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If YOU Were Starting Out in Blogging from Scratch – How Would You Promote Your Blog?

Blog-Promotion StrategiesOver the past week I’ve shared five strategies that I’d use to promote my blog if I were starting from scratch again today.

We started off by looking at how the majority of your efforts need to be focused upon Readers You Don’t Already Have (obvious but important) and then looked at the five strategies of:

  1. Guest Posting
  2. Networking
  3. Advertising
  4. Social Media
  5. Viral Content

Together I believe that these five strategies pursued together would give a new blog a good start (note: pursuing just one of them might have some impact but together they are more effective).

These are five main areas that I’d focus upon if I were starting out again today – but the comments on each post in this series have revealed a lot more wisdom in the ProBlogger community on the topic and so I thought I’d open it up for your thoughts.

If you were starting out again – how would you promote your blog?

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. OldSailor says:

    Like five fingers. All the five fingers together can give a good punch.

  2. MindBlogger says:

    First, I believe you have answered your own question, the best possible way, through your own series. Well done!

    Secondly, I think a point not emphasized enough through your series is SEO. True enough! As bloggers, we might not rely that much on Google bring us traffic when we take so much effort in networking. But, you can’t leave the big G out either now, can you?

    I’d have loved if you made it a separate category on your series and dedicated a post about means of pleasing search engines since it’s a blog just starting off. And that makes it the optimum time to do strategic SEO on a blog.

    Cheers!

  3. Actually I did start again, kinda. I used to have a general internet marketing blog. But I found I wanted to be more granular with my niche targets. So I turn it into 3 separate blogs: landing pages, ecommerce and everything marketing. Now I can target keywords more effectively and target my audience better. Any feedback is welcome: http://www.alexdesigns.com/

  4. Troy says:

    Well, I’d definitely start out with a real domain, a logo, a unique design, and a few carefully written posts. My blog’s poor design has been holding me back all this time, so it definitely would not be a good idea to make that mistake again.

  5. Chris says:

    I would still place the most emphasis on good content. So I would spend a good portion of my time researching my topics and improving my writing.

  6. Nicole says:

    I wouldn’t have underestimated the look of a custom template… looking like everyone else makes you seem like everyone else. I’m in the process of changing it now but it would have been easier early on as I was beginning to “brand” myself.

  7. It has become extremely difficult nowadays, to make any blog really popular.

    Virtually every subject has been addressed and the readers are very loyal to the blogs that are already popular.

    They also tend to get any breaking news or tips much sooner than any others – thus cementing their reader loyalty

  8. I’m certainly no expert on blogging or promotion. I’ve learned a lot from this series on problogger.

    What I am doing to promote my new blog is commenting on other peoples blogs, writing reviews on Amazon, joining discussion groups, and signing up for services that will help post your information on other sites. I am looking into inexpensive ads. I’m not sure paying to get people to look at my blog makes sense yet. We shall see.

    It certainly is not a fast process. But nothing comes easy for the most part. I am getting subscribers and quite a few page hits, so it is working. As long as your having fun then it all seems worth it.

    The Masked Millionaire
    http://www.TheMaskedMillionaire.com

  9. Chetan says:

    The first point is Guest blogging., its a great traffic generator if you are a good writer and can write some guest posts for big blogs around, it would actually not just send in traffic but also would make your name in some good level in the blogosphere..

    Networking with a few fellow bloggers and local bloggers also helps a lot.
    Viral content is a good point but huge advertising in the early startup stages of the blog is really a good option?
    Won’t that hurt your rankings in search engines if you try to have backlinks in big number when the site is still new?

  10. Frugal Dad says:

    Here are some lessons learned with Frugal Dad:

    + Spent too much time trying to get attention from “big name” bloggers (link exchanges, etc.). Should have partnered with small-medium size blogs in my niche, or related niche earlier on.

    + Invested too much time commenting, making attempts to network, etc. Should have been writing more, and focusing on good content.

