Your blog is finally online and you’ve published a few blog posts – but you only have one reader (hi mom!).
You started a blog because you had something to share with the world, but the world doesn’t seem to be listening. A blog without an audience is just a journal.
Unfortunately, many new bloggers pour their heart and soul into creating blog posts, only to look at their website traffic and find that no one is reading their stuff. After a few weeks or months – they simply give up and quit.
What is important to realize is this: There are two ways people get to your website. They either know your website address and type it into their browser, or they follow a link to your site somewhere on the internet.
Unless there are links to your website available to your audience, they will not ever find your content.
Does that sound discouraging? It shouldn’t! It means that out there, there could be thousands, even millions of people who are interested in what you have to say. They simply have not had the opportunity to read your work and fall in love with it yet.
For that reason, you need to consider that blogging is not just about writing and posting to your own blog, it is about putting that content in front of the right audience.
How do you do that?
When you are new it can be hard to gain traction.
You may not even know where to begin and you feel it is going incredibly slow. Do not beat yourself up over it – it is the same for almost all successful bloggers. Everyone has to start somewhere, and while there are tactics that could bring a lot of traffic to your website within hours of publishing it, they are not easy to accomplish.
Because I know you are curious about what those tactics are: They include leveraging already popular platforms and influencers and putting your content in front of their audience, with links to yours.
Another option is to pay for potential traffic (for instance through social media or Adwords).
Since getting access to popular platforms requires that you either already have a relationship with the influencers or journalists, or you are able to pitch amazing guest-posts to them from the get-go we are not going to spend time on that in this article. Instead, we are going to focus on what you can easily do!
Write what they are looking for
When was the last time you Googled something? We do it all the time, looking for solutions to our problems, to be entertained, to learn, to buy something.
Find out who is the ideal reader for your content, and then learn about their interests, their problems and what they are looking for online. How can you help them out? How can you entertain them?
You can find out by hanging out where your audience is, whether that be forums, Facebook-groups, in comment-fields, on Twitter or wherever else. What are they talking about?
Type in these topics into Google and pay attention to autocomplete as well as related searches to get ideas for even more relevant content.
You can also create a free account with GoogleAds to use the Keyword Planner tool (you do not have to advertise to use the tool!). Enter your search term to get ideas for similar ones – when I did that for the article you are reading right now, GoogleAds gave me over 1000 suggestions!
Get ranked higher in search engines
When you’ve produced content your audience is interested in, make sure you use phrases they would typically search for in your blog article. If you did the steps above you already have these phrases ready, so use some of them like in your headline and a few times throughout your text.
Search engines look for several things, or signals as they are called, when deciding how far up your article should rank for a specific search query. Context, that your article must be relevant to what the user searched for is only one of those.
Blog regularly. When Google crawls your site and notices that you have fresh content on a regular base this will give your rankings a boost – plus the obvious benefit of you having more content that is driving traffic in the first place.
Make sure to link within your blog so it is easy to get around your pages and posts, and discover new content. There are two reasons for this: One you make it easier for your readers to find interesting articles, and you also increase the likelihood of search-engines finding and indexing (making available in search engines) your content.
Get them to choose you!
Your blog post shows up in the search results, but your work doesn’t end there. Imagine that your article is competing for attention among other results (as well as ads), so how do you stand out? How do you get the person who just performed that search to choose your article over the others?
By taking advantage of the title and description that Googles display for your site.
Treat them like ads and include a call to actions when appropriate. What I mean by that is put the search query in the headline, repeat a variation of that query in the description and encourage the user to continue reading. Make them curious, write that description so enticing they cannot help but click to see what you have for them.
If you are using WordPress, the Yoast plugin lets you add a meta description right within the blog post, and in most cases, Google will honor that description and show it in search results.
Connect with your audience
Earlier we talked about learning what your audience cares about by hanging out where they do online. Listening is well and good and highly encouraged, but don’t be shy – connect with your audience in other channels than on your own blog.
Answer questions, ask questions, be helpful and thoughtful and keep your website link available in your profile and signature. When appropriate you can link to your content as well if it has the answer to someone’s question.
This also goes for other blogs – as long as your answers to their posts are thoughtful and interesting, you will establish a relationship with the blogger and others who read and interact with their comment sections.
Go offline (oh no, she didn’t!)
Yes, I did. While your blog resides online, you interact with people in your everyday life. Let your friends and family know about your blog, they could help spread the word for you.
A tip that may surprise you but that has worked extremely well for me and has lead to many opportunities is this:
Print up business cards with your website address on them, as well as a super-short description of what it is you do for your audience. Feel free to also include a picture of yourself so they remember your face!
Business-cards may seem outdated, but you never know where you get talking to people and even if they may be interested in your material, them remembering your website address isn’t something you should count on.
Keep some cards with you at all times (well maybe not in the pool), when you connect with someone you have something to give them to remember you by.
Share on social media – over and over
Sharing your blog posts on social media is probably one of the first things you thought of when it came to promoting your blog. What I see though is that many bloggers post their new article once in each channel, then they stop there.
When you have published a new blog post, share it a few times over the various channels. Consider posting at different times, as readers might be checking their social media sites in the morning, at lunch-time, on the train home, while watching a show or after bed-time.
If the blog post is current, as in related to something going on right now posting it again a few weeks from now doesn’t make sense. Consider the shelf-life of each post – is this going to be interesting to someone in 3 weeks from now, 3 months, 3 years?
If a post can be just as useful in a couple of years as it is now, we typically call it an evergreen piece of content.
These posts can be shared over and over, and they should be!
New followers on social media may not have seen them before, and even those that have might not have clicked on that post the first time you shared it so you are giving them a second and third chance to enjoy your amazing content.
Obviously, you won’t be pushing the same posts every week, but posting the same post 1-2 times a year is perfectly fine.
I am dependent on automating these tasks for my websites – or it would just take way too long. I use SocialBee to automatically repost my evergreen content in given intervals. SocialBee picks content from the category I specified and takes care of the posting for me so you I run out of content and your blog posts keep bringing in new traffic.
Link to other blogs
Often people seem to not want to link to other bloggers as if they are afraid that their readers might leave and never come back. Linking to interesting sources brings value to your reader, which should always be what you are aiming for.
When you do link to a source, drop them a line either by mail or as a comment on a post and tell them you found their content so valuable you linked to their material from your blog. It is always nice to get that feedback, and they may even visit your blog in return (and even potentially link back if you provide something of value to their audience).
Diversify your content-types
Up until now, we have been mostly focusing on text and traditional blog posts. Keep in mind that people like to enjoy content in different ways, depending on their personality and the type of content.
Consider creating content that are images, videos, and slide-shares for instance, and publish them on your own blog but also on appropriate channels for that time of content. If will boost your SEO as well as drive traffic from those other sites, and on top of everything else you are giving the reader the chance to learn or get entertained in different ways. A win-win!
Patience – your new best friend
If you are taking away one thing from this article I would like it to be this:
the formula to success is simple, but requires patience and putting in the work. Create content that the audience wants, keep putting it in front of them and keep building relationships with them and other bloggers.
Don’t give up, and be consistent. Use a content calendar to help you keep track of your content production, and set up good work-flows and reminders so you do what you are supposed to do.
You owe it to yourself, and you owe it to your audience to show them the outstanding content you are producing!