Blog Marketing: How to Get Traffic to your Blog
In this article, you learn how to do blog marketing to grow your blog and get traffic. This article is also 1 of 5 articles in a tutorial series (Step by Step Guide on How to Start a Blog), the tutorial is for anyone who wants to start and grow their blogs, we have also created an online course which breaks down the steps in more details on starting and growing your blog using a real blog website as an example. If you interested you can take the course here.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
The ultimate goal to grow your blog is to achieve organic growth and traffic and there is no better way to do that than optimizing your blog for search engines. Organic traffic simply means traffic that comes to your blog directly from people searching on the internet topics related to your blog. This means you are now ranking high on Google, for example, if you have a cooking blog and people search for “cooking lessons” and your blog shows up on the first results page of Google that’s when you have successfully optimized your blog and can start receiving thousands to million visitors to your blog. Getting there, however, is not easy, even if you had 1 million dollars, to get thousands of organic traffic will not be so easy and you will also need to follow the same strategies. Below we discuss some of the SEO tactics you can implement on your blog.
Blog name and URL
This is the first thing you need to do to improve your SEO for your blog, select a domain name that best describes what your blog is about. Don’t use a vague domain name like “hobo” or “hobbynice” only to find out that your blog is about weddings, if your blog is about cars use a domain name that best describes your blog like “car reviews . Com “ or “ mustang lovers .net” then Google and other search engines will have an idea what your blog is about. The goal here is to make it as easy as possible to be found on Google, so make sure your the domain name of your blog matches with the content of your blog.
This has to do with how easy it is to access and use your website, and how helpful your website is. Websites that have great user experience are the ones that load faster, mobile friendly, responsive, easy to navigate and are visually attractive. When you starting to blog for the first time this is not so easy design because it requires experience and you might want to hire a professional web designer for that. However, there are still a few things you can do about it;
- Make sure your blog is mobile friendly,
- Compress your images before uploading them on the website this will make your pages load faster,
- Do not include unnecessary pop-ups on your page
- Include a sitemap on your page or a search function
- Categories all subtopics of your blog posts,
- Include a sticky menu so your visitors can easily change pages,
- Your blog posts should have preview text and a “read more” button, this improves the user experience
- Make sure you have an SSL certificate to add a layer of security to your blog, Google loves secure websites.
Keywords planning involves doing market research to see what are the appropriate keywords to use in your blog, we discuss that more detail in this article. The most important thing about keywords is making sure they are visible and indexable throughout your website. If for example you run a cooking blog and through your market research you discovered that “cooking lessons” is a good keyword to use, then you need to populate that keyword throughout the website on your headings, titles, meta description, menus, blog articles, tags, and pages. However you need to be smart about it, don’t include it on every heading or page of your blog otherwise Google will penalize you for it. To use it efficiently, for example for menus instead of saying French cuisine, sushi, African cuisine you can incorporate your keyword by using “French cuisine cooking lessons” “sushi cooking lessons” etc in that way your website is still user-friendly and you still increase your SEO.
One thing to remember while you are using these technical strategies is that there are millions of other websites that are trying to do the same thing and Google has a very difficultly job to decide which website to rank first. Google’s ranking algorithm is getting more difficult each year, and the reason is to eliminate spammers and poor quality websites, but one thing that Google will never change is ranking high-quality content blogs. If you are consistently producing high-quality content on your blog Google will reward you by ranking you high even if you don’t apply any of the technical strategies we discussed. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply the technical strategies it simply means you should focus more on the quality of your content, remember the goal here is improving your chances of ranking high. Now, what does quality content look like?
- Include infographics on your blog articles and images to illustrate your point, this is especially good when you presenting statistics (learn how to create infographics here)
- Use videos to explain your point or when making a tutorial, animations are usually the best, or you can even use screencast. Learn how to make animation videos here.
- Add external references such as links to your articles where visitors can get more information, for example, I included an external link above where my readers can find out more information about how to create infographics
- Reduce ads, pop-ups, and any widgets that interferes with the reading experience of your visitors
- If you can, hire professional proofreaders to help fix grammar and structure of your articles. However you should take time to practice your writing skills, and take online courses to improve your language skills. Read this article on how to write a interest blog that will attract visitors
Want to make friends online for your blog? Join online communities with like-minded people in your industry. If for example, you running a PC repair blog, you can join support forums for Apple, Windows and answer people’s questions if they have problems with their PC’s. This will significantly improve your reputation online and establish you as an expert. It will not only drive traffic to your website but it will also help you to increase sales.
People on the internet are constantly looking for help with something, if you can provide helpful solutions they will begin to trust you and be loyal readers of your blog. When I was starting out my blog, most of my traffic came from the forums I joined, I used to answer people’s question relating to blogging, people would ask something like “How do I grow my blog, I have been blogging for 3 months but I see no results” then I would proceed in giving them a detailed explanation of what they were doing wrong and how they can improve. This made people trust me as an expert in blogging, after some time people started asking me to help them build their blogs. The nice thing about forums is that, they don’t cost you anything! Depending on the industry your blog is about you need to select the appropriate forum, but some of the common ones are Quora and Reddit and I use them the most because they have a large following.
Have you noticed the emails in your inbox from the businesses you have had an encounter with, those promotional emails? Everyone that has an email address has had an encounter with promotional emails but very few understand the power of email marketing. Email marketing is sending emails to your customers or current blog readers to advertise your business, solicit sales and most importantly to engage with your blog followers. When done right it is meant to build loyalty, trust and brand awareness in a cost-efficient way.
