Setting Up For Success
The first thing you should do is make sure your blog is properly configured in order to foster visitor engagement, motivate people into taking action and subsequently, build an active subscriber base.
Specifically, we’re focusing on building your email list and social media following, so we’re going to make sure your blog is set up to give you the best chance at achieving those two things.
The main things you need to pay close attention to are:
- Making it easy for your blog visitors to find your social media profiles.
- Making it easy for your blog visitors to sign up for your email list.
Remember that once a visitor reads whatever article brought them to your blog, they will likely never come back unless you keep reminding them that you have content that is useful and informative.
The only way to do that is to connect with them outside your blog, and the two best ways to do that are with social media and email marketing.
So let’s talk about how to set your blog up to get more social media followers and email list subscribers.
Social Media Followers
Social media is a very important component of every online business. Nearly everyone is on at least one social network where they log on and use them regularly.
Therefore, it’s more important than ever to build a presence on the most popular social networks, especially the ones where your demographic tends to gather.
I can pretty much guarantee you that if you aren’t on social media, most of your competitors are, and that gives them a significant advantage over you.
Not only will social media help you to connect with your target audience, but it will help you build an authoritative presence in your niche quickly and easily.
You probably already have a plugin on your blog that enables social sharing, but that only goes so far.
Your blog needs its own profiles on various social media sites, and you also need to make those profiles highly visible on your blog.
Be sure to place links to your major profiles in your sidebar, top menu bar, and anywhere else you think people might notice.
In the next section, we’ll talk about a plugin you can use to draw attention to things like your opt-in form, special offers, social media, and more.
You can use this plugin to remind people to follow you on social media in order to increase your count quickly.
Email List Subscribers
Building an email list is more critical than ever, as blog traffic is at an all-time low.
More and more people are spending their time on social media and video sites like YouTube, and less time on blogs. Plus, it’s getting harder to get SEO traffic, too.
So building your email list is vital in order to build a source of traffic that won’t disappear with the whims of netziens.
Building your list consists initially of three main steps:
- Create a lead magnet.
- Create a squeeze page.
- Promote the squeeze page.
A lead magnet is something you give away in order to encourage people to sign up to your email list.
This could be a report or other free download, a free course, a physical item they must only pay for shipping on, or something else of value.
But it must be something your demographic is very interested in.
The fact is, most people don’t return to a blog on their own after the first visit, and that’s often because they’ve already read the one piece of content that brought them there.
Perhaps they Googled a problem they were having, or noticed a link to your content on social media and thought it was interesting.
But once they’ve read it, then what?
That’s why it’s so important to capture their email address, or persuade them to follow you on social media.
Once you do this, you have the potential to contact that person whenever necessary, such as when you have new content available on your blog, or you’re running a special offer or promotion.
One effective way to build your mailing list is by offering short reports that focus on a specific topic.
Think about your demographic and what type of problem they might have that you could help them solve with a free report.
Then write up a guide that explains how to do it and use that as your lead magnet.
If you want to grab a lot of attention to your opt-in form, I recommend the WordPress plugin Big Welcome:
The Big Welcome plugin will let you create full-size welcome/splash screens where you can put your opt-in form, or a big advertisement that leads to your squeeze page, or even a message asking people to opt-in or follow you on social media.
There’s also tons of other applications, such as announcements, coupon codes, special promotions and offers, etc. It’s a very useful plugin for so many purposes.
If you don’t want to create your own lead magnets, and you are in a marketing-related niche, I recommend joining Automated List Profits:
Automated List Profits releases two new lead magnet packages, including report, squeeze page, graphics, and more, every month, and it will let you build your list without spending time writing content and building squeeze pages. It’s all been done for you.
You can even paste the copy from the squeeze pages into pages on your WordPress site if you prefer. It will definitely save you a lot of time!
Content That Converts
Regardless of your niche, you’ll want to write content that solves a problem and helps your reader achieve their goals.
When creating content for your blog, you want to focus on 2 things:
Every post on your website should do one or both of these things.
If you are writing how-to style posts that provides readers with a step-by-step process to completing a task, or accomplishing a goal, you are educating.
If you write a blog post that offers insight such as a personal story of success, case studies, or motivational-style posts, you’re empowering your audience.
