Close
Close

3 Traffic Generation Tactics from an Ordinary Human Being

In two and a half years, David Cain of Raptitude.com has built a large and lively audience for his blog, which takes a “street-level look at the human experience.”

He says the most important fuel for this growth was writing quality content. You already know about that, yeah? So in this interview, I dug deeper to find out the specific tactics David uses to make his content interactive, clickable, and sharable.

Here are three tricks that help Raptitude get more visitors.

1. Join a small group of bloggers

This was probably the smartest thing I ever did with my blog… I found a little group of beginner bloggers, there were six or seven of us that had all started in the last couple of months.—David Cain

During our interview, David twice emphasized the importance of joining a peer group. He says that not only does it hold you accountable to continue and give you a forum to bounce ideas off, but also provides a “starter community” to comment on and share your work. This is especially useful early on when the small inner circles of your peers can magnify your efforts. Once your community has this lively base, new visitors can participate by commenting or sharing as well.

Here are three suggestions for finding your support group:

  1. Google Groups: try searching at www.groups.google.com for “blogging”, or “beginner blogging”
  2. Facebook Groups
  3. Ask around: new bloggers are lurking everywhere, so see if you can find allies within your existing network.

Action Step: Join a group of bloggers at a similar experience level. Have a loose rule that if you like each others’ work, you’ll share it with your circle of family and friends.

2. Make your post titles clickable

Every headline has to say “if I read this post, then what’s in it for me?”.—David Cain

David stressed the importance of a good title for your posts. He says that on the internet there is so much information, someone could read it their whole life and never get a fraction of it done. That means that your potential reader might encounter hundreds or thousands of links in a day, and it’s only your few select words that affect whether or not they click on yours. You can leverage that decisive moment by having a headline that you yourself would click on.

Check out how David names his posts:

  • Literal: Raptitude’s most popular post of all time is a list of 40 quotes from Friedrich Nietzsche. They are pretty powerful, like #33: “A politician divides mankind into two classes: tools and enemies.” A literalist might have named this post something like, 40 Quotes by Nietzsche. Kind of boring, yeah?
  • Clickable: What did David actually name this post? 40 Belief-Shaking Remarks From a Ruthless Nonconformist. Here, “belief-shaking” poses a challenge to readers, “remarks” sounds cooler than “quotes”, and with “nonconformist” being a little bit of a buzzword, many potential readers already identify with it. Another advantage is that when you search Google for “nonconformist quotes”, David’s post is on the first page of results.

Action Step: For your next post, brainstorm a few titles, and decide which one stands out as the most clickable.

3. Post link bait

It’s worth including posts geared towards people wanting to share them.—David Cain

David admits that sometimes he mixes list posts into his work because they are more sharable on social media. He says posts like 7 Ways to Do X or 88 Truths I’ve Learned About Life are easily digestible. This means that a wider variety of people can enjoy this writing, than say posts with a long discourse about human suffering.

Alright, the term “link bait” may have negative connotations, but it doesn’t mean you have to deprive your blog of dignity. On Raptitude, list posts are still very much in line with the pursuit of understanding the human experience. Do your best to ensure that your link bait maintains the quality of your blog—and yeah, people will share it!

Action Step: Try posting link bait. Maybe a list post, photography, or other work that expresses creativity.

What about you?

I’d love to hear from you: are you proud of a particular post title? Created some link bait you can share here?

Michael Alexis is the producer of WriterViews, where you can learn the specifics tactics and strategies that worked for successful writers. Follow him on Twitter at @writerviews.

About Guest Blogger

This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you'd like to guest post for ProBlogger check out our Write for ProBlogger page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. Justin Mazza says:

    Hi Michael,
    I watched your interview at your blog with David Caine a few days ago. I like how he admits he’s not the most disciplined person in the world when it comes to his life. David sounds like an honest guy with great writing skills as well.

    • Hey Justin,

      Thanks for watching the interview. I had been wanting to interview David for awhile – definitely a fun one and yeah… I think he might just be one of the best writers online.


      Michael

    • sally sawyer says:

      Enjoyed your ideas, and you’ve got me thinking. Do you have any suggestions about how I could locate a group of bloggers interested in veteran issues? My book is about Vietnam, waiting wives, and that era. My site is about the book, but I’ve expanded it to include current news regarding issues veterans face today. I research the web on military and veteran sites, but have never had blogs come up. Any ideas?

  2. Dwayne says:

    Great post, Michael. I’m just starting out blogging and I never thought about finding a group of “beginner blogers” like myself. I will definitely go onto Google and see if anyone else would like to join a group. Thanks for the great tips.

    • Cool! Yeah, just find a few in your niche and reach out to them. I try to act on the advice of all my guests, and I found with this tip that people were pretty open to the idea…


      Michael

    • … and I’ve been really fortunate to connect with some awesome bloggers.


      Michael

  3. Link to your site is broken at the bottom, just a heads up.

    • Thanks Gregory… looks like it is missing the http://

      I remember you did a Think Traffic post a little while back… really liked the tip to feature a bunch of “small guys” in one post to accumulate their shares.


      Michael

    • Doug says:

      There’s a tip. An effective Link Strategy has links that work.

  4. soubhik says:

    link baits….definitely a great idea…

    • Yeah, there’s another thing David does on his site… 1) experiments, and 2) bucket list. Great for reader engagement. Check them out if you get the chance.


      Michael

  5. Great post! This came at just the right time for me, as I’m starting a new blog soon. Cheers.

  6. Jon says:

    This is a great post. I’ve been pondering joining a small group of bloggers for months now but I think reading this was the push I needed to actually go through with it! Cheers!

