Building traffic and getting your blog in front of new eyes is a struggle for all blogs and is ultimately determines its success. Earlier I asked some of the most popular bloggers around the internet to offer advice on making money blogging. They came through huge. But I didn’t stop there. I also asked them to share their creative tips for building traffic and keeping visitors engaged. They didn’t disappoint this time either. Below are 15 pieces of advice on traffic building from bloggers I highly respect and who have proved their methods work on their blogs.
1. If you want to build an audience for a travel blog, you first need to figure out what it is that makes travel unique. Why do people consume travel media? There are many reasons, but you need to pick one. It could be providing advice or tips. It could be providing inspiration. What you pick has different implications. If you are in the data/advice business you are probably going to want to go an SEO dominant strategy. If you are in the inspiration game, you will want to go a social media strategy.
Either way, travel is an extremely visual medium. Invest in the time and tools to improve your photography and video skills. People don’t read Playboy or National Geographic for the articles.
Finally, don’t just market to other bloggers. That is the biggest mistake you can make. Travel is an ENORMOUS worldwide industry. If you just have other bloggers commenting on your site, you’ll never break into the larger public. Bloggers are easy to target because they are online and you can comment on their site, but they are tiny fraction of the potential audience.
Gary Arndt, Everything Everywhere
2. To build traffic to your website you first have to develop something that is useful, helpful or entertaining to your target audience. You have to effectively answer the question “why should I visit your site instead of one of the thousands of other choices out there?” Once you’ve nailed that, it’s all about getting the word out about your site through social media and by interacting with other influencers in your space.
Corbett Barr, Think Traffic
3. Building traffic takes time – it’s not going to happen overnight, and that’s what’s so discouraging to so many. You think, I’ve been writing for months and hardly get any interaction, comments, and my traffic is stagnant. Give it time, and above all, stay consistent. Consistency is the single most important thing to focus on when building traffic to your site – being engaged and interacting both on your site and away from it (via social media, etc) on a consistent basis will get you far. The quickest way to fail is to lose focus – stay committed, stay engaged, and the results will come.
Matt Cheuvront, Life Without Pants
4. There’s no “quick” ways to build traffic that lasts – any of the shortcuts are gimmicks and almost always worthless. I know this because I’ve had many of them happen.
The best way to get genuine traffic is to create compelling single-topic content. Pick a single question, content, or point and really drive it home. Make it the best resource for that one specific need that you can find on the internet – make everyone who sees it feel like they need to bookmark (or copy) it.
Then look outside your niche for communities that could benefit from that (or similar) messages. Guest post, offer free products or help, or reach out to those larger communities that you know could benefit from your knowledge or post.
In other words, the best traffic you’ll ever get will be from a large peer in a slightly different niche that respects and recommends a high-quality post you did on a single topic.
Adam Baker, Man vs Debt
5. There’s not quick and easy solution to traffic building. It’s a process and thinking you will get it quick will just lead to frustration and disappointment. One creative way I build traffic is to guest blog outside your niche. Think laterally. I blog on finance sites because people on those sites like to travel and save money. As I write about budget travel, it’s a good fit for those blogs and it exposes my site to a new audience, thereby building new traffic and getting more readers.
Matt Kepnes, Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site
6. While there’s something to be said for sheer mass, think about who you want to attract and devise a strategy for meeting them. We recently dropped a programme sending us around 1,000 visitors a month because those people were sticking around for 11 seconds on average. And who wants that rubbish? Don’t go for a quick win: devise a strategy that will give you a balance of social media, word of mouth and Search Engine traffic plus looking for places that will give you the specific traffic your site will find valuable.
Craig Martin, Indie Travel Podcast
7. Engage other people and be accessible; whether you’re just starting out or have been blogging for years.
Anil Polat, foXnoMad
8. Create content worth reading and sharing. You need to have a hook, something that makes your stuff different from others in your niche, otherwise you won’t give readers a reason to choose your site over anyone else’s in the same niche. The other thing you can do is to create your own blogging mastermind group – with other bloggers at a similar stage in the game as you are, or even slightly ahead. Even better if your masterminders are in different but somewhat-related niches since you’ll then be reaching out to a much wider audience outside your direct niche.
