You’ve been blogging for a while now.
You write incredible posts with unique insights, you have your blog set up just how you want, and everything is going great…except one thing:
You don’t have much traffic.
How in the world do you start generating consistent visitors?
It seems impossible.
You’ve tried everything the “experts” say to do:
- “Write new blog posts a couple times a week!”
- “Ask people to join your email list!”
- “Send your followers an email and send out social posts every time you publish a new post!”
But so far, nothing’s working.
I know exactly how frustrating this is—I struggled with this for years before I finally figured out what actually works.
And I want you to know there’s hope.
I’ve been working in SEO and Content Marketing since 2014 and have cracked this code for both my sites and clients’ sites after years of toiling.
There’s a proven formula for generating blog traffic that’s powerful enough to change everything for your blog.
The Simple 5-Part Formula to Generating Blog Traffic
Part 1: SEO (Done the Right Way)
SEO is the golden egg of blog traffic because it’s free and consistent.
After you’ve written a well-optimized blog post and have it ranking for your target keyword, traffic rolls in without any active effort.
It’s freakin’ awesome.
But unfortunately, most bloggers never see substantial traffic from SEO.
They don’t follow the right strategy.
It’s not necessarily their fault either—there’s a whole lot of bad advice out there.
Specifically, there are 3 SEO myths that people still believe (and teach) that were debunked MythBusters style several years ago:
- You need to write new blog posts at least once per week
- You need to target specific (or long-tail) keywords with each blog post
- As long as you slap a few keywords into your post, you can write about whatever the heck you want
I’m gonna be brutally honest: believing these will guarantee you won’t get SEO traffic.
Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update in 2013 crushed the old SEO strategy by implementing what’s called knowledge graph and semantic search.
These allowed their algorithm to understand the intent and context of a search.
What did this mean for you and me as bloggers?
- Long-form posts that target multiple keywords within the same topic started (and still are) dominating the search results.
- It no longer mattered how often you created new blog posts, as long as your posts were long and well-optimized. Many top bloggers starting posting only once per month (and some even once every other month) and saw their SEO traffic skyrocket.
- One blog post could rank for 1000’s of keywords, sending bloggers tons of traffic.
It literally shattered the old SEO strategies.
The 3 Elements of a Winning SEO Strategy
Regardless of what industry or niche you’re in, the fundamentals of SEO are the same.
An SEO strategy with these 3 elements will generate traffic:
Element #1: Excellent Long-Form Content
We talked about this a second ago…
In-depth content targeting a group of similar keywords dominates search engines right now.
But what does this actually look like?
You need to do detailed keyword research to find the best opportunities in your niche, and create blog posts on relatively broad keywords with decent traffic and competition.
When you have some broad keywords picked out, write a post that includes similar phrasings and long-tail searches around that broad keyword.
If I was writing a post on walking a dog, my main keyword might be “how to walk a dog”, but I’d also want to include keywords like “walking a dog”, “walking with a dog”, “how to walk a dog that pulls”, “how to walk a small dog”, etc. in my post.
You want your posts to be 1,000+ words for optimal performance.
Every blog post you write from this day forward needs to be dictated by SEO.
For a detailed guide on writing excellent long-form blog posts, click here.
Element #2: Backlinks
Backlinks are one of Google’s top 3 ranking signals.
After you’ve developed a long-form post, you need to build links to it to get it ranking.
(Links are basically votes from other sites saying that your resource is great for the topic.)
Easy enough, right?
Unfortunately, link building is hard.
When you reach out to someone about a link, you essentially ask them to endorse you and your blog post.
If you don’t position your ask right or give them value, they’ll send your email to the trash bin.
Element #3: Guest Posts
Guest posts are vital to a growing your blog (especially when you’re starting out).
- Give you quality backlinks
- Help you build relationships with other bloggers
- And give you exposure to different audiences
I recommend focusing on getting 5-10 guest posts on blogs in your niche after you have at least 3 blog posts on your blog.
Inside of those guest posts, link to your articles to give them some direct backlinks.
