This post was most recently updated on May 29th, 2019
Want to get more traffic to your site?
Every website once had zero traffic. Even the websites of successful bloggers.
The question is, what did they do to get the ball rolling?
And how can you do the same?
What You'll Learn In This Article
In this article I'm going to show you some of the secrets successful bloggers. Using these techniques they jumpstarted their blogs and got massive traffic within the first month.
You can use these same techniques to get more traffic to your site:
- How to use forums to get traffic, build a following and establish yourself as an expert
- How to leapfrog over successful content marketers
- How to use Twitter to boost your blog's presence on the web
- How to get famous bloggers to mention you, using a basic truth about human nature
- How to get websites in your niche to link to your content
- Why blogger outreach is the key to getting your blog off the ground and how to do it.
If you're starting up and wondering how to break out of no-where-land, these are the steps you need to follow to prime the pump and get traffic to your blog.
1. Jon Morrow
Jon Morrow is a blogger who's absolutely crushing it in terms of traffic. He got 4,379 visitors on the very first day he opened his blog.
In this article, Jon runs through the main traps that people fall into when starting a blog.
Mistake #1. Trusting in SEO
It takes a long time to get a page ranked in Google. Weeks, sometimes months.
And unless you have backlinks from authority sites within your niche, you're going to be struggling to get page #1 rankings. SEO is a long-term strategy - it won't help you in your first month.
Mistake #2. Relying on valuable content
It's easy to get excited about creating content.
But it doesn't matter how much epic content you create. Content on its own it won't bring people to your website.
I read somewhere that a successful blogger should spend 20% of their time creating content and 80% of their time promoting it.
Mistake #3. Trusting in the power of telling stories
Yes, people love stories, but yours would have to be extraordinary and you would have to be an amazing story-teller. Even then it won't bring people to your website - see Mistake #2.
Mistake #4. Endlessly re-designing your blog
As long as it's readable, people don't care what you're blog looks like. They just want to know if you have the answers to their problems.
Mistake #5. Writing every day.
If you don't have any traffic, writing every day is not going to change anything (see Mistake #2).
Mistake #6. Spending hours on social media
It's easy to get distracted and spend masses of time posting on Facebook and Twitter, but if your audience on those platforms is tiny, it's not going to change anything.
Mistake #7. Waiting for your traffic to snowball
Beginners often believe it's just a matter of time. Jon points out that time is actually working against you. The blogs that become successful grow fast. They usually reach several hundred visits a day within a few months.
So if none of these 'silver bullets' works, what is the solution?
The single most important thing you can do, says Jon Morrow, is to listen to your audience.
Hang around the forums, read the comments on popular blog posts. Find out what their problems are, and then give them the answers they need.
This is a tried and tested way to to get more traffic to your site.
Wrapping It Up
Jon's worked with hundreds of new bloggers over the years and he understands why some blogs succeed while others don’t. He’s narrowed it down to this single factor - listening to your target audience.
As it happens this is the exact same message of our next successful blogger, Matthew Woodward.
2. Matthew Woodward
Matthew Woodward is a good example of what Jon Morrow was talking about when he said that successful bloggers don't build up their traffic little by little.
Matthew launched his blog on 3rd August 2012. By 2nd September he'd had 2125 unique visitors to his website. From there, his traffic grew exponentially.
Matthew decided to keep his traffic building strategy really simple. It was based on just two techniques.
Create awesome content
Right from the start Matthew was committed to providing his readers with the best possible content:
[su_quote]I also had the mind-set that each piece of content I produced would be the best piece of content on that topic period[/su_quote]
Answer questions on forums
Answering questions on forums is time consuming but is very powerful.
It works on a number of levels:
- Brings traffic to your blog.
- In forums that use the Dofollow attribute you’ll get link juice back to your blog.
- Gets your name known in your niche and builds you a reputation as an expert
- By reading forums and answering questions, you get to understand your target audience, what their problems are and how to solve them.
