Without traffic coming to your website, things are pretty dismal.
You have no chance for readers to find those posts you’ve worked so hard on, or for you to even make sales.
The old “Field of Dreams” saying,
“Build it, and they will come”
does NOT apply to blogging. People aren’t just going to come to your blog [and your offer] because you put it online- you need to get people to find out about your post so they can come and see it.
I always teach my clients free traffic methods, so let’s cover the free methods strategies that really work for getting traffic.
So, let’s start with the single most important factor…
Having A Great Website
There is no way around this. If you want to grow your traffic and grow your successful blog, then you absolutely need to have a great website that people want to visit.
That’s the only way any of your readers going to visit more than once and it’s the only way they’ll want to help you by sharing your site.
So, what makes a great website?
The first thing is that you need to offer value. That means your reader will need to get something in return for visiting your site: probably either for entertainment or information or preferably, both.
You need to deliver great info and answer your readers’ questions.
Now you have a website that has value written all over it and that should appeal to a specific target audience. If you can promote this in the right way, you’ll be surprised at just what an impact it can make to your success.
People follow, read and share sites that offer something new, that give them something to care about and that have been built with real passion and effort.
Having a great site in place is going to help you to attract visitors and keep them there. Updating it regularly and filling it with high quality content will also keep them reading and get them to turn into fans who genuinely enjoy your brand.
But just because value and quality trumps marketing, that doesn’t mean that you can get away without any marketing at all!
So, if you want to be successful, it is important you know how to make sure the right people find your content.
What’s also important then, is that you optimize your site and your individual pages in order to ensure that they can be found easily.
This is of course going to mean that you need to consider search engine optimization.
SEO is the process of making a site ‘search engine friendly’ and we do that by trying to understand what Google wants to see from a website and then ticking those boxes like a check list.
So, for instance:
- Google wants sites to be fast (speed optimized)
- Google wants sites to be mobile friendly
- Google wants you to use logical file names for your pages, your images etc.
- Google wants you to use meta tags in order to add useful descriptions to your pages
- Google wants you to use header and title tags in order to organize and structure your pages
- Google wants you to use long-tail keywords
One of the best ways to ensure that your site is optimized for Google is to use WordPress. WordPress is a free website building tool or ‘CRM’ that is used by the vast majority of the biggest websites on the net.
It is incredibly powerful, has huge community support and has been proven to be successful by countless other websites that have used it highly effectively. Grab your own hosting here and drop me an email to let me know.
You also need to optimize your site and pages in other ways. Meta descriptions will help your content when it gets shared on social media as well, for instance, while adding ‘social sharing buttons’ can encourage people to share your content in the first place.
If you want to encourage a little more exposure from search, then you should look for the things that people are searching for and then you should subtly lace your search terms into the content.
These are called ‘keywords’ and you can find out what keywords are in the most demand by using a ‘keyword research tool’. A great free on is Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest.]
The key here is to look for things that are popular but that aren’t so highly sought after that there’s too much competition. Find a popular search term that doesn’t have many useful links yet and then create something using that term a few times throughout the text (especially in the H1 and Title tags) along with permutations and synonyms of that phrase.
Your aim is to keep visitors on your pages as long as possible, so try to avoid putting them off with blocks of dense text. Break things up with lots of paragraphs, bulleted and numbered lists, plus sub-headers and make sure your opening line is a doozie that grabs their attention right away.
Both Google and real visitors appreciate content that is a little longer too, and that includes links out to other useful resources. Around 800-2500 words are considered optimal.
Think hard about your subject matters and make sure they’re things that people will want to read and that they will want to share with others.
Guest Post Blogging
Guest blogging involves you being a guest poster on another person’s blog. Usually, you will be invited to do a guest post on a blog that is either in the same or complementary niche as your site. For instance, if you are into social media marketing and the guest site is into SEO, the owner of that site may ask you to write a guest post on how social media can influence off-site SEO and help a site rank higher in the search engines.
In fact, this is how guest post blogging can help you to gain more traffic to your site. When people of a prominent site see your post and your short bio (i.e. a small section at the end of the article that tells about you, your experience, and your business with a link back to your site, preferably your freebie Lead Magnet), they will likely click over to your site to see what you are all about, especially if they liked your post. They’ll figure that if you provided great information for free on a guest blog, what information do you provide for free on your own and in paid products.
