A fascinating tale of recovering sunken ship of treasures!
In the year 2007, an American company Odyssey Marine Exploration announced that it had uncovered gold worth an estimated $500 million. The treasure was found on the remains of the Spanish warship Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes which sank off Portugal in 1804. The 36-gun Spanish frigate sank off the coast in the Atlantic Ocean along with 595, 000 silver coins and other gold artifacts. The ship sank with 200 people aboard following a battle with four British navy ships. It took over 200 years for the treasure to be found and returned to Spain. The entire exploration by Odyssey Marine Exploration is thought to have taken years and cost millions of dollars (Source: history.com).
You must be wondering, what is the relationship between the missing ship in the story and your appetite for finding sure-shot ways to get traffic on your blogs or website. Please hold on, this is not a click bait.
The ship in the story is the URL of your blog or the website, and the internet is the ocean. The internet is so big that if you drop a link into it, even you won’t be able to find it; let alone, other users on the web.
The websites helping you with “How to get traffic?” might be using you as their traffic
Suppose, you bought a domain name, server space, created the website and published it with some amazing content. You got the analytics code embedded into your website and went to sleep with your heart filled with excitement for the next day. You woke up the next day and logged into your PC to check the views on your website. While your analytics page is updating your heart is pumping vigorously in anticipation that your website might have got a lot of attention on the internet. But as the analytics page loaded completely your heart sank.
Next, you send out your website URL to your friends and ask them for review and feedback. Few responded. Your website is still not catching the eyes of people. You decided to research the ways to get traffic on the web.
Let’s type this query in the browser: “How to get traffic to my blog?” On Google, you will be flooded with millions of search results in tens of milliseconds! Now take a look at all the titles of the search results. Then, choose to click the link which looks promising to you. The instance you click one of the links by just reading its title, you are honey trapped. There are thousands of people flocking to these ‘ 21 Tactics’, ‘Quick Tricks’, ‘Easy Steps’, ‘101 Ways’ and ‘Masterful Tips’ websites. Had their tips and tricks been working, there would not be 95% of the blogs with less than 1000 visitors a day.
The internet users have a low attention span and desire for in-depth analysis
Therefore, I would get to work without much ado and explain to you why the things were not working in your favor until now. As part of creating the ground for my arguments, I visited all the websites. At one extreme a website says that there are only two strategies to bring traffic in ‘hoards and numbers’ to the other telling that there are 101 ways to do it. Almost all websites spread out the content in a way that makes people click more and more links on their page. Most of them open with a pop-up asking to join newsletters.
Besides the above observations, I created a list of TODO items that were discussed in those websites. I noted down the top nine TODO items which are most common on the web nowadays. I am going to discuss them below – one by one. It will help you realize why these didn’t work for you yet.
[#1] Asking to find the niche for your blogs
One of the most common things that every website would discuss is the niche. They all discuss this in breadth and length, but none would tell you how to identify them. Here the website says Promote Your Blog on Top Forums in Your Niche. But, once you read them, they will tell you to join forums and actively participate in discussions, and end with saying “you’ll notice an increase in your traffic”.
In my opinion, whosoever thinks that there exists a niche is making a great mistake. There are already 1.9+ billion websites and 450+ million blogs on the web. Therefore, whatever topic/niche you decide to write on has already been written about by thousands of other bloggers. It is over two decades since the dot-com bubble started, and the entire niche has been occupied. Please accept this hard fact.
[#2] Upfront emphasis on the quality of the contents
Suggesting to write quality content which is also SEO optimized is actually a bad suggestion to starters. When the websites ask you to Deliver killer content and at the same time Make Your Blog’s Content SEO-Friendly, you end up achieving none. It is hard to write an article guided by both, the natural thoughts and SEO keywords. Carving out a beautiful content comes naturally and writing SEO optimized content comes with practice.
