If you have a blog then you know that the biggest challenge next to content is readers. How do you get your audience, who are bombarded by hundreds (thousands?) of messages per day, to focus on your messages?
Of course your first responsibility is providing content your audience will actually find relevant and useful. Your second responsibility is to tell them, often, that your content exists. If it sounds simple, that's because it is. There's no magic trick to building blog traffic if your content is good (and sometimes even if it isn't!)
But it *is* time consuming — and that you should be prepared for.
You should also be aware that in driving traffic to your blog you have 2 distinctly different jobs:
1. Get new readers to find out about your blog and visit
2. Get past visitors to come back
This second one is critical. Meeting your goals will be nearly impossible if you can't get readers to come back to your blog on a regular basis. Sometimes the same tactic can be used for both goals but there are some that are specific to each.
Today I outline the top 13 techniques for getting new readers to your blog, and share experiences from business owners just like you. Next time we'll discuss how to keep people coming back.
How to get New Traffic and New Readers to Your Blog
These days the idea of "link building" is almost loosing it's meaning because so many online marketing techniques could fit into this category. Link building for your blog has essentially two major benefits — 1) introducing the audience of another Web site to your blog and 2) boosting your search engine rankings. Link building techniques for your blog include:
But be very careful — commenting carelessly can get you banned from a community or worse — silently (or vocally) tagged as a spammer which will damage your credibility and your brand. Spend some time in the community to see which method (if any) would be most welcome. And by all costs take the advice of business owner and reader Brock Green of JustinAamir.com in avoiding "shameless" self-promotion "do not ask a blogger and its readers to 'come check out your blog'...thats so tacky." I would heed Brock's advice.
Here are 3 ways you can approach posting comments or new discussions:
a) write a meaningful comment that links to your post as a follow up
b) write a meaningful comment and include a standard signature in all of your comments with your name and a link to your blog
c) start a conversation around the topic you discuss in your post.
If commenting is welcome at all, using one of these approaches should keep you out of trouble!
There are many modern ways to allow others to repurpose your articles as content.
Online & Offline PR
While really a combination of link building and syndication I mention online PR specifically because of it's potential to be viral. This is an aspect that many people do not consider. When you post a release online it has the possibility to be picked up and spread as "news" by a variety of publications looking for content. Consider whether some of your posts are worthy of an online press release that can be submitted to places like PR News Wire.
Don't forget about the power of the live and in person. Kimberly Ward of Pinkeggshell hands out cards, sponsors industry events and does high profile charity work, Brad Officer of BradOfficer.com who is in the highly competitive real estate industry says he uses his online blog for real offline help "In this industry, people always ask questions about their mortgage, their home, their situation." He can collect a business card and after the event email his new contact a link to a specific blog post that answers their question. It's a great way to follow up in a meaningful way.