    + I completely ignored the power of social networking sites for the first 60 days, and it cost me in slow readership growth the first couple months.

    + Spent too much time fooling around with advertising links, banners and Adsense before I had the traffic to justify it. I put the cart before the horse.

    + In terms of style, I spent much of the first 30-45 days writing abstract articles on personal finance concepts. I have found that readers in my niche really appreciate sharing articles about how I am personally affected by these concepts. I think it was Skellie who recently wrote the most important word in blogging is “I.” Couldn’t be more true.

  11. My blog’s still very new (a month), but one thing that I realized very early on was that I was getting much more traffic from web searches than anything else – in writing about conservation and environmental issues, I find myself covering a lot of current events, and I found out from my search engine hits that it really pays to sweat the details. The articles that were most successful:

    * Naming my sources – right up front in the text, instead of just providing a link (e.g. I found that “CNN” and “Slate” were common additions to the content) – When I test-searched on Google, my rank was hundreds of pages higher for searches including the source name in addition to the content.

    * Using proper names – including the names of both the author and the main subjects or experts in the stories I covered made a big difference (eg, covering the shark-diving accident, including the dive-guide’s name, Jim Abernathy, doubled my hits)

    * Touching on all the major points – a short summary of the story I’m covering, even if I’m only focusing on a small part of it, brings in more search engine traffic.

    * Making Digg links prominent – submitting my first posts to Digg was almost useless, because they dropped off the Upcoming page in minutes. However, the posts that got high search engine traffic, jumped up on Digg too.

    None of this got me front-page on Digg or WordPress or anything, but as a small, new blog, I saw exponential growth and lots of record-setting days.

  12. Make sure you have some content built-up first. You don’t want to spend some money on advertising, or get Dugg, only to have a lot of people go to your “new” blog with only a couple of posts available. They will think that you don’t update your blog often or that you are new and won’t be around for very long.

  13. Very simple – I’d do what I’m currently doing (as my blog is only, oh, two or three weeks old).

    Read the masters but sing my own song and blog my own way. Touch the reader’s emotions and compel them to share my insights with their friends. Ask myself, gee, what would keep ME interested in wanting to learn more.

    Everyone has that one exceptional sterling ability that nobody else possesses – their own unique take on things. It cannot be duplicated because nobody can 100% duplicate another’s passion in exactly the same way.

    The key, of course, is to give yourself permission to shine.

    Enjoy,

    Barbara

  14. In my relatively new blog I have done quite a bit of social networking, but this is most likely a function of the nature of my personal sort of blog. I imagine I have but too broad a swath with my blogging topics, but I am giving the blog time to mature and stabilize before deciding whether to split it into separate threads.

    Thank you to all the other bloggers here who have left their helpful comments and suggestions; I have visited most of your sites for insight and information, and you have all been most helpful. Thanks again for sharing!

    Warmest Regards,

    Jen in TN

  15. Kirk Warren says:

    Probably wouldn’t change anything. I read this site when I launched my blog last year and did most of the simple things already listed here:

    - sign up for random blog directories
    - useful comments on similar blogs
    - signature in useful forum posts
    - etc

    Pretty much all the simple things that don’t cost money (advertising) and can be done without any real contacts in the genre / industry (ie cant get guest posts if no one knows who you are or you dont know anyone).

  16. kevin says:

    Personally the biggest mistake I feel I made when starting out was not paying enough attention to SEO, because over the long tail it would have really helped me out.

    In the last couple of months I started paying attention to it and my recent few months work of blog posts have benefited. However I have over 700 posts, if I would have focused on it from day one I can’t even wrap my head around the traffic I would have.

  17. Retro Garden says:

    Three things I would do:

    - Join forums within my niche and become a regular on them
    - Contribute with blogs on my niche even if it’s just a comment. Offer to do a couple of guestposts on them too.
    - Run a competition with a prize people actually want (entrecard credits? Eurgh)

  18. Linda Bustos says:

    A really quick way to expand your reach is to submit to RSS feed aggregators. Someone also mentioned blog directories – which take more time and effort and are not instant.

