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Why Blogs Fail to Get Traffic

The days of easy Google traffic are over and I hear the complaints all the time.

How can I attract more traffic? Will Google ever notice my blog posts?

Well the answer is YES, you can attract great traffic and yes Google WILL notice.

Well…sort of. Someday.

In this post I’d like to address a couple problems holding you back from getting more traffic.

I’ll help you look at blog traffic in a different light.

As usual, feel free to comment.

Traffic terms

Here are some useful terms before we get going.

  • Traffic = Online visitors to your site
  • Returning traffic = People who come back to your site 2 or more times
  • Target audience = People who will take action on your messages
  • Online graveyard = Where thousands of traffic-less blogs end up every day :(

Ok, “online graveyard” is one I made up ;)

To find the solution to a lack of blog traffic I’d like to look at two problems I commonly see. These problems prevent bloggers from attracting returning traffic and building it into a target audience. That’s something you need after a bit of time. You need people to take action.

Problem 1: We only look at the numbers

I feel like a lot is wrong with the whole “gimme more traffic” world nowadays.

The first problem is we see traffic as just a number.

75,000 pageviews a month, 60% returning visitors, 140 entrances, etc.

It’s a number we all obviously want to increase and if you run a huge blog your traffic number probably looks great. Go ahead, brag about it.

But as a new blogger your traffic number can be really depressing. It’s growing, and needs time.

It’s risky to focus on this number too much. Why? Because you may start to compare it to what you think it should be. You’ll probably feel it’s not enough.

And if you feel like it’s not enough, your blogging will suffer.

You’ll get desperate to create more content and will stop enjoy the little gains in your work. You might even decide to stop blogging.

So what’s the solution?

I’m no Seth Godin traffic expert, but I think I have something that could save you from the traffic blues.

Try viewing your traffic as a actual person, or group of people. That’s all traffic is afterall, right?

It’s sort of like the old “glass half empty or half full” adage. You’ve got to look at your traffic count as half-full of awesome readers who you get to interact with.

It’s awesome if anyone reads your blog. Even just…6 people a day.

If you take these 6 people for granted they’ll probably vanish. But if you take them seriously they’ll probably turn into 6 more.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Respond to every single comment at your blog and on guest posts
  • Thank people for tweets and retweets
  • Be available to answer questions over email

By giving your entire attention to just a few readers you will secure them as fans. Then, they’ll be more likely to recruit others.

They’ll comment, and people will notice. They’ll share your work to a couple hundred others!!

It’s all about starting small and appreciating the small gains.

Problem 2: Not enough self-promotion (80/20 rule)

This next problem comes with a fancy rule, a proven one.

The second problem I see among blogs is a lack of self-promotion.

Bloggers assume that just by pumping out content either a lot of people or Google or maybe both will notice them.

Trust me, people won’t notice. Google won’t either, unless you can get a lot of actually people to notice first.

The result is often just a lot of under-appreciated blog posts :(

Sound like your blog at all?

The DearBlogger launch
When I launched DearBlogger I had three posts up. The first was a basic Welcome Post. It served it’s purpose to explain the site and that’s about it. The other two posts were equally as basic. They were helpful though and conveyed my mission to be a blogging answers community.

You know where all my other posts were? They were all over the darn web. I used them to drive a mammoth amount of traffic towards my blog, all in about two weeks.

I did important Google things, like building backlinks and earning some social stats.

It was sort of a gamble; I had to hope when people arrived they liked my three standing posts. But it paid off.

And it’s paying off as I write this.

So, what’s your strategy?

How much time do you spend building content on your blog? 50% of your time?

Any more would be crazy!

You should spend at least 80% (4/5s) of your efforts as a new blogger away from your blog. This is of course assuming things like design are working well enough at your blog.

Assuming they are, you’ve got to get out there.

More marketing off your blog + less content on your blog =

  • More comments per post
  • More klout
  • More authority (at least a perception of it)
  • More excitement for your next post!

I’m not the only one blabbering like this either. Check out Derek Halpern’s post on Why Blogs Fail.

And of course I’ll note that my bounce rate eBook has tips on scaling blog growth too. Like turning 100 visitors into 10,000 visitors kind of growth.

List of traffic generation strategies

I figured now would be the time for an living list of traffic generation strategies. By “living” I mean I’d like you to add to it in the comments.

Guest posting is my favorite so it’s first, but the rest are in no particular order.