Some blogs suggest to Be Strategic About Your Content. And, by strategy they mean to look at the questions people are asking on Quora. But, do you think people looking for answers on Quora will come and read your blog unknowing that you have written a better response for his query somewhere on the web? The answer is No.
[#3] They don’t have a single answer regarding the size of the content
It is necessary to know the exact number of words for your blog. Note that the longer blog post has a downside that it can become hard to read and hold the reader concentration. Studies say long blog post (1000 words or more) rank better in Google due to the fact that it gets more clues to determine what text is about.
Regarding the size of the blog post, you will be confused by looking at these websites. Some of the websites would suggest you Write shorter posts while others will ask you to Publish longer contents. Who should you go with? These websites seem not helping you instead they are confusing you.
[#4] They don’t have a single answer regarding the frequency of the blog posts
It is true that the frequency of blog post does matter. But instead of these websites deciding this for you, let the type of your content decide it for you. Taking the clue from print media is a gem. See how newspapers are published daily, fashion magazines are published weekly and business magazines monthly. You just need to see what type of content you are providing to your reader and thus set the frequency of posts accordingly. The problem is solved.
[#5] They ask you to be consistent in blog posts at all cost
Websites don’t shy away from claiming that Consistency Matters but, won’t tell why should it matter in the first place with the fact that you have very few readers. Also, how does it matter if you missed a blog post on time when you have to ask your friends to read a blog every time you post it?
If you spend 80-90% of your time creating content, just to make 1 or 2 readers, it is illogical. This makes ZERO sense. The secret lies in your ability to promote the content you already have because if you’ve got something that was only seen by a few people, chances are there are at least 10,000 or 100,000 other people in the world that can benefit from what you wrote.
[#6] They don’t tell you that keywords are not important for google
Almost all websites tell you how relevant are the keywords. Some websites go as far as saying Don’t Fear the Keywords while others simply say Incorporate keywords. They say that keywords are at the heart of SEO.
In reality, Google has a different view. It says it looks for meaning, not for specific words. That means it scans through your website and tries to figure out what does your blog or website do. So if Google does not care for keywords then why should you? Search engine optimization is important but not at the cost of your content.
[#7] Encouraging and discouraging to comments on other’s blog
But after reading them, you would realize that they provide you with very vague information. They will put so many restrictions that if you break any of them, you will be proved a comment spammer. I believe that suggesting someone using a comment for increasing traffic to their blog would rarely convert them into real leads.
[#8] How promotion on social media could be a waste of time
Let me tell you what people are doing on social media to promote their blog. They publish an article and then share it on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media networks. As they find that nobody takes notice, they again tweet or share on Facebook. Nobody still cares. They then ask their friends and contacts to retweet their posts or share it on Facebook. They follow-up with their friends for some time and then give up ultimately. Sharing your content with your small (and inactive) social media accounts ISN’T PROMOTION. And doing it regularly is often a waste of time.
[#9] These websites won’t tell you about ‘Guest Blog Paradox‘
Almost all websites suggest writing guest blog posts. This is a paradox. Suppose you ask a website owner to allow you as a guest blogger. But the question is why would he let you post the similar (He won’t allow different content than what his website is known for) content on his website knowing the fact that you are naive. If you don’t find a website that allows you as a guest blogger then how would you get the traffic and become successful? If you are not successful, they won’t allow, and if you are successful, you don’t need it. Therefore, I call this Guest Blog Paradox.
The traditional methods to attract traffic on the web are simply flawed
Before we move forward, imbibe the fact that your blog post is one among 5+ million posts written daily (Source: worldometers.info). You are among the 440+ million bloggers on the web who are competing with each other (Source: mediakix.com).
Today, SEO marketing websites are making millions of dollars training thousands of people to become visible on the web. Following traditional methods to attract traffic for your blog in 2018 is simply flawed. You just cannot win this war. Driving traffic to a blog is like clearing stages of a computer game. There is no trick, technique, tactics or tips available to do this. The most important thing about winning the game is to achieve tiny goals one by one, stage by stage. There are mainly four stages for winning ‘thousands of visitors’ to your blog.
