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So you've just got started with your blog and you're looking for ways to boost your traffic. So far, your Mum's a BIG fan, but she's pretty much the only one reading your posts. You don't have a budget to advertise yet, it's way too early for you to have started ranking anywhere decent in search... what are you supposed to do to actually increase blog traffic from a party of 1 to... well you know, an actual party??
This, my friend, is a frustration that is experienced by every new blogger and I toootally get it. This is your new baby! Your pride and joy. You've taken this huge step (and man, it wasn't easy to get set up!) and you've put yourself out there.
You're ready for your voice to be heard!
'HERE I AM!' you say. 'HERE ME ROOOAAAR!'...
A tumbleweed gently blows across the floor....
Ok, I'll stop! It doesn't feel good, I know. But there are answers.
There are things you CAN do, even as a complete beginner. Even with no budget.
Even with no domain authority, no comments, no followers and no likes.
There has to be, right? After all, that's the place where EVERY SINGLE BLOGGER begins.
Before I give you the goods though, let's just take a moment to talk about traffic. You see, not all blog traffic was made equal...
There's blog traffic and then there's decent blog traffic...
You're going to be tempted to go after any traffic you can find. When I started my first blog, I once considered doing a leaflet drop around my local neighbourhood, so desperate was I for a few extra views!
The thing is, it's not all about the numbers. That's really important! In fact, it's so important, I'm going to say it again - and I'm even going to centre it for emphasis!
It's not all about the numbers.
Let's look past the views for a moment. Let's dive through the murky waters of likes, follows and shares and let's swim down to the clear depths below. This is where your purpose is. This is where your business goals are. This is your WHY.
WHY do you want all those visitors to your blog? What are you going to do with them?
I'll tell you what...
You're going to sell something to them.
(and PS, if you're not going to sell and your blog is just a hobby, then my advice to you? Don't even worry about how to increase blog traffic! Just enjoy blogging, being creative and seeing who you meet along the way).
So it just makes sense that the traffic you're looking for, is the type of traffic that's going to buy from you.
You're looking for ideal clients.
Now for the big mic drop moment - you're going to want to tweet this baby out...
You'll make more sales from 100 ideal clients than you will from 1000 people who have no interest in what you're selling.
Boom. (That was the mic dropping...)
How not to drive traffic to your blog...
So on that bombshell, let's look at what you shouldn't be doing to drive traffic, because while it may give quick results as far as your vanity metrics go, it doesn't give your actual blog or business any benefit at all.
What am I talking about? I'm talking about this...
and also, this...
We've all seen them. Most of us (including me) have taken part in them. IT HAS TO STOP!
These 'like for like' type posters give nothing away about what their blog/page/business is about. They are literally just asking anyone to give them a like for the sake of boosting their numbers.
Not only will that not help you, it is actively unhelpful for your blog and business.
Because your engagement levels will drop. If you have 100 engaged ideal customers on your Facebook page and they all regularly like and comment on your posts, then Facebook can see that a high percentage of your content is giving value and so will show it to more people. More people seeing your posts, means more people clicking through to your blog...
If that same page is then swamped with 900 non-ideal clients who have liked your page but have no interest in your content, your engagement will drop. Instead of 100% engagement, you're now at just 10%. Now your lack of engagement makes your content appear spammy and dull. Facebook doesn't like this type of content so will show it to fewer people... And this concept applies to pretty much every channel.
Leave the 'like for like' threads for the mugs who only care about vanity metrics. You're better than that!
PS - Looking for other ways to increase engagement on your Facebook Page? Check out this post - How to Increase Engagement on Your Facebook Page.
So, what can I do to increase my blog traffic?
Get Your House in Order
There are 3 things you need to spend some time on before you get started with any of the strategies below.
Let me explain...
Niche is a topic which comes up a LOT when I speak to beginner bloggers, and I completely understand why. It's hard to choose and it's even harder to limit ourselves to just one topic.
But if you want to attract traffic to your blog and then to turn that traffic into fans, followers and even customers, you need to choose a niche. Your readers need to feel like they've found exactly what they're looking for when they land on your blog - not a mish-mash of topics that happen to interest you...
For more on this check out How to Find the Perfect Niche for Your Online Business
Writing is SO much easier when you know who you're writing for.
In order for your readers to feel like they've found what they're looking for, you need to write as if you're talking directly to them. You need to understand their frustrations, they hopes and their fears. You want your readers to feel as if you've read their minds and know them inside and out.
