You must actively promote your blog if you want traffic. Waiting for people to just find your posts is not effective at building an audience. However, you also don’t want to waste your time. Many of the “how to promote your blog” articles will have you chasing your tail. The recommendations are built on an old marketing mantra “If something worked once, it is worth doing a billion times more.”
Well, we all live in the real world. don’t we? As a small business, entrepreneur or independent marketer, we have to be very aware of return on investment, and our time has value. Man-hours used promoting your blog post are man-hours not being productive doing something else. Moreover, most of us are experienced enough to know “set it and forget it” strategies are not effective with marketing. We need to focus on what works—period.
There is much that you will need to do to successfully promote your blog. I previously wrote a post on practices for an amazing blog. I have stated in the past, a great blog is a great blog because of content. Promotion starts with posts that are well-written, useful or entertaining, and written for your target audience.
If your content is good, people will promote your blog for you—by sharing or linking to it. Once content is mastered, you need promotion strategies that work. Always read those “101 Ways” and “Complete Guide” articles with scepticism. There are being written to be authoritative, not informative—there is a difference.
I have learned—often by trial and error—the best ways to promote a blog, and I am sharing the top techniques with you.
There is no doubt you need to share your content on the major social media sites to promote your blog—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. However, one must understand their audience, and where they are active. Not every blog will be equally successful on every social network. Therefore, not every blog is going to emphasize each social media network the same. Make sense?
As an example, the social media network generating the most traffic for Koffee-O-Matic is Twitter. However, my school director blog receives almost all of its social media traffic from Facebook. Moreover, while that bog receives a lot of comments on the site, 75% of the commenting and discussion is being done within a private Facebook Group, not the blog nor the Facebook “Fan” page. The differences are all because of the differences in the target audiences.
Therefore, despite what some social media marketing experts may tell you, it may not be the best idea to focus a lot of time and energy on secondary social sites, like Pinterest or Instagram. In fact, it could be counterproductive if that is not where you audience is, or wants to see your content. Sure, these imaging social networks work great if you have a food blog, DIY home improvement site, or are a tattoo artist. However, if you are a business website, you are most likely coming across as spammy.
Many articles on how to promote your blog will put a great deal of emphasis on getting links on other people’s sites. The idea is not without merit, but it takes a lot of time and energy with little return—especially if your are a new blogger and/or working to build your online authority. Instead, I suggest promoting your blog posts on your own site.
I have found internal links are really much easier and effective then trying to get hundreds or thousands of links on other sites. The reason why getting your links on other sites is heavily promoted is because a link within a really great article, or blog comment can create a ton of traffic. However, these work best when they are truly organic.
The internal links I have found to be very effect are:
- Featured Articles — Placing featured articles at the top of your main page will draw attention to them. I update these weekly, based on the top visited articles of the last 30 days. They are top posts for a reason, right? Placing them above the fold gives them the attention they deserve.
- Trending Articles — The thought behind having a list of trending articles is similar to featured articles. However, trending articles are those most visited over the last 24-28 hours, and updated automatically every hour. Again, popular posts are popular for a reason, and we want to draw attention to them.
- Recent Articles — Your site, depending on the design, is going do have limit space for the most recent articles. We want to draw attention to them by placing them in a sidebar. Those new posts need to be easily found.
- Links Within Posts — Many bloggers are under the misconception that only quality external links, within their blog posts, improves search engine optimization. This is not true. Many don’t realize is that quality internal links also help with SEO, but have an added benefit of improving your bounce rate.
Gaining email subscribers is by far one of the best ways to promote your blog. Why? These subscribers like what you have written in the past so much, that they have decided to optin to receive regular emails from you. That really says something about the quality of what you have written, and goes back to every bloggers motto, “Content is king!.”
However, because these individuals are so valuable, many bloggers make a mistake is putting too much effort into gaining email subscriptions. We want to make it easy for people to subscribe, but we don’t want to turn people off by being too aggressive.
We see major sites all the time with popovers and popups, asking people to subscribe, but don’t you agree those things are annoying and just add to website clutter? They do it because their marketing experts have a matrix showing it works, but “it works” is a relative phrase. I assert it is weighted to increasing low quality subscribers, and increases bounce rates.
One of the most powerful ways to gain new readers is having a blogger they trust recommending you. Blog communities, like triberr.com, are an extremely valuable way to not only promote your blog, but also increase your online influence. They work by getting your content in front of other bloggers, and having them post their recommendation across their social networks.
The value of blog communities is not just getting your posts promoted by other bloggers, but it also helps meet the need of every content marketer—easily finding valuable content to curate. Sharing quality content across your social networks adds value for your fans and followers, and increases your authority and influence.
Guest blogging is one of the most underutilized tools available to bloggers, and their is a couple reasons. The first is it has gotten a bad reputation because of misuse by people creating spammy articles—focused on linkbacks or getting people to visit a site, promoting a company or product, or that is public relations. If you want to use guest blogging to promote your website, you need to create quality original content—the kind you would post on your own site.
This brings us to the second issue some people have with guest blogging—the hesitation to create good content for free on a site that is not their own. I understand and sympathize with this thinking. However, the idea here is to both increase your online influence and authority. You gain interest in your own site when your content seen by new eyes.
When you create good content on good blogs, the benefits are reciprocal. Regular guest blogging will help you reach a new audience and build your brand, and the site you are contributing gains quality original content. The cycle then feeds itself as you contribute regularly.
If you have the money, paid advertising is probably the most effective way to get new visitors to your site. However, make sure you are spending your money on quality. Google’s Adwords can still probably be legitimately described as the top paid advertising network, and the best place to send advertising dollars to promote your blog. However, Bing Ads may be a better value, with less competition.
On social media, Facebook Advertising is the best way to go. They have the largest number of active users, and have the best tools for targeting. At the same time, you may find Twitter, like Bing Ads, to be more economical. Either way, paid social media advertising can enhance your organic reach with likes, shares, retweets, and comments.