Content that either educates or empowers is the easiest way to create posts that become sticky.
This means that you’ll be able to encourage visitors to return to your website again in the future as well as to subscribe to your feed or newsletter.
It’s also one of the easiest ways to create share-worthy content and to position yourself as an authority in your market.
Another thing to consider when writing content for your blog is to focus on evergreen content.
That way the content you post today should still be relevant months from now because it doesn’t become outdated quickly.
This will cut down on the time you spend rewriting or revising content and prevent you from having to remove content that no longer provides value.
Start by jotting down links to the top 10 authority blogs in your niche market, and then spend a bit of time evaluating the type of content they are offering, especially posts that have a high level of engagement.
Look for things like:
- Commonly asked questions posted by your target audience.
- Posts with a high number of comments or likes.
- Posts with the highest number of social shares.
High quality, informative and unique content is the key to your blog’s success.
It’s what forms the foundation for your entire business, but it also is the driving force behind turning that traffic into subscribers.
Focus on building high quality content pages on your blog before you do anything else.
You should aim to have 4-5 pillar posts before you start to drive traffic to your site.
That will give your visitor’s enough reason to return to your site and to leave a positive impression in the mind of your target audience.
When it comes to the length of your content, search engines prefer longer blog posts that provide informative, original content, so try to write posts that are between 1000-1500 words in length.
Think this is difficult to do?
It’s really not.
Start out by creating an outline for every post and then add in images, bullet points and sub-headers that break up the content into digestible sections and keep readers glued to the page.
Whenever possible, try to write how-to or step-by-step style posts.
Not only are they easier to write, but they’ll provide actionable information that your readers will love.
Don’t be afraid to link to other bloggers!
Not only is this a great way to provide additional value by guiding your readers to other resources that may help them, but it’ll make it easier for you get on the radar of authority bloggers in your niche market.
The goal is to impress your readers so much that they return to your site again and again because they know you provide value, and are a reliable source of information.
Choosing a Primary Traffic Source
It’s now time to figure out which traffic source you want to focus on as your primary traffic source.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you have to ignore other avenues, just that you’re going to spend the majority of your traffic focusing on your primary source.
The main reason for focusing on a single traffic source is so you don’t spread yourself too thin.
When you put a small amount of effort into a lot of sources, you won’t get much traffic from any of them.
But when you focus most of your efforts on a single source, you have the potential dramatically increase the traffic you receive from that source, and you can still get traffic from other places, too.
Some of the traffic sources you might consider include:
You should ideally focus your efforts on whichever traffic source is currently sending you the most traffic.
If you’re not already getting much traffic, then it makes sense to research these different sources to find out which one seems to have the highest density of your demographic.
If your market is people who like to cook, try Pinterest or YouTube.
If your audience is mostly young, fashion-forward women, Snapchat or Instagram might be good choices.
Facebook is a good all-around traffic source with nearly every demographic represented.
Do some research and try to find out where your market tends to hang out, and focus on the most likely choice.
You can always switch gears later, but try to commit to putting your best effort into your first chosen source for at least a month, because it can sometimes take a little while to get going.
Here’s another way to generate targeted traffic to your blog quickly and easily:
What you’re looking for are blogs that allow clickable signatures.
You’re not going to spam the blogs, but you are going to write comments that provide value and are relevant to each post.
For example, if your blog is based around “Low Carb Recipes”, you could visit the top 10 LCHF (low carb high fat) blogs, scan through existing posts and leave comments on posts that have received a high level of engagement.
Your post could include additional information, resources or even links to a low carb recipe that you personally love!
Not only will this generate quick, highly-targeted traffic to your own blog, but it will help you build relationships with other bloggers in your niche while connecting with their target audience.
It also helps you keep a pulse on your market so you can easily come up with new content ideas for your own blog.
And it’s always a smart move to position yourself in the line of sight of an authority niche blogger who identifies you as someone who provides equally informative content!
Here’s how to do it:
Begin by uncovering the top 10-20 blogs in your niche market, scan the comments, and make sure you’re allowed to leave clickable signatures (if you see others doing it, it’s safe to assume you can too). Then, start posting!
Just make sure that your comment provides value. Don’t spam blogs! Answer the most commonly asked questions, and offer the most value possible.
