The students who joined Blog Mastermind right at the beginning have just entered the traffic building and marketing phase of their training with me (lesson 11 onwards).
I’m very excited to finally enter this part of the program because it’s the area most people fail and the single biggest reason why most bloggers don’t make money. While I’m not expecting to perform miracles, since no matter how much training I provide it’s still up to the individual blogger to execute on the ideas, I hope I can help bring a good chunk of the students into profits as a result of what they learn in this section of the course.
The 4 Ways of Building Traffic
In lesson 11 I introduced students to the 4 different ways you can build traffic to a blog. I won’t repeat the whole lesson here, but I want to introduce you to these methods so you gain an understanding of what your options are for building traffic to your blog and point out one really important mistake most bloggers make that forever stunts the growth of their blog.
The four methods for building traffic to a blog are –
- You can buy it
- You can get it from search engines
- You can take other people’s traffic
- You can do or create something that generates attention and word of mouth
As overall methodologies, the above four options cover pretty much every technique available to bloggers to build traffic.
The options for buying traffic are many and so far the most common methods I’ve seen used by bloggers are paying for sponsored reviews, using Google’s AdWords pay-per-click system or buying banners on other blogs.
Search engine traffic is the most affordable option since it’s free once it comes, but takes a while to establish and unless you tap into long tail markets, you may never drive huge amounts of traffic from the engines. The top bloggers, by virtue of how many links they attract due to their high profiles, generally enjoy lots of search traffic, but as a coordinated strategy, SEO is a challenging method of building traffic for the average blogger to manipulate effectively.
Taking other people’s traffic may sound malicious, but really it’s just about relationships. Most bloggers understand this principle and realize that a link or two from other blogs, especially the large blogs, can do huge things for their traffic, yet for various reasons they don’t understand how to effectively work their best asset – their fellow bloggers. Through joint ventures, giving before receiving and building relationships, “borrowing” traffic from other people who have vast amounts of it, is one of the best ways to build an audience.
Lastly, and by far the most common method bloggers implement to generate traffic, is the “content is king” approach. Build it, and they will come is the theory, yet so many bloggers sit at home typing great blog articles and then scratch their heads wondering why no one comes to their blog to read their work. Even after extensive study of what goes into great blog writing, people still fail to build traffic – why is that?
Don’t Replicate Your Blogging Heroes
Most bloggers follow the success of other bloggers closely. This occurs for various reasons – hero worship, to study their ideas, for entertainment and to stay informed, and perhaps the number one reason – to attempt to replicate their success. If you do what the top bloggers do you maximize your chance of enjoying similar success as them right?
This is flawed psychology. This won’t work because you attempt to replicate the procedures of a blogger who is already successful. As with most things, getting from one point to the next requires you move in a sequence. Certain conditions must be met prior before results are forthcoming.
As a simple example, if you posted the exact same articles I’ve posted to my blog during the last two weeks to a brand new blog, chances are you won’t enjoy huge amounts of traffic. The reason my last two weeks worth of posts have attracted over 50 new incoming links, various comments and brought my daily readership a few steps closer to 5000, is not because of the content I wrote, it’s because of what has been done before the content was published. There is a platform that must be built before content alone will work.
Believing Content Is King Is A Mistake
The mistake most bloggers make when building traffic is to rely solely on option four of the methods I mentioned at the start of this article. Unless your work is genius or you get lucky, most bloggers will not build traffic based only on the strength of the content published.
The problem, and here’s the REAL reason why most bloggers never make it to the first hundred readers mark, is that it’s easy to just sit at home and type articles. Writing is challenging for some, but it’s not something that requires a lot of proactive effort beyond 30 minutes spent in front of a keyboard (unless you are illiterate of course).
The other traffic building steps require you commit to a goal and do more than just write blog articles. You invest more time and energy, thus sacrifice other things you could be doing instead.
When you spend money to buy traffic you are taking a gamble and investing in a outcome – you are putting money into your blogging.
When you study SEO and work on building links you invest energy into something that you won’t enjoy rewards from for many months. That takes faith.
