Starting a new website or blog is always exciting. The possibilities and potential are unlimited!
But frustration often sets in pretty quickly. Getting visitors to see your amazing new site can be a real challenge.
Most established websites get the majority of their traffic from a few different sources:
- Search engines (mostly Google)
- Social media
- Links from other websites and blogs
- An email list
- Direct traffic (people who type your URL into the browser to go straight to your site)
Every one of these traffic sources can be built up over time, but none of them are likely to happen instantly. Google typically sends very little search traffic to new websites, and it can easily take 6 months to a year to build steady traffic from Google searches.
Since your site is new, you probably have no existing links from other websites and no email list. You also probably have no social media followers for the site.
New sites also tend to get no direct traffic, because people who would be interested in your site simply don’t know about it yet.
So what can you do?
As a new website owner or blogger, you obviously need to get your site in front of your target audience so they can become familiar with your site, but this can be a challenging and frustrating process.
You can’t wait 6 months to a year until you start getting organic Google search traffic if you want to make money blogging as a beginner.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 7 different ways even new website owners and bloggers can start driving traffic. Read through the article, find a few that would be a good fit for you, and start to implement them today.
See my step-by-step guide How to Start a Blog. It walks you through the process of getting your own blog set up in a matter of just a few minutes.
1. Leverage Someone Else’s Audience
Your new blog or website probably has no audience at this point, and that is totally normal. Obviously, you’ll want to build that audience over a period of time.
One of the best ways to start to build your own audience is to leverage or tap into someone else’s audience.
In order for this to work well, you’ll need to find blogs or websites with a target audience that is as similar to yours as possible. A large audience is nice, but active or responsive audience is even better. For example, blogs that get a lot of comments and social media shares typically have active, responsive audiences.
There are several different ways that you can leverage someone else’s audience. Here are a few possibilities.
Writing guest posts for other blogs has been one of the best ways to build your audience for several years, and it’s still a great approach. Guest posts typically will include a brief author bio (either at the beginning or end of the article) with a link back to your site. You may also be able to link to your site within the body of the article if the link is helpful and relevant.
Getting your article published on another blog can give you very valuable exposure to that blog’s audience, and some of those readers will click on your link and visit your site.
A few tips for the best success with your guest posts:
- Focus on quality not quantity. Getting posts published on a few key sites can be more helpful than many posts on a lot of small blogs that don’t have much of an audience.
- Don’t hold back. Write your best content possible, don’t cut corners just because it won’t be published on your own blog. You want to make a strong impression on the people that read the article.
- What do you want to be known for? Focus your posts on your areas of expertise and you can brand yourself as a go-to source of information on the topic.
While I think writing guest posts is a great approach, don’t expect huge floods of traffic to come to your site from each guest post that you write. The percentage of readers who click links to your site and actually visit your site will be fairly small. Still, if you don’t have much of an audience of your own yet, this is a great way to get your name out there in front of a targeted audience.
Have you considered interviewing someone who is influential in your industry and publishing it at your blog? The person you’re interviewing would likely be willing to share a link to the interview through their social media profiles, which gives you some easy promotion. In addition to regular interviews, you can also do this with video interviews, or podcasts.
You may assume that others wouldn’t be interested in doing an interview for your blog since your audience is small, but that’s not always the case. Many people are willing to participate in interviews regardless of the size of the site/blog that will be publishing the interview. You’ll never know if you don’t ask.
Group interviews or expert roundups can be extremely powerful because you could get many different people helping you to promote the interview. If you get 25 different people to participate in your group interview, probably at least 10-15 (if not more) of those people will be willing to share a link to the interview from their social profiles. This type of post will take more time to complete than your average blog post, but you can get some really nice exposure from it, plus it gives you a chance to contact influential people in your industry and start to build some connections.
All you need to do is come up with a question and reach out to people that you want to participate. Then take their responses and put them all together in one blog post. After the post is published, email the link to everyone who participated and ask them to consider sharing it through their social profiles.
And here is a quick tip… Consider working on a few of these posts at the same time. Rather than sending just one question to each participant, send 2 or 3 questions and use each question to create a separate article. In this case, you could create 2 or 3 posts instead of just one.
If you don’t want to interview people, you can even just create a list of top bloggers, top podcasts, or most influential people in your niche. Link to their sites and write a brief description for each. Then after publishing the post you can reach out to each person and let them know they have been featured. You can ask them to consider sharing the link if you’d like, and many of them will share it through their social profiles even if you don’t ask.
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If you include links to other bloggers in your posts, consider contacting those bloggers to let them know that you’ve featured them in your post. Some of them will share your post with their social media followers. Even if they don’t share it, it gives you a great excuse to get in touch with other bloggers and start to build your network.
Write a Response or Follow Up
Choose a recent blog post from a popular blogger in your niche and create your own post that is a response or a follow up to their article. In the intro to your post, mention that it is a follow up or response to the other blogger’s post, and link to their original post.
After you’ve published your response, reach out to the blogger and let them know about your post. It’s possible that they will share it through their social profiles or even edit their original post to add a link to yours (you could ask them to consider adding this link).
Of all the social media sites, Pinterest is by far the most popular for driving traffic to blogs. While Pinterest does have a social aspect (you can follow other users, comment on their pins, and message other users), it’s much different from other social networks like Facebook. When was the last time you commented on a pin? If you’re like most Pinterest users, the social aspect isn’t a major part of your use of the site.
Pinterest has a search function that can generate a lot of exposure for content that is pinned, and Pinterest also shows a lot of suggested pins that are determined based on things like keywords and hashtags. Because of this, you don’t need to have a massive following to get traffic from Pinterest (although a big following isn’t going to hurt).
Many bloggers that get huge traffic from Pinterest have only a few thousand followers, or even less. I know that sounds like a lot when you’re starting with zero, but think about the Instagram and Twitter users that have millions of followers.
It’s very possible to start using Pinterest today and see a few visitors almost immediately. While you may need to wait 6 months to a year to build decent search traffic from Google, you might start getting steady traffic from Pinterest in 30-60 days.
So how can you get started with Pinterest? Here are a few keys:
Focus on creating a quality profile:
- Your profile’s title should be readable and make sense, but you should also use your most important keywords.
- Create boards with keyword-rich titles (don’t use cute names that don’t include important keywords).
- Fill out your profile description and board descriptions and include all your most important and relevant keywords.
- Validate your site and set up rich pins (see this article on Socially Sorted for a quick guide to setting up rich pins on WordPress).
- Set up at least 10 boards with at least 10 pins each so your profile doesn’t look empty.
Now that you have your profile set up, there are a few keys to getting visibility for your pins:
Create Attractive Graphics
Pinterest is a visual platform, so obviously you’ll get the best results if your pins are visually appealing. you don’t have to be a graphic designer to create images that work well for Pinterest. You can use free software like Canva (they even have some