Traffic generation is a complex business of trial and error. It often involves a
lot of tinkering with strategies and techniques to find the ones that suit you
best. And most of all it's a case of building momentum.
Early on, your traffic will be small and efforts to increase it will often have
small increases. Over time you can get bigger and bigger wins as you not
only fine-tune your techniques,but also build momentum behind the site in
post quantities, readership, and brand awareness.
For those just getting started, grassroots techniques can be very helpful.
There are different phases of site growth where certain methods are more
effective than others, and some rely on a certain amount of critical mass
(particularly with regard to generating traffic from social media). Grassroots
techniques have that name because they don't require anything except
some enthusiasm. If you and your site don't have a following yet, you'll need
to start at the very beginning, and that means:
â€¢ Getting people to link to your articles
â€¢ Participating in forums
â€¢ Leaving comments on other blogs
â€¢ Developing your social media profile
The most effective means of traffic generation often involve you, your
staff, or your friends having well-developed social media profiles with
plenty of reach, or money. These techniques don't require any of the above
points, except perhaps networking, but we'll discuss that in a moment.
Asking for Inbound Links
This simply means publishing great content (and for this to work, I do mean
great content) and then reaching out to influential people who might be
interested in that content.
Here's the thing: all influential people are busy. If they weren't, they wouldn't
be influential. There are people competing for their attention all day long,
and they have their own job to do.
They may ignore you â€“ not to discourage you, but that's just how it is.
So when you send them content, you need to make sure it's your best, or
they'll blacklist you as someone who likes to waste their time. You then need
to sit back and hope that they read your message to begin with. Many will
not, and it's not something you can really blame them for.
Your email needs to personable, honest, and humble. Simply direct them to
your piece and suggest that if they find it useful, you'd appreciate a link.
A single link â€“ even from a big blog â€“ doesn't always mean a whole lot of
traffic, and it certainly won't mean overnight success. This is a long-term
endeavor, and you're just building up a foundation of inbound links and a
trickle of traffic to start you off. Once you build enough of these inbound
links the hard way, the trickle will add up to something worthwhile, but
remember that it takes work to get to that point.
Be patient. Be persistent. And get used to people ignoring your emails.
Forums are great because they allow you to identify a bunch of highly
targeted individuals who you know for a fact are interested in whatever it is
you're publishing content about.
Marketers realized this many years ago, and unfortunately for us, the abuse
of these communities means there are a lot of obstacles in the way between
them and you promoting your site.
This can be a good thing: if you were a participant in one of these
communities, as you wouldn't have to filter out more promotional material
than actual discussion. But it's still something you'll have to deal with
The best thing to do is to by become a bona-fide contributing member
of the forum, answering questions and helping people, participating in
discussions and debates, and generally becoming a well-known contributor
of the forums, before you can even think about including your URL in a
signature without raising eyebrows.
This is a very time-consuming process, and it's tough becoming known
as one of the forum's regulars, which is why once most blog owners start
developing an audience of their own, they stop maintaining their presence
on forums. There comes a certain point where it doesn't provide enough of a
return for the time invested. But, when you've only got two or three readers
on your site and one of them is your mother, it's certainly a way to attract
some interest and make some relevant contacts without spending money.
Leaving Comments on Blogs
As most blog commenting sections allow you to have your name link to your
blog, this is a good way to get other bloggers to notice you, interact with
those who read the other blog, and hopefully get some of them back onto
As with forums, there is etiquette to consider. Bloggers don't appreciate
"yes man" comments that show you didn't read the post or ones that aim to
incite their readers (yes, some bloggers think inciting a comment war on a
competitor's site is a great way to draw some attention).
Make sure you also use your real name or your pseudonym, not your blog's
name, and certainly not keywords pertaining to your blog.
Contribute something that's actually helpful to the people who will read your
comment and you'll be fine. If you're finding that it's a stretch to come up
with something to say, then don't comment just for the sake of it!
Finally, in the world of blogging, there's plenty of room at the top. You don't
need to approach all your competitors like competitors. Think of it as being
about cooperating and sharing knowledge, at least in terms of your relationship
with other blog owners, and you'll be more successful in the long run.
If they don't like you, they won't link to you. Earning a link in one of their
posts means a lot more to readers than the link on your name in the
Developing Your Social Media Profile
This comes in handy for traffic generation much later on as you develop
a following, but in the meantime, it's a way to meet contacts and make
friends. Some of those people might be starting blogs of their own with
similar readership levels, publishing content relevant to yours, and therefore
you can exchange links to share with your readers.
You might get lucky and befriend someone who's already established. Most
established bloggers like to point out someone who is new to the scene but
offering something helpful â€“ the hard part is getting on their radar.
Either way, developing social media profiles is something every blog owner,
editor, or writer should do, and will help you both now, and when it's more
established. We'll go into using social media more in the next section of
Unless you've got a bit of a fan club of your own, you've probably found that
I wasn't lying when I said busy and influential people will ignore you (a lot).
In the process of researching these people before you contacted them, you
may have noticed some of the people who they do interact with, who are a
bit more accessible to you. It could be an employee or a friend of the person
you want to contact.
The best way to get in touch with people in high places is to befriend these
people and help them out. Just chat and send them cool links or do them a
favor and build a relationship with them for the moment. You can ask for an
introduction later on when it's appropriate.
Take the time to care about the person first, because there are undoubtedly
many others who contact them wanting nothing more than that introduction.
I don't believe in using people; if I can meet someone influential after I help
someone they know, that's great for both of us.
Networking with other bloggers, regardless of their influence, is generally
a good practice purely in terms of being part of the blogging community,
learning from each other and helping each other out. When I started out
in blogging, I spent a lot of time reaching out to other bloggers who were
also starting out, and the occasional links, feedback, and camaraderie was
well worth it! In fact, one of the bloggers I met two months in to blogging is
now a top 100 blogger and runs a rather huge site called ZenHabits! So you
never know who you might be befriending.