Welcome to the blogging graveyard. Where there are millions of dead, forgotten blogs on the internet. Some authors move on, some lose focus, and some become different people entirely. But the most interesting blogs are the ones that show aggressive growth. The ones that invite you in and show off freshly baked cookies. Not the ones that say, “Welcome to the Cold Buffet. You can have as much as you like that you see out there, but we won’t be replenishing anything.”
Traffic Problem #1: You’re Not Posting Enough.
If your visitors see a last post date that was from months ago, how likely will they be to come back? How likely would you be to stick around in a place that’s old, obsolete, worn out and full of weeds?
If your last post is from over a month ago, it looks like you’ve given up. Some people may explore your archives, sure, but if they know that there’s a hard limit to the wisdom you can offer them, they’re much less likely to stay, come back, and tell their friends.
See, if you want to experience massive success and create raving fans you’re going to need to get them addicted to you. You want to become the steady stream of content they can’t live without. And when you go missing, it hurts.
And if no one cares, good luck getting in their wallet. When you’re starting out, and haven’t become a fixture in people’s minds yet, you need to regularly put out great content.
It’s easy to vanish from someone’s mind if you don’t regularly produce great content.
Do you want to join the dead and forgotten? Or do you want to rise above and become a pillar that people can nurse from like a nectar tree providing them glorious sustenance in their dark hours?
I’d highly recommend a schedule when you start. At least to get out your first 50 or so posts. And if you keep in mind the quality rule that means you’re going to need to give yourself ample time to think everything over, write a post, edit it, and put in final touches.
Your schedule might start very simply, one post by Tuesday every week. For a beginner blogger, I would not recommend a more aggressive schedule than that. Once you go full time, you can post 2-3 times a week without losing quality, but that takes a lot of time you probably don’t have right now.
But less than once a week will likely mean that you forget all about your blog for days at a time. And if it’s not on your mind, welcome to the graveyard.
The benefit of regular deadlines is not that they cause stress, but that they focus and narrow your mind, like the tracks on a train.
If you wander through the countryside with a plan to reach a certain city, you’ll certainly take an interesting course, but you’ll get there much more efficiently using roads.
Regular deadlines hone your mind, and create an expectation of success. If you know you have to publish once a week, your mind will give you all the tools you need to do so. So make the commitment, pick a day. And get to work.
Traffic Problem #2: You Don’t Network Enough (or at all).
The second traffic problem results from the mistake of failing to network.
For Christ sake, the “net” in internet comes from network. But most people do this completely wrong.
You don’t have faceless entities on the other side of your writing. You’re not read by a thousand computers loading up your website.
A better way to think of it is you are writing for one friend. It’s always a single person, and always will be.
People treat the other end of any conversation online like they’re talking to a computer. But in reality you’re talking to another human on the other end of the line.
Here’s a few specific things you can do to prime your blog for growth, and begin to meet your new biggest allies (which are not passive readers but other writers).
Network Strategy #1:
Comment on other blogs. Note this in your head. You are no longer just a reader. You are a person with an opinion. You are a person whose voice counts. So when you read other’s blogs, as I know you do, leave a comment.
Doesn’t matter how short or long it is, as long as it’s honest. But here’s a caveat – say something real. Don’t just give more ego-stroking.
Everyone can see through this. Offer real words of thanks, real questions the article provoked, or even genuine retaliation. The emotion you express doesn’t matter, what matters is that you wrote something that was real.
Not, “Thanks this is the best post ever!” But, “This really changed my thinking on XXX, thanks for putting the time in to write it. Do you also think that YYY?”
Notice how a little flattery and a provocative question is more likely to get a response, and get you remembered than over the top buttery bullshit. Other readers who are reading the comments and see your quality comment will click on your link and go to your site. Win win. Keep it at your level (The Trading Up Strategy) You think Tim Ferriss is going to read and respond to your silly little comment, out of hundreds he gets every day? Not likely.
Talk to guys at your level, and slightly above it. Who’s going to appreciate a comment more… An already massively popular blogger getting thousands of views a day, or… …a small time guy who’s obviously serious but hasn’t experienced his flood of success quite yet.
Give praise to those that need it, and criticism to those that deserve it.
Reasons to Comment One is that it will provide you a link. Usually the form to submit a comment will provide three fields. Name, Email, and URL.
