But in order to make it as a full time blogger, you need two things. New readers. And.
Readers that keep coming back!
In this post, I break down my top tips to do both of those things- get new readers and keep old ones! Because as important as it is to drive new people to your posts, I especially want you to learn how to keep your loyal following of readers engaged and coming back for more.
Behold: How to drive traffic to your blog. Consider this Your Ultimate Guide to Blog Traffic.
*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Which means that if you click a link, I may receive a small compensation at NO COST to you.*
My first tip is to blog. Yes, blog. As in write. Get going! And if you need some inspiration or tips on how to do that, check out Elite Blog Academy’s Ruth Soukup’s book, How to Blog for Profit. She gives a lot of practical advice on how to start- and why she did.
But the absolute, most important tip I can give you after starting a blog is to BLOG! And write KILLER CONTENT. Which is why I wrote this post on what you need to include in EVERY. SINGLE. Blog post. My Guide to the Perfect Post. And don’t just write a boring, blah post. Spice it up!
Add your own voice. Your opinion matters! And your unique perspective is what is going to draw people to you. And you are your brand.
In quoting Ruth Soukup of Elite Blog Academy (of which I’m currently enrolled- and if you’re not, you should be!), the internet already has enough mediocre! You have to be great in order to stand out. So stand out!
Think you have to write in a certain niche to get readers? Not so! In my list of bloggers to watch in 2019, I listed off 10 bloggers that write about different things. Some write about blogging, some write about finances, others blog about parenting and infertility.
Me? I blog about blogging, network marketing (one of my many side gigs that adds to my blog), faith, essential oils, leading a healthy lifestyle, and more! And you know what? It works for me. And it’ll work for you, too.
So if you’re scared that no one else in the entire world wants to read about funny memes, or healthy recipes, or how to keep their home in order, I assure you. You’re wrong.
If you’re passionate about it, write it. You’ll gain a following by just being you. Which brings me to my next point.
Do not try and fit yourself into a cookie cutter mold. Again, stand out. Be you! And it’s not just because that tactic will earn you a following.
The truth is, a lot of us have pursued blogging in order to escape a job we hate.
Not all of us, but a lot. As in, a lot a lot.
So if you don’t enjoy writing, and you don’t really have an interest in the topics you “think” you need to write about to gain an audience…
How is that any different than the 40+ job you just left?
And the truth is, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you’re not going to stick with it. No matter how powerful your reason for doing so may be.
So do yourself, and your audience, a favor.
Write about topics you enjoy. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to know you’re not alone.
One awesome blog post isn’t enough- though it’s an excellent start. But alone, it’s just that. A start and nothing more. In order to keep readers coming back, you need to give them a reason to.
Hence, the importance of backlinks. What I mean is, insert links to old blog posts in the newer ones. Related content. I’ve done that multiple times within this one blog post to prove it.
Build on your content. Let your readers know that you’ve written on this topic MANY times and every time is valuable. Every time, you add a little something different, a little something special. But all of it’s important.
So include links to older posts.
Affiliates and Ads
Affiliates, Sponsored Posts, Ads, and Products are four of the main ways bloggers make an income.
You want to make the big bucks, you need a few of each.
Now before you get overwhelmed with the idea of coming up with all of these from scratch, let me say that getting affiliates is fairly simple.
Narrow down the kinds of products or services you’d like to offer on your blog and contact a few of your favorite companies that specialize in those products. But bear in mind, you should only recommend products or services that you yourself use or that you trust. As I’ve mentioned before, you do NOT want to be “that” blogger that recommends a service or product because of the compensation involved, knowing it isn’t worth the price.
That tears down trust and if you’re looking to build a loyal fan base, that right there will eliminate it in one fail swoop. So don’t do it.
As your blog grows, you may have affiliates reach out to you, like Elite Blog Academy. But, in the beginning, get in the habit of doing the reaching out. Extend the olive branch, if you will. At worst, they’ll say no. But a no now may not be a no later. So keep trying.
