When you start a blog to share your insights into niche specific content you obviously want people to consume it. Consequently provoking a response somehow, whether by reading a post or watching a video. Can be as simple as just your reader becoming more informed, taking a certain course of action or purchasing a product.
It is easy for your blog to get lost in the jungle that is the web. There are millions of sites out there competing for the same audience. Therefore, on top of creating content, you have the extra work of how to drive traffic to your blog.
Don’t worry though as you are probably already doing something in this direction. For example keyword research which gives you a head start.
There are a number of avenues you can pursue to this end. The more strategies you employ the better. It is equally important to track your traffic sources over time to optimize your efforts accordingly. But this is for a later stage if you are just starting out afresh.
There are two primary categorizations of traffic – free traffic and paid for traffic.
It is best to think in terms of what we already know in the physical world. Let’s say I have just opened an outlet or shop at a particular location. Well stocked and with adequate signage, anybody passing by will see and may be interested in getting in to the store to see more. That’s an example of free traffic. Simple enough?
Additionally, when someone who has had a good experience with your store refers their friends, that is one more free traffic to your store.
Likewise in the internet there are a number of free traffic avenues to promote your blog.
This is also referred to as organic search. It is the most popular source of traffic for beginners as it is free and has a great potential as there are millions of search engine users.
It is accomplished through SEO (short for search engine optimization). These are techniques to make sure that your blog’s content appear in search engines when someone types in a targeted keyword.
Not only appear in the search results of Google and Bing but show up on the first page of the results. And most preferably near the top if not the top as this is where most users will click on.
It’s however not easy to rank highly for new blogs as you have to be recognized as an authority first. Search engines use metrics not disclosed to the public for obvious reasons. It takes effort but still achievable.
The simple email might look like the proverbial barking dog but in this case it bites more than it barks! How is that? Well, first users who go the extra mile to subscribe to your blog mean they somewhat find meaning in your content. These are already a special class of qualified users who find relevance in your blog.
They are much easier to appeal to to take certain actions e.g. subscribing to a new YouTube channel, trying out a product and much more.
However, once you have a huge email list, email marketing might not be that free after all.
To effectively automate, manage and make communications to your following simpler you might have to acquire a software tool. These are the likes of Mailchimp, HubSpot, Sendinblue among many more. On the flip side though, the returns usually outweigh this cost.
These are popular with many established affiliate marketers to manage their long list of email subscribers. It takes time to build a decent sized email list so the earlier one starts, preferably at the launch of the blog, the better.
Having taken root in early 2000s, social media has grown by leaps and bounds. It has grown to such large communities of people that cannot be ignored for marketing purposes.
You can share your posts and videos with your network of friends. These can further be shared by the friends to their circles of friends or contacts. Consequently going viral by receiving a very wide viewership that you would not have otherwise received.
Led by Facebook, the other major players are Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram. If you look around, all major businesses and brands have a social media presence giving credence to its potency. Just like with organic traffic, a social media following beyond your friends takes time and effort to establish.
Direct traffic refers to connections to your blog without any referring third party like a search engine or social media. This is best explained by users who know your web address by memory and type it right into the browser to arrive at your blog.
Furthermore, they could have saved a bookmark on their browser for a direct access whenever they need to access your resources.
Clicking a link in an instant message, an MS Office document all count as direct traffic as well.
There’s a good chance you’ve come across this somewhere on the web. This is due to it being touted a lot as a way of getting backlinks to your blog which purposely is said to increase your search engine rankings.
Guest blogging is the act of publishing posts for a different blog. Of course you have to seek out website owners that are willing to allow this, preferably in your niche or closely related, and obtain their consent. Guest posting usually allows linking back to your blog for example putting your URL in the about me section.
Readers who go through your guest posts can therefore follow the link back to your site thereby being a source of traffic to your blog.
Simple as that. At least in writing, since in implementation you have to deal with much more, like abiding by the different guidelines set by these blogs.
Continuing with the earlier example in the free traffic section, you might need to pay to drive customers to your store if you deem it worthy. Good examples are placing ads in your local newspaper and magazines.
You can also promote your store through radio and television advertisements which comes which much wider coverage. All these costs a great deal of money. In the online world there are manifestations of the same that mirror these and in some instances overlap.
Google Ads is a way of promoting your business to web users through the Google Search Network. It involves the display of ads in search results from where users can click through to your blog therefore serving as a source of traffic. Lots of targeting, location and keyword based, has to go into the ads to get optimized exposure.
Another implementation is non search which is displaying ads through mobile apps and videos. Think of ads that appear in YouTube at the start or as you play a video.
It utilizes a pay-per-click model which means you only pay when a user clicks on your link. There’s so much info on Google Ads that is not possible to write about here, will need its own dedicated post.
On top of being a free channel to share content from your blog with your network of friends, Facebook also has a paid for channel called Facebook Ads.
Facebook has billions of users around the globe and this provides a fertile market to promote your services to. Therefore Facebook took advantage of this opportunity to create ads. This lets your message reach way more qualified users beyond your limited circle of family and friends.
It involves a number of actions to create the most optimal ads like choosing your objectives, targeting an audience and setting a budget. Going forward Facebook provides insights to monitor the ads performance vis-a-vis the objectives.
These ads link back to your blog and hence serve as a source of additional traffic.
While these are not the only ways on how to drive traffic to your blog, they are certainly the main ones. It is actually not possible to manage all as a single person. You’ll find yourself likely concentrating on one or two at a time. Unless you have a team. This is perfectly okay as one source’s traffic might be outdoing the others in certain metrics like conversions.
To get more insights on driving high quality traffic to your blog, check out Wealthy Affiliate. There’s a FREE Online Entrepreneur Certification training that covers building a website, getting traffic and much more.