Look for missing tips or resources in the scope of the blog post.
Then, add to the conversation with additional information that will provide value and help the reader get more out of the content.
Tip: Try to post your comment as quickly as possible.
The sooner your comments appear under a blog post, the more exposure it’ll receive since it’s not buried deep within other comments.
Secondary Traffic Sources
Once you’ve chosen a primary traffic source, it’s time to choose a couple of secondary sources that’ll support your platform and drive more traffic to your blog.
Your secondary choices will probably be chosen from the list in the primary traffic sources section, but you may find some additional sources that are specific to your niche.
If so, you should move those to the top of your secondary list, or even make them your primary sources if they send a lot of targeted traffic your way.
Examples of niche-specific traffic sources would be niche Facebook groups, forums, niche-specific social networks, and online or offline clubs or groups.
Another great strategy for generating premium traffic to your blog is by taking advantage of guest-blogging opportunities.
Guest blogging is one of the easiest ways to generate steady traffic to your blog, absolutely free. The only cost is your time.
Better yet, guest-blogging on established websites puts you in an authoritative position by simply being connected to a reputable blog in your niche market.
So, how do you find guest blogging opportunities? Turn to Google!
Start by using search terms like:
keyword “submit a guest post”
keyword “guest blogging”
keyword “accepting guest posts”
keyword “guest post by”.
You’ll be able to find many different opportunities to guest-blog just be using search strings, such as the ones above.
You can also find guest posting opportunities by analyzing the backlinks from competing blogs to see where they have guest posted.
Another easy way to find guest blogging opportunities is by using the service at: http://myblogguest.com/
Tip: If you want to gauge the overall traffic potential of a specific blog, run the website through www.SimilarWeb.com and you’ll be able to generate a snapshot of a blog’s traffic.
And finally, yet another high-powered traffic strategy involves positioning yourself as an expert in your market by participating in user-generated content sites including:
Search for questions or posts in your niche market and then respond by providing value, along with a link to your blog.
Encouraging Email Opt-Ins
We’ve already discussed the idea of using a short report as a lead magnet to encourage people to join your email list, but there are other things you can do to push them to sign up as well.
Let’s take a look at a few different ways you can encourage more people to sign up to your email list, other than using a report or other type of content.
Coupons & Special Offers
One great way to get people to join your list is to offer coupons, discounts, and other special promotions.
This can include special offers for your own products, or products owned by other people, if you can get them to give you a discount code for your followers.
It’s generally most effective if you use it with your own products if you have something to promote, because you’ll be able to get signups AND sales.
However, it can also work great if you offer discounts on popular brands within your niche.
Low Front End Offer + Upsells
Offer potential customers with a massive upfront discount on your primary product, and then make up for it through a series of higher priced offers as they work their way through your sales funnel.
A low cost, front-end offer is the easiest way to engage visitors and transform them into customers because you’re giving them an opportunity to test out your product and get to know your brand without risk.
Another effective way to get people to opt in to your mailing list is by offering your posts and downloadable PDFs that people can read offline.
This is especially powerful if you use a plugin like Post Gopher to automate the process.
Post Gopher will turn all of your blog posts into PDF files, and will allow visitors to download those files after opting in to your list. This process is completely automated after the initial setup.
It will integrate seamlessly with your autoresponder, create the PDF files, and send them out to subscribers without you having to lift a finger!
Physical products can be a great way to get people to join your email list.
For example, a DIY and crafting blog might give away bracelet making kit for the cost of shipping.
A survival website could give away a paracord bracelet for the cost of shipping.
It’s important to find an item that:
- Won’t cost you a lot upfront.
- Will interest most people who have an interest in your niche.
- Isn’t too heavy to ship cheaply.
It’s important to let people know that the item is FREE, but that they must pay for shipping and handling.
This pays for the cost of the item, plus shipping, and may allow you to make a very small profit to pay you for the time it takes to ship the item.
If possible, you might want to consider getting an item custom made for you so you can have your blog name printed on it.
This will help people remember you later, because they’ll be reminded of your blog every time they use the item.
You can find very inexpensive items, often sold in bulk, on sites like AliExpress:
These items ship from China most of the time, so it can take a month or longer to arrive.
For this reason, you may want to buy a lot of the item ahead of time so your subscribers don’t have to wait that long.
