One of the most often asked question on any community based website or forum website like Reddit, StackOverflow or WordPress forums:
How do I drive traffic to my blog ?
In general this question is most likely asked by newbies to blogging, with the expectation that there is just one thing they can do that will magically and instantly increase visitors to their blog or website.
Usually these hopes and dreams are based on the desire to sell advertising space and earn mega millions from the 5 minutes they have spent setting up a blog.
The truth is, there is no magic formula that can somehow turn your obscure blog into a world best.
Nothing is going to happen overnight, and for most first time bloggers you can wait for at least 18 months for any sigificant traffic to start visting your blog.
You need to manage your expectations and realise that it takes constant learning, experimentation, tweaking and daily effort to consistently push the needle of progress.
Enhance your basic SEO knowledge
One of the many secrets to success in blogging, is to have an absolute basic knowledge of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you can start by learning What is Search Engine optimisation, and then understand why SEO should complement your content marketing.
You should have at the very least rudimentary high level knowledge of how and why search engines work. You don’t need to understand the complex algorithms or deeply complex mathematical formulas involved.
Learn the basic principles of SEO, and you’ll discover for the most part SEO is mostly just common sense..
Taking the time to read SEO For Dummies , will be well worth the effort.
Don’t worry about if the content is not up to date or even if the tools they discuss are not of any relevance, there is still a lot of information that is highly relevant and will give you a solid grounding of the basics.
Truth is the basic concepts of SEO remain the same no matter what. The only thing that changes are strategies and tactics, but sticking to the basics is all you need to focus on in the beginning.
The more you learn the better you will be able to evolve your strategies and tactics.
If you are going to be using a platform like WordPress , Blogger, Drupal or any other blogging content management system, then you can be rest assured that most of the Technical SEO aspects are more than likely going to be covered for you, and in most cases you will need to do very little.
Anything else there is more than likely going to be a plugin to help you on your way. If you’re just starting out with your blog, and are using WordPress, it is worthwhile checking out the free Yoast SEO.
Opinions on free Yoast SEO plugin vary amongst the SEO community, some regard it as unnecessary with significant performance impact and others regard it very highly.
Our view, is it’s great if you are just starting out and are keen to learn. It has many great features that will absolutely help a total beginner, and provide guidance along the way. We have on occassion found it not to be totally reliable and in some cases the some features are misleading. On the whole, it does help you to dip your toe in the water and get started quickly.
We cannot vouch for the premium version, in all honesty because we have never used it and as most sites tend to get larger and as experience and knowledge improves the plugin is uninstalled.
The key point to remember is the more time you spend thinking, learning and practice implementing increases the likelihood of success.
Define your niche
Your niche isn’t a specific area of expertise or particular product. Your niche, is a specific target market of customers.
Your aim should be to target a specific group of people with very specific needs, desires and wants, in order to for you to provide value by delivering content to address those needs, wants and desires.
When you’re starting out out, it really does pay to narrow your focus as much as possible. You really need to zone in.
For an example, let say you want to start a Fitness Blog, yes I know there are millions of them and it’s a competitive space. But think for a minute, how many Fitness Blogs or work-out programs do you know that are designed for Brown Haired, Blue Eyed, Forty-Something, Middle-Aged spread, Mid Life crisis bound blokes in the South West of England?
Sure, you could argue, well all fitness blogs may have a program for that market, but none of them speak specifically to that market.
You want to ensure, that all your content, is specifically targeted to your market.
The advantages of defining your niche, is that you’ll know exactly where these people are and what you can do to attract them to your blog. You’ll know what they’re searching for, what they’ll need and more importantly what you’re going to do satisfy them.
It’s hardly rocket science, but too many people treat it as such.
You just got to keep in mind, Everyone is not your customer but there is somebody who is!
Taking time to identify and interact with your target community is vitally important. Don’t try target all social media channels all at one, choose one or two at the most. Engage and interact with your audience. Humans like Humans not bots.
Your blog is not unique
Too many people waste too much time worrying about what aspects of their website is going to be unique. They will spend hours contemplating unique design choices and even ways on how to uniquely write content etc.
I can assure you, Nobody cares about uniqueness, in fact being too unique will often count against you.
What your target audience only really cares about is how you aim solve their problems.
The quality of your content should be your only differentiator.
Ask yourself the these fundamental questions when developing your content
- Am I solving a problem ?
