Traffic growing lessons

This post will show you my blog marketing routine and actions I take to draw people’s attention to my content.

If you’d like to get visitors to your blog you will love these key traffic driving principles.

Let’s get to it…

Overcoming the stigma of self-promotion

You’ve created what you believe is a great blog post, gone through the checklist of things to do before publishing, and your article is now live.

Don’t just sit and wait for visitors to come.

It won’t happen.

They won’t come.

You need to overcome the stigma of self-promotion.

You need to make it a habit to spend at least 50% of your time promoting your content.

Without a marketing push, your content will most probably go unnoticed no matter how good it is.

A friend of mine told me that his goal is to have 500 loyal visitors per day within the first six months of launching his new blog.

Most blogs will never attract that large an audience.

In a world of millions of blogs, starting a new one is not news, but growing it to attract hundreds or even thousands of true fans is.

500 daily visitors is a very ambitious goal and it’s not easy to reach but it is possible to do.

You do need to take massive action right now.

Content marketing routine

1. You’re a dinner host; get your house ready for your guests first

Think of yourself as a dinner host.

Before inviting guests, you need to make sure that your house (your blog) is ready to host your guests (your potential visitors).

Get a domain name that helps people discover you

You need a domain name for your blog.

That’s how your visitors will find you (and remember you).

In my experience, an inviting and descriptive domain name works much better than one of those long and free domain names.

It especially helps you rank well in the search engines.

If you don’t have one, register it, and you won’t regret it.

Here’s my guide on picking a memorable domain name.

Earn attention by publishing amazing content

Posting valuable content that your target audience wants is the most effective thing you can do to generate visitor interest.

When it comes to content, you should focus on quality and not quantity.

One excellent article will bring you so much more traffic than many dull and uninviting posts.

Every other step you can take to attract visitors relies on the quality of articles that you publish.

Check out my complete guide to creating excellent, high-quality content.

Without eye-catching headlines your content will be ignored

People are bombarded with too many choices for things to click on.

The best way to get attention among tons of competing choices is to write remarkable and irresistible headlines.

Don’t just write some headline at the end of the process as an afterthought.

Spend just as much time creating your headline as you devote to the article itself.

See my 25 rules and formulas for writing compelling headlines.

Turn first-time visitors into true fans and build direct connections

A visitor that comes to your blog, spends a few seconds on it, but clicks on the “back” button and never comes back, is a lost opportunity.

You need to get a first-time visitor to become a true fan that you can reach out to and get them to return again and again.

Make it easy for people to give you permission to stay in touch with them.

Let them subscribe to your email newsletter.

Open rates on emails are higher than reach you get in social media.

Email is an open platform and very easy to start with.

It’s a direct line of communication with you in control.

Here’s my complete guide to starting a mailing list.

Facilitate social media sharing

Word of mouth and social media plays a significant role in the viral spreadability of your content.

Your true fans love your content.

You should empower them and encourage them to help you spread the word and do the marketing for you.

Highlight most important points of your post and ask people to share them using plugin such as Better Click To Tweet.

Include social media sharing buttons using plugins such as Mashshare and Social Sharing By Danny.

2. Now is the right time to send out those guest invites

When your house is all tidy and ready, it’s a good opportunity to send out the guest invites.

Without invites, no guests will know about you, and nobody will show up.

Take advantage of the network effect on social media

Ensure that you actively spend time on reaching out to new people and spread the word about your work.

Create a marketing routine of places where you share your content, and follow it after publishing each new post.

Places where your potential audience is.

Your audience will be somewhere and will like an expert to help them out with their questions and problems.

These platforms and websites are tools for you to reach that audience, introduce them to the work you’re doing and get them to visit your blog.

Diversify your social media presence and do not over commit to one platform as you don’t want to be platform dependent.

Tailor your promotional approach to the particular network

Just setting up an account on a social media platform doesn’t automatically get you anywhere.

Actively sharing your content doesn’t mean that you send spam.

There’s a fine line between good content marketing and spam.

You only mention your blog where it makes sense, while also creating value, sharing interesting information, helping people out, solving their issues, and being a part of a wider community.