  1. Guest post on major blogs:
    Big traffic hubs exist in any niche in the form of established blogs. The concept is simple: write guest posts for them and meet a new audience. Making your guest posts really stand out nowadays is the tricky part. Put the time in though, this one is well worth it if you want more traffic.
  2. Encourage shares at your blog:
    I like asking readers for a bit help here and there. By encouraging readers to share your work you’ll create more social proof and find more like-minded readers too.
  3. Build your Google+:
    With Google Authorship looming, a stronger G+ profile will most-likely rank you higher in Search. Read my guide to Google+ for more.
  4. Twitter mining:
    Twitter will always be a good source of blog traffic but not everyone does it right. First you should make your bio awesome, and brief. Then, go find like-minded tweeters. Engage them or offer a retweet. I’ve actually met a lot of long-term blog readers directly on Twitter.
  5. Organic traffic from Google:
    Yes, the holy grail of blogging. Organic traffic from Google will keep your business going and at some point, you’ll fail without it. I recommend using Keyword Tool by Google to create posts with “Google Titles” (aka permalinks) that are heavily searched. This naturally helps posts rank based on trend frequency. Even if your posts don’t hit the Google top 10, they’ll get clicks lurking in the 20s and even 30s. Google is a big place, ya know.
  6. Write a niche-narrow eBook:
    Writing an eBook positions you as an expert. Being an expert is a crucial step to getting returning traffic, and people can willingly share your eBook to new readers.
  7. Create video content on YouTube
    My recent focus has been building pillar content on YouTube. The kind of evergreen videos like this someone will always want to watch. Getting on YouTube opens the floodgates to a whole new audience and is a great way to diversify your online promotional efforts.
  8. Do a live demo
    Know anyone that owns a bar, restaurant, or a bit of open presentation space? Post an invite to your Facebook friends, create a PowerPoint, and set up a live demo of how to blog. You’d be surprised how many will turn out and the word of mouth that results will be phenomenal!
  9. Mention other bloggers
    Even as a small blogger, you can link back to other websites you admire. If they notice and like your work, they’ll probably throw you a link too. This kind of cross promotion is what blogging is all about!

  10. Build another website
    Have some spare time and a diverse set of interests? Create a new website and leverage the strength of your existing one alongside of it. When Dear Blogger was brand new I linked to it from my other blogs and the result was much quicker traffic growth.
  11. Post blog timely comments
    In my earlier days of guest posting some comments from ProBlogger were the largest source of traffic at Dear Blogger. Get comments in early, at the top of a list, and make them sassy. People will click the name to see who done said that!
  12. Write for article directories
    Writing for sites like Ezine, Squidoo, and GoArticles can boost your traffic stats. These sites let you build your writing portfolio and offer a couple links back to your blog. The top authors per niche get LOTS of attention and probably get offered paid blogging opportunities too.
  13. Email a celebrity about a blog partnership:
    I even emailed Seth Godin at one point asking for a blog partnership. I’m going to save that topic/email for another post though. This was a crazy-creative-moment that I think we bloggers can learn a lot from.

So what do you think? If I missed your favorite traffic gen strategy just drop a comment and let us know. Again, think “avoid online graveyard” people.

How to fail at getting traffic

I thought we’d end with some traffic-gen strategies you should avoid.

    a. Begging for links: You’ll lose a lot of respect
    b. Twitter mass following: You end up following nonsense robo-accounts
    c. Facebook spam: Usually irrelevant
    d. Comment spam: Totally pointless (thank god for Akismet)
    e. Forum spam: Will get you swiftly banned
    f. Content over-stuffing: Mass producing articles won’t magically bring the traffic

If you’ve tried any of these don’t worry, I probably have too. But realize that these activities may actually harm your image and send people away from your site.

Healthy traffic: Where will it get you?

Increasing traffic levels will open doors for you as a blogger or online entrepreneur. You can do virtually anything with it.

You can do a couple things straight away to get more traffic:

  1. Set up your Google Analytics profile and see how your website is currently doing.
  2. If your bounce rate in Analytics is too high (over 20% is high) grab your free copy of my bounce rate eBook.

More traffic comes from small adjustments today, that pay off the next time Google hits the Search “refresh button”. It’s a moment we bloggers and SEOs look forward to :)

I’d really love to hear how you work to find more traffic. Grey-hat, white-hat, red-hat, whatever. I think if we bounce off some ideas here we may actually develop a new traffic gen strategy or two.

Post a quick comment and help us avoid the ol’ blog graveyard.



Good news to the community! We've helped you successfully setup so many WordPress blogs that we can now offer an improved discount. Read more about the new Dear Blogger hosting plan discounts and learn how to make a WordPress self-hosted blog. Love, peace, and blogging to all in 2014.



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62 comments, add some wisdom...


  1. Kojo Enoch says:

    I am struggling a little bit with getting traffic to my site. I will definitely try some of the tips you have in your article. I hope it helps me get more traffic to my blog. Thank you.

