You have a great website and a lot of clever ideas for a blog. Great…the only problem is, no one knows about it and you’re constantly stuck wondering how to get traffic to your blog.
But to be honest, there IS more to getting traffic than writing good content. Today there is more competition, more rules to follow from search sites like Google and Bing, and more strategy involved.
Yes, it does take time to learn the process, but it is VERY important.
Otherwise, you’ll invest all this time in creating high quality blogs and only a handful of people will find it. If you can’t figure out how to get traffic to your blog then you can’t make money!
That’s why we’re going to show you how to get the traffic you want in this article – a few simple steps for making more relevant content and developing a better strategy. Learning how to get traffic to your blog is easy if you know the steps to follow, and you’ll know exactly what to do after reading this article.
How to Get Traffic to Your Blog - Where to Start?
The first question to ask is why do some really good writers fail to attract a large audience, even if they learn how to target good keyword phrases? The problem could be that you’re not reaching out enough to be seen by a brand new group of users. You’re only appealing to your existing base of readers.
If you’re just starting out that’s probably a following of next to nothing.
That’s why the first real step is to branch out through direct advertising or some reach out program that will announce your remarkable blog content to readers. In other words, reach out to the bigger online community!
Without further ado, let’s cover six methods of how you can do this!
1. Make guest posts
Naturally, if your marketing budget is low or nonexistent, then you’re interested in free or low-cost advertising. One of the best ways to reach out to the greater community is by trading something else besides money…namely, content.
Guest posting is hardly a new concept. For years, print magazine journals have been welcoming guest columnists to write on a hot issue. Both sides benefit – the publication, which gets the new content, and the guest columnist who can reach out to a new audience.
The same concept was continued online with blogging and article writing. For a time, it was a flawless concept and it helped bloggers really increase website traffic.
That was until Google decided that too much guest posting and too many low quality, keyword stuffed articles were bad for business.
Google began penalizing pages and websites for over-producing articles, particularly guest blogging posts. This was part of the ongoing Google Penguin algorithm update.
However, the original intent of guest blogging is still very much encouraged by Google and other search engines as a way to drive traffic to your blog.
That is, to provide high-quality posts on a related blog.
One of the best ways to avoid being penalized is to make sure that the other blog or web magazine covers similar subject matter, but without being in direct competition.
Now, if you’re reaching out to a moderately successful blog or magazine as a guest columnist, understand that they do have a submissions process and expect you to follow each step. Make sure you follow the rules of the blog or magazine you want to work with for that project.
Over at Website Hosting Rating, we see a list of the most active blogs / magazines and their status on blog submissions.
While this is by no means a complete list, it’s safe to say that most blog owners will refuse guest bloggers who make these common mistakes:
To apply for a guest post, try using this email template:
2. Start answering questions in Ask Me Anything
Besides guest posting, answering Ask Me Anything (AMA) questions on sites like LinkedIn, Quora and Reddit can help you in a similar way. You exchange your knowledge on the subject for free publicity, reaching out to the community and letting them know about your blog. This is another way to drive traffic to a website by associating your name with a subject of expertise.
Another variation of the “AMA” strategy is commenting on other blogs, forums and magazines. You can do this while still learning how to get traffic to your blog because your website and blog will be visible for each comment. You can even post a direct link IF the subject is directly related to the theme of your blog.
3. Make sure your posts offer specific value
Now here’s the tricky part in how to drive traffic to a website, because both spammy blog posts and really smart amazing blog posts can be affected by the same problem. If you want to know how to get traffic to your blog it’s not just a matter of producing quality articles – it’s focusing on what value you give to your readers.
The value is what gets traffic. Marketing guru Ramit Sethi states that he’s actually developed a strategy for “how to get traffic to your website” by targeting larger sites like Lifehacker and Wall Street Journal. His secret is to “write something interesting for another blogger”…that is, another blogger or website that has higher traffic than you.
It’s a simple yet brilliant tactic that too many bloggers today are forgetting. If you lack traffic, but have great ideas, then you can trade those great ideas for the higher traffic you want.
Reach out to other blogs who crave resources, researched information, and new ideas that will ensure they keep their traffic. Meanwhile, you get more exposure, publicity and eventually you develop your own reputation.
Remember that the established blogs you dream of posting on have limited time to research new material but you, on the other hand, may have more time! You have the appetite, the ambition to create a great blog post that provides specific value for your readers and other higher-traffic bloggers who can quote you.
Most bloggers make the mistake of writing strong opinions on their industry or hobby The problem is, that’s what popular bloggers already do, and that’s also what unpopular bloggers already do. Simply put, everyone does it and it’s not very hard-hitting.
Facts tend to be harder hitting. Research is captivating. Trends and expert quotes (from major influencers) get attention, especially from higher-traffic blogs, as well as individual readers.
When considering how to get traffic to your blog, it’s also wise to ask yourself, “Is this post of interest to me, or is it really wearing the “mind” of my audience?” Your audience only thinks in terms of incentive. What do they get out of the experience, what resource do they get?
