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How to Grow Your Blog: A Proven Roadmap to 10,000 Readers

How to Grow Your Blog: A Proven Roadmap to 10,000 Readers

Getting traffic to a new blog is hard work. Getting readers to a new blog is even harder.

There’s a subtle difference here between “traffic” and “readers.” Getting traffic is easy. A lucky post on Reddit can potentially send you thousands of visitors in the span of a few hours. Or you can spend a few hundred dollars on ads and send hundreds of visitors to your site instantly.

But traffic to a blog means nothing if all that visitors are doing is landing on your page, skimming through it, then leaving and never coming back again.

What you really want are long-term READERS —  people who follow your blog and read everything you publish. These readers are ready to buy when you have something to sell, like an online course.

The way you get readers is by first getting email subscribers. These are people who have willingly agreed to follow you and want to hear more from you. 

People who land on your site for the first time aren’t going to buy a course that costs hundreds of dollars by the end of the visit. Instead, your email list turns cold first-time visitors into warm leads. You can then contact them over and over, send them to your articles, and build trust over time. 

An email list is the best way to sell your online courses. But what’s the best way to build your email list, especially if you’re just starting out?

In this article you’ll learn some of the most important things to consider while trying to grow your email list, and a few ways you can strategically drive traffic to your blog. 

Capture and Convert

Before you go out and start using the strategies below, it’s important to create a landing page to capture the leads your efforts will bring in.

Your landing page should have one thing for people to do — sign up to your email list.

In my experience, an email course (closely related to your paid online course) is the best opt-in incentive you can offer.

People who join email courses expect to receive multiple emails from you — they expect to learn from you over the next several days. This allows you to quickly build trust and a strong reputation as an expert in your topic area.

An email course is basically a course that’s delivered through email. They’re usually around 5-7 days long, with one email lesson sent per day. At the end of the series, you pitch your paid online course.

For example, here’s the opt-in form for RankXL’s email course. It’s a 5-day course about growing your blog traffic through SEO.

RankXL Boost Your Search Traffic opt-in form

An email course makes your email list hyper targeted. And the best part is, when implemented correctly, this results in a really high conversion rate for selling online courses.

For example, let’s say you sell an online course about saving money on taxes. It costs $500.

Your email course would be titled something like: Free Email Course: 5 Tips To Save Up To 40% On Your Taxes.

The only people who join your email course through this opt-in are going to be people interested in saving money on taxes. They’re the perfect leads for your paid program.

After the email course is over, you can pitch your $500 course. These people now know who you are. They’ve learned from you. You’ve delivered value over the past few days. You’ve established that you know what you’re talking about.

As a result, sales conversions from your email course are very high.

One of the best examples of a very profitable email course is offered by Brennan Dunn of Double Your Freelancing. His email course generates over $100,000 in sales every year, on autopilot (yes, even the sales pitches can be automated).

Now that you know why building your email list is important, let’s take a look at 8 strategies to help you grow your blog.

How to Grow Your Blog: 8 Proven Strategies for Increasing Blog Traffic

There are a ton of different traffic building strategies out there, but not all of them are suitable when you’re just getting started. Here are eight beginner-friendly ways to grow your blog.

1. Borrow Someone Else’s Audience

Guest posting is your go-to strategy to increase traffic to your blog. It’s the most consistent and repeatable strategy that works across all types of niches. 

A good guest post on a high traffic blog can send you hundreds of subscribers overnight and continue sending traffic your way long term. 

However, not every guest post will be a hit. As with most online marketing strategies, it’s a numbers game. The more you can write, the more traffic you can generate.

A great example of this is Danny’s story, when he wrote over 80 guest posts on various blogs back in 2011 to launch Firepole Marketing (now Mirasee).

Even if you don’t hit every post out of the park, the good news is: it’s scalable. Did you know that Buffer got its first 100,0000 customers purely through guest posting? They wrote 150 guest posts in 9 months.

Let’s dive in and look at your first steps.

How to start guest posting

There are a few steps to take as you get started on your guest blogging journey.

Part 1: Prospecting

The first part is prospecting. Find blogs that target the same audience as you. Ideally, they should be high traffic sites, and also have good engagement metrics for their blog posts (comments, shares, etc).

There are more advanced ways to find prospects, but if this is your first time guest posting, a simple Google search will do. Basically, look for blogs that are just like yours, but bigger and more established.

Open up a fresh spreadsheet and make a list of 50 to 100 blogs to reach out to. Like I said earlier, it’s a numbers game.

Part 2: Outreach

If you’ve never guest posted before, and don’t have an established brand, the most effective way to get large sites to accept your guest post is to write the article before you pitch it. 

Writing it first turns the decision for your prospect into: 

Should I take a look at it?

