Please note: This post familiarizes you on how to attract visitors to your blog. Hopefully, you’ve started your blog, set up your wordpress site, and uploaded your first post prior to reading this article. For any specific questions about how to make money ask us at my free Facebook group.
The most challenging and important thing you need to do with your blog is get people reading it. Everything comes down to the number of readers you have, which we’ll call traffic. Trust me, getting people on your site and keeping them there is the difference between success and failure.
Creating a profitable website, in your case a blog, is one of the hardest things you’ll do in life. Just like starting any other business, you need dedication, lots of ambition, and a good amount of luck. While some of you will get lucky and start seeing a few dollars coming in, many of you will spend over a year developing skills and discovering the right formula to succeed. No one starts a website for the first time and celebrates after the first few months. Do not judge your success by money or traffic. Give yourself the credit you deserve when you learn new skills and apply them. Celebrate the small wins. Realize that a trickle of visitors will eventually turn into a giant gap in the dam. Don’t be afraid after six months to start over and launch a new blog.
Did you ever read or watch Lord of The Rings? In it, a group of people set out to destroy the ultimate evil plaguing the land. The trilogy takes over 18 years from beginning to victorious end. Most blogs take several years. This is the norm. Never give up if you still have the passion. That’s why I stress that you write about something you are passionate about.
Google Analytics Your New Best Friend
You might be wondering how do you know if your blog has any visitors. Well good news, Google offers a free solution, and if you went through the Yoast plugin tutorial you probably already read about Google Analytics. Before I introduce you to methods on how to get traffic, you’re going to need to use an analytics tool, like Google Analytics, to measure and analyze all your data. I highly recommend making that tool Google Analytics. I could create several posts instructing you on how to use it, but honestly you should just visit Google Analytics Academy and enroll in the beginner course. It’s completely free. Don’t worry about taking the advanced course just yet, you just need the basics. Now that you can track your visits let’s get back to the idea of how to generate traffic.
5 Strategies To Get Readers Landing On Your Blog
I’ve narrowed down five methods to help you get started with planning your growth hacking strategy. Growth hacking is just a trendy phrase meaning different techniques on acquiring more traffic to your website. In these strategies, I’m going to use a hypothetical blog that reviews blenders and shares recipes you can make from them. Feel free to steal the idea. One more thing, I’ve personally used all these strategies in my career. I’ll expand on them with detail in future posts.
Social Media – I love a great social media strategy. There are four social networks I want to discuss here, starting with Facebook.
Facebook used to be one of the best places to drive traffic on the web, but not anymore. It’s referred to now as a pay to play network. What’s that mean exactly? Well, if you create a Facebook Page, which is what profiles for businesses are called, then you’ll need to pay to boost the visibility of your posts. Let’s say you have 4,000 likes on your Blender blog FB page. You post your blog to Facebook, but only twenty people see it on their feed. What happened to the other 3,980 people? Well, your post will only pop up on their feed if you pay a certain amount to reach them. That can be a great strategy, but it gets expensive. However, starting a Facebook group might be a better alternative. With Facebook groups you accomplish several things. First, you build a list of users that you can communicate with whenever you want. What I love about groups is that when you or someone posts in it, it actually pops up in everyone’s feed. Almost as if group posts have priority on your FB feed. This allows for great discussion like in a forum. Second, you can connect your FB page (which you still should create) to your group. Third, you can upload files directly to your group opening up new options for content delivery. Finally, if you create an open group, then there is potential for other FB users to discover your group thus enabling them to visit your blog for the first time. For instance, if you had the Blender blog, then you could use the FB group to exchange recipes, have users post images or videos, and turn the group into a marketing tool on FB. All this without spending a dime. Just remember FB can change the rules at anytime, that’s why it is important to have a mix of marketing channels.
Instagram is a wonderful tool for the right blog. Unfortunately, Facebook, its parent company, keeps changing how the feed displays posts for Instagram users as well. If your blog is image heavy, like the hypothetical blender recipe website, then it’s worth using. Different methods work best when marketing on Instagram, but here’s a good starting place. Try to follow 10-20 people a day who you can identify in your target market. Maybe they are using a hashtag you identify with or maybe they follow a competitor. You want to follow them and then leave an authentic comment on a few of their posts. For example, if I were marketing the blender recipe blog, I would start following this person’s followers. That’s a good place to start. I know these people are in my market. Meanwhile, you need to be posting 1-3 images every day, preferably in the morning, noon, and night. These don’t necessarily have to be your images though. Try this strategy for a month and see how it goes. Check out an Instagram account that I started from scratch.
