How to Get 500+ Visitors to Your First Blog Post

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More and more startups and online businesses these days are content marketing to start getting exposure for their brand. And that’s great!

But in order to content market effectively, you need lots of momentum. And in order to get that momentum, you have to start somewhere.

Here’s the chart that I use that will make it very easy for you to visualize the flow of what you need in order to grow your business through your content.

I won’t go too in depth here, as I’ll probably save explaining this deeply for another post. Many content marketers and bloggers get discouraged to the point of giving up, because they don’t understand that flow of this chart. It’s always going to be tough as you’re just starting out, but as you begin to understand this process and follow it’s rules, you’ll see that you experience the most friction in the beginning, and with every step things get easier for you and just start to flow.

Blog marketing engine

In the “First Wave of Content” You want to focus 70% on retention and 30% on shares. THAT’S IT.

Once you are achieving retention, that’s good! Keep it up! Keep refining your process and growing your audience. Try new things and see how they work.

But if you don’t have a working retention process in place, it’s like pouring water into a glass with a hole at the bottom. It’s not very beneficial to you, because you’re going to lose all of the water.

Content marketing without a retention plan is like pouring water into a glass with a hole at the bottom. It's not very beneficial for you. Click To Tweet

You don’t want to work hard to create content and get traffic to it, if you’re not going to keep any of those visitors on your email list so you can eventually turn them into customers. So please, for me, just make sure that you are retaining visitors from your blog posts to some degree. Ideally, you will know your conversion rate for your blog posts. I’ll show you how I’m doing all of this a little further along in this post.

As long as you’re doing that, let’s get into how you can start getting visitors to your blog posts!

It All Starts with Great Content

As the old internet saying goes, “content is king.”

Just like with most things in life, if you want to be extra successful at something, you have to do things that everyone else isn’t doing. You have to set yourself apart from the pack with your content.

If you want to be successful in marketing, you have to set yourself apart with your content Click To Tweet

I’m going to share a little secret with you

Creating content takes a LONG time. It’s definitely a huge time investment for any marketer. But you can use this little “problem” to your advantage.

Here’s how:

You spend even more time creating content.

Wait what?

You read that right. Spend more time create content.

Why?

Because everyone else is creating 500 word run of the mill articles that get lost in the noise. These “average” length articles have saturated any and every niche on the internet. This has created an environment where readers and well as influencers don’t even take the time to read or share these basic articles.

And Google has taken notice as well:

SerpIQ analyzed over 20,000 popular keywords and found that on average the top 10 results for all keywords had 2000+ words of content on the page. Here’s the chart:

top 20000 SEO keyword analysis

What kind of links do long posts get?

Moz did a study a while back, which still rings true today. It has nothing to do with Google’s search algorithms, but with how valuable content is and how users share it.

They analyzed their data of 500 posts based off of their word count, and found out how many links that content was generating. It turned out, that the amount of backlinks their content was getting, directly correlated with the length of the content (as long as there is still substance in the lengthy content.) Here are the charts.

Make sure your blog posts are in depth

longer blog posts can help you get more backlinks

What about the social web?

To add more another level of depth to this study, let’s take a study conducted by Neil Patel over at QuickSprout.

He analyzed the social shares of all of his posts and separated them into 2 categories:

Posts greater than 1500 words and posts less than 1500 words. The results were as you would expect.

The posts with less than 1500 words received an average of 174.6 tweets and 59.3 Facebook likes.

The posts with greater than 1500 words received an average of 293.5 tweets and 72.7 Facebook likes.

That’s a big increase.

You get the point!

The reason I really drive the point home about making great an in depth content, is because I believe that it played a huge role in what allowed me to get more than 500 visitors to my first post, using the channels that I used. Having a great article often will give you an excuse to post it in a place where a 500 word article might be rejected.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” -Abraham Lincoln

You’ll see in this experiment how creating in depth, and informative content made my job a lot easier when it came to distribution. When you have great content that your readers like, many of them will begin to share it. And some of them share it in places that can get you a decent amount of traffic.