I've used Boardreader and it's a great way to find forum questions based on keywords.
You can also search for forum threads on Google. Just type in any one of the following string searches plus your keyword:
"Powered by Phbb" your keyword
"Powered by vBulletin" your keyword
"Powered by SMF" your keyword
"powered by IPB" your keyword
"powered by PunBB" your keyword
When you find a question that relates to your content, post an answer like this:
I saw your question about __________.
I just recently wrote an article that answers your question. You might find it useful: http://www.yourdomain.com/your-content/
Let me know if it helps!
All the best,
Matthew made it a practice to spend an hour a day answering questions in forums.
And every time he published a new post he spent 4 hours promoting it on the forums.
The result? Within 30 days he'd received over 2000 unique visitors.
Wrapping It Up
Organic search engine traffic takes a long time to kick in.
When you're first starting out you need results fast.
And this is the way to do it - hang around the forums and answer people's questions.
Use this technique to get more traffic to your site while building a following and establishing yourself as an authority.
3. Brian Dean
Since it first appeared in May 2013 this article has become something of a classic on link building.
As we all know, backlinks are vital for establishing domain authority, which in turn is key to getting page #1 rankings in the search engines.
But creating amazing content is not enough to get quality backlinks. You have to go out there and look for them.
And that’s exactly what Brian Dean’s skyscraper technique is all about.
The skyscraper technique is simple but ingenious:
- Find existing content that has masses of good quality backlinks
- Improve on that content
- Approach the people who have linked to the original content and suggest they might like to link to your improved version
Step 1. Find popular content
Let’s say your blog is about Home Coffee Machines.
Just go to Google and type in a relevant keyword, e.g. ‘best home coffee machines’.
Any article that appears on page #1 of Google for that search query is guaranteed to have a lot of high quality backlinks.
Let’s take the page that appears in 3rd position of the organic results. We’ll call this the ‘sample content’:
Just click on that listing and copy and paste the URL from the address bar of your browser:
Now head over to a backlink checker such as Ahrefs, MozPro, or Majestic.
I’m going to use the free version of MozPro.
Within MozPro, go to ‘Open Site Explorer’ and paste in the URL of the high ranking content.
Then hit ‘Search’.
In this instance I see that the sample content has 529 links from 10 different domains:
Now click on the ‘Request CSV’ button and download the CSV report containing all 529 links:
Once the report is downloaded, open it in Microsoft Excel.
The only data you need for this exercise is the first column which lists the URL of the webpage containing the link to the sample content:
This article has only 10 referring domains. In a more crowded niche you can expect a web page ranked at No. 3 to have many more referring domains.
Step 2. Improve on the Content
The next step is to produce a piece of content that is similar but much, much better. In the words of Brian Dean, “you’re going to slap another 20 storeys onto the skyscraper”.
By the time you’ve finished, your skyscraper (your content) is going to dominate the skyline.
There are three main ways of doing this:
- Make It Longer
- Update It
- Better Design
If the existing content was 1,500 words, make yours 2,500 words.
But make sure the extra 1000 words are packed with high quality information and not fluff. Research the topic in greater depth than the original piece. Go the extra mile! Over-deliver not just in quantity but in quality as well.
There's huge opportunity out there, as Brian Dean noticed when he first used this technique. Because a lot of high-ranking content on Google is simply out of date.
The third way to improve on the sample content is to simply present it in a smarter, better-designed format. The sample content may contain valuable information but if the page is cluttered and hard to read, you can easily improve on it.
But don’t simply copy it – you should definitely do your own research and write something new that improves on the original content.
Ideally, use all three methods: make it longer, update the information, and present it in a cleaner, smarter design.
Step 3 – Reach Out to the Right People
Now reach out to the people who have linked to the sample content, and ask them if they would like to link to your content.
Because of the research you did in Step 1, you already have a list of blogs and websites that are potentially very interested in your content.
You know that:
- They run a site in your niche.
