Do you feel like the best kept secret in your niche?
Your content is good.
You genuinely want to help your readers and make a difference.
But you’re brand new and struggling to get noticed.
Your google analytics hardly shows a blip of any kind when it comes to traffic.
It’s downright demoralizing and you’re starting to wonder if your blog will ever take off.
All bloggers want more traffic.
But you shouldn’t want traffic for the sake of traffic.
That would be silly, unless of course if ads feature as a major monetization strategy for you.
So what if you have a spike and rush of people coming to your site and they disappear within minutes?
No one becomes a subscriber. No one is genuinely interested in your content to stick around.
Pointless don’t you think?
You want to be able to attract ‘qualified’ traffic filled with your target audience. People who are interested enough to stick around and join your list.
In this post I’m sharing 13 things that I did and learnt about how you can drive bucketloads of ‘qualified’ traffic to your brand new blog.
These are practical, simple steps that could help put your blog on a strong upward trajectory even when it’s newly minted.
Want to discover a simple system for getting your blog off the ground without losing your sanity? Sign up for the free email course below.
#1 Guest Post on Authority Sites in your niche
Guest posting positions you as an authority and expert even when you don’t have the years to show for it.
There’s nothing radical about guest posting.
But there are lots of bloggers who do guest posting wrong. Here are 3 big No’s when it comes to guest posting.
- Your pitch screams lazy
I’ve guest posted on 30 plus sites since I launched my blog and the pitch is something that I take very seriously.
Your pitch is responsible for the first impression someone forms about you.
I put a lot of work into each and every pitch I send out.
Recently, I have been on the receiving end of several pitches and here are the mistakes I’ve seen.
- No introduction of who the person is or where the person blogs at
- You don’t have to be an expert. But you do need to state the niche you’re in and what you write about. Links to other posts or articles would help as well.
- What topics are you suggesting and why would they be a good fit?
- Please don’t throw a fitness article at my digital marketing blog. It shows that you haven’t considered my audience at all.
- Are you familiar with my work? I’d love to know
- You don’t have to fake being in love with the host’s work but some recognition that you have actually looked around on the site and are familiar with their content is good to know. Would your post complement another existing article on the site? That’s bonus and the host would love to know that!
- Getting your VA to pitch me an article
- For courtesy, you could sign off from yourself even if your VA is writing the pitch for you
- Asking the pitch site to give you ideas on what you should write about
I’ve had discussions with several the sites I’ve guest posted for on what topic would be a good fit for their editorial calendar at that point in time, but it always has to start with a proposal from you.
To make it easier to say yes to your pitch, get on the radar of people you are pitching. Share their work, write them emails and let them know you exist (I cover these points later on in the posts).
You’re building a relationship and it shows you’re taking an effort.
A pitch isn’t a scary email either. There’s nothing complicated about it.
Keep it simple. I’ve embedded a sample pitch template I’ve used and still use today.
Hi [First name of Editor] I’ve been published on [state which sites with a link back to the article]. I would love the opportunity to be able to contribute to the [name of site you’re pitching] community as well. I have an idea for a guest post that your readers will find interesting. The topic I’d like to propose is [state title of topic] As per your submission guidelines, I have provided the [Google docs link, pic attachment or alternative headlines. State what you are attaching with the email or document] I hope you’ll find this to be a good fit for the site. Thank you so much for your time and consideration [your name]
I know you get a lot of emails from people looking for your insight, so I’ll keep this short. I’m [your name] with [your brand].
In this post, [give a gist of the topic and the subheads]
[Professional signature at bottom of email]
Hi [First name of Editor]
I’ve been published on [state which sites with a link back to the article]. I would love the opportunity to be able to contribute to the [name of site you’re pitching] community as well.
I have an idea for a guest post that your readers will find interesting. The topic I’d like to propose is [state title of topic]
As per your submission guidelines, I have provided the [Google docs link, pic attachment or alternative headlines. State what you are attaching with the email or document]
I hope you’ll find this to be a good fit for the site. Thank you so much for your time and consideration [your name]
2. You don’t optimize your guest post
The author bio is your tiny piece of real estate for adding value to the host’s site.