It might not be enough to entertain them, maybe not even enough to inform them, if you don’t actually demonstrate any value in your posts. So double check every post with these check boxes:
Now that doesn’t mean that you can never discuss personal experiences or even share a strong opinion or two. But the key here is asking, what benefit does sharing something of myself bring them? That’s the blogger’s dilemma, if you will. You’re deciding what subjects and what related keywords are going to make the audience think, “This is written just for me!”.
The real answer to reaching out to the community and discovering how to get traffic to your blog is to make their problems your problems – the focus of your blog. Now don’t think that you have to scrap every creative idea you’ve come up with so far. You can rewrite your planned blogs to make them a little bit less about you and the general industry, and a little more user-specific, a little more resource-centered than just more opinion.
4. Make sure your article is formatted for FAST reading
It’s unavoidable – your audience has a short attention span. Like it or not, you should anticipate that they’re NOT going to be patient or fast-forward to the really good stuff.
More than likely, they’ll just exit back to where they were, or continue social media surfing.
That means that if and when they land on your blog page – no doubt full of resources now! – then they want an article that’s very easy to SCAN.
Learning how to get traffic to your blog is basically about learning how to STOP your audience from exiting away.
Now the term “scan” means to glance, briefly review the subheadings, pictures and first few sentences of an article. One estimate suggests readers will only SCAN about 50-60 percent of an article. Furthermore, most readers won’t even finish the entire article before they share it with friends.
What does that tell you? It’s not just about writing brilliant and helpful blog posts: It’s about directing your audience’s attention and making the page as easy to read as possible. Getting a good stream of traffic to your blog is also about creating a user-friendly experience!
Formatting your blog for quicker scanning, which may or may not lead to further reading, will include:
Making a clean and inviting blog page for your readers isn’t that hard, so always remember that your website and/or blog’s navigational design matters greatly and keep improving it.
5. Create headlines that encourage clicks
Now we come to one of the most challenging aspects of blogging – and in fact, what could be the reason your blog isn’t finding any traffic lately: creating engaging headlines.
Years ago, magazine editors learned that cover stories never really sold if they were cliched, or too cutesy, too inspirational or, well, too normal.. Nothing has changed. Your readers will not feel inclined to click unless there is something happening. Something BIG.
Blogger extraordinaire Neil Patel said that when it comes to getting traffic to your blog, selling the story was all about telling a story. When a reader responds emotionally to a story, by sharing or by scanning (and if they’re really engaged then by reading) it’s because they’re involved in the story.
They don’t really connect to data or to marketing theory, they connect to stories about people, about problems they’ve faced, and about issues that relate to them..
But you do have to draw them in first with an attention-grabbing, present tense headline that sells a feeling. This is how to get traffic to your blog, by drawing readers in and focusing on stories that describe emotion and give the reader an experience as a “reward” for clicking.
One study recently discovered that headlines actually get far more clicks when stories are polarizing – in that they instantly divide audiences and provoke discussion, usually heated argument.
Make your audience feel emotion, even if it’s an issue that can cause conflict, and make them feel the need to click and get more information about this story.
Sidenote on clickbaiting:
Just be careful you don’t use clickbait, which is basically promising one thing but delivering something entirely different.
For example, a lot of complaints on YouTube have to do with a misleading thumbnail image attached to a video. People don’t like to be fooled and clickbait usually leads to negative reviews and downvotes.
This just shows you that tricking readers into reading with false information is a sure way to get bad feedback and will not help you to get more traffic to your blog. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Focus on making your story headline material. Remember these questions and try to answer them before developing your newspaper-like headline:
Now you don’t have to do all of these with each headline but if you’re not at least using one for each headline, ask yourself if you are telling your audience a story or and providing them with an experience. Or are you just dryly covering information?
Once you’ve written your headline, DON’T publish it yet. Try to determine whether you’ve included the right descriptive terms and action words.
For example: here are adjectives that help you tell a fascinating story:
Here are words that help you drive engagement and returning to your blog after an emotional connection is made.
Did you notice how all these words set a mood as well as a directing call-to-action? You’re not just creating headlines on the fly, you should actually make time to review them and see whether they provoke an emotional response before publishing.
If your article seems to lack the critical information promised by the headline, well that’s a real easy fix. Make the article more helpful and powerful. Deliver on what you promise and see how to get more traffic to your blog.
6. Stick to a consistent posting schedule
Finally, as we conclude our how to get more traffic to your blog discussion, get accustomed to posting your blog at the same time every week. It doesn’t have to be a certain time, although the following infographic (which one?) does give you some good standards to live by. However, you should train your audience to come back for more great content every week by faithfully publishing on your blog according to a schedule.
Practically every blog and social media site offers publishing tools so you can leave all your posts in queue and post them one by one ahead of time. That way your reader will always have something to read and will make your blog part of their lifestyle, and you can even email out your new blog post to your email list of subscribers.
As you can see, the answer on how to get traffic to your blog is nothing too difficult, shameless or mysterious. In short, it’s the process of transforming your current content to fit the needs of your readers today: customer-focused, easy to scan and emotionally riveting. The next time you casually surf the Internet analyze some of the headlines and blog articles you see. Train yourself to write like you read, follow the guidelines in this article and you’ll be seeing rising traffic numbers in no time!