According to Hubspot, marketers who prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to see a positive return on investment. But, you already know blogging is valuable, which is why you already have one.
So you decided that you want to make money from your blog. There’s only one problem: it doesn’t have any traffic.
Just create outstanding content, and the traffic will come. That’s what you might have heard in the echo chambers of the internet, but it’s simply not true especially for new blogs.
Let me explain.
You have to realize that the above advice was true about 10 years ago when the internet was still young and there were many barriers of entry preventing the average person from starting a blog. Those days are long gone. Now there are so many blogs that it’s hard to stand out from a very large crowd.
When I hear someone repeating the golden content is all you have to do routine, I realize that if that worked for them, then they simply don’t understand what happened behind the scenes to get traffic to their site.
That’s why in this article, I’m going to give you a big picture view of how to get more traffic to your blog.
You’ll also see how I used these strategies to take my site from zero to over 1.4M users in just a few years:
It gets better, we’ll actually cover the most common ways that I walk all of my new clients through in our first interview about their website.
Let’s get started.
1. Self Awareness
The first step is assessing your strengths and your weaknesses. Every person will have preferences, experiences, hobbies and things that they are good at. You have to leverage this in choosing the type of traffic that you are going after for your website.
For example, if you are a crowd pleaser and get energized by interacting with people and being the center of attention, then most likely social media is your ticket. On the other hand, if you are more introverted and technical, then search engine optimization is a better choice.
If you are somewhere in the middle between these two, then paid ads might just be your thing. There are other options as well. We’ll go through each of these areas in more detail next.
2. Social Media
One of the most common places to start generating traffic to a website is with social media. The reason is that the average person is already on social media platforms at least as a content consumer.
Depending on what their goals are, at some point, they may transition into a content producer. Many people try this but burn out after a few months because they don’t have any results to show for that period of time.
What they don’t realize is that in order to win the social media game, you have to outproduce others with your content creation. Every single post, video, or share is one more seed that is planted in potential future attention, and therefore potential traffic. You have to constantly feed the beast.
There are many factors here to think about, especially your audience and what the top players in that niche are doing. Typically, you need to be posting more than every day on Instagram and Facebook for a very long time before you make some major headway.
Here’s an example:
Check out thought leaders Niel Patel, Brian Dean, and Gary Vaynerchuk if you want to learn more about how to dominate social media to get more traffic.
In addition, using social media to increase blog traffic, you can use your social media accounts to make money. My favorites include finding clever ways to make money on Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitch in previous blog posts.
3. Search Engine Optimization
For the more technically gifted folks out there, search engine optimization (known as SEO) is a great choice if you are dedicated to building a long term website asset. More than 5 years ago, SEO peaked into its golden era where it was relatively easy to rank for any keyword that you wanted to.
Those days are gone. Google’s search algorithm got smart, and several updates wiped out many of the websites that were exploiting it to rank high in search results.
These days, the focus is back on creating golden content. The catch? If you just create golden content and don’t tell anyone about it, it will never get found, and the necessary things that need to happen in order to rank high won’t get done.
Let me clarify what I mean. Basically, if you take a look at the many different ranking factors that Google cares about when it decides which websites make it to page 1 of search results, there are many.
However, the different factors are weighted differently. That simply means that a few things are much more important than all the rest in Google’s eyes. If you want a detailed breakdown of what’s important, check out the Moz guide on SEO.
For example, one of the biggest ranking factors is backlinks. Think about backlinks as like a voting system on the internet. The more “votes” other websites cast in favor of your website, the more Google believes that your website is great quality.
You might be asking, what is a backlink. It’s simply a chunk of text that has an embedded hyperlink to another website. The following is an example: Google is the best search engine on planet earth.
You have to be careful these days and make sure and follow Google’s guidelines in order to avoid penalties. Usually, this involves getting links naturally for great content, but also doing the hard work of getting awareness of your website out there. Guest posting, just like this article, is a popular method for doing just that.
Fortunately, this isn’t as hard as it sounds. All you need to do is use a free service called Help a Reporter Out (HARO).
