Now It’s Time for Traffic

After defining your audience and learning to create content that matters to them, now it’s time to get people to your blog.

I hope that through the first 2 lessons it’s become apparent why we can’t just dive into building traffic without a plan if we want to succeed.

By laying a solid foundation:

  • you create content that will keep people coming back and inspire them to share it with others
  • you can speak to people in their language and help them feel connected to you and your message
  • you can create the readers, subscribers and fans that will help make growing your traffic a reality

Without putting in the work to clarify your audience and content up front you can end up expending a lot of effort without seeing any results. It’s both exhausting and frustrating.

Please don’t be worried or feel you’re falling behind if you don’t quite feel comfortable with your answers and work in the first 2 lessons. This work is a lot harder than we think it’s going to be. These lessons are truly the work of your blogging lifetime and your audience may change over time, and therefore your content will change along with them.

Be kind to yourself, the blogging process is an evolution that happens over time. There are no shortcuts here.

The 3 Steps to Building Traffic

Strategic traffic generation involves 3 stages: Building Awareness, Fostering Community & Growing Readership.

Depending on where you are in your blogging journey, you may have pieces of these steps already in place or you may be starting at zero. It doesn’t matter if you have 1 reader or 100, these principles apply just the same.

Building Awareness

In Blog School, in the module devoted to Growth, we discuss something called the “garage sale concept” of blogging. Here’s a brief overview:

If you were having a garage sale on the weekend and no one had stopped to purchase anything, not a single soul, would you go into your house and find even more items to put up for sale?

No, of course not! That would be ridiculous since no one is actually coming, why offer more for sale when no one is seeing the original stuff you put up?

Instead, your first step would likely be to put up signs on busy roads or flyers in a busy part of town. You would work on building awareness for the garage sale rather than spending time putting more things out.

Now apply this same concept to your blog. If you have less traffic than you would like right now, do you spend more time writing posts and publishing them on your blog or do you spend more time off your blog being present in other online communities?

In other words, are you putting up more items for “sale” or are you working on building awareness that you’re there?

People don’t know your blog is there unless you help them find it. Publishing content daily or even multiple times a day when people don’t know about you is a waste of your energy.

This is the first step in any traffic generation plan: build awareness with your target audience but interacting with them online in places they already hangout both online and offline (if applicable.)

Fostering Community

Community can be a very illusive blogging ideal. You may have asked yourself why more people don’t comment, share or become involved in your content and a large part of that is a lack of community.

The work you did in lesson 1 & 2 is going to address the main reason for low engagement on your blog. People don’t comment, tweet or talk about things that they aren’t interested in or passionate about. When you’re really dialed into your target audience and speak about their unique needs, fears and desires just think of how much more engaged they will be.

Let’s take our running example a bit further. If you’re blogging for that new-to-running mom and you write a post about how it overcome the fear of running in public when you’re uncomfortable with your postpartum body, that post will touch your target reader in a very personal and profound way. Your reader will know that you understand where she is coming from and will feel very differently about you than a blog that just talks about generic running information.

When you create that kind of intimate connection with your audience, you will be amazed at the comments and shares that happen naturally, people are compelled to engage.

Being able to put into words what your audience is already thinking and feeling builds a bond between a blogger and their audience that makes commenting and sharing the rule rather than the exception.

Growing Readership

Readership growth is the long distance running of blogging (Can you tell I like to run!?).

There’s no short cut, viral video or cute cat picture that can take you from low traffic to a break though over night. Focusing on a long term strategy for growth is a lot more important than jumping on the latest trends and forgetting your main objective: to serve your target audience better than anyone else.

Part of the trouble we get into with traffic is we think of it like a single unit, kind of like this:

traffic

Traffic is actually more like the spokes on a wheel:

Growing your traffic isn’t about doing one thing, it’s about creating more and more incoming traffic sources so that your blog is growing from multiple angles.  Just as with a financial portfolio, diversification is the key and helps to even out the bumps (like Google search changes and Facebook adjustments) plus you end up growing your site exponentially faster.

Homework

For your Lesson 3 homework, you’re going to be addressing 2 components of traffic building (Awareness & Readership) because lesson 1 and 2 will address the Community aspect. This worksheet will guide you through the steps of setting up your traffic strategy so you have concrete steps to follow to meet your blogging goals.

Complete the worksheet for lesson 3

What’s Next?

I sincerely hope that the 3 part, Traffic Roadmap has given you some tools and strategies to start increasing your blog’s audience while gaining a big picture understanding of how this whole blog traffic thing works.

This topic is a huge one, and as you can imagine, we’ve only just scratched the surface in this free training. Half of the 6 modules in Blog School are devoted to these topics.

On Monday, February 9 you’ll receive an email with all the details about Blog School, including the full curriculum.  If one of your goals this year is to take your blog more seriously, increase your readership, improve your design or start making a side income, I’d love to have you join us for the full Blog School program if it feels like a good fit for you.