You have a host, a domain name, a WordPress theme, and some good content written with both human visitors and SEO algorithms in mind. But without actual readers, your site will be like a pristine highway with no vehicles traversing it. In other words, it will be totally useless.
Getting your name out there is going to take some hard work — even if you decide to drop a bit of money on an ads campaign. (Something that we actually recommend against.) Here are a few of the most popular and effective ways of bringing readers to your site:
Use Social Media
Social media has made accessing a wide audience easier than ever before — at least for people who have the smarts to use these networks to their fullest potential. The first step will be one of the easiest: simply ask your connected friends and family to follow your blog and to share a link on their site. This might not seem like much, but if you have 500 friends, and all of them have 500 friends, the reach you can achieve becomes quite impressive, even taking into account the fact that some of these connections will inevitably overlap.
If you want to take your social media game to the next level, however, there are options at your disposal. For example, you can look for social media groups and pages centered around the topics that your website covers, and you can begin engaging with this community. For example, if you are starting a blog about car repair, then going to social media communities centered around cars, and answering peoples’ questions in an informative way, is a great example of online networking.
Write Guest Blog Posts
One of the best ways to build your own following is to leverage another person’s popularity to your advantage. Why not reach out to online personalities that you find interesting, insightful, or inspiring, and ask them if they would be interested in receiving a guest post. Many bloggers would be thrilled that you are taking work off their plate, and some may even offer a small bit of compensation. The biggest reward for you, however, will be the opportunity to talk about what you do, who you are, and where you blog can be found.
It is worth noting that you shouldn’t be “salesy” in your blog posts — simply write something that you truly believe your host’s audience will find enjoyable to read, and briefly mention your site in your bio or in your article. In the long run, this will net you more real followers and build your reputation far more than a forced sales pitch ever could.
Host a Guest Blogger
Not only is this a fantastic way of getting more new content created for your site — it is also a strong marketing tactic that can help bring portions of your guest blogger’s following to your site. As long as you have chosen to host a guest blogger who is somewhat similar and relevant to your content, there should be a fairly large crossover of interests in that person’s following, which means some of them might very well continue coming back to your website. (Especially if you have an email subscription collector, but we’ll talk more about that in tomorrow’s lesson.)
How can you get someone to write a guest post for your blog? First of all, try simply writing ten bloggers who you enjoy reading — you might be surprised to find that they are flattered by your offer, looking to promote their brand, and eager to make a post. If you aren’t having much luck with this strategy and are in a hurry to get some quality guest content written by influential names, you may need to offer compensation. The amount you offer will need to depend upon who you are contacting, how long you want their article to be, and, of course, your own budget.
Submit to Aggregator Sites
Aggregator websites like Reddit are a great place to share high-quality content and bring viewers to your site — but with one very important catch. Be “real.” In other words, be very careful about the following three factors:
- Make sure that the communities you are submitting your content to will actually be interested in what you’re posting.
- Make sure that you don’t sound overly “salesy” in the way you present your website and your company.
- Don’t spam your site across the entire site in too short a time.
Committing any of these sins could invoke the wrath of the entire community — and as many people have learned the hard way, large groups of anonymous internet users can be quite innovative and ruthless sometimes. You don’t want to make your blog look desperate, unprofessional, or spammy, so use aggregator sites in the most organic way possible.
Meet Followers IRL
Last but not least, some real-world promotion of your website can have some positive effects if you can devote the time and energy to doing so. Here are a few tips for anyone looking to promote their website in real life (IRL).
- Find the right audience. One of the best ways of doing this is to attend an event or conference relevant to your topic of interest. To use the example of someone starting a blog about cars again: that person would be well-served to attend the next car show in their area and talk to attendees about their site.
- Remember that telling someone about your website doesn’t guarantee that they will actually visit it, even if they are genuinely interested. If you choose to attend events to spread the word about your site, we recommend bring a business card for your site, and
- Collect emails so that you can get in touch is another good strategy that can help ensure your site gets the attention you are working so hard to earn.
There is little doubt that this method requires lots of time, energy, and even money — and it’s certainly not for everyone. Plenty of successful websites have been built without this type of work, so if you’re unable or unwilling to take this step, there’s no need to lose sleep over it. However, it is worth keeping in mind that personal connections are almost always the most loyal of followers.
So You’ve Got Some Visitors.
But how are you going to make sure they come back? This will be the topic of my next article, entitled “Building an Email Subscriber Base.” Stay tuned!