The students who joined Blog Mastermind right at the beginning have just entered the traffic building and marketing phase of their training with me (lesson 11 onwards).
I’m very excited to finally enter this part of the program because it’s the area most people fail and the single biggest reason why most bloggers don’t make money. While I’m not expecting to perform miracles, since no matter how much training I provide it’s still up to the individual blogger to execute on the ideas, I hope I can help bring a good chunk of the students into profits as a result of what they learn in this section of the course.
In lesson 11 I introduced students to the 4 different ways you can build traffic to a blog. I won’t repeat the whole lesson here, but I want to introduce you to these methods so you gain an understanding of what your options are for building traffic to your blog and point out one really important mistake most bloggers make that forever stunts the growth of their blog.
The four methods for building traffic to a blog are –
As overall methodologies, the above four options cover pretty much every technique available to bloggers to build traffic.
The options for buying traffic are many and so far the most common methods I’ve seen used by bloggers are paying for sponsored reviews, using Google’s AdWords pay-per-click system or buying banners on other blogs.
Search engine traffic is the most affordable option since it’s free once it comes, but takes a while to establish and unless you tap into long tail markets, you may never drive huge amounts of traffic from the engines. The top bloggers, by virtue of how many links they attract due to their high profiles, generally enjoy lots of search traffic, but as a coordinated strategy, SEO is a challenging method of building traffic for the average blogger to manipulate effectively.
Taking other people’s traffic may sound malicious, but really it’s just about relationships. Most bloggers understand this principle and realize that a link or two from other blogs, especially the large blogs, can do huge things for their traffic, yet for various reasons they don’t understand how to effectively work their best asset – their fellow bloggers. Through joint ventures, giving before receiving and building relationships, “borrowing” traffic from other people who have vast amounts of it, is one of the best ways to build an audience.
Lastly, and by far the most common method bloggers implement to generate traffic, is the “content is king” approach. Build it, and they will come is the theory, yet so many bloggers sit at home typing great blog articles and then scratch their heads wondering why no one comes to their blog to read their work. Even after extensive study of what goes into great blog writing, people still fail to build traffic – why is that?
Most bloggers follow the success of other bloggers closely. This occurs for various reasons – hero worship, to study their ideas, for entertainment and to stay informed, and perhaps the number one reason – to attempt to replicate their success. If you do what the top bloggers do you maximize your chance of enjoying similar success as them right?
This is flawed psychology. This won’t work because you attempt to replicate the procedures of a blogger who is already successful. As with most things, getting from one point to the next requires you move in a sequence. Certain conditions must be met prior before results are forthcoming.
As a simple example, if you posted the exact same articles I’ve posted to my blog during the last two weeks to a brand new blog, chances are you won’t enjoy huge amounts of traffic. The reason my last two weeks worth of posts have attracted over 50 new incoming links, various comments and brought my daily readership a few steps closer to 5000, is not because of the content I wrote, it’s because of what has been done before the content was published. There is a platform that must be built before content alone will work.
The mistake most bloggers make when building traffic is to rely solely on option four of the methods I mentioned at the start of this article. Unless your work is genius or you get lucky, most bloggers will not build traffic based only on the strength of the content published.
The problem, and here’s the REAL reason why most bloggers never make it to the first hundred readers mark, is that it’s easy to just sit at home and type articles. Writing is challenging for some, but it’s not something that requires a lot of proactive effort beyond 30 minutes spent in front of a keyboard (unless you are illiterate of course).
The other traffic building steps require you commit to a goal and do more than just write blog articles. You invest more time and energy, thus sacrifice other things you could be doing instead.
When you spend money to buy traffic you are taking a gamble and investing in a outcome – you are putting money into your blogging.
When you study SEO and work on building links you invest energy into something that you won’t enjoy rewards from for many months. That takes faith.
If you go and build relationships, propose joint ventures, introduce yourself at conferences, ask to do podcast interviews or any number of things that result in contact with other people on a more personal basis, you are leaving your comfort zone, moving beyond the average and into the unusual with the hope of one day becoming the elite.
All these things take considerably more effort than just writing words to a blog and without doing at least a few of them, it’s hard to ever build significant blog traffic.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. The top bloggers focus most of their time on method four above. We spend our time trying to produce gee-golly-gosh good content. Some are still very proactive at all the other methods of building traffic, but they know thanks to their established audience, JUST writing good content is enough to keep things moving forward.
I’m proof of this point. It’s been a long time since I went about proactively asking for links, or buying traffic or tweaking the SEO elements of my blogs. Doing these things would grow my traffic quicker, but I know if I just put out great articles, my traffic will grow, not as fast as some, but much faster than the average blogger.
Relying on just my content to generate attention and spread through word of mouth works because I already have attention. When you have an audience and you do something, you bring in more audience. It’s as simple as that and may seem somewhat unfair, but that’s just the way it is. No matter how good you are, unless people are watching you when you perform your tricks, it doesn’t matter.
Your job as a less-established blogger is to not rely only on option four – your good content alone – to bring you traffic. You must focus on as many of the other options as you can, while making sure you keep putting out the good content.
The true secret to building blog traffic is to always focus on satisfying people’s desire to read compelling content (or listen to it or watch it), but also realize at certain points along your blog’s development lifecycle you have to do other things equally well.
The hardest time is right at the start. If you understand and accept that, then go to work to bust through to the top level of bloggers, you will make it, it just takes faith and hard work.
If you would like to read more advice about building traffic and profiting from blogs, please download a copy of the free Blog Profits Blueprint.
Here’s to your blogging success,