- They’re interested in your topic.
- They’ve already linked to an article on that topic.
Visit their website and get their email address and then send them an email along these lines.
I was searching for some articles about [your topic] today and I came across this page: [insert the URL from your Excel doc].
I noticed that you linked to one of my favorite articles – [title of Sample Article].
Just wanted to give you a heads up that I’ve written a similar post. It’s like [title of Sample Article], but more thorough and up-to-date [URL of your content].
Might be worth a mention on your page.
Either way, keep up the awesome work!
What's cool about this technique is that it leapfrogs over something that is already doing well. The content that you're improving on already has a page #1 ranking in Google and already has a lot of people linking to it.
4. Peep Laja
Peep Laja is another blogger who mastered the art of quickly getting massive visitor numbers to his site. He managed to get over 40,000 visitors to his blog in the first month.
He did it with these three strategies:
- Writing Epic Content
- Social Sharing
- Mentioning Well Known Bloggers
Writing Epic Content
Peep did some quick research of his own and discovered that the most linked-to content is over 2000 words in length and is rich in images, videos, and lists.
He started creating content that fits the above criteria.
These were not quick posts put together on the fly. On average he spent 8 hours creating each blog post.
Like other successful bloggers, Peep recognized from the outset that search engines were not going to deliver any traffic to him in the first month of his blog's existence.
So he promoted every blog post he wrote on the following social media:
- Hacker News
Because he over-delivered in his content (spending 6 to 8 hours writing each post), his posts were picked up and shared by key influencers, giving him added exposure.
Meanwhile, he made sure to convert as many visitors as possible to newsletter subscribers (remembering the old adage that 'the money is in the list').
Mentioning Well Known Bloggers
Peep Laja made good use of these two truths about human nature and the blogosphere:
- The sweetest sound to anyone’s ears is the sound of their own name.
- Entrepreneurs, bloggers and tweeters have (really) big egos.
He filled his blog posts with references to well known bloggers and then let them know, via Twitter or email, that he had just mentioned them in a new blog post.
The result was as he had hoped. These blogging celebrities tweeted to their followers about his new blog post, giving Peep Laja even more exposure for his new post. Another tried and tested technique to get more traffic to your site.
5. Alex Turnbull
Alex Turnbull of Groove increased traffic to his company's blog by 12,024%.
One of the techniques Alex mentions grabbed my attention.
Groove spent a lot of time building relationships with Influencers who became the launch pad for their traffic explosion.
This is how they did it:
- Find a few pieces of content that have performed well in your space
- Go to BuzzSumo and enter the URL of the content in the search field
- Click on 'View Sharers' and you'll see a list of influencers who have shared content similar to the content that you did the search on.
- Now reach out to those influencers to ask if they would like to share your content as well.
As you've probably noticed, this is a variation on the skyscraper technique:
Again, a great way to get more traffic to your site.
6. Henri Junttila
Henri Junttila, a successful blogger who earns his living online, outlines the 5 key techniques he used to grow his blog from zero to 1,012 subscribers in 101 days.
Before we get started, I want to highlight two bugbears that Henri mentions. These two mindsets can really do your head in and prevent you getting started:
- The amount of information that's out there on how to drive traffic to your blog is overwhelming - you don't have to cover all of it in order to succeed.
- Some people are forever looking for a magic bullet of traffic generation. There isn't one. The point is to choose 2 or 3 strategies and go for it. Its more about perseverance than choosing the right strategy.
These are the five strategies that Henri used.
Obviously your blog needs content before you can begin promoting it. Browse the forums in your target audience and find your audience's pain points.
Then write at least 5 posts that address those issues. That should be enough to 'prime the pump'. Of course, you'll need to write more posts down the track.
Find forums in your niche and leave comments with links back to your blog posts.
Stand out from the crowd by making your comments longer and more useful than anyone else's.
Henri recommends writing 300 to 400 word articles and submitting them to EzineArticles.
