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Starting a new blog can feel like an overwhelming task. Not only does it involve either developing your own template (or finding a free one), creating interesting content that people will want to read, and making the blog SEO optimized, but once you’re finished developing that amazing new blog, you need to somehow get people to start visiting.
With millions upon millions of websites on the Internet, and with potentially hundreds of thousands focused on the same subject or niche that you are – developing an audience can feel even more overwhelming than trying to start a blog from scratch in the first place.
I’ve been working on the Internet long before it became wildly popular in the 1990s, and in the process of watching the evolution of the Internet I’ve come to realize and appreciate something amazing about the current incarnation of the Internet, known as Web 2.0. That something is this; If you know the rules of the game, then it is possible to start a blog that gets instant traffic from day one – and maintains that traffic into the future. Today I’d like to share 3 powerful techniques you can use to accomplish this.
Tip #1 – Write Optimized Content The First Day You Start A Blog
Many people who start a blog do so because they love writing. That’s one of the reasons I started several blogs (horribly neglected) of my own. The problem is that most writers enjoy writing for the love of the process – not for the purpose of “optimizing” the content for search engines. The process of optimizing makes writers feel stifled, non-creative and cheap. Sort of like not wanting to go to Wal-Mart to save money even though you know that things are a heck of a lot cheaper there.
Writers know that optimizing is important to gather search engine traffic, but they either really understand the rules – or they simply don’t care. Optimizing can take years to learn how to do effectively. Many bloggers suffer low blog traffic because they believe if they simply write amazing content – people will love it so much they’ll keep coming back for more. This may be true – but it’ll take you years to accomplish, versus months if you use SEO effectively.
Abhijeet offered a fantastic list of SEO tools that you can use to come up with high-value keywords for your posts. One of those tools that I would highly recommend to all bloggers is the Google Adwords tool. Using this tool the right way, you’ll be able to start writing your very first blog posts that target exactly what people are searching for online.
What’s the “right way” to use Google Adwords? It’s very simple, just brainstorm general topics that you want to write about and enter those, one at a time, into the “Descriptive words or phrases field.” When you click “Get keyword ideas,” you’ll see a very long list of keywords and statistics appear at the bottom. Next, click on the blue column header “Global Monthly Search Volume” to sort the results by how many searches occur for each term every month.
If you find your keyword doesn’t have a lot of traffic, scroll down to the section titled, “Additional Keywords to Consider.”
Here’s the basic SEO rule #1 that I’m going to share with MUO readers. Most bloggers see a keyword with very high search traffic and think, “oooh, a goldmine!” They then proceed to expend tremendous effort writing up a brilliant post using that phrase, only to end up on page 25 or 30 of Google results for that search term. Why? Because the secret of success when choosing keywords where your new blog (or even professional blog) can compete is choosing keywords with very low competition (that cool-looking blue bar graph on the left). Choosing keywords with very high search traffic each month and very low competition will bring traffic to your site the moment Google next crawls your blog. Speaking of which, did you take Karl’s advice and submit your site to Bing and Google yet?
Tip #2 – Engage The Blogosphere Every Single Day
If you want to get a lot of traffic to your new blog from day one, you’ve got to give people who are interested in the topics you write about a good reason to visit your blog. One of the first things that I noticed when I started using Facebook is that it’s human nature for people to check out your wall if you take the time to post on theirs. The same is very true about the world of blogging, but on a much larger scale.
When you post a thoughtful comment on someone else’s blog, not only will the blogger probably check you out, but so will readers who like your comment. To do this effectively, you should use a tool like Ratingburner or Technorati to find the most popular blogs on the net within the niche that you write about.
Using Technorati to find similar blogs to my own blog FreeWritingCenter, I discovered one high-authority blog, AListApart, with fresh content just waiting to receive a good comment. You may need to sift down the list for blogs that are relevant to yours (I did).
Visit the other blogs, and if you aren’t already a subscriber then become one. Your new blog will not take off unless you’re ready and willing to engage the blogging community and contribute to other blogs as much as you want other people to contribute to yours. When you post a comment – don’t do it without reading the post you’re commenting on. Don’t be one of those annoying spammers – you’re trying to engage a community, not get free marketing for yourself.
The general rule of thumb here is to only post on blogs that allow you to include your URL, be positive and always compliment the blogger, and finally always reference one or two important points in the blogger’s post – this proves that you actually read the article and found it interesting. A well written comment can go a very long way toward immediately attracting interested readers (and fellow bloggers) to your own blog.
Tip #3 – Becoming an Active Member of the Forum Community
The third most effective way to get instant traffic to your blog is to engage forum communities filled with folks who share an interest in the topic that your blog covers. Either generate a new thread, or comment on an existing thread that covers something you wrote about.
Finding a forum based on the topic of your blog is usually as simple as typing it into Google as something like, “writing forums.” Although, I would highly recommend taking Darko’s advice and use forum search engines which are often far more effective since they specifically target forums. Using BoardReader, I found a great webmaster forum post about writing at the V7 Network. When you register, don’t forget to include your URL in your forum profile (most forums have a field for this).
Forum etiquette is to avoid posting your own URL in the very first few posts. Simply engage in a conversation with forum members. Once you prove to the forum administrators that your goal in engaging the forum community is to have a conversation and not just advertise yourself, they’ll be far more willing to let you quote (and link) from your own blog every now and then. But the first step at any forum is just to get engaged in a quality conversation with other folks.
Forums can help in a lot of ways. Readers who find your comment interesting may click on your profile to check out who you are – and there, they’ll find the URL to your blog. Additionally, many forums (such as the one above), allow you to post a link in your signature after you’ve made a certain number of forum posts. This assures the forum administrators that you’re not only there to market yourself, and it eventually allows you to have a link back to your blog on every single post you make – which is a very powerful way to get a lot of traffic to your blog.
Forget about all of the silly instant marketing gimmicks that you find online from “SEO experts” that claim they can get you thousands of visitors a day. The unfortunate fact is that these are typically scams that use spamming techniques that’ll get you penalized by Google in the end. The most effective way to “grow” your blog in a very organic and long-lasting way is to make sure all of your content is optimized, and then start spending an hour or so a day just engaging the online community that shares your interests.
Do you have your own unique techniques to draw instant traffic to a new blog? Share them with other MUO readers in the comments section below.
Image Credit : Mike Licht