- Make sure you are at the right place with the right contents
- Make sure your blogs are visible to a lot of people on the web
- Make sure your blogs have the ingredients for call of an action
- Make sure your blogs are worth exploring and reading them
Make sure you are at the right place with the right contents
It is the first stage of any blog writing. This is the stage where most of the new blogger either fail or waste their most valuable time. Most of the website does not guide when to focus on what, they simply talk about the strategies in a monotonous way. So how can you make sure you are in the right place with the right content?
[#1] The First Step first.
Don’t trust your instinct. Everybody feels that his creation of writing, a painting or research work is incredible. They assume people will love it and go gaga over it. These are human instincts and come naturally but, don’t trust your instinct.
The best way to find out if your content stands out is to share them first with at least 20 of your friends. You can assume with certainty that 10 of them wouldn’t even bother to read them. So you have to wait for 10 of the responses. The catch is; don’t ask first, for their feedbacks. If 5 of them come to you and say it was awesome, means 50% of the people on the web would definitely like your blogs.
[#2] Do you need a blog?
What if no one turns up? Don’t lose heart. Not everything in this world is meant to be explained in words. Some are better represented in the form of dialogues, some in pictures and some in videos. Hence, here comes the bold decision.
Suppose you realized that you are not able to explain your thought or the idea in a blog form, check-out if you can explain them in videos. YouTube is a beautiful place. It is a place which is not as crowded as the World Wide Web.
Some blog or the article needs intensive and long duration reading. People on the web look for ‘ready to use solutions’, ‘step by step food recipe’ and ‘summarized tabulated data’. Think to convert your contents in the form of a book. Amazon Kindle is a right place to start.
Observe and see if you are better at answering questions and convincing people. Quora could be an excellent place for you. For some, Instagram or Pinterest may be the right place to start. Go and start over again.
[#3] Niche does not exist!
The existence of a niche is a myth. It’s generally recognized that the first blog was Links.net, created by Justin Hall, while he was a Swarthmore College student in 1994. There are millions of blogging website today, and millions of posts are done daily. It is idiotic to assume that there are still niche groups which one should target to get the views.
Therefore, once you realize that people do not appreciate your posts, you need NOT look for a niche. You should stop writing the blogs. Come back again after 15 days and read all your posts one by one line by line. Analyze them. Ask yourself if you would like to read them if someone else would have written it? If the answer is No, go back to step 1. If the answer is yes, time to do some SEO optimizations.
Make sure your blogs are visible to a lot of people on the web
Once you have decided that you need a blog for your content. It’s time to put up some more content and start the next phase. Until now, no one knows about your blog outside your friend’s circle. If people don’t know that there is a blog on a topic, how would they read it? Hence, the next step is to make your blog visible to the people on the web. It’s time to target ‘organic users’ now.
[#1] The Search Engine Optimization
The Sky is not falling. Search engine optimization (SEO) and keywords optimization implementation should not be hurried. Once you are convinced that you need to continue the writing then only is the right time to aim for organic users. As the saying goes, “No one and nothing is perfect, or we wouldn’t have uniqueness”. Therefore, don’t try optimizing your blogs yourself. I would recommend hiring some expert in the domain and getting the work done. There are now the finest of freelancers doing it for a few dollars on Fiverr and Upwork.
[#2] Attention towards Social media
When optimization is done, you would want to open new channels to your website. It is now the best time to dedicate some time on social media. Post your content daily on these social networks without expecting ‘huge traffic’ the next day. But, be careful to use the right hashtags for each of your posts. It might not add a jump in your web traffic but it will pull your loyal readers in the future.
Make sure your blogs have the ingredients for call of an action
SEO optimization will pull your website on front pages of search results. But, being accessible to a lot of people does not guarantee the ‘clicks’. It is important to make them click and see what’s inside. Please do not try to ‘honey trap’ all the viewers of your link. Note that; not all people have the same requirement or the interest. So your call to action should be for an appropriate user only. Don’t let the people feel cheated.
