Admit it, at least part of the reason you choose to write for a blog is to increase your traffic. Maybe you are a business trying to push your brand, or you might just rely on your content itself to produce revenue. Either way, you won’t get anywhere without plenty of people reading what you write. You can never have too many readers.
The truth is, some of this is going to come down to time. It takes a few years to really build brand loyalty, especially for a blog that deals entirely on interaction between the blogger and the audience. But in the meantime, you can definitely do many things to start increasing your traffic and so improve your chances of hooking the ever-sought long time reader.
Begin Narrowing Down Your Readers
One of the biggest mistake people make in any kind of content campaign is trying to appeal to everyone. Believe it or not, casting your net too wide will actually hook you less readers, and bring is far less traffic. Without a plan, you will just to blindly attempting to find people in an endless crowd, and most will not have any interest in your blog.
Ask yourself: who are you writing for? What kind of person will be most likely to read and enjoy your posts? Are they male, female, young adults, middle aged, in North America, in Europe, in Asia? Once you know who you want to write for, it will be easier to find out what content gets the most attention.
- Understanding Audience Demographics with Google Analytics
- 5 Tools to Research the Demographics of Your Twitter Followers
Start Researching What Those Readers Like
Now you have an idea of who you are targeting. It is time to start looking into their common interests. If you already have a following, even a small one, this is even easier. Most social accounts and blog commenting is connected through services like Disqus, or using social sign on with Facebook, Twitter, ect. You can just follow the line and see what catches their eye.
There is a fair chance you will actually be within your target demographic, and so will have a personal sneak peek into what they might like. If that is the case, take some time to consider what content you have looked at, saved, read through or shared lately. What gets you excited?
Begin Reaching Out To Other Blogs
Reach out to other blogs – or individual bloggers – and see about potentially writing a post for their site, invite them to contribute to yours or set up an expert interview with them. All it takes is one post on a single blog with regular traffic, and you can see a serious increase in your own blog’s traffic.
Not only that, but it boosts your own visibility and authority around the web. The more of an expert you appear on your niche, the more people will seek you out to find your opinion.
Build a Social Media Presence
This is one of the single most important things you can do as a blogger. Social media is the perfect compliment to a blog, because it allows you to both share your content and to engage directly with your potential readers.
Become well known on at least one social network, building up your followers there and really beginning a conversation. A well rounded social strategy is best, with different accounts for different types of interaction (Pinterest for sharing images connected to posts, Twitter for finding influencers, Google+ for connecting with others in your niche or microblogging, ect).
- BEST Social Media Tools: Are You Using Them? (Collective Mastermind)
- Use Viral Content Buzz for more shares and exposure!
Find Out What Is Popular From Competitors
Your competitors are another great place to see what is popular with your demographic. You can take a look at their highest performing posts, what is being shared, and on what networks. Read through the comments and get a feel for what people are saying, and what questions they might have.
While you won’t want to directly the topics of their posts, a competing blog can give you some inspiration, while pointing you in the right direction.
Get Comfortable With SEO
SEO is as much a part of search ranking as it ever was. But there is a right way and a wrong way to doing it, and you need to learn the difference to properly optimize your content. Having the right keywords to target, including them naturally in your posts, using tags and descriptions, meta-data and image optimization…this is all a part of it.
Make Sure Your Site Flies
Nothing is worse than spending weeks and months on building the traffic and then losing your peak moment because your server is down.
Besides, your site performance and load time also affects your user experience and hence rankings.
- Make sure your server is reliable. Site Geek is my top source of hosting reviews and uptime reports.
Track Your Site’s Analytics
Once you start to produce content, it is time to watch how it does. Tracking analytics, both those from your blog itself and on social networks, is a key to doing this. Seeing what is most popular, and what drives traffic more, will give you an idea of what to write about in the future.
It will also show you what content to re-promote later on, or repackage as other forms of media to further exploit.
Increasing your traffic in a more targeted way takes work. But it is also very rewarding, and over time using these tactics and a bit of consistent content writing/sharing, you will begin to really see results.
Have any advice to offer others searching for a way to boost their blog traffic? Used a particular method that has worked wonders for you? We would love to hear about it! Let us know in the comments.
I’ve already done a very useful round-up of how one can still build / attract solid backlinks to your site. Today I’ll follow up with a few more general, yet resourceful tips on how bloggers can still earn backlinks to their content.
Bloggers can still build links, and those who have always sought out solid links in the first place will find much of the practice hasn’t changed. You are still aiming to provide quality, valuable content that explores a topic you are an expert in. You are potentially going to link to other sources – either your own, or third party – in order to further enrich that content. You create something of value, and you deserve links coming in – this is a short story…
Let’s look at that in more details:
Create Good Content
In the end, your best bet is always going to be creating good, solid and engaging content that people want to share. I won’t pretend that there is some magic formula to follow that will get you those links, or that will boost you into viral status… there isn’t. But the better your content, the more likely it will be seen and enjoyed.