Be strategic with it. Rather than sending people to your homepage, send them to a dedicated landing page.
Yes, you want traffic and you’ll get that. But you also want to convert this traffic to subscribers and start nurturing and building a relationship with them.
You could also go the extra mile and tailor the landing page for each site you guest post for.
And don’t stuff your author bio with 4-5 link of all your social media profiles. Give people too many choices and they take none.
Have 2 at maximum.
Here are 2 examples of author bios I’ve written. There’s just 1 single link straight to the landing page.
3. You disappear once the guest post is out
When you do guest post, be thankful and respectful.
The host has lent you the platform that they’ve built.
When people take the time to leave a comment, reply to every single one even if the host responds to the comment.
It’s a nice gesture and gives you an opportunity to build a relationship with the host.
Don’t disappear once the post is out.
#2 Rub shoulders with influencers by sharing their work within your content
Share influencers’ work in the form of examples and case studies in your own post.
This not only boosts your authority as someone who knows your niche well but it also gives you the opportunity to build good will with influencers. And when they do decide to share your work, it’s a huge opportunity to get in from of their fan base which is way bigger than yours.
The important step though is to email them and let them know you’ve linked to one of their posts or resources.
Send them an email to let them know you appreciate their work and share your resource.
Here’s an example of one of the emails I sent Ramsay from Blog Tyrant.
Did you notice something?
I didn’t ask for a share. Influencers are usually so used to getting emails asking them for links, shares and advise.
Be someone who gives for a change. 80% of influencers I’ve written to have shared that piece of content without me even asking.
Some even go a step further and comment on the post, like Ryan Biddulph did for this post.
If you’d prefer to ask for a share, be tactful and tasteful about it.
Have a look at this email sent by one of my readers Pawan. He not only gives a gist of the article he wrote, he also references what tip of mine he shared.
#3 Make sharing your posts ridiculously easy
The more you get your posts in front of people, the easier it will be for new readers to subscribe. Here are a few ways you can do this.
Add share buttons
Use a plugin like Social Warfare that gives you the option of placing share buttons at the top and bottom of each post. It also lets you share the correct image sizes for each social media platform without any weird cropping.
This makes it really easy for people to share while they are browsing your page.
Add linkable assets
If you have a pin image or infographic, display it clearly on the post.
This gives people the impetus to click and easily pin it. People skim when they are reading on the web so if it’s not visible, it’s not clicked or pinned.
Add click to tweets
Click to tweets are quotes or punchy sentences within each post.
If you use Social Warfare, you can easily create click to tweet boxes within your posts like I’ve done here:The more you get your posts in front of people, the easier it will be for new readers to subscribe.Click To Tweet
Add share links to emails and thank you pages
Go to Sharelink generator to create Facebook share links, Twitter “tweet this” links and Google Plus share links using this site.
#4 Promote your work on social media
New bloggers often get caught up in the content creation wheel. I did too.
You keep trying to increase the number of content pieces on your site and forget about promotion.
My recommendation is to start with Pinterest and 1 other social media platform where your audience hangs out.
Pinterest boosted my traffic and although I started a good 6-7 months after I launched my blog, it quickly became my number 1 traffic source
Here’s your plan of action when it comes to promotion.
If you’re pressed for time, focus just on Pinterest
- Create 2-3 pin images per post. You need to increase your volume of pins especially when you’re brand new. This also lets you see which type of pin gives you the most click-throughs.
- Have a clearly identifiable headline on the pin image. Headlines that promise a benefit or to solve a problem will attract more click-throughs to your site.
- Capture that traffic using an exit intent pop-up or content upgrade.
Participate in Facebook promo threads
- Create a schedule of Facebook group promo days.
- Create a description for each post and save it in notes or in a Google doc.
Here’s how you create a good description: 2. Have a call to action Plug them into this template:
Here’s how you create a good description:
2. Have a call to action
Plug them into this template:
Post your tweet several times
Add click-to-tweets within each blog post and tweet these out.