Also be willing to contact other site/blog owners and ask them if they’d be willing to allow you to post content there regularly (say, once a month).
You’ll see the results in more back links [Google “love”] and readers/subscribers. Guest blogging grew my blog from 2012 email subscribers to 7506 email subscribers 4 years ago.
Your Blog Content
Finally, keep in mind that the content also needs to be genuinely good. This needs to be written so people really want to read and that they want to share with their friends.
How do you do that?
First, you tick all the usual boxes. Your content needs to be well written, it needs to provide value in some way shape or form and it needs to be unique and different.
But on top of this, it’s also highly important that your content is aimed at a specific target audience. That is to say, that your content should have a specific person in mind. This is a particular individual that you think will appreciate the content you’re developing.
Now write for that one person.
This allows you to focus on what really interests that particular type of person – rather that making the futile attempt to appeal to everyone. Moreover, it encourages sharing.
Remember: social media is ultimately a tool for communication. When people share, they do so as a way to communicate.
Either way they say something about themselves, or they want to say something to the person they are sharing it with.
If your content is very narrowly aimed at one person, they can share that as a way to express themselves and their friends will share it with them, knowing that they’re likely to be interested in it and seeing it as a way to show they’re thinking of them!
Your Social Sharing Method
As soon as social media started growing in popularity, it became apparent that it had huge potential for marketers and that it could help companies to promote their products and services. There are countless factors that make social media platforms ideal for this purpose but unfortunately there are only a handful of marketers and entrepreneurs that know how to leverage their full power.
The True Power of Social Sharing
On Facebook, Twitter or any other social media account, you will have a series of connections. These often represent real-world relationships and friendships, which means that those connections are probably like-minded and perhaps similar in terms of their demographics.
If you like or share a post, that will then be seen by all of those people in your extended network. What’s more, is that if those people like or share your content, then it becomes visible to everyone in that network.
Not only is your content being spread, but it is being spread among people who actually care and who are actually interested in what you have to say. And on top of this, each time your content is shared on social media, it will also receive a testimony. That ‘like’ is social proof and it is social pressure. It is a way of someone saying ‘I like this, so perhaps you should too’.
When we see that something has been liked by our friends, we then become far more interested and far more likely to say we like it too. This has been demonstrated by countless scientific studies and the effect is only even stronger when it comes to products that people can actually buy in exchange for their hard-earned cash.
And as if all that wasn’t already enough, social media finally has the added bonus of being able to facilitate conversation around your given product, website or page. This can massively increase engagement and it can get people even more interested still. Most of us are far more likely to check out a link when we can see that it is generating a lively and fascinating conversation!
This is what your aim on social media is. And to add the cherry on top of the already very tasty cake.
Now, how do you go about it?
The first thing you need to do is to optimize your pages themselves for sharing. How does this work?
The most obvious and straightforward step to take, is to add social sharing buttons to your pages. That means you need to add a link somewhere on your page, where people can automatically share on Facebook, on Twitter, or on Instagram etc. These links will likely take the shape of buttons that will float around on top of the text to act as a constant reminder for visitors that they can share your content should they wish.
There are lots of ways you can accomplish this, but perhaps the easiest and most straightforward thing is simply to use a WordPress plugin, if your site is with WordPress. I use Social Warfare – one of the few plugins that allows your readers to share the right sized images on each social media channel.
Your plugin should automatically keep the visitor logged in too, so all they need to do is click the button and type something if they so wish.
At the same time, you also need to optimize for how your image is going to look when it is shared.
One added little tip is to simply consider asking your visitors to share your content – which can make a big difference. Right at the end of your post, just say that if someone enjoyed reading your post, it would help you out a big deal if they would share.
Get Tons of Visitors by Simply Answering Their Questions
There are many growth hacks out there but they are not all made equal. Some work very well all the time, some hardly ever work and some never work.
Well, here’s one that works a lot. And it’s one that works well with very little downside.
What’s this trick? Simple: answer people’s questions on sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers.
Quora and Yahoo Answers are sites where members of the public can ask questions and then anyone can answer those questions.
