If you blog, you probably love the way it allows you to express yourself – but if you’re a serious blogger, you’d also like to create a little money with it!
All the awesome content in the world isn’t any good if no one is stopping by to read it. In fact – and this is another one of those 20/80 rules – The time you spend writing your blog should only be about 20% of your work time. The other 80% should be spend on syndication/marketing to get more traffic!
Why Do Blogs Fail?
People fail at blogging ALL. THE. TIME. because they just don’t get this fact: running a blog is no different from any other business. You have to be willing to put the time into it and treat it seriously.
Now, that doesn’t mean that every failed blogger didn’t take their blog seriously – but most people who start a blog really aren’t prepared for the amount of work that goes into creating something successful and profitable. Well, this isn’t Field of Dreams, and you aren’t Kevin Costner – just because you build it doesn’t mean that traffic will come!
You need to pursue your audience and give them a reason to come read what you have to say.
1. Fresh Content – You aren’t going to build an audience if people keep seeing the same post every time they come back to your blog. This doesn’t mean you have to post every day – but you should post at least once or twice a week. What’s really important is that you update regularly, and that you fill your blog with high quality content.
Don’t have time to blog on a regular basis? Spend a few hours on weekends and schedule them to post automatically. You can even use something like Co-Schedule to schedule out your posts to social media at the same time as the blog post – easy peasy!
2. Social Networking – Search engines are vital, but never underestimate the importance of social media. Social traffic is my #1 source of visitors to this blog! You can share your links on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram and others – but don’t try to do too much at once. It’s best to start with one or two so that you aren’t overwhelmed trying to learn everything at once.
Don’t forget to look for groups where you can meet other people who care about the same things you do. Sharing information that is valuable for them or solves problems is a GREAT way to get connect with people – and get traffic to your blog. Just remember – you’re there to be social, not to spam your links.
One of the best social media networks for bloggers is Pinterest – if you aren’t using it, you should be! I talk more about it here – Boost Blog Traffic with Pinterest. I urge you to give it a try!
3. Email Marketing – You might think this is something only the “Gurus” do – but it’s vitally important, even if your blog is just starting. If you only spend money on one thing, I’d say to invest it in a autoresponder like Mad Mimi, and start building a list. Your email list is awesome – because these are people who are actively saying “YES! I want to hear more of what you’ve got to say!”
4. Joining Forums – If you’re working to build a profitable blog, what you really are is an entrepreneur. A small business owner. Your blog is your storefront, and you need to get people into the store in order to start selling things. A great way to get people in the store – to visit your blog – is to meet them in forums.
And forums aren’t just for bringing traffic – as Samar Owais points out, forums are an excellent source of blog post ideas and they give you an opportunity to form connections with other people in your niche.
Just like social media, the goal here is NOT to spam your links out to the forum – do that, and you’ll probably get banned. Instead, start adding to the conversations. Make pertinent comments and answer questions. Help people solve problems. Have a link to your blog in your forum signature. If the forum allows it, you can link to a post of your own if it answers a question or gives someone information they are looking for.
When people see you being helpful and providing really useful information, trust me – they WILL start checking out your blog.
Update: Since I originally wrote this post in June 2014, Facebook groups have begun filling the position that forums used to fill. That doesn’t mean you should ignore forums! By all means, look for forums in your niche, there are still many of them out there and they do have some benefits that Facebook groups are lacking (like getting backlinks to your content).
5. Visit other blogs – This is something I do every single day, and I get a lot of traffic from it. The great thing about visiting other blogs is that EVERYBODY profits – the comment is great for the other blog, and most blogs have a way where you can link back to your own blog with your comment. Some tips:
* Don’t put your link in your actual comment – that’s spammy. Put it in the box labeled “URL”.
* Leave a REAL comment. Don’t just pop in to a bunch of random blogs and leave crap like “Great post”. If you can’t come up with an actual observation, it’s better not to comment at all.
* Don’t link to the front page of your blog – link up to a specific post.
And if someone comments on your blog and leaves a link to their own, make sure you take the time to go visit them – that’s how blogging connections and friendships are made!
What’s the Takeaway?
All these tips will get traffic coming to your blog quickly – but the real key is consistency. What I’m saying here, is that when you start doing all these things, you’ll see a bump in traffic – but when you KEEP doing them, your traffic will keep growing.
Traffic growth is a slow, steady progress that depends completely upon you being consistent. The thing to remember is that consistency is the key; you may get lucky and get some viral traffic really quickly, but generally, growing your blog takes patience. You can’t follow these tips for a few days and then get discouraged when you don’t see a massive upsurge in page views.
Blogging is a “long haul” occupation and in most cases, it takes time to see really massive traffic coming in.