So, you bit the bullet, bought hosting, built your website and started producing content! Then….nothing. No traffic, zero, nada, zilch and you feel somewhat deflated.
Do not despair! This is absolutely normal in the early days but read on to learn how to get traffic to your website free. Yes, it takes time, but the things you get right in the early days will have a snowballing effect as your site matures.
This post may include affiliate links – if you buy through my link I may get paid a commission but the price remains the same for you. Thank you for your support.
“Remember that the reader’s attention is only yours for a single instant. They will not use up their valuable time trying to figure out what you mean.” – John Caples
Make your headline attractive
Put yourself in the shoes of the person searching for your solution and see which one of these options you would be more likely to click on (thanks to my buddy Jerry Huang for these fab examples!):
- “Are You Ready For A Regular Blogging Income?” VS “Make Money Blogging Tips: 15 Things You Must Know!”
- “How Secure is Your Website?” VS “Top 5 Website Security Issues You Must Not Overlook”
- “Can I Really Make Money with Affiliate Marketing?” VS “Beginner’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing (Yes, YOU can really make money!)”
Which do you find more attractive? I am hoping you will say the second one! You just have to remember to keep within 60 characters or some of your headline will be cut off.
Using ‘how to’ is always good, also guides and lists do well in searches – funnily enough odd numbers do better if you are producing a list – but don’t forget the all important keyword research.
You can lose the battle before you have even written your blog post if you don’t find the right keyword. The right keyword for you will depend on where you are in your blogging journey.
If you are reading this post, the chances are it will be early on in your blogging career so your keyword research needs to be very strategic. What you are looking for is low competition keywords that still get a reasonable amount of traffic.
You may have heard that some niches are super-competitive and you won’t be able to rank. That can indeed be true if you go about it the wrong way. You have to think about the niche within the niche.
For example if you are in the make money online niche, you would want to narrow down your niche – you could target university students, people coming up to retirement, ex-veterans, new Mums – that will enable you to find variations of popular keywords that you can still rank for.
And remember – you are writing for a person, not an algorithm. (Okay, so you are doing both but keep the person first and make sure it will be attractive to them.)
Rather than go in depth in this post, check out the video below that shows how to find what we call ‘low hanging fruit’ keywords where you will have a chance of ranking. (Also, you get 30 free searches with the Jaaxy keyword research tool that is being demonstrated in the video.)
You can also read my post about keyword research tools here.
Optimize your post for SEO
This is so simple yet some people still miss it. The key things you have to do are:
- Make sure your have included the keyword in your post title using the H1 Header
- Include your keyword in the first 100 words of your copy. If it doesn’t spoil the flow of your post, you could put it in again nearer the end but don’t go mad.
- Use secondary keywords. What other relevant terms are a fit for your post? You can end up ranking for more than one keyword.
- Make sure to give your images the same title as your blog post. This matters!
Contribute to forums
Another good way to get your name in front of people interested in your niche is to become a regular respondent to questions on forums like Quora and Reddit.
Just enter the subject of your niche and you will find a load of related questions. (This is also a great way of getting new content ideas.) When you respond, make sure to give good, detailed, well-thought-out answers.
By doing this you will position yourself as an authority and people will take notice of your advice. One word of caution, however, you can’t put your link in with every answer.
Just pop one in occasionally and make sure it is linking to a post with a more in-depth explanation of the question you are answering and never use an affiliate link.
Optimize page speed
This is absolutely crucial. We are living in an age where people are less and less prepared to wait for anything!
It seems crazy, but the fact of the matter is, according to eConsultancy, that 40% of visitors will abandon their search on site that takes more than 3 seconds to load! And if that wasn’t bad enough, 80% of visitors won’t return.
What to do? Remove anything that could be slowing your site down. The top culprits are:
- Plug-ins. Do you have plug-ins that you don’t use often? I know I do! An easy fix is to deactivate them when they are not in use. When you need them again you can simply activate them.
- Widgets. Tidy up your side-bar and only have essential widgets, otherwise it is likely they will slow you down
- Images. Don’t use massive images. It’s easy to cut corners when you are in a hurry (and who isn’t?) but smaller images will make a difference to your website speed.
