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.
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 are 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.
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 Pinterest templates) and free photos and images from sites like Pixabay.
If you’re looking to learn more about how to create pins that grab attention, see The Perfect Pin.
Make sure to include text on your pins that is large enough to be easily read in the Pinterest feed. Also, be sure to avoid fonts that are hard to read, like some handwritten fonts.
Although Pinterest is a visual platform, the search engine aspect of it is also very important. Be sure to enter a keyword-rich description every time you pin something from your site.
Not sure what keywords you should use? Start typing in the Pinterest search bar and you’ll see some suggested searches. These are phrases that people are actually searching for, so include the ones that are relevant to your content.
Then after you finish the search Pinterest will also show some related keywords below the search bar and above the pins on the screen.
If you’re starting with a new Pinterest profile you’ll want to take some steps to start to increase your reach.
Try Tailwind Tribes
Tailwind is a popular web app that allows you to schedule your pins so they will be spread out, and pinned at times when your followers are most likely to see them. It also has a feature that they call Tailwind Tribes.
Tribes are different groups of users that are interested in a particular topic. For example, you could join a tribe on personal finance. Tribe members can then share their own pins with other tribe members. You can pin content that you find from other tribe members, and others will pin yours if they like it.
This is a great way to get some momentum for a new site or blog. While Tailwind does require a subscription fee, they do offer a free trial. You can pin 100 items for free and during that free trial you can join up to 5 different tribes. This is a great way to try it out to see if it is something that you think is worth paying for.
Join Group Boards
After you create a board on Pinterest you can invite other Pinterest users to be able to pin to that board, if you want. Likewise, there are a lot of existing group boards that are open to new contributors. You can request an invite to these boards and once you are invited you’ll be able to pin to the board, giving you exposure to people following the group board.
When you’re getting started look for about 5 group boards on your topics that are open to new contributors (read the board description and if the board owner is interested in inviting new users they will have some instructions for how to contact them). Be sure that you are following the rules of any group board that you use, but these group boards can be a great way to get your new blog in front of a larger audience.
To find group boards you can use a directory like PinGroupie, or simply look through the profiles of other Pinterest users in your niche. You can identify group boards by the circle with multiple gravatars (see image below).
This was a very quick look at how you can use Pinterest to start getting traffic to your blog. There are a lot more details that could be covered, and there are even courses and e-books dedicated to the topic. I can’t cover all of the details in this article, but if you’re interested in learning more I would recommend Making Pinterest Possible. I’ve gone through several different Pinterest courses and ebooks over the past few years. This one is very good, and priced very low.
3. Answer Questions on Quora
Quora is a very large and popular Q&A site that you’re probably familiar with. Chances are, you’ve done a Google search and come across a page on Quora where someone was asking the same question, and then other Quora users answered the question on that page.
What you may not have considered is that Quora can actually be a great source of traffic to your blog.
When you answer other people’s questions you can include a link back to your website, assuming you have some content on your site that is relevant to the question and the answer that you’re providing.
Since Quora is such a popular site, your answer may be seen by thousands of people, and that could drive targeted traffic to your blog or website.
Of course, there are some keys to having success with Quora.
Create a Complete Profile
Many users create a profile very quickly and don’t put much thought or effort into it. Take the time to completely fill out your profile and brand yourself as an expert on the topics that you blog about (which will also be the topics that are involved with on Quora).
Answer Popular Questions
In order to get the most traffic to your site, you’ll need to respond to questions that are getting a lot of views. These questions are also being answered by a lot of other users, so you need to take the time to leave a thoughtful and helpful response. Include a link back to your blog if there is something relevant that you can link to.
Don’t Link to Your Content in Every Answer
Although your goal is to drive traffic to your blog, you don’t want to be spammy. If every answer you leave includes a link back to your blog, you’ll probably look like a spammer. Make an effort to genuinely participate at the site, and link to your blog at times when it makes sense.