    • Cool! Re: sopa protest I couldn’t access your site, but if you’d like to get in touch with me I’d be happy to introduce you to a group…


      Michael

  7. Liane says:

    I would probably add to stick to one blog mentor :) especially if you’re a beginner. You have to find that up-there-person to stick around to in order to be kept updated of the big things that’s going on. Has lots of advantages when it comes to traffic and getting your initial exposure

    • It reminds me of the advice I often hear: stick to one guide/plan whatever. i.e, there are a lot of different diets, ways to earn money, blog, whatever… and if you stick to one of them you are probably going to get better results than just reading a tonne of them and than not acting.

      Really, acting seems to be the key :- )


      Michael

      P.S: I really like how you used the ProBlogger credibility indicator on your blog…

  8. D.J.Rony says:

    I was wondering what will happen if I copy one popular heading? Does it bounce back or Google thinks there are two things in the same niche?

  9. I never thought of joining a group of bloggers. Thank you for sharing that and also being practical about where to find such a group. I loved the entire post.

    • Thanks Sharon.

      I acted on David’s advice and joined a small group – it’s a great way to connect with other bloggers.


      Michael

  10. Kate says:

    Great advice on the peer group. It can be a bit lonely in the first few months, so having friends in the same boat would definitely be helpful!

  11. Kari Scare says:

    Great tips! I need to apply all of them.

  12. What a simple great advice. I didn’t try this strategy yet.

    Thanks for sharing this blogging tips. :)

  13. I would love to find other bloggers just starting out. I don’t know anyone very well who does blogging and it is lots of trial and error to get stuff started.

    Titles is something I have always read about needing to be good… but I struggle with them. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Yeah, I’m still figuring the titles out too. Practice practice practice. One thing a blogger told me (maybe David?) was to write out a bunch of them in a list, then scan it to see which one catches you the most.


      Michael

  14. Richard Ng says:

    I fully agreed that the blog title is one of the most important element of the blog, this is especially true since there are tons and tons of blogs/articles around that the visitors are simply spoilt of choice. Thus, creating an attractive and controversy enough blog title will help.

    Cheers!

  15. Joining a small group of bloggers is surely a good thing to do. Bloggers with similar Alexa rank and niche can easily combine and work this in a better way to get good traffic to our blogs. I will surely think of some initiative

  16. Devesh says:

    Great stuff, Michael.

    Joining small groups can defiantly help you in driving quality traffic to your blog. I’ve been using Facebook & Google Groups from a while to connect with new people in my niche.

    Thanks for sharing this great post, Alexis.

    -Dev

  17. Aaron Eden says:

    Thanks for reminding us of Google groups- I wonder if it’s much better than interacting with brand pages on Google+..? As of link bait, yes, done it a lot of times and sometimes, on an A/B split test just to see what types of headlines work. I guess, so long as you don’t violate anyone’s rights/policies – a little shock value can go a very long way.

    • The original title for this post was actually 3 Traffic Generation Tactics From a Canadian Vegan. I thought it was more clickable, but I definitely respect ProBlogger’s care in adjusting it.


      Michael

  18. Michael says:

    This is a great inspiration to the rest of us seeking to get started. He’s come a long way and I am sure he has a long way to go! But it definitely helps us to be able to get started on our own journeys!

  19. I’ve been wanting to join a group of bloggers, but I would like it to be local, but haven’t really taken the time to research it much. I was a member of a couple other groups, but they were so badly managed it didn’t result in anything other than people spamming and begging for shares, no relationships were being built.

    • Maybe Craigslist? There must be tonnes of bloggers in your city, but yeah… not so easy to assemble.

      You could check meetup(dot)com too.


      Michael

  20. David says:

    I also like the idea of joining a small group of bloggers.

    It’s a good idea.

    Good post!

    Thanks

  21. Norman says:

    Great article. One question re # 1. Join a small group of bloggers: Should members of this group be in/related to my niche (which you’ll note by the link is pretty deep), or just any beginner bloggers?

    Thank you!

    • David Cain says:

      They don’t have to be. It’s probably better if they are though because one of the advantages is that you can talk about each other’s blogs on your own.

    • Perfect wood grain… better if they are in your niche, re: you will actually be interested in reading and commenting on their work. In your case could expand it a little bit to find people in similar industries…


      Michael

  22. Dean Saliba says:

    Joining groups on FB has really helped me gain more exposure and traffic. One thing I’ve started doing is fighting back against people who add me to groups without my permission. I will post links to posts and my blog as a way of getting back at them.

  23. Ryan Krysiak says:

    Thanks David. I’ve never really heard of blogging groups.
    I’ll be checking it out!

  24. Mike Friesen says:

    Michael -

    Thank you for the 3 traffic generation ideas. Am mining Google groups right away!

    Best,
    Mike

  25. I’ve heard this many times before and every time I see these tips I think “that’s right!” Thanks for sharing these tips, because they’re great (and easy) for people new to blogging and a fantastic reminder for people who’ve been at it for a bit.

    I’ve done these for each of my blogs and they work every single time.

  26. I’m pretty pleased with one of my post titles ( well actually more than one ;) But I do have a favorite.

    After seeing how many bloggers just cruise to a blog and say ” I’m here! Follow Me!” I created a post titled “Number One Blogging Tip How To Stand Out In A Sea Of Self Promoters” The title must have hit a chord because it’s one of my readers favorites and I like it because I wrote it based on personal experience.

    And like my post to make sure I don’t just dump and toot all over your post I do like the idea of a small group of bloggers. I have yet to do that but I do have some great women lined up and ready for the task. Great tip thanks.

    http://www.mompreneurmogul.com/2012/01/number-one-blogging-tip-how-to-get-noticed-in-a-sea-of-self-promoters.html

  27. Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for responding to my question… you definitely stood out ;- )

    Best wishes in forming your group!


    Michael

  28. Great tips.. what I don’t get is how do you keep churning it out?