All this work means nothing if no one ever comes to your site. On this page we look at ways in which you can help drive visitors to your new site. It is important to realise that traffic is not just a numbers game, sure it’s great if you can boast thousands of page views every day, but if no one stops to interact with yours site then you’ve got nothing to be proud of.
You need to attract the right audience. It is better to get a small number of engaged readers than a large number of people who surf straight on by.
My first suggestion would be to try and resist the temptation to start selling your site before it is ready. Leave promotion until the site is up and running, the design finalised and a dozen or so quality articles are up and published on your new site.
The site doesn’t have to be “finished”, but just make sure what is there is complete, good, and accurate. You’re going to grow from these foundations.
There are some very good reasons for this:
- Concentrate on one thing at a time. A common mistake of hobby bloggers is to jump around between all the different activities that help to build a hit website but not getting anything done well. The Internet market place is much more crowded that it has ever been before and a half baked attempt just won’t cut it any more.
- A half finished site will put early readers off. You should treat every visitor as a valued reader and invest in retaining every single one of them. Gaining the required inertia to get going takes some effort and in the early stages you need to cultivate every connection you make.
- Get off to a good start with Google. When your site is first listed in Google it will jump around quite considerably. You might even find yourself appearing on the first page for popular terms. If your site is not up to scratch from the start then early visitors won’t hang around and by the time you sink to page 100 you will be facing an up hill struggle to get back on top.
Traffic Driving Techiques
Here are some common techniques for driving traffic to your site. Each of these topics could well be an entire blog in its own right but I hope this helps to provide a starting point for further exploration.
As a hobby blogger you won’t have time to pursue every marketing option out there, and this shouldn’t worry you. Have a think about what might suit your site, try different ideas and build on any successful strategies that emerge.
A great way to promote a new blog is to guest post on existing blogs that are relevant to your site. The blog owner gets a great original article written by yourself, you get the chance to showcase a quality piece of writing to a whole new audience and an all important link back to your site.
Not only will this link refer visitors long into the future but it will also tell search engines that people think your site is worth linking to, this will only help your visibility in the likes of Google and Bing.
Following on from guest posting, building long term relationships with other writers in your niche can be fantastically valuable. When a small group of bloggers work together they can become a powerful group within a niche enabling you all to compete against some of the bigger more established operators.
Although it is tempting to think that you may be “losing” traffic to competing sites this is actually a short term view. In the long run a strong network will grow together and as long as you respect each others material and keep linking to each others leading stories then you have nothing to worry about.
This won’t work if your blog posts are driven by the content of others. But if this is the case you will always be struggling for readers. Lead, don’t follow.
Participating in Communities
Joining other communities is a great way to make a name for yourself.
Forums: Most of you will probably be members of many forums and active contributors to a selection of these. These are a great way to establish your identity and build your brand and authority with others that share your interest. Always be careful to respect the rules of the forum owner.
You don’t want to be labelled a spammer and kicked off before you have even started! If the forum allows signature links then a simple link and some choice keywords can be enough. After that you just need to make some great contributions and those that like what you say will find their way to your site.
Take some time to learn what is and isn’t acceptable, always be respectful, make sure you are adding something to the site. And then when appropriate link back to your own site if you feel you have some content that is genuinely useful. Unfortunately some forums are very protective over link posting fearing that everyone is out to steal their traffic or is robotic spammer. It is of course up to all of us to practice good posting etiquette and show that link posting can be of great value to the communities we are interacting with.
Comments: Commenting on other blogs is very similar to participating in forum communities. There are some further things to consider however. Many blogs use the “no follow” tags which will mean that the links back to your site are not used by Google to calculate search engine rankings. Don’t let this stop you from posting.
Comments are a fantastic way to get yourself heard and established as an expert in the field. Only comment if you have something to say. Don’t be the posters who turn up to every post and add “great article I will read this carefully”. This won’t get you noticed, it won’t get people clicking through to your site.
Be the one who furthers the discussion, adds a new insight to the debate, offers an alternative view. This will get you noticed for the right reasons.
This is a new and exciting way to engage with potential readers, you’ll already be aware of the big players in this field but don’t think you can manage successful accounts across all of these sites without it becoming a massive drain on your resources.
Here’s a brief outline of my own strategy, you may have a different approach depending on the social network sites you enjoy using.
- Twitter: On a personal level, I don’t really get Twitter. But when it comes to attracting new readers to my blogs it seems to be an easy way to interact with strangers. Set up a new account dedicated to your site. Search for people talking about your topics and start talking to them! Half the time they’ll check out your account and if it’s something they are interested you’ll get a new follower. In time you can build up a good list of people who have an interest in your blog.
- Facebook: Facebook is a huge site and people check it regularly, therefore having a presence on the site seems like common sense. The easiest way to do this is to set up a “page”. You can use the WordPress Jetpack plugin to automatically post new content on your blog to the page. I also use Twitter and my blog to encourage “Likes” and build up my Facebook profile.
I don’t think there is a right or wrong strategy for this, as you won’t have the time to maintain an effective presence on all of these sites I would strongly encourage you to chose one or two that you enjoy using. Ultimately you will be more successful if you genuinely enjoy connecting with people in this way.
Article marketing is not quite the leading technique it once was. The idea is that you would write an article with some links to your site and then feed this out round the net to a large number of sites that would be happy to host your content. Search engines are now wise to these link building strategies but that doesn’t mean this is a total dead end.
The trick is to use article hosting sites that might actually send you traffic.
Lets take an example, head over to hubpages and sign up now. Go on, do it! Web building is all about action so why not make this happen now – no excuses! Go through the following steps and give yourself a pat on the back for doing something that has added real value to your portfolio.
- So, first off, sign up to the hubpages website, create a profile, fill it in and you are ready to start creating “hubs”.
- Now create your first hub article, this will ultimately rank in Google, provide you a backlink and will pass on traffic and Page Rank to your site.
- Pick a site that you are working on and would like to get some new traffic, because you know your topic well you will be able to pick a related subject where you can write a fresh 500-800 words straight off the top of your head.
- Use the opportunity to explore a new idea, get an opinion off your chest, have a rant, it doesn’t really matter – just make sure you can create a good deal of content and do it from your extensive knowledge of your niche.
- Add one link back to your site, there is no need to stuff the page, this will harm your articles chances of performing well on the hubpages site.
- Publish up the page and over time you will see your “hub score” improve and the traffic will begin to come.
- Repeat over and over again, the beauty of picking a topic you can write about naturally is that you can put out 500 words again and again on a variety of topics without having to perform continuous research.
Yes, this does take some work but it has a number of advantages. You may also want to submit to other selected article sites as and when you feel you need to grow. But remember this, there is no point promoting your website if there is nothing good on it to promote.
The general rule is to create some decent content on your own site first and once published, go on to promote it. Even if you concentrate on creating one amazing post and then spend the next week promoting it this can be far more effective than trying to promote poor content.
A common hobby blogger mistake is to spend more time working on promotional techniques and forgetting to build a site people will want to visit time and time again.