Build it and they will come, right? Unfortunately, when it comes to starting a new blog, that is simply not true.
I see many new blog owners become hyper-focused on getting Google to send them masses of traffic through SEO. And, while Google traffic is great and should not be ignored, focusing all your energy on SEO could be a recipe for disaster.
In order to really build up traffic and a blog following, it’s important to get off your blog and get out to places where your target market can find you. I don’t care what the sales pages and “gurus” say — there is no software or “loophole” to easily bring large volumes of genuine traffic to you.
You have to go get it.
I am a big fan of “free” when it comes to affiliate marketing and online exposure, so I’m going to share five of my favorite free ways to get your new blog noticed.
1. Visit Other Sites In Your Niche & Offer A Guest Post
Once you enter your niche, it won’t take you long to figure out who the big players are. They’re the ones you’re trying to beat in Google, right? Instead of trying to beat them with SEO tricks, why not join them?
Owners of really popular blogs all need one thing: great content. If you offer them a piece of 100% unique and very helpful content, they just may feel inclined to share it with their readers.
Rae Hoffman shares some great tips for identifying guest blogging opportunities in her post on CopyBlogger.com.
2. Share Your Content On Social Sites
Sharing your content on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, etc., only takes a moment, but the results can be great if others pick it up and then share it with their following. It’s an easy way to get traffic based on real human recommendations — and that’s the kind of traffic we can never get enough of.
3. Hang Out & Participate Where Your Target Market Hangs Out
Rand Fishkin at SEOMoz shared some excellent tactics last year for getting much-needed traffic to your blog.
“Participate in the Communities Where Your Audience Already Gathers” was tactic #2 on his list. This is a vital strategy for attracting those readers who want to read your content. The best part (aside from traffic) is that these are also the folks who will share your work via social sites. If your target audience loves your content, they will share it with others–and you can’t beat the power of social recommendations from real, live people.
So, take some time each day to get out there and hang out in market-related forums and communities. Don’t spam there — be a real participant. If your community shares and input are good, other forum members will naturally begin to consider you worth paying attention to.
4. Take Advantage Of Free-To-Use Sites
There are many, many sites out there that allow you to publish content free-of-charge, so take advantage of them to get additional exposure. Places like HubSpot or Squidoo are good places to start if you don’t want to deal with a lot of setup. Tumblr, WordPress and Blogger blogs are free, easy to create and fairly well-optimized for search engines. I call these types of sites “supporting sites,” as they help me get additional exposure in Google and help my target market find my work.
There is absolutely no rule that says you can only have one webpage targeting a certain topic or keyword — just make sure you link to your primary blog for keyword strength.
5. Leverage Market Leaders
Check out this fantastic tip that Lynn Terry shared on her post, 6 Ways to Get Free Targeted Web Traffic:
“…find the top podcasts, magazines, blogs, forums, radio shows, etc., in your market. Find out what content your market is consuming, and where, and leverage that to your benefit. Brainstorm ways to get in front of your market where they are, which is much easier than trying to get them to come where YOU are.”
Yes, this tip requires some creativity, but getting in front of that audience is crucial and very rewarding in the long run. Again, don’t spam or harass your industry leaders — that’s one sure way to have it all blow up in your face.
Building up traffic to a new website or blog takes time. Regardless of what others say, there is no one thing that will miraculously send tons of traffic overnight. It’s a process that requires great content on your site and as well as active efforts off your site to get your content discovered and shared.
For additional ideas, check out Michael Martinez’s tips on ways to drive traffic to your website for free
What free techniques do you use to generate more traffic to your site? Share with us in the comments section.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.