Almost every blogger aims to grow their blog and reach a larger audience. Unfortunately, most new bloggers don’t know much about promoting a blog when they are just getting started. The good news is you will learn pretty quickly if you are consistently involved and working at promoting your blog. Here are ten things that I have learned to be true from my experience.
1. Building Significant Search Engine Traffic Will Take Time
New blogs generally take several months, at least, before they gain enough trust from search engines to produce any type of significant flow of traffic. If you are planning to focus on search engines as your primary source of traffic, you would be well advised to also focus on some other sources of traffic, especially in the early months.
Building a blog that is search engine-friendly is critical if you want to maximize search traffic, so take care of that from the start and focus on creating great content that others will talk about and link to.
2. Not All Traffic Is Equal
No two sources of traffic are quite the same. I get a good percentage of the traffic at my blog through social media, and I can attest to the fact that social media traffic is generally less responsive and less likely to stick around than visitors from most other sources. Focusing on stats without looking at the true results can cause a bit of an illusion. Sure, visitors are great, but are they leaving after being on the blog for 30 seconds and never returning?
Search engine traffic is highly sought after because these visitors are actively looking for what you have to offer. But other types of traffic have strong points too. Visitors who are referred from another blog will generally be more responsive since they have been recommended by someone they trust. Every source of traffic has pros and cons, so try to take these things into consideration when you are promoting your blog and analyzing the results.
3. Consistent Posting Is Key
Most bloggers need to keep publishing new posts in order to keep traffic at a certain level. Some bloggers are able to generate large amounts of search engine traffic to older posts to the point that traffic will be fairly sustained without new posts, but this is pretty rare. New posts keep subscribers coming back, they keep social media votes coming, and they keep adding new pages to search engine indexes.
Posting consistently doesn’t mean that you have to post every day, it simply means that you need to publish content on a regular basis, whatever that may be. Almost every blog that successfully draws traffic is publishing new posts with some consistency.
4. Consistent Traffic Is Almost Impossible
Although posting needs to be consistent to keep traffic levels up, that doesn’t mean that it will keep traffic levels consistent. Every blog has ups and downs and two days are rarely the same. This is a natural occurrence and it should be embraced or else it can become very frustrating. Make sure that you enjoy the times when traffic is high, and keep on plugging away to get through the slower times. Blogging would almost be boring is traffic levels didn’t fluctuate like they do.
5. Repeat Visitors Should Be the Goal
Yes, it’s great to see an impressive number of unique visitors arriving at your blog, but how many of them will be back? Repeat visitors are the lifeblood of blogs. Subscribers, of course, are most likely to keep coming back, so focusing on subscribers is typically a good thing.
Repeat visitors will not only help to improve your overall traffic flow and stats, more importantly they will be your most responsive visitors in terms of comments, social media votes, sales, and just about anything else. As they keep coming back and reading your blog, you will be earning more of their trust and your network will grow.
6. Links Help In Several Ways
Building inbound links is a priority for most bloggers, and for good reason. They drive click-through traffic from other blogs, they increase your exposure around the blogosphere, and they help to boost your search engine rankings. Link building is often prioritized because of search engine rankings, but the other factors should not be overlooked. If you blog in a competitive niche, recognition and exposure will be critical in convincing visitors that they should pay attention to you. Getting a few links from respected blogs can help with search engine traffic, but the added credibility that you get can be just as important, especially for newer bloggers.
7. Balance Is Important
Diversity in traffic will help you to avoid losing a huge percentage of your visitors if something unforeseen happens. Search engine rankings are not permanent, especially with Google being so ready and willing to penalize blogs who they feel have violated their guidelines. If you rely too heavily on search engine traffic you could find yourself losing a big portion of your traffic at any given time.
Also, social media traffic is extremely inconsistent, so just because you have been getting decent traffic doesn’t mean it will continue. The best approach is to spread things out and focus on growing traffic from several sources rather than just one. That way you will always be safe and you won’t depend on a particular source for your livelihood.
8. Smaller Sources of Traffic Shouldn’t Necessarily Be Ignored
Not all sources of traffic will send thousands of visitors, but that doesn’t mean that they are not valuable. For example, participating in forums is likely to drive some traffic to your blog, but not tons. However, those visitors can be very valuable because they have met you or learned from you through the forum and they’ll be more likely to subscribe and become a loyal reader.
Likewise, leaving comments on other blogs will bring some traffic, but it is rare that any one comment will bring a lot of visitors. Still, this traffic is valuable because many times they have clicked through due to something that you said catching their attention.
Don’t simply assume that traffic is measured only in terms of numbers. Smaller sources of traffic have been instrumental in building many successful blogs.
9. Networking Is Critical
All successful bloggers are surrounded by a strong network of other successful bloggers. This is something that I didn’t really think much about before I started blogging, but I quickly came to realize the importance of networking.
A strong network will provide you with friends and colleagues that can be a help when you need some advice, they can provide links to your blog, they can give you social media votes, they can be an inspiration and encouragement to you, and they can even wind up being your partners in future projects. Being a strong networker is all about being willing to help others and being proactive in meeting others.
If you are interested in getting some extra promotion or growing your blog quickly, there are a number of affordable advertising options that will drive real traffic to your blog. Pay Per Click ads can be very effective and inexpensive (depending on what words and phrases you bid on). StumbleUpon advertising is another option. You can purchase their traffic for just $0.05 per visitor. Even banner advertisements on other blogs can be relatively cheap. Running an ad for a month or more will give you exposure to a new audience and if you were to calculate a cost-per-click it is usually pretty low.