When I first started blogging, it was a new medium that had few rules and even fewer experts offering advice.
I was experimenting. Blogging was young, and nobody really knew much about the craft yet.
There were countless times when I’d pour my best insight into a blog post, and then… crickets. No one was reading it. It took me four years of blogging (from 2004 until 2008) before I attracted more than 1,000 readers a month.
That first year, I had about 100 readers a month. Honestly, a lot of those were my mom and me refreshing the screen. But then I doubled the next year, and roughly doubled the year after that.
Finally, in the fourth year, I got up to about 1,000 readers a month. But then there was an inflection point the next year. Five years in, my readership suddenly grew to 20,000 unique visitors. I believe there’s an inflection point for everyone.
So how do you get to the inflection point faster so you can realize the blog traffic that gets your message the attention it deserves? I’ve listed ten ways below.
1. Write content worth sharing.
You can’t buy enough Facebook ads to effectively promote your blog. It’s just not economical. You also need organic, unpaid growth. If you really want to succeed, you’re dependent on other people sharing your content.
That’s why it’s so important to write content worth sharing. It has to resonate in the heart of your audience. They have to read it and think, “Oh, that’s good.” Their natural impulse has to be to share it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or whatever their preferred social medium.
2. Adhere to a consistent schedule.
People ask me all the time, “How often should I write? What’s the magic number? Is it five times a week? Is it seven days a week? Is it three days a week? What do I need to do?”
My answer to that is this: Consistency is far more important than frequency. I don’t care if you blog once a week or three times a week, as long as you can maintain it consistently. Your frequency, your schedule, is an implicit covenant with your readers.
3. Get a domain name.
Not having your own domain name is a dead giveaway that you’re an amateur. We recommend using Hover for this. A domain name with a .com extension will cost you about $13 for the first year. It’s an investment worth making because it points everyone to your home base—your website.
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4. Include your blog address everywhere.
After you get that domain name, make sure you’re doing your best to promote your blog name everywhere. Let me give you an example. If you’re invited to be on a podcast or a radio show, or you’re writing for a magazine or another blog, make sure to reference your blog address.
It’s less important for people to find your Facebook page or Twitter. If you can get them to your blog, they’ll discover everything else.
5. Make it easy to subscribe.
This is the holy grail of blogging. You want access to somebody’s inbox.
That’s the prime piece of online property where your readers selectively decide who gets access to them.
At the very least, have a form on your blog (preferably in the upper righthand corner) where people can sign up for updates. All you need is the first name and email address. It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that.
6. Optimize your post for SEO
SEO means search engine optimization. There’s a way to populate your posts so search engines like Google can catalog them appropriately and boost your rankings. That way, when somebody searches for a topic you’ve written about, your blog post is hopefully appearing on the first or second page of results.
The easiest way to optimize your site is through a WordPress plugin. We recommend Yoast. They have a free version that’s actually great.
7. Utilize social media.
Now that you have a home base, which is your blog, you can use your social media outposts to point people back to your blog posts. Your social media channels are like online embassies.
Simply sharing a link is not enough, though. You need to tease the content or say something to pique a reader’s interest. There’s a lot of competition on social media. Make sure to present your content so that it rises above the noise and people actually want to click on your links.
Consistency is far more important than frequency, so I don’t care if you blog once a week or three times a week. Your frequency, your schedule, is an implicit covenant with your readers.
8. Engage in the conversation.
One of the great things about a blog post is that it’s going to generate conversation. Whether that discussion happens in the comments on your blog, on Facebook, or on Instagram, you need to join in that dialogue.
The best way to boost your social media performance is to engage as much as you can. Ask questions, respond to questions, and ask more questions! When Facebook or Instagram see you’re engaging in real conversations, their algorithms will be kinder to you.
9. Comment on other people’s blogs or social media posts.
Usually, when you comment on someone else’s blog, it gives you the opportunity to link back to your own blog. That’s a great way to get more traffic.
If you share intelligent comments and contribute helpful points to the conversation, people notice. Often they’ll be impressed with your insight and follow you back to your blog. So create visibility not just with your own tribe but with the tribes of people who produce content that’s similar to yours.
10. Write guest posts.
Another great strategy is to offer to guest post on blogs where there might be readers who would enjoy your content.
You’re generally not going to get paid for that, but you will get a backlink—a line in your biography with a link back to your blog. That’s another terrific way to build traffic.