  2. Damini says:

    hey Greg I really liked your article. I am not a blogger but yesterday I wrote something and thought if I could also blog.
    Its in peices and bits. But I want people to read.. Could you guide me..?

  3. kosy says:

    Really love your post…i have learnt alot of things..
    It actually drives me crazy when i don’t get alot of pageviews and cos of that i almost gave up blogging but something kept me going and thats the joy i get when blogging.
    Guess patience is really the key to everything in life and you’ve helped alot of people realise that with this post including me.Thanks alot Greg and keep doing the good work

    • Greg Narayan says:

      You’re very welcome Kosy. Listen, a magical moment for me happened when I helped JUST ONE person. It wasn’t easy, but it was that “something” like you said. The rest was sorta history. So focus on small things, keep your design airtight and jump on every opportunity you see!

  4. M. Najib says:

    The article is very good and unique. It is very helpful in increasing traffic to your website / blog. I guess I should update my blog. I will share on my twitter. thank you. MN.

  5. Yusri Big says:

    Most people are present on different social media platforms such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter and others. Check where we have the biggest number and most active followers and make a public announcement that we’ve started a blog that covers. Write our industry/niche there and add a link to our blog. The first readers are usually your friends, family and acquaintances. They are easy to catch online.

    • Greg Narayan says:

      Hi Yusri,

      Yep, a public announcement of a new blog is important – just not too soon because you have one change with people.

      And of course playing in out on the big there social networks. I like focusing on just one first, then bragging elsewhere about it :)

      Thanks for your comment!

  6. Thanks for the post – I know a TON of bloggers who could find this useful, definitely sharing w/ them.
    Take care and thanks for the tips.

  7. Eric says:

    These tips are quite helpful, so thanks for sharing them. Keep up the great work!

  8. I think the best and most effective way to drive traffic to website are unique content writing and high PR backlink building.

  9. Phil Mason says:

    Really great post, and very helpful, pointing out how to actually write a blog and then how to promote it. I have spent a year not really knowing what I was doing and I am just starting to actually write like I talk and hopefully provide some interesting content at least now and then. You are right, people spend too much time looking at and thiking about numbers and letting it pressure them too quickly. My blog gets about 20 views a week, very low I know, but it is 100% better than a month ago as I now promote through Social Media. The points you make really do impress on me the need to promote each post much more and even better. The more I promote, the more views I get and hopefully this will lead to comments and critiques that can help me become a better blogger and provide the content people want.

    • Greg Narayan says:

      Thanks Phil, great to see ya at the blog.

      You’re on the right track it seems; remember if a handful of people like your work, there’s no reason a couple hundred people wouldn’t feel the same way too. Keep on growin’.

      Happy to help solve any issues along the way,

      G

  10. Adam Dukes says:

    Great post and so true! I am learning the “spend time away form your blog” as being very valuable. I used to just try and push out content and promoting it once I hit “publish”.

    I think Derek Halpren of Social Triggers says, “20% of content creation & 80% on promotion” I am starting to follow what he says and it seems to be working for him :)

  11. Michael Lu says:

    Great post, thanks for sharing. I’ll follow all the steps on my blog to improve my traffic.

    You can increase more traffic via product my link in address website above.

  12. Kris says:

    Greg, this may be a stupid question, but I’m new at this blogging game, and I have followed your advice on building traffic, however, the blog still only seems to be “ticking over” not gaining any traffic, I work hard just maintaining some sort of traffic, by commenting, social media etc. Anyways, I have never really understood backlinks, trackbacks etc. What are backlinks and how do you build them? and where should one build them?
    I’m so glad I found your site! Thank you for leading us novices to the right path….

  13. Sergey Alx says:

    Hi Greg!
    I will send you a list af questions, you try to answer, add what ever you think important. Than I write an article with it. If we like it – I translate the article and post it to my blog. Sound’s ok?

  14. Sergey Alx says:

    Hi Greg!
    Found you among my Twitter followers, Thanks!
    Very good reading you have here!
    I would love to translate some of your posts for my Russian blogs and may be we can do a brief interview?

  15. Dustin says:

    I still lack a lot of things attracting traffic, this post gives me a hint.

    I have troubles with these:

    1. Using twitter. To be honest I sucked using twitter, I guess I spent too much time on fb. Another thing, none of my friends uses twitter and G+.

    2. Guest posting. I have only guest posted 3 times, I guess I should do it more often to create relationship with other bloggers.

    3. My google + is very new. I should promote more on G+

    4. writing for ezine. I submitted a lot of times on ezine articles but they often reject my articles probably I am not good with english grammar and using symbols like dots or commas. I am not really a writer, I am more like a webdesigner.