If you go and build relationships, propose joint ventures, introduce yourself at conferences, ask to do podcast interviews or any number of things that result in contact with other people on a more personal basis, you are leaving your comfort zone, moving beyond the average and into the unusual with the hope of one day becoming the elite.
All these things take considerably more effort than just writing words to a blog and without doing at least a few of them, it’s hard to ever build significant blog traffic.
Successful Bloggers Focus On Method 4, You Have To Do More
I’ll let you in on a little secret. The top bloggers focus most of their time on method four above. We spend our time trying to produce gee-golly-gosh good content. Some are still very proactive at all the other methods of building traffic, but they know thanks to their established audience, JUST writing good content is enough to keep things moving forward.
I’m proof of this point. It’s been a long time since I went about proactively asking for links, or buying traffic or tweaking the SEO elements of my blogs. Doing these things would grow my traffic quicker, but I know if I just put out great articles, my traffic will grow, not as fast as some, but much faster than the average blogger.
Relying on just my content to generate attention and spread through word of mouth works because I already have attention. When you have an audience and you do something, you bring in more audience. It’s as simple as that and may seem somewhat unfair, but that’s just the way it is. No matter how good you are, unless people are watching you when you perform your tricks, it doesn’t matter.
Your job as a less-established blogger is to not rely only on option four – your good content alone – to bring you traffic. You must focus on as many of the other options as you can, while making sure you keep putting out the good content.
The true secret to building blog traffic is to always focus on satisfying people’s desire to read compelling content (or listen to it or watch it), but also realize at certain points along your blog’s development lifecycle you have to do other things equally well.
The hardest time is right at the start. If you understand and accept that, then go to work to bust through to the top level of bloggers, you will make it, it just takes faith and hard work.
Here’s to your blogging success,
Great article! As a fairly new blogger this is some valuable info, thanks!
Awesome post! I’m also a “startup” blog looking to build some traffic, actually my blog still under development and whats up right now is just a developer blog. Still I’m working on sending traffic to it so when I do launch I have some sort of platform to work off of.
Thanks again and great podcasts btw!
Excellent article, Yaro.
That’s it, it takes hard work and faith to build a blog. I will never stop. You have my word on that. I have a lot of time every day. I am successfully tracking hundreds of blogs and dozens of social networking sites and even more bookmarking sites, and that’s just for starters, folks.
I’ve got the faith and I live for working hard and I will keep on writing articles and executing everything else that I can for however long it takes, all while learning more and more.
I love blogging, I live to blog and I blog to live. Many of my acquaintances would say that I am obsessed with blogging. I opt for blogging in lieu of many other pleasurable activities. I have found my calling in life. Yaro, If you ever need another virtual assistant to help with your school and forum, I am your answer. I live in the eastern USA, not in Brisbane, but I live for blogging and all it represents.
The world of blogging is changing rapidly, and to keep up with it you need to be able to read fast and assimilate vast amounts of information then integrate it into your overall blogging strategy then execute, on an ongoing basis. It’s all about PERSISTENT Concentrated Effort.
I’ve read Blog Profits Blueprint dozens of times and I will keep on reading it. I will succeed at memorizing BPB word for word and I will succeed at executing the principles embodied in BPB and my blog is growing and will continue to grow.
I’ll see you around the blogosphere and in the social networks.
Have an excellent day.
I chose number 4. My movie Blogging the Movie should be the biggest buzz in the blogosphere.
Great article, it makes me realized that what count the most, it’s to promote your blog with all the strategies available to you at the moment. I consider a blogger as a book’s writer. The book’s writer after writing a book, he will spend most of his time at the library promoting his book. He will need also get some interviews on tv. Then the newspaper will write a review about it. After all this process, the fans will give him some feedbacks about his book.
I think it’s very similar on what we doing. My question is, should we follow this process step by step or the blogging world is totally different?
Thank you for summing it up so cleanly into 4 simple ways. Of the 4, I think #3 is most important (aside from content which is #1 in my book).
