Want Traffic? Then Make Things Happen

This is a guest post by Ramcel Gatchalian.

The million-dollar question every newbie blogger ask is “How can I drive traffic to my blog?”

Sure you can find tons of resources over the internet from successful bloggers who tackle topics on how they were able to achieve traffic when they started a decade ago, more or less. Those were the same things that inspired me but then I figured it may be worth something to share what a newbie blogger like me has done to make traffic happen.

My Story

I started blogging just a few months back and l learned about it through a good friend of mine. He started his a year ago and has been receiving decent payouts from Google Adsense. I said, “Wow! That is something.” So I got interested and after my personal induction I created a blog of my own.

After three weeks blogging I realized that the only traffic that I have were those from my family and friends. Does this story sounded familiar to you?

Anyway, I continued blogging regarding things that I wanted to share like my personal escapades with my family, my amateurish photography, dining experiences, and just about anything that I find interesting. Overtime I came to realize that my blog was going nowhere and that my audiences were still the same.

So I Stopped

Yes I did. I was frustrated with the number of traffic my blog was having so I stopped blogging, I started contemplating, did some research and started learning. Night after night I have been absorbing useful information from blogs of acclaimed bloggers. I gathered every bit of inspiration that I can get around and I finally decided, “Yes! I want to be where they are right now. I will follow their lead.” And I did.

Restructure and Redesign

By the time I carved my decision in stone my application for Google Adsense has been approved. This has been the “sign” telling me that I made the right choice.

I reviewed the content of my blog and figured I need to make some changes. I need to overhaul my blog. And so I put aside all the existing posts and started focusing on a couple of niches, blogging and social media.

I dumped my blog’s theme and came up with another that is more appropriate to what I am foreseeing as a long term design. I trashed out all unnecessary widgets and made the essentials:

  • Email Subscription
  • Social Media Links
  • About
  • Contact
  • Archives

Placement of my Google Adsense has been implemented in strategic locations. The meta tags have been updated and my URL resubmitted to top search engines.

By the way, I haven’t thrown my historical posts away. Instead, I placed them in the “Off Topic” section of my blog. They are good to read. After all, we can’t be “all business” all day.

Compose and Post Contents with Substance

Then the time had come for me to create an art of posting relevant contents to my would-be readers. So I posted my very first post about things that every newbie should know before starting a blog.

I put a lot of time and effort on that article and I am really proud of what I have crafted. My blog received traffic from friends initially but things started getting better as the existence of my blog crawled its way to some of my friends’ friends. Ah, the wonders of social media.

At that point, gaining traffic was a bit slow if you ask me but that is alright. It’s all part of the process. The main thing here is to continuously produce relevant and useful contents for your targeted audience.

Guest Blogging and Getting Involved

I learned from my readings that guest blogging is an important aspect of widening audience reach. This part is exciting as the possibility of having new audiences is somewhat immeasurable. The first guest writing I made was for Technorati, a popular blog search engine indexing over a hundred million blogs.

Within 36 hours after my article was published, my traffic stats incremented for zero to more than 250 unique visitors per day and 79% of it were first time visits. This is not coming from my Technorati article alone but rather a combination of hits from different articles I previously posted outside my niche. Not a figure to really brag about but then it’s pretty spectacular for me.

Getting involved by replying to comments from readers of your guest post is equally important as well. This way, you will not only have your presence known but also establish relationships outside your blog.

This goes without saying that posting comments on popular blogs in your niche will also boost your profile and your blog’s existence.

Joining in online community forums that have topics relevant to your niche and indirectly promoting your blog through a URL in your profile signature can also help boost your presence.

Feed Your Blog and Worry About Monetization Later

What good is a blog if it is not being updated with trending topics on a regular basis? After you have been successful in promoting your blog, did you notice your RSS feed, Twitter followers, or email subscription increasing? Mine did and this indicates that new audiences find your contents interesting.

You have to continuously post fresh articles for their reading pleasure. Monetization will eventually follow if you have a steady and growing audience. I do admit that I felt a sense of self-appreciation when I saw my Google Adsense rising from a few cents to more than a couple of dollars per day.

But then again, worry about making money later and read more on growing your traffic first.

Traffic Is Not Everything

I know this will be brought up and I totally agree. Traffic is not the sole measure of success in blogging but it is what every blogger needs. When traffic is flowing in, it is time to think about how to convince your readers to be subscribers to your blog. Experts say that money ultimately comes from subscriber listing.