- Am I adding Value ?
- Do I have a Call to Action?
- Am I better than the next best alternative ?
The validation for these questions is that people use the internet to search for solutions to their problems. The only thing they are concerned about, is themselves.
The only unique aspect of your blog you need to worry about, is how quickly and easily can people find solutions to their problems by using your website.
Plan your content
Blogging is an element of Digital Marketing more commonly associated as Content Marketing.
To be successful at Content Marketing, or any kind of marketing for that matter, you need to have a Content Strategy, Plan , Audience and Action.
You need to plan the content of your blog to ensure it addresses the needs, wants and desires of your target audience.
Sure, this is easier said than done, but it’s the reality of blogging. Many people get into blogging, thinking that they have something to say and they want others to take notice. The truth is, nobody is really interested in what you’ve got to say, they are only interested in whats in it for them.
You need to really take the time, to think about what would like to achieve with your blog. We’ve discussed this briefly in How to start a successful blog, in that you really need to dive deep into what are the reasons why you want to start a blog.
Once you’ve successfully answered that question, then you need to answer a few more of the following questions
The answer to these questions, will help you to define your blog. You’ll have absolute clarity of purpose of your blog. It is this clarity and sense of purpose that will help set the conditions of success for your blog.
Having the ability to not only define who are the target customers of your blog but also crucially who are not the target customers so you don’t waste time attracting these people.
Focus on Conversions
The number 1 mistake all first time bloggers and website owners make, is to focus on increasing web Traffic instead of Conversion Rate Optimisation.
It is a common fallacy spread by many so called SEO Professionals that all you need for a successful website is to be #1 on Google. All promising that once you get your website to this mythical nirvana, that the sales will just start rolling in.
More Traffic != More Customers != More Sales
The primary target for your website is Customer Acquistion, it is not Web Traffic numbers!
Web traffic is Vanity, Conversions are Sanity!
It’s possible to get your website to the top of a ranking position, using all sorts of Grey & Black Hat techniques and strategies etc, but what they don’t tell you is that this won’t push the needle as far as sales go!
There is a whole lot more to consider and many more challenges you need to overcome to actually get your visitors to click that Buy Now button!
Even if your website is only getting 5 Visitors a day, you still need to ensure that you do all within your power to ensure that they carry out whatever action you would like them to carry out i.e.
- Email Newsletter sign up
- Buy a Product
- Click on an Advert
- Click on a link to another article
- Contact you
Only by studying your users behaviour will you eventually figure out, what it is they actually want.
If you are new too blogging or e-commerce we strongly suggest you read for in order to understand the consumer behaviour and start to learn how little differences can affect and influence human purchase decisions.
In the book Paco Underhill, highlights the importance of Recording and reviewing how customers interact and engage in your store. The exact same principles apply online, you should at least contemplate implementing some type of user behaviour recording software like Lucky Orange -The Original All-in-One Conversion Optimization Suite , to enable you to record, review and monitor how your users interact with your webpages.
There are three main areas this tool will help to provide information on :
- what draws visitors’ attention?
- how far down on a page are visitors willing to scroll?
- how do visitors interact with a page’s elements?
In our opinion and numerous others Lucky Orange is the best web analytics tools for startups and newbies.
Lucky Orange provides tools for real-time analytics with recording of every visitor interaction on your website, it also has a number of great features which you will soon find provide great value!
There are a number similar tools which help you do the same but if you want accurate analytics, a lot of options, easy to use dashboard and most importantly, a very competitive price then Lucky Orange is your best bet.
You can sign up for a free 7 day trial of LuckyOrange and you don’t even need a credit card.
The basic plan is just $10 a month. For many marketers, the 7 day free trial is more than enough to get significant insights from the tool.
If you are using WordPress, it’s even easier as they have a free WordPress plugin so that it loads on all the pages automatically.
Although these may be at first glance some really basic and rudimentary steps, we can assure you they are also the one most likely to be over looked.
Building a great website is all about flawlessly executing on the basics. It really is all you ever need.
You can and many people do manage to single-handedly make a success of there blog, often managing to create a great business out of it. All it takes, is patience, determination, a willingness to learn and keep learning and a desire to keep experimenting.
There are many skills you will need to learn to become successful, but you should not be daunted by it. The objective is too learn what you need to one step at a time.
Once you have mastered one skill, move onto the next one and you will notice that your traffic numbers will start improving over time.