As a beginner blogger, you know you need traffic to keep your blog afloat. Even if you wouldn’t have a blog yet, you should know traffic is extremely important at the beginning.
I would even say, it’s the most important thing your blog needs. You see, without traffic, there are no readers, without readers, there’s pretty much nothing happening in your blog.
So you need readers, and that is gained with traffic.
Here’s a fact: building traffic is not easy.
I just wanted to say that right at the beginning, so that you know. However, what is almost as important as getting the traffic is also knowing what traffic sources there are.
Some sources are better than others, and some are easier to get into than others. Some traffic sources need time, while others need money and promotion.
Before getting into traffic sources. You should know what is traffic, right?
Quick explanation on traffic and what it is
Traffic is basically people. One individual represents a user and that one user is part of a group called users. Users are the ones that visit your websites and act on your site.
If the user is doing something in your website, those are counted on sessions and pageviews.
User defined by Google Analytics (at the time of writing):
Users who have initiated at least one session.
Sessions defined by Google Analytics (at the time of writing):
A session is the period time a user is actively engaged with your website, app, etc. All usage data (Screen Views, Events, Ecommerce, etc.) is associated with a session.
Pageviews defined by Google Analytics (at the time of writing):
Pageviews is the total number of pages viewed. Repeated views of a single page are counted.
So as you can see, a user is just like you and me. And the things we do on some website is recorded as a session and/or as a pageview.
If you still don’t know what to think about these. Let me explain further.
The reason pageviews are so important is because that value relates to the amount interactions your users do in your website.
If your pageviews are low, it means there’s not much to see or look around. It could also mean your content is not good enough.
It probably means your content is not good enough.
And then there comes the bounce rate.
Bounce rate defined by Google Analytics (at the time of writing):
The percentage of single-page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page. A bounced session has a duration of 0 seconds. “A bounce is a single-page session on your site.”.
What this means is that if your bounce rate is high, it means people are bouncing off your site, rather than continuing to use your site.
You can think of bounce rate as picking up a book and only reading the first page but not reading the second page.
You see, you need to make your content such that it increases clicks to another article on your website.
I know this isn’t easy if you are just starting out. That’s why it’s usually recommended to publish your blog to the public after 12 posts or something.
So now you have good basic knowledge of traffic and what those few key metrics mean and why you should care about them.
Next, we will look at the traffic sources and what you should know about them. Why they mean a lot to your blog and how to benefit from them.
#1 Traffic source: Google for beginner bloggers
According to Statcounter, Google owns a whopping 92.2% market share of search engine business. Bing coming second with 2.4% and Yahoo at 2.0%.
So it’s pretty safe to say that Google is the most significant traffic sources out there.
Even if the values change a bit, the majority is still using Google to find answers to their problems and needs.
As a blogger, you need to be seen in Google. Otherwise, you may as well quit. Well, maybe not so. But you know, Google is the search engine people use, and your articles need to show up in search results.
Quick explanation why a blogger needs Google
Ok, so you have started a blog. Now you need the traffic we discussed earlier.
Traffic is generated by users visiting your site. So why are they visiting your site? Because they are looking for information on a topic, you have written about. Just like I’m writing this blog post to you.
I’m giving you the information you are seeking. Your job is to do the same. Your job as a blogger is to be found on the internet and search engine like Google can do that for you.
A search engine like Google, Bing, and Yahoo all enable users to search for information. Your blog is one source of information and if your blog article shows up in page number one on Google, Bing, or Yahoo. You are going to be good.
You need your article to be seen, and you do that by getting to page one in Google.
Page one is the first page on Google searches. The second page is a graveyard no one visits.
Just so you know.
How to rank on Google
So the obvious next question is how to rank on Google. How to get your article seen on page number one.
Google has a secret formula to rank pages, and the formula has around 200 different metrics that define the ranking process.
If you think that those metrics are publicly available, well, sorry to say but no. It’s not public information. It’s a well-kept secret. However, what we think we know about those metrics are the following:
- Write long-form content
- Have an up to date site
- Write high-quality content
- Write original content
- Post content consistently
- Place keywords that people search into your articles
- Use long tail keywords in your headlines
- …and many more
You can check a complete list here at Backlinko 200 Google Ranking factors.
As I said before, it’s a secret formula that is not given to the public for a reason. Reason being that it’s highly sophisticated and is the reason why Google is ahead of its competition.
You see, Google’s goal is to provide the best information available to the user.