HARO has been used for many years now by bloggers to get media coverage and increase their backlinks. On my finance niched blog, My Millennial Guide, I’ve been able to get backlinks from major publications Yahoo! Finance, NASDAQ, Discover and more:
I wrote up a prompt and let my virtual assistant reach out to reporters each day, it’s really a numbers game. Fit Small Business has a great resource on what HARO is and how to use it.
Keep in mind that SEO takes a while before it starts working. You are looking at 6 months minimum before you make headway after a lot of work. However, it’s worth it in the long run and one of the most cost efficient methods for traffic.
4. Paid Ads
If you like grabbing people’s attention, but you’re also a tad bit on the technical side, then paid ads might interest you. What I mean by paid ads are Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, YouTube Ads, and LinkedIn Ads.
All social media platforms have paid ad options that you can choose from. The trick is to pick the social media platform where your ideal audience hangs out the most. Of course, Google is a great place for ads if you want to catch people in either a buyer’s mindset mode or on a mission to find information.
I use paid ads on my new sites that don’t get a lot of organic traffic. I recently purchased an expired domain called TopSavings.net, yet, it has no traffic. So I created an article on the best money-making apps, and send Google ads to it, and make money by using the best affiliate programs.
Here’s the ad:
The basics of getting good at running successful paid ad campaigns is to practice a lot. Once you get started, you’ll quickly realize the power of split testing. By being disciplined in how you run these tests, you can come up with highly optimized ads that perform well.
If you want to go down this road, go find the many experts in the different type of ads and take a few courses on it. It’s not hard to figure out, it just takes time and effort. The advantage of paid ads is that you can get traffic right now, at a price. If you are in a hurry, this should be your primary method.
Referral traffic is simply visitors that come from some other website to yours without going through a search engine like Google. Like we discussed earlier with backlinks, not only do they make your website look good to Google, but they also allow readers to follow the link and then visit your website as well.
If you are going down the social media route, then referral traffic is a great strategy too. It consists of you figuring out who the main circle of influencers are in your particular niche, and then initiating a dialog with them.
Sometimes, people will even reach out to you and share your content (if it’s good).
Here’s an email I got yesterday of someone who shared my post on Twitter and gave me some good referral traffic:
Create meaningful conversations and add value enough, and most likely they will share your content with their followers, giving you a ton of referral traffic. It’s a great strategy.
Many times people forget about in person events in order to generate online traffic.
I’ll give you an example. I was recently at a meetup on social media and a person that was managing a conference came to give a presentation about entrepreneurship. While she was there, she handed out 3×5 printed cards about her conference’s website with the URL.
There were 50 people in the room that were very targeted to her niche and I’m speculating that at least 75% went to her website since her presentation was so good. I know that I told several people that I know about it and shared the link outside the event.
Think about how you can attend events in your local area, provide value, and at the same time drive traffic to your website. Resource pages do well here that are designed around meeting the needs of other attendees at these events. Create a FAQ page about the subject and share the URL with the group.
Also, podcasting, seminars, teaching classes, and even webinars are some great channels that fall into this category and work wonders for generating traffic.
For example, I got invited to speak on Cheddar and accepted, here’s the interview:
Speaking of forgetting the older ways of doing things. Most people completely neglect the old forms of advertising, even though they are still valid in the digital age.
Things like direct mail, TV ads, and radio ads can get you some attention to your website. Just remember that you need something memorable for the URL so that people don’t forget or mess up when they finally get around to going to your website.
Also, sometimes you should just pick up the phone and cold call people that might be interested in your website. As long as you don’t act too salesy or too pushy, you would be surprised who you might get to know and how much traffic they can help get you.
Need an SEO Boost? How To Improve SEO Rankings
Google rankings definitely have an effect on the success of your business. The Internet has already become part of our daily lives that you can expect people to use it to promote a business or look for a product or service.
However, there are still a lot of content marketers who are missing out on important tasks which can help boost page rankings. Here are the top 7 ignored content marketing tasks that can give you an SEO boost to improve your rankings and get on the top of Google.
Disvow toxic backlinks
Backlinks are typically created when other websites link your website to their content, either as a source or a shared article. Ideally, this will help increase traffic to your site as the readers of those websites may visit your website. That sounds like a good situation, right?
