There used to be one way to grow your blog traffic:
- Start blogging every day.
- Build an audience through consistency and capturing people's attention via email and RSS subscriptions.
- Increase the “stickiness” of your posts by optimizing for search engines.
The hardest part for me, admittedly, was #4. The hard truth is that the age of a blog determines a lot about its credibility and worth to the Internet. But that was before social media.
That was before millions of people were connecting with new people everyday to exchange information — before social networks dominated online news distribution.
Now, you have an advantage…
Now, you can start a blog today, and tomorrow it could be a success. Now, you're no longer constrained by the “older is better” rule. Now, you can utilize the social web to your advantage, by creating remarkable content and unleashing it to the masses who will share it for you.
This is, essentially, what I've been doing with my blog.
I had another blog that I had been posting to regularly for over four years, incrementally growing my audience by making small promises and delivering on them. But over the course of a couple months, this blog has caught up with and surpassed the traffic and impact of that old blog.
How did I do it?
It was simple. I wrote some posts I knew would resonate with people who would share them. Then, I joined the conversation, shared relevant stuff, and watched the content spread.
It's not always that easy, but then again, it's not exactly rocket science either. If you share meaningful, worthwhile content focused on a particular niche topic, you'll see good results.
How to use social media to boost your traffic
If you're wanting to use social media to boost your blog traffic, here are eight ways to do that:
- Get on Twitter. Start following my Twitter tips for beginners. And if it's not already on your blog, add the “tweet” button to all of your blog posts. It looks like this: Tweet
- Start a Facebook page for your blog. This is a great, additional subscription option for heavy Facebook users, and it can be a means of expanding your platform. I've met several new people who “liked” my page and weren't previously friends with me on Facebook. Visit my Facebook page to see what one looks like.
- Regularly share your content on Facebook. There are some great tools to help make this easier for you. Encourage your readers to do the same by adding a Facebook “like” or “share” button.
- Ask others to promote your blog via social bookmarking sites, such as DIGG, Stumbleupon, Reddit, and others. You may occasionally do this yourself, but be careful of doing it repeatedly, as some sites penalize sites with multiple submissions from the same user.
- Implement social sharing tools on your website. An excellent tool is Flare, which allows you to combine sharing options via Twitter, Facebook, email, and social bookmarking sites into one tool.
- Use a social-powered commenting tool like Disqus or IntenseDebate.
- Write catchy headlines that people will want to share. Most people neglect this by posting well-written articles with crappy, nondescript titles. Don't do that.
- Write compelling content. You might be thinking, “Duh,” but I mean that. It has to be really good. Like, better than your average blog.
When in doubt, be awesome
That last point is worth emphasizing again: create compelling content. If you want your blog to compete on social media sites, you need to say something worth listening to. In other words, be awesome.
This is the downside of social media. Everyone now has a voice. Which ups the ante for those wanting to communicate and be heard in this space. You either have to be really specific or really radical. Maybe both.
Personally, I like this new rule. It means that playing it safe is no longer an option. If you don't break some rules, you can do all of the above and still fail. This means that the great writers and communicators will start rising to the top.
So what will you do? I hope you'll break a rule. I hope you'll be different. I hope you create something worth our attention, something epic.
Have you seen how social media can boost your blog traffic? How? Share in the comments.