Ask 99% of bloggers and they’ll tell you that when they started their blog, it was dead quiet for the first few weeks.
It’s a horrible feeling.
You’ve spent ages setting it up up to look slick and stylish, your logo and branding is tight and your content is compelling and exciting.
But nobody comes to read it.
Well, it doesn’t have to be like that. Here are five tested strategies that you can implement on your blog that will bring in big traffic on the very first day.
One of the first mistakes that new bloggers make is to set up a blog any old way and assume that it doesn’t really matter what platform it is on or what host is providing the service.
This is a big mistake.
When you start a blog you have two broad options: free hosting and self hosting. As you can see, starting a free blog is quite simple and has the added advantage of not costing you a penny. But the problem is that is severely limits what you can and can’t do on that blog; you have less features, less ownership and generally, less chance at success.
The better option is to get your own distinctive domain name and start a WordPress blog on your own host. This sounds complicated but is actually extremely simple to do and will only cost you around $5 a month. By taking the extra time to set it up this way, you’ll give yourself full ownership and control, a stronger brand, complete access to hundreds of thousands of themes and plugins, etc.
Perhaps most importantly, by using your own domain name and brand, you are signally to Google and all the other services/people who might potentially endorse you that you are a serious blog/website which they can happily refer to their own readers.
Here’s a quick checklist of the things you’ll want on your new blog in order to set it up for big success:
Make sure it just says www.yourblogname.com and doesn’t include any other brand in there.
A quality blog host should have fast speeds, simple WordPress set up and 24/7 support staff.
Make sure your blog stands out from the rest. Find a way to make it different and emphasize those differences.
WordPress is a powerful blogging platform that you can install for free once you have your domain name and host. It is used by the most popular blogs (including this one) and gives you access to free plugins and themes that can change the look and functionality of your site with just a few clicks.
When I first started my blog, I did it anonymously. While it was a good experiment, I got a lot more trust and subscribers once I added my name and photo. Have a strong About page with a high quality photo of yourself.
Every blog needs a content plan that includes goals for that content. Try to have at least one or two hugely useful and detailed posts on your new blog before you start the promotion methods that we’re about to get into below.
Now that we’ve got the bits about starting a blog out of the way, let’s get into the juicy bits about how you can attract big traffic right from the very beginning.
One of the most important things that new bloggers forget to do is make connections with big bloggers in their niche. This is perhaps the most crucial step for getting big traffic because, if you’re lucky, these big bloggers will endorse you to their readers.
Now, it’s really important that you don’t just try to connect with people for the sake of getting something out of them. I always try to find people I genuinely like and admire and connect with them as if I’m trying to make a lifelong friend. I think this has made a huge difference.
Start by researching websites and blogs in your niche and then leave comments and connect with them informally on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. At first, just try to be friendly and get on their radar. Sometimes this will be enough to get yourself mentioned or more visible.
The next thing you can do (and this takes the first strategy to a next level) is to mention those new friends in an extremely high quality blog post that you write. Make sure you link to their blog in a favorable way.
You then shoot them a quick email or Tweet to let them know that they featured in a post that you’ve done, and if you feel like the relationship is solid enough, ask if they wouldn’t mind sharing it.
If the post is good enough they will usually share it straight away. At a bare minimum, you will get your blog on their radar in a positive way.
Something that always amazes me is how quick bloggers are to dismiss advertising. It is a real shame because a blog is like any other business and all businesses need to advertise in order to grow.
The great thing about the Internet is that it isn’t like buying an advertising spot on radio or television. Those things will cost you thousands and thousands of dollars. Instead, you can use Facebook Ads or StumbleUpon Paid Discovery to send a small amount of targeted traffic to your new post.
These things are super simple to set up and you can re-use the templates over and over again. Most people wouldn’t bat an eyelid at spending $10 on a sandwich and coffee, so why not do the same to give your amazing new blog post a helping hand and perhaps send it viral?
Another big mistake that new bloggers make is to assume that by adding more content to their new blog they will get a lot of new traffic. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.
A better strategy is to put one or two extremely high quality articles on your new blog (as we discussed above) and then spend more time writing guest posts on other blogs to attract new readers to your own blog.
The important thing here is to choose blogs that have active communities in a niche that is very closely matched to your own. If you give them something highly useful and relevant, you will find that the post will index on Google and create a long-lasting traffic source that will bring you big traffic for months and years to come.
If you’re not on Google+ yet and you want to run a successful blog, then now is the time to get started. Google’s social network is now the second largest in the world and is becoming more and more active and highly targeted every day.
The great thing about Google+ is that you can write super long micro-blogs that include images, links, bold text, etc. They then allow you to post these little blog entries to relevant communities that you have joined. The result is a that a lot of relevant traffic can find you through your activities on this social network. Darren Rowse often does this and gets lots of shares and positive responses as you can see below.
Photos and longer posts tend to get more attention over there so make sure you find something pretty to attract attention and then write something compelling that people will want to share. If you include a link to your own relevant blog/blog post you can find you get a lot of new visitors.
These strategies have all worked really well for me, but the possibilities for finding new traffic on the Internet are literally endless. If you’ve started a blog that did well really early on, or if you’ve tried any successful strategies yourself, please leave a comment and let us know.
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