*This post may contain affiliate links.
When you start blogging for income, it’s normal to have high expectations for it to become a popular authority in its niche right out of the gate. You have visions of earning $100 a day and of subscribers jumping on to your list.
And someday, that may happen for you.
But initially, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and put a little work into your strategy to drive and pull traffic into the site as it builds up a reputation with the right target audience.
We’re going to cover eight basic, free starter steps that get the ball rolling with traffic coming to your blog. From there, it’s your job to work on conversions and learn how to profit from those visitors.
Pleasing the Search Engines
There are two types of visitors you have to please – human visitors (which is your #1 priority) and search engine spiders, also known as “bots.” Blogging is a great way to get search engine bots to regularly visit your site – and it should happen naturally and rather quickly. Particularly if you’re blogging frequently and consistently – approximately 2-3 times a week.
Adding fresh content often will keep your site in the rotation to be indexed for the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Once Google comes to visit, for example, they will return on a schedule to see how often you keep your site updated.
The more often you post, the better it looks in the eyes of Google – because fresh, new content is something they know their own search engine users will be looking for. But never put frequency of post count ahead of quality. Yes, it’s a good idea to attract bots on a regular basis, but if the quality of your content suffers, you’ll have a high bounce rate on your site (meaning visitors leave quickly after arriving), and search engines might take that as a sign that your site provides no value.
You could begin getting search engine traffic the very first week of posting on your site. It helps to use strategic keywords and phrases, like long-tail keywords that have fewer competitors.
This tool gives me an incredible edge for finding low-competition long tail keywords. I think it is the best keyword research tool for SEO and I have gotten great results – ranking quickly and easily with “green light” keywords!
A long tail keyword phrase is one that typically has more words in it. For example, a broad keyword might be “DIY projects.” But a long tail keyword phrase would be, “chalkboard DIY project for kids.”
It would be hard to rank high for the word “DIY projects” but you might find it easier to rank high for the long tail phrase because fewer sites use that exact phrase in their online content.
In addition, notice the clear, descriptive nature of the long tail keyword. A reader searching this way knows exactly what they are looking for and if you target your content to them, they’re more likely to click through to your blog AND to the products and services you recommend as solutions to their problems.
Building a Buzz Via Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is some of the very best traffic you’re going to get. Don’t worry that the site is new – people love quality – and they love to be in on the ground floor of things, including websites.
How do you build a buzz? You create genuine, high-quality content that people can’t believe you’re giving away for free. And then you make sure people have a way to share that great content.
There are many sharing tools (plugins) that you can download and add to your site – many for free. This lets people share your posts on Facebook, Pinterest,Twitter, Reddit, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and via direct email.
On this site, I use Ultimate Social Media Icons and WP Socializer and both are free. (Note: I may be switching out WP Socializer for Social Pug, another free social sharing plugin.)
One reader asked why I use both.
Because I want it to be a no-brainer for a reader to share my site and both of these plugins allow me to have social buttons at the top and bottom of each post, on the left side of my post as the reader scrolls, and at the top of my sidebar. They can’t miss my share buttons and if they like my content, I want it to be easy for them to share it.
So now that you have social sharing capabilities, you can go one step further and manually promote your content.
Use your own share buttons to share your content the moment it’s published. Then, consider joining Facebook groups like this one to build relationships and promote your content.
Submit Your Site for Indexing
One of the most basic steps you can take is one that’s often overlooked. Google allows you to submit your site to be indexed. Once indexed, you have a greater chance at getting traffic to your pages.
If your entire site isn’t indexed yet, then you can go to Google and submit it manually. I go into detail about how to get your site and blog posts indexed in Google in minutes. It’s a good read.
Do this initially to get some traction with Google and when you’re more established, you won’t have to do this because Google will index you all on their own.
Use a Sig File and Participate in Forums
A sig file (signature file) in a forum can help drive traffic to your new website. Make sure it’s something that makes people want to click through, like a free offer or teaser line to tempt them.
Not all forums allow sig files, but some do. Some have zero restrictions, while others have a short list of things they do and don’t allow in your sig file. Follow all rules to ensure you don’t get in trouble.
Participation is key with driving traffic via a sig file. You have to get out in the forum and be helpful – answer questions, post helpful threads and be an active member so that people want to follow your link and see what else you have to offer.
Pin to Win with Pinterest
Pinterest is a hot topic right now. Bloggers are using it ’round-the-clock and are seeing massive traffic from this visually-stimulating platform.
Many make the mistake of thinking of Pinterest as a social network – it’s not. It’s a place where people plan their purchases. And if you think about it, that makes it a search engine! So if you’re smart, you’re going to treat it as one and market with the mindset that you are reaching potential readers who will eventually – hopefully – be your customers, purchasing your products and services or buying through your affiliate links.
A full-on tutorial is outside the scope of this blog post, but here’s what you want to do for each and every blog post:
- You’ll want to start off by creating amazing content. (Check!)
- Then, you’ll want to create a “pinnable” image for your blog post with text that piques your reader’s curiosity.
