No blog traffic. Pic by stefanos papachristou

No blog traffic? Here's how to fix it

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If you're creating great content on regular basis, but not driving traffic or engaging new customers then you need to understand what to change, before expending additional resources.

To paint the picture: there are millions of bloggers, social media marketers, content marketers, startups, entrepreneurs, affiliate marketers, you name it, all creating content. There simply aren't enough eyeballs to consume all this content, so most bloggers and businesses aren't succeeding.

The mistake most people make is believing that "Content is king" is the whole story. It's not! Creating great content is only one part (yes, it is important) of a successful blog or Internet marketing campaign. Think of it as a platform from which you can start generating business.

It's "what you do with great content that counts". So here are my top reasons for why most people don't drive decent traffic volumes from their content:

1. Persistent self promotion is a big no no

Stop talking about yourself. It's boring. Instead think of how great it would be to have other people talk about you. Sounds like a dream come true? It's easy to achieve - all you have to do is talk about other bloggers, businesses, products and services.

Check out the following post that talks about how to drive traffic and social followings using "altruistic" blogging:

By making sure that the people you talk about know your giving them great, free exposure you build up good will. Useful, if the people you are talking about just happen to be in a position to do the same for you.

Nurture connections based on mutually beneficial content and marketing. Sooner or later, you'll start finding traffic arriving at your website or blog because someone else has mentioned how great you are.

If you learn something from someone else. Put it in your content. Let the person know. You'll get far back-links and retweets than you get currently.

Solution: Plan your content ahead of time. Make sure that each article talks about an individual, product or services not related to you. Use that unsolicited exposure as "bait" to connect with new people.

2. Incentivize connections & relationships

Why should I follow you on twitter if all you are going to tweet about are your own products and services? I'm also trying to make a living.

Instead, use social media to find people who are in a position to help you. Work out how to help them. Then help them. It could be by blogging about them. Commenting on their articles. Recommending their books or products. Whatever.

Unsolicited exposure gives influential people an incentive to connect with you. The next time they release a copy of their new book, they might offer you the chance to give one away free, in a competition. Sure it promotes their book, but it's also likely that they will promote your blog post to their own readership too.

Some of my most popular blog posts discuss other people. The following article became popular because of the exposure I gave to a number of people:

The exposure I received from these articles was far more valuable than if I had simply created self-focused content.

Solution: Create content that gives targeted individuals or companies a reason to connect with you and promote your content. Don't be stingy with back-links.

3. Get rid of unrealistic expectations

Don't expect things to click overnight. When success comes, it often comes quickly. Some sort of threshold is crossed and someone you never heard of seems to be everywhere overnight.

While this might happen immediately in a negligible number of cases, what's more likely is that the blogger or marketer in question has been working for years. That's just the way it is.

Your content could be fantastic. No-one cares. Or rather, no one cares until someone else says it's fantastic. Until you have built up sufficient trust and credibility, no one is going to say that about you either. Why should they? What have you done for them?

Solution: Set smaller attainable short and medium term goals. Remember, everything you do is cumulative, so traffic and connections will trickle in at first, but flood in later.

4. Create "remarkable" content

It's difficult to come up with something entirely new for every blog post. But make the effort to approach the problem differently. I find that giving content something of a "human" interest feel works remarkably well.

It's the difference between looking at photos of scenery, and looking at photos of scenery with your friends in it. It's far more interesting to read things about people you know. Even if the subject matter is all about business - reference other people.

Don't simply add to the general background noise of content being poured onto the Web. If you want to succeed, find the angles that no-one else has.

5. Actively look for exposure

Are you an active guest blogger? Do you create content for several sites? Is your blog feed aggregated by other sites? If you answered no to any of these questions then there is more you can do to gain a wider field of exposure.

How much time do spend promoting content you have created? Do you tweet about new content more than once? How many social networks do you use?

Here's a great mantra for building a successful blog or marketing campaign - "Exposure. Exposure. Exposure." Do everything you can to get eyeballs onto your content. The more people who see it, the more likely that a few of them will follow and connect with you, or even convert into paying customers, etc.

Content is the message. It still needs to be shouted out!

Solution: Find top blogs or news sites in your niche, and put some effort into getting content onto them. Sometimes its simply a case of adding your blog feed, other times you need to work for it.

6. Be willing to learn

It's just impossible to sit down and start writing content that is going to make an impact, rock search engine's and appear at the top of SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), be remarkable, be innovative or industry changing, and so on.

