This is a guest contribution from Scott Purcell, co-founder of Man of Many.
People often speak in very broad terms when giving tips or suggestions to improve blog traffic.
We may hear unspecified suggestions, such as: “be active on social networks” or “partner with other blogs”. If you are attempting to launch a new blog it is likely to prove difficult and frustrating putting these things into practice, and all too often with limited success if not implemented properly.
One of the reasons I believe the 30 Days to a Better Blog is so successful is that it gives you clear, actionable and step by step advice regarding WHAT TO DO.
It seems that it’s all too rare these days.
So while the five tips below may not be a set formula that works for everyone, at the very least we hope they give you some ideas or inspiration to use on your own site. These steps below helped us grow our blog Man of Many from zero to over 100,000 page views in only three months.
Let’s jump in.
Images are vital to our blog. Typically it is the visual imagery rather than the descriptions or written content that attracts visitors to Man of Many. Consequently, obtaining maximum reach with images of our feature products via social networks is essential to generating hype around our blog and reaching as broad an audience as possible.
Everyone knows Pinterest is absolutely golden for bringing in traffic, but it can often prove difficult to build up a following in initial stages of usage.
If you Google “Group Pinterest Boards” you are bound to find a few Group Boards related to your blog or niche. These Group Boards are a great way to share your posts with a targeted demographic, rather than simply starting from zero with your own board. Group Boards can often already have a large following (usually 1,000+ people) which can provide an excellent starting point for generating interest.
Usually the page description will contain an email address for you to contact if you would like to contribute. Alternatively just leave a comment on one of the pins requesting that someone invite you.Google “Group Pinterest Boards” or go to http://www.pinterest.com/pingroupboard/Press Ctrl+F and search for keywords on the page related to your niche.Contact the Group Board owners to request to contribute.Share your content with a new community.Easy and quick to implement.The audience fits perfectly in your niche and is hyper-targeted.Your pins can be drowned out by others if the board is active.Start Group Board of your own and ask others to contribute
A big problem people many face is the significant amount of time it takes to individually upload an image, write a title and share the post on all of the social media networks you may wish to utilise (of which there are many!).
To simplify this process, we have been using a free WordPress add-on called NextScripts Social Network Auto-Poster. As soon as each post is uploaded via WordPress, this tool automatically shares the featured image (or whatever content you like) with your social networks.
The plug-in can publish nicely formatted messages to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogger, LiveJournal, Delicious, Diigo, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Plurk, VKontakte, WordPress, and Tumblr accounts. You can even customise the accompanying description, links to your page or title and even set a delay to sharing on your social media accounts. Best yet, there’s no annoying “Shared via NextScripts.com” or “Posted by SNAP for WordPress” messages as the posts will be 100% white-labelled and come directly from your own account.
**EXTRA HINT** Nextscripts can be used to share your content with Group Pinterest Boards as well but requires a Pro Account (see point #1 above).Go to Nextscripts and follow the clear and well laid out instructions here: http://www.nextscripts.com/installation-of-social-networks-auto-poster-for-wordpress/Customise how you want your posts to be shared using the plug-in. Think about if you want a Title? URL? Image? Tagline?Hugely time saving and efficient to achieve maximum social reach with your posts.Very little maintenance required once set up properly.Extra options to set delayed, random or repeat postings.Less personal than well crafted and unique posts.Posting to Pinterest and Google+ requires a pro account.
A lot of our traffic comes from other “product or sharing sites” that are very similar to Pinterest. You can simply set up profiles on each of them and usually include a URL (+1 for link-building!), and share your posts or use them as a place for research and inspiration.