Bookmark this blogging guide to get a better idea of what types of content you can create and how to do that right:
Get Your Content Out There…
There’s nothing wrong in being discoverable. There’s nothing wrong in being pro-active about being discovered. And I don’t mean asking someone for a link. I mean being pro-active about letting more people see your content (and possibly link to it at some point)
The most obvious is probably social media. You want influencers, or just others, to share out your work. Targeting your user base is one way, but jumping on someone else’s coat tails is a great boost for visibility, and increasing chances of even more social links.
Viral Content Buzz is a great way to put your content in front of eager social media sharers for wider reach. In most cases, this is the easiest (and free!) method to get your content discovered by bloggers as well!
A new term has been coined recently: “ego baiting”. This is the process of mentioning someone in your content, as well as quoting, praising or even scorning them. In theory, they should fall victim to their ego and choose to share out that content, or link to it as a reference for their own post. It sounds a lot shadier than it is; if you have a genuine statement to make about someone else or their work, there is no reason you should write about it.
Chances are, you have taken part in ego baiting without even realizing it. You know those top ten lists you make that link to people’s content or websites? Those mentions potentially catch their attention, leading to those “Hey, a shout-out to (Your Name) for including me in (Article)!” social media posts.
MyBlogU is a great way to attract people to your content who will then help you promote your content on social media and link back to the articles they got featured!
If you make one of these posts, or anything else that heavily features another blogger, send them an email letting them know they are in it. Maybe they will share the link, maybe they won’t. But at least you will have taken a shot.
If you have any ideas for building links as a blogger, let us know in the comments. We would love to hear from you!
We cannot do without links: Links are still the major part of the search algorithm; Links drive referrals and links connect our sites to the rest of the web. We are well-aware what types of backlinks we need to stay away from but how to acquire links in a way that it would benefit our rankings and NOT put us under the risk of a penalty?
Here are some of the insights from thought leaders sharing their BEST backlink they have ever earned!
Jice_Lavocat (Elokenz Founder)
The best backlink I ever earned was coming from W3C (not available anymore).
I got it after interviewing a semantic web Researcher about the future of web.
In addition to a W3C backlink, I got many BL and twitter citations coming from academic institutions. So, interviewing an (academic) expert was pretty efficient.
Editor’s tip: Read this article on finding experts to interview on your blog!
Go with THE Trend!
Randy Pickard (Marketing Director)
Goal was to communicate how horribly infested Google is with counterfeiters and the damage it is doing to our industry and the naive buyers that are getting ripped off by the search giant’s aiding and abetting copyright infringers. This campaign led to article in a leading fashion industry blog.
This blog link seems to have generated a very significant boost in our rankings, which led to a 1,000 visitor per day boost in visitor traffic. Love the irony of bashing Google to improve rankings.
Adam Connell (Founder of Blogging Wizard)
A while back I was featured in an article on CIO.com about SEO trends.
Up till this point most of the SEO work I was doing was behind the scenes, managing a marketing agency – this was the first major step I took to share my insights with the Internet community.
The SEO in me was stoked to get a link from a PR8 site, while overall the link didn’t really matter to me – it was purely the fact that this was a major stepping stone to establishing myself and building visibility for my brand that was important to me.
Editor’s tip: “Catching the right wave” will always be a tricky thing with lots of trial and error involved. But tracking the trends should be an integral part of any content marketing strategy.
Jonathan Bentz (Marketing Manager)
One of the favorite backlinks I’ve ever earned came from simply taking the time to be friendly and act as a resource to others in the SEO industry.
Back in 2011 (while I was still at ProspectMX), Jon Payne of Ephricon was interviewed by Stephen Chapman on his ZDNet blog, “SEO Whistleblower”. In the interview, Payne was asked “What do you find to be some of the most key factors for running a successful SEO agency?” In his answer, he mentions how valuable it is to build relationships with other agencies to share advice, opinions, etc., and then mentions some of the most valuable contacts he has made.
Now, J-Payne knows a bunch of people in the industry. But for some reason on that day in 2011, he included a link builder and client campaign manager from an agency in Lancaster, PA among a list of other industry leaders and CEOs. Chapman was also cool enough to allow a backlink to ProspectMX to be included in the piece, too.
Say what you will about it not having keyword rich anchor text… but we scored an in-content backlink from a DA 96 just by being nice! I’d say that was a pretty nice win! Link to the interview
Digital Asset + a Very Targeted Pitch
Kyle Sanders (Head of Search)
We pitched an infographic to one of our clients (a home builder) focused on the Austin real estate market. They were in, we wireframed, designed, and delivered it only to find the CEO change his mind at the last minute. “We need to niche down,” he said.