Sponsored posts, along the same line as affiliates, are posts dedicated to one product or service. Sing its praises, but be honest. Everyone likes a five star review, but again, it’s about building trust. Only give a service five stars if they’re deserving. But by all means let others know when you’ve come across a quality product that can help. Be a blessing, remember? Share what you know.
And products, it doesn’t even have to be your product, although eventually, you’ll want one of your own.
If you have a friend or connection that offers a certain course, ebook, or class, advertise that product. Let your readers know about launch dates and enrollment dates. Keep your readers in the know like no other.
Connecting with Affiliates
I personally recommend SiteGround for hosting, Tailwind for Pinterest, and the LWSL Planner. Other than that, I don’t work with a whole lot of specifics, though Amazon and Target are great for general products because they offer SO MUCH.
I would recommend reaching out to all of the above because they offer quality services and products, but the options for affiliates are truly endless. And each has their own application process. Some, it takes a few days to hear back from, like Target. Others, like SiteGround, it’s almost instant approval or denial.
And yes, I have been denied by a lot of affiliates. Either because I don’t have enough page views/sessions yet, or because of the social media platforms I use to advertise. I do highly recommend using Pinterest for driving free traffic to your posts (and affiliates) but some companies don’t like it.
Compensation varies by product, too. And while there are Pay Per Click programs out there, I personally am NOT affiliated with any PPC at the moment. All of mine, and all of the ones listed, are Pay Per Sale. Something to keep in mind.
If you’re not picky about ads, you can, and should, put ads on your posts. But be cautious in how many and where you place them. You don’t want the ads to drive people AWAY from your site. You want them to be put in the posts in such a way that they add value.
Depending on the ads, you can pick and choose what kinds of products are advertised. I know for me, it helps to adjust the ads in such a way that only items I mention within a post, or a similar item, comes up. Because while an ad for Toyota may earn me a large commission if someone clicks and purchases a Toyota through me, I’ve yet to write a post on those kinds of vehicles, so an ad of that type may not be ideal for my audience.
Be Social- Engage
Blogging is more than a career. It’s a passion. It’s a lifestyle. And within it, is a whole network of relationships waiting for one special element.
Join Facebook groups for your niche, or for blogging in general. Post on social media, and I mean ALL OVER social media, letting the world know what you have to offer. Sharing your blog isn’t just about sharing your story. It’s about connecting with and inspiring others. It’s about what you have to offer and how you can bless others.
If your audience is on it, you should be too. I’m talking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Blog2Social, and more! If there’s a platform out there, post on it. Connect to it.
One of my favorite tools for making sure I get my posts out is Tailwind. It’s an auto scheduler for Pinterest. And I also love Facebook’s business page scheduling tool, where I can post immediately, or save it for a later date.
This allows me to post at peak times to various social media. Not just the time I happen to be on that particular platform.
It helps give the appearance that I’m always on social media, so I’m always on people’s minds, so to speak, while not ACTUALLY being online all the time.
Scheduling tools allow me that magical word that few other careers allow.
And remember, blogging is about community. Connect with other bloggers by liking their posts. Subscribing to their newsletters. Leaving comments. Showing the love. It’s good for their posts and business and it’s good to have friends that will in turn do the same.
Us bloggers need to stick together, am I right? So get sharing, get commenting!
Build an Email List
Did you hear about the new algorithm Facebook just launched? Or did you hear about the time Pinterest halted affiliate links that were direct?
My point being, social media platforms change all the time. They change their requirements, how items are viewed, and they may even block or censor your posts.
Heck, sometimes they shut down your account completely because they claim you’re spamming people or someone reported you for hurting their feelings.
You need a back up. And not just for your blog.
You need an email list.
An email list allows you to connect with the very people who want to hear from you. They’ve voluntarily signed up because they want to hear more of what you have to say. And Facebook can’t touch that. Twitter can’t touch that.
Because your email list? It’s yours. Just like your blog.
An email list is about letting your fans in on the good stuff before anyone else. Things like launch dates. Your new, limited enrollment course. Elite Blog Academy opening its doors for the ONLY TIME that YEAR!