    When you’re crunched for time, submitting to the feed aggregators gets your content syndicated almost instantly.

    Here’s a list to get you started, I also discover new ones all the time, like you can add your feed to Fast Company’s social network if it’s business related.

    http://www.getelastic.com/rss-blog-directory-list/

  19. My most successful blog is one where I have a big button that leads to a “ask a question” page.

    I can’t keep up with the questions! And everyone loves to see their question and the answer posted on the internet… the will send their friends to view it.

    Plus… I set up a newsletter with a good 7 part email teaching guide. I post this in my tag lines everywhere. This has steadily added to my list.

    That list is sent to my blog to view the latest posts. The newsletter is actually pretty short, with just a bit of personal stuff.

    Unbelievable how many readers of those email actually think I am sending them a personal email.

    I started this particular blog with Ask Dave Taylor in the back of my mind.

    The theory is… help others as much as you can and you will be rewarded 10 fold.

    I have already found some really useful tips in the comments to just this page. Amazing what you all share. Thank You!

  20. Collin LaHay says:

    6. Run a contest (Could be combined into #5).
    7. Search Engine Optimize
    8. Submit to RSS Directories

  21. feefifoto says:

    Incompetently, I’m sure, since if I were just starting out I’d find most of the options daunting. I’ve been at it for a year now and it’s only in the past few months that I’ve even begun to grasp what works for me and what’s a waste of time.

    I think the key word in your piece is “viral”. I’ve spent the past year doing everything I can think of to make my writing go viral. I recently helped my kids start their own blogs and they keep asking me to set them up on some of the social media sites I’ve been learning to use; I encourage them to build up a series of posts before they throw themselves before a public with way too many choices.

  22. I would actually promote whatever it was I was blogging. When I started I never promoted in any way, shape, or form besides just telling a few friends – a big mistake. I would also try to focus on networking as well – another weak area due to my social ineptitude.

  23. Reviews.

    I do book, software, blog, and product reviews. Not only do I get traffic from people searching for info on those products, but it’s a way to get in with the author/creator.

    Most smart people have google alerts set for themselves, so when you blog about their stuff, they get a message. Now you have an excuse to chat up wit a COI or J/V.

    And, they may even use you in their marketing. I’ve got tons of referrals from testimonials on other’s sales pages and from a video on the front page of RescueTime.com.

    ~ Elizabeth

  24. Offer a free download as an incentive for signing up for my RSS or email.

  25. Duncan Riley says:

    Depends on whether you’ve got contacts/ presence you can leverage with a new blog. Obviously starting from scratch and being able to ping friends/ contacts to help you promote the new blog would be a natural course presuming you had access to a network like that. If it was completely from scratch (unknown) different strategies again. I’d guess that given the intense noise this wouldn’t be an easy task today, but some solid tips Darren.

  26. Things I do:
    Comment on other blogs (in and out of my intended market)

    Join forums.

    Join social networks (Ning,Goodreads, etc) to increase your visibility and name exposure.

    Visit my ‘friends’ or network buddies blogs as often as possible.

  27. Matt Propst says:

    Simple tactics. Be friendly to your readers. My blog is several years old but the tactics still apply;
    Share what you know (I just released an ebook for FREE), Respond to those who leave comments.
    Remind readers about your RSS freed and suggest they subscribe.

    You can get traffic, but once the traffic is there you need to make your blog as “sticky” as possible to make sure those readers come back.

  28. Suzy says:

    I’m pretty new to this myself, and I’m really trying not to get discouraged. I just keep writing (what I think is) quality content and trying to be as active in the blogosphere as possible. I find myself saying, “Patience, Grasshopper” out loud a lot.