The twitter feed moves very fast so only a small fraction of people would see your tweet ant any one time.
Share to Google+
I had no idea this actually helps till I ready I read Lena Gott’s Traffic Transformation Guide. Perhaps Google does prioritize it’s own content. For instance, when I did a search for the term ‘write email sequence’ my Google Plus posts appear twice on the first page of Google search.
#5 Write exceptional content
Not every piece of blog post is going to be a masterpiece. And that’s fine.
And there are at least 1000 people who have already written about your topic.
But set out to make every piece of content exceptional because when you do, people will start to notice and share your work in Facebook groups without you even asking. The more people share, the more traffic you get.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you start writing any piece of content.
1. Does it add to the conversation that’s already out there?
Have a look at your niche.
Has this been said before?
Will this piece make a contribution to the existing content on this topic?
2. If you think it’s better, in what way?
Your post doesn’t have to be long.
I know Google loves long form content.
But the word count doesn’t matter as long as your content serves your audience.
Bernadette Jiwa is the author of The Story of telling.
Her posts are at most 500-700 words. They are pithy and thought provoking. Her content serves its purpose.
So don’t think of better in terms of word count.
Think of better in terms of an angle, perspective or a new strategy.
There isn’t anything that’s completely original anymore. Originality is deriving new connections and linkages between topics and categories.
3. Does your audience need to hear this perspective right now?
Is it aligned with what your audience needs?
- What objectives or personal goals do they have?
E.g. To get noticed online. To earn some income from her blog. To turn her blog into an online business
- What’s preventing your ideal reader from achieving the desired change?
E.g. Lack of time. Information overwhelm. Shiny object syndrome.
- What mistakes is she making and what can she do about it?
E.g. Focusing on wrong strategies for different stages of her blogging journey.
- What mental block does she have to overcome?
E.g. Believing she is not an expert. She has nothing of value to contribute.
If you can justify the existence of your post on most of these grounds, then go for it.Does your content add to the conversation that's already out there? Or is it noise?Click To Tweet
#6 Show off your expertise by commenting on blogs in your niche
There’s nothing radical about blog commenting either but it does get you traffic (more than I actually thought it could) and it also builds authority.
The intention is to put yourself out there. To show that you can make a valuable contribution to the conversation.
And you can’t do that by posting another ‘me-too’ comment.
The ‘great post’…’good job’ type of comment.
To be noticed online, your comment has to add to the conversation.
Your comment has to be ‘head turning’
Before we look at how to make a head turning comment, you ideally want to be one of the first few to comment on an influencer’s site.
How to be the first few to comment on an influencer’s site
At times by the time you make it to a popular blogger’s site to read their post, there are over 30 comments…
And you wonder if it really matters if you comment.
Because you’re not going to have anything to add to the conversation since the 30 people before you have already done so.
Here’s how you can get in on the action when the post is still fresh:
I do most of my blog reading from Feedly.
So, I created a separate category of all the bloggers I’d like to connect with.
Then in IFTTT, I run the recipe below.
IFTTT is a free web based service that connects different applications through recipes.
What this does is sens me an automatic email notification when there is a new blog post from one of the blogs in my chosen category.
But that doesn’t mean I comment on all posts I get a notification for.
I only comment if I can add to the conversation and it’s a topic I genuinely am interested in.
The art of a commenting
This is something I learnt from Kevin Duncan from Be a better blogger.
1. The greet Always address your host. If it’s a guest blogger address your host and the guest blogger 2. Give a compliment raising a particular point about the post that you liked or intrigues you 3. Here’s where you give your take and add to the conversation Is there a different perspective? Is there a point they missed out? Or you know of a free tool or app that could make something they mentioned easier 4. Thank them again and let them know you’ll be sharing this (if you are)
1. The greet
Always address your host. If it’s a guest blogger address your host and the guest blogger
2. Give a compliment raising a particular point about the post that you liked or intrigues you
3. Here’s where you give your take and add to the conversation
Is there a different perspective?