Rather than…

Should I let this stranger publish on my website?

The first one is a much easier ask to say yes to. 

Mirasee Editor’s note: most importantly, follow the guidelines laid out by whatever site you’re pitching. Most sites will immediately delete a submission that doesn’t follow their guidelines!

Part 3: Putting together the article.

The type of article you write will depend on the type of site you’re writing for. For example, are their articles usually in-depth, long form content? Or are they short, entertaining listicles? Whatever topic you decide to write about, it’s important to make sure it’s relevant to them and that you’re speaking to their target audience. 

Remember, your main goal from guest posting is not to drive traffic to the site; it’s to convert that traffic into email subscribers. Therefore, the main call-to-action link you place in the article should lead to a landing page. 

Part 4: Bonus 

This part isn’t mandatory, but in my experience, it helps to generate more traffic to your site per guest post. 

Right after your guest post goes live, try to leave the first comment. Thank them for allowing you to publish on their blog and share your tips. 

But the real reason you’re doing this is for another opportunity to add a referral link back to your site. Most websites allow you to add a URL to your name when you comment, linking to your landing page. 

If you’re the first to comment, you’ll be at the very top of the comments section right underneath the blog post. 

But guest blogging isn’t the only way to grow your blog. Let’s look at the next option on the list.

2. Interview Interesting People

Don’t just write the same old content as everyone else. A fun and creative way to diversify and get unique content is to interview successful and/or interesting people in your industry. 

A podcast interview

This will give your readers firsthand insights from experienced professionals in the industry. Plus, everyone enjoys an interesting story. As an added bonus, these interviews also help to develop your network.

How to start interviewing

You probably already know (or know of) some people that would be worth interviewing. Start by reaching out to these people.

Brainstorm 5-10 names within your industry. The more the better, because you can narrow the list down later. 

You can authentically say that you know their work — and with a genuine compliment, they’ll be more inclined to say yes. 

Some things you may want to mention in your request:

  • Who you are.
  • How you know them. 
  • The reason for reaching out to them.
  • How they can move forward with the interview process.

And to make your life easier, you can make an interview template to send via email. This is also called a “canned response.” This way, all you need to do is change some information for each email, instead of rewriting it each time. 

One of the best parts about doing interviews is that you also get to build some really good relationships at the same time. 

Once you interview someone, you’ve already exchanged emails. You know each other now. You can use these relationships to start affiliate partnerships, or even to land a guest post on their site.

Want your content to stand out from the crowd? Even beginning bloggers can drive traffic by interviewing interesting influencers in their niche.Click To Tweet

As a great example of how to successfully implement this strategy, Starter Story’s main format is text interviews with successful entrepreneurs.

Now that you have relationships with other bloggers and influencers covered, what are some other ways you can grow your blog? The internet provides a wealth of options, including several large social media sites. 

First, let’s take a look at Quora.

3. Provide Unique Insights and Quality Answers

Answering questions on Quora is an easy way to drive traffic to a blog. 

Quora is full of people asking questions around hundreds of different topics. Finding the ones related to your blog’s niche, providing a helpful answer, and linking to a relevant blog post as a resource can drive a good trickle of traffic. 

Depending on how popular your topic is, you likely won’t get thousands of visitors from your answers, but it can easily drive you a few dozen visitors per day.

How to use Quora to drive traffic

Step 1: Create a traffic optimized profile.

Your bio is everything. When writing it, decide what topic you want to be known for and consider the types of questions you’ll be answering. 

Your bio is the proof to your audience that you’re qualified to answer the questions. You only get 80 characters in this area, so use it wisely. Luckily, just underneath there is a profile summary section where you can expand on your bio. 

Step 2: Go after the questions that get a lot of buzz.

Going after answers that have the most views and upvotes within your topic of interest will score you the most traffic, if your answer gets a lot of upvotes.

If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at this list of the most followed topics on Quora of 2018.

Step 3: Create carefully crafted answers.

There’s no formula of what the perfect answer will have. Some may go viral, while others sink. But practice makes perfect, and the more answers you give, the better they’ll be. 

Telling stories, using visuals, and making your answers enticing to keep people reading will all add up to a very good answer. That being said, never give away your entire answer, because you want to give the readers a reason to click on your link. 

Step 4: Link to your landing page

It’s actually pretty common to put in a link to a landing page on Quora. In fact, it’s what most people who have popular answers do. 

You won’t get banned for spam, and you can get a good amount of subscribers if your answer gets a lot of upvotes and makes it to the top of the feed.

To get your started, this article and case study from bystefanalexander.com explains exactly how to get traffic from Quora. 

But Quora isn’t the only game out there.

