So you’ve got this really sweet blog setup. You have a cool theme installed, you’ve got all the plugins that make the blog really kick butt, you’ve got some affiliate links sprinkled in to make a few bucks here and there and you’ve got a ton of tools to make your online life so much easier. There’s one problem… How the heck are you really going to get people to your site? I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that there are so many different ways out there to generate traffic to your blog. The bad news is that they all require either quite a bit of time and hard work or money. If you really want to get anywhere in the business, you are going to need to spend one of the two, either time or money.
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Be active in your niche’s community.
I can not stress this enough. This is the biggest thing and the fastest way to build free traffic to your blog. Find as many other blogs as you can that are in your niche, read the posts on those blogs, and leave good, relevant comments. Don’t give them the crappy “great post” comments. Those will usually get tossed out as spam. Read the post and try to add a comment that will add to the topic. Give input or more information that the readers of that blog will enjoy and get something out of. People will come to your blog if they think they can learn something from you.
Jump in to the forums that are related to your niche. I guarantee that there is a forum for your niche, no matter what the niche is. There’s always a forum. Get in to that forum, put your blog’s address in your signature, and make helpful, useful comments. The more valuable and relevant your comments are, the faster they will convert in to traffic. Once again, stay away from comments like nice post or good idea. Give people something that adds to the conversation. You are much better off not commenting at all than leaving a plain, boring comment. People will get irritated and will be counterproductive.
Another method of giving to your niche’s community is to write guest posts. Find blogs that are in your niche and write a post for them. E-mail them before you write the post, give them compliments on their blog, and ask if they would be interested in letting you write a guest post for them. Give them three or four ideas of things that you would like to write about. Let them pick the topic. Using this method, you have the opportunity to grab the readers of that other blog. Unlike comments, your guest post will go out to their RSS subscribers and it will sit on their front page for a few days in most cases. It is an excellent way to get a quick boost. Want some examples of guest posts? Here is a guest post that I wrote about how to make money with Clickbank (Link no longer exists). Notice also, Bill Romer made a guestpost on my blog. When it comes to guest posts, use your best ideas. You want your absolute best material in these guest posts because you are trying to grab new readers. You need a great first impression.
Article marketing works because sites like ezinearticles and GoArticles are more popular than yours. It’s the truth, Google likes them better. Basically, you want to write an article about your niche and post it to one of those sites. At the end of the article, toss in your blog’s link. When people stumble across your article, if the content is good, they will find you blog.
Using websites like HubPages and Squidoo, you can generate the same effect. Leveraging the fact that these sites are very popular and Google likes them, you can create quick, relevant sites that link back to your blog. My typical technique is to create a squidoo lense with about three articles and a couple relevant YouTube videos. I then throw my blog’s link in at the bottom. People like what they see at my lense and come to my blog to get more.
Social Networking Sites
This is a pretty quick and easy way to help generate traffic. Post the address to your blog on all of your social networks. Make sure you have a link in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and any other social network you can think of. People find you and are curious about your site. It’s quick and easy.
Social Bookmarking Sites
This another powerful way that could potentially generate massive traffic. Every time you create a blog post, submit it to places like Digg, Reddit, Delicious, StumbleUpon, and any other social bookmarking sites that you can think of. I have had blog posts that went viral because I submitted them to one of those sites. The next thing you know, your blog that receives 10 views a day, has over 600 in one day. It happens all of the time. Use these sites. They have the potential to explode your site’s traffic.
I like to contact as many other blogs as I can that are in my niche and offer to swap links. I’ll give them a shout out in one of my posts if they sneak one of my links in to one of their posts. This is beneficial in two ways. First you can snag a little bit of traffic from their blog and second, Google loves to see your site linked from other sites. This will help your search engine ranking.
Pay Per Click
This is the first of my paid traffic generation methods. I don’t tend to recommend this for blogs because, at first, you won’t make that money back. It is, however, the absolute fastest, easiest, way to boost your traffic almost instantly. You pick some keywords in Google AdWords and every time someone searches for your keywords, your ad will show up for them. Google will charge you every time someone clicks on one of your ads. As you can imagine, the cost can build up quickly.
Another option is purchase links from other, more popular, websites. This may be slightly more suited for blogs because I tend to think it will bring more relevant traffic. However, this method is a risk as well because you are paying for that link to appear, not for the clicks on that link. You might purchase a link for one month on a website for $20. If no one clicks that link all month, you just lost $20 and have nothing to show for it.
There are so many more traffic generation techniques available. For a blog, I would stick to free methods. It will take a long time to see a return on a paid ad investment at this stage in your blogging career. I will post a follow up in a few days with more ideas to generate blog traffic.
Stick around! We are just getting started!