[#1] Graphical User Interface
A stunning first impression may not be the same thing as love at first sight. But surely it is an invitation to consider the matter. People don’t want to put their time on websites which are poorly laid -out and not appealing to the eye. Therefore, it becomes even more important to catch eyeballs rolling over the internet. You can find awesome themes for your WordPress blog on colorlib.com and for Blogger on btemplates.com.
[#2] Optimization for mobile
When there are 2.8 billion people active online on mobile phones, that means there are 70% chances that a person opens your blog is on a mobile phone. People will close your blog when it is not user-friendly for mobile. It does not matter how many contents you have or how great content you have. If your blog is not mobile friendly then you have lost the 70% of your war. You can check out akamai.com for your optimization needs.
[#3] Headline and Thumbnail
Image a situation. Your website has a nice GUI and loads promptly and a user is staring at one of your blog’s URL. He might have got to this URL, either on the search engine (The Search Engine Optimization) or a social network (Attention towards Social media). Do you want him to swipe up your link or want him to click right away? Obviously, you want him or her to click it right away.
The headlines and the thumbnail can make or break this deal. You need to be innovative with your thumbnails. It is important that the title and the thumbnails do not go against the content. Use the title and the thumbnails that let people associate it with them. It will let people feel that the post is something about them, something about their problems. The websites like convinceandconvert.com have very informative guidelines for using better headlines and thumbnails for any blog.
Make sure your blogs are worth exploring and reading them
This is the stage where your content really matters. There is no point dedicating 80-90% of your time in initial stages writing contents for the people whom you were asking personally to read them. Since everyone has got 24 hours a day, you need to know when and where to put the maximum effort. Once all the above stages are complete you need to focus on the below 4 items only.
[#1] Loading time of the page
People on the web have little patience. They want everything rolling under their finger in a blink of an eye. A person might click on a link (Thanks for clearing the three of the previous stages) to your blog but won’t wait for more than 1-2 seconds to finish loading. He might close the browser and start surfing something else. Even if you ask your friend to read your blog, he might open it in front of you but will not try to open when alone. You should better take help from Lazy Load for enabling loading your photos quickly and can use W3 Total Cache for delivering your content fast.
[#2] Blog content matters now
This is the time when you should dedicate most of your effort on contents. Let’s say, “Killer Content”. Earlier there were no people to read them, but they are there now. Once a sizeable amount of organic users start to visit your site, you have very less time to miss. Jump on immediately and start to post the most beautiful of your creations. People should see a value in your contents.
[#3] Consistencies in posts
Since the web is flooded with websites and blogs and each website and blog flashes pop-ups for joining as subscribers and registering for newsletters, it has now become irritating. Since you are aiming for new visitors of your website to read your next post, you should be predictable to them with your blog posts. Because consistency is the only mode of communication through which you can let your reader know when to expect a new post from you.
[#4] Breaking the ‘Guest Blog Paradox’
This is when it becomes the ‘ right time’ to ask for guest blogs. Other bloggers would now view your blog as a legitimate website. They would like to link your posts in their blogs. It is when you can move the focus to become resourceful. You can now add tables, infographics, and other kinds of similar stuff to be used by other bloggers.
Success happens when you do a lot of little things daily.
Your blog is your brainchild. And, there is one striking similarity between a person’s brainchild and his own child – both don’t start giving a return from the very first day. Nourish your content and your website each day. Listen to the feedback, especially the negative ones. Negative feedbacks give you an opportunity to improve things on your website.
It takes time for blogs to become famous. There is nothing like waking up the next morning with your website going viral. It rarely happens with people. It is purely accidental. In most cases, ‘views’ improve slowly. Moving from 1 view a day to 1000 views daily is exciting. But, it takes days and even months to reach there. Slowly but surely, it will become successful. There is an old Chinese proverb: “It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward“.