I remember the emotional rollercoaster when I started my blog.
I would angst and stress to get the blog post just right, then click publish – and hear crickets.
Total radio silence.
I think my mom and my boyfriend (when I reminded him) were the only people reading my blog.
But over time – slowly, slowly, I developed a following.
I remember hitting 100 readers per day and thinking that was AMAZING. I remember my very first comment from someone I didn’t know: even more amazing!
I remember signing the first client who I had never met, who found me entirely through my website.
At the moment I have over 40,000 visitors to my website, VintageAmanda.com per month, and growing.
I’m often asked how to get more readers to a website, and how to develop an engaged audience who actually wants to hear from you!
If you’re laughing at 40,000 visitors per month, because you hit that point years ago – then this is not the post for you.
But if you’re just hitting the 100’s, or only a handful of visitors per day – what I’m about to share can really help your business!
I help clients create a customized plan to grow their website through individual tech coaching. But especially for those of you just starting out, here’s what has worked for me to build my audience & get traffic to my website!
1. Write good content, consistently.
This is the #1 most important thing that I’ve done to build my website. I’ve created a site filled with valuable, interesting content.
Yes, I know when you’re starting out, you feel like you’re just writing and no one is reading.
Or you’re hesitant to share your website, because you only have 2 blog posts on it.
You need to be in it for the long haul. Creating an interesting, engaging website is not a ‘set it and forget it’ activity.
Know your audience. Write what they want to read. Write something new every week. Pretty soon, you’ll have a site full of great, informative content that people can’t wait to share!
2. Start an email list.
I started an email list before I had any readers. Why? Because when that first reader stumbles across your page and loves what you do – you need a way to get in touch with them again!
People are busy, and will often forget to visit your website, even if they loved it!
If you have someone on your mailing list, then you can contact them. You’re no longer reliant on someone remembering that you exist, but instead, you can send them your latest blog posts and offers.
I personally use AWeber (affiliate link) for my email list and I love it. Here’s why you should use an email list service, and not do it yourself.
3. Guest post!
Once you’ve got a couple of posts up on your site – and your email newsletter sign up – it’s time to get serious about getting traffic.
Forget SEO for now, and instead, spend some time finding websites where you can guest post.
You’re looking for sites that have:
- A similar target audience (where does your ideal customer hang out?)
- A larger readership than yours (which if you’re just starting out, shouldn’t be hard!)
Identify 10 potential sites, and then contact them with a friendly email suggesting some guest post topics that might fit.
Once they accept your guest post, make sure to reply quickly and professionally, and request a link back to your website from the byline of the post.
Do this a few times, and you’ll see the traffic start to roll in!
One of my most successful early guest posts was on Tiny Buddha, and still gets me new readers today, even though I wrote it a couple of years ago!
4. Don’t be shy!
Now you’ve got to promote, promote, promote!
This step is neverending if you want to grow your website. You’ve got to tell people about your site, and what interesting, relevant information they can find on it!
Here are some ideas for promoting your site:
- link to your website and facebook page from your email signature
- link to your website from your personal facebook, twitter and LinkedIn profiles
- put your website on your business cards
- create a great opt-in offer (a free download etc.) to encourage people to sign up for your mailing list
- guest post on sites where your audience hangs out
- write useful, interesting comments on other blogs that your audience reads
- write wherever you can, with a link back to your site – look at other online magazines, blogs, print newspapers (even local papers or local blogs etc.)
- email your list regularly – at least every month, so they don’t forget about you! Share your latest blog posts and a bit about yourself, and of course, a link so they can work with you.
- don’t use every social network – use the ones that your target audience uses.
Which one of these ideas are you going to implement this week? And what’s the next question you’d like me to answer about growing your audience?