Updated: Aug 7, 2019
You’ve heard Marketers say you should have a blog for your business, that it would help you boost sales and get more customers, so you decide to start one. You spend months working on it, and now that it’s complete you’re proud of the finished product.
You share it with your friends and family and even announced it on your Social Media accounts with the expectation that people would be coming in by the hundreds and even thousands to read your words and engage with your thoughts.
Weeks goes by and still nothing. You think about ads to increase traffic to your website, but you don’t have that kind of money to spend because all of it needs to go into building your business that’s already a struggling startup.
So what do you do?
It can be frustrating I know, I’ve been there too. Especially, when there are there are over 1.6 billion websites in the world and more than 500 million are recognized as blogs so how do you even stand out?
To help you I’m sharing four free ways I have used that will help you get more traffic to your blog (even without a marketing budget).
5 Free Ways to Boost Traffic
1. Guest appearances on podcasts
When I first started my blog 5 Years 2 Mastery I had no idea how to really drive traffic to it, so I joined a lot of blogging and entrepreneur groups on Facebook just to learn what others were doing. Luckily, the groups I joined also had podcasters in them that were always searching for guests for their shows who could speak more on their area of expertise.
I would reach out to be a guest on their shows, and was able to book at least five appearances the first three months of launching my blog. Through those appearances I was able to boost my traffic by leveraging the audiences of others more established in the online space than I was.
Here’s a look at what the first six months looked like after those appearances. Pay attention specifically to number of ‘New Users’, this is what will let you know the number of new traffic that comes to your website.
Here’s a guest appearance I did for a roundup post that still brings in traffic for the blog two years later (let me know when you see me).
Pro tip: Join Social Media groups relevant to your niche or podcasting groups and reach out to hosts who are looking for guests for their podcast. Ensure that they are in-line with your business to get quality visitor who would most likely be interested in what you offer. Fairly new podcasts are the best as they are always looking for content to increase their content library.
2. Answer questions on Quora
Another tactic that worked well for me in the early stages to boost traffic was to answer questions on Quora. If you don’t know what Quora is, it’s a platform where others can ask questions around specific topics or subject matter and others that have expertise in the subject matter will respond.
I used the platform to go on and answer questions around Self-Confidence and Motivation (as the blog focused on these topic areas).
I would give my answers around questions and then include a link that would lead back to a blog post for deeper information if they wished. I leveraged the audience Quora already had to drive traffic back to my blog.
In one instance a guy asked a question around developing his confidence for a job interview he had. That gave me the idea to create a post specifically around that topic as I knew it is something that many people struggle with.
I used it to link back to his question, but also shared it in job forums for others. It became one of my top drivers of traffic, even to this day two years later.
Pro tip: Sign up for Quora, you’ll have the option to select the topic areas you wish to follow, choose the ones that are related to your blog. Then search for questions that have the highest follower count and engagement and answer questions, then include a link that leads back to a relevant blog post. Ensure your main goal is adding value and not just promoting your blog, otherwise it can come across as spamming.
3. Create original research
Another free tactic you can use is to do original research around the challenges your target audience has. This method takes a lot of time but from my experience has given the greatest return in terms of blog traffic and subscribers/leads.
I did this recently for The Content Marketing Guy and saw my traffic skyrocket from an average of 10 weekly visitors to 150 within one week.
Not only that, but it increased my LinkedIn company page 650%, and grew my email list by 1300% within 2 weeks.
However, don’t just create the report and give it away. Use it as a lead magnet to build your email list and get new subscribers for your blog. Convertkit is a great tool to help you do this.
Pro Tip: Reach out to existing or potential readers of your blog and customers. Ask them what is their primary goal and the number one challenge keeping them from achieving the goal. Next create a nice PDF layout with insights from the research and share it with others who are potential readers with a call-to-action for them to download.
4. Create native social media content
Recently I started an online daily mini-series called The Daily Marketer specifically for Social Media. I create two to three-minute video clips giving marketing tips and advice to help overcome challenges Marketers or Business Owners have.
The key point however is at the beginning of each clip I do a video intro with my logo and website url to promote the blog.
This has been instrumental in driving 51% of overall traffic back to my blog as my audience sees the value I deliver in each video, and it sparks curiosity to find out more about the brand and what I do.
I also do the same using LinkedIn’s microblogging feature where I will take a section from one article on my blog and repurpose it as a short-form piece of content native for LinkedIn. I would then include the words “This is an excerpt from an article originally published on The Content Marketing Guy blog,” then have a link back to the full article.
Pro tip: Create content native to Social Media only (infographic, video, etc.) add your blog url as a watermark or link that points your audience and customers back to your blog. The key to making this successful is to create content that is so helpful and useful to the audience they want to know more about you and what you offer.
5. Invite Others to Guest Post on Your Blog
The final tip is to invite others in your niche to create content for your blog. I experimented with this recently for The Content Marketing Guy because I wanted to see:
The Level of interest it would have
How effective it would be to drive traffic
To my surprise the person I invited to do a guest post generated significant amounts of traffic back to the blog.
The reason this works well is because when they get an opportunity to post on your blog you will leverage their network as they share the post, which then sends people back to your website to read the article.
Pro tip: When choosing who you want to have as to guest post ensure that the person is an authority in your niche, also ensure the person has enough of an influence that if they share the article others will want to come and read. It doesn’t matter if the person has a huge audience, all that matters is that the person can influence enough to bring people back to your website.
My Final Thoughts
Hopefully you got value out of this article and insights that you can use starting today to boost your blog traffic (and possibly sales).
The key in making this a success is to be consistent with your efforts and your writing on your blog, it can’t just be when you feel like it.
If you aren’t able to commit to this I would recommend paying an independent writer to do the writing for you, and hire someone part-time to do the outreach to podcasters, or to answer questions on your Quora account.
It may seem like much but I promise after the first six months of consistency you will start to see the difference in not just your traffic, but inbound leads.