Getting more traffic to your blog is a really important part of building a sustainable online business. No traffic, no subscribers, sales, etc.
I was fortunate enough to get a big burst of traffic to this blog in just a few short weeks of operation. And while I really don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, I did think that writing a post about the story might help a few people out there.
I am going to do a quick break down of what I did so that you can do the same for your new (or old) blog. I hope it helps.
The traffic proof
Before I move on with the post I know what you are all thinking. I can hear your judging thoughts. Where is the proof, jerk? Here is a screen shot from my Google Analytics statistics. I have cut and pasted the date from the right of the screen so I could fit it in to the small image. Other than that nothing has been changed.
As you can see the day of August 8th was around 5,000 visitors which was the day that I hit the front page of Delicious.com for the article on selling a blog.
How I got over 11,908 visitors in my blog’s third week
Now I will go into a few of the things that I did that you too can do in order to boost the traffic at your blog. Hopefully there is something new here for you to consider. As always, drop us a comment if you have any questions or any of your own suggestions.
1. I researched articles and targeted people’s problems
The first thing I do before writing any article is research. Not a lot of research but a good 20 minutes or so in order to figure out exactly what I’m going to write about and, more importantly, why I am going to write it. I always do two types of research:
This is the type of research where you look at popular keywords, topics and trends – find out what people are looking for in your particular niche.
Problem solving research
This is where you look at the problems that people are having within that topic. What needs and wants do they have? Can you help them with that?
It is really important that you do both. Sure, sometimes you might jag a good topic or post idea but most of the time you have to put some thought into what people are looking for and what problems they are having. Unless your blog posts aim to help people in some way you really aren’t going to get any boost in traffic. If you can target a problem that is universal in your niche and perhaps has some time sensitivity to it then you are going to do very well.
2. I wrote specific, targeted directly
Once you have done your two types of research it is important to put it in to practice and not just sort of generally have it in mind when you write. You need to be very specific. You need to be like a heat seeker missile going after its target. I try to keep my posts very target to just one concept.
Think about adverts you see on TV. Baby nappy ads only show babies and mothers and the catch phrases are always to do with how it will benefit the mum and the baby. They never mention teenagers or dads or anyone else because it is the mum who buys the product in the end. In the same way you need to make sure you are writing to the people you want to target. Sometimes I read blog posts that are so general and unspecific I wonder who they heck they are talking to.
When you are writing your posts make sure the title, the introduction, the headings and all the contents of the post are directly related to your target audience and their problem. Don’t waffle off on to other areas or related points and don’t forget who you are talking to. If your blog is about baby nappies make sure you talk to mothers and their needs using language they understand.
3. I tried to exhaust the topic but didn’t answer all the questions
If you take a look at my blog posts you will notice they are all pretty long. The article that first hit the front page of Delicious.com, for example, was around 4,700 words long. It took a fair while to write but was worth it completely. And although I tried to cover every aspect of the topic, I tried not to completely answer everyone’s questions.
Here’s what I mean. Whenever someone clicks on a link to read a blog post that have a whole host of questions in mind. They want answers. If you give them all of the answers they are satisfied and leave your blog without interacting in any way. And that is pretty useless. When you have 11,908 people coming to your blog in a week you want them to interact. You want them to sign up to your RSS feed, you want them to leave comments and you want them to talk about it on Twitter and Facebook.
I remember a few years ago on another blog I spent an entire day writing one big massive blog post that completely covered a certain fitness topic. I hit publish and sat back waiting for all the comments and questions to come in but nothing happened. No Tweets, no comments, crickets chirping. I sent my mate an email (he was a reader of the blog) and asked him what the deal was. He wrote back saying that it was so complete he had nothing left to say.
Make sure you still leave some questions unanswered. In fact, if you can ask people questions that is even better. It is vital that you cover a topic as completely as you can but you don’t want your reader to finish the article and think “I don’t need to come back to this blog anymore, my problems are solved“.
Answering questions in the comments is different of course.
4. I refined my titles to < 71 characters of pure curiosity
Well, I like to think they were that good. You might have a different opinion! We all know how important a great blog title is for the success of your post. There have been countless articles on the subject (with Copyblogger writing most of the good ones). But one thing I think a lot of us forget is that you have to make your title under 71 characters and it has to be something that makes people burn with curiosity. That is the essence of a good title.