4. Tap Into the “Front Page of the Internet”

Similar to Quora, Reddit is an excellent way to get referral traffic

With Reddit, you can create your own thread with valuable information and link to your site as a resource. And like Quora, you can also answer questions on other people’s threads by looking up the relevant subreddit and linking your site as a resource.

Note of caution: Reddit is notorious for picking apart spammers. Be careful to not do anything that comes across as self-promotion. It’s highly unwelcome there, to put it mildly.

How to start using Reddit to drive traffic

I would recommend getting used to Reddit before using it. Reddit is not just a normal website — it has a culture of its own, including different social norms, slang, and expressions. This post is a great primer as you get to know the site.

The best way to get traffic from Reddit is to participate in your targeted subreddits. This will take a lot of your time, but it’s how you get your foot in the door. 

After about a month or so of participating in other people’s threads, you can move forward and create posts that mention your site. 

And finally, you can create your first link submission. You must decide whether you want to submit your link directly, or link to it in a text post. Either way, it’s important to make your submission as visual as possible. 

Pat Walls is a great example of someone who gained a ton of blog traffic from Reddit.

Other social media sites can also be great sources for new traffic. Let’s take a look at how Pinterest fits into your strategy.

5. Discover Your Audience’s Dreams

There are many bloggers who use Pinterest as their main traffic strategy. For many blogs, Pinterest drives even more traffic than Google and other platforms combined. 

Pinterest home page
Credit: Webaroo

There are several ways you can do this, including creating pins that direct to valuable resources, using relevant keywords in your board name, using several keywords in your pin descriptions, increasing your engagement, and joining a board. 

Let’s break it down.

How to use Pinterest to drive traffic

There are a ton of ways that you can generate traffic from Pinterest, but you don’t have time for trial and error. Some of the best ones are:

  1. Create a business account.
  2. Create pin worthy images.
  3. Write outstanding copy for your images.
  4. Pin at the right time.
  5. Join a Pinterest group board.

Pinterest traffic is a lot higher quality than most other social networks. By higher quality I mean that visitors from Pinterest stick around longer, actually read the article, leave comments, and most importantly… they subscribe to email lists.

Busybudgeter.com grew a 7-figure blog through pinterest. Other notable blogs that grew on Pinterest are The Ways To Wealth, Create & Go, and Melissa Gryffin.

Pinterest isn’t the only social media platform that can help you grow your blog. Let’s take a look at your other options.

6. Share Your Stories

Social media can help you grow your brand recognition, foster a community around your business, and drive traffic to your site. You can put links to your website in your bio, announce upcoming projects, and share recently published articles on your stories.

How to use social media to drive traffic 

Using social media to drive traffic to your site is awesome because there are so many different options on where to promote it, and pretty much everyone uses social media these days. 

Here are four easy ways to drive traffic using social media:

  • Make a Twitter account and tweet frequently with updates. 
  • Create a Facebook page for your blog, then share your articles. 
  • Implement sharing tools on your blog posts. A great option for this is Flare, which allows you to share via Facebook, Twitter, email, and social bookmarking sites.
  • Put blog links into your Instagram bio, and share updates on your stories. Once you hit 10k followers, you can share links directly on your stories. 

Social media is also a great way to send frequent mentions of your course. Emailing your list every day with a link to buy your online course is going to turn a lot of people off. But mentioning it on social media frequently is more acceptable.

Any time you make any changes to your course, or have some interesting news about it (like a flash sale) then you can put out a quick tweet. It’s a quick, non intrusive way to generate some extra sales each month.

If you’re looking for additional resources, Shane Baker explains how he grew his traffic from 50k to 90k in just 6 months with social media. Buffer also has an article about how they doubled their traffic using Twitter.

Wondering how to get your blog noticed in today’s noisy online world? Social media can help you grow brand recognition, foster a community around your business, and drive traffic to your site.Click To Tweet

But it’s not all about external traffic drivers. There are also changes you can make on your site to help grow your blog.

7. Get Your Keyword Strategy On 

For this step, optimize your content for long-tail keywords. 

keyword strategy for increasing blog traffic

With a newer site, you likely won’t be able to rank for high search volume keywords. They’re just too competitive for your site at this stage. 

However, you can rank for lower competition and lower search volume keywords. If you decide to use this strategy, look for keywords under 1000 searches per month and with a a low competition score (30 or below on Ahrefs).

Let’s look at exactly what this process looks like.

How to use long-tail keywords to drive traffic

First, do some research using software like ahrefs to find the volumes of the keywords you’d like to try ranking for. 

Create a spreadsheet to track your keywords. In one column, add the URL. In another, add the keyphrase that associates with it. Pinpointing more targeted keywords will have way less competition, and the people searching for them are often ready to buy. 

