If you are starting to blog for the first time, it can be quite a daunting task until you “get it”. Until you figure out what works and what does not work. Until you figure out ways to get decent traffic to your sites on a sustained basis. And there are literally hundreds of other things you need to take care of.

If you already have a blog with some traffic, then it’s not that difficult since you have already gained some momentum. Now your focus lies in increasing and maintaining the traffic but that’s not that difficult compared to the situation wherein you are just starting out and have zero visits on the very first day.

It takes lots of effort to generate traffic for a new website and in this post, I will explain the concepts of traffic generation for new sites in detail. I will explain what you should do and what you should not do  for the first couple of years to generate substantial traffic for your sites.

Evergreen Content is Good but it takes time. Focus More on Recent Developments and News

Most bloggers and experts will tell you to write evergreen content. I tend to differ on this opinion since it is quite difficult to rank for evergreen content for new sites, since evergreen content also has lots of competition from already established players.

What you should do in the early days is to focus more on recent developments, news and trending topics around your niche. You can develop evergreen content once in a while and keep doing it once a week but more efforts should be channeled in developing content around recent developments, new offerings and things which are fresh and untouched in the market.

The reason – recent developments will have less competition and less content since it has just been released and nobody has written about it before. If you are the first person to break the news or cover an in depth story about something,  you will have an edge over other players. There is a good chance that search engines will index your story first and show it on top of search result pages, which will attract links and citations from other sources naturally.

In the initial days, focus more on writing about recent developments and tutorials about things which are fresh and “new”, so that it generates traction and attracts readership. Once you have the readership, you can channel that traffic towards evergreen content.

Don’t try to be a Market Leader in Initial days

A lot of bloggers do this mistake and try to compete with market leaders or be a market leader in a specific category or niche. The reason it is a mistake is because

Competition is for losers.

Why do you want to compete with a bigger website? You don’t want to and you don’t have to. Avoid unnecessary competition with a bigger player since the chances are high that you won’t win. It is better to channel your efforts in the ignored segments and slowly build traffic in those segments first. Once you have some traction and traffic, revenues will come. Once you have revenue, you can hire more resources and then take over the niche and segments where bigger players are operating. Until then, stand by and keep playing in that field where competition is less or minimum.

Don’t Be Desperate For Traffic And Publish Low Value Thin Content

I did this mistake once so I am telling you from experience.

Don’t be desperate for traffic and publish low value thin content on your sites thinking that more the number of posts, more will be the traffic. That is not true and often times, the results are actually the opposite. Low quality content on one part of the site can affect the rankings of other good posts so be careful with thin and shallow content and don’t go publishing 5 articles a day just for the sake of publishing it.

Don’t be desperate. Don’t publish content in a jiffy. Take the time out and write really useful and resourceful posts which benefits people in some way. But don’t overkill and publish low quality material, that will hurt your site in the long term when Google rolls out algorithmic updates and fine tunes search results for quality.

Don’t Quit Your Day Job – Develop your Blog Passively and Wait for the Right time

If you are just starting out, my advice would be not to quit your full time day job and continue blogging on the side. Continue to blog on the side till your blog generates substantial revenue so you are able to pay off the bills. If not, keep the day job.

Here is the truth – you don’t know whether you will be able to continue this as your full time profession. You don’t know whether you will be able to make it – not everyone can make it as a professional blogger.

So indeed, it is a good idea to develop a blogging schedule, keep your day job and continue to develop your blog on the side. Keep developing content, links, authority on the side and keep developing traffic slowly. After a couple of years of sustained effort, you will be in a much better shape to decide the next steps.

Keep doing it passively and keep your day job unless you have at least 5000-10,000 visitors to your site every single day. Once you are able to achieve that and have enough confidence in your abilities, you should kick the day job away and be a full time blogger.

Induce Virality and Optimize for Social Reach

This is one of the things that you should do in the early days – write content that spreads through social networks e.g Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and others.

Think about the type of content which people want to share with their networks. Think about what entices the user to click on the share button and share it with their twitter friends and followers. Observe what type of content has the “Virality element” in it and what type of content has high social reach.

Develop that type of content in early days since what you are trying to achieve is essentially the same thing – bring more readers to your site and optimize your website’s reach. Viral content will help you achieve it more easily than organic ones since organic ones takes time to develop and won’t give immediate results.

You have to do a mix of both but more emphasis should be put on developing that content which goes viral and receives social love.