That’s a very quick look at how to use Quora to get traffic to your blog, but you can find a much more detailed guide here: How to Turn Quora Into a Traffic Driving Machine for Your Blog.
4. Facebook Groups
Over the past few years, it’s gotten harder and harder to get organic traffic from a Facebook page. Most blogs have Facebook pages, but typically you’ll need to pay to get decent visibility for anything that you publish to that Facebook page. As a result, many bloggers write off Facebook as not being worth their time.
While organic traffic from Facebook pages has decreased, the opportunities to use Facebook groups should not be overlooked.
A group is different from a page. A Facebook group is set up by one or more users, and it gathers users who are interested in a particular topic. A group can be open, which means anyone can join, or it can be closed, which means an administrator has to approve you. Don’t let that intimidate you, most closed groups are very easy to get it into. In most cases they are closed simply to prevent people from outside the group from viewing the content, not to prevent people from joining.
There are Facebook groups for almost any topic you can imagine, and in general, the people in these groups are very interested in the topic.
There are a few different ways that you can use Facebook groups for getting exposure to your site. Almost every group will have some rules about what you can post, and you may not be able to post a link to your latest blog article. If the group does allow promotion and people seem open to it, feel free to share a link when you have something really good to share. Some groups hav specific days of the week or certain threads where it is acceptable to link to your own site.
Use the group to connect to other people who are in your target audience. When a situation arises you may be able to mention your site (such as when someone asks a question that is answered in one of your blog posts).
Even if you can’t directly post links in a Facebook group it can still be worth your time. The connections that you make can be really valuable and lead to new opportunities, especially if other people in the group are bloggers.
You can also use a different approach, providing something of value. Let’s use the example of a food blogger. Say you’re in a Facebook group that focuses on gluten-free living. You could put together a free e-book of gluten-free recipes and contact the Facebook group administrator to ask for permission to share your e-book in the group. The more unique and valuable your free resource is, the better results you will have.
To find groups, click on “group” in the left sidebar of Facebook. Then do a search or click on “discover” to see some groups Facebook suggests for you.
Don’t expect to get floods of traffic from Facebook Groups, but it can be a great strategy to start to attract a smaller number of highly targeted visitors to your site.
5. Form an Inner Circle
Building a successful blog is all about networking and connecting with other bloggers in your industry or niche. Don’t think of other bloggers as your competitors. You can actually help each other out quite a bit.
Blogger outreach is commonly considered one of the best ways to grow traffic to your site, and rightly so. With blogger outreach, you’ll be contacting a large number of other bloggers to promote your content, and hopefully to build some relationships.
Forming an inner circle is kind of like blogger outreach but on a smaller scale. Basically, the idea is to gather a small number of bloggers in a particular niche or industry who are all interested and willing to help each other out. For example, you could form a group of five bloggers who all comment on each other’s posts, share each other’s posts on social media, and even link to each other if appropriate. The group could be formal or informal, but either way, everyone in the group benefits.
Find other new bloggers in your niche and try to get to know them. If it seems like a good fit you could ask them about helping each other, and you can both look for other bloggers to grow the inner circle. You probably won’t want to add too many people, 5-10 is probably a good number. A larger group would require more time for everyone to comment on each other’s posts and more content that needs to be shared on social media. Also, with larger groups, some people tend to only take and not give, which doesn’t work.
Over the years I’ve been a part of a few inner circles, both formal and informal. As a new blogger, it can help to get a little bit more traffic from social media, and the comments on your posts make your blog look more legit. You may also form some good relationships with other up-and-coming bloggers.
Reddit is an extremely popular site that is sort of a cross between a forum and a social network. Because of its popularity, Reddit has the potential to send hundreds or thousands of visitors to your website or blog. However, it’s important that you take some time to understand Reddit, how it works, and the etiquette before trying to use it to get traffic to your site. If you just go in and start submitting links to your blog posts, you’re going to get plenty of downvotes and negative comments.
