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Driving Traffic to Your New Blog

TrafficGreg Hickman dropped a question in my question box that I think represents the question that many people ask me about finding readers for a blog.

While there are no easy answers for finding readers I think it’s a topic well worth coming back to again and again.

Greg writes:

“I’ve recently started a blog (August) and I’m trying to figure out the best way to drive quality traffic to my site. I’ve been writing at least a post a day if not every other day. I began commenting on 9rules and a few other sites that I enjoy visiting. I was wondering if you could provide some insight for a beginning blogger on getting that initial readers base. Do I just continue commenting on sites I read or digg articles, what can I do to get this jump started.”

OK – there are many answers to this question and I’ve written many posts on the topic of finding readers for a blog (I’ll share a link with loads of resources at the bottom of this post). However let me put forward a few thoughts that come to mind:

1. You’ve Made a Good Start - you’ve already stumbled on one key factor in promoting your blog – interacting on other people’s turf. Keep leaving those comments, getting to know other bloggers and contributing to what others are doing on their blogs. This does have an impact. It may not bring thousands of readers in – it’s more of a ‘one reader at a time’ type strategy – however you never know when that ‘one reader’ will be someone influential.

2. Take it Up a Notch – so you’ve discovered the principle of interacting on other people’s turf – so how about taking it up a notch and doing something more than leaving comments? How about attempting to get a few guest posting spots on key blogs in the niche that you’re trying to make a mark in? I’ve seen a number of bloggers who’ve really built a name for themselves by doing this. Of course your guest posts need to be of a high standard – but if they are you can really make an impression on a blogger and their readers.

3. Communicate What Your Blog Is About – I hope you don’t mind – but I’ve taken a look at your blog Greg (toonice4TV). A few questions that I asked myself when I first arrived at your blog (questions that most readers of a new blog would ask when they first arrive) ‘what’s it about?’, ‘what’s in it for me on this blog?’ In the same way that you’d be unlikely to pick up and buy a magazine that you didn’t know the topic of – readers are not likely to stick around on a blog for long that doesn’t communicate strongly what it is about and how people will benefit from it. There are lots of techniques for getting people to a blog – but the key is to have something that communicates strongly to them when they get there.

4. What Makes You Different? – Another key question that potential readers will ask is ‘what’s different about this blog?’. What’s your blog’s unique selling proposition to a prospective reader? What sets it apart from the other millions of blogs out there (many of which are writing on a similar topic). You need to communicate this clearly – in the design, branding and content. New blogs need to work hard on this.

5. Make it Easy to Connect – another quick observation having taken a quick look at your blog – perhaps make subscribing to your blog via RSS a little easier. While I can see your feed in the URL field in Firefox using auto discovery – it might be worth promoting your feed a little more prominently on the blog in some way. You might use an RSS button or icon of some kind – or even just an ‘RSS’ Text Link. I find that the more prominently you do this the more people will use it and the more likely you are to convert a one off visitor into a loyal one.

6. Content – ultimately it is the content that you write that will be key in growing your readership – unique content that engages with and enhances the lives of people over the long term.

Further Reading

A lot more could be said on the topic of building readership on a blog let me point you to some links instead of regurgitating it all here.

You can find them on my How to Find Readers for Your Blog page which compiles some of my most popular posts on how to build readership and how to leverage it once you’ve got it.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Greetings again all,

    This is a two fold reply first to Aiden on how to approach a blogger for contribution.
    Firstly people don’t care what you are doing or why you are doing it. People want in most cases, and hence why it can be hard to find good free writers, want something ether in return or it brings value to them.

    If you are looking at collaboration firstly you need to know whay you are doing it in the first place. Blogging for the sake of blogging can be fine if that is your goal.

    If you are looking at making money than you need a plan and a final vision. If you have no final destination, than you have no building blocks along the way, you are simply playing Basketball with no hoop!

    Reasoning one why so many of us do not give game plans to how to become at least financially secure from the net is because for one it requires dedication, capitol, a business plan and real goals.

    No 1 rule is to know what you are doing before you leap in, I have just spent 12 months researching a new idea for us to launch soon. 1 year of research, experimentation and developing the concept into a viable proposition.

    If you want to make money from blogging, first research a market you can penetrate. Have something unique or different to lift yourself above your competitors.

    To make money you need a business plan, if you do not have a plan you are not moving forward. If you don’t have a final vision, you do not know what you are working towards or indeed the steps even to get there.

    And for Nitinpal, then write something better sunshine if it makes you yawn so much, and why should we give away money making ideas that require skill, time and focus for free when we feed our family’s by teaching these skills.

    have a B L O G G I N G good day!

  2. mcrilf says:

    Good tips Darren.

    I think one of the key ones is differentiation. Part of that is about finding a niche that you want to blog in. But that kinda only works when what you’re interested in *is* niche. If you’re into mainstream stuff (like me…I blog about SEO, blogging and web marketing stuff on http://itsanonlineworld.blogspot.com/ ) it’s really tough. In this case, I guess it just means you have to work harder at all the other points you made!!!

