Traffic is the heartbeat of a blog.
The more targeted traffic a blog receives, the more money that blog will likely make.
In fact, increasing a web site’s traffic is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to increase overall revenue.
However, it is important that the traffic is targeted. Sonia Simone wrote over on Copy Blogger about famous blogger Daniel Lyons, who was getting about half-million visitors to his blog every day yet only made around $1000 from AdSense. The simple reason is that you can get all the traffic you want, but if those people are not interested in what you have to sell, that traffic is a bit pointless.
With that in mind, there are five key things you can do to grow your blog traffic in a way that will help you successfully monetize your blog.
1. Forum posting
Have you ever thought to yourself that forums are a bit old school?
Well, just because they’ve been around for many years, doesn’t mean they aren’t a viable way to drive traffic to your site.
Forums are often overlooked because they take a lot of effort to bring in positive results. However, once done right, the return on forum posting will be massive.
Except for Internet marketing forums, forum members in a variety of niches are generally very friendly and receptive toward good, helpful content.
If you’ve been a member of the forum for a while and are regularly contributing thought provoking posts, then the mods will likely be receptive to a senior member (you) writing good content and dropping a link in the post.
The key is to find the right type of forum that matches your own blog.
- If you’re running a mom blog, you might want to check out some cooking or child care forums. Share something useful, such as a family recipe or dos and don’ts for breastfeeding in public. Drop a link or two back to your blog so that people can read more on these topics.
- If you’re running a blog about finances, look for forums about investing in a 401K or about different retirement accounts. Post your own experiences and link back to an article on your blog.
You get the idea. Find a forum that relates to what you are writing about, make sure the rules allow you to post a link, and share valuable information that is helpful to others. The key is to not spam the forum with self-promoting messages. Be helpful to the community and only drop a link when a member asks for one or it actually adds value to the discussion thread.
Real Life Examples
To find relevant forums in your niche, Google “inurl:/forum + key terms”, “inurl:/vbulletin/ + key terms”, and so on. Try:
- “inurl:/vbulletin/ + burger recipe”
- “inurl:/forum/ + blogging tips”
- “inurl:/forum/ + mom advice
2. Write epic content and go viral
Every blog owner dreams of writing something that goes viral and suddenly there is so much traffic to the blog that you see a spike in book sales, mailing list subscriptions and advertising revenue. It is possible to accomplish this, but like most things it requires hard work.
To hit on a topic that goes viral, you basically need two main things:
- Great content; and
- Mad skills in reaching out.
Most bloggers don’t have a fat budget that allows them to launch a huge marketing campaign. Efforts have to be very targeted and somewhat frugal. Most bloggers don’t have a personal connection to a high profile influencer in their industry or access to insider information.
All of these limitations make it hard to go viral.
Most bloggers are just the “little guy”.
However, a viral post can be accomplished if you’re smart and you work hard enough.
Real Life Example
One example is a post on link building tools over on Clambr.
Early on in Clambr’s creation, this post was published. It received over 3,000 social media shares in a short period of time. You’ll notice that it has over 226 comments, which is an indication of just how much traffic the post has received. Not everyone will comment who visits.
Going Viral – How?
There are some very specific things you can do to encourage a post to go viral.
Tip 1 – Getting the basic done right
- Make sure it’s easy to share your blog post. A good social media sharing plugin is a must. When readers love your content, they can easily share it on their own social media pages. Make sure any sharing buttons are easy to spot and use.
- Write engaging headlines and easy to read articles. Write in a conversational tone and use simple English. If someone has to go look words up in a dictionary, you aren’t using simple language.
- Make sure that you use Call-to-Action at the right time and ask your followers and blog readers to share your content. For example, you shouldn’t ask readers to share content before they’ve had a chance to even read the first sentence. No one wants to share something they don’t know anything about.
- Make sure that your blog is loading fast. According to KISSmetrics, 47% of the people visiting your site will expect it to load within two seconds. If it doesn’t, they will leave and go elsewhere.
Tip 2 – Focus on current content
If a topic is trending, you have a better chance of your content being read. If everyone is talking about the latest tech gadget and you’ve written an article about how to use the gadget to grow your business, people are going to want to know more.
It’s common sense to see that trending content simply gets higher CTR on social media because those are the topics people are concerned with.
You’ll gain a reputation as having insider knowledge about current topics.