A great way to add people to your email is to entice them with a free gift. Everyone loves gifts!
The free gift may be a cheat sheet on ways to make a better blog post. Or, a step by step guide to starting a blog. It could also be entrance into a group you run on Facebook, or a 7 day challenge made up of 7 days worth of emails (and tasks). Or you could even do a free printable with a quote from you (create it on Canva!).
And after you’ve been blogging for a while, an ebook from your past posts may even be a next step.
An ebook from a blog is simply a collection of posts you’ve already written combined in such a way as to make one whole edition! I know it sounds like a lot, but trust me. If you’ve been putting out 3-5 blog posts for a year or more, you’ll be able to come up with an entire book’s worth of content no problem!
You could offer this ebook for free, or create a funnel with it.
Creating a Funnel
Let’s say you’ve gotten a new reader to click one of your Pinterest links which leads them to your blog. Yay! Step one, they’re here!
Then let’s say you offer a freebie as an incentive to have them subscribe to your newsletter. It’ll ensure they never miss another DIY craft or recipe, and hey, in return you’ve sending them your 7 day challenge of Superfood Shake recipes (just an idea).
Not only have they now signed up to never miss another blog post (double win!) they’ve also received a free gift.
As a third bonus, however, you could give them a GREAT deal on your aforementioned ebook. Instead of the typical price of $10, today they can get it for only $3!
Or, you could offer them a bundle at a discount. Perhaps some ready made Canva templates so they can create their own blog posts and pins. Or a collection of tips on how to start their blog and Pinterest account- all for only $7.
The options are endless. And the win for your blog? Enormous.
But remember, you want to make sure you offer products of GREAT value.
I’ve paid $7 for some phenomenal bundles from Living Well Spending Less, when they’re on sale. I’m talking, OVER A HUNDRED PAGES worth of worthwhile content at a steal! But.
On the other hand, I’ve also paid for content and bundles from other bloggers… that just wasn’t worth it. And I felt cheated.
Don’t be that blogger.
Go above and beyond. It builds trust.
Pretty Pretty Pictures- and Pins
Pinterest is an excellent marketing tool. But if your pins and pictures are blase, no one want to see that. No one’s going to save it, or more importantly click it. So take advantage of a little design time and create some perfect pins.
Personally I use Canva, and I wrote an entire post here dedicated to how I make the magic happen. But you can use Adobe InDesign, WordSwag (which I’ve used previously, and recommend), or another program you’re comfortable with.
Also, while it’s great to use your brand colors, you’re also free to experiment with what works.
I’ve had some really basic pins go viral that were nothing but dark blue green backgrounds with a few words. But I’ve also had a lot of luck with warm pink backgrounds with some pictures and colorful text.
And make sure to make SEVERAL pins for EVERY post. At a minimum, 3-4. Because you never know what someone else is going to like.
I’ve made a few I was sketchy about, and had them drive a lot of traffic. So just because you may not like Auburn colors (for example) doesn’t mean it won’t drive traffic to your blog. So take risks.
No matter how long you’ve been blogging, you can be a blessing to another blogger, and drive traffic to your blog through guest posts.
If your niche is food, find another foodie and write a recipe to share.
If your niche is parenting, write up a great parenting article to post on another blogger’s site.
It helps the other blogger generate posts (which, as I mentioned in the beginning, Google LOVES as far as traffic) so they can take a day or two off. But it also helps you get your name out there.
A word to the wise for guest posts. Treat this as good if not BETTER than you would a post for your own blog.
Aim to impress.
The LAST thing you want to do is write up a half done work of bologna that the other blogger has to either add to or edit. That is NOT being a blessing. That is being a burden. Do not create extra work for your fellow blogger by doing a lame, low word count post.
Do your best.
I know today’s post was A LOT. Try over 2,500 words of pure gold a LOT. But comment below and let me know what your favorite take away was.
What steps from the Ultimate Guide to driving blog traffic will you be implementing this week? Better pins? Starting a funnel? Creating an ebook, or writing guest posts? Let us know in the comments below! We love hearing from you.