Update: Please visit the updated version of how to make your blog popular.
Not all blogs are created equal.
Some blogs take off like wild fire within weeks of their creation, yet some might take months to even start seeing the light of day.
Your blog might be one of the latter ones.
You write great content, yet your competitor's blog with mediocre posts seems to get all the traffic.
Not all blogs are created equal.
For instance, when Guy Kawasaki created his blog, he had the benefit of already being a famous persona in business and online. No wonder he had nearly 4,000 daily visitors within weeks.
Chances are you are not Guy Kawasaki.
But that's OK. Because neither was I.
So you and I can have a real heart to heart on how to REALLY create a popular blog starting with nothing.
In the beginning, there was… hard work.
No other way around it. No silver bullet. No secrets.
Just plain old-fashioned “let's drink lots of good coffee and stay up at all hours of the day and night, work around your family schedule and any other commitments you might have” kind of work.
And start from the beginning.
The very first question you have to ask yourself is this:
“IS MY BLOG WORTH READING?”
Is your content AWESOME and unique? Is it infused with personality? Does it help your reader to solve THEIR problems?
The opposite of the above would be:
- your content is generic and can be found on every other blog in your niche.
- you don't offer any unique point of view on your blog.
- you don't have a “hook” that would keep your readers coming back (usually, the best hook is a mixture of personality and the unique angle at solving your readers' problems).
- you focus on the things YOU are interested in and don't provide any solutions to your visitors.
Examine your blog as impartially as you can. Ask a friend. Ask me. Ask someone to take a look at your content and give you an HONEST opinion.
Don't do anything until you get over this hurdle.
Let your ideas flow
Your next step is to write, write, write.
Don't do anything else, but write.
Edit yourself without mercy.
Come up with brilliant ways to write about the same old stuff everybody else is writing (if you can't come up with anything fresh) from an entirely different point of view.
Provoke your readers' minds.
Read my 202 bite-sized tips to increase blog traffic, pick out your 10 favorites, and write a post on each one.
Come up with great blog titles.
Let your readers know who you are
Time and time again, I see this happen: a FACELESS BLOG.
No “Hi, I am so and so…” No “here what I am all about”. No “feel free to get in touch with me”.
When I come to your blog, I – your average reader – want to see the man/woman behind the lines. I want to know if you are worth my attention. I want to know that, if I were to ask you a question, I would get an answer.
Your blog SEO (Start Engaging Others) starts with this:
1. Your About Me page.
This is a good place to talk about… well, you.
Let your readers know who is behind your blog.
Why are you blogging? What are you blogging about? Why should I read your blog?
Very important: DON'T get carried away.
Yes, it is a page about you, but not really. It's still about your reader. It's about you showing them that you are worth a look, a read, a comment.
It's still ALL ABOUT THEM.
2. Your Contact Me page.
Equally as important.
Here you add whatever you feel comfortable adding. Some ideas:
- your phone number
- Skype, AOL, Yahoo messenger ID
- social networks (Twitter, Facebook, and such)
- a “Contact Me” form (I use plugin called “Contact Form 7” on my blog; there are plenty of others to choose from).
Do you know how to market your blog?
In the beginning of this post, we established that neither one of us is a Guy Kawasaki, which means that we have to earn our blog traffic the hard way.
The problem is most bloggers don't have a clue where to even start getting traffic.
So what they end up doing is a little bit of everything, frantically trying to be everywhere at the same time using as many random traffic generation methods as possible.
The end result? Wasted time, effort, possibly money, and no or at least not much traffic.
And that's how many bloggers fail.
You publish great content, but have no idea how to get your content to the end consumer – your reader.
My perfect marketing strategy
You know why all blogs are not created equal?
Because some of them are created by doers and others are created by spectators.
DOERS are people who read about it and then go do it. They are the go-getters, the bottom-liners, the achievers.
SPECTATORS are people who read about it, but don't implement it. They are the side-liners, the “I could never do what she did” crowd, the eternal students.
The good news here is that YOU are the one who chooses which camp you are in.
Here is MY perfect recipe for a popular blog. You can choose to follow it as-is or you can modify it according to your own expertise, personality, and niche. But whatever you do, JUST DO IT.
So here we go:
1. Start with social media
Social media is the easiest and the quickest way to let people know who you are.
Quick tips: Stay purposeful and value others above yourself. Set a schedule to ensure that you spend enough time in your networks, but don't get sucked in.
Start with Twitter or Facebook and focus on that one and only one, until you build enough relationships (not just “friends” or “followers” – relationships) to start spreading the word about your new and exciting blog.
Here's how I did it:
2. Create your own commenting tribe
Read all about it in this post:
3. Comment on other blogs
Choose wisely, which blogs you want to comment on.
Your main goals should be:
—A. get connected with popular bloggers,
—B. network within your blogging peer group.
The former will help you to work your way up the blogging ladder; the latter will help you with traffic, comments, and honest feedback.
Once again, make a schedule and stick with it.
Choose how many blogs in each group you would comment on on a daily basis – realistically.
If after commenting on a specific blog for a while, the blog owner doesn't seem to be interested in connecting with you, move on and find another blog.
More tips on commenting:
- 7 Ways to Keep Your Blog Comments Out of Spam
- 7 Tips to Make Your Comment Stick Out Like a Sore Thumb
Also, my new CommentLuv enabled blog list is a great place to start finding quality blogs to comment on.
4. Guest post on other blogs
I will never get tired of saying this: guest posting can be the single MOST PRODUCTIVE traffic generation strategy to pay attention to.
That's the one strategy that will bring you all of the following in one quick swoop:
- quality one way backlinks
You can start with guest posting right here, on Traffic Generation Cafe.
Some will say I am a tough cookie, when it comes down to accepting guest post, but I don't bite either. 🙂
5. Work on your SEO
While you are doing all of the above, start working on getting your content in front of your ideal search engine users.
SEO is a very important and quite underutilized traffic generation strategy.
I think most of it is due to the fact that it APPEARS to be quite complicated.
The truth is it is not at all, but it does require some learning and time.
I knew very little about SEO only a year ago.
I simply wanted to learn it and I did. Remember, DOERS and SPECTATORS…
As you can imagine, SEO is not something I can quickly address in this post, but what I can do is to give you a good starting point for your learning.
Step 1. First of all, get my free SEO report. Yes, I need your email address in exchange, but I promise to make it a win-win relationship for both of us.
In that report, you will learn ALL the basics of SEO: keyword research, on-page optimization, as well as the hottest link building tips ever – guaranteed.
Step 2. Next, I would read a few of posts from my Blog Audit Friday series. Here you'll get a lot of hands-on tips on what you might be doing wrong on your blog and how to fix it.
Step 3. There is not step 3.
Just do step 1 and 2 and you will have a good basic SEO knowledge to get your blog ranked for many good keywords.
I have to stop here, because I have a feeling I can write a novel on the subject.
However, you don't need a novel – you need a plan. And I hope these tips that worked for Traffic Generation Cafe will also work for you.
Just don't get left behind on the side lines.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
- Why do you think your blog is not quite where you'd like for it to be?
- What are the things you've been putting off that you know you need to do?
- Do you have a plan to get those things done?
Comment to show me that you're alive!