I know that this is a personal finance blog, but considering the number of folks out there who either already have a website to generate extra income, or are considering starting one, I think website traffic generation is certainly relevant to many peoples’ personal finances in today’s world.
One of the most difficult tasks for new bloggers and webmasters is getting traffic to your blog or website. With millions of blogs and billions of websites on the internet (and millions more added each day), traffic generation can seem like a herculean task, especially in your sites infancy.
To risk quoting a cliché, everyone tells you that “content is king” and you need great content to generate large numbers of visitors. While that may be true, great content alone will not attract people to your blog. Why not? Because they need a way to find it in the first place!
I’ve created many different sites over the past 7 years and they all have one thing in common. When they launched they had absolutely no traffic. Not even my mom visited my sites (because she didn’t have a computer). I was able to build traffic to each site, but I can say that it was often a slow process that required immense patience and persistence. And if the truth be known, no single strategy worked the same for each site. In fact, many strategies that I used 7 years ago are useless today.
There are ways to increase traffic though, and the good news is that if you do have great content that small trickle of traffic can turn into a torrent as your site gets noticed and shared. So, here are 10 tips on how to create traffic for a blog in 2015.
- Set up social media accounts to share your great content. Sure you will eventually get traffic from the search engines, but in the beginning social media is a great way to share content with the world. Don’t just set the accounts up and forget them though, make sure you have a presence on each and are at least occasionally active. Increased activity typically leads to increased sharing and more connections with your readers. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and increasingly Google+ and Pinterest are the major social media sites and you should aim to target them all to get the most sharing bang for your buck. Different niches will respond better to certain social media, so once you’ve gotten the ball rolling you can cut back to the top 1-2 sites if staying active at all 5 is too time consuming.
While some experts recommend that you don’t share all of your posts, I see no reason not to. It keeps you and your site in the front of people’s minds and if you aren’t creating 20 posts a day there’s no need to feel as if you are overwhelming them with content. To make your task even easier, set up tools that automatically share your posts right from your blog. WordPress users can choose from any number of plugins that will connect their blogs with popular social media sites. That way there’s no need to remember to share everyday as it is all automated. And make sure you are also sharing the content of others. Just like in real life, no one wants to associate with a narcissist who talks about nothing but themselves.
- Make it easy for readers to share content right from your blog posts. If you are taking the time to connect with people on social media, why not make it easy for them to connect with you too? You should have links to your social media profiles so people can follow you. More importantly, you should have sharing buttons in a conspicuous place on all your posts. People are busy and typically won’t take the time to copy and paste a URL onto Facebook or Twitter, but if you have a button that they can click and share in 1 second you are much more likely to generate shares and interest. All the social media sites have buttons that are easy to install and WordPress users can find plugins that handle all the sharing buttons. I personally like to use Digg Digg.
- Don’t be afraid to link out to other blogs and websites. At some point in the history of blogging people became hesitant or even afraid to link out to other sites. Usually they referred to a waste of Google juice or some such nonsense. The fact of the matter is, unless you are already a huge site, almost no one will link to you if you don’t link to them first. Having a blog without linking out is like going to a party and then hiding in the bathroom. You need to demonstrate the behavior you are looking to receive. If you want links to your blog then you need to link to others. Plus, despite the wasted Google juice argument, Google actually likes it when you link out and will rank your blog higher in their search engine (provided you are linking to quality pages).
- Make blog commenting a regular part of your routine. Most SEO experts will tell you that blog commenting is dead. And as far as they are concerned this is true. The SEO guys used to use blog comments as a way to gain links back to their site, often anchored with whatever keyword they wanted to rank for. These days, most blog comment links are of no value for SEO, and in any case, if you leave your name as “Debt Reduction Specialist” most bloggers will delete your comment as spam. Use blog commenting the right way; as a means to add to a conversation and to create relationships with other bloggers in your niche. When you comment on a blog, leave a thoughtful comment that will add to what they’ve already written. This is not a way to build mounds of traffic, but instead it’s a way to connect with other bloggers, which can lead to mounds of traffic in the long run!
- Use the names of bloggers and their sites in your posts. While we are on the subject of relationship building and linking I should mention that using a bloggers name in your posts is a pretty surefire way to get noticed, especially if you link back to one of their posts. This works in two ways. First of all, many bloggers have Google Alerts set up to notify them when their name or their blog name is mentioned. Secondly, blogging platforms will show a trackback whenever a post is linked to, letting the blogger know where the link is coming from. To make this especially effective, concentrate on mentioning the up and coming bloggers who should still have time to come visit your site. While it might be tempting to link out to J.D. Roth, Trent Hamm or Jeff Rose, the truth is that while they will probably notice the mention and link, they receive hundreds of mentions and links every week and may not have time to drop by your blog.
- Accept guest posts on your site. This will have two benefits. First you will get content to post on your site, saving you time since you won’t have to write it yourself. Don’t expect to save too much time though, as it can be time consuming to deal with guest posting requests. Secondly, the person guest posting is very likely to share the post with their network, including the social networks, their own mailing lists and possibly even by linking back to the post from their own blog. This can be very powerful as it will bring your blog to the attention of a group of people who may have never encountered it previously. Getting guest posts is pretty easy once your blog has become somewhat established. Simply create a page that explains your guest posting guidelines and link to it in your blog navigation. You can contact me for a guest post on Money Infant here.
- Write guest posts for other blogs. This is a very popular tactic right now and for good reason…it works! Guest posting on other blogs helps to establish you as an expert in your niche, exposes you to a new group of readers, and provides links back to your own site. Don’t just email bloggers out of the blue though about guest posting opportunities. Take the time to establish some connection and rapport with them first and your guest post request will be much more favorably received. You should set a goal to do at least one guest post a month and more if possible.
- Use social bookmarking sites. I’ll be honest when I say I don’t do this much, but it can be an effective way of sharing your content, provided you are willing to become active on the bookmarking site. Sites such as Digg and StumbleUpon have the potential to send masses of traffic your way, but you only get out of them as much as you put in. If you aren’t a well known user, don’t expect to get server crashing traffic from your posts.
- Publish in the morning. It’s been shown that posts published earlier in the day (preferably before 3:00pm EST), get more attention, more shares, and more traffic (see here, here, and here). As you can see, both Facebook and Twitter are most active from 9:00am to 3:00pm EST. You might be up against more competition during those times, but you will still come away with more engagement and click thrus versus posting at night. And the majority of people read blogs in the morning and early afternoon as well, making this type of posting schedule more convenient for your subscribers.
- Write occasional long posts that are considered “Evergreen” or “Pillar Content”. Even though internet searchers typically like their info in short easy to digest bites, these longer in depth articles are the ultimate in sharable content. The most sharable content tends to be in depth articles, detailed tutorials, and timely relevant newsworthy content. Quite often the posts that get the most traffic in the long run fall into these categories.
- Create your own email list. I know this is supposed to be 10 tips, so consider this one a bonus. Marketers have been saying for ages that the money is in the list, and it is just as true today as it was when the saying was first coined. Email is a powerful way to maintain connections with your customers, or in the case of a blogger, your readers. Having an email list allows you to contact your readership whenever you like, and for whatever reason. Just don’t abuse your email list and it will pay you dividends for years to come.