Examples of such sites (in order of traffic generation for Man of Many) are: Svpply, Tapiture, Gentlemint, The Fancy, Allmyfaves, Springpad, Punchpin, Manteresting, Stasham, Storemate, WeHeartIt, Wanelo, Polyvore, Lyst, Sumally, Gimmebar, Nuji, Lookk, Likabl.es, SocialBro… and the list goes on (do some googling for your niche!)Go to one (or all!) of the URLs mentioned above.Register your profile. Make sure to include your logo, URL, description etc.Install the Bookmarklet. Most of these sites will have a bookmarklet that you can easily drag up to your bookmarks bar in Chrome or Firefox in order to easily share your posts. I keep all of mine in one bookmarks folder.Go through each of your blog posts and click on the bookmarklet to share your content.Allows you to share your content with an entirely new and broad audience.Extra opportunity to share your brand/logo/URL on your profile page and provide an in-bound link.A lot of these sites tend to be very product or fashion focused.Can be time consuming and difficult to build an audience unless you remain active.Certain sites require extra info like price/colour or categories which can get annoying
**HINT** Open your posts up in a few tabs and use Ctrl+Tab to work through them quickly with repetitive tasks or clicking.Fiverr / AirTasker / Task Rabbit / Amazon Mechanical Turk – Get someone to share your content on these networks or other for you (at a cost)Search for other social networks or forums related to your niche.Got a spare PowerPoint, PDF or Keynote slidedeck lying around? Why not upload it to Slideshare with a few links back to your target site.
When you run a competition on your blog, make sure you do not just share it with your Facebook followers or social networks. Sharing it with a wider community via Competition Aggregator sites can be an excellent way of pulling in some extra traffic to your blog.
There are veritable smorgasbords of them online where you can submit your competition and include a backlink to your site.Set up your competition page and make sure you have a set of Terms and Conditions (these can easily be amended from other blogs running similar giveaways).Simply Google “online competitions”Check out some sites where you can registerShare your competition URL with the site and make sure to include appropriate descriptions, links to the T&C’s or any extra information.It does not hurt to also tweet a link to this page as well as the post itself.Competitions, if done correctly, can be used to build engagement with your site (comments, sharing, collaboration)Many brands will be willing to do a giveaway for free in return for promoting their product.Certain countries may have different laws/regulations when it comes to running competitions.
“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.” – Jay-Z, ‘Diamonds From Sierra Leone’.
Just because you run a personal or part-time blog, it doesn’t mean it can’t be thought of as a business.
A lot of people are unsure where to start with promoting their blog other than sending it to their friends and family. We initially focused promoting Man of Many on other fashion blogs or related sites, but it often proved difficult partnering with them, having such a small following in the early stages.
A beneficial alternative we discovered was although we were not your typical “start-up”, many entrepreneurial sites and directories were willing to cover us, or at least allow us to submit a profile which was critical to building sustainable traffic and SEO.Prepare written information on your blog in a word document so that it is easily accessible to copy over when you are signing up to directories. This will include the usual information like Name of Company, Site, Address etc, but you will also need a short description (or tagline), a longer description and answers to questions like who is your ideal customer or what makes you unique? While it might take a bit of time in the first instance, it will be a thousand times easier to copy it over than type it out each and every time you are submitting your site.Prepare an image file containing logos, screenshots, and author profile pictures and keep it updated.Work your way through this list of sites to submit your blog to: http://productivewebapps.com/blog/list-of-places-to-submit-and-promote-your-startup-or-site/ (Disclosure: I also wrote this article).Register to the sites and copy over the appropriate information for your profile.Once it is posted it is always nice to share or tweet out a link to the profile as a thank you.Extra opportunity to market your brand/logo/URL and provide an in-bound link.A lot of these Startup or Directory sites tend to be very tech focused.Can be time consuming working through the list.Not all sites will accept your submission.Certain sites charge for submission but most are free.Many companies that will perform SEO and directory submissions services for you but they often prove very expensive.For $47 Submit Your Startup will submit your site to over 30 of these for you (No affiliation).
One thing to note with all of the tips listed above; none of them will work if your content is not of the highest standard, engaging, exciting or useful to readers.
In the blogging business Content Is King and there is little point in sharing your content with people unless you have something of value to offer in a flooded market.
So over to you, share your best actionable tips in the comments below with step by steps (if you can!) or let us know if you found the tips/ideas helpful.
Scott Purcell is the co-founder and fashion editor of Man of Many (manofmany.com). Man of Many is a men’s lifestyle and product review website dedicated to showcasing the latest in men’s products, culture and style.