But, having a lot of backlinks to your site is not necessarily good. Google uses an algorithm to check how credible the backlinks are. Meaning, they try to check if the backlinks are coming from sites with certain authority or only from spamming sites. The latter can definitely hurt your Google ranking.
A website can acquire backlinks from three main situations. Less credible websites may start to source back to your domain as your authority grows. Your competitors may use negative backlinks to sabotage your rankings.
Actively buying and acquiring backlinks, termed as Blackhat SEO, in the hopes of outsmarting the algorithm used by Google is also one of these situations. Be reminded that Google will ban your website if they find out that you are engaging in Blackhat SEO.
You have to constantly monitor and check the websites that link to your own platform. This will help detect those that are negatively hurting your ranking. Deal with them before it is too late by disavowing them through your Google Search Console.
Here’s what Google’s take on it: If you have a manual action against your site for unnatural links to your site, or if you think you’re about to get such a manual action (because of paid links or other link schemes that violate its quality guidelines), you should try to remove the links from the other site to your site.
If you can’t remove those links yourself, or get them removed, then you should disavow the URLs of the questionable pages or domains that link to your website.
Creating and promoting content using the skyscraper technique
The skyscraper technique was originally coined by Brian Dean. With this technique, you will have to find a content in your niche that is performing outstandingly. Once you find that content, you create a better version of it and promote it blatantly.
Here are the general steps to take with the skyscraper technique:
- Know your competitors in your niche through searching relevant keywords.
- Once you know who your competitors are, use Buzzsumo, SEMrush or other applications to find the contents that worked well for them.
- Create better content through various means, such as performing an experiment or injecting more detail into the article, depending on your subject.
- Use Buzzsumo, SEMrush or another similar application to know which websites shared the original content.
- Contact the websites and promote your article.
This technique may take a lot of work and a lot of time but it is definitely worth it.
An infographic is a fun, creative, and visual presentation of data. According to Whippio, most people can remember up to 65% of the images they see even after three days have already passed. This speaks volumes when it comes to marketing.
When creating an infographic, you should know its content. Try checking the information you want to share within your niche and provide updated data in your infographics. One of the best infographics will probably be something that teaches a complex subject through easy-to-digest and understandable visual representation.
If you have a knack for designing infographics, creating one should be on your list of priorities. Otherwise, you can also contact design agencies or freelancers to do the job. Do not forget to promote your infographics and share them.
If you checked at Youtube’s Press page, with over one billion users and over one billion hours of videos watched on daily basis, you can surely say that people adore videos. Most people prefer videos over walls of text, especially when it comes to learning more about a product or service.
You have to use this information to your advantage. This means that creating and uploading more videos (and getting paid too) to be used as content for your website can surely help boost your rankings. If you are not currently creating and uploading videos, you are missing out on a big opportunity.
To create videos, try starting from your own content. Find those content that you can turn into an interesting video. You can also use trending topics and create videos about them. Even a simple camera, sound, light, and editing software can help you in creating videos.
Optimizing landing pages
Have you ever experienced that time when you clicked on a search result and ended up being on a page irrelevant to your search query? You definitely closed that page out or go back to the search page, right?
If your website has a high bounce rate, meaning visitors quickly go back to the search page after visiting your site, it can affect your Google rankings. This is why it is important that you give the users relevant content based on their search.
The landing page should already provide the information that the users need. Try to understand your users more, know where they are coming from and what they will feel upon reaching your landing page.
Optimizing for voice searches
According to Google, 72% of those who own voice-activated speakers use voice search as part of their daily routine. You can just imagine how many searches they can do in one day. Additionally, according to Edison Research and NPR, one in every six Americans owns a voice-activated smartphone or speaker.
With this glaring data, optimizing your website for voice searches will indeed be a wise move. When optimizing, consider how your users will inquire in a conversational tone and how they phrase their inquiry.
Using rich cards
Rich cards are information represented in a visual manner. They are easy to understand and are creative, making them appealing to users.
Using rich cards can help boost your rankings since they can visually pique the interest of the users. Think about the content you would want to be featured on the rich cards. Make sure that you understand what the users would want to know.
Should You Buy SEO Services?
Looking for the best SEO company but don’t know where to begin? Let’s start with the main differences between using freelancers vs SEO agencies.