There are plenty of distribution channels, but you need to create content that is worthy of getting featured on them.

Now let’s get into distribution!

Distribution

Content may be king, but distribution is queen and she wears the pants.

In this experiment, I wanted to show that I could get 500 visitors without 2 things that seem to intimidate a lot of new content marketers. Those things are having your own large email list, and having relationships with a lot of influencers. So while promoting this, I did not do any influencer outreach, and I did not announce it to my Udemy course (1400+ students.) I did share this with my now small email list, because I couldn’t help sharing some of the great content in that post. But either way, most of the visitors came from everything else I was doing.

Key Principal

No matter what niche market you are marketing to, if you want to distribute your content effectively, you need to find your communities, learn your communities, and work with your communities to make them a better place. This means that you will have to identify forums, newsletters, communities on Reddit etc. and become a good member of them. This is what will set you apart from any random spammer that writes an article in your niche.

Now without any further ado, here’s what my traffic looks like for the post:

distribute your blog posts for traffic

Now let’s break this down and see what I did to get traffic from each of these sources!

Direct

Ahh the ever elusive direct traffic source. Let’s get some insight into this.

I’m still small enough where I can have a sense of where some of my “direct” traffic is coming from, since I pretty much directly control every aspect of my distribution.

First off, Bit.ly. In all of the click to tweet and share buttons in my posts, the links are automatically shortened to be bit.ly links. These register as direct.

You’ll see further down the list that GrowthHackers.com is on the list. I’m certain that almost all traffic from GrowthHackers is registering as direct.

Other than that, it’s a pretty normal direct traffic number (which in simple terms means that Google Analytics wasn’t able to track where they came from.)

Best Blackhat Forum

When I first saw this traffic source, I was a little confused. I immediately thought “I don’t remember distributing my post there.”

I immediately went and checked my Referral links in Analytics and followed the link back to the post that I was getting traffic from. It was in the premium private forum on the site!

Someone had taken notice of the in depth content that I took the time to write, and posted there because they thought it would be useful for their community. If you remember from my post “How One Course Got me 1000+ sign ups with 1 hour of marketing” something very similar happened. It just goes to show that if you are creating great content, and distributing it in the proper places, things like this will happen to make your job a lot easier.

Product Hunt

At the time I was being fairly active on product hunt. I had set this post as my website URL for that time, and got 16 UV’s out of it. Not sure why there’s 89 page views resulting from that. Maybe they all just favorited it and came back 5 times?

Sometimes analytics do interesting things 🙂

Reddit

I have a post on StartupBros that details most of the intricacies of my Reddit marketing strategies. What I’ve been doing for this blog is submitting the post in 2 different ways.

Crash Course
Proper Reddiquette (etiquette for Reddit) prohibits you from submitting the same link twice, especially if it’s your own content. Certain subreddits allow links directly to posts, and others only allow text based posts on Reddit.

So what I do is I submit the link as a link directly to the post in one subreddit, and in a different subreddit I repurpose the text of the article, make it easily readable in Reddit, change the title and submit it as a text post with a link back to the original version.

The result was 45 highly targeted visitors. I’ll take it!

If you read my post on StartupBros you’ll see that posting on Reddit has a lot more potential as well. One post could results in hundreds or thousands of visitors, but I can always rely on it to refer at least 45 or so visitors every time.

The Fastlane Forum

This is another niche forum for me. I’ve been a member for a while, so I went and reformatted my post so it would look nice posted directly on the Forum. I just included the link to the original source near the top of the post, and walked through the rest of my post like normal.

You’ll notice that this is a common theme here, because just as long as the content is of high value, it works!

But if I were to do this with a more generic article, it may not go over as well.

Twitter

I wrote a guide on how to build your Twitter following from 0 to over 500 quality followers with 2 mins of work per day. This is where my whole twitter following came from, and you can see that it refers some pretty decent traffic.

The most exciting thing about this traffic source is that it’s totally scalable.

I had about 700 followers at the time that I was promoting this post and it resulted in 34 visitors. That’s almost 5% of my following clicking to read my article. That means that once I scale up to 7K followers there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to generate 340 visitors plus whenever I promote a good article.

