I started HowToMakeMyBlog.com in late 2008, achieved the 200,000 visitors mark in the first year and the 1,000,000 visitors milestone in less than four years. Attracting large visitor numbers is what every blogger wants to do so I wanted to share my marketing lessons learned and give you some advice on how you can drive traffic to your own site as well. This post not only features my tips in text format but also has a video and slides of a presentation I did on the same subject. I hope the advice helps you on the way to your first million visitors.
8 traffic lessons learned from getting 1 million blog visitors
These are the best traffic tips that I would recommend bloggers when starting out and growing their sites:
Commenting on bigger sites will bring you initial traffic
In early days you won’t have a large social media following and search engines will not be sending traffic to you, which makes commenting on other blogs a great tactic in that period. My first visitor other than myself was someone clicking over from a comment I had left at another blog. In those first days all my visitors came from comments I left on bigger blogs that had relevant content to the content I was creating myself.
Read more on this tactic: How one blog comment can bring you 230+ unique visitors
Stumbleupon is a great place to get the first spikes in traffic
I started looking to connect to relevant people on Stumbleupon fairly soon after launching the blog. First time someone stumbled my post was soon after starting the blog and that sent me 19 unique visitors first day and 37 the second day and those were huge numbers. Even today Stumbleupon still sends me a good amount of visitors.
Read more on this tactic: How to increase your blog traffic via StumbleUpon
Use Twitter to get an audience and spread your links
I joined Twitter shortly after starting the blog, immediately started looking for and following people in my audience and got 55 unique visitors from there on the first day. Twitter has continued to be one of my main traffic sources to this day.
Read more: How to get your first 500 Twitter followers
Write a guest post for a bigger site in your field
A guest post that I submitted was published at ProBlogger and sent me 97 unique visitors on the first day and again 97 on the second day. Writing guest posts not only sends you traffic, it gives you authority, spreads your name to a targeted audience and also gives you a great value link for your future search engine rankings.
A descriptive domain name is a must
Looking at the traffic Google sends me, the most popular keyword phrases used to find my blog are very closely related to my domain name itself. This is why I aim to get a descriptive domain name for every project that I start.
Read more: How to choose a domain name for your blog
Use big names in your content to attract attention to your blog
In some of my most popular posts I have used other popular names to attract attention to my own blog. For example I profiled and wrote articles about lessons learned from several big bloggers and authors. It is a great strategy as the popular names have many fans so it is much easier to attract them to click over to you, much easier to get them to comment and also much easier to get them to share the story with their friends.
Write great post headlines
In our feed readers, on Twitter, and in Google’s search results, we are bombarded with too many choices for things to read. The only way to attract attention among tons of other blogs is to write remarkable article headlines. In my experience “how to” and “top list” headlines work the best, as they are very clickable and shareable.
Going viral gives you spikes in traffic and valuable links
The spikes in my traffic are from the days when my articles went “viral”. For example my Twitter plugins article hit the front page of Digg and sent me 2799 unique visitors on that day. My most downloaded WordPress plugins post hit front page of Delicious and sent me 3602 unique visitors in a day. These events also bring you lots of links and that improves your SEO and increases your traffic in the long run.
Slides of my presentation are here:
I hope that these tips can help your blog gain a momentum in social media and search engines. If you put in the time and effort and do it over a longer period of time it is definitely possible for you to achieve similar or even better visitor numbers for your own blog.