I’ve been building quite a lot of sites recently, both personally and client related. In this time I’ve observed quite a few strategies that are key to helping a site grow from scratch. Traffic is usually what the success of a website lies on, so you need to know how to build traffic as effectively as possible. Luckily, over the last 2 months I’ve helped launch over 10 sites and quickly drive them to large amounts of relevant traffic and lots of feed subscribers. With this in mind, I wanted to put together a selection of what I’ve learned; this isn’t going to be ground-breaking and you might know some of it, but putting them all in one place should make for this useful resource.
5 Tactics to Use
1. Utilise MyBlogLog
If you’ve never heard of MyBlogLog (where have you been?) then I’ll give you a quick run down. Basically, MyBlogLog is a Yahoo owned community based around your blog and its readers. When you sign-up you get to fill out your profile1 and even register your community2 which is for readers of your blog to show support. You’ll notice that any fans of your blog who are already on MBL are likely to register as part of your community.
MBL also offer blog statistics, I used to use them a while ago but because of a few issues in the service i.e. some people could appear as Shoemoney when visiting sites, so I lost a bit of trust in them. My favourite part of MyBlogLog is that whenever you visit a site with their ‘visitors’ widget’, your profile is going to be shown3. Therefore, it is important to pick a relevant username and a memorable avatar. This is excellent for branding and you’ll also notice a few people checking out your profile on the site.
2. Register on Twitter
About one year ago I wouldn’t have recommended this, even though the service was around. This is mostly due to the fact that Twitter had quite a varied audience and people didn’t really think to use it to promote a website. These days however, Twitter is an excellent way to drive traffic to a site and build your name in a niche, especially with their now huge userbase.
After you’ve registered on Twitter1 make sure you fill out your profile2 and use the same avatar as MyBlogLog. This is important for branding purposes and it’s also going to set you out from most users of the site. Note that people are more likely to notice your tweets (status updates) via your picture rather than your username. Once you’re all set-up you need to start adding people to follow3 and interact with from the niche of your site. If you are passionate about your niche then the discussions these people are having should interest you. There are multiple ways to find a relevant audience:
- Look for links to twitter profiles on your favourite blogs
- Perform the Google search ‘site:twitter.com “niche”‘
- Import your email contacts when you sign-up
- Try a service like Topsy, a twitter search engine and look for your main keywords
If you want more people to follow you, make sure you put a link to your profile on your blog.
3. Sign-Up to Gravatar
This one is relatively simple but it is definitely effective for branding and comment traffic. Gravatars are the avatars that show up next to comments on many blogs (this is increasing all the time) and is built by the same team that builds WordPress. Gravatar works by assigning your email address to a picture, so whenever you post a comment with a certain email, your picture will appear next to it. I’m very big on branding so I keep this the same as the avatar on Twitter and MyBlogLog.
4. Register on StumbleUpon
Once again with StumbleUpon, I like to keep the branding and avatar theme running so whenever I sign-up or recommend others, I tell them to use either a personal name or site name for their username. Secondly, use the same image that has been used elsewhere as your avatar. Now then, there are 2 things you want to do with your StumbleUpon account: 1. Set-up your interests so you can find a lot of relevant content and 2. Stumble the blog posts of fellow niche bloggers and let them know about it in their commentsFor all the bloggers in your niche you find on the site, make sure you add them as a friend. You’ll typically find they link to their profile on their own blog, or they are always reviewing pages from their own website. When you add them make sure that you send a personal message which includes their name and ask them to add you as a friend. This can be time consuming if there are a lot of SU users in this niche but it is definitely worth the effort. Once you have started to build up your network you can help spread the traffic to others in your niche and even make use of the ‘Send-to’ function whenever you write a post of your own. One more thing I do on StumbleUpon is message all the people that thumb-up one of my personal posts. I thank them for taking the time to check out the site and also ask them to do a friend exchange. Once again, this is time consuming but it is a nice personal touch and anything to help increase traffic to your new website is a bonus.
5. Start Leaving Comments
Last but definitely not least in the list is to start leaving comments on other blogs. The follow-up to this post is going to look at all the various ways to find the top sites in a niche, there are more than you would expect. I’ve watched bloggers like Sean, Avani, Alex and Evelyn seriously increase traffic and activity on their sites by being very active on the blogs of others. I recommend commenting on other blogs for a number of reasons:
- Small amount of traffic from the site you comment on
- Increase branding & niche exposure (think: gravatar)
- Site authors are much more likely to link to your posts
- It helps establish a relationship with an author, this can definitely be helpful if you need their assistance in the future
As they always say, you can have the greatest content in the world but if you aren’t active online or promoting your articles in some way then nobody is going to see them. These steps are very simple but can also be very effective to get your brand out there and start promoting your new website.
I did say these tactics were going to be effective and I keep to my word, think about how all of this interlinks. Whenever you visit a site to leave a comment, you are instantly shown as a visitor on their MyBlogLog widget, just for visiting. Now whenever you leave a comment, besides the traffic you get your avatar is showing next to it if they had gravatars enabled. All your comments and Stumbles are going to be a great way to build up relationships with others which you can leverage for links or promotion help whenever you write a worthy post. When that worthy post is ready, don’t forget to tweet it ;).