By now, you should have plenty of ideas for specific topics and types of content to provide on your blog. In this lesson, we’re going to tackle the second biggest problem bloggers have — getting traffic.
You can spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on training programs, advertising or the services of so-called experts to bring traffic to your site. The strategy I’m about to share with you now is completely free. It does take some time, but not too much. Just a few minutes a day.
In a nutshell, the strategy goes like this: find an online community filled with your Ideal Customers and become an active and authoritative figure in that community.
An online community is usually made up of blogs, online forums, Facebook groups and fan pages, LinkedIn groups, and Twitter followers. You would have found this community, or even several, by now.
How can you become active in such a community? Here are some ideas:
Choose a handful of blogs which are considered authoritative blogs by your Ideal Customers. These should be active blogs, which are updated regularly (at least once a week) and get plenty of visitors and comments. Read the blog regularly and leave a comment frequently.
Make your comments thoughtful. Add your inputs, share your experience, or raise interesting questions. If you’re up to it, you could even engage a few of the regular commenters in a conversation in the comments section. Soon, regular readers of these blogs will start recognizing you as a part of this community. The blog owners will also notice you.
Whenever it’s appropriate, link to specific posts in authority blogs from your own blog posts. This gets you exposure, because most blogs nowadays display trackbacks, or links from blogs that link to them. This is also good for your blog’s search engine optimization, particularly because you can choose the anchor text of the link.
It may seem counter-intuitive, because you’re giving ways for your readers to leave your blog. Don’t worry about this. In fact, your readers will appreciate the fact that you’re letting them discover other useful stuff. And remember, the trackbacks link back to your blog.
See if some of the authoritative blogs welcome guest posts. Some of them may actually ask readers to submit posts to them. If not, go ahead and pitch a guest post. The worst they can say is “No.” And if that happens, just publish the post in your own blog.
If you’re nervous about pitching a guest post in a “big” blog, start with smaller blogs, including your friends’ blogs. Just make sure that their audience is relevant to your product or service.
Just a reminder: Don’t even think about guest posting in a blog unless you’re very familiar with it. You should read a blog regularly for at least a few weeks and leave comments before offering to guest post.
If you belong in Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, you should definitely include links to your new posts. However, there’s a way of doing this so you don’t irritate your followers, friends and contacts.
Remember the Pareto principle? It applies here as well. For example, on Twitter, for every 10 tweets you send, only two should include a link to your own blog.
What should your other tweets be? They should be links to other cool stuff you’ve seen on the web. They could be links to the blogs you’re reading every day. They could be interesting links you found on StuffToTweet.com.
And speaking of Twitter, you may want to send out the same tweet several times a day, say every four hours. An easy and free way to do this is with SocialOomph (formerly known as TweetLater).
Oh and don’t forget to interact in these social networking sites: RT other people’s tweets, respond to updates and questions — in other words, be SOCIAL.
If your list subscribers don’t get updates from your blog automatically, then let them know once in a while about a particularly interesting post you’ve just published. An easy way to do this is by putting an excerpt of the post in the email, and then a link to the rest of the post. Another way is by pointing out an unresolved issue that arose in the comments, and ask your subscribers to leave their two cents.
Do all five of these and you’ll see a significant increase in your blog traffic — without paying for it or spending hours or hurting your brain with SEO techniques.
In the next lesson, we’ll be going into a specific way of presenting your content so that it’s more persuasive and compelling — coming soon in your inbox.
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