15 Traffic Building Tips from some of the Internet’s Most Popular Bloggers

Increase visitors and traffic to your blogBuilding 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 :)

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About Todd Wassel

Todd Wassel is the founder and author of Todd's Wanderings and tribal leader of Travel Blog Challenge. Writer, traveler, conflict resolution specialist and lover of creating things while caffeinated. Learn more about him here and follow him on Twitter at @toddwassel.

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Comments

  1. Deb says:

    I love Garry’s advice about not targeting other bloggers. I remember him talking about this last year and I completely changed my way of thinking. I used to think about the comments I would get and who would stop by, but now I think about being true to our niche and our voice.

  2. Amy says:

    Great post and very true. One of the most valuable things for me has been networking with other bloggers. It’s not only good because it drives traffic but most importantly, it’s made me feel like I’m genuinely part of a community, even while on the road.

  3. inka says:

    Commenting on other people’s blogs outside your own niche is important. And contacting your target audience. I write for older women traveler who love style and comfort, I want to inspire and have just started to contact magazine editors, senior groups, tour operators etc. Don’t know yet if it works.

  4. Almost all the advice featured here are really good and down to earth. Having said that, most of it I already felt in my gut to be the way to go about getting a bigger audience. What I lack is patience. Hey, I’m only human. But I’ve seen the error of my ways and am now playing the waiting game, putting out relevant posts as often as I can, not really obsessing (for the moment anyway) about the number of visitors to my site but concentrating on how to make my content really engaging and indispensable for my target audience. Socialising is not my biggest talent and I still have to figure out how to maximise FB and Twitter. Amar Husein’s tip is quite welcome. Great piece, Todd.

    • Amar says:

      Thanks Michael.

      You might want to check out sites like problogger, buzzblogger and thinktraffic for additional advice on facebook and twitter.

  5. Will says:

    Brilliant post. I think the general idea is, just interact and be as visible as possible. I’m still in the early stages of my travel blog, and am yet to actually leave (9 days to go) but I have a general strategy that I am going to try and implement while I’m on the road. If it works, great! If not, I’ll have to figure out a better way.

    I think getting people on your site/blog is relatively simple, but its keeping them there that is the difficult part. Like #6 – Indie Travel Podcast says, what’s the point in 1000’s of visitors a month who only stick around for a few seconds.

    Also using google analytics to analyse visitor tendancies. What pages have the highest bounce rates? Figure out what is wrong with that page and change it!

  6. Cam says:

    Some great advice here Todd! Thanks for putting it all together, it’s helpful to hear from those that are clearly achieving success in the online space. Cheers!

  7. Todd Wassel says:

    This is such a great exercise, putting together tips from various blogs that are doing well, not only as a learning exerciese but also as a way to reach out and form new relationships with others. If I were to add anything it would be the importance of meeting people in person. I gave a speech recently to the American Tourism Society and it was a great experience interacting with the PR, marketing and CEOs of large tourism agencies. They all saw a lot of value in building a personal brand. It was very encouraging but the business model is so different from theirs that we had to think hard were the two could match up.

  8. Some really good advice here, Todd. There are some things that I’ve already known, but haven’t done anything about (hopefully this will be a good push for me). I also got a couple of brand new ideas. You selected a great group of bloggers to share their tips. Thanks!

  9. Andrea says:

    Great tips here! Thanks to all the contributors for sharing your secrets.

  10. Jade says:

    We started blogging in January to prepare for our RTW trip. It was exciting but I have to say, we made all the beginners mistakes. It wasn’t until we actually returned from our trip where we started engaging more with people on twitter, other blogs and tbex support. (We are still trying to figure out how to utilize facebook) But- I can say that since August (when we really started engaging) our numbers have skyrocketed- both twitter followers, on stumble upon and actual visitors to the site. It’s encouraging and lets us know that we are on the right track. I think if it’s something you feel really passionate about, the time and hard work are okay. Great recap, Todd!

    • Todd Wassel says:

      Thanks Jade. Interacting with others is certainly one of the best ways to get more people to check out yur blog. It seems like you really have to fight hard for those first few readers, and then keep fighting to keep them!

