Seth writes 54 ways to get traffic to your blog.
What do you agree or disagree with? What would you add?
Seth writes 54 ways to get traffic to your blog.
What do you agree or disagree with? What would you add?
Yaro’s put together a good post on How To Launch A Brand New Blog that will be of use to PreBloggers wanting to think through their first day or two of blogging. Here’s part of his great advice:
“One of the problems new bloggers of today face is the hype generated by established successful blogs. You read stories about bloggers earning thousands of dollars per day, with hundreds of thousands of visitors, huge exposure and big profits. Bloggers enter the blogosphere chasing big goals. Once their blog is set up and they have made their first few posts they stop and wonder why nothing is happening. The impatient bloggers head out looking for quick fixes – methods that promise huge amounts of traffic in a few days or weeks.
The reality is you have to pay your dues for success online just as much as you do in the real world. Nearly all big time bloggers have a history of hard and consistent work, only as a snapshot in time *after* something great has been built does it look easy.”
Solid Advice from Yaro there.
In my experience the only real way to fast track a launch is to leverage traffic from somewhere else.
Option 1 – This is a little easier if you already have a web presence and the ability to directly influence current readers (especially if your known in the area your new blog is about).
Option 2 – If you don’t already have such an influence your options are more limited and things might be a little slower to grow. One such option is to pay for traffic via some form of Advertising. You might try AdWords, BlogAds or direct ad buys from other relevant bloggers. If you’re smart with your ads you can actually do quite well from this – but of course it costs you – cold hard cash.
Option 3 – If you don’t have direct influence or you are not willing to pay for traffic another option is to leverage the traffic of others via the links they give you. This takes time as you build relationships with other bloggers and as a result of producing quality content gain traction for your blog from them linking to you. While a slower start, it’s this last option that probably has the bigger lasting impact as you not only bring new readers in but also have a little link love that continues to do it’s magic into the future in terms of helping your search engine presence.
Ultimately all three options are unlikely to bring you overnight success and will take sustained work. Each will not work if you don’t have quality content that meets a need of potential readers.
Guy Kawasaki has a useful post 10 lessons he’s learnt in How to Evangelize a Blog over his first 120 days of blogging. Here’s his list with a few of my own comments (his is the ‘bold’ (and he has more to say under each) mine is the rest):
1. Think ‘book’ not ‘diary’ – I like the analogy between book and diary. The crux of Guy’s argument is that books are meant to be read and diaries are more spontaneous, unplanned, unstructured writings. I’m a big believer in planning your blog on multiple fronts (ie not just planning your upcoming content but overall direction, marketing of it etc). While some diary style blogs can be quite successful (for what they are) most of the highly trafficked blogs have some element of focus and well defined niche. If you’re writing in a business or entrepreneurial style then you will want to think through strategy (more on this in my strategic blogging series).
2. Answer the little man - Guy’s seeing little people sitting on his shoulder critiquing what he writes (as you do) but his point is solid – be your own critic, don’t just write for the sake of it, produce content that matters. Each post you write has the potential to add or subtract value to your blog and it’s worth asking yourself which it is before hitting publish.
3. Collect email addresses – This is something I go on about from time to time and is something I’m seeing a lot of the top bloggers out there utilizing. There are many ways to do it ranging from starting an email newsletter (getting permission from readers to highlight your work) to using other email lists you might already have (be a little careful with this as it’s open to abuse).
4. Collect links for blog rolling – One of the aspects of blogging that has led to it’s viral like growth as a medium is it’s interconnectedness. Bloggers linking to other bloggers helps everyone and fast tracks you getting noticed by others. I’m not a big fan of the blogroll myself and these days my preference os to be a generous linker within individual posts. I find blogrolls can become difficult to manage, actually send limited amounts of traffic, can become somewhat political and at popularity content like. However linking within posts to other blogs seems a much more organic and natural way to link to others. I find it also has more impact in terms of the traffic you can send which has the potential to not only get attention but give your readers quality and relevant content.
5. Scoop stuff – Getting a scoop is another fast track to readership. Break a big story and have the right A-list blog link to you and you’ll find not only a lot of traffic come directly from them but indirectly from the many smaller blogs that will link up as a result. The other benefit of it beyond the initial traffic and inbound links is the respect and street credibility that can come from breaking a big story. I find that once you break one story you often get others broken directly to you by ‘sources’. Once this happen the snowball effect takes over and you can build a reputation for being someone in the know. More on Scoop Blogging.
6. Supplement other bloggers with a followup entries - Another aspect of blogging that I love is it’s conversational nature. Dialogue is at the heart of blogging on many levels including within comments on posts but also between blogs as they build upon each others ideas with posts. Take the work of another person and add your own spin on it either on their blog, via email with them or on your own blog and you enter the conversation. Once you’re a part of the conversation it’s amazing what can flow from it.