    I’ll absorb this post post… thanks greg

  16. Ana Hoffman says:

    First time at your blog, Greg – like what I see so far. Thanks for sending me this way through your comment at TGC.

    Curious about your use of Twitter embeds (that’s what those are, right?). Looks like they’d be more persuasive than any “click here” plea. How are they working for you?

  17. Sai Krishna says:

    I liked your post and your explanation bro, you have mentioned very good points and every newbie should notice them.

    Well, next your blog design is looks very nice and attractive, Thanks for share.

  18. Josh says:

    Greg, Found a good blog today and its yours :)

    Stuffed with great tips and awesome posts on Blog traffic and love to follow them and implement them on my blog!!

  19. It’s really amazing how new bloggers are advised to post more than necessarily. Posting more two or three posts daily as newbie blogger is simply tantamont to failure.
    Spending more time promoting older posts is supreme.

    • Greg Narayan says:

      Great hear from ya Kabenlah.

      Yep, that actually may be the #1 cause of blog failure.

      Just read your Adsense Alternatives post. Wow, had no idea there were that many ad networks…awesome.

  20. Greg,

    Great piece – just sent it to the marketing guy at our company!

    Keep it up,

    Mac

  21. Yusof Ihsan says:

    Hey Greg, great post. I strongly agree that once we’ve got the content, we should focus on promoting the blog.
    Guest posting would be my thing, too. Since it’s one of the fastest and best to reach new readers. Just started my blog, and I’m working on it rightnow.

    I’m thinking of putting up a resource page for my subscriber (or just visitor). In it I planned to fill in websites, blogs, and product that I’ve found useful and had great experience with.
    1. I’m adding value to my blog visitors, they’re getting good stuffs from me.
    2. My blog visitors will know which source am I inclined to. Good if they’re readers from another side. It builds bond. And credibility.
    3. Blog visitors will visit the page frequently to get practical update.
    4. Affiliate
    5. so on.

    Anyway I’m still working on it. Need more time.

    Greg, what do you think about that? Also, any thought on using twitter as a blogger?

    Take care there.

    YUSOF

    • Greg Narayan says:

      thanks for that awesome comment Yusof

      yes start guest posting today, you’ll be happy later

      I like your list but add “build landing page” to it. then use that page to tell readers what they stand to gain from your blog…!

      that was a big one for me

      well you’re on twitter…what do you mean?

  22. Dinesh says:

    Cool Greg I found your post about traffic to be really cool
    I wish my blog had a guest post of yours…
    help me with more tips

  23. Ehsan Ullah says:

    Loved the post Greg, I’ve tried most of the strategies you shared above and also tried some of the traffic-gen strategies too.

    Now as Problogger and DBT closed guest post submissions, which is your target blog to guest post on Greg?

  24. lokesh says:

    Greg, Very good points mentioned here, i have started writing guest post on other blogs i think i need to start writing in article directories as you had mentioned in point no.13 and writing ebook positions as an expert but it requires some time to work on ebooks. Even having a very good content without marketing doesnt help in getting good traffic. Thanks for the great post.

    • Greg Narayan says:

      hey Lokesh. thanks for dropping back in great to see ya

      advice on an eBook:

      1) do it :)

      2) sooner rather than later

      3) make it niche narrow and market it with a landing page

      have you planned out an eBook at all?

  25. Arfa says:

    Hi Greg,

    I like your blog’s format because you don’t just give information in your posts but you actually TALK in your posts. Secondly, I want to say that “not everyone is made for blogging”. Blogging is a mixture of writing and marketing. I am a successful writer but a failed blogger :D

    Thanks.

    • Greg Narayan says:

      so well said Arfa!

      yea this place kinda feels like one big blogging conversation :)

      what have you been writing lately?

      • Arfa says:

        Just joined a technology blog, I am currently associated with 4 blogs as a writer. So, finding time for my own blog is pretty difficult as it is not generating any revenue.
        I would like to take suggestions from bloggers of your community. I’ve a photography blog which does not even have ad sense on. No sponsors no advertisers. I can’t even post regularly. What should I do with it?

  26. Kulwant Nagi says:

    Great Great Great Piece of content.

    You are right that in early days every blogger keeps checking their stats and soon they feel that nothing is going right in right direction.

    For becoming a good blogger we should know the good marketing skills too.

    Thanks for the share.

    • Greg Narayan says:

      hey Kulwant. awesome to see you back

      yeah the stats are so annoying. i limit it to once a week at most, especially with analytics and alexa

      there’s just so many other positive things people should focus on

  27. yecruzsulla says:

    hmm yes greg, i am completely agree with you about building authority amang the other blogger.
    if we hade some respect , it will be easy to next level :)

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