First of all, let’s get one thing clear, content really is the key here. You can do every single thing on this list but if what you’re writing is essentially shite then it’s pointless. What are you playing at? Just take some time to write something decent.
Right, now that’s out of the way, let’s get down to the business of how to promote your blog.
So, you’ve written something ace. Maybe you have an amazing product to tell me about. Perhaps you’ve taken the best picture of a pig in wellies that anyone has ever seen. Good work. Now comes the tricky bit – getting people interested.
Unfortunately there isn’t one easy peasy way to get millions of people visiting your website or blog, but there are lots of little things that you can do, that if done regularly and as a package of activity, can help boost traffic.
Here ‘s a by no means comprehensive list of 43 ideas to get you started, in no particular order:
Know your audience and write about stuff they will be interested in. Seems obvious doesn’t it? But could you tell me right now what percentage of your readers for instance are women? Use feedback from readers and analytics from Google and your social channels to build a profile of your target reader and give them what they want.
Hang out in the places your readers are already – not like a stalker, outside their place of work, I’m talking online. Are they Facebook users? Do they use forums that you could join? Read some top tips about comment marketing here.
Start a Facebook page and post a mix of interesting content, some of which is directed to your website. Encourage engagement by asking direct questions. Keep updates short and punchy and avoid pushy sales techniques.
Run a linky or regular feature where other bloggers submit posts on a theme and increase blog traffic by asking as many people as you can to join in.
Reply to as many blog comment as you can. This encourages a feeling of community and brings more people back to your site.
Be consistent. People like to know what to expect so blogging consistently is useful. I use an RSS generated Mailchimp email system, so new content gets sent out at the same time every day. I hope that this means people know that lunchtimes are the time to look out for an email from me.
Get on Twitter and start getting properly involved. It’s been a fantastic way to increase blog traffic for me, as you can see from this:
Use graphics. That little wheel thing was cute wasn’t it?
Join networks where you have the opportunity to submit content or connect with people in the same industry.
Post your content on LinkedIn. It’s not just for job hunting you know. You could join a LinkedIn group too and start making yourself useful.
Pull out interesting quote, facts or headlines and use Click to Tweet to encourage people to share them.
Submit posts to StumbleUpon but don’t be spammy – like and submit lots of posts as well as your own.
Include your blog or website link in your email signature. Sure, not everyone is going to click on it, but some people will, and it will add to that drip effect. Hell, get it tattooed on your forehead if you’re brave enough.
Get business cards made and keep some with you all the time. You never know who you’re going to meet. I like Moo.com because they do round corners. (They is no evidence that suggests round corners get you more traffic.)
Use numbers in your titles. Like this one. It made you read it didn’t it?
Make posts more scannable and easier to read by using lists and subheadings. How often do you read something online simply by scanning through and looking at bullet points or quotes? Display key information as a list, subheading or graphic to draw your reader in. More info here.
Use nice images and make them Pinterest friendly. Portrait pictures work better for Pinterest and include text to make it immediately obvious what your blog post is about. Online picture editors like Picmonkey are great for this and very easy to use.
Include social sharing buttons with each post to make it as easy as possible for readers to share your content through their own channels to increase blog traffic without doing any of the work yourself. (People are basically dashing from one thing to another online, so make it simple for them.)
Write guest posts for other blogs and ask to include a link back to your site. This will introduce you to a whole new audience and is good from an SEO point of view.
Install the Yoast plugin if you’re a wordpress user – it’s a super easy to use SEO plugin to help you optimise every post.
Go a bit further and get to grips with SEO basics to increase blog traffic coming from search engines. I like the beginner’s guide from Moz.
Use Bufferapp to schedule social content. In the analytics tab you can see exactly which posts have been most successful. Test titles, timings and use of images to optimise everything you do.
Leave thoughtful comments on other blogs. Don’t do it for the sake of it, no ‘great blog!’ type comments please – instead choose a selection of blogs you genuinely enjoy and read and comment regularly. Try a tool like Feedly or Bloglovin to help you keep track of them.
Use Google+. Don’t ask me how.
Don’t ignore your analytics. Keep an eye on where your traffic is coming from and if you spot something that’s working well, do more of it. More info here.
Do some research into keywords when writing a post to help you create content around popular search terms. Google’s Adword Keyword Planner is useful for this.
Link back to your own posts within new ones. If you’re writing about interiors for instance, reference similar posts you’ve written recently.
Don’t be afraid to be a bit controversial to stimulate debate, but make sure it’s something you’re genuinely passionate about and that you’re prepared to argue your case.
Introduce a new regular feature or series, to get people coming back for more.
Optimise your blog for speed and mobile. Google PageSpeed insights can help with this.
Invite guest posts from other bloggers or industry experts.
Interview interesting people. (I am available.)
Keep an eye on the calendar and reshare seasonal content from previous years – perhaps you’ve got a great post about Valentine’s Day or an awesome pancake recipe? Generally having a lot of evergreen content, (stuff that doesn’t date), is a good way to ensure your blog traffic keeps growing.
Set up an Instagram account and share images from new posts.
Review your social channels and make sure your branding is consistent and clear. Make sure you’ve included a link to your blog everywhere possible.
Be generous with your likes and shares. Tweet links to other blog posts you like and tag the writers so that they know you’re being nice. Fingers crossed they may return the favour.
Label images well. Include relevant keywords in the alt text to boost the chances of your images popping up in Google image search.
Write shorter posts. No one on the internet cares about anything for more than about 10 seconds remember? Keep posts punchy; around 300 – 500 words works well.
Keep headlines and social media updates short too. There’s some interesting research about it here. Did you know for instance that the optimum length for a Facebook update is apparently only 40 characters?
Offer to speak at events. It’s pretty fun really.
Do some face to face networking. Lots of people make the mistake of thinking that all blog promotions need to be online but meeting people face to face is a fantastic way to start a relationship. Try to make yourself useful and follow up afterwards with a ‘nice to meet you’ and offer of help.
Ask friends and family to share links on their own social media sites. If you can’t exploit your family then who can you exploit?
Create useful resources, stuff that people will actively want to share. Like this post hopefully.
What techniques do you employ to help drive traffic to your blog or website?
Laptop image – Syda Productions/shutterstock