It’s All Worth the Time and Effort

The blog revamp that I made costs me many sleepless nights. But those changes were necessary if I wanted to drive traffic into my blog. I stood up and took a chance.

But it doesn’t stop there. The blogosphere has been ever growing and ever dynamic. We definitely need to adapt to those changes and don’t be too complacent.

As the saying goes, “Do not let things happen. Make things happen.”

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  1. says

    Are you spying on me? You just described my blogging journey. Now I’m back on the wagon and trying hard to learn as much as I can. I appreciate this clear and simple post. I will use this advice. Thanks for writing!

    • says

      Greetings Sally. Thank you for your warm appreciation of my work. There’s more where that came from. :)

      Being a writer at Technorati is really great. One thing I learned from my experience though is that we need to craft more pillar contents because they have longer “shelf life” so to speak. Technorati is a news site and though the traffic coming from there can be phenomenal, it is usually short lived. But I do receive a number of loyal followers from that stint.
      Ramcel just posted How to Promote Your Blog Before and After Publishing

  2. says

    Great post and you hit the nail on the head. Concentrate on putting out unique, impressive content FIRST. Then worry about monetizing your blog. If you spend all your time and effort focused on spreading the word and monetizing your site, rather than the content itself… you may get a bunch of people looking at nothing. And that’s no way to build loyalty.

  3. says

    As you’ve eloquently described in detail, the number one rule of getting traffic to a blog is to create great content.

    I’m starting to see that rule number 2 is guest posting. I just read earlier today that Onibalusi had 280 guest posts published in 8 months. That’s more than 1 guest post published per day, 35 per month! And he’s making a very good amount of money from his blog.
    Kevin Kimes just posted Protect Income & Family: Separate Business and Personal Identities

    • says

      Hi there Kevin! Oni should be on the Guiness Book of World Records for achieving such a feat. The way I experienced it, to get serious traffic, you only need to focus on a couple of things:

      1. Publish Great Contents

      The very foundation. Publish more great contents that lingers in the thought of anyone who reads them. Something that encourages people to engage.

      2. Build the Right Connections

      Spend more time promoting your blog. Get connected to people who can boost your presence online such as top bloggers. And how can you get them to notice you? By guest posting and this is a sure way of building decent number of followers.

      Followers build traffic. SEO-friendly contents build traffic. And traffic brings money. Although I don’t worry much about monetization yet as I am paying more attention to my blog’s readership.
      Ramcel just posted Guest Post to Get Your Blog On the Radar

  4. says

    I think thats really it. Traffic sometimes comes very slowly and from there what separates good bloggers from the not-so good ones is just that latter one just stops and gives up. I think its kinda tough to have your blog reach another level if you’re just going to get frustrated.

    I always say to new bloggers that they’re lucky because driving traffic in modern days is way easier than driving traffic back then so they just have to take advantage of it.
    Melvin just posted Google Plus. That Damn Thing

    • says

      Good point Melvin. You actually pitched me an idea for another blog post. I got to draft it right away. :)

      Anyway, it’s pretty simple if you get to realize it sooner. As I pointed out in my earlier comment, there are a couple of things that new and budding bloggers need to focus on. And you are right on spot that attitude plays an important role in it.

      But I beg to differ on your perspective that driving traffic nowadays is easier. It’s tougher now than ever even with social media around. I will happily trade to get a chance to start blogging the same year you started and get my ball rolling from there. :)
      Ramcel just posted Blog Comments and Other Strategies to Boost Your Online Presence

  5. says

    The number one thing that brings my blog the most traffic is using CommentLuv. If you look at my posts you’ll see that almost all of my regular readers and commentators use it and since almost all of them are dofollow bloggers who generously link to and recommend each other it makes all the difference for me.
    Gail Gardner just posted Bloggers: Promote Your Blog Here

  6. says

    Ramcel, nice post. It seems each of my popular posts on my different blogs have had different sources for the traffic I’ve been able to generate. Some have come from page 1 ranking for fairly popular terms in Google. Others have come from getting featured on industry sites and others from getting shared broadly by A- and B-listers. Thanks for sharing your story about how you got your start!
    Tom Treanor just posted What’s in a Domain Name? A lot!

    • says

      Thanks Tom. It’s really nice to know more and more thriving blogs.

      Others get intimidated by their presence but I’m not. I get inspired. Especially by those who were able to attain success with distinct techniques that others can also apply.

      It’s a continuous learning process and at one point, a seasoned blogger can also feel a noob. Then it’s time for a wakeup call. Start learning again and the cycle goes on and on.