I was successful in building almost 100 links (measured my Technorati) and building my traffic to about 200 visitors per day in 2 months, by participating on other people blogs (via commenting), linking to them, mentioning them, and participating in carnivals. I know this is not a huge number, but I suspect it’s not that bad for a blog in my niche.
This might be a stretch, but one of my methods for building traffic is loving what you do. Perhaps its an overall perspective, since if you love what you do you’ll likely already be integrating with your nitches community and building great content. You’re also less likely to give up if you love it.
Great post – it’s amazing how success in all things in life is simply a matter of persistence and consistency, going the extra mile and not giving up too early…even in blogging! I’ll definitley be using the thought-process and techniques here to continue to increase my traffic. Thanks! Have a great day.
As always Yaro, this is an outstanding post. I loved your statement about not mirroring what your blogging idols are doing now, but what they did in the stage that you are at. This is so important.
That was such an incredibly good post….I can’t believe how much it applies to my situation.
I only have one website. The goal is quality content. My only real strategy right now is the idea of volume blogging, and cranking out solid content that targets long tail keywords. I have no idea how long this technique will take to build a solid readership. Probably several more years.
Stumbleupon lets you buy one hundred targeted visitors for 5 bucks, but those are not the kind of people who generally link to your content, and the bounce rate for that traffic is deplorable.
I am lost.
Thanks for another good post!
Its not a blog, but we are about to launch a beta of a clothing organizer website. This was helpful for me in my promo work.
Great post! I have only been blogging for a short period of time, and I do put effort into my posts. It’s just really tough getting things started, and having people come to my blog. Thanks for the words of wisdom, and I’ll keep on trying.
Great read! I am a firm believer in everyone’s path to success is different…you can’t copy someone else’s path because there are just too many variables.
I’ve been blogging about 4 months and have reached the >100 daily readers but in the next several weeks I’m going to try really hard to increase that number. We are even in the process of a blog name change and redesign: entrepreMusings.
I found out about your blog from a post on Wendy’s blog eMoms at Home where she linked to a post on 45n5 of the top bloggers blogging on how to make money online. I’ve already learned a lot from her.
I’ve subscribed to your blog and look forward to learning more tricks! 🙂
Great post. I have always been in the Content is King camp, but now I am rethinking my position.
Thanks Yaro. These are great tips. I know you said you mostly concentrate on option four now. But how long did you have to do the other things for, before you were able to just rely on writing great content?
That was very inspiring. Thanks, Yaro. I just started my blog, and at first I was ‘talking’ to myself. You give good advice, and your last paragraph inspires me to keep writing!
This is very valuable information for new bloggers and those pursuing the next step in their blogging/website careers.
Excellent article with interesting points for newbies like us. So we stumble on, your thoughts in mind.
Great, I hope to learn from some of your advice.I have been blogging for slightly over three months now.The traffic to my blog had been quite slow and the last few weeks it had slowed down.Anyway, I am not giving up but would try every method possible to bring more people to my blog.
Great post… It was not surprising to me as option no#4 is the one most bloggers pick. Build and they’ll come.
Isn’t that How most people approach building a website or a product or whatever in life (i.e Buy a weight loss book and never read it?)
From my point of view if you concentrate on 2 and 3rd ways, You can easily get starting traffic to your blogs. Search engine can get you good amount of traffic provided you are using your keywords right.
I recently started a new blog 4 days ago… Right now all of my search engine traffic is coming from Long tail keywords (3 words or more).
Thanks Yaro – six months is excellent. You write very well, which must help a lot.
Great post! Thanks for spelling it out so clearly and keeping it simple.
Yaro, I agree and disagree with your analysis of content not being king. No matter what you do to drive traffic to your blog, if people don’t like what they see when they get there, the effort and money has been wasted.
That said, you need some way to drive traffic. Search engines are worthless if you don’t rank, and you won’t rank if people don’t link to you. People won’t link to you if they don’t know you exist, and no one knows you exist until you make them know.
So, really you’re outlining methods of bringing in traffic in the first place, and in that respect I will agree that content is not king at all. It is as far as keeping readers there, and compelling others to link to you.
