It can often seem as if our blog’s growth is out of our control. We post regularly and try to write the best content we can, but sometimes this doesn’t seem like enough. Our growth might plateau, or even start going backwards.
Thankfully, there are some things that are in your control. In this post, I want to explore ten actions you can do straight away that will grow your blog and send you traffic. Perform one of these tasks each day, or one a week. You’ll breathe new life into your blog.
1. Give something away. These days, most bloggers don’t want to give something away unless they get something in return (a link, or maybe a review). This seems intuitive: why give away time or resources without any clear benefits?
The truth is counter-intuitive. Give without expecting to receive and you’ll receive anyway. I’m not speaking about this hypothetically. On my own blog, I offered free simplicity reviews and post ideas for anyone who asked without asking for anything in return. I still get links from grateful participants to this day. Giving away something useful for free leaves a lasting impression. There’s no better way to get traffic and recommendations — without even asking for them.
2. Get connections to vote for you on social media. Call in a favor by asking other bloggers and social media users you know to vote up your best content. You’d be surprised how willing people are to give you a leg up if you’d only ask — especially if you do something for them in return, or have done so in the past.
3. Run a competition. The best competitions have one of three qualities: a fantastic prize, an unusual prize, or an interesting format. Other bloggers shouldn’t have to endure a sacrifice to participate. Make the requirement something that will benefit both you and the blogger, while also putting them in the running to win something. If you don’t have funds, make the prize something valuable that costs nothing to you: advertising space on your site, or a service utilizing one of your talents.
4. Write a free report. A ten page report (usually a ‘how to’ on a topic within your niche) might take a few hours to write but is something that can promote your blog in the long-term. If it’s good, people will share it around. They’ll attach it to emails and offer it as a download on their own blogs. Make sure to link back to your own blog in the report and your incoming traffic will grow exponentially as the report spreads.
5. Start a meme. Think of an idea for a blog post or a set of questions. Write that post or answer the questions, then tag ten other bloggers you’d like to participate in the meme. If you make your first article instructive, you’ll encourage everyone who participates in the meme to link back to you for the original instructions. If five of those ten bloggers you’ve tagged participate, and they each tag five others (and so on), your meme has the potential to generate dozens (or hundreds) of links back to your blog.
6. Guest-post on a popular blog. A guest-post on a popular blog can bring dozens to hundreds of targeted hits into your site. Don’t think you could ever write for a popular blog? Think again. They key things to remember when pitching to a popular blogger is: keep it short. Don’t write the post before your pitch has been accepted. Your email should include your post idea and a headline for the piece if possible. Link to your best article to show them the kind of writing you’re capable of.
7. Buy a StumbleUpon campaign. My blog has been on the front page of Digg twice and StumbleUpon is still my biggest single referrer. For $5 your can buy three-hundred hits from social media influencers. If your content is good, you can guarantee a few of those visitors will vote up your post and send you even more traffic. If your content is really good, your $5 campaign could snowball into a viral episode, bringing you thousands of visitors. Here’s some more information on running a StumbleUpon advertising campaign.
8. Comment on five popular blogs. The posts on your niche’s most popular blogs are often viewed by thousands of people. If you’re one of the first commenters, you could have thousands of eyeballs passing over your comment. Leave an insightful or thought-provoking comment and this may motivate others to investigate you and your blog. Today, try to be one of the first to comment on posts from five different popular blogs — particularly those with active and interesting comment threads. You’re bound to get some quality traffic.
9. Send out links to your best content. We all want links from popular blogs. You know what they say: if you want something, you’ve got to ask. Send a brief email to five other bloggers linking to a great post you’ve written that’s relevant to their audience. Don’t ask for a link directly, just say something like: I thought you or your readership might be interested in this. Not every person will link to you, but keep trying and eventually someone will. I’ve received hundreds of visitors over time from links that I went out and asked for. Learning to be audacious is a necessary step for any successful blogger.
10. Join a forum in your niche. Your forum signature allows you to attach a link to your blog with every post that you write. Write ten posts today and you’ve created ten new links to your site. People do click through these links. When I first launched my blog, I built its initial readership almost exclusively through participating in a niche forum. This method really does work.