For instance, you might ask someone how to solve a WordPress coding problem, you might ask someone something about blogging, you might ask someone something about your writing… the list goes on.
Most of these questions will be people who have problems they want help with. Others will be questions that are intended as a little fun.
A few examples of things on Quora right at the moment include:
- “What is your favorite album to listen to in its entirety with a good pair of headphones?”
- “Is C++ becoming outdated in 2017?”
- “Can you find a person’s location with a text message to their phone?”
- “Is building a real Ironman suit possible?”
Each of these has a lot of different answers. Some of these answers include images and some include links. The answers can be up-voted or down-voted.
So your job as a marketer is simply to answer these kinds of questions and in doing so, to include a link back to your website in a way that is genuine, subtle and helpful.
Yahoo Questions works in a very similar way.
Why it is So Useful
So, what makes Quora and Yahoo Answers a powerful way to get traffic to your site?
Well, the most obvious advantage is that this is a completely free and very easy way to gain backlinks. Anyone can sign up and start sharing answers. You don’t need to pay and you don’t need to try and negotiate a guest post exchange. You just log in, post your answers and you’re away!
Another great advantage is that this is something that is relatively quick and easy for anyone to handle. What you might not realize is just how much quicker it is to write an answer to a question, versus writing something from scratch.
Answering questions provide us with context and often the words flow off the tongue (or fingers!) a lot more easily.
Those links are then permanent. That means you’re going to get long term traffic. I still get a fair amount of traffic from a single post I wrote in 2013. That’s a lot of value for not much work!
Better yet, is that pages on Quora will often rank quite highly in Google. One of the big reasons for this is the ‘question and answer’ nature of Quora. As you know already, Google looks for keywords in text. These are words or phrases that people are likely to search for.
And if you have a link on a Quora question that ranks at the top of Google, which is almost as good as having your own link at the top of Google. Someone searches for ‘how to build muscle quickly’, they see the Quora answer at the top, they click it, and then they follow the link through to your page.
This way, you’re getting a lot of traffic from Google and benefiting from the authority of Quora, all without having to rank your own site. It’s significantly easier as a solution!
Less Direct Benefits
Finally, there are less direct benefits to having your link on Quora. That is to say, ways that you will benefit that aren’t based on people clicking links and visiting your site.
For instance, when people see your posts, they might not always click on the links. But even if they don’t click the link, that doesn’t mean there isn’t value in them having seen your name and seen your link.
If they know that going to ‘workout tutorials.com’ is a great way to learn more about training, then they might consider typing that URL in the next time they want to learn about that subject.
How to Use Quora Well
So, with that in mind, how do you use sites like Quora to the very best of their potential?
The first key is to pick and choose your questions carefully. That means you should pick questions that you think are likely to get a lot of attention and that are directly relevant to the niche of your post. In other words, choose things that you know people want to know about and that people are currently searching for.
Another tip is to make sure that you are definitely providing value.
Only post links to your own content if it genuinely helps people and is directly relevant to the content. In other words, if someone asks about HIIT, don’t answer and then post a link to ‘AllWorkouts.com’, telling them it’s a great place to learn about working out.
Instead, post an answer and then link them to an article that explains HIIT in more depth. This could mean that you have to write a post on that subject specifically: this is no bad thing!
In fact, if you use the questions on Quora to suggest future topics, this is a pretty great way to come up with ideas that you can be confident there is an audience for!
Use Google Analytics To Keep Tabs On Your Traffic
Google Analytics is free to evaluate the quality of traffic that is coming to your site or to your app. It can help you learn about the people who visit your website.
It can also help you learn which websites send traffic to your site, the marketing tactics that help to drive the most traffic to your site, which pages on your site are the most popular, and how many of your site’s visitors turn into leads or customers. You can also learn how fast or slow your website is loading and how you can improve your site’s loading speed, a critical ranking factor in SEO.
If you don’t already have a Google account, be sure to sign up for one, as you’ll need that to have a Google Analytics account.
Wrapping It Up
By focusing on the long-term value of your readers by adding quality traffic to your list and following up with them, you have a much better chance of building a thriving online blogging business that lasts many years to come.