However, you could also choose to drop ship the items to your subscribers.
This will mean you don’t have to pay anything upfront for the items, and you simply place the order after they’ve paid for the shipping and have the company send it directly to your subscriber.
Contests & Giveaways
Contests and giveaways are one of the most powerful list-building methods, and smart marketers have been using them for a long time to get more people to opt in to their lists.
Everyone loves free stuff, but not everyone is willing to shell out money, even a few bucks for shipping, for a small, simple item.
However, a lot of people will give their email address away for a shot at winning a larger prize.
Ideally, your giveaway item should be something that would appeal to nearly everyone within your demographic.
For example, a recipe blog might give away a stand mixer, or a set of cookware, or a hot new cookbook.
A camping blog might give away a tent, sleeping bag, or campsite cooking set.
If you’re in a niche market that is a little more broad, you could give away gift cards.
That way you don’t have to worry about shipping costs. Just purchase a virtual gift card on Amazon or another online retailer and email the code to the winners.
Offer a Reward System
Rewards and incentives such as giveaways, coupons, and bonus products add extra value to a customer’s purchase which will positively impact visitor engagement.
One easy way to set up a reward-style program is with www.PerkZilla.com
PerkZilla is a smart way of grabbing attention, engaging visitors and boosting clicks and sales just by rewarding customers who take action.
I’ve used Perkzilla to build viral social sharing campaigns, generate buzz around upcoming product launches and send tons of targeted traffic to landing pages and blogs.
It’s hands down one of the easiest ways to funnel quality subscribers and traffic to any type of website while boosting visitor engagement because you’re simply rewarding visitors for spending time on your site.
Implement Push Notifications
Push notifications direct visitors back to your blog, all on complete autopilot!
With push notifications, you’re able to notify subscribers that you’ve added fresh content to your website as soon as it goes live.
There are many different push notification systems available online, however I use the service of www.OneSignal.com because not only is it free, but it provides real-time tracking.
That means you’ll be able to easily monitor all of your traffic and visitor response rates.
If you really want to see the best possible results from your campaigns, it’s important to test and tweak various components in order to see what works and what doesn’t.
This includes everything from your blog layout, template and navigational system right down to the graphics and placement of advertising or offers.
While it’s possible to test different elements manually, I highly recommend using software that minimizes the learning curve and simplifies the entire process.
Not only will this save you a ton of time and frustration, but it will give you far more accurate results than trying to do it manually, especially if you don’t have a lot of traffic yet.
One powerful resource that comes highly recommended is Split Test Monkey:
Split Test Monkey makes it incredibly easy to test many different versions of your pages at once, tracking and monitoring everything so that you’re able to determine the highest-converting option.
With Split Test Monkey, you can:
- Improve conversions on your squeeze page and opt-in forms.
- Improve conversions on sales pages.
- Get more people to follow you on social media.
- Improve engagement by getting more people to comment and share.
- Improve search engine traffic by reducing bounce rate.
- Much more!
If you’ve been struggling to get results, either in traffic, email signups, social media followers, or sales, testing different elements and improving them will help you identify potential problems so that you can correct them immediately.
In this guide, you’ve learned about a few powerful strategies that can help you boost traffic, convert visitors into subscribers and help you better connect with your target audience.
Your next step is to set up a lead magnet system that will convert visitors into subscribers, giving you the opportunity to connect with your audience and invite them to return to your blog.
Next, focus on your primary traffic source so that you’re able to boost subscriber rates quickly and easily.
And finally, develop a presence on social media that puts you in front of your audience and helps to position yourself as an authority in your market.
Don’t’ forget to check out some of the tools and resources included at the end of this guide.
They will help you minimize your workload so that you can spend your time creating quality content.
Best of luck with your blog!
For your convenience, here are links to many of the resources mentioned in this guide:
Big Welcome Plugin:
Automated List Profits:
Done-for-you lead magnet packages featuring high-quality content, autoresponders and more!
One of the easiest ways to keep visitors returning to your website, while letting them save the content they enjoy most.
Split Test Monkey:
The easiest way to split test variations of your pages and increase conversion rates!
PerkZilla is a smart way of grabbing attention, engaging visitors and boosting clicks and sales just by rewarding customers who take action.