For example, if you look at a keyword like “dog leash,” the search volume will be high, but so will the competition. But if you use “Black Retractable Dog Leash” instead, it only gets a fraction of the searches — but people are more likely to buy. 

Try to find long-tail keywords that are closely related to your online course. If you end up ranking for them, it can be a free traffic source that drives you consistent, evergreen sales each month.

Check out this guide from Ahrefs and this guide from Backlinko to learn more about long-tail keywords. 

There are also ways to include influencer outreach to your blog growth roadmap.

8. Think (and Link) Strategically 

This strategy is especially helpful when you’re a brand new site. 

Link to other bloggers, brands, and influencers in your articles. After you hit publish, send the blogger or influencer a quick email letting them know you’ve mentioned them, and include a link to your article. 

Oftentimes (more often than you think) they’ll share it, which could send you a surge of traffic if they have a large following. People are also happy to be mentioned in an article.

How to link to brands, articles, and influencers to drive traffic

After writing your article, send the influencers you linked to an email. Let them know you included a link to their post or resource, and leave the rest to them. Not everyone will be open to sharing your article with their audience, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Here’s one possible email template you can use for outreach:

Hey {their name},
My name is {your name}, I’m the owner of {blog}.
I really like what you do and I recently wrote an article about {subject}. I thought this would be a great opportunity to link to you, because I’ve found your material on this subject to be very valuable. 
Feel free to send me any feedback, and to share the article with your audience if it would be helpful for them.
Keep up the great work!
Regards,
{your name}

As an example, Search Engine Land shares how Andrew Dennis got traffic through mentioning brands in his posts.


But no matter how many awesome people you interview, how many guest posts you pitch, how many social media posts you create, and how many connections you attempt to build… there’s one final component that’s key to your success.

Getting Blog Traffic Starts with Great Content 

Your content is the most important aspect of growing your email list. Full stop.

Being meticulous about publishing great content will pay dividends for your site’s long-term success. Every strategy mentioned in this article will have much greater effect if your site’s content quality is great.

Here are some of the differences between great content and average content.

Great content solves problems.

Ultimately, the goal of your content is to solve the reader’s problems. Most people mistake a longer article as a higher quality article. This is incorrect. Not all topics require 2000+ words to be thorough. 

There are two things to understand when deciding on content length: first, the search intent of your main keyword, and second, what a reader is looking for when they land on your page. Are they looking for a quick answer, or are they looking for a lengthy tutorial that dives deep into the topic?

Use lots of sources, and link to them throughout the article so readers can learn more. Include images to make the post visually appealing, and highlight important sections.

Great content is not just important for ranking in Google. It’s what establishes your authority on the topic, and builds trust with your readers. It’s the initial touch point before a reader is presented with an opt-in form to subscribe to your website. 

Meaning, great content can convert more first time readers into email subscribers.

Want to grow your blog subscribers, fast? Great content can convert more first time readers into email subscribers!Click To Tweet

For blogging to be profitable, your content must make readers think: Wow, this article is great. Who is this person? I’d love to learn more from them.

Unfortunately, great content isn’t the norm.

Average content is far too common.

The internet has more average content than great content. Way more.

That’s what makes great content a barrier to entry for growing a successful content site. Most people can’t do it themselves, or they’re not willing to pay writers enough money to create it for them.

Average content is full of fluff. It doesn’t clearly and simply give you a complete answer. Instead, it’s more focused on being lengthy instead of concise. It’s poorly researched, often has bad grammar, and doesn’t flow well. 

While great content gives value with every line of text, average content is comprised of filler.

Don’t let your new blog be that guy. Instead, aim for quality content that will help you stand out.

How to Get Your Blog Noticed, Starting Now! 

There are so many ways you can drive free traffic to a new site. In this article, you learned a variety of different ways to achieve this.

From my experience, guest posting is the most reliable and repeatable strategy to generate hyper targeted traffic to a blog, and it works in just about any niche.

Remember, it’s not only getting the traffic that matters, it’s what you do with that traffic. Getting people to sign up to your email list should be your top priority. And although cold traffic rarely converts to sales, it’s still a slow, long term strategy. 

What’s most important is testing all the strategies. The best marketers test dozens of different strategies. Most don’t work. But when they find the ones that do, they go all in on them to maximize whatever they can drive out of it. 

If you’re struggling to get traffic, test out every single strategy listed in this article. Start with the one you’re most excited about, and start growing your blog!

And if you could use some guidance on your path to building a profitable and sustainable new blog-based business, be sure to pick up your copy of Mirasee’s step-by-step Design Your Audience Business guide.

Design Your Audience Business

Follow these 4 steps to design a profitable and sustainable audience business in just one year.

Audience Business
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