The first key to growing your blog traffic is understanding what the world of traffic looks like today. Bloggers have been using the same techniques to grow their traffic for years now. Things like SEO, social media shares, guest posting, etc.
But, does it work? Yes and no. They can work, but it is VERY slow. And for some people it just doesn’t work because they have a hard time standing out in a sea of high quality content.
Thing is, blog traffic is actually a lot like rice. You need to understand this. So, in this episode…
- How blog traffic has evolved over the last several years
- How monetization has everything to do with your blog traffic
- Why stating your blog and growing traffic is similar to driving a manual transmission car
Hello! Welcome to another episode of Coffee Break Blogging!
Today, on our coffee break, we are going to start talking about Blog Traffic. This is Stage 4 of our overall 7 Stage Process and we talked about that in the last episode; on our Episode 86.
So today, we are going to talk about Traffic. But first, I want to give you an analogy. And we are going to talk about why blog traffic is a lot like rice.
Now, let me explain this. This is actually an analogy that I first heard from Ryan Deiss. I was over at Traffic and Conversion Summit in San Diego and this is something that I was thinking before that, but the way he had put it was just really, really simple and I really like the analogy. So that is what I am going to relate to you today.
Not The Way It Used To Be (Anymore)
Here’s the thing… When it comes to building traffic with our blogs, we tend to think about various what I called now “old school” ways of doing it. I call it old school because people have been talking about them forever. And I am in a bit of a kind of a position to know because I have been doing this a really long time and I have also been teaching other bloggers for going on six years now; almost seven. So a lot of the advice that people are giving now to build traffic; they were still talking about back then.
And we are talking about things like Guest Posting; things like going out and trying to get Back Links, Tweeting, Facebooking, going out in the social media groups and engaging with them and maybe Dropping a few Links to your blog. Some people go out and they comment on other blogs to get traffic. Some people go out and be everywhere by being on YouTube and putting out videos and maybe even doing Podcasting and it is not as if those things don’t work.
But some of them don’t work as well as they used to. For example, guest posting. Now, guest posting CAN work well. But you really got to nail that blog post and it needs to be in front of the perfect audience. In my case, I am in guest posting for a while and the reason why is because I found that the effectiveness of it wasn’t nearly what it used to be. I used to guest post on Problogger.net and if you have been to Problogger you know they got a lot of guest posting going on. The thing is, that site used to bring a fair amount of traffic. Now… It really doesn’t. You don’t get a lot of traffic or a lot of opt-ins or really any measureable important metric by guest posting on sites like that.
Now I am not saying that that is an across the board thing, it is just that guest posting is now not the novelty that it used to be. So, there’s a lot more people trying to do it and therefore a lot of sites have just shutdown from doing guest posting, they get really, really selective and it is just a more difficult thing than it used to be. You really got to nail it.
Now if you are doing things like posting a lot and trying to SEO your stuff, again, it still works but it is a long game; a very loooong game. And there are so many more people out there in the internet creating great content. A lot of the times they are creating content better than you are. And there are all competing for that space in the Google search results just like you are. So it is a long game, a fairly difficult game to SEO your way to the top and to do it totally organically.
And also we talked about social media. Social media and tweeting and facebooking and all these things in order to bring traffic to our sites is very much a long game. It still works. It is just that it is a long term effort and it can be very frustrating to get respectable traffic numbers on your blogs simply by doing those things.
So the theme here is that the old ways or let’s just say the long, age old ways of growing traffic to our blogs is not as if they don’t work. It is just they are very long winded. They take a very long time and it frustrates a lot of people.
It Just Takes A Box Of Rice (Now)
Now let’s move to “today” and how things work today. Keep in mind that all that other stuff that we just talked about still work, it just that it takes a really long time.
So what doesn’t take that long? Well, that is where we get in to the world of Paid Traffic to really be able to invest a little bit of money and reliably and predictably get the traffic that you paid for.
And that brings us back to the analogy of why blog traffic is like rice.
Here’s the thing: If you want a bowl of rice, good ol’ Uncle Ben’s… you are probably not going to go out and buy a plot of land and put seeds in the ground (I don’t actually really know how rice works, I just kind of come up with this off the top of my head)… So put seeds in the ground, grow that rice; I think they sit on that wet marshy stuff because I have seen people picking those rice on those fields… cultivate the rice, prepare the rice and then after that boil it and turn it in to a bowl of rice. Are you going to do that? I mean we are talking about a multi-month affair to get that bowl of rice? Or will you simply go down to the grocery store and buy a box of Uncle Ben’s, boil it in five minutes and you got yourself a bowl of rice? Chances are you are going to do the second one. You are going to go to the store.
Now, the old way; all the stuff that we talked about here is essentially would be like going and trying to grow your own rice. You’re cultivating your own field, you’re picking it, you’re doing the agricultural stuff, whatever is involved in growing rice; but it is a lot of work, whatever it is. And you are doing all that stuff. That is essentially the analogy of what most blog owners are doing with their blogs… Versus other people who simply go to the store and buy it in a nice pretty package.