      By the way, for a short span of time, my blog is now Page Rank 1. Woot!
      Ramcel just posted 5 Tips for Making Your Blog Run Faster

  7. says

    If you like writing then yes start a blog, but don’t expect to make money out of it immediately. Maybe in the beginning it was easier to have a paycheck, but now the competition is tough, and the only way you’re going to get user is by being yourself and offer a fresh and maybe different perspective. This is what I’m telling myself for the past 2 years :)

  8. says

    I should stay that you are a very purposeful person and you have reached your target and your story will help bloggers to achieve their goals. You have proved the example of millions – if you work things come into your life.

  9. says

    That’s an interesting story.

    I agree that all you have to do is just write content and engage with your target audience. Once you do that the rest will easily come.

    Later, guest posting and online communities are a great source to increase your audience.

    Again, great story!

    Eugen Oprea just posted 10 Great WordPress Photo Gallery Plugins

  10. says

    Thanks for this insightful article. I also tried writing my own blogs but I keep on getting frustrated on how to get people to follow and read my blogs. There are like a thousand people also writing blogs and the greatest frustration that a newbie blogger can experience is competition from other bloggers and to top all of that I also have a regular job. I believe that writing alone is not enough, a blogger should also learn about SEO, it is kind of complicated for non techie or IT personalities like me but I do believe that if I do focus, I’ll make it through the blogosphere somehow.
    donna young just posted Do Fewer Bills Mean More Plastic?

    • says

      I hear you loud and clear Donna. I also have a full-time job that really demands more than 9 hours of work. I have a family and growing kids and spend quality time with them whenever I can. Then I have to blog and just started a couple of months back.

      If you are keen to know how you can overcome your doubts on blogging and how you can have your presence known, I suggest you check out my post about how you can promote your blog before and after publishing your content. I spent tons of hard work there and squeezed time amidst my demanding schedule.
      Ramcel just posted How to Promote Your Blog Before and After Publishing

  11. says

    It’s nice to hear the story of how a new blogger increases traffic to their blog. While many of the older bloggers have told their story, not everything they’ve done in the past is relevant in today’s blogging environment.
    Rob McGuire just posted HTML5 Video Captions

  12. says

    In a very long time someone seems to have told the true story of his blogging journey in very simple and straight words; and of course the true stories have potential to inspire. I have started and stopped blogging multiple times but now I feel like a number of times I had stopped just one step short of that boiling point. But this time I’m gonna make it to the mark.
    Azam just posted Haircut at Supercuts

  13. says

    I went through the same process when I started blogging. I first tried it out a couple of years back and didn’t get any traffic. I stopped for a while and then picked it back up again last year. This time I spent some more time building up my connections with other blogs and had a bit more success. Now, I mostly concentrate on enjoying the process of running a blog and letting the rest take care of itself. As long as I keep putting out content, I find that the traffic continues to grow.
    Richard just posted Network Marketing: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

  14. says

    This is a great article and probably one of the first thing on the mind of every blogger.

    You outlined some very good tips, all I could add is that it is a good idea to try and target specific keywords in order to drive more traffic from search engines. The long-tail phrases are best and can be found with free online tools.

    Of course the articles would need to be good content describing those keywords properly.

    Not to mention keeping a clear structure, using h1, h2, h3 tags and using lists and images whenever appropriate.

    But probably the most important thing to turn readers into subscribers is to sticking to your niche and not get too much off topic.

    Putting some personality in helps too, and my blog’s “friendliness” increased a lot after I started being more personal in my posts.

    – Kris
    Kris just posted How to stop cravings for sugar and junk food

    • says

      All your points are great for search engine optimization Kris. Definitely a must to further boost traffic coming from search engines.

      I’ve done these myself and it really helped my blog posts rank better. Sometimes it even surprises me when I get to learn that certain keywords made some of my articles fall in the top 10 of Google search.

      Even in image searches. This is something that I can add up to what you just added. :) Utilizing the ALT tag for images, if you are using images in your posts, and adapt the same keyword-ing principles that you have explained can also help in ranking better.

      In short, better ranking boils down to more traffic too.
      Ramcel just posted Why Your Blog Just Screams and Begs

  15. says

    This sounds much like my story. It is great to find someone seeing results from their mass overhaul. Also, I am glad you wrote about not getting rid of your old posts… I grappled over this one because those keywords kept coming up in analysis. It was irritating. I did put them in an off topic category that is not listed on my blog. Still grappling as you can tell. Thank you for the post.
    Shonda just posted A Rough Guide to Tuscany