Tip 3- Write something useful or influence readers’ emotion
Statistically, a longer post with higher word count is more contagious – though correlation isn’t causation. News Whip reported on what is called the “V Curve” for chances of social media success. This is the belief that posts that are very short (under 500 words) or longer (around 1200 words) have the highest chances of social media success. Those 700-word posts that are popular everywhere else? Those average posts are typically not as popular as posts in the other word count ranges.
But don’t get misled by the stats. The main reason why longer posts grow in popularity more easily isn’t because they are long; but rather because the content is more useful and solves viewers’ problems. Longer posts simply offer more value to the readers.
Also, quality content is one of the keys to going viral. Before you can hit massive social media success for your blog, you must give a reason why social media users should share your content and follow you. That starts with content that is helpful, interesting, unique, and that readers want to share with family and friends.
Consider your category. BuzzFeed took a look at their most successful content and identified several specific content categories – LOL (humorous content), Win (useful content), OMG (shocking content), Cute (well… cute content), Trashy (ridiculous failures of others), Fail (something that everyone shared frustrations of), and WTF (strange, bizarre content).
Tip 4 – Not all social media shares are created equal
After analyzing 100 million articles, Noah Kagan from OkDork found that the average shares were generally higher if you managed to get more influencers to share your content.
If just one influential person shared the content, the article received 31.8% more social shares. Having five influential people sharing your content almost quadrupled the total number of social shares for an article. It’s the same thing as compound interest. Once it starts to grow, it grows exponentially.
So in short, it’s important to get connected with influencers in your industry and have them to share your content.
When it comes to breaking news, get your posts up as fast as possible. In general, if you’re one of the first to blog about and comment on the latest big news item, you rank higher on Google SERP (for a limited time) due to the fresh component of Google’s algorithm.
You also are more likely to get links as the news source from a wide variety of other bloggers and influencers.
Real Life Example
One example of this is that BSN, which is a popular gamers’ hangout, is linking to Game Spot instead of the official Sony press release. This likely generates a ton of free traffic for Game Spot.
Tools that will help you newsjack effectively
- Google Alert is a good place to start with – it is free but very basic. Set up a keyword and Google will email you when something is posted in that category.
- Feedly helps you keep track of the latest blog posts and news in one place.
- Newsmap is handy when you need to grab what’s happening around the world quickly.
4. Q&A platforms
Another place that can allow you to drive targeted traffic to your website is Q&A platforms.
The trick to utilizing these platforms for marketing is to keep an eye on ongoing conversations in your niche. You can then chip in with some information when you have something of value to say. If your content expands on the idea, you can likely link to it, if the platform allows.
Consider building custom content to fit a hot conversation.
For example, if someone asked about how to do something with .htaccess code, you could write a simple tutorial on your blog, then answer the question at the Q&A site and suggest the asker visit your blog for the actual codes and demos. Don’t worry that you are only targeting one person. Many others will see the Q&A and visit your site.
If you are a publisher who sells programming books – StackOverflow is a good place to participate in Q&A. Alternately, you can ask your writers to be active at the site and to share links to their content where appropriate.
Travel bloggers would join a site such as Trip Advisor.
Whatever your niche, there is likely a Q&A site that fits the topic.
5. Sponsor, speak or organize an event
When it comes to growing your blog traffic, it is natural to look at online promotion methods. However, promoting your blog in person can be quite effective, especially if you are speaking to a large audience. Most people simply forget that they can market a blog in the offline world.
Events are an excellent place to get the word out about your blog. Most event planners offer their speakers great publicity and will either offer you free admission to their conference or may even pay you a small speaking fee. It is an effective and inexpensive marketing channel. Even if you have to travel to the event, you can take the costs off your taxes.
Real Life Example
One example of a blogger running an event is Darren over at Pro Blogger. He’s been offering this event for two years now.
Why does this work so well? First, he is reaching out to other bloggers. Those bloggers share their experiences at the event. Pro Blogger gains more traffic. It is like a viral event with thousands of bloggers sharing and linking back to the blog.
And one last tip – If you do speak at or sponsor an event, be sure to ask your audience to download your slides, visit your blogs, follow your Pinterest boards, and so on.
The Traffic Game
Getting people to your website takes time, dedication and creativity. Be open to new ideas, what is trending and sharing both in person and online.
Is there anything you do that is successful in driving traffic to your blog? Please share your experience below.
Remember that getting traffic is only one part of the blogging game. You also have to know how to convert that traffic if you want to be truly successful.
By the way, I was recently interviewed by Media Shower as part of their Expert Interview program. Click here to read the interview and let me know what you think!