Spend some time learning the guidelines and the way to approach each individual platform.

Twitter only allows a 140 character limit so you have to be smart about the way you write your copy.

In general, all the platforms are very visual so posting attractive and shareworthy imagery is a great start and will result in more reach and engagement.

Inspirational quotes.

Curious stats, impressive facts and nice graphs.

Funny videos.

Provocative statements.

40 places to share, promote and distribute your blog content

Here’s the list of all the places I go to in order to share my content.

Some may not fit your blog.

Some will.

Go through the list.

Make your own list.

And use it every time after you’ve published something new.

Send to your mailing list

If you have a newsletter or a mailing list of loyal subscribers, you should send some special (or even all) posts to them.

These could be the first wave of visitors that help you share your new content to even more people.

Tweet it out

One of the first things I do is to tweet out the headline and the link to my Twitter followers to make them aware of the new post.

Many times I also include an image as that seems to get more attention.

See more on my Twitter strategy and how you can get more followers.

Post it on your Facebook page

I do the same thing on Facebook where I post the link with the image attached on my Facebook page.

I find that displaying the image on my wall instead of the link thumbnail works best in terms of reach and engagement.

See how to boost your Facebook reach.

Share the images on Pinterest

I submit the post image to the relevant Pinterest boards.

I make sure to include a headline in all the images that I put on my site and that was mostly thanks to the increasing importance of Pinterest as a traffic driver.

It makes the images look better.

See more on using Pinterest for traffic.

Post it on LinkedIn

I also publish the link to the post on my LinkedIn profile.

You can even post it in relevant LinkedIn groups you are a member of.

Guest post and syndicate your post

The idea is to go to big sites that are popular with your target audience, publish excellent content as a contributor, and use it to attract new visitors to your blog.

Many sites host articles from a variety of writers.

Many blogs accept posts from guest authors too.

Write a targeted article that’s useful and attracting to that particular kind of audience (some sites even allow you to repost your existing content).

Include a link (or two) to content that’s already published on your blog to make it easier for readers to click over and visit you

Here’s a list of some of the most popular sites that are looking for writers:

Share the article on Tumblr

I keep an active Tumblr account with the main objective being for it to be a traffic driver to my blog.

I post any new article on Tumblr adding the relevant tags.

I have explained this strategy in this article.

Post the picture on Instagram

Instagram is a bit different as you don’t have an option to add a link, but it is still an interesting platform.

People on Instagram can be more engaging than on other platforms and you can catch their attention by using some stunning imagery and lead them to manually type in and visit your blog.

See more on Instagram marketing here.

Share it on Reddit

Some of the articles I publish fit well in certain subreddits on Reddit.

Reddit has the potential to drive thousands of visitors to you so it is definitely worth exploring if you have a relevant article to submit and you can find a relevant and popular subreddit.

Post it on Quora and other Q&A sites

Quora, Yahoo Answers and other Q&A sites.

If you’ve done research before writing your post you’ve probably found a question people have and answered it in your post.

Now you can go directly to different Q&A sites, look for people asking similar questions and help them out while at the same time indirectly promoting your content.

Search for people on Twitter

I search Twitter for keywords and phrases relevant to my content and my target audience.

I then follow, interact with, and help the real people who talk about and ask questions about my topics.

I used to spend hours on this every day in the early days of my blog.

It’s a great real-time way of getting visitors and spreading the word about your content.

It helps you establish your name in the field.

Go to Facebook groups

Almost a billion of people use Facebook Groups every month and they’re highly engaging properties.

Find the relevant groups to your work and start adding value.

Be an authority and you will be noticed.

As you start building trust and relationships with people in the group, you can start sharing your relevant content.

Go to niche sites, forums and other communities

Depending on the niche you are in there will be several community sites and forums that allow you to submit content.

Sites like Hacker News.

There’s a Hacker News type site out there for every niche.

For example, if you’re a food blogger it is worth submitting your posts to niche sites such as Foodgawker and TasteSpotting.

Flipboard is another interesting community.

StumbleUpon your article

Stumbleupon is still a nice source of traffic and I aim to stumble all the posts that I publish in hope of getting some visitors from there.

See more on how I drive traffic through Stumbleupon.