Lea Woodward, Location Independent
9. Are you using your Twitter account effectively and maximising traffic generation?
Do you think about when you post links, how often and day of the week? I didn’t think so. One of the optimum times to post links to your own content is 5pm GMT. This is when the UK and Europe are on the way back from home, East Coast USA is on lunch and West Coast USA are on their way to work. I’ve found the best time to post on twitter in any country is 9am, 1pm, 5pm and 9pm. Don’t worry about feeling you are spamming people by posting the same link four times in a day. Twitter users tend to be creatures of habit and check their feed at certain times anyway. You can’t always be available at these times so use a website that schedules tweets for you at certain dates and times. I use Social 0mph personally. Also, the likelihood of a tweet getting re-tweeted grows from Monday onwards and tails off Saturday and Sunday. Perhaps people get that Friday feeling which is why there are more re-tweets on Friday then any other day of the week.
Finally, for a healthy Twitter experience keep a balance between general tweets, posting your own links and retweeting others. Get involved in #TNI and #TravelTuesday and you’ll see click throughs, followers and re-tweets increase.
Amar Hussain, Gap Year Escape
10. The most influential and significant segment of the Internet is social media. If we expect to do business on the web without harnessing the power of social media your chances of failure will have increased substantially. Our audience wants their information consolidated and fed to the applications they are using to view, and more importantly, share media with. Our blog’s design and Twitter backgrounds and becoming less important. What is important is understanding that social media utilization is just as important as content creation. A relaxed strategy of, “If you build it, they will come,” will only make success a lot more difficult. In the vast complex world of the Internet you need to be aggressive and go get ‘em!
Jason Castellani, TwoBackpackers
11. I think the key to building traffic to your site is to first of all have great content. You have to find a way to stand out from the hordes of other people. Really let your personality and what is unique about you and your experiences stand out.
I think the best strategy to get them to your blog to read your content, is to start guest posting. Find out who are the best bloggers in your industry and contact them in regards to publishing a post on their site. Don’t be afraid, bloggers love taking on guest posts and make it your best work. Guest blogging exposes you to a different audience, gives you more credibility and grants you those link backs we are all after.
Craig and Caz Makepeace, Y Travel Blog
12. Join a few forums and comment as much as possible on other blogs. Simply letting people know your name and how you think will start building traffic for you. One great site for promoting yourself and other is Yankezie.com for personal finance and lifestyle bloggers [psst, Todd here, I’m a member over at Yankezie and highly recommend it, also, don’t forget about the Forums here on TBC…yes, shameless promotion].
Crystal, Budgeting in the Fun Stuff
13. Build traffic by taking up a challenge and getting readers to visit your site daily to view your progress. The challenge could be some major lifestyle change and how it affects your life for better or worse.
Mark Riddix, Buy Like Buffet
14. Many national newspaper websites will allow anyone to start up a blog and post whatever they want. Because there are literally thousands upon thousands of readers, your blog will likely create a much larger readership then a private blog you start on your own. You can start up a private blog, like I have done with that is parallel to the blog at the newspaper (I actually use most of the same content on both sites) but funnel some of your newspaper traffic to to your private blog in order to increase traffic, and down the road, revenue. Here is my newspaper blog: Frugal Confessions.
Amanda Grossman, Frugal Confessions
15. When we started our blog we commented on popular blogs regularly and tweeted other people’s posts religiously. We engaged in conversations with the top bloggers and eventually they sent a retweet our way and stopped by our blog for a visit. We wrote for places like BootsnAll and Matador Network to drive traffic to our site and we wrote guest posts for as many people as we could. As more people saw our name around the Internet, more people visited our website.
Our advice, join people’s facebook groups, follow them on twitter, leave comments and write guest posts. But most of all, find your unique voice and post regularly. Once people do start taking notice, you want them to have something new and interesting to read to keep them coming back.
Dave and Deb, The Planet D
Do you have any traffic building tips? Let them out in the comment section below! Don’t be selfish