The first thing you need to understand is what subreddits are and how they work. Subreddits are basically communities that are focused on a particular topic. There are subreddits for just about everything you can imagine, from travel, to parenting, to health, to finance, and much more. Actually, there are many subreddits for very similar topics.
For example, there is a photography subreddit and there is a photo critique subreddit. Chances are, the main topic of your blog (such as health, finance, parenting, travel, etc.) probably has many different subreddits that would fall under that one main topic. This means that there are probably lots of different communities where you can participate.
Each subreddit will have moderators that are in charge of the group. Most of them have a few specific rules that you need to follow, and the moderators can warn or remove people who are breaking the rules.
Some subreddits will have rules against self-promotion, which is something you need to pay attention to. If you’re submitting a link to your blog in a subreddit that doesn’t allow self-promotion, it’s probably not going to end well. Reddit users will not hold back and they’ll tell you if they don’t like the content you’re submitting.
Although some Subreddits do not allow self-promotion, others do allow it, assuming the links that you’re submitting lead to relevant, quality content. To get traffic to your blog, try to find some subreddits that fall under your main topic where you will be able to link to your content (you can search for subreddits here).
What to Post to Reddit
Although your goal for using Reddit is to get traffic to your blog, you need to be much more involved at the site than simply submitting links to your own content. If a Reddit user looks at your profile activity, they should see that you’re actively involved in the discussion and not simply there to drop links.
Many of the posts on Reddit are simply for discussion. This is where Reddit is more like a forum than a social media site. It’s a good idea to respond and get involved in the discussion to build up your profile. You can upvote or downvote threads, as well as individual comments on the threads.
It’s also a good idea to post links to other blogs as well, so not all of the links you’re submitting are leading to your own blog. That way your profile will look more natural, and you’ll be less likely to be viewed or flagged as a spammer.
When you have a post that you think will be relevant to a Subreddit that allows you to post a link, don’t be afraid to link to your own site. If your submission gets a few upvotes it could easily lead to some nice traffic.
The amount of traffic will really depend on the Subreddit. The larger, more popular Subreddits will send much more traffic, but it’s also harder to get your links seen in these Subreddits. With some of the smaller ones, you can easily get traffic to your site just by submitting a link. You may not get a lot of traffic from these subreddits, but it’s something to get you started.
7. Paid Traffic
The last strategy we’re going to look at is to simply pay for traffic. There are a lot of different ways you can go about doing this: Google AdWords, Facebook ads, banner ads, sponsored blog posts, solo ads (email), etc. My recommendation is to use the paid traffic to build your email list. That way you’ll be building an asset that will continue to send traffic to your blog or website in the future, rather than just paying for a quick burst of traffic today that is gone tomorrow.
If you want to use paid traffic to build your list you could use Facebook ads and a send visitors to a landing page with a free offer, and the visitor will need to enter their email address to get your freebie. This can work well, but depending on your niche it may be expensive. Facebook also offers lead ads where Facebook users can opt in to your list without even leaving Facebook.
Another option is to use Opt-Intelligence, where you will pay per lead. If you’re only asking for an email address the prices can be pretty reasonable.
A slightly different option is to use a contest or giveaway to grow your email list, and then use Facebook ads or other paid traffic to get more exposure for your contest or giveaway. You can use a tool like KingSumo to handle all of the complicated details for you, then just send paid traffic to the landing page for your contest.
Even if you’re not using ads to directly grow your email list, you can still use Facebook ads to drive visitors to your blog posts. Although Facebook ads can be expensive, if you’re able to get a decent clickthrough rate and you’re targeting a large audience it’s possible to get cheap clicks (like $0.05 – $0.10 per click). FB Ads 101 is free training that will show you how to start driving visitors to your site with a budget as low as $1 per day.
While getting traffic is one of the biggest hurdles you’ll have to face with a new website or blog, there are some options. Pick a few things from this list and start putting them into place with your own website or blog, and you should start to see results.