- Create images that are longer than they are wide – I use PicMonkey and create images that are 800×1200 pixels. You can check out my pins on my Make Money by Blogging board on Pinterest.
- Think about branding your images with backgrounds, colors, and text.
- Start with your background – a solid color or image – then add overlays and text to make it visually appealing, something your potential reader would want to click.
- Add your image to your post, publish, and be sure to pin your image immediately.
When you have all that down, join Pinterest group boards as another way to grow your audience and get more exposure for your blog posts.
Most group boards will have instructions for joining in the board’s description, but you can also comment on a pin asking for an invitation or message the group board’s owner for an invitation.
You may not be invited to every group board you’re interested in, but just keep moving forward, focusing on adding value to any board you do get invited to and keep growing your own Pinterest profile.
Reach a Wider Audience with Facebook
Facebook is another way you can pick up some good traffic. Just about everybody has a Facebook account, and if you can create a fan page or group, you can get plenty of traffic to your site to get things rolling.
The great thing about Facebook is that you can easily share content, so if someone sees your update and knows others who may like it, they can share it on their wall, making it go viral for you.
You can also pay to “boost” a post that you create. This exposes your Facebook post to thousands of other people who might be in your target audience. You can pay as little as $5 – and it comes out through your PayPal account or credit card, however you set it up.
One thing I’ll say here is that you’ll see much better results if you promote with integrity.
Don’t just give to get.
Don’t drop links and run – connect and interact with fans, followers, and group members.
If you join a “like for like” thread, do your best to stay true to YOU and only like the things you’d like even if you weren’t getting something in return.
You’ll make the blogosphere a better place working this way.
It’s just 140 characters total, but a tweet on Twitter can yield some nice traffic results. The best way to work Twitter is to use it for a mix of business and personal posts.
No one wants to read spammy business comments day after day. They do want some of the mundane observations about life that you encounter. Other Twitter users need to develop a relationship with you so that they’ll want to re-tweet your links for you.
Each time you make a new post, tweet it and use hashtags if applicable so that others searching the site for the same topics will find your Tweet and follow your links.
Start following people interested in your niche. You can use the search function to find people who have tweeted about it. Then they will most likely follow you back, allowing you to expose your site links to them over the course of time.
By the way, if you like what you’re reading here, you can follow me on Twitter!
Use Google Plus to Reach a Wider Network
Google Plus is the social network for Google, so it stands to reason that they’re going to make posts on their social networking site rank nicely. Google Plus allows you to post longer items on their site, along with images and video if you want. The site is great for sharing your blog posts and they get indexed quickly for Google SERPs.
How much you get from using Google Plus is up to you and is somewhat dependent on your niche and network. I personally don’t make G+ a priority (and I should, considering how easy it is to share content there.) And some have reported that they’ve worked Google Plus and it just doesn’t seem to benefit them much, if at all.
Try it, see if it works for you, and course correct. You’ll never know until you start sharing.
Blog Commenting the Easy Way
This is a strategy that you have to be very careful with. If you go about it all wrong, you can gain a sour reputation as a spammer, and you don’t want to have that label.
First, find blogs in your niche by going to Google and searching for your keywords. You want blogs that have an active community, so look for fresh content and plenty of comments on the blog posts.
You also want a blog that lets you place a hyperlink when you post a comment. It should ask you for your name and website. If it uses another form of posting, such as forcing you to be connected to Facebook profiles or Disqus, then this won’t benefit you.
Don’t post random or lackluster comments on other people’s blogs. You truly want to be engaged with the blogger about their content, so make sure you read the blog post and offer some true insight.
Make it a priority that you add value to the discussion.
This way, people will see your name hyperlinked when they read the comments – and if your comment is of value, they’ll want to follow the link and see what your own site or blog has to offer.
Go Viral for Growth
Viral products can help drive traffic to your domain but many people take the wrong approach. They slap together content based on a topic or keywords, compile it into a PDF with links and set it loose.
Keep in mind that a viral creation has the potential to go far within the reaches of your target audience, so just as this creation can help generate traffic for you, it can also set you up for a bad reputation if you skimp on it.
If you create a PDF with the intention of having it go viral, make sure you follow these tips:
- Don’t worry about length or word count. Just focus on creating the best quality of information as you possibly can and thoroughly cover your topic.
- It’s not vital you add pictures, but they certainly help. Whatever you do, make sure it’s formatted professionally and polished for decent spelling and grammar.
- Don’t make people jump through hoops to download this file or pass it along to others. Your purpose should be to expose the hyperlinks to your site in it, not to necessarily build a list with it, so forcing an opt in will lessen your chances of having it go viral.
- Encourage people reading the document to share it with others.
Create the viral freebie just like it’s a $2,000 product. That’s how you impress people and get them to share your creation with others. It should be packed with value.
Give value and you’ll receive 10 times what you give back in the form of traffic, raving fans, repeat visitors, and income.
Sometimes it takes time for a site to be picked up by search engines, but don’t get discouraged if this happens. Just keep creating top quality content and you’ll start getting targeted traffic to your domain and be able to move on to the task of converting visitors into paying customers!
Oh, and if you liked this post, would you please share it? 🙂