    Suzy
    http://www.allaroundktown.com

  29. Craig says:

    my blog is new and i’m trying to find ways to get business, i wanted to have some decent content on there before i started promoting it, so people could have a decent look around. to start with i’m going to comment on other relevant blogs and make sure my content is better and use social networking to get the word out. i think i can get lots of ideas from this blog and other readers of it. craig http://www.mortgagefitness.com.au

  30. Guest blogging and making friends has helped me with a new blog (Kick2Kick).

    I also find finding similar blogs and commenting on their blogs help..

  31. Pete W says:

    1. Develop relationships with writers of influential sites within the niche, with an aim to guest posting at some point
    2. Advertise (PPC, StumbleUpon and potentially banner ads)
    3. Write content designed for social media (Reddit and StumbleUpon specifically).

  32. It is a tough blogging world out there and it is easy to get discouraged. “Build it and they will come” does not work here. I have seen my site go from no views to the current average of 17 a day. That is a result of hard work promoting it using some of the tips already shared. Even though 17 is negligible, it shows progress, and that is what keeps me going. My goal is to get to 100 in a month. And who know what will come after that. Don’t give up, keep working at it.

  33. I am currently using the free version of wordpress. It is very difficult to monetize with this version. I also feel I am limiting myself in functionality. Is it difficult porting over from the free version to 2.5? I am not really afraid of the technology but I am concerned about all my posts and anyone that has subscribed. Any thoughts?

  34. My blog is in its baby months, so my answer would be to focus on the best content possible, honing your writing skills and style, and finding blog carnivals that are a good match to your content and personality. The support from interested readers and bloggers is really uplifting. This might not be the fastest or most cutting edge way to promote, but slow and steady wins the kind of people you want for the lifetime of the site. Sincerely, Amanda

  35. I would love for more people to comment on my blogzine, but it seems that they never do, even on articles that are more worthy of commentary, such as my most recent poll results (first non-featured post…click my name to see the blog). (btw, I’m not the only writer for Prospere Magazine…I have several contributors who do it on a volunteer basis…I should get more commentors, because writers tell their friends about being published (or at least they should)…yet it doesn’t happen all the time)…any suggestions?

    Thanks

  36. Submitting my articles to top article directories like Ezine Articles is I think that is helping my blogs. This is also a good form of advertising your blog.

    However, it is really taking me long hours to finish one. But it is worth the effort.

    I have read all the posts about this five strategies and found all of them very interesting.

    Again, my sincerest thanks to you Darren for being very transparent.

  37. Chris says:

    Ive been averaging around 20 readers per day and hopefully I can improve on that. Thanks for the great tips!

    - Chris
    http://www.mystrugglewithdebt.com

  38. Monchster says:

    I’m sure it has been mentioned, but repetition is the mother of retention, right?

    But you have to blog or write about a topic that excites you, that you are passionate about.

    Many start blogging because they’ve read online or in the latest Entrepreneur magazine how much some are making online through blogging.

    You cannot start a site or any project at that just to make money. If there is no passion behind the words or thoughts, the words seem empty. There will be no motivation, determination. Key points needed to make a blog, or any business for that matter, successful.

  39. Dave says:

    Hi Darren. I confess, I do copy and paste some of your blogging tips into my word program, but I only use the information to enhanse my knowledge of blogging. I would never consider using someone elses content as my own.

    I am just a “want to be” blogger at the moment and I find your Problogger site most helpfull in fullfilling my curious passion in this field. I watched your most recent video with the Q&A session and it was awesome! Can’t wait for the nest one so I can participate.

  40. I’ve been blogging for almost three years now, sharing my many years of profitable investing and personal finance experience. At first, it was a way to log my ideas and share them with the rest of the blogging community, but over time I’ve seen some good revenue poor in.

    My advice for new bloggers is to focus on posting quality content that is useful and interesting. Managing your blog is not all fun and games and it takes a lot of work. However, once you begin to add enough content, the traffic will begin to grow and provide significant revenue opportunites. I didn’t land my first advertising deal until I was well into my second year of blogging. It just takes time to establigh yourself and get noticed.