Now obviously for the name, pick something useful. It might be the name of your website, it might be your personal name. But put something more revealing than “Dave”. Who want’s to click on “Dave”? At least leave your full name.
Put your blog in the URL, and you’ve got yourself a nice little link back to your site. This will boost your blog in Google’s eyes, but it’s not the real reason you should do it.
The real reason is that if you leave a good comment, people reading will want to know more about the author. They’ll click on your name. They’ll land on your website. And if you’ve done everything correctly, maybe, just maybe, they’ll like what they see.
They’ll click around. They’ll leave a comment for you. And down the road, become a loyal customer. That’s the plan, isn’t it?
Network Strategy #2:
Join a forum. Why join a forum?
Forums are traffic hubs where a large number of people already gather and read what is written.
If you start a thread, write a compelling headline, and offer some real insight or value, you’ll have hundreds of eyes on it within hours. Probably not the case for your fledgling blog.
Now you might say, “But if I take the time to write something good for a forum, isn’t that taking away from the time I spend writing for my blog?”
Yes, but there’s a very good reason for it. Refining and developing ideas in a public space, especially one with no consequences (a forum) is a powerful way of improving your skill as a writer.
You’ll learn to handle haters at a fast rate.
You’ll learn how to write headlines that quickly become popular.
You’ll learn how to create controversy and create a movement about more than just yourself.
You’ll learn what potential allies and comrades you’ve never met think.
AND if you write well, you’ll end up with a steady stream of traffic from that forum, even if you don’t post very often.
The tricky thing, of course, is finding a forum that’s not full of losers. Again, the SEO benefit of this is minimal at best. The real advantage is in showing people reading the forum that you are an authority.
Network Strategy #3:
Send cold emails. Since you’ve built your list of potential allies this next step should not be hard.
Don’t you want to meet the people that talk to you, talk like you, and think you’re great? Of course.
Here’s the first way to deepen the relationship. Rather than just leave a comment at their blog, send them a hand-typed email.
If you can’t find a contact page, leave. You’re dealing with an amateur. Every pro blogger is not writing into the void. They’re writing for discussion.
So send them an email. And never ask for anything in the first email. Just say hello. Say you like what they do. Ask a pointed, simple question if you want (that they have not answered already and that doesn’t require an extensive backstory to explain).
And if you want, make an offer, not an ask.
Example: “Here’s another post I read by (another blogger) that really adds to what you said about X. I think you might enjoy it.”
Notice how you’re offering them something interesting, and not making a demand. You’re not taking anything from them. You’re not asking them a favor. You’re not asking them to link to you, or partner with you, or anything. You’re giving them the present.
That’s all you need to do.
Network Strategy #4:
Arrange a call. Relationships are the name of the game in blogging. And if you can build stronger relationships, you can have a stronger presence and grow much faster than you would otherwise.
Now take the other side of the picture for a moment. Who’s going to have a bigger impression on you, the salesman who sends you a piece of junk mail, or your friend giving you a phone call to discuss something interesting?
The friend of course! This is something most bloggers will never do and that’s particularly what makes it so valuable.
After a few email exchanges, ask if you can get them on a Skype call to discuss your common interests.
Most people will be open to this if you are accommodating to their schedule and don’t ask for too much time.
MINDSET: Ask for what you want If you want people to give you money – say so. If you want people to sign up to your email list – say so. If you want people to share your posts on Twitter – say so. If you want people to reply to your questions – say so.
Asking for what you want is the first step to getting it. Actually it’s the second…The first step is admitting what you want. You know deep inside exactly what you want, but you’re too afraid to say it.
Almost everybody’s living like a coward instead of a lion. So lion up. Roar in the face of fear, and admit to yourself exactly what you want.
If it’s a popular blog – you’ll get it. If it’s a hot girlfriend – you’ll get it. If it’s a million dollar business – you’ll get it. As long as you know exactly what you want, you admit to yourself fully that it’s your desire to create it, you’ll get it. Ask for it Don’t be so afraid after conquering your fear of yourself that you’re unwilling to ask for what you want. Put your desire into the world. Ask for what you want, and get it.
Just as salesmen are taught to ask for the sale, you must learn to ask for the “sale” of anything. Sign up for my list, check out this product, share this post. Whatever it is, if you don’t ask, you won’t get it. Simple.