Is there a point they missed out?
Or you know of a free tool or app that could make something they mentioned easier
4. Thank them again and let them know you’ll be sharing this (if you are)
Here are some examples of how I put these steps in practice through the comments I’ve made on other blogs.
There's an art to commenting. Don't make another 'me too' comment.Click To Tweet
Don’t be the unknown avatar
Maybe yours even does.
Blog comment systems like DISQUS require a log-in via facebook or twitter and your image gets pulled from these accounts.
But other comment systems pull your image off Gravatar.
So, if you don’t have an image on Gravatar, you’re not going to be recognized as the face of your brand no matter how valuable your comment is.
You can learn how to set-up a Gravatar account at this post and it’ll take you just 5 minutes. Promise.
#7 Write a Roundup post
I haven’t tried this myself but it has worked for several new bloggers. A round-up is a post which contains quotes from several influencers and bloggers.
When you write a round-up post, make sure to let the people who have contributed to it know that the post is live.
What this does is get you more shares and click-throughs when the influencers and contributors share the post on their social media profiles.
Here are examples of roundups I have contributed to, for other bloggers.
The bigger and more extensive your roundup is (the more work obviously!) the higher the chances of that roundup driving huge amounts of traffic to your site.
#8 Share influencers content freely
By sharing influencers’ content on your own social media profiles I was able to pitch them guest posts effortlessly because they were familiar with my name. A warm pitch is always better than a cold pitch.
And your good will comes back around. Several of them will go the extra mile to retweet and share your posts.
Have a lost of people you want to connect with this year and start showing a genuine interest in their work.
#9 Interlink your posts
You want new readers clicking around on your site for a longer period of time.
Even if you don’t have a lot of posts, pick out keywords and interlink them.
You need to put in place a system to capture your old content and keywords that go with each article. A simple spreadsheet like this will help.
This way, anytime you feature a keyword in your writing, you can reference back to your spreadsheet to get the link. None of your old content will slip through the cracks again.
You could also use a related post plugin like Zemanta (which I use) to display these posts visibly to your readers.
#10 Email and traffic – yes it’s possible!
I’m not a fan of sending just blog post updates to subscribers.
But you can still link to your posts by adding value in the email.
For any post that you’re directing your subscribers to, talk about any one of these topic teasers in your emails. These topic teasers will work for any niche your blog is in. So tease them with a snippet on one of these before linking them to your post.
- Personal story
- Behind the scenes
Invite subscribers to forward the email to someone who they think may find it useful.
Add Click to tweets and share links within your emails. They work and your subscribers will be happy to share it for you if they’re loving your content
#11 Write cornerstone pieces and start building subject authority
Cornerstone pieces are posts that will bring you a continuous stream of traffic long after they were published.
These are ‘ultimate guide’ type of posts that cover a core audience problem in detail. These are the posts you should be writing when your blog is brand new.
You should also be building a solid list of posts on a particular subject. This shows off your expertise in the subject and you’re paving the way to become the ‘go to’ person for that topic.
#12 Don’t forget Goldfish attention spans
Your site has to load fast or you’re going to lose tons of traffic.
I shudder thinking about the amount of traffic I could have lost when I was with a host nightmares are made of.
Invest in a good host. It’s tempting to want to go with the lowest cost one but just 2 dollars extra a month will get you hosting which is faster and a lot more reliable.
I noticed an immediate, visible difference in site speed when I switched over to Siteground.
#13 You don’t want a blog from the time of Geocities
You can write exceptional content. but if your site looks like it’s from the 1980s, you’re not going to be taken seriously.
Go the self-hosted route and get a premium theme.
Have a look at my resources page for the tools and plugins I’ve used for this site.
Simple, old-school and unspectacular methods to drive bucketloads of traffic to your new blog
That’s what these 13 steps are.
But they work.
Try these and I guarantee your blog’s growth will surpass your expectations whether it’s 3 or 6 months old.
Want to dig deeper into beginner blogger concepts, sign up for the free email course below.