Why under 71 characters? Well 71 is the number of characters that Google will put in their indexation. Anything more than that gets cut off and people only get to read half a title. Similarly, most of the social media and bookmarking services only allow around that amount. And on Twitter you only have 140 characters to “sell” your title and the URL so the shorter the better.
In terms of making people curious you need to, once again, really think about what it is that is going to get people to click through. And, as before, if you can be specific and targeted you will get a better result. Some things you can do to peak people’s curiosity and get them to click through include:
- asking questions
- stating something that goes against the status quo
- referencing something/someone famous
- challenging someones ideas or practices
- using number or statistics
Instead of writing a post called How to Get More Visitors I decided to call this post How I Got Over 11,908 Visitors in My Blog’s Third Week as it gives you specific numbers and hopefully grabs your attention when you notice the “feat” happened in the third week of the blog’s life. Make sure your titles are the right length and stir curiosity within the people who read it.
5. I built up contacts and asked them for help
Something that is extremely important in the blogging world is asking people for help. You cannot get anywhere in the world without the help from others. No one makes it by themselves, everyone has help in some form or another. Even if it is just the fact that someone visits your site and clicks an advert or buys an eBook you have had help from that person. I really don’t like it when internet business people talk about making it on your own and screw everyone else. It is nonsense.
Now, although Blog Tyrant is very new I am lucky enough to have lots of contacts from previous blogs, websites and projects. So, when I needed a bit of help I could easily ask them. A lot of you reading this post, however, won’t have that luxury so I will talk about it from that point of view – as if you were really starting out afresh.
The first thing I would do is spend some time on Google, Digg, Delicious and Stumble finding the best websites in your niche. Make a list of them all and even perhaps take note of what area within your niche they are particularly good at doing. Feel free to send these people a very genuine email asking for help. You might want them to give you some advice, Stumble it or even Tweet it out to their followers. If you are genuine, polite and make it easy for them most of the time these big guys will help. This is a fantastic way to kick start your first front page Delicious.com attempt.
The next thing you need to do is garner support from your existing readers (however many you have), friends, family and so on. Just let them know you have been Dugg or Stumbled and would appreciate some support. Everyone, at the minimum, has a Facebook account that they can post a link to.
The most important thing though is to try and do something for these people. Think of something you can offer them in return, even if it is just a Tweet or a link on your website. People are more likely to help if they know they are going to get something in return.
6. I guest blogged
In case you didn’t see it I had a guest post on Problogger called How to Make Your Blog Addictive Like World of Warcraft. I spent a lot of time on this post. I wanted to have a unique angle for the readers over at Darren’s site who have read a lot about blogging. I wanted to give them something a little bit different. So I used two things I know about (gaming and marketing) to help his readers learn something new.
Now, here’s the thing. This post wasn’t actually published within the week of the 11,908 visitors. It was the week after. So it didn’t actually contribute to those numbers. What it did do, however, was remind people of my existence. There are so many blogs out there and each day dozens of them hit the front page of the big bookmarking sites. My guest post on Problogger was a way to remind them that I was out there. I had a lot of people emailing me saying they saw me on Delicious and then on Problogger and thought they might just subscribe. That is a good thing.
In a world of where there are literally tens of millions of blogs you need to get your name out there. One of the best ways to do this is to write quality articles and ask the big guys in your niche to publish them. I would even go so far as to say you need to make these guest posts better than the ones on your own site. Really work hard to deliver something that makes people think you have something new and interesting to offer them.
7. I followed up with something related
If you get some traffic from one of the bookmarking websites it is important to follow up that post with something relevant and interesting to those people who just came to your site. This is a great way to get more traffic to your blog and even get back on the front page again!
Think about the last time you found a new blog that you liked. You read one or two posts and then either subscribed or left. The next day or even a few days later you revist that blog because it is fresh in your mind. This is the point when you decide to be a long term fan or erase it from your memory banks. That is why you need to follow up with something related.
I wrote the post on how to sell a blog and then followed up with a post about why your blog will fail. This gave all the people who arrived from the initial post something similar and related to think about. I noticed a big increase in subscribers and traffic loyalty in the days after that post.
Am I missing anything?
Are there any details in here that you think are missing? I would like to try and help you as much as is reasonably possible so feel free to ask me any questions that I might have forgotten to address. Hopefully I can give you enough general information to crank your traffic to new heights with your next few posts.