Traffic is what you want. You want traffic!! Without traffic, your blog might as well die a quiet death. Unless you are creating it for your family and for posterity of course.
How do I get traffic is the plaintiff cry from the new blogger. Well, it comes from four main sources.
When you go into Google Analytics and have a look around, you will probably be a little lost but take it one bite at a time. Let’s look first at your traffic sources and leave the rest for another time.
How to find search traffic in Google Analytics
Go to www.google.com/analytics, click Access Google Analytics in the top right hand corner. If you are already logged into Google, you will go directly to your Google Analytics page. If not, sign in using the email you registered with and your Google password. If you only have one site, it will be sitting there in front of you. If you have more than one site, they will all be there on the page. Find the one you want and click on that site. Then click on Reporting at the top of the page if it doesn’t come up immediately. Down the left hand side are all the different reports. For traffic, go down to Acquisition. Click on it and then on Overview.
This shows you the four main types of traffic:
What are these different forms of traffic?
This depends on your expertise with SEO – that mystery that brings everyone to their knees when they first start blogging. You hear it bandied about with confidence and you cringe at your ignorance. You seem to be the only one who has no idea what those three letters stand for. Well, I am here to tell you it means Search Engine Optimization. Still none the wiser, well read more about it here, here and here. In a few words, it is the traffic which arrives at your site because readers have Googled something and your site popped up on the screen in the search results. They click on your site to have a nosey around to see if you have the answer to their query. If you don’t, they are out of there before you can blink and they are onto the next search result. That traffic is counted and becomes your Organic Search traffic. That is why you want to make sure your posts are lightly peppered with keywords or phrases that someone might Google for. You also want to make sure your meta data is relevant to the needs of the Google searchers.
The referrals come from various different sources. Here are a few:
- Guest posting
Guest posting is great for a new blogger because it starts to get you mixing with the right people – other bloggers who have similar interests. Guest posting for those who are doing better than you in terms of traffic means that you will get a share of their traffic. Before you guest post, make sure there is at the very least a by-line with a link to your blog. You might be lucky and get an introduction from the blogger with a link to your site and maybe you could slip in a link back to your site in the actual post. The links are important – otherwise why would you do it? Guest posting on the sites of bloggers with less traffic than you is a waste of time unless you want to make friends. See how to get a bigger blogger to accept your guest post here. Those who click through from the guest post to learn more about you are referral traffic.
Make a list of your competition – the bigger the blogs, the better. Subscribe to these blogs and make it a religion to comment on every single post that comes to your inbox. Don’t write a vague, four-word comment and then leave. Write a thoughtful comment on the subject matter, perhaps with your own take on it. Many big bloggers do go through their comments and read them, so they will get to know your name and perhaps one day they will click through to your blog and find it so irresistible that they subscribe. But, even if they don’t read their comments and never visit you, the other commenters will read at least some of your comments and might be mesmerized by your wit, your wisdom or your depth of knowledge and click through and discover you. This is referral traffic.
- Link parties
Join with other bloggers to form a group which decides on a topic and you all write a post on it or on an aspect of the topic and each person links to all the other posts of the group members. So you will have links in several bloggers’ posts and their traffic will click through to your blog. That is referral traffic. For example – a group of food bloggers might decide to all make recipes of chocolate desserts. Each blogger posts their own recipe and then makes a list at the bottom of all the other participants with links. The bigger the group, the more exposure you get.
There are other ways to get referral traffic but that’s enough to start with.
No man is an island and no blog can exist in isolation. You will need to create a presence on at least Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. There are more social media platforms – read about them here – but for now start small and stick to the big four. Social traffic comes from these sites. The more you post to these places with links to your blog, the more chance you have for people to see your posts. But backing up a bit, you have to build your audience on these sites. So, initially, there won’t be a lot of this sort of traffic. But don’t be dismayed, start practising with your 10 or 20 followers and post several times a day on your subject. Some posts will have links to your site and some won’t but you will be trying to get those few people to be so fascinated by your posts that they will share them with their followers, and maybe some of them will go to your page and love what they see and become one of your followers too.
The direct traffic will happen once people fall in love with your blog and deliberately enter your URL to see what you have written. In the beginning, your mother might do this each day to see what her child is up to but no one else will unless they make a mistake. This will change a little bit at a time as your blog grows into itself and you start to become a recognized authority in your chosen field.
So keep an eye on those figures and graphs in Google Analytics to see how your traffic is growing and also how it is changing. That will help you to see where you should be focusing your attention.