spend time and commenting on other blogs? The only time it works when you are new is if you are doing it for the purposes of networking. When you share other people’s posts or comment on their blogs, don’t do it to be shady. Be genuine with your comments and shares. Do it to connect with people and build relationships.
Growing blog traffic is the number one desire of every new blogger. The key to doing it is to be strategic with your marketing efforts. Go where the people are and do guest posts on other sites and build up your email list. Check out Facebook groups and blogs where your ideal reader is hanging out. Work to build connections with other bloggers. These are the tasks you must focus on as a new blogger. Do that and you will have a blog that gets a ton of traffic!