So that is why blog traffic today is a lot like rice because you can simply go and buy it. You can go to the traffic store and buy it. And the traffic stores are known as Facebook, Google, Twitter, I think LinkedIn has got an ad program; I think Pinterest has one now. Any site out there that is selling traffic, you can go to the traffic store and simply buy that traffic.
Nothing Is Free, But…
Now here is the thing: How do you afford it? How are you going to do this without it just taking all of your money?
Well, that is where the monetization comes in. And that is why I really talk about monetization so much at the Blog Marketing Academy. It is not just because we want to make money with our blogs. It is also because it literally funds your own growth. You have to monetize first before you can really reliably grow your blog and grow your audience because it self-feeds. That revenue, you can circle it back around and fund your paid traffic.
Because if you are not doing that, then you are going to automatically react to the idea of paid traffic by thinking, “Well, that is expensive, I can’t afford it…” Whatever, I don’t blame you. If your blog is structurally set up to operate at a loss; and most blogs are, but you need to set this stuff up in such a way to where you can do paid traffic.
Now if you are just sitting on money and you can invest that money and set things up, then fine. That’s great. But many people out there are not in a situation where they are just okay with feeding money into Facebook. They are going to want to have some pretty decent idea that you are going to make it back, at the very least. You want to at least break even on that. And that is where the monetization; having an actual structure, an actual funnel set up to allow you to make back your advertising spending. Or actually make money in the process. This is how you can actually make money and grow your list and grow your audience and make money while you do it.
But let’s say even if you are just breaking even… here’s the thing, if you could spend one dollar and reliably bring in a certain number of people to your blog but you know that the metrics work out and you are going to make back that dollar, you can grow your blog all day long and do it very reliably if you know that you are not going to lose money doing it.
This is your solution to not having the growth of your traffic and your audience takes foreverrrr… And it probably will if you are not doing any paid traffic. All the old school ways we talked about at the beginning; they do work, but they are a long game. Don’t think of them as free because they are not free. You are investing a poop-load of time into it. Let’s just call it that. And your time is not free. If you think of your time as free, you have got to get over that one really quick because that is not a mindset for success; if you don’t value your own time.
So don’t think of those ways that you are not putting money into things as free. They are definitely not free. It is not free for you to write a killer guest blog post and send it to another blog. It takes you a lot of time to do that. It is not free for you to make a bunch of YouTube videos in the hopes that they are going to promote your blog. It takes a lot of time to do that. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it, by the way, but it just takes a lot of time and we have got to keep that in perspective.
Now if you are willing to pull money into it you can shortcut the entire thing. And I personally think that these days, the proper combination of traffic to your blog is a combination of paid traffic and “free” ways.
The free ways; I’ll call them the Organic ways, they do work. It is just it takes a little of time. I have used the analogy before of, if you ever driven a manual transmission; you know, a car with a clutch… And if you sit down, start the car, put it into 5th gear and try to start that car moving down the road, what is probably going to happen? You are going to stall. The car is just going to stall; the engine is going to die because there is just not enough torque there in order to get that car moving. You got to put that thing into first gear and then second and work your way up in order to not have the car stall out. It works the same way with our blogs. If you try to do fifth gear style activities right of the get-go and think that it is going to do everything, it can stall and your traffic will stall and your growth will stall. It will take a really, really long time.
Whereas paid traffic is kind of like that first and second and third gear. You can get that inertia, you can get things moving; it doesn’t take very long… Literally if you give money to Facebook for traffic, you are going to get the traffic. It is not like there’s a doubt. You are going to get what you pay for. It a matter of what happens to them when they get to your site, okay?
So if you build that inertia of, get a little bit of movement with that paid traffic; and then your free, organic stuff starts taking over and you build that inertia. And then eventually you get to a point where you don’t need to do paid traffic. Now if you are smart you probably still will and maintain that combination between the two; but you are going to have that inertia, you are going to have that traffic coming whether you pay for it or not. That is where you want to head; it is just that we have to get ourselves to that point first.
So that is why blog traffic is a lot like rice and how blog traffic really has evolved. We can’t play the same games that we were playing back in 2009 and act like they work today as they used to; they really don’t. Okay?
To this point, I want to invite you to our webinar; blogmonetizationwebinar.com because everything that we just talked about on this podcast has everything to do with what I am talking about in that webinar over at the blogmonetizationwebinar because as I said earlier, monetization is your key to being able to fund your paid traffic. The monetization is not just something that is like, “Eh, I got a nice blog going, how do I get money out of it?” No. Most people are still at a point where they are trying to grow, to begin with. And the monetization actually leads to that. It funds our ability to actually run paid traffic and that creates this circle, in a way, where it is going to grow. You are going to get that inertia with the blog. And that is exactly what we are going to be talking about; the structure that you need to set up so that you can actually do this. And that is at blogmonetizationwebinar.com.
I encourage you to grab your seats, it is totally free training and we are going to have a lot of fun and it is going to be a valuable hour of your time, I promise you that.
Alright, thank you very much for listening to this episode. In the next one we are going to be talking about free traffic versus paid and kind of compare some of the things between them. So that will be coming in Episode 88, it will be a little bit of a smack down between free traffic and paid…
And I will see you then! Talk to you soon! 😉