Blogs are a fantastic way to generate traffic and rank in the search engines. Blogs are consistently updated and are very relevant and fresh. These are all really good things when you’re talking about ranking in the search engines and getting people to come back to your blog time and time again.
If you aren’t yet blogging, it’s time to get started. It doesn't matter what your business is or what you're marketing, it's beneficial to everyone. You can use something like WordPress on your hosting account, which is easy to use and free. Or, you can use a hosted Blogger.com blog. Make a plan to stay consistent with your blogging and write content people will want to share so you can become a well-branded leader in your niche.
Why You Need a Blog
If you already have a website, you might be wondering why you need a blog to drive traffic. Consider the top websites in your niche. The chances are good that the top websites ARE blogs or that they include a blog. It doesn’t matter whether you run an online or offline business – you need a blog.
You need a blog because it's the best way to get a lot of easily ranked content out there. Blogs are easy to work with and much easier to keep fresh than a static website is.
You’re going to create some pillar content on your blog as one of your first steps. Pillar content is content that's absolutely incredible, useful, and evergreen. People love to share content like this because it helps them and impresses them. It will cement your role as someone to watch and visit time and time again. You’re also going to create content that gets people talking and gets people coming to you for advice and opinions.
Your blog is going to become a hub of activity. You’re going to link to your blog on social media and vice versa. You’re going to get people to comment on your blog, and you on theirs. You’re going to accept guest posts and guest post on other people’s blogs. All of these things will work together to help you generate a ton of traffic no matter what kind of business you are in.
Coming Up With Ideas for Blog Posts
Whether you’ve been blogging for a long time or not, you might be intimidated by the thought of having to come up with ideas for blog posts. If you’re used to running a static website, you most likely don't write new content very frequently. With a blog, you’ll be adding new content a few times a week, if not every day.
The more content you have on your blog, the more keywords you'll rank for in the search engines. The more blog posts you have out there, the more chances you have of really getting something to take off in a viral fashion, to be shared all around the web. That means you need to become prolific. Whether you write your content yourself or hire someone to do it, you should be blogging consistently.
Your goal is to get people addicted to your content. They should want to visit your blog time and time again, subscribe to it, receive links to it via social media and from your email list, and more. If people are addicted to your content and your brand, you'll never have traffic problems again.
But, it all starts with your content. That means you need to have good ideas for your content. What are you going to write about?
Examine the Competition
First, you might consider what your competitors are blogging about. Are there certain topics that are really “hot?” Consider putting your own spin and opinions on those topics. Is there something you disagree with? Link to that blog or opinion piece and write a responsive post with your own opinion.
Forums are fantastic for generating ideas for blog posts. Find a very popular forum in your niche. Then, sort the forum posts by the most viewed or the most commented on. Focus on things that really get people’s emotions going – that’s often great fodder for blog posts.
Books on Amazon
Browse Amazon to see if there are any books closely related to your niche. If there are, use the “look inside” feature to view their table of contents. This table of contents contains a ton of great, highly related topics that can spark some great ideas for you.
Reviews on Amazon
For each of the books you found, take a look at the reviews. Note the lower starred reviews – what do people feel was left out? For the reviews on the whole, what did people get really emotional about?
Set Alerts for Your Topic
Set Google Alerts for keywords related to your topic. That way, you'll be notified whenever there’s a new news article, blog post, press release, or something else related to your niche.
Use Adwords To Spark Ideas
Do a Google search for keywords related to your niche. Take a look at the Adwords ads that show up on the right hand side of the search results. What are the ads focused on? Which titles did they use?
People are paying good money for the ads at the top. The very top ads also tend to be the most successful-- Google shows successful, popular ads more frequently. You can learn a lot from the way they wrote their ads and what they focused on to get people to click on them. This is great fodder for coming up with ideas for things to blog about, the style of headline or title you might use, and more. Even as a blogger, you're in the business of copywriting and persuasion.
This Is Just the Start
There are countless ways to come up with new ideas for your blog posts. The more you do it, the easier it will become, the more you’ll write, and the more traffic you’ll get. I suggest you keep a notebook full of ideas so you’re never at a loss.
Why is it important to come up with a ton of ideas for new blog posts? Because this is the best way to get a lot of search engine traffic. You’re going to write phenomenal blog posts that truly take away any worries you’ll ever have about getting traffic.
It’s so important to stay relevant if you want people to visit your blog regularly. It doesn’t matter which industry you’re in, you have to take the right steps to become a thought leader. That means keeping up with what other people are blogging about. Visit their blogs to check out those hot topics. Be active in relevant forums – both free forums and paid forums. See what the hot topics are in social media and use sites like Facebook and Twitter to drive traffic to your blog.