It takes time to find your voice. Settle into a niche. Learn the industry. Learn who the players are. Become familiar with trends. New developments. And on, and on.

You need to read what other leaders are saying. I regularly look at new content from tonnes of great business people, marketers and bloggers like:

Solution: If you read something that it useful, follow that person and start evangelizing what they do. Make sure they know about it. More often than not, people who are successful are smart enough to recognize your value and connect with you - sooner or later.

7. Leverage great products and services

Often, using the right service at the right time can make all the difference when it comes to making a breakthrough. A press release that gets seen by the right person. A new website design that starts attracting customers. An improved eCommerce store that decreases cart abandonment.

There are a host of fantastic services available that can generate returns far in excess of the cash outlay required. Check out The top 10 online marketing tools for more.

Solution: Partner with businesses, and utilize products and services that can help you meet your business objectives in a cost effective and efficient manner.

Video blogging (adding clips to a blog) can help to drive traffic, lower bounce rate, increase engagement and conversions, and generally improve SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Internet marketing.

Video blogging also provides plenty of "different" marketing opportunities that written content can't - because it is a rich medium for communication.

Bloggers who rely on written content only may find their rankings in search engines suffering as Google continues to include more and more video results (especially from YouTube) in its organic search results.

Start blogging

Blogging works! It doesn't matter if you are a college student thinking about making extra pocket money, or a entrepreneur looking to promote your brand.

It also doesn't matter what topic you decide to write about, provided it is a relevant to your niche and something you are passionate about and interested in.

Starting a blog is exciting, but it is also a medium to long term commitment (if you want to derive any real benefit from it), but if you have the drive to succeed there's no better time to start.

Choosing the most profitable topics that target valuable keywords to drive lots of juicy organic search traffic is quite hard - especially when you factor in

Reach out to influencers to grow your blog. Pic by uncoolbob

If you're blogging regularly, using SEO, sharing content socially, sending out newsletters, marketing, and doing everything right without success, then I've

Sales funnels for bloggers. Pic by Adrian Hon

Are you trying to come up with a way to maximize conversions and sales from your blog? A proper sales funnel can help, big time.

Almost all businesses that have researched Internet marketing strategies are aware that high quality, engaging and relevant content is one of the best ways to drive valuable organic Web traffic.

The problem is that many people don't have the time or patience to build up a good base of content via blogging.

So what's the alternative?

Learn how to write a blog. Pic by icatus

Learning how to blog is an important business skill that can increase page rankings in Google and bring plenty of traffic to your website.

Proof that business blogging works. Pic by nicoleec

The vast majority (in the region of 95%) of all sites and blogs ever created fail to make any money at all - let alone a profit.

Genuine bloggers and businesses use high quality articles to build high page rankings in Google and generate plenty of valuable organic search traffic.

The problem is that the better the content, the more likely it is that others will duplicate, copy, or spin those articles and publish them on their own sites (without permission or attribution).

Most of the time this is not an issue because low quality, article spinning sites generally tend not to rank well in Google search results.

Blogging traffic tips. Pic by duncan c

A lot of popular blogging techniques have died out as Google's search algorithms (and the rise of social media) have changed the content landscape of the Internet.

For startups and small businesses utilizing blogging as part of their content marketing strategy, keeping tabs on industry best practices can be a bit like trying to herd cats.

As a result, unfortunately, many people find themselves swimming upstream as their content fails to capture high rankings in search results, generates little to no buzz, and generally offers little to no return on investment (ROI).

Convincing bloggers to promote your company

Blogger outreach and PR is difficult - I've read a lot of How to articles and guides that say stuff like "Get bloggers to review your site or product", or, "Get as many backlinks from other bloggers as possible".

So everyone knows what to do, but no-one's talking about how to do it. In fact, gathering backlinks is often time consuming, ineffective and infuriating.

Hands up anyone who has spent several hours emailing other bloggers asking them to take a second to look over your new [blog/site/product/service/article/video] and gotten almost no response. It happens all the time.

A breakdown of organic search traffic costs

Google recently ruined our startup launch with a 'false positive' phishing warning that coincided perfectly with our launch announcement to 4500 existing customers.

The article I wrote about that hugely damaging mistake attracted the attention of John Mueller, who responded sympathetically and said he would 'let the team know' about the problem.

Good to his word, I noted a few hits from Mountain view, California on the affected site and at the article, and a few hours later the erroneous phishing message was removed.