You’ve got a great blog for your business. You figured out where and how to host it, came up with a design, and are actually writing and publishing content that is really interesting for your community.
Or at least you THINK it would be be really interesting and useful for your community, but you’re not entirely sure. You’re not sure because Google Analytics is showing just a trickle of traffic to your blog, and the only comments you’ve seen so far on the posts are those uber-persistent spammers. So far, your mom is the only one who has shared your posts on Facebook.
The whole point of a blog is to show your readers what you know about your industry so that you can facilitate the Know, Like, Trust process that people go through before becoming your customer or client. So how to actually get some readers for your blog?
Here are 8 ways you can drive traffic to your blog and get people familiar with your business and brand:
You’ll be shocked by what a difference an attention-grabbing headline can do to your blog traffic. There’s a helluva lot of content posted every single day to the web so headlines that leave the reader with a sense that they HAVE to click on it will bring in the most traffic. Get inspired with Portent’s Content Idea Generator and Copyblogger’s 52 Headline Hacks and start training yourself to notice the headlines you yourself can’t help but click on.
One of the best ways to boost both your SEO and traffic to your blog is by guest posting. Here’s how it works: Ned has a blog about social media marketing that has around a gazillion readers. If I can write a pitch a post to Ned for his blog, 1) he has more fresh content that he didn’t have to come up with himself, and 2) I get my name, my company name, and my website in front of a gazillion new readers. When those readers love my post, they click on my company’s website link to read more about what I do, and visit my blog for more great content. At the same time, my website’s link on Ned’s blog generates a backlink, which is just SEO’s way of calling links between different websites. The better the backlinks (and I mean better as in traffic, content quality, its own backlinks), the more I’ll show up in Google’s search results. The SEO benefits show up in the long term, and one backlink isn’t going to improve your standings in search results too much. But if you consistently generate good backlinks over time, you’ll notice a substantial rise in your organic traffic to your website and blog. Check out the LKR guide to guest posting right over here.
Go off the digitally beaten path.
Sharing your content on lesser known but much loved social networks could give you a great boost in traffic that doesn’t die out as quickly as traffic from the big guys tends to do. Think about posting your blog posts as a response to a question on Quora which boasts a more academic and/or professional user base than FB and Twitter. If your post centers around a great image, or you’ve found one that really evokes a reaction from the viewer, make sure you post it to Pinterest (now with Analytics so you can see which pins are really driving traffic to your blog)!
Don’t forget about Google+.
You may be 100% satisfied with your social media marketing strategy, one that completely leaves out Google+. Maybe you feel like your target audience is simply not using it, and you may be right. But here’s why you need to take ten minutes of your week and schedule out your blog posts onto Google Plus: it’s owned and operated by Google. In order words, it really affects organic search results, especially when the person searching is connected to you or to someone else who’s got you in their circles on Google Plus.
Write about other companies or products; they will in turn share their your posts with their community.
When you publish a blog post talking (or raving) about a particular product or service, you’re providing that company with social proof of their value. That means they’re going to share (almost) any post that you mention them in. For example, not long ago we compiled a list of blogs that aren’t EXTREMELY well-known but whose content I absolutely never miss. When that post got published, my content manager tweeted out a few things to those bloggers to let them know they’d been mentioned, and we saw a lot of shares and retweets of that particular post which drove a LOT more traffic to that post and others.
Go beyond blogging.
Blogging means writing, and that’s great. But while you’re stretching your writing muscles, go further than just your everyday blog post and create something that you can leverage for a looooong time. I’m talking about free content, like reports, webinars, slideshares, cheat sheets, and checklists. Get people to opt in with their email address in order to access your awesome content, and then you’ve got them on your list. Encourage list members to follow you on social media so that you can get your blog posts in front of more people. More people, more clicks – you get me? This is just the concept of content marketing – providing value to your target audience in order to establish a kind of relationship with them, with more traffic to your blog as an awesome bonus.
Improving your rankings in search results can make a world of difference in traffic to your blog, but that doesn’t mean you should go overboard or engage in useless tactics like spamming other blogs with your link. Here’s what I recommend: think about your keywords and use them naturally in your blog posts. The keywords that drive a lot of traffic to my blog are phrases like “how to make a profile in LinkedIn” or “social media” and those are the phrases we naturally use in the blog posts that discuss those very topics. You should always prioritize quality content over keywords. For more on SEO for your blog, check out Moz (formally SEOmoz)’s extremely thorough yet simple guide to mastering SEO.
Share, share, and share some more.
Lots and lots of people think that one Facebook post and one tweet per blog post are all you’re allowed, but that’s crazy! We post on social media about our blog posts all the time, everywhere, at many hours of the day. What percent of your followers on Twitter actually saw that one tweet you sent out 3 hours ago? No one’s really sure but the number is miniscule, so send it out again tonight, tomorrow and a few times over the next few weeks. Here’s my motto: If it’s still relevant, it’s still valuable!
Unfortunately there’s no real science to driving traffic to your blog. In fact, a lot of the tactics I mention above work best when done in conjunction with each other, so it’s not like you can choose one and put all your energy behind it, forgetting completely about the others.
But if you had to choose one thing to do to consistently increase the traffic to your blog, I’d recommend that you work hard to write new content for your blog as much as you can. That does NOT mean 6 times a week, or even 6 times a month. If you can add a new (and good) post to your blog once a week, you’ll see traffic grow gradually as you establish yourself as a quality blog in your industry that readers can depend on.
Struggling to come up with ideas for next month’s 4 new posts? How about 52 new posts? Check out my blog-post-brainstorming strategy that sets me up for an entire year in advance so that you can set it, write it, and forget it!