Starting a new website or blog can be a frustrating process.
Hundreds of new blogs are started each day, and of all those few are still around six months plus later.
And this is due mainly to one thing: Lack of Traffic.
Perseverance is the watch word of the web. It takes time, dedication, know-how, and a little luck to get the traffic necessary to have a successful blog.
Often, when starting a blog, people think all they need to do is go viral. The problem with going viral is that it’s harder than it seems. Sure, something is always going viral. But realistically, compared to all the content on the web, going viral is like being struck by lightning.
So the real secret to a successful blog is strong and continual content. That being said, every blog struggles at first, even up to the first year. Even with continual, engaging, and strong content. So, what might help you drive some traffic toward you site, and earn you a little of the internet love? Well, here are some methods every new blog owner should be putting to use. Just remember, in the infamous words of Bill Gates, content is king.
1) Research your market/niche
- Anyone thinking about starting a blog should first determine what their specific target audience is, and what niche they’re looking to fill. Being unfocused and uncoordinated is a huge downfall of beginning blogs. So, do the research!
Decide the focus of your blog, and then research the current market and competitors!
2) Find a hole in the market
- Not every blog will fill a specific gap within their niche, but every blog should be trying to. Even if it’s only something that makes you a tiny bit different from the competitors. I mean, honestly, think about how many blogs there are.
Even good, high quality blogs. If you’re not looking to fill some kind of gap, and be unique in some vital way, than odds are you’re not going to be as successful as you hope. This can be done in lots of different ways.
- Include humor in an otherwise humorless category. The Everywhereist is a great example of this; she adds an epic amount of personal and unique humor to a travel/everyday life blog. Truly, the blog is as much about her personality as it is about travel.
- Target a specific area within your field. Rather than covering all of graphic design, you cover dealing with inept clients who have no idea how graphic design works. Clients from Hell does this spectacularly.
- Have a different take on an old idea. For example, Everyday Carry, or EDC, has people feature what they carry on them every day. In this way he can review every day useful items such as phones, wallets, pocket knives, etc., while keeping the content fresh.
Basically the idea here is to try and be unique. Failing that, provide content in a way which sets you apart from the competition.
3) Understand where your competitors (or blogs similar to your own) get their traffic from. Then, try and get your blog featured in the same places.
This should be pretty obvious when doing proper research. I mean, if it’s working for blogs in your field, why not you? Obviously this shouldn’t be your only approach at getting traffic, but hopefully it should be a solid lead into more traffic.
4) Line up content ahead of time
- Don’t wait until after you’ve released your website to start producing content. Ideally, you should try and have 2 weeks of content ready to go before launching your website. That way, there’s no possibility of lulls or gaps. Nothing will drive away new followers like a break in content early on in your blog.
Starting out with a solid foundation is extremely important—getting initial traffic and then stalling on content will drive away your readers before they’re even all the way through the door.
5) Make it visually pleasing, fully fleshed out, and ready for your target audience before release.
- No one is going to stick around in case the owner of a half-finished blog eventually finishes it. So, make sure it’s a finished piece before release. More than that, make sure the final product is something you’re proud of.
Check back next week for Part 2, which will be about how to continue to drive traffic to your blog after release.
Image Credit: Blinemarketing