You have to keep your finger on the pulse of what is happening in your industry. Then, you have to share your thoughts and opinions on what is happening via your blog. You don’t want to just be a follower; you want to be a leader. You should know what’s happening before most people in your niche know that it’s happening. Google Alerts and services like that can really help you keep on top of things as well. Write up to the minute, relevant blog posts so that people get into the habit of visiting your site because they know you’ll have the news first.
Building Relationships with Other Bloggers
One of the most important things you can do to grow the popularity of your blog is to build relationships with other bloggers. It doesn’t matter what type of blogger you are, you are part of the larger community of bloggers.
While it can be intimidating to try to build relationships with those who are much more established than you, remember that everyone had to start somewhere. Everyone was a beginning blogger at one point or another. As long as you can demonstrate what you bring to the table, you should have no problem starting mutually beneficial relationships.
When you first started blogging and marketing, you determined what it is about you that sets you apart from everyone else. This should shine through in your blog. Your blog shouldn’t be a carbon copy of anyone else’s. It should be very clear that it is yours and yours alone. Even if you’re very new, this should impress people.
Your blog is your ticket to that “cool kids’ table.” But that doesn’t mean people will flock to you to start a relationship-- at least not right away. What it does mean is that you are then ready to get out there and network with other bloggers. To start with, show an interest in what they are writing. Become a regular on their blog, in their comments, on their forum (if they have one), and anywhere else you have an opportunity.
Social media is also a fantastic avenue to building a relationship. Retweet and share what they have put on their pages. Respond to questions they ask of their followers. Do and say things on social media that are sure to get you noticed.
It’s always helpful when you have the opportunity to be in a smaller group with some of these influential bloggers. Many of them run or are part of Facebook and Skype groups. Do what you can to join these groups – some of them are paid and some of them are free. Be a regular contributor and a helpful person. Go in with the focus of truly helping out and truly getting to know other people. Then, the opportunities to partner, joint venture, and have people link to you will naturally come.
Linking Out To Others' Blogs
Doing things that will get the notice of other bloggers is important. One of those things is linking out to their blogs. Bloggers are notified when someone links to them.
This can get you on their radar, even if you’ve never had any other interaction with them. If you write a complementary article or some kind of response to something they have written, you just might get a link back, a comment on your post, or just the initial seed that has been planted.
Also, try to think of posts you can write that will feature other bloggers. You can make “best of” lists. You can formulate responses to really popular posts out there. You can link out to posts that agree or disagree with the point you have made. There are so many different ways you can feature other bloggers.
Not only will the bloggers take notice, but there is also something to be said for name association. By writing in an intelligent way about these bloggers, their blog, or a blog post they have written, you are linking yourself to them. You are putting yourself on their level, in the eyes of your readers.
In addition to people taking notice, Google will take notice as well. While we don’t know the extent to which this works, linking out to sites of authority can help your rankings. Just as people will associate you with established bloggers, so will Google. When you’re talking about traffic, you need to think about both your readers and Google and other search engines. Linking out to blogs of authority falls right in line with that.
Submitting To Blog Aggregators
Beyond the general work you’ll do in helping your blog become known in the community, there are some more traditional ways to make sure your blog gets noticed. One of those ways is to submit it to blog aggregators.
It used to be that this was really all some people would do when they set up a new blog-- and it worked pretty well. They would submit their link to blog aggregators like technorati.com and others, and that would be the end of their blog promotion. These days, you absolutely have to go above and beyond that – but doing this doesn’t hurt.
Technorati.com is still the top blog aggregator. What is an aggregator? It's simply a website that aggregates blogs and blog content. Visit Technorati.com to get a feel for what it is and what it does.
Unlike other sites people often try to use for promotion, blog aggregators want you to submit your own site. You’ll fill out information about your site and they will give you a code to put on your site to ensure you are the owner. The blog aggregator will then verify ownership and approve you for inclusion.
Technorati.com, AllTop.com, and Blogorama.com are all blog aggregators you can look into. There are many more, but these are the most popular and the ones you'll derive the most benefit from.
Blogging for Success (and Web Domination)
Blogging is a wonderful way to drive traffic. It doesn’t matter whether you already have a static website or not. It doesn’t matter whether your business is mostly online or offline, blogging should be an essential part of it.
As a blogger, it’s your role to add unique insight into your niche. You need to put out quality content on a frequent basis so you can grow an audience. Google loves this fresh, up-to-date content, and so do your readers.
You should also be networking with other bloggers in your niche. Interview them, emulate them, and put a new spin on old ideas. Become a part of the community and contribute whenever you can. You should be giving to the community of bloggers and readers whenever you can. You’ll naturally get out of it what you put into it. Getting traffic through blogging is mostly about the content and the relationships.