  11. Nicole says:

    Love reading all the advice from bloggers! Great suggestions to add to my list of things to implement!

  12. caz craig says:

    Once again a great post with really helpful tips here. Thank you so much for including us with this amazing list of successful bloggers. I love how you are allowing us to help one another. I have just gone and joined the yakezie community and set up my challenge. So many challenges lately, it is going to be a busy yet great year. Thanks for all you do!

    • Todd Wassel says:

      Thanks for joining in! I’m glad to see you found Yankezie useful as well. While success blogging is also about traffic and money, its also about becoming a part of a community. I’m sure I’ll hold on to the community much longer than that $$ I got from my last advertisment :)

  13. robin says:

    Much, much better than the average traffic building tips!

  14. Norbert says:

    This is a great post with some great advice! One of my new goals is to actually do one guest post per month and to start looking sideways to other niches that can be related to travel. Thanks for the Yakezie tip… went straight there and registered. Like Caz, I also started my challenge, so it will be interesting to see what happens in the next 6 months!

  15. I agree with some of the thoughts about comments — and where you choose to interact. Bloggers tend to gravitate to — and comment on — blogs that already have a lot of comments. But there are some very popular, highly viewed, articles out on big media sites that get very few comments. If you’re strictly looking for traffic then a comment on a popular blog can disappear into the pile, but could be one of only 3 or 4 on other articles that get just as many visitors.

  16. Skychi says:

    Thanks Todd for creating this great resource. There are many great tips here.
    I love the advice of joining a non-related travel site to get new readers as traffic.

    I have recently signed up for Klout analytics. The Klout team will give you feedback on driving traffic. You can see which travel bloggers you are influenced by and which travel bloggers you are influencing. I have added to my twitter list those travel bloggers.

    You can enter any bloggers name to see their Klout and analytics. You can chose bloggers to develop relationships with them based on this info.

    What I learned from my Klout report was that I should use all platforms to move others to action. I was using twitter as my primary method for a eight days I tweeted all day long using Social Oomph.

    I also look at the click summary in Social Oomph. It tells which of your tweets has the most hits. Then I reweet more the successful ones.

    I use the tools from problogger. I ran google analytics. Google told me I needed backlinks.

    Now, I use Squidoo to build backlinks. Squidoo has really made a difference for me. I twitter my Squidoo backlinks. Before Squidoo I had no backlinks. Squidoo is another great place to post comments. There is a SquidooU and Forum to post comments.

    I share my posts to Facebook, twitter, email, stumbler, reddit. I just started sharing elements of posts to such as photos to flickr and my videos to Youtube. I just signed up recently for flickr and vimeo.

    My first method of reaching an audience started with travelpod on Facebook. Travelpod is also contacted to one of my email accounts and twitter. What I don’t like about Travelpod is that I can’t get my analytics for just my blog.

    Then I went twitter crazy. First I just retreated others comments. Then I figured out how to reply. Now I actually talk to others using twitter.

    I have the benefit of learning from one of my daughters who is 20 years old. She is my teacher. When texting was big. She would send 10,000 texts a month. She started on Facebook. Then she went to texting. Now she twitters. I follow her lead. She lives the latest trends in social media communication.

    Facebook is losing ground with the younger crowd. Now it is all about twitter. I have watched her tweet using her computer which is what I prefer to do. It is faster. I tweet while I am commuting.

    I also have a google account and post to google buzz. I use the share button from my blog to share and post. My blog website is not old enough to be ranked by google. However, if one searches for Skychi Travels it returns to pages of results.

    I plan in 2011 in to create more videos for vimeo and post more photos on flickr. My focus is to create more mobile friendly content. Google loves images.

  17. Sarah Wu says:

    Wow such a great roundup tips. Most of them talks about interaction and social media. Afterall it all takes times and dedication!

  18. lyle says:

    Great tips from the traffic building experts. A true compilation of true bloggers knowledge. Follow these tips and grow in 2011.

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