Building a blog is one of the easiest, simplest things in the world. Building a blog that gets a good amount of traffic on a consistent basis is the tough part.
However there are countless blogs out there doing just this: getting some truly amazing levels of traffic consistently, at times even thousands each month!
What these blogs have been able to do is plan, carry out and successfully execute a set of actions, through which they have seen their traffic levels rise to metronomic levels in a relatively short amount of time.
And let’s be honest here, the single most important and essential thing to your blog is it’s ability to drive traffic to it. For traffic, it is important that you focus all your efforts on aspects that work, rather than wasting time on stuff that doesn’t.
1. Build an Email List
Why: Email lists are a great way of bringing consistent traffic to your blog as well as drive in repeat visitors. If you’re successfully able to build even a reasonably-sized email-list, you have the potential to drive in a lot of targeted traffic, of people that actually want to hear from you (that is why they gave you their email ID in the first place!), and hence rely less on external sources of traffic.
How: I personally recommend using an email marketing tool such as Aweber or MailChimp. Both are paid-for services, however the latter provides a free service as well, which of course comes with certain limitations. Put up a email subscription form on your blog that lets people subscribe to your updates. In order to encourage people to subscribe to your blog, you could even offer them some kind of an incentive.
Time Taken: 20 minutes
2. Social Media Integration
Why: Not only social mediums, such as Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus bringing in massive amount of referral traffic, they are also a great way to be able to share your content online. Facebook, for instance, is getting to that magical 1 billion total users figure, with more than half of them active users. In addition, according to statistics, people on average spend close to 20-30 minutes on Facebook every day. Youtube and Twitter boast similar stats as well. All of which means that there is massive marketing potential, as well as the ability to drive traffic to your content through these mediums.
How: Integrate all major social media platforms to your blog. Add buttons for Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest and the like. Add a like, +1 and RT button on all your posts. How you go about doing this actually depends on the platform you’re using. For instance Wordpress and Blogger make it as easy as looking up and installing the necessary plugins. Doing so will allow people to share your content on these social mediums, and if your content is good enough, it might even spread like wildfire and go viral!
Time Taken: 30-60 mins
3. Facebook Fanpage
Why: Speaking of social media, it would be a good idea to start a Facebook page for your blog. Facebook pages are, quite simply, superb! They allow people to become fans of your blog, and receive updates on a regular basis. You, as the page administrator, have the ability to send out updates as often as possible to your fans and interact with them. It’s easy to create a page and maintain it. Above all, it keeps your personal profile separate for your business one.
Couple this with the face that Facebook has a massive user base (as explained above), and gets tons of daily active users, not having a Facebook page would be a massive missed opportunity. Some of the biggest blogs in the world boast a strong presence on Facebook, often having thousands of fans.
And of course, you fanpage could be a brilliant method of generating referral traffic to your blog. Simply post an update with a link to your blog and watch those visitors roll in!
How: Go to Facebook.com/pages/ and create a new page for your blog. Fill out complete information of your page, put your blog’s logo up as the profile picture, and get creative with the cover picture. Cover pic provides you with a massive opportunity, for instance you could put an image of your latest special offer, or a new arrival, or a picture from an event, depending on what sort of a blog (and Facebook page) you have.
Above all, post regular updates, without spamming your page.
Time Taken: 20 mins
4. Target Audience Most Likely to Share
Why: Apart from getting traffic from Google, your social profiles and other sources, you are relying on your audience and visitors’ ability to help spread the word about your content. In order to do so, you need to target the audience that will most likely share your content. For instance if you have a blog on weight loss, targeting those people interested in weight loss will obviously yield its results. Similarly, if your content aims to let the reader know about how he can get the best mileage out of your vehicle, you need to target petrol-heads and automobile enthusiasts.
How: Identify groups which have large numbers of people in your niche. Taking the automobile example, it would be a good idea to hit some forums and blog where automobile enthusiasts come together on a daily basis to speak on such matters. Be a part of the discussion, leave some constructive comments and put a link to your blog in your signature. Hit Facebook groups and pages, Google+ Hangouts, and look at Twitter trends, and look for other places online where people are sharing content that is similar to yours, and speaking of similar things as well.
Time Take: 30 mins
Why: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is extremely important in the sense that it allows you to be able to drive in traffic to your blog from search engines on autopilot. Google, one of the biggest sources of referral traffic out there, generates more than 60% of the total referral traffic in the world, alone! Search engines, therefore, are a massive source of traffic.
Unfortunately, many bloggers (and unsurprisingly those whose blogs don’t do particularly well) choose to ignore this source of traffic for a variety of reason, most notable of which is that SEO is too hard/complicated/difficult to grasp. The simple fact remains that they’re missing out, as Google gets an enormous 3 billion (yes that’s billion with a ‘b’!) unique search queries every day, a number which is only growing.
How: While SEO can take years to master, learning the basics is always a good thing, and while the list of things everyone should know would prove to be too exhaustive for this write-up, a simple Google search on ‘SEO basics’ will bring up a ton of results. Read up on some basic SEO best-practices, and try implementing them with your blog.
Time Taken: 1-2 hours
6. Guest Posts
Why: Guest posts can be an outstanding way of getting the word out about your blog, as well as building some valuable backlinks to your blog. When the link to your website goes on an authority blog, it can open up a great avenue to direct highly-targeted traffic back to your blog, as well as get you visitors from your own niche. If it’s a high-PR website, getting traffic from such a source will be of immense help to your own PR.
If you have people guest posting on your blog, it can be a great source of getting fresh content on your blog on a regular basis.
How: The importance of guest posts usually goes amiss with a lot of bloggers out there. And to be fair, especially when you start off, convincing other authority bloggers to write on their bloggers, or getting people to write on yours can be difficult. What you can do at this stage is leverage your personal contacts and friendships, people who you know and people who can write for you, or would be willing to let you write on their blogs. Furthermore, approach people on your social networks (Twitter, Facebook), and don’t be discouraged if someone replies with a no. If someone is willing to do a guest post for you (and I believe there will be people), make it as easy for them to write as possible by allowing them freedom to write however they like and whatever they like (related to the content of your blog of course).
Time Taken: 60 mins (if you are writing a guest post)