Initiate Conversations Around a Post Made By a Market Leader

It is a good idea sometimes to initiate a conversation with a market leader around a blog post.

Let’s say A is a market leader and he published something exclusive on their site. You saw it, you read it and you thought there is something which the market leader has missed. This is the opportunity – you write a blog post around that topic and initiate a conversation.

You link to  the market leader and carefully jot down the points which the market leader has missed or somehow skipped. When you publish your story, some people will take note and this may initiate a conversation around that thing which the market leader missed.

I have seen that sometimes, the market leader acknowledges their mistake and then they link to your post citing you and giving you due credit. This generates authority and you win new subscribers to your site. Also, the conversations you start helps you steer the conversations into follow up posts which adds more value to your readers and brings more traffic through the conversations which other people do about your response post.

Add Exclusive Content

What is exclusive content? Content which is exclusive to your site which noone has.

This is really hard and it will take some time for you to figure out how to develop exclusive content before anyone else. But nonetheless, you should learn it yourself and develop add this to your content marketing strategy.

Exclusive content has a very high probability to go viral, attract links from other authority sites and receive traffic on a recurring basis. Exclusive content also establishes your site as an authority blog and people start trusting you. Exclusive content communicates value to your readers and then they will keep coming back for more and more, expecting to read more useful stuff.

The type of exclusive content you develop depends on what niche you are writing about and what are the topics that you cover on a regular basis. I will share an example so you understand it.

Let’s say you write a technology blog. In this case exclusive content can be

  • Breaking news about an event, launch or features of a gadget which is yet to be released.
  • Detailed information about an upcoming thing which readers want to read.
  • How to guides and complete troubleshooting information about a new technology, software, gadget  etc.
  • Analysis and report on a specific thing and measuring the pros and cons.
  • Use case analysis, whitepaper and other content which analyzes the impact of using something for achieving some objective.
  • A hidden feature which you discover before someone else.

Participate in Forums and Q & A sites

Forums are a great way to gain three things

  • New ideas – find what people are talking about
  • Gain links
  • Gain readers
  • Expand your network

It is a good idea to sign up in Question answer sites and online forums and look for what people are desperately asking. See where the pain point is and what type of content can satisfy their needs.

If you have not published that type of content on your site, do publish and leave your site’s link in the forums so people can read them and get value out of them. This will bring new readers to your site, add a backlink and people will consider you as someone who cares about the problems people are having.

Forums threads are also a great way to keep yourself updated on what’s currently being discussed in the community and what can you do to generate the content that is in demand.

Look into Google Analytics and See What Type Of Content Works

Look into your Google Analytics logs and see what type of content works.

Here are few questions you need to ask yourself

  • What type of content works on my website? Is it news? Is it list posts? Is it how to articles? Is it resource pages? Videos? Infographics?
  • Who are my top referrer? From which referring site I get maximum traffic?
  • Why do I get so much traffic from that referring site? What is the reason? Can I duplicate the reason  across other pages on my site?
  • What are my top landing pages? What can I do to ensure I have more landing pages around those topics

Your Google analytics data will tell you what kind of content works and what doesn’t. It will also tell you who are your top referrers and then you can follow the trail to find out why something works on your site and why something doesn’t.

Guest Blogging and Blog commenting

I am not a big fan of Guest blogging and I don’t do it myself but I would agree with most bloggers advice – do guest blogging and blog commenting in the initial days.

If you are able to publish at least one resourceful guest blog on other sites and write useful comments on other blogs, people will be able to quickly find your site by clicking the author byline link or your website link.

This will help to expand your reach and attract more traffic when your site is new. Once you have developed a steady stream of traffic, then you can stop doing guest posts and concentrate more on developing useful and interesting content on your sites. However, in the intitial days, guest blogging, networking with other bloggers and commenting on other blogs helps to get some added advantage.

Don’t Give Up – Be consistent with your content.

The last and ultimate advice is not to give up.

Most people quit. They don’t continue doing what is needed – write really useful and engaging content which brings readers. You have to keep doing it for the first couple of years before you even see any traffic to your sites. I will share an example

The first couple of years will be extremely difficult and hopeless since you will not see any traffic to your site and will probably give up. 95% of bloggers quit in the first two years of blogging because they don’t see anything happening and they feel that this thing doesn’t work.

But it’s not the truth.

You have to keep working till you see the needle moving in the right direction. You have to keep generating content and keep analyzing what works and what does not work until you see results. If you be consistent with your post, post regularly, be patient and work hard, results will come in time.