Today I’m sharing the top 5 areas every new blogger needs to focus on to drive traffic to their site.
As a new blogger, your to-do list seems never ending. Every day you read about a new strategy or tactic. You feel like you’re already 10 steps behind everyone else, and start coming down with comparison-itis (comparing yourself to others). Overwhelm starts to kick in and you start doubting your ability to make this happen.
STOP! You don’t have to do #allthethings. You don’t need more tactics and new strategies. And you definitely don’t need to be spending hours analyzing colors and fonts. It’s so easy to get caught up in the small details; wanting everything to look pretty and read perfectly.
Instead of spending hours creating the perfect graphic you could be building your network and driving traffic to your site. If monetizing your blog is one of your goals, you need traffic. The perfectly styled Instagram layout can wait.
As a new blogger, what you need is focus and patience.
If you haven’t already set up your blog it’s super easy. You can set up your own blog for less than $4/month. Here’s my full tutorial that will walk you through setting up your blog.
5 Things Every New Blogger Should Focus On
One of the best things a new blogger can focus on is creating consistent content on their blog. Decide on a content schedule that you can keep up with. You don’t have to post a new blog post every day, aim for once per week at minimum. Whatever schedule you choose, stick with it.
In my early days of blogging I got so caught up with behind the scenes details that I lost focus on actually creating content. Instead, I was creating an avatar of my ideal client, writing down my core values, creating a list of words to define my brand voice…the list goes on. While I was doing all this what I wasn’t doing was creating content.
Content is what drives traffic to your site. As a new blogger you won’t have thousands of readers. Use this time to practice your writing style, see what resonates with your audience and build confidence in your writing. Your brand voice will develop with writing consistently and you’ll start to learn which topics are popular with your readers.
Pro Tip: To easily create a month’s worth of content (posting once per week) choose a topic, list 4 sub categories and write a blog post on each of those sub categories.
Once you have your blog post written, review it and ask yourself these three questions:
- Is it helpful?
- Does it provide value?
- Is it informative?
If you can answer yes to at least 2 of those questions hit the publish button. You can always come back and edit it later if you need to…that’s what the ‘update’ button is for.
Stop aiming for perfection and start making progress.
2) Network Using Facebook Groups
Networking will help get your blog in front of a larger audience and drive new traffic to your site. There are thousands of Facebook groups you can join and start connecting with other bloggers.
You can use these groups to:
- Ask questions – by asking questions you’ll have the opportunity to learn from more advanced bloggers. Many people in these groups are excellent at providing free help. In return, you may decide to follow their social media pages or check out their blog.
- Share your site, product or service – make sure you read and follow the group rules. Some will allow promo posts at all times. Others limit them to certain days and ask that they be kept within the comments of a particular post. When the opportunity arises, share your website, blog post, opt-in…anything you feel will add value to the group AND drive traffic to your website.
- Guest blog – connect with others in the group who are blogging about a similar niche to yours. Invite them to be a guest blogger on your site. When you have guest bloggers they typically share the post on their social media pages, which in turn promotes your site to a new audience. You could also ask to be a guest blogger for others which will also get your name (and usually a backlink to your site) in front of a new audience.
- Build know like and trust – believe it or not, there are others who feel like they are 10 steps behind you. By answering questions and providing valuable tips you’ll start building a positive reputation within the group. Others will see your knowledge, connect with your style and begin checking out your blog and following you on social media.
Pro Tip: By promoting your opt-in in Facebook groups you’ll be able to grow your email list which will help drive repeat traffic to your site. Win-win.
Search Engine Optimization is something I see many new bloggers ignore in the beginning. Optimizing your site from the very beginning will save you a ton of time later. You don’t have to be a pro at SEO, nor do you have to fully understand it. There are a few key strategies you can implement as a new blogger to help improve your google ranking.
Before you upload an image to your website, rename it to something descriptive. This will help webcrawlers better understand what the image is so it can show up in search results.
For example: if you post a picture of your dog instead of naming the image with your dog’s name, use your dog’s breed. That way you have a chance of showing up in search results when someone searches for that breed of dog.Secondly, with images, always add an Alt Tag. The alt tag also helps web crawlers identify what the image is and makes your site accessibly for visually impaired visitors. Use descriptive keywords.
For example: the alt tag for the image of your dog could be ‘black and white male Jack Russell Terrier”
Using the Yoast SEO plugin will make optimizing your site a breeze. Yoast takes the guesswork out of knowing whether or not you’ve used the focus keyword correctly. It also helps you set up your post for the best reader experience. When you use Yoast SEO, the plugin offers suggestions and shows you exactly what you need to fix to optimize your post. This beginner’s guide will walk you through how to use the Yoast SEO plugin. Yoast also has thousands of other helpful, easy to understand articles.
4) Grow Your Email List
I can’t stress enough how important it is for new bloggers to focus on growing an email list from the very beginning. You create valuable content and you want to make sure people are seeing it, without relying on ranking at the top of search results. You can do this with an email list. By collecting email addresses you’ll be able to connect with your audience consistently; providing value and building a relationship with every subscriber. You’ll be able to send blog posts, promote products or services and make sales directly from your email list.
Even if you don’t have an opt-in freebie to offer yet, make sure you have an email sign up form on your site. You don’t even need to create the perfect welcome sequence yet. Get that sign up form on your website and start collecting subscribers.
- First, set up a professional email address – one that ends in your blog url. If you have web hosting from SiteGround you can create a professional email address for free in less than 5 minutes.
- Once you’ve set up your professional email address, sign up for a free email service provider such as Mailchimp.
- Create a sign up form and add it to your website. This article will walk you through how to create an opt-in form using Mailchimp.
5) Choose One or Two Social Media Platforms
This is a BIG ONE. You don’t need to be in #alltheplaces. One of the biggest mistakes I see many new bloggers make is trying to grow their following on EVERY social media platform. This will leave you overwhelmed, disappointed and stressed out trying to keep up with it all.
Choose one or two social media platforms to focus on and master. Figure out where most of your ideal readers are hanging out. For me, it’s been Instagram and Pinterest. (side note: Pinterest is a search engine – not a social media platform).
By focusing on just one or two platforms you’ll be able to plan engaging content for each platform and authentically connect with your followers (without spending hours spreading yourself across multiple platforms). Once you’ve decided on which social media platform to focus on, choose 2 bloggers who specialize in these platforms. Watch what they are doing, read their tips and implement the action steps they discuss. You may want to invest in their courses to help teach you the ins and outs of the platform. There’s no need to figure it all out on your own.
When I realized that most of my target audience was on Pinterest I read everything I could about this platform. I found a blogger I really connected with who was kicking butt on Pinterest and started implementing all of her advice. But the free advice wasn’t quite cutting it. Many bloggers withhold some key pieces of information for their paid content only.
I signed up for her affordable Pinterest Course which was a game changer. After implementing the tips from her paid content my Pinterest account exploded. Click here to read more about this Pinterest course, see my results and learn how to start using affiliate links on Pinterest to earn money from your blog.
By focusing on just 2 platforms, I didn’t need to spend a ton of money on paid courses to learn the best tactics and strategies. And, I could target a larger portion of my advertising expenses on platforms I knew would generate results instead of trying to stretch the same amount across multiple platforms with limited returns. Best of all, I didn’t feel overwhelmed trying to be in #alltheplaces.
That’s it. Focus on those 5 areas and your blogging experience will be less stressful, more direct and return greater results.