7. Acknowledge and respond to commenters – very important but a real challenge when your blog grows past a certain level. When someone goes out of their way to add something to the conversation you start by leaving an opinion, question, critique or suggestion it’s a powerful thing to acknowledge this in some way. This might mean leaving a comment in response but could also be a personal email response (I find this is incredibly effective) or even a visit to their blog with a comment on one of their posts (even more of an impact). As Guy says, this is not always easy once you’ve got a lot of traffic but is important to do at some level even after you’ve succeeded in growing an audience. If you don’t use your comments section, why would anyone else?
8. Ask for help – I discovered early in my own blogging that despite it’s reputation for snarkiness the blogging community can actually be an incredibly generous and supportive place. Ask for help and you could be amazed by what results. I find that people respond well to humility and to ask for help in some aspect of your blogging (from spreading the word, to helping with some technical problem you have, to helping you compile content etc) actually gives your readers a sense of ownership – something that has many benefits.
9. Be bold – Guy says to speak your mind as a blogger and not hold back from saying what you think. This is true and one aspect of ‘boldness’ that I’d encourage. Of course you want to consider what you say when you’re writing in what can be seen as an aggressive or attacking tone. My own approach to blogging is to attempt to find constructive things to say instead of just attacking others. Another aspect of boldness that is worth mentioning is that while humility is usually responded to well in blogging circles that there is often a need for a little self promotion. I’m not arguing that you need to aggressively sell yourself in a hype filled marketing blitz, but I’ve found that it can be occasionally beneficial to give readers a reason to read you by showing them your wares.
10. Make it easy to join up – Once again Guy’s on the money here by encouraging bloggers to use tools that help readers to stay connected. RSS feeds, email newsletters, RSS to email subscription services, encouraging readers to bookmark pages etc are all examples of this.
Found via an email from Dave
What are blogs anyway?
A blog is a regularly updated website consisting of regular article postings. Links to and from other blogs and traditional websites are a prominent feature of most blogs. A blog tends to be focussed on a single topic or issue, and usually invites comments from readers on the posted articles, starting a conversation between writer (called a blogger) and the readers. A blog usually reflects the personality of the writer, and is most often written in a personal and informal style.
Isn’t a blog just an online diary?
An online diary, or personal blog is only one type of blog. Along with personal blogs, there are many types of business, technology, and professional blogs. The personal blog was once the predominate form of blog, but that is definitely no longer the case.
Are there different types of blogs?
Blogs can be in the form of written blogs, hosted on a blog server or on the webmaster’s own site. Blogs can also be found that use audio postings rather than written posts. There are blogs for every type of business, profession, and technological concept. Writers, lawyers, accountants, real estate agents, search engine optimization experts, marketers, and public relations professionals are just a few of the professions making use of blogs in their businesses.
What value does a blog have for a business?
A blog opens up the lines of communication between the blog writer and the reader. By becoming accessible to the public, a business can be seen as more than simply a faceless company, but a group of real people. The blog provides a powerful element of personal contact with the reader, building trust and confidence in the business and its personnel.
What type of businesses could benefit from a blog?
Any type of business that requires communication with potential readers in the general public can benefit from maintaining a blog. The public can be current and potential customers and clients, the news media, other business or professionals in the industry, or simply casual readers interested in the topic.
What business uses does a blog have?
A blog is ideal for opening the lines of communication between the business and the current and future customers. Communications builds trust that goes far in the areas of marketing and public relations. The blog puts a human face on the company and builds the level of trust. People are far more likely to purchase products and services from other people who they know and trust. A blog is also a very powerful tool for improving search engine rankings because of the keyword rich fresh content and the abundant incoming links.
Are blogs a useful networking tool?
Because of the intensive personalization involved with writing blog posts, the blog is a natural networking vehicle. Readers interact with the writer through the blog comments and by e-mail. The contacts often lead eventually to many shared business opportunities. Successful business arrangements formed between two blog owners, and between a blogger and a reader, occur very frequently.
How could I start a blog?
Chris Garrett posts a worthwhile post titled 10 Ways To Lose RSS Subscribers, each of which I’d say apply to losing any type of blog reader at all. Here’s his first one:
‘Hardly post and when you do it is to apologise for not posting – I don’t mind an irregular posting frequency providing when you do post it is something worthwhile and valuable. We all know people have other priorities in their lives, and an apology is obviously well meant, but please include the apology as a PS. on the end of a worthwhile post. And do not post three apologies in a row.’
