A blogger friend of mine told me that his wish is to have 500 unique readers per day by the end of the year on his personal blog. Note that this is a very ambitious goal. It is not an easy goal to reach as most sites will never attract this large audience. Even though it is a hard goal to reach, it is definitely not impossible.
Here are my tips on how to attract your initial group of visitors so that you’re not just talking to yourself and set yourself on the way to 500 or even more unique visitors per day. The tips are split in on-site tips (things you should do on your blog) and off-site tips (things you should do outside the blog).
On-site traffic driving tips
- Get a domain name
Search engines can be a valuable driver of traffic and for that reason you should get a domain name that will help you rank. In my experience a unique and descriptive domain name has proven to work better than one of those free domain names. Here’s a guide on picking your site name.
- Produce quality content
Regularly produce valuable content that your target audience wants. Be it entertaining, be it educational, be it text-based, be it videos – whatever makes your audience tick (i.e. makes them read it, engage with it and share it with their network). One quality blog post will mean so much more to your traffic numbers than several unoriginal blog posts. For me personally how-to guides and other educational posts with practical advice work well. My guide on creating quality content.
- Include share buttons
Allow your existing visitors to help you out and spread the word for you. Include Twitter share button, Facebook “Like” button and any other “share” button that is relevant to your audience on each of your blog posts. This is easiest done with one of many free WordPress plugins.
Don’t just put 20 random share buttons on the bottom of each of your posts though. That will decrease the impact and increase the load time. Be selective and think where your target audience is. I focus on Twitter, Facebook and Stumbleupon mostly myself.
- Retain your first time visitors
Have prominent subscription options as you want to retain a good percentage of your first time visitors. This is easiest if they bookmark your blog or subscribe to it in any possible way: via email, via RSS feed reader and through your Facebook page or your Twitter stream. Consider giving them an incentive to subscribe on top of the quality content – free ebook for example.
Off-site traffic driving tips
- Actively spread the word
Writing quality articles is not enough as visitors do not come automatically. You need to promote your content. Go where your audience is and actively spread the word about your work. Explore Twitter, Facebook, forums, Pinterest, Tumblr, Reddit and any other platform that you find relevant. Don’t spam but do push your blog when you can, while also sharing interesting content, helping people out, solving their issues and being a part of a wider community discussion.
- Use Twitter search
A tactic I have used very successfully in the early days of my blog was to search Twitter for relevant keywords and phrases. I used to search for phrases like “start a blog” or “install WordPress” and then interact with all the real people that used those phrases. I used to spend hours on this daily as it is a great way of getting visitors and spreading the word about yourself. More details on how to get traffic through Twitter is here.
- Use bigger competitors
Commenting on relevant and high traffic blog posts is another tactics I had success with. Make sure the post you comment on is relevant to what you do, make sure the post has / will have a lot of visitors and try to be one of the early / top commentators.
Another option is to write guest posts on popular blogs. Many bloggers accept guest posts so it is a nice way to get a good link that will not only send you traffic but will also be useful for your search engine rankings.
- Join Stumbleupon
I joined Stumbleupon early on and got my first traffic spikes thanks to it so I recommend you to do the same. Register for it, use it by recommending articles you read and get in touch with other users who “like” relevant content to the content you produce yourself. When you have several contacts there, ping them and let them know about the latest post you have written that they may find interesting. This will help in getting them to share your content to their networks.
Drip, drip, drip to 500 unique visitors daily
Always keep in mind that writing quality articles is just a part of your blogging job, promoting your work is just an important aspect of having a successful blog. A good rule of thumb is to spend half of your time producing content and the other half of your time promoting your articles. It can be a slow process but getting a new regular visitor or two every day will become a large number of visitors six months down the line and will get you closer to the goal of 500 or even more unique visitors a day.