All businesses today need a powerful online presence. It does not matter whether one is running a totally offline operation or completely online operation or a combination of both everyone needs to secure their space online.
It is not enough that you just launch a business website but your website should be visible to your target audience. If your brand website is not going to get listed in the top ten or twenty listings in Google search results, then it is hard to drive organic traffic to the website.
This is where SEO or search engine optimization gains significant importance. Most business owners today realize the importance of SEO in your online marketing strategy. When they go out in search of an SEO agency, they are confused because there are so many SEO companies out there and how to find the right SEO service can be tough. So how can you get it done?
Buying SEO Services to Increase Traffic
When searching for the right SEO services you are likely to come across two major categories of service providers namely freelancers and SEO agencies. Should one go with freelancers or well-established SEO agencies? Let us look at the pros and cons of hiring both types of SEO services:
Ease of access
As far as SEO is concerned, it is not just a one-time setup process, but it is an ongoing requirement for any type of business.
You should work with someone who is easy to access and easy to approach.
In this regard hiring a freelancer would seem to be the right thing to do because as opposed to an SEO agency you will be able to get connected with the SEO expert who is working on your website directly.
In the case of an SEO agency, you would only be able to get in touch with the customer support representative or the account manager who may not necessarily be the person who is working on your project.
However, some smaller SEO agencies like MeiggsMedia, offer full service and tailored response and results since they have fewer clients that they work with.
At the end of the day, managing an online freelancer is not as easy as it might sound. You are likely to run into a series of challenges that would be avoided by working with an SEO company.
The challenges mentioned above leads to dependability issues.
If you are working with an SEO agency, they will have a communication system in place. You will be able to approach them through different communication channels such as phone, email and live chat.
This makes them more dependable when compared to a freelancer.
If you go with a freelancer he or she can totally block you from approaching them at any point in time. Even if you are hiring them from a reputed freelance platform like UpWork, this still proves to be a top freelancing problem.
Not everyone who hires freelancers is facing issues and not all freelancers are bad, given that we still cannot deny the existence of the above risk.
The question is why to take that risk when you have other better and safer options?
In case of a mishap such as health issues or an accident or family emergency, even the most well-intentioned freelancer will not be able to help but discontinue or stall their services.
If you work with an SEO agency, you don’t need to worry about these types of issues because here you are working with a team of SEO experts and not just an individual.
It would be the responsibility of the SEO company to bring suitable replacements in case the assigned resource is not able to continue on your SEO work.
In terms of costing, freelancers are less expensive.
They do not have all the overhead costs an SEO agency has. You are likely to spend less on a freelancer when compared to SEO agencies.
However, if you take into account, your cost savings, in the long run, you will notice that there isn’t much of a difference.
When you are calculating the costs, you should also take your time into account. If you are going to spend a lot of time managing your service provider or specific aspects of the service, then your time also needs to be taken into account.
For example, your freelance SEO expert will need you to provide them with the content and the articles for the off-page SEO campaigns.
In such situations you will be required to hunt for article writers, manage them and forward the content to the SEO expert.
All these add to a loss of time, which is money.
Before you blindly come to the conclusion that freelancers cost you less money, you need to stop for a moment and ask, ‘Are they really?’ taking into account how much of your time goes into it. Overall, SEO companies will be able to offer a full suite of services such as social media along with SEO services.
When you are hiring your SEO service providers, you should look for dependability and stability.
There are a number of dedicated freelancers out there but the safer bet is to go with a well-established and highly reputed SEO agency so that you can keep the risks low.
These tasks can definitely be done to help you get an SEO boost. But, you need to have the will to do them. Will you continue to ignore them or start using them to your advantage? It is your decision.
Generating traffic can be a lot of hard work and is super important after you have created your golden content on your blog. It turns out that there are some key methods that you can use to accomplish your goals.
If you’re a beginner at blogging, by implementing these tips, you can definitely increase your traffic by 200%.
Just remember that it’s a lot easier to pick a traffic method that is more aligned with your skills, talents, and interests. You only have to master one or two of these methods in order to have a successful website. So pick the one that appeals to you most, and get working on making it happen.