But one tweet doesn’t generate that much traffic.

The secret to generating traffic on twitter is tweeting about what you’re promoting multiple times, using different wording each time. If you take a look at my Twitter feed, you’ll see how I do it.

But won’t that make you lose followers?

No! If you do the math based off of the impressions that each one of your tweets gets, you’ll find that each tweet is only viewed by a fraction of your followers. So tweeting about the same post more will give you a much better chance at actually reaching your true audience on twitter.

Warrior Forum

I did two things to promote my article here, the second probably being a little more audacious.

First, similar to how I posted my article in the Fastlane Forum, I posted the body of my article in the private forum on the Warrior forum. The reason I only posted it privately, is because I don’t want to hit every forum with the text of my article, because that’s starting to be a little spammy. I got good feedback there, and many of the people who read the post there followed the link back to my site.

The second thing I did was something that I’ve been wanting to test out for a while. If I wanted to generate more traffic using this, I could, but you’ll see why I put a cap on it.

What I did is search the forum for a relevant thread to my article, which in this case was “udemy.”

I then went to that thread, and gathered all of the users that had commented on that thread. I sent them each a private message saying that I saw that they commented on this similar thread, and invited them to check out the guide that I wrote.

Obviously this was time consuming, but my assumption was maybe these visitors would be more likely to convert to my newsletter since they got a personal touch.

The results were mixed. Some people replied and thanked me for sharing the helpful guide with them, and other just replied and complained that I was “bothering” them.

At the end of the day, they actually did not convert to the newsletter as well as I had expected them to, so I decided to stop for this post, since it was so time consuming. Maybe I’ll give it another shot in the future when I have a better funnel set up.

Organic

Since this site is still young, I consider any organic traffic a bonus. If you’ve every started a website before, you probably know how tough it can be to start getting Google to take notice of your site. The fact that there is at least a little bit of search engine traffic is a good sign.

Inbound.org

8 unique pageviews. Every little bit helps, and not all traffic sources are created equal. It has seemed that traffic from GrowthHackers as well as Inbound have referred traffic that converts better

LinkedIn

If you look at my report, you’ll see that I got 11 visitors from LinkedIn.com and 4 visitors from lnkd.in. This is all from LinkedIn so we’ll count it as 15.

What I did was post an update, but I also posted the link in 4 or 5 relevant groups on LinkedIn.

Hacker News

Since this site is relevant to my niche, and doesn’t have much of a moderation process, you can pretty much post any and everything as long as it’s relevant to startups/online business. Whenever I finish a post, I go and post it here.

Just like Reddit, if you post something great you have the potential to get thousands of visitors, but it’s usually at least good for 10 visitors. It’s not too much work at all, so definitely worth it.

GrowthHackers.com

I haven’t had much time to investigate this, but I’m certain that almost all traffic from Growth Hackers is registering as direct traffic. I’ve posted other things there as well and the traffic never seems to show up as a referral, but direct. I’m sure that this would have been further up the list, had it been registering as a referral. As I refine my process, I’ll definitely have to use some tracking links to confirm this.

Etc.

The rest of the traffic was from random traffic sources. All of the major traffic sources are covered above.

 

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4 Comments

  • This is very good information since I’ve been studying blog posts about freelancing and marketing and to have these specific recommendations after I’ve started a site
    is motivating. Thanks.

    • Travis Levell

      Hey Joe,

      Congrats on starting your site! If you start creating content catered towards your market and distributing it like I did above, you should definitely start to see some lots of exposure to your new services!

  • Thanks for this in depth and scary post. It’s great to have it described in such detail and scary because every time I realize how much more I still have to learn to become a successful freelancer.

    You brought me another step closer again, thanks!

    • Travis Levell

      Hey Mariken!

      I’m glad it’s helping out. It’s really not that bad! It may seem like a lot of info, but once you get a couple of posts up on your own blog and run through the process, you’ll start getting really good at this and you’ll be able to execute it better and faster every time!

      Just keep moving forward and your results will come.

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