Out of your 4 methods, that leaves only 2 for brining in the visitors – Networking, and Buying. Which you do is dependent upon which you value more, the time spent networking, or the money spent advertising.
Personally, I enjoy the community aspect of blogging. I think it’s one of the reasons for choosing blogging as opposed to some other medium. I also think that does more to forge valuable relationships, which means links > increased page rank > traffic.
I also like the option of buying links, because it adds to the community strategy. Diversify.
Pinyo, I think that’s outstanding regardless of your niche. Way to go! give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.
I’ve been blogging far longer than that, and I still have fewer daily visitors than that, so I commend you.
Catherine – I think it was about six months roughly in my case, but bear in mind for some people it takes years, others just a few weeks.
The team at freelanceswitch.com broke out within a few weeks, so there really is no rule, and as I said in this article, you can continue to proactively market with the other methods forever for ongoing results.
This is the most informative blog post I read today. Helps me see the big picture. Thanks.
Thanks for these tips. It’s very clearly and very simply put, and definitely very thought-provoking in making me rethink my strategies.
I am glad I found your blog, I am already digging into the archives to learn more! 🙂
I completely agree that to get readership you need great content. You can use all the tricks in the book to get people to visit your site but if you don’t have anything interesting to say they’ll not be motivated to pay a return visit.
I also agree that you should not try to emulate your blog heroes. If you blog about the things you like then you’ll eventually find that there are other people that share your particular interests no matter how peculiar they are. You need to find your own niche. Few people want to read second rate advice from a blogging nobody or something that has been copied and pasted from another site. Besides the search engines pick up on copied material and shoot your site down into the search directory abyss.
I found this article very informative. Although, a lot of it is similar to what I have heard elsewhere, you have provided some nice little tips which will be very helpful. I especially found the explanation of the need to tap into long tail markets, in order to be successful, in traffic exchanges helpful. I also really like the idea of taping into traffic from popular blogs such as yours. Perhaps you might consider sharing some of the wealth, and adding a link in your blog roll to haynes.tv
Like an Always, excellent post yaro…
I like about not to mirroring your success Idol..
An in-depth analysis! I had a fair good idea about other three but wasn’t sure about the best use of ‘others’ traffic’, now got the clue. Thanks for sharing such wise thoughts.
Nice article, however, the challenge i am facing in SEO, is how do I link my website to other similar website so it shows up high in organic rankings. Any suggestions??
Great suggestions! As a new blogger my first thought was about growing my readership. Of course great content was and is a close second! Your article has given me greater focus and I have actually been practicing some of what you suggested without even thinking of it as driving traffic such as showing up at networking events. Thanks!
This post was so helpfull, I was thinking of new ways to improve, not just my traffic, but my blog and website as a whole and this post has got my brain buzzing with ideas.
Best soloution to writers block I’v had this month.
Thank you for your insightful article.
Good article, indeed, this method of writing interesting things in a shape that would make the biggest boom is what we should all do, unfortunately it is not that easy, isn’t it? Why aren’t we all novel writers?
Yaro, Great article! Best advice is to figure out where you are one the growth curve and focus there, until ready to move forward.
The bottom line is still traffic first, then conversion. Took me a while to figure out that yes content is king, but only if someone reads it.
Ok.. so i read this article, and being a novice, need a bit more explanation. I have been doing rather well at adwords for the past 3-4 months, and then suddenly on Dec13th (nearly 4 months after i started using adwords), all my keyword CPCs went upto $2-20. I am very confused. The topics are updated very frequently, I have regular readers, and the topics are very relevant to the ads, but obviously I am doing something wrong. (I dont always have the keywords on my landing page, since the content changes often).
Any advice?? http://www.fashionclues.com
Fashionclues I think you need to lookup the term “google slap”. I think you are talking about AdWords PPC and landing pages.
Go through my archives (click the archives link in the navigation bar above), then under the Pay Per Click heading look for google slap articles.
Perry Marshall is also a good source of information regarding the slap.
Great article! As a fairly new blogger this is some valuable info, thanks!