So there we were, stuck with a city-centric infographic about Austin. Well, since we liked and the idea and office in Austin, we tweeted it at the Austin Business Journal and the University of Texas. It ended up spending nearly 24 hours at the top of r/Austin, drove ~25K views, and now we have a permanent link from UT’s College of Engineering (among many others), right in the middle of their copy under “You’ll live in one of the nation’s coolest cities.” Win.
Fix Their Errors
Jacob Curtis (Digital Marketing Strategist)
While it may not be the best one I’ve ever earned, I’ll always be most proud of my first backlink.
When just beginning my blogging journey I had read numerous articles about the benefits of guest blogging for backlinks. And while I understood the advantages, I didn’t quite know where to start and more importantly who to approach as a newbie blogger.
And though I had a wish list of blogs I wanted to write for, my first guest blogging opportunity came quite unexpectedly.
As I remember it, I was on Twitter and randomly clicked-through to some blog article related to social media. After reading the article, the site’s design and energetic author, Amy Schmittaur, kept me intrigued and I persuaded me to explore around a bit. Next, upon trying to use an embedded button on her site to follow Amy on Twitter, I noticed the function was not working as intended and imagined she had no idea.
I immediately navigated to Amy’s contact form and informed her of the broken link in which she replied with her appreciation. I then used the opportunity to introduce myself and ask if I could contribute to her blog. Of course, I believe helping her first, helped in her decision to allow me to write my first guest article on her blog.
Not only did I receive a valuable backlink without having to game, pay, or plead for it, but I also gained the confidence I needed to approach other bloggers for future contributions.
*Selective* high-Quality Guest Blogging
Matthew Anton (web designer / online marketer)
I have two “best” ones I’ve earned so far. One was completely organic, which was a Cnet article about the rise of social networks in the video game space. At the time, we were running CharacterPlanet (think Facebook for MMORPG games such as World of Warcraft). Unfortunately the project was under capitalized and lacked the coding knowledge to scale to the masses, but it was 2007 and we only wanted the link for publicity.
In 2011, after reading about guest blogging and seeing the success of Ann Smarty I decided to embark on a journey of reaching out to high quality blogs and writing posts personally. Even though I’m involved with online marketing, the one I’m most “proud” of comes in the form of an MMA/sports guest blog post:
- One link showed me the importance of creating something unique and having a true organic growth through press, coverage and natural backlinks.
- The other post showed me if you provide value to someones readership, it will naturally get shared and help your core business. Both were good lessons in terms of furthering my marketing career.
I like the way the article looks on the site, and guest blogging is proof that I’m committed to being social online, not just digital. Plus, readers like the content and advice in it, and it was very easy to cooperate with the publisher Ann Smarty. The article is a cloud article and that’s where Ann published it from, the clouds – via airline Wi-Fi! Seriously!
Editor’s tip: Guest blogging is and will be a good tactic to obtain editorial links only if you approach it properly.
Nishadha (Freelance Digital Marketer)
One of the best links I’ve earned the link to my company Creately from this article in Inc Magazine. I got it by replying to a HARO query. I was replying to few HARO queries and was almost about to give up on the service when I got contacted for this link. Definitely a source worth considering for high quality authority links.
Editor’s tip: Read more on building media and PR relationships here
Post FIRST and BEST Comments
Okay, I think it is a backlink from problogger. It was a nofollow backlink to my blog flowingevents. I was the first commenter in that post
Problogger is a famous and authority blog in this niche. So this backlink adding more value to my blog.
To get backlinks and traffic from blog commenting it is very important to comment first.
Fake it Till You Make it
CharlesFloate (God of SEO)
The best link I’ve ever achieved was when I first started reading Ryan Holiday’s “Trust Me, I’m Lying” – It teaches you how to manipulate the media online via Blogs, Anonymous Emails and various other tactics.. I wanted to promote my projects YouTube channel and so I added a few fake views, subscribers and hired a VA to put together a load of comments – Making the channel look a lot bigger than it was.
I outreached to a number of Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts that were based around the Niche (a certain Video Game) I was in about this new video that I’d seen. Quickly, the video hit the frontpage of the game’s Reddit (over half a million users on that Reddit), was posted to hundreds of Facebook pages and eventually got put on the eSports magazine Kotaku, along with a Do-Follow link back to both my channel and the project’s site. All with, only 15 minutes of fake emailing and social messaging. The video now stands at over 500,000 views and my DA went from 23 to 49 in one month.
Editor’s note: Of course SEOchat would not encourage you to go and buy fake views for mediocre content but “Fake it till you make it” may still be an effective tactic as you can see (after all, that channel would NOT spread unless it deserved it!!!)
Please share your best link or your case study!