I suggest you read the whole list on Backlinko and see if you are any smarter after reading it, or are you more lost than ever.
What I know is that too much information in one go, might not do good to you. So if I were you, I would save this page and come back to it every now and then. That way you won’t get overwhelmed and quit blogging altogether.
#2 Traffic source: Pinterest for bloggers
Pinterest is an exciting one. Pinterest hasn’t been around as long as Google but is growing at a very fast pace. Like, damn fast pace.
Looking from Statcounter again.
Social media market share is insane for Pinterest. Being 16.25%, Facebook leading with 66.3%. We all know Facebook is the biggest social media platform today but Pinterest having 16% is quite something. We are talking in market shares now, not the number of users which would put Instagram between Facebook and Pinterest according to Social Media Today.
But why should bloggers care about Pinterest so much? Well, the thing is Pinterest is not a social media platform in the way you think it is.
Pinterest is a search engine like Google and Bing for example.
If you go to Pinterest and type in keywords (search terms) or the thing you are searching for.
Pinterest will bring up pins to your screen, and those pins act as a doorway to your site. That pin you are seeing is a link to a website. More than often that pin or picture you see has those words that you were looking for. Or the pin might show you an image of the search you just made.
So how does Pinterest work for bloggers
As with Google SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Pinterest is also a platform for organic search traffic. Organic meaning that you don’t have to pay for the traffic you get to your site.
That’s is where those pins come to play. You use Pinterest by creating pins to your boards. Boards being the area of your interest.
Super quick crash course on Pinterest
Pinterest is filled with pins. Pins for bloggers are articles. The same type of articles you see in Google search results.
However, in Pinterest those are pins. You create pins and place them to your boards.
Boards are a collection of certain pins/articles that you like, think are good for you or that provide the information you need, or the other person might need.
Why is Pinterest so important when you have Google?
Pinterest is easier. It’s also a different kind of traffic. You get traffic much easier through Pinterest than you do through Google.
If you think you publish an article and it’s instantly on page one on Google. Well, it most likely won’t be.
However, on Pinterest, it’s a different game.
There’s a thing called Pinterest Smart Feed, and that is the algorithm that Pinterest uses to rank your pins against other pinners.
It’s the same as in Google, you are competing for the smart feed place as you are competing in Google for the #1 page rank.
Pinterest smart feed
Smart feed a.k.a your Home Feed is the first page you see new pins for yourself.
Pinterest shows you content that you care about. Just like Google. Google knows what you like and gives you results based on your likings and searches. Same with Pinterest. So if you have pinned a lot of blogging tips and tricks. Pinterest will be showing you more of those.
Pinterest wants you to come back and spend time with the site.
The Pinterest ranking system (smart feed algorithm) is yet again secret but what we know is that Pinterest ranks pins based on best first, rather than newest first.
Your home feed is filled with pins that are repinned pins, related pins, and pins that are part of your interests.
What we know about the algorithm is that it cares about at least these four things:
- Pinner Quality
- Pin Quality
- Domain Quality
You can read more about ranking factors in Pinterest at Persuasion Nation.
Pinterest users and the market for bloggers
According to Omnicore, Pinterest is filled with buyers. You see, the reason why Pinterest is so huge for bloggers is that the purchasing power and the monetization power inside the platform are insane.
According to the source, 10% of Pinterest users earn around 125K/year. If you think about that, you start to see that there’s money there.
10% from 250 million people is 25 million high earning individuals. 25 million, think about it.
It is also stated that 87% bought because of Pinterest, while 72% of Pinners have decided to purchase a product because of Pinterest.
72% from 250 million users is 180 million people. That is a lot.
So I guess you start to see why Pinterest is a platform that you should have part of your traffic strategy.
If you like to know more about Pinterest, Pinterest has a nice about page for that information.
#3 Traffic source: Facebook for bloggers
You and I are both on Facebook and if you are not yet on Facebook. I wonder, not because it’s such an awesome place to be in (not that awesome) but because Facebook is so known. Like, basically everyone knows Facebook, even if they wouldn’t use it. That’s how large the social media platform is.
These numbers mean that roughly 25% of us is on Facebook. Insane to be honest. You and me. We both are on Facebook, and I say it as we are, as the likely hood is so huge for that to be a fact.
However, Facebook is a different beast and a very difficult one to use for bloggers as a traffic source.
So why did I list it as an important traffic source, if and when bloggers can’t really use it?
Well, the thing is that you can use it, but you need more than likely money to use it to your advantage. You see, Facebook even though is getting more expensive year by year, is still a very affordable way to get paid traffic to your site.
