Want to know how to build organic traffic to your new blog? Of course you do. The search engines are one of the most important sources of targeted traffic for blogs in every niche, and you’re going to want to tap into that.
The only thing is … you’ve published two posts, you’ve got zero readers, and your Google ranking is non-existent.
Not to worry—we all have to start somewhere.
Your primary concern right now should be to avoid wasting your time.
Many people start blogs with high expectations, and most of them fail. You don’t want to be one of them. That means you need to not only put in the hours—but put them in where it matters.
So let’s get going.
Create an Email Sign-Up Form and Lead Magnet
Setting up your email list is the first thing you need to do—even before you start publishing posts regularly.
No, it won’t help with your organic traffic, but please make sure you have one in place before you start driving traffic to your site.
Too many bloggers decide that they will get around to this later on, but they are missing out. It’s been said many times before—your list is your biggest asset.
If you plan to sell your own info products or affiliate links—or anything at all—your list is likely to turn into your largest and most reliable source of income.
Some bloggers refer to their lists as their personal ATMs.
Fortunately, setting up an email list is one of the easiest steps. You’ll need a lead magnet (ebook, report, mini-course, etc) that you can use to tempt people to give up their email addresses.
You’ll also need a good email provider (MailChimp is excellent).
Apart from that, I won’t go into details as this is the topic of another post. Just do yourself a favor and get it set up ASAP.
Publish Quality Posts, and Publish Them Regularly
The first and most important factor for building up organic traffic to your blog is to publish content that is high-quality and provides value to your target audience.
Without this, you can never expect to generate significant amounts of organic traffic to your blog.
Sure, there is a lot more involved than writing great posts (more of that later). But this is where it starts. Think of it as the bare minimum you need to make your blog a success.
As well as publishing quality posts, you should also publish regularly. But what is regularly?
- Once a week minimum if you’re serious
- Twice a week if you can keep the quality up
- Three if you can make it
In fact, as long as the quality remains high, you cannot suffer from publishing too regularly.
Just remember that you’ll have a lot of other tasks to focus on, and these will all take up your time. So do as much as you can, and try to keep to a regular schedule.
It should probably go without saying, but the key to generating organic traffic is to ensure you rank for the right keywords. So make sure you research your keywords, and start off by targeting long-tail keywords that you can rank for with greater ease.
You may not start ranking for them straight away—but without including them in your content, you’re going to have trouble ranking for relevant keywords later on.
So get into the habit from the first post you publish.
Create an Editorial Plan
Building from the last point, it’s a very good idea to have an editorial plan in place. When you first sit down in front of a blank screen and decide to write, ideas can take a while to flow.
But believe me—once you start brainstorming, you will have more ideas than you can publish in a whole year of blogging.
Get inspiration from:
- your competitors
- authority blogs in your niche
- authority blogs in other niches
- most popular posts on other blogs
- most commented-on posts
- magazines you read
- news articles you come across
In short, anywhere you can.
Keep track of your ideas in a note-taking app (Evernote is awesome). Create a tag or notebook for all your blog ideas, and start building it up. Get into the habit of doing this every day, and you’ll soon have more ideas than you can possibly write about.
And make sure you include different types of blogs in your editorial plan.
That means info blogs, news blogs, event blogs (conferences, etc), blog round-ups, reviews, infographics, video posts, surveys, and more.
Keep it fresh, keep coming up with new and original posts … all while ensuring you provide consistent value.
Once you’ve got an editorial calendar up and running, you’ll find it a lot easier to stick to your publishing schedule.
Build Your Network
The next step is to work on building up your network. I don’t mean build your readership—that will come in time.
I mean your network of fellow bloggers.
Apart from publishing blogs that people want to read and share, effective promotion is pretty much the secret to successful blogging—and getting serious amounts of organic traffic.
I could write 10,000 words on this easily. But I’m going to cut back to a few basics so as not to overwhelm you:
- Sign up with Twitter and Facebook (and any other social networks that make sense for your blog)
- Sign up with Feedly and start following blogs in your niche and similar niches
- Start following influencers in your niche
- Look at who follows them, check out their blogs, and find out who has written guests posts for them
- Find out where your competitors are getting their links from (using a tool like the Moz Open Site Explorer)
- Follow anyone of interest, both competitors and non-competitors alike
What you are really looking for is people in the same space as you—but who are not direct competitors. These are perfect bloggers to form connections with.
They don’t have to be big superstar bloggers (although it’s great to have some of them in your network too). Just other bloggers who you can make a connection with.
Start to retweet their posts. Share their blogs with your followers. Post insightful comments on their blog posts. All of this will help you get onto their radars.
They might start doing the same—bloggers are grateful when you help them to share their content.
Get involved in the debate on Twitter. Answer questions. And keep sharing and commenting on other bloggers’ updates.
Yes, this all takes time. But dedicate an hour a day or more to this, and over time you will start forging connections. You will start getting yourself noticed.
Then you’re ready to move onto the next stage.
Reach Out for Guest Blogging Opportunities
Guest blogging is one of the best ways to grow your audience, especially early on in your blogging career.
- Exposure to another readership that is highly likely to engage with your content
- Make valuable connections with other bloggers, who can provide you with more opportunities in the future
- Become recognized in your niche
- Build links back to your website
The wrong reason to do guest blogging is just for the links. Too many bloggers do this, and they end up disappointed. They end up posting a lot of content on low-quality blogs, and they become disheartened when their organic traffic doesn’t rocket.
Guest blogging is not ideal for links—so do it instead to form relationships and build your audience.
Because this is how it works.
Once more people start reading your content, they will start sharing your content with their own networks. More bloggers will be open to the idea of you guest blogging for them.
Soon, bigger bloggers will take more notice of you, and then you can generate some really serious traffic—and links.
And getting guest blog opportunities works best when you are already on the radar of the blogger. If they know you from your comments, your shares, your blog round-ups that they feature in, and your retweets … then they are going to be much more open to the idea when you get in touch and ask about guest blogging for them.
Focus on Other Traffic-Generating Strategies
So, you’re posting regular high-quality blogs. You’re building your network. You’ve got a few guest blogging opportunities. And you’re building your email list.
Now it’s time to look at other ways to bring in organic traffic.
First of all, remember that this takes time. You are already active on social media and publishing guest blogs, both of which generate links and shares, both of which will help with your organic traffic over time.
Now you need to stay active on social media. You need to keep getting guest blog opportunities. But also look at other link-building opportunities:
- Answer questions on the big forums in your niche, providing useful and relevant answers
- Answer questions on Quora, and link back to your blog posts in your answers
- Create and publish slideshows on SlideShare, which can be a source of incredible amounts of traffic on its own
- Upload videos to YouTube, link back to your site, and get found both on the site and via standard search
- Share your posts on StumbleUpon
- Syndicate some (not all) of your content on sites like Medium
All of these techniques will not only get you noticed by more people, but they will generate traffic to your blog on their own.
And the links they build will help your search rankings over time, generating even more traffic.
By being active on various platforms, and consistently providing value, you will ensure more people find you. That means more blog owners are going to share your posts and link to them, and this will boost your organic results over time.
Stick At It
From here on it, it’s just a matter of continuing what you’re doing, continuing to look for new opportunities, and ensuring you keep up with your blogging schedule.
It takes time, and it takes effort.
But keep at it, keep creating and promoting high-quality content, and you’ll soon start seeing that all-important organic traffic head your way.