- You can also use a ‘lazy loader’ plug-in. This means that the images will come up only as the viewer is on the screen. There is no point loading them all at once, taking ages and losing visitors. Check out a review of some of the best from wpmudev.org here.
Use Schema markup
Confession – I find this so difficult to explain that I very nearly left it off this post lol.
However, I know it is one of the newer but lesser used methods of improving SEO so I would be doing you a dis-service to not at least try!
Basically it is a semantic vocabulary of tags. You can add these to your HTML and it improves the interpretation of your page to the search engines. You can use a ‘rich snippets’ plug-in to do this.
I did this recently when I got a notification of ‘breadcrumbs’ on Google Search Console – it fixed the issue and made my entry look a lot neater.
For an infinitely better explanation, check out Neil Patel’s post, How To Boost Your SEO Using Schema Markup.
Write guest posts
Yes, SEO is super-important for getting ranked but one of the biggest problems with a new website is that you have no authority.
Every website is given a ‘DA’, domain authority rank and if your site has zero authority (which everyone starts off with), they will not trust your website to rank it highly in the SERPS (Search Engine Page Results).
So, how exactly do you gain domain authority? By being linked to blogs that have a higher domain authority than you.
One of the best ways to do this is to write guest posts for other blogs. It may seem counter-intuitive to write for another blog instead of focusing on your own, but the most successful bloggers out there have this very high on their list of must-dos.
Adam Enfroy (a new and outrageously successful blogger) used this tactic with astonishing results for his new website. You can find his tips here.
Before approaching the websites in your niche that accept guest blogs, make sure that your content and style of writing will be a fit for them. Also, look for some content topics that are missing and offer to submit something along those lines.
For more information on link building in general check out my post What is backlinking in SEO.
Use links in your own posts
Once your site has got more posts on it, use links to your own blog posts. This will help with bounce rate (how quickly people leave your site), and it will also genuinely helps visitors to your website to find more content that will help them.
In addition to linking to posts on your own site, link to other authority sites – it all helps to show Google what your site is about and show that you are serious about sharing the best information.
Video is so popular right now, it is a great idea to create some videos, upload them on YouTube and post them on your blog.
This makes people stay on your website longer which naturally reduces your bounce rate and tells Google that you have something valuable to share.
What content do you use? It can be as simple as taking some blog posts and sharing the content. For example, I could record me talking to camera and listing all of these tips. (I might just do that!)
If you are shy, you don’t even have to show your face – you could show your computer screen and explain what you are doing as you go. And you don’t need expensive equipment – you could even just use your smartphone. Bonus!
Pick your favorite social media platform (or maybe even 2) and start building a following. Facebook is probably one of the best.
If you were planning advertising I would suggest getting started with a business page, but as we are looking at getting free traffic, you would be better with a Facebook Group.
For advice on how to practically use Facebook Groups to drive traffice to your website, check out this video from The Growth Academy.
Don’t forget also that you can add social sharing buttons by using a plug-in on your website. These can share a particular story and / or encourage them to like to Facebook page.
Now, you might wonder why I have not included Pinterest under social media. I have given it a headline on its own because while it is technically social media, Pinterest is also a search engine in its own right!
It takes a bit of time to create the ‘pins’, but I cannot recommend using Pinterest highly enough, especially if you are just starting out and not likely to get much from Google. This is post a wrote about it just recently.
Use Google Analytics
Once you start to get some traffic, you can use Google Analytics to find what your most popular posts are. Just scroll down to the bottom of the home page and you will see how many visitors you have to each post.
If there is a particular post of theme that gets more traffic, do more of that as that is what people are searching for. Genius!
Yes, if you have a new blog you will have to go through the phase of little to no traffic, however, don’t ever forget that you are building the foundations of a business and just like the foundations of a building – if you take the time to do it properly you will have something solid and lasting for the future.
It takes faith and persistence to keep going when you don’t see results. If you need a community to keep you going along with regular training, check out my review of the platform I use to keep me inspired.
How have you found your blogging journey so far? Have you reached the point where the traffic is flowing or not so much? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below.