Why is email marketing important?
- Almost everyone uses email
Social media is effective but not as much as email marketing because it gives you direct access to your customers. Even people without social media usually have an email account this is why it is so powerful, people read their emails on a daily basis whether it’s for work or personal.
- Effective in marketing your blog
The reason why email marketing is so effective in blog marketing is that you speaking directly to people who care about your blog. Because people subscribe voluntarily to your mailing list, you know they are interested in your products or services, unlike other forms of marketing like print media where you ‘hope’ the ad will reach the right audience. Another reason it’s cost effective is that once you have set up your mailing list you don’t have to spend another cent! You can email your customers, send them newsletters and promotions as you wish at no extra costs. We go into details of how you can set up free email marketing campaigns in the online course here.
Social media, first of all, is a community platform, it is a platform to communicate and engage with people we share same interests with. In the olden days, way back, especially in Africa people used to gather around a fire at night to share stories, catch up with the latest news in the village, catch up with their friends, meet new people and for them, the fire was their social media.
Now, you might say that is a silly example but it’s a good analogy to make my following point. Social media is about people and when it’s a group of people it then becomes a community, whether it’s a fire or Twitter that facilitates the engagement, the most important thing is that its people who make social media. Now I will share with you how to use social media to engage with your audience and build a vibrant following.
- Research audience and define your goals
The worst thing you can do on social media is market the right stuff to the wrong crowd. Just like other forms of marketing, it is important to do some background study on your ideal audience. Describe in detail and in writing; Age, personality, interests, race, social standing and other details that will help you effectively market your brand to the right people. The next thing is describing your goals, what are you trying to achieve; are you selling something? Do want to communicate to an existing customer base? Are you trying to influence people on a particular idea? It is important to set goals right from the beginning so you can align them with your strategy.
- Plan and organize
Formulate a plan, decide on what you going to post on social media and how you will engage with your audience. For example, if you going to be mostly posting pictures then you might want to use Instagram or if you going to be posting short messages then use twitter. Also decide how often you going to be posting, plan your social media engagement and be intentional about it. Don’t expect to grow your online presence by posting once a week, building a social media following is a marathon and not a sprint, you must be intentional and consistent.
- Build your community
To build a community is the hardest part, remember this is not a sprint but a marathon even with $1 million you won’t be able to build a loyal active community overnight. You need to build trust, bring value and establish authority of your brand and all of that takes time. However initially to get things going, ask your friends, family members, and colleagues to like or follow your brand on social media. Once other people see that their friends liked your page, they will also likely it too. Another way to get initial followers is through paid advertising, for example, you can promote your page on Facebook to get more likes from your targeted audience by paying for an ad that will be shown to people who might be interested in your page.
What to post on Social Media
So now, you have just finished opening a social media account for your brand or you have a social media page but don’t know what to share, keep reading. You really need to be strategic when it comes to what to share on social media especially if you are new to social media marketing and you are planning on growing your brand online. In this article, I will discuss where to find inspiration on what to share about and also what type of content you should be sharing.
- Post something relevant
This is the first and most important point, everything you post on social media should related to your brand in one way or another. Before you click the publish or post button, think about how is this related to my brand and is it appropriate for my audience? You don’t have to post about your brand all the time but you must make sure what you post is relevant to your brand, for example if you selling health products don’t go now and post about the new iPhone being released rather post something like a motivational quote. Remember also, that what you like is not necessarily what your followers like, maybe you saw something interesting on your favorite movie that doesn’t mean you can share it with your followers, stick to blog related items.
- Entertain, inform, inspire and educate
You don’t have to do all of them, but make sure each post you make, either informs, inspires, entertain or educates your followers otherwise people will not find it interesting. To get interesting content to post on social media, read other people’s pages with similar business as yours for example if you are a chef in South Africa, you can look at what other Chefs in the USA are posting on their social media pages then incorporate that into your local social media page. Share interesting stories from other sources like the news, other people’s blogs and social media pages, for example, you can share the latest statics released by Facebook, Google or Stats SA to make a point, this will show your followers that you are well informed.
- Use visuals to tell a story
The most boring posts by far are the ones with text only. It’s been proven that posts with videos and pictures tend to get more reaction than posts with only text that is why you need to create more visual posts. You can get free images and edit them online using websites such as Canva but be careful not to use copyrighted material. In your posts occasional use memes and giphys to draw attention.
- Converse don’t sell
No one likes feeling like their being solicited for their business and it makes you look like a dodgy salesperson. How would you feel if someone invited you to be their friend and then after that tried to sell you something? Nine times out of ten you will not buy the products and the reason is that people do business with people they know, like and trust. Focus more time on creating value and building relationships than trying to sell people your products or services. For example, if you selling health products in your blog, rather than asking people to buy your product you can post work out routines, recommend health apps and other information that might be useful to followers.
Don’t think of your followers on social media and blog as just numbers and virtual people, understand that these are real people with emotions and have their own thoughts. After you have planned and strategized now it’s time to connect with your audience in a meaningful way. The most important thing is to create awesome content on your blog by that I mean creating content that is useful; entertaining, educating, informative or inspiring, actually anything that your audience will find interesting. When connecting with people, it is important to listen to what they are saying, reply to comments, mentions and feedback this will show your followers that you care. This will ultimately help you grow your blog online, if you want to learn more you can take our online course here.