Last week I published a few blogging statistics and one of the main takeaways was that most bloggers still struggle to find readers and traffic.
This is a real shame because all of that hard work writing articles and building beautiful blogs is wasted unless you get people reading them.
I decided to dedicate a bit of time to this issue and will be doing more posts over the next couple of months
Today I wanted to get us started by looking at one simple but very effective way to get more traffic to your blog regardless of your niche or blog’s authority.
Let’s take a look.
Don’t just think about traffic, think about individuals
Something that I have to remind bloggers (myself included!) is that the numbers that you get only really matter if it is coming from good sources and if it is made up of the right individuals.
If you’ve ever spent any time doing PPC advertising you’ll know this to be true – it’s easy to drive traffic but it’s very hard to get that traffic to take action.
That really comes back to the individual that is visiting your site.
For example, when someone arrives on your WordPress tutorial blog post after typing in “how to start a WordPress Blog” it’s likely that they’ll take some action because they have specifically sought out that information and are in a “buy ready” mentality.
Promote that same post in a Tweet, however, and you have to also educate the audience about what a blog is, why they should start one, why WordPress is a good choice, and why you are a good person for them to trust.
It’s hard. Here’s one example.
Someone mentioned a very old Blog Tyrant post in a comment on imgur the other day and it brought around 2,000 unique visitors in a few hours as the post hit the front page.
Guess how many extra email subscribers it lead to? None. The average for the day was exactly the same as the same day last week and the week before.
So, if you opened this article thinking “I need more blog visitors” then I encourage you to take a few moments to ask yourself why. And then ask yourself who.
Here’s a quick exercise that every blogger should do:
- Define your blog’s elevator pitch (what your blog is)
It’s important to be able to explain what your blog does and how it does it uniquely in just a few words. You should be able to verbally explain it in a short elevator ride.
- Write down who needs your help (who reads your blog)
Who are you writing for? Is it a group of people that have one hobby, or could it be any person from a particular population sample?
- Literally imagine an individual reader (the real reader)
Lastly, what does an individual reader from that group look like? Literally think about their age, hobbies, fears, location, etc. and come up with a picture of that person.
When you come up with a specific user profile like this you all of a sudden start to write and plan your blog for that person. This makes your goals clearer, your strategies more defined, and, most importantly, it means that you start targeting blog traffic that actually converts in to some kind of action.
To reiterate: take some time to think about this end-user/end-reader because there is no point in trying to get more visitors to your blog if they are not the right fit for your content.
New content is not always necessary
There is a very common perception among bloggers that more content equals more traffic. But is that really the case?
Well, in some instances the answer is yes. For example, if you are a new blog you actually have to have some articles on your blog in order for Google to index them and to start seeing rankings on search results.
But if your only strategy it to create new content and then hope that visitors will arrive then chances are you will be sorely disappointed. It’s not uncommon for bloggers to write hundreds of articles and still see no real improvements in their traffic levels.
That strategy that I’m going to share today is based on the idea that what you really need to do is get better at promoting the content that you already have on your blog as opposed to creating new stuff. It’ll need a bit of extra content to implement, but it’s not just about writing more and more and more blog posts!
New content is good, but it’s not the full answer when it comes to finding new readers.
A simple way to get more traffic to your blog
Now that we’ve gone over some of the basics, let’s take a look at this simple strategy that will help your to find some more readers.
Quick interruption: Go back and read this guide on how to get 100,000 visitors from Google each month to give you some good background on basic principles of finding more traffic.
This simple strategy is all about finding people or organizations that are already talking about your particular topics. If you know how to do that – and how to access them – it can be a great way to get some quick traffic without needing to create any new blog posts.
Step one — Find the hubs
The first thing you need to do is find online hubs where people are discussing your topics. For example, jump on Reddit and find a relevant subreddit that is not necessarily directly about your topic but that would discuss it regularly.
You can look around and get to know the different subreddits, or you can use their search feature and see if they can point you in the right direction.
Step two – Find the people
The next step is to browse around the relevant hubs and look for people who are talking about your type of content. Depending on your industry, it might be an individual blogger, or it might be a bigger media organization.
For example, if we look at the “Dogs” subreddit we can see that a lot of the threads are people asking for help about training their dogs, affording vet fees, etc. This presents you with an opportunity for finding new readers that are very niche or specialized to your topic.
I’d just like to add here that sometimes this can seem really “off” as a strategy. The idea of talking with people or being nice to them just to get some benefit for yourself is a bit sick. But I also think business can and should be ethical, and so it’s good to remember that these are real people looking for real solutions to real problems. Always do your best for them.
Step three – Find the solutions
This is where the traffic growing comes in to it. What you want to do now is engage with these conversations using your content and/or expertise.
Now, this doesn’t mean just posting links to your stuff as that will likely just get you banned anyway. You need to be a little bit more engaging/creative.
For example, you might be able to post a paragraph, graphic or image of yours if it’s highly relevant and clearly not overly promotional. This is often best done in conjunction with a story where you refer to a few websites as references for further information.
Some people will link to photos on instagram or Facebook or guest posts, which then have links to your blog in the bio or next to the photo. For example, someone might be complaining about crappy dog kennels and you might reply with, “We had the same problem but we found a good solution!” which links to the photo of your unique idea.
As people look for more information they will find your website, and hopefully share the photo or Facebook post around more.
You can even go one step further by editing your existing blog posts to talk about a specific forum thread and how your content or ideas might help solve the problem. You can then share this – as long as it’s within the forum’s rules – and people will use it as a topic for further conversation.
Lastly, you can even try direct messaging other users in the thread and tell them that you saw they were having problems and that you have a solution here. Again, it has to be highly useful, genuinely helpful, and within the forums direct messaging policies.
That leads to the next step.
Step four – Keep amplifying
Once you have looked around (Reddit is just one example) you will start to get a feel for what people are talking about, what problems they are having, and what solutions they are looking for. You can then be a bit more direct with your promotion by creating posts that share your content directly.
Here’s one example of an amazing human called Katy who got on the front page of imgur (perhaps accidentally?) and has since created a new post showing her fresh batch of hats that she’s making for charity. This is such a cool way to promote her own stuff as well as the charity that she’s trying to help out.
You can post your own content in a similar way. Just take sections of a post or some photos that partially cover the topic, post it to the relevant forum or website, and then tell them there’s more information on your website. You can also create smaller forum posts based on your existing blog posts saying things like, “You wanted help with this topic? Here’s how we solved it.” and see how the results go.
Remember, this is not a strategy where you post any link directly to Reddit or any other website. The goal is to build up to that by using your blog’s existing content in a way that is directly relatable to a thread or topic being discussed.
Enhancing communities in your niche
This strategy works wherever there is a community. You could do it on Twitter (just search for keywords relating to the article you want to promote), a website forum, or even a website where the comments get a lot of traffic and interaction.
By finding places where people are already talking about your content, you can find opportunities to promote existing content without feeling like you’re spamming because you’re introducing part of your content that is well researched and then are encouraging them to look at the whole source for further information.
The bonus of doing this is that you will also build up a profile on those sites that can itself become authoritative meaning that any posts you create yourself have a higher chance of getting seen.
Have you tried this?
I’d love to know if anyone out there has had any luck promoting existing content in some online community setting in a way that was useful or well-received by the community itself. Please leave a comment below and let us know.
Top photo © Daniel Villeneuve