Paid traffic is no means a bad thing to have. Paid traffic is something you need when you are expanding your income streams. Why do you think there are so many advertisers out there? It’s because of the money to be made.
With the money, you reach people that you could not reach before and Facebook is one of the best if not the best place to use for paid traffic.
Facebook has an insane amount of data about us. It’s even frightening to some of us if you are one of those who care about privacy.
Facebook for bloggers and how to use it effectively
Ok, so now we have talked about Facebook as the biggest social media platforms. How can we as bloggers use that without spending money on it?
First of all, you start by establishing a Facebook business manager account. You can do so here: Create a Facebook business manager.
When you have that setup. Next thing you do is post a blog post to your facebook page. Not on your profile but on your facebook page.
When you are just starting out, there’s probably zero people liking or following your Facebook page.
That will all change after you start directing people to your Facebook page and make them a follower to your page.
You see, that is one of the best ways to use Facebook organically. If you make them like your Facebook page, the like is shared on their feed and will be seen by their friends and so on. The snowball effect.
Engagement and audience
Your job is to get engagement to your posts. Engagement happens when people like or share your content. That is engaging in your content. They are doing something with it.
When they have engaged with your content, you can then invite them to like and or follow your page. You can read more about that here: How do I invite people to like my Page.
The key point here is to grow your Facebook page following, by followers, you will have your own audience to send those page updates to.
When your Facebook followers see your post, they can then click the link in the post and be redirected to your website for further information.
When you think about it, Facebook followers are your private audience that you can contact through Facebook. Even when you don’t know them, you can still reach them.
As a beginner blogger, grow your Facebook page by directing people from your website to like your Facebook page. It will create organic traffic ripples that extend a long way.
Facebook algorithm and news feed (activity feed)
As we know, your Facebook feed is filled with a lot of things, one of the posts you see are ads (sponsored content) or posts from pages you like and follow, or they are posts that are commented by your friends.
Your news feed is bombarded with information from all directions. However, according to the latest Facebook algorithm update, Facebook tries to fill your news feed with posts from your friends and family.
What this means is that growing your Facebook followers through page liking and following is probably a good idea. You can always use advertisements to grow your page likes, to grow your following.
However, the key point here is that ads are pushed to the back and Facebook tries to give your friends and family more space. Giving more space to the things you like and care, not to the things that are pushed through ads.
#4 Traffic source: Youtube for bloggers
Youtube is pretty much as popular as Facebook and Google. Youtube is owned by Google and thus make sit a great search engine.
Search engine means more traffic. Right.
According to Business of Apps, there are somewhat 1.8 billion users on the platform logged in. Monthly viewers in the range of 150 million.
Youtube is huge, and so is the amount of content it has. How many times have you used Youtube to search for something? You have most likely used it in the last seven days for something. Haven’t you?
The thing is that Youtube is an excellent search engine. It’s kind of like a video-based search engine. You don’t get articles from this traffic source, but you get videos instead.
Same as with Pinterest, where you get articles in the form of pictures. On Youtube, you get articles in the form of videos. This is speaking from the viewpoint of a blogger that is.
Using Youtube to drive traffic to your blog
Did you know that many of the YouTubers don’t make their primary income through Youtube ads? They do it on their blog.
What many successful YouTubers do, is that they post a video on Youtube and drive that traffic to their blog or make affiliate sales by placing affiliate links to the description part of their videos.
But what does this all mean to a beginner blogger? How can you take advantage of this all?
Well, if you like to make videos, then Youtube is an excellent place for you to drive traffic back to your blog.
There are so many out there that are not ready to be on camera and film themselves to the public. I know, it’s not easy. The only thing you are concerned about is what people think of you. I know. I’ve been there.
Getting back to the subject.
So as you know there’s the highly wanted subscribe button that everyone wants you to hit. What that does is that it makes you a subscriber of course, but the important thing is that after subscribing you are available to receive videos and updates to your Youtube video feed from that channel you subscribed to.
When you get a subscriber to your channel, you are able to get your videos onto their feed, and that makes a traffic source for you to use.
How to start with Youtube
But what if you are just at the beginning of your blogging journey and everything is new to you. Where do you start?
Well, the first thing you certainly need is the right gear, like:
- Camera (list of good cameras for youtube videos)
- Microphone (list of top microphones)
- Lighting/ Light source (list for light sources)
So there you have it. That’s the basic setting that you should get to produce professional videos. However as you can see from those lists already, there’s a huge gap between options. You can create quality Youtube videos pretty cheaply, or you can go all in and buy the gear you need for professional videos.