    Would love your comments on my blog if you get a chance!

  3. Litwit Larue says:

    I’m so glad I stumbled on this site! While I started off blogging mainly to use my creative energy somewhere (since I wasn’t able to use it at my job), I am now exploring options on how to make it more of a part time job because I love it! These are great tips and I hope they work for me – please stop by and let me know if you have any more suggestions as to how I can improve! http://litwitreviews.blogspot.com . I realize that some of the better blogs have their own web hosting rather than using free blog sites, but for now this is what I can afford. I can always upgrade further down the road!

  4. Pierluigi Rotundo says:

    Somebody…(Guy Kawasaki…http://blog.guykawasaki.com) said…think it as a book, not as a diary…

  5. Then, an other tip…think your blog as a product to sell…do a porter analysis (lol..i’m practicing my mba..::)), identify your target and differentiate. You shouldn’t be a common fish in the pacific ocean…

  6. Nice points Darren, particularly no.4, thats also probably the hardest one to achieve. With my new blog I’m trying to create a persona that people can identify with, I honestly think I’ve made enough mistake (and hopefully learn’t from them) to finally get it right. And whether I have or not or do or don’t I’ll be writing about it and hoping that I can inspire other people to try and succeed too.

  7. Just two words…: be useful. I’m setting up some blogs. some for personal uses, just as diary, others for professional uses, like commenting articles, in few words, giving something to others

  8. Pierluigi Rotundo says:

    Oh i forgot…use trackbacks…these are one of the best ways to get more results on google! and to be visited by people…

    Thank you for your attention!
    Pierluigi Rotundo

  9. sandra says:

    Darren hi,

    I have glanced your blog and would like to ask your permission to place a referral link in my blog under how to drive traffic to new blogs.

    I will not use any of your content for my own, I simply want to referral visitiors to your blog for additional information.

    Thank you.

  10. blogdemic says:

    Hi,

    I thought everyone will find Blogdemic useful in blog promotions.

    Blogdemic allows you to promote your blog for free!

    Here is how it works:
    1. Sign up for Blogdemic. Add some html to your blog page.
    2. Your blog displays other blogs banner and sends clicks to other blogs.
    3. Other blogs displays your banner and sends clicks to your blog.
    4. Blogdemic retrieves your RSS feed several times an hour and creates your banner advertisements automatically.
    5. You can determine how often other blogs banner display on your blog vs your own advertising tag i.e. like Google Adsense. So you can make money and drive traffic to your blog at the same time!

    Check it out at: http://www.Blogdemic.com

    Regards,
    Team Blogdemic

  11. Shafqat says:

    We haven’t spent a single cent on advertising, but our relatively new blog is getting hundreds of hits a day mainly through word of mouth. We’re a startup, so we try and right articles that would be beneficial to the thousands of other entrepreneurs going through the same thing. StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit etc all help, but the real driver is going to be viral. Also, we set up a Facebook group (this only works if your blog has a community/movement theme), which has driven a lot of traffice.

    Shafqat
    blog.newscred.com

  12. Holly says:

    These are some great tips and something that everyone, even seasoned bloggers should remember and know. Sometimes you get so caught up in working on your blog, you forget to go around and check out what other blogs are up to.

  13. I agree. Reading comments we can find very useful tips!

    Thank you to everyone

    Pierluigi Rotundo

  14. Hi,

    Just wanted to say thanks for the pointers will try some of them out and let you know how i get on in a later post perhaps.

    Regards,

    Darren

  15. Matt says:

    Hi,

    I have found the best way for me to start generating traffic is to 1. create content, and 2. submit some articles from my posts to some article sites. This helps to create interest in your site when their readers view your article, they stumble upon yours, like it and hopefully click through to your blog afterwards. Of course, content is the key, which I’m starting to build up. I believe wordpress is best for this as it creates the site very easily as well as ensure it is SEO friendly to the search engines. In some cases I’m hoping my traffic is exponential, so that the longer it is up there and the more posts I make, the traffic increases faster and faster.

    Thanks for the tips Darren, I will look into the guest post idea as well. Especially great for blogs that have a large readership already.

    Matt

  16. jc says:

    Great tips that I have started using to promote my new blog. Your website is very helpful for us new bloggers out there.

  17. ashley marie says:

    My blog is new as well. Thanks for the oh so great tips. They were very helpful!

  18. chuck says:

    You must stay focused and keep at it and have a two year plan. It will not happen overnight!

  19. Phillip says:

    My blog is new, so this way is useful for me.

  20. Kunal Pandya says:

    Very nicely written article here. Gives nice overview about how to get free as well as paid traffic. Traffic marketing is one of the very important exercises most website and blog owners forget to pay attention to. This article helps to kick start it.