Part 2: Relationship Building
This seems obvious but it’s something that too many bloggers don’t take seriously enough.
It’s vital to have relationships with other bloggers and influencers in your niche.
Mutually beneficial relationships give you:
- Access to a bigger, different audiences
- The ability to trade links with other sites for SEO
- More authority in your niche
But there’s an issue…
These are really hard to get, and even worse, really hard to develop once you have them.
You have to be intentional about your outreach strategy—you don’t want to spam these people like everyone else does.
How to Develop Relationships with Influencers
The key here is not asking for anything for a LONG time.
That means you need several interactions with influencers where you only try to help or compliment them.
So, you need to do things like:
- Comment on one of their blog posts
- Respond to one of the emails they send to their list
- Message or mention them on Twitter giving them a compliment on one of their posts
Your only goal should be to genuinely connect with them.
Then somewhere down the line, you can discuss partnerships or other ways to collaborate.
Part 3: Email List Building
You’ve heard it a thousand times by now…
“The money’s in the list!”
It’s a cliche these days, but it’s true.
If you want to build an audience of raving fans that you can get consistent traffic from (and sell to), you need to focus on building a list.
That means you need to create a mouth-watering lead magnet to offer on your blog posts and landing pages.
(If you haven’t heard the term lead magnet before, it’s simply a valuable PDF you give your visitors in exchange for their email address. Click the link above for more info.)
Once you have one and you’ve started getting subscribers, you can direct them to your site whenever you have a new blog post.
Sounds great, right?
Well…there’s a small issue.
People often confuse email traffic with new traffic and get excited.
It’s definitely not new traffic.
It’s traffic from the same people.
So, when you look at Google Analytics and get super excited about your numbers last month, be sure to check how many of them were from your list.
Part 4: Join Niche Communities
Most bloggers have already written off forums as a traffic-driving strategy.
Because they joined a few forums, spammed the members by posting about their articles 5-10 times, and got banned within 48 hours.
That’s not how this works…
If you’ve tried forums before and haven’t had any luck, I encourage you to try again with the strategy I’m about to show you.
Because when done right, this is one of the most underrated traffic strategies out there.
How to Drive Blog Traffic from Forums
Instead of joining a 10+ forums and posting a link to your article in each, join 2-3 and become an active member of the community.
Before you promote ANY of your blog posts, answer people’s questions and provide as much value as you can.
After a month or so when you’ve developed a good reputation in the community, then you can start promoting some of your articles.
The secret here is providing value to others first.
Part 5: Using Social Media to Engage With Readers
If you were to check out 100 bloggers’ social accounts, what would you find?
If I was a betting man, I’d bet you’d see 95 of them promoting their blog posts several times a day via an auto scheduler…and nothing else.
Most bloggers don’t use social media for what it’s really made for: engaging with readers and other bloggers.
Instead, they focus on vanity metrics like their follower count and the number of times they post their articles per day.
It’s far better to have 1,000 engaged followers who can’t wait to see what you do next than 10,000 followers who don’t care either way.
So, how do you increase engagement?
It’s pretty simple (but takes some time).
How to Use Social Media to Build Your Audience
You should definitely still post your articles on social media, but your efforts shouldn’t stop there.
Focus on engaging with:
- Current readers
- Potential readers
- And other bloggers/influencers
How do you do this?
Provide them with value.
This principle doesn’t go away. 🙂
When people tweet at you, thoughtfully respond.
When you see an awesome article, retweet it and compliment the author.
When you see an interesting debate, join the conversation.
When someone you follow asks a question you can answer, give them a great answer.
These things will get you engaged followers and make your social platforms invaluable assets for your blog.
Driving Blog Traffic Isn’t Easy, But It’s Not Impossible
Most bloggers fail to drive traffic because they have the wrong strategies. And when their wrong strategies don’t drive results, they quit.
Don’t be most bloggers.
You now know proven traffic strategies you can use to build your audience and generate consistent traffic.
Your blog is too good to not give these a shot. 🙂