You also need video editing software, or then you let someone else do the editing for you. If you don’t know how to edit your videos, it’s best to leave that to the pros.
Youtube algorithm and traffic
As you already know, your content has to be high-quality to be seen in peoples feed. Youtubes algorithm takes care of the feed and if you use the right tools, getting seen becomes easier.
You should get yourself TubeBuddy, Youtube certified browser extension that gives you the tools you need to grow your Youtube channel.
Youtube also uses keywords, shares and other metrics to rank your video to peoples feeds. It’s a search engine after all.
What we know about Youtube algorithm is this:
- Number of comments on your Youtube video affect the visibility of your video
- Longer videos outperform shorter video
- Video views
- Video shares
Read a complete list of known, and speculated factors that play a part in Youtubes ranking factors.
#5 Traffic source: Email marketing
This might be a bit harder to imagine for a beginner blogger, but your email list is also one serious way of generating traffic to your site.
You might not have a list of your own yet, or the list might be small in size but let’s go through what email marketing is and why it’s a traffic source of important.
In Google Analytics email traffic goes below referral traffic.
Referral traffic by Google Analytics:
Referral traffic is the segment of traffic that arrives on your website through another source, like through a link on another domain. Analytics automatically recognizes where traffic was immediately before arriving on your site and displays the domain names of these sites as the referral traffic sources…
But back on the list.
So when you have written a new blog post to your blog, the next thing to do is tell that you have a new blog post up on your site and by clicking the link they can read the blog post.
After your email list receives the update from you, they will or will not go to your site and read the post. Giving the possibility for your people to share your content further.
Sharing your content is very important and when you have placed a nice pin for them to repin to their board your reach grows again.
Why email list and email marketing is important?
Traffic from your email list is important in the way of not in volume but in quality. Your readers are interested in your content, and they are engaging in it. They comment, they share, and they do kind of the heavy lifting for you.
Sharing your content is the thing you should be doing, and your email list helps you do that. For free.
You probably don’t have a list in the hundreds of thousands, maybe not in the thousands even. It’s ok, the quality of the list is more important than quantity.
Quick crash course on email list building
Email lists are built by getting an email address from the reader. From the user that visits your site.
You have seen many times, those subscribe and get a newsletter kind of boxes. Well, those are the most primitive way of getting an email address from the reader.
However, a more effective way of getting an email address is when you offer something special for free in exchange for their email address.
Those special free things are called optins. Optins act as the gateway for you to give the free stuff they opted in for, and you will get an email address from them. It’s a win-win situation.
A final note
You might start to see how these all different traffic sources come together pretty nicely.
Your blog post is in the center and then what you do is drive traffic and people to read your post and share it further to the world.
However, the case always stays the same. Your content has to be good, it has to be excellent and valuable. It has to give people the thing they are looking for.
When you give people what they are looking for, they want more from you, and that is when your pageviews start to climb and bounce rate starts to decline.
Content is king, but traffic is everything.
Getting a massive amount of traffic to your new blog is not easy, and it won’t be there when you start out.
What you need to concentrate on is strategic content building. You create articles with value and in quality. Not in quantity.
You master keywords and create headlines that create curiosity and your good to go. The goal for your new blog is to get traffic, and by realizing which traffic sources are the ones you need, you can start to focus on mastering them.
So let’s recap with some further comments:
- Google is the number one traffic source you need for your blog
- Pinterest is the easiest traffic sources for new blogs
- Facebook is the best traffic source when it comes to paid traffic
- Youtube is a traffic source that creates trust in your blog and online business
- Email marketing creates quality traffic to your site
The above 5 traffic sources are the ones you must take into account when you start your blog. These are the 5 most important traffic sources you have to know. These are also the traffic sources that you should utilize, maybe excluding Youtube as it’s a bit special in the list. Very important still.
Mastering the art of traffic building is hard and something that takes time and effort. However, with time and effort, your blog will be one that people like to read and refer to.
Building your blog is a marathon so prepared for that. For you to get a quick start and overall visibility on blogging, I suggest you read my How to Start a Blog article. This will explain how traffic fits the big picture.
Want to remember this? Pin this ‘How To Get Traffic To Your Blog’ post to your Pinterest board for later reading!
Bring in the discussion
If you have good suggestions for some other important traffic sources or you feel something was left out, do mention it in the comments section below.
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