Creating a blog is fairly simple, even for the non-connoisseurs, but building up a successful blog with a significant traffic is a tougher nut to crack even for the marketing oriented and tech savvy ones in the business. Successful blogging requires excellent writing skills, people skills, and an openness to experiment with all the different ways to draw more visitors to your blog. It is essentially a trial by error endeavor, where determination and flexibility are key elements for succeeding. Nevertheless, there are some pointers you can rely on to build up a larger audience, and drive more traffic to your blog.
This article will focus on pinpointing some tactics to increase your blog’s traffic. Some of these methods are easier to implement than others, and not all methods will play out the same way for all types of blogs, but this shouldn’t keep you from trying them.
1. Forum posting
Like guest blogging, forum posting was quickly taken advantage of by spammers causing Google to not give these as much weight from an SEO perspective as they once had. Reputable forums banned promotional links – and rightfully so! – and forum linking as a once effective SEO tool has been brought to an end. Even so, when done correctly, forum posting can still be used to gain exposure and increase blog traffic, however, it requires time and dedication to produce results.
Find a forum with a topic that you are knowledgeable in and that relates to your business. Make a commitment to contribute to this forum and build up a reputation. Although most forums may not allow you to post direct links to your blog or website, some forums may allow you to place direct links in your profile or sometimes even in your signature. If you’re active on the forum, if you’re genuinely contributing to the issues raised within forum topics, and you give solutions to the problems raised, you can gain exposure and build a reputation as a go-to authority in certain matters.
For example, if you’re part of an IT forum and you’re a web security specialist, you can provide assistance and solutions in this area. If your inputs add real value to the forum, people will find you.
2. Write quality content that goes viral
This may be a tad bit harder to achieve than the previous point, but it’s not impossible. As there’s no better exposure than going viral, it’s well worth the try. An article that goes viral will lead to links and shares, a larger audience, more subscribers and followers hungry for more quality content.
But what makes content go viral? How can you create content that spreads?
While some have an innate talent to create viral content, others have simply figured it out that the “wizardry” behind writing popular content is to strike a chord with people both on a personal and universal level. This could be something that appeals to people emotionally (e.g. tearjerker content, motivating and inspiring content), something that feeds people’s intellectual curiosity, or something with a comedic twist that invokes laughter or amusement. In the latter category, BuzzFeed articles seem to have gotten down the science of getting viral traction for their aww-inducing articles, however, if you want to appeal to people’s intellect, you need to focus on being more insightful and helpful, and going beyond creating “read it, share it and forget it” type of content. This can cover anything from finding a simple solution to a complicated problem that people face, unveiling new technologies, delivering new research findings to people in an easy to understand format, etc.
For the uninitiated, newsjacking is a method to deliver your brand’s message by taking advantage of trending news. Twitter and other social media channels seem to be the preferred platform for this practice. Newsjacking is somewhat a simpler strategy given that you’re leveraging something that’s already viral. When it comes to newsjacking Oreo is a good example. In 2013, during a SuperBowl power outage, Oreo took to Twitter to write: “Power Out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark”, thus referencing their milk dunkable biscuits.
Not any trending news can be leveraged, but the spectrum of trending news is indeed large and you can even try your hand at newsjacking trending music, movies or TV series. It is almost customary for brands to newsjack during the Golden Globes or the Academy Awards. So stay on top of the trends and see how you can use them to attract more readers to your blog.
4. Q&A platforms
Q&A platforms like Yahoo answers or Quora allow people to post questions and get answers to a plethora of problems. While it was abused for link-building just like forum posting and inbound links from these platforms don’t really factor into your SEO rankings anymore, it still can be a place where your blog can make its presence felt. Apart from posting answers and solutions to people’s problems, Q&A platforms can also serve as a platform for keywords analysis and a source for topic ideas that you should address on your blog.
Analyzing how people phrase certain questions and getting a gist of the topics they are most interested in can help you coin better long-tail keywords or to come up with solutions to problems that have not yet been successfully resolved.
5. Guest blogging
Following the fate of forum posting and link-building on Q&A sites, link-building through guest blogging no longer has the same SEO value as before it was hijacked by spammers. Nevertheless, guest blogging offers ample opportunity to drive more traffic to your blog and raise brand awareness by marketing yourself in front of a relevant audience. It also helps you to be viewed as an authority thanks to your article being featured on a reputable site with an engaged readership. Even backlinks to your site can help, provided that they are not the result of artificial link-building, which is penalized by Google.
Try these 5 methods and see which will land you the most readers. Some methods may result in traffic spikes over a short period of time (e.g. newsjacking), others may help your blog build momentum and develop a strong readership over time (e.g. forum posting), but knowing how to use these tools at the right time and for a long enough period will result in the much-coveted traffic boost you’re looking for.