Growing Traffic to Your Blog
Everyone wants their hard work and creativity to be seen and appreciated by more people, even if it’s not a commercial blog and is purely for enjoyment or education. After all, what good is it to have so many interesting posts or photographs if nobody is there to see it? The internet has become very crowded with new websites over the last decade though, so it takes a whole lot more effort to bring in fresh eyeballs to your blog and then keep them coming back for more.
Search Engine Optimization
This is the big one. You hear about SEO wherever you go, and everyone has their own opinions on what to do about it. But no matter who you ask, and what methods they employ, they will agree that search engine optimization is very important. Luckily, most blog platforms such as WordPress are already fairly search engine friendly, and there are many plugins to help you along.
One of the most popular of its kind is the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress, which can be used for free or upgraded to the pro version. It is relatively simple to use – much easier than if you tried to do all of this yourself – and even the free version is powerful enough for most regular users.
Network With Other Bloggers
It is tempting at first for many beginners to try to go it alone, and attempt to become the top dog in their chosen subject, but this usually doesn’t end in the monumental success they hoped for. Instead, try reaching out to other bloggers and website owners that cover your chosen subject, or similar “neighboring” subjects that don’t directly compete with yours.
The goal of this networking is not simply to setup a reciprocal link exchange – in which site A links to site B, and site B links to site A – as this is generally frowned upon by search engines these days. The algorithms are getting smarter and they do not value this type of linking scheme any more, and may even punish you for doing it excessively. What you can do though, is work out a mutually beneficial deal in other ways – even something as simple as sharing each other’s content on social media.
The idea of guest posting is quite simple: you write a blog post that will be published on someone else’s site, and not your own. This can provide a great boost to viewership, and hopefully sales or subscriptions, for newer bloggers who produce good content but do not yet have a large audience of their own.
Through this method of traffic generation, you will not only gain access to whole new audiences of potential customers, you also get the added benefit of a targeted link to your blog somewhere within the guest post. This will help you in the long-run with search engines, on top of any clicks you actually get from the link.
Pay For It
This is basically the only guaranteed method that will allow you to bring in targeted traffic instantly and effectively. Paying for traffic to your blog – through paid search engine placement or other means – is generally only recommended for those with a product to sell and a landing page that has been proven to convert traffic in to sales. This means that you should wait a while before buying traffic, even if you have a decent advertising budget, so that you can be sure the visitors you target will be more likely to become customers.
The most well-known way to go about this is Google AdWords, which allows you to place your advertisement right at the top of the Google searches you wish to target. The price per visitor can get very high though, depending on your niche or industry, so it will take a bit of research to find out whether this will be cost-effective in your situation.
Other options such as StumbleUpon Ads allow you to bypass Google in an attempt to find more competitive rates. Prices range from $0 – $50,000+ per month, depending on the level of service you require. The self-service option ($0 per month) operates in a similar way to AdWords, as you are only paying for clicks, and you can target potential customers very accurately.
Leverage The Traffic You Already Have
The quality of your content and various other factors such as overall user-friendliness can make the difference between gaining a long-term follower or losing them forever after a few minutes on your site. These factors alone are often not enough to retain your traffic though, so you should consider implementing things like email lists and share buttons.
If a user trusts you enough to submit their email address for your newsletter, then they are probably a fan of your brand and/or the content you produce on your blog. Similarly, those who are willing to share your content with their friends and followers on social media can be counted on to not only come back regularly but also bring in some fresh faces.
Finally, the process of building a strong base of quality content and interested viewers will be a long one. There are no magical shortcuts beyond paying for traffic, and even that is no guarantee that you will turn a profit. The best advice for beginners is to just accept this, and not look for instant fame and riches, and to persevere while producing content that real people will enjoy.