For more help on writing for your ideal clients (and just great writing in general), check out this post - 10 Ways to Write Better Copy
Lastly, focus on WHY your readers should come to your blog. What are you going to help them with? What problems are you solving? What changes will this bring about?
If you want to increase blog traffic, then get super clear on why people should come in the first place...
Feeling stuck? This may help - How to Write a Mission Statement That Actually Means Something
Ok, you're ready. Time to dive into these simple, yet super-effective strategies that will help you to find your very own raving fans and get them all flocking to your blog...
1) Guest Posting
As a beginner blogger it's easy to feel like you're not ready for guest posting yet. You feel like you need to get a little more experience under your belt.
The fact that you're blogging at all means that there's a topic you feel passionate about. One that you're knowledgable about.
And that means you can totally write guest posts.
Here's the thing though, guest posting isn't going to directly increase your traffic much. Sure you may get the odd click through from your author bio to your blog, but they'll be few and far between (unless you're guest posting for a pretty massive site that is!)
So why am I including it here?
Link building, baby!
You see, the real beauty of guest posting is that it allows you to build up the sites that are linking back to yours and THIS is one of the KEY factors of building your domain authority (DA) and in ranking higher in search.
And ranking higher in search? Now, THAT'S going to bring you more traffic...
Getting Started with Guest Posting
First of all, be prepared for a lot of people to say 'no'. That's just how it is. Your writing won't suit everyone. You need to be ok with that.
Now, here's what to do next:
2) Facebook Groups
This strategy is both uber-effective and also rife with potential pitfalls....
Facebook groups have to be one of the easiest ways to connect with ideal clients and to get your stuff in front of them - you just join a group in your niche and voila! You have a room full of people you can chat to about your blog.
BUT, there's a right way and a wrong way to go about this. You'll know yourself that Facebook groups can be AWESOME. A great place to have your questions answered, to meet people, to get support and sometimes to just have a laugh.
However, there are groups which are filled with people who are JUST there to promote themselves. They're not interested in creating genuine connection. They're not interested in YOU and despite their 'helpful' posts, they're actually not interested in helping.
Don't be those people!
Getting Started in Facebook Groups
PS. If you'd like to start a Facebook Group of your own, here's how... How to Start a Facebook Group for Your Online Business
3) Round-up Posts
This take a bit of work (but you don't mind that and that's why YOU are going to nail this whole blog traffic thang!)
A round up post is one where you 'round up' responses and opinions from other blogs in your niche to create a compilation of sorts. Here are a few examples of what this might look like:
The 50 Most Mouthwatering BBQ Recipes (ahem... from my food blog...ahem...)
100 Productivity Tips - From the Experts
35 of My All Time Favourite Inspirational Quotes
You get the gist? Here's the skinny on how these babies will boost your traffic....
Now the beauty of these posts is that for each person whose content you include in your round up, you've gained a potential promoter of your post! Whole new audiences are now being shown your content! Whoop!
Getting Started with Round Up Posts
4) Live Streaming
If you're an introvert, like I am then you may be tempted to scroll straight past this one, but I urge you to stop a while and just listen! You see, live streaming IS GOING TO HELP YOU.
Video gets more reach, more views and more engagement and live streaming, well that's just pure gold.
Your audience are able to actually interact with you. They get to see you in person and feel connected with you AAAAAND you get the chance to chat about your blog...
I'm not saying that you should be going live to give a long promotional spiel. Quite the opposite. You should be going live to offer value, to help and to entertain. BUUUUT you should also be giving your audience those all important calls to action.
'Hey, want more info? Go check out my blog!'
'Found this helpful? You should definitely visit my blog!'....
If you've never done it before, you're going to feel awkward and nervous the first time. Push past that because after that? It's actually fun!
Getting Started with Live Streaming
Try saying that 3 times fast...
This point is similar to round up posts, in that here, we're encouraging others to promote our content for us!
The idea is that we find other people's content that is relevant to our ideal clients and our niche and then we share it! In so doing, we build a sort of online karma...
Our audience gets to see new content and to discover new blogs and businesses.
Other business owners and bloggers get their content shared (and who wouldn't love that?)
And in turn, they may do a number of things..
They may share our content with their audience
They may like our page or comment on our post
They may even contact us for further collaboration...
The important thing is that you're building relationships and in business, that can only be a good thing!
Getting Started with Reciprocity
A Final Word of Encouragement
Each of these strategies WILL bring more traffic to your blog. There's no question.
But, you need to follow through with them. You need to commit and you need to be consistent.
If you can do that, then you've got this my friend and I'm excited for you and for your blog and business!