    For starters, look into Link Worth and Text Links Ads as a way to monetize your site. Also, in a way to bring in more content, look for others who would be interested in posting material on your site. Also, do not fall into the trap of writing about EVERYTHING. Stay within your niche and area of expertise.

    Stephen
    http://www.jutiagroup.com

  41. Wow, neat thread. On a new blog I launched recently I’m doing a number of things:

    * I’m currently running an ad contest for a free, six month, 125×125 ad in your choice of one of four above-the-fold positions.

    * I also wrote an “Advertising” page where I discuss this promotion, and an article, “How To Get 101 Subscribers to Your New Blog in Thirty Days”.

    * As you recommend, I’ve been looking for as many guest blogging opportunities as I can find, and I’m commenting and making friends with other bloggers.

    * Naturally I’m promoting all this on my existing blogs — things do get easier as you go along.

    * As Guardian Angel mentioned, I’m also doing some articles on EzineArticles. I would wager that the SERPs dampen the value of incoming links from duplicate pages, but then again a link is a link is a link. I expect this benefit to kick in long term and not in time for the 30-day promotion, however.

    Most of all I’m really just trying to write something worth reading every day. One subscriber even told me that that’s why he was subscribing — not because of the contest. So far so good — I’m up to about 400+ daily unique visits from 200+ sites only 20 days after starting out (on a brand new domain).

  42. artizle says:

    one more i would like to add here and that is offline advertising.
    yes, advertize ur blog offline,i.e, write on notice boards in ur schools or university or at bus stop, or at any other place where public give their attention,
    i personally believe, many of readers will open ur blog, as i also give a try when i read about a site on these places.
    so best of luck

    http://artizle.blogspot.com

  43. Thanks for the blog post, as I’ve got a few new promotion ideas now. I’m going to give guest blogging a go and see how that goes :)

    Ian
    http://www.winvistatips.com

  44. Cory says:

    as many of these articles as I read on problogger, I still have absolutely 0 hits to my blog! sigh…

  45. My new blog is obviously me starting from scratch. ;-)

    I have an entire year’s worth of titles for posts and series completely written out. Each post will be at least 1,000 words long, fully comprhensive with an “action” at the end of the article to subscribe. I’ll write one post every other day for one full year. In each article I plan on linking to three other blogs in my niche.

    Within a year of linking to hundreds of blogs writing great and long articles, I can’t imagine not doing well. :)

    Thanks for the inspiration, Darren. I’ll contact you in a year. ;-)

  46. Surender says:

    Thanks for this above post.I got a solid stuff here.I want to promote my Blog but I want to get review and feedback of my Blog
    http://www.iboozi.com
    Will you comment about my blog and its content here?

  47. Afam Uzoechina says:

    Great………………….just great……..This is what my people have been waiting for .

    I look forward to other ones like this.

    Thanks Man

    http://www.free-trafficsecrets.com

  48. Hi Darren,

    I am new to blogging and I have just started my first blog on blogger.com. I know I should get a self hosted blog but I am no good at the technical stuff and I just wanted to get something started and see if I could monetize it, then self-host later. I have subscribed to your website and I have also purchased your book, both are providing me with a wealth of knowledge but I am still concerned about promoting my blog as I do not feel comfortable doing #1. Guest posting. I also do not know how to link to other blogs effectively. My blog is about personal development.

    I am currently reading through your series: blogs for beginners.

    http://life-post.blogspot.com

  49. seth says:

    excellent series on gaining traffic. I’ll keep applying what I have been doing and work on the things that I have not been doing. Thanks again for the excellent articles.

  50. Kevin says:

    Well I have taken the plunge and its day one of the MSK English blog. I worked out how to install a blog on our server’s yesterday and have put up the first articles. Today I am exploring blogs with multiple languages and promotion.

    Thank you so much Problogger you seem to be able to answer all my questions. What makes the learning so rich is that your comments are also full of such useful information. It is a huge task as I knew very little about blogs at the beginning of the week. If I get stuck I know where to come for help.