The hardest thing about starting a new website or blog is getting traffic to come visit, interact and buy your product or service. It’s the thing I most dread and I know others do too. Having been doing SEO for over a decade now, I’ve certainly got the jump on most of my competitors. I don’t have to spend money on SEO services because I can do that myself.
When I started this blog, I wanted to try a few things differently than I’ve done in the past. I really wanted to experiment with the new social media tools especially Twitter and Facebook. So I made sure to set up a Twitter account and Facebook business page for this site and see how things worked. Both of these tools point traffic to me and I have to actively promote to keep that traffic coming. They also allow me to leverage their platforms to work for me. If you’re on Facebook, you know how easy it is to build your friend list. I received subscriptions to my Twitter feed after signing up just to follow a few other people.
After I started doing this, I ran across this article that talks about twelve steps to kickstart your blog traffic. It looks like I’m on the right track using Facebook and Twitter.
However, I’m going to share with you my secret to getting traffic, inbound links and high search engine results – use outbound links. Huh? I know what you’re thinking, “that doesn’t make sense.” How can you get traffic to your blog by sending what you don’t have somewhere else? Hear me out and I’ll show you.
It has been said that on the web, content is king. This is true. Why do you think RSS feeds get misused by splogs? As a web user, do you go back to sites you find that have poor content? Do you bookmark them? Do you subscribe to their feeds? You will never do that unless those sites have content that is interesting or useful to you.
You will not have a successful website if your content is substandard. So, if you want a well trafficked site, that is the foundation.
Links are queen and blogs are about links. Blog software is set up to easily link to other sites. Their structure is inherently search engine friendly and services exist to set those spider bots in motion as soon as you hit publish. Besides setting up a Twitter feed and Facebook page, the other things I did to make sure this blog started getting traffic immediately was to register with Technorati and make sure I had an RSS feed.
Then I started writing. Since I’m starting up a new business I was thinking a lot about branding. This business has been in my head for over a year, the circumstances just became viable for me to start expending a lot of effort on it. Looking back at that article, I should probably redo it, but I won’t. I haven’t been writing on a regular basis for a while, so it’s nice to see how I improve through practice. You will notice that I used some links. I used more in part two of that article.
Links add credibility by showing examples to back up points made in your article. They serve as evidence.
Quoting other sources is perfectly acceptable. Copying entire articles and posting them to your blog is not. Think back to your old term papers from college. Links are the digital equivalent of a citation. You’ll see an example here.
When you quote an article, provide a link back to the original. When you link to a blog, don’t link to the main page, link to the specific article. That will provide a trackback which will give you an inbound link. By linking to an original article, it greatly reduces accusations of plagiarism.
Blogs are timely and I often use current events as examples. This is a good thing because Technorati and other aggregators will include you in their search results for that term. If you link to a Technorati registered blog, you’ll also show up.
I’ve also found if I mention a publicly traded company, it’s a good idea to use their ticker. A lot of news stories will link to sites that use stock tickers.
It can be a good idea to write something inspired by an article you’ve recently read. Consider this one recently written by Mark Cuban. His entire post was a response to someone’s article. I did the same thing with my posts on how to use Facebook. The original article was rather a fluff piece, but the attributes she described were right on. So I took those attributes, properly credited with a link of course, and wrote my own article. Here’s the cool thing. By linking to it, I now have a link back from a very high authority site with lots of traffic.
When starting up a new website or blog it’s difficult to get traffic and links. However, you can get people and search engines to find you by providing outbound links.
Here’s a summary of my best outbound link tips.
- Do link to other blogs with related content to yours.
- Do link to specific pages in a blog so you get the trackback.
- Do name drop. You’d be surprised at what gets searched for.
- Do use stock tickers when you mention a publicly traded company.
- Do make sure your links open in a new window (_blank).
- Do back up your points with links.
- Do define industry jargon with a link to the definition.
- Do test your links to make sure they work.
- Do take screenshots of links you’re not sure will be there in the future.
- Do link to your own site within each post.
- Do provide great content so others will want to link to you!