Pinterest is actually a search engine with some social network features. You post an image or re-pin another image that someone else posted. The images are called pins. You create boards, which are categories, and post your pins to them. You can comment and like pins, and of course follow other users. Pinterest requires a little more effort than Instagram, but it’s similar in the since that it’s powered by images. The main difference with Pinterest is that the images should have text on them, not just a simple photograph. Take a look at this example.
This pin comes from an account I oversaw. You should check it out to see how it’s organized. You might be wondering how to create pins without being a graphic artist, well the good news is that Canva exists for that sole purpose. With Canva, you can effortlessly create professional pins in the matter of minutes. They even have a free Pinterest template. If you are starting out on Pinterest I would recommend the following aggressive marketing strategy, 30-60 repins, 30 comments, 30-100 follows, and 10 original pins per day. However, I don’t recommend adding a link to every single pin you post. Maybe just link a couple of pins back to your blog. This can get tricky, but repinning is more important for building up Pinterest. We’ll get into some advanced Pinterest marketing in a future post, for now concentrate on following the above strategy for the first month.
Twitter’s is a great tool for building relationships with other marketers and journalists. I don’t recommend it as solely a growth tool though. So, let’s move on to press outreach.
Press Outreach – Simply put, press outreach, aka media outreach involves sending a lot of emails and tweets to journalists, bloggers, and/or content creators. This is where Twitter is absolutely fantastic. Getting free exposure on other websites is a great way to help people discover your blog. However, it’s much easier said than done. No one is going to mention or write about you, unless you give them a really great reason. Remember they are in the same business you are in. They want content that will excite their readers, so you need to pitch them an idea that they can’t turn down.
Here’s the general strategy, I’ll use the blender recipe blog as an example. Let’s say I wrote about an awesome cheap recipe for soup that’s packed with lots of vegetables. I got the cost down to about $1.30. My blog is titled, Combat The Flu With This Fantastic Soup Recipe Under $1.50.
Keep in mind, I’ve written the recipe post specifically for this outreach campaign. The first thing I’m going to do is head over to Google News and search for the phrase, flu season 2017. This search gives me a ton of related articles. Next, I’m going to start digging through articles and copying and pasting the author’s name into a spreadsheet. In the past, I’ve found it way more effective to pitch your idea directly to the writer, rather than an editor. I’ll try to connect to them via Twitter if I can’t locate their email address. Meanwhile, I’ll put together a really short email composed of maybe five to seven sentences. I’ll introduce myself, mention their article including the link, share my article with them and why it’s relevant, and then close the email by asking them if they have any interest in learning more. This is called a cold email and I’ll be lucky if I hear back from 5% of these people. That’s okay, I only need one or two to bite on my email. That’s just one idea, but what I’m trying to show you is that you are more likely to get written about if you give that person a reason to write about you. Sending targeted emails absolutely works. Make sure you jot down a note to each person that replies to you. Don’t be afraid to have a conversation with them either. This is how you build connections that could pay off in the future.
The other thing that works is joining Help A Reporter Out, aka HARO. Journalists use HARO to solicit advice or ask questions to experts in different fields. You need to subscribe to it, but don’t worry it’s free.
Forums – Forums have been around since the beginning of the internet. We used to call them messageboards. My favorite forum is Reddit. Reddit is divided into thousands of Subs. These Subs are basically little communities that discuss a topic. For the blender blog idea, I’d definitely subscribe to the Recipes sub. Over 400,000 people also subscribe to that community. Forums are great places to get ideas for posts, and submit relevant comments which link to your blog. Just be careful not to spam.
Paid – Paying for traffic isn’t probably something you want to think about right now, but it’s the most effective method listed in this post. Google Search, Facebook ads, along with other content discovery networks allow you to spend money in return of sending traffic to your website. I’ll delve more into the topic in the future, but for now I don’t recommend spending any money advertising until you feel comfortable with running your website.