Share it on Google communities

Google+ may not be very popular but depending on your topic there might be some active communities on there.

Join relevant Google+ communities, be active by sharing your knowledge, and then post your link once in a while too.

Reach out to other bloggers and influencers

Build relationships with influencers (bloggers, journalists, forum moderators, social media power users) who have the attention of an engaged audience relevant to your field.

One tweet from an influencer recommending your content can result in a cascade of traffic and shares coming your way.

This does take longer time than the other advice in this post, but it’s a robust strategy.

I send personal tweets and emails to certain bloggers and other influencers that I think the post might be interesting to in hope of getting them to share it with their networks.

I also reach out to anyone that I have mentioned in the post.

Don’t beg for retweets, let the quality of content speak for itself.

Take a look at things you need in your outreach pitch.

Comment on other blog posts

I comment on the most recent posts on relevant sites that have good traffic numbers.

Commenting on posts is a simple tactic that can be very useful when building a connection to another blogger.

Proper commenting etiquette is all about respect.

When you’re on someone’s blog, you’re on their “property.”

Just as you would treat someone’s home with respect in life, you should treat someone’s site with respect in the virtual world when you leave a comment.

Find sites related to your content using Google or social media.

Subscribe, follow them and explore their content.

Show up regularly.

Feedback on their content.

Contribute with your opinion.

Don’t just comment for the sake of it.

Most comment areas list their comments from first to last.

You must comment on the post soon after it has been published.

If you do that you will expose your comment to thousands of people who are going to read the post.

The earlier you are, the more people will see your comment.

Repurpose your content in multiple formats to multiple platforms

There’s a lot of potential in reusing and recycling your content in different formats on different platforms.

Here’s how it works for BuzzFeed:

A seven-step web recipe for slow-cooker chicken becomes a 46-second Facebook video, and then a 15-second Instagram clip with the instructions written as a comment, and finally a Pinterest post with two images and a link back to the Facebook video. And if it’s going on Snapchat, it needs to be shot in portrait mode as well. It’s all the exact same recipe, but “we put it on Facebook, and we put it on YouTube, and we put it on AOL and Yahoo, and all of a sudden it’s 15 different MP4 files.”

Take, for example, the series about short-girl problems: It began with an article on the website that attracted more than 8 million views, titled “30 Awkward Moments Every Short Girl Understands”; it then became a scripted YouTube video (“10 Problems Only Short Girls Understand”); and ultimately it inspired a cartoon titled Trans Girl Problems that appeared on Facebook.

Check out more options for recycling and repurposing your content.

I try to link to my new post where it’s relevant in the popular posts from my archives.

In that way I try and lead some of my visitors to explore more of my newer content too.

Use social media paid advertising

It’s increasingly difficult to get reach and clicks on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Investing a bit of money in strategically important posts can give you a great boost and get your content in front of a larger audience.

The majority of platforms mentioned in this post also accept paid advertising in order for you to boost your content to a larger audience.

Getting a bit of marketing budget can work wonders for you.

Repeat the push

Aim to repeat the push on selected profiles several times over the next few days.

Sharing content more than once brings many more clicks as most followers don’t see the first post.

On Facebook, for example, less than 10% of your audience sees your post.

Nobody is bothered by you reposting and your clicks will increase so it’s hard to argue against this.

Twitter is perfect for reposts and I aim to tweet a post 3-5 times over the 48 hours after the article has been published.

Add some variety and mix it up if you wish not to be repetitive and boring.

You can do “title + link” once.

Next time use an interesting quote or a fact instead.

Monitor and analyse the results of your activities

Take a look at the results, feedback and the data on your marketing push.

What is the pickup like in the social media?

This will help you figure out what went well and what didn’t go so well.

It will help you improve and optimise your marketing strategy.

You might need to make some slight changes to the original post itself according to the feedback to make it more interesting.

You can try with a different format or a different angle to the story.

Can you make a better headline or a more interesting image for example?

There you have it.

All the easy and practical advice that you can follow to attract people to your blog.

Taking these actions (and putting in the time and effort over a longer time) will put you on the road towards getting 500 or even more loyal visitors.