Read the other 9 points
I’d sum it all up by simply saying that the way to gain readers is to ‘develop a useful blog’. I think if you give your readers something that they want or need and they’ll put up with almost any mistake you might make (massive generalization I know – but it’s what it comes down to to me).
If you’ve been wondering whether you should try advertising with AdWords to promote your blog but have been a little overwhelmed by it’s complexity as a first time user you might find the new AdWords Starter Edition a useful way to start out.
In essence it’s, as it’s name suggests, a simplified AdWords designed specifically for those just starting out.
It allows you to create a single ad compaign from a one page sign up form. It only allows Basic targetting (ie you can’t target specific sites) but it seems a reasonably simple way to get in and learn some of the basics. You can compare the features of AdWords Starter Edition with the normal one here. Also read their FAQ page to learn how to sign up.
The good thing about AdWords is that you can set a budget and start off with a pretty inexpensive campaign to test it as you go.
Yaro has already kicked us off on this topic of how to find readers for a new blog but I thought I’d pull together a few ideas on the topic also (with a little overlap with Yaro’s ideas). These points come from a variety of older posts I’ve written on the topic – sort of a ‘best of’ kind of thing. I’ve updated some, others are straight extracts from things I’d said before and a few are new:
1. It takes time – It may not be what you want to hear, but it unless you’re a genius, extremely lucky or have an amazing new idea, it takes time to build a readership. So settle in for the long haul and muscle up some patience.
3. Link to others – Perhaps one of the central features of blogging is that they are linked. The intricate web of links and relationships was one of the first things that attracted me to blogging and it’s part of the reason it’s got real viral properties that allow ideas to spread so quickly. Participate in the linking to other blogs and you’ll find that many benefits come. For a start you’ll be participating in the conversation, you’ll be getting the attention of others and your readers will appreciate that you’re interested in helping them find the best content out there.
This post has been submitted by Yaro Starak from two of my daily reads – Entrepreneur’s Journey and Small Business Branding. He’s also working on a new site at Blog Traffic King. I’ve asked Yaro to write an introduction to finding readers for a blog – something which I’ll write more on also in the days ahead.
In every bloggers life comes a special day – the day they first launch a new blog. Now unless you went out and purchased someone else’s blog chances are your blog launched with only one very loyal reader – you. Maybe a few days later you received a few hits when you told your sister, father, girlfriend and best mate about your new blog but that’s about as far you went when it comes to finding readers.
Here are the top 10 techniques new bloggers can use to find readers. These are tips specifically for new bloggers, those people who have next-to-no audience at the moment and want to get the ball rolling.
It helps if you work on this list from top to bottom as each technique builds on the previous step to help you create momentum. Eventually once you establish enough momentum you gain what is called “traction”, which is a large enough audience base (about 500 readers a day is good) that you no longer have to work too hard on finding new readers. Instead your current loyal readers do the work for you through word of mouth.
10. Write at least five major “pillar” articles. A pillar article is usually a tutorial style article aimed to teach your audience something. Generally they are longer than 500 words and have lots of very practical tips or advice. This article you are currently reading could be considered a pillar article since it is very practical and a good “how-to” lesson. This style of article has long term appeal, stays current (it isn’t news or time dependent) and offers real value and insight. The more pillars you have on your blog the better.
Hugh has put together another top ten list – this time it’s 10 reasons why nobody reads your blog. Take it with the humorous tone it was written in but see the truth in some of the points. I particularly agree with these points (Hugh’s points in bold with my own comments afterwards):
2. There’s nothing in it for them – it’s about value. Give people something that they find valuable and you’ll find people coming back for more and recommending others check it out. Of course ‘value’ means different things for different people and can stretch from information, entertainment, inspiration, news, community etc
5. You have nothing to say – this is related to #2 really but takes it a little further. Many blogs fall into this trap with content that is dry and uninspired.
8. The very fact that you’re whining about traffic makes people not want to read your blog – this is a trap many bloggers fall into. I’d extend it to ‘whining’ on many topics. While the cynical, moaning, snide approach to blogging works for some people, in general I think people are attracted to blogs that are positive and offer something that enhances people’s lives in some way. As my wife says to me when I get into a whining state of mind – ‘build a bridge and get over it’.
9. You’ve only been writing the damn thing for a week – so true. With all the talk of massive blogs around it’s easy to expect too much too quickly. While traffic is important I recommend bloggers in the early days check their stats less and write more quality content. While you can do things to maximize your blog’s exposure the number one thing you can do is have a useful, relevant and up to date blog that over time develops authority on a topic. This doesn’t happen over night.
Perhaps in the vain of #9 would be the addition of ‘you only post once a month’. Regular posting and fresh content is key.
Found via Life 2.0 (who has a good post on the topic).