I have my doubts about this technique, mainly because of Google's Duplicate Content Penalty.
To avoid getting overwhelmed, focus on just one social media platform to begin with, for example Twitter.
- Sign-up for a Twitter account
- Download TweetDeck
- Start following your favorite people, bloggers and whomever
- Tweet valuable links, tips and advice
- Keep self-promotion to less than 1 tweet out of 10
This technique gave Henri more traction than any other.
But as he points out, you'll need to have written quite a few high quality posts on your own blog before being accepted as a guest blogger on someone else's site.
- Find a few small blogs in your niche or ask someone you already know
- Send them three relevant, great headlines as a pitch for a blog post
- Be nice, short and clear in your initial e-mail
7. Eli Seekins
Eli Seekins used just one very powerful strategy to go from 56 page views a day to over a 1000.
After just one week of using this technique, he found himself being invited to write half a dozen different guest posts (without ever making a pitch).
He even found himself featured in a roundup on Huffington Post.
How did he do it?
Blogger Outreach. Here's how you can do it as well.
STEP 1 - Make Your Hit List
Compile a hit list of your favorite influencers in your particular niche. These are people whose expertise and connections could radically transform your blog.
Don't worry...you're not going to be making contact with these people. I'll explain in a minute.
STEP 2 - Make Your Blogger Outreach List
Now create a spreadsheet in Excel or Google Docs with eight columns. The first three columns will be headed Name, Website, and Email, respectively. Leave the fourth column blank.
The fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth columns will be labelled Follow, Comment, Share, and Email, respectively.
In the first three columns enter the relevant information. In the last four columns enter an x to show that you've completed that particular action.
STEP 3 - Find Bloggers
Visit the blogs on your hit list and find the most popular post in the last 3 days, and failing that, in the last 7 days. But nothing older than that.
Then scroll down to the comments and record the names and websites of everyone who has left a comment on that blog post.
STEP 4: Find Their Emails
Now go to their website and find the commenter's email address. You'll find it in their Contact page, their About page, their Work With Me page, or the footer.
If there's no email address whatsoever you subscribe to their newsletter and get it that way. Failing that, you could simply copy and paste the link for their Contact form.
STEP 5: Make Contact
Before you make contact, follow the blogger on a social media platform such as Twitter.
Find one of their recent posts that you like and share it on Twitter. Then leave a comment in that same blog post. Try to make this a genuine comment that adds value to the blog our ti the discussion.
In the email:
- Say that you're a fan of the blog where you found their comment
- Say that you noticed they left a comment on that blog
- Write a paragraph or two about a recent blog post that you wrote
- Ask them for their feedback on your post.
- Mention one of their posts that you enjoyed reading
- Let them know that you shared it on Twitter (or other social media)
Eli Seekins kindly provided his own email template and you can use it as the basis for your own email.
But don't simply copy Eli's email. Make it your own by changing the wording.
This technique is all about networking and building quality relationships with fellow bloggers in your niche.
That in turn will result in more traffic to your blog and increased engagement with your blog.
Putting It All Together
Every new blog faces the same challenge - getting traffic.
SEO takes time, weeks, even months.
But you can't wait that long. That's where these techniques come in. Follow these steps to quickly get more traffic to your site.
Your 30-Day Traffic Booster Plan
- Listen to your audience. Find out what their problems are and then write blog posts that solve those problems.
- Create awesome content. Use the Skyscraper technique to produce content that stands head and shoulders above everything else on that topic.
- Spend an hour a day answering questions on forums.
- Invite qualified leads to link to your content (see Brian Dean’s article)
- Become active on Twitter. Follow key Influencers in your niche. Share posts from your niche. Interact with other bloggers in your niche.
- Mention well-known bloggers in your posts and then let them know that you mentioned them. Chances are they’ll share your post to their fan-base (see article by Peep Laja).
- Do some serious Blogger Outreach (see Eli Seekins’ article).