Here are 17 ways to drive traffic to your blog posts without monetary cost. Note: All of these do have a slight cost in the amount of time they take, but in the long run your time investment will pay off.
- Add social sharing buttons to your posts. The easier it is for your readers to share your posts, the more likely they will do so.
- Add the Digg Digg floating social share bar to your site. This is perhaps the easiest way to add those social sharing buttons, and best of all they float as the visitor scrolls, creating an ever-present reminder to share.
- ASK your readers to share your content. At the end of your post, you might write something simple like, “If you found this helpful, please share.”
- Build up your own contacts. Make list building a priority so you can capture as many visitors as possible. Encourage people to join your list, follow you on social media, etc. Use bribes and offer great info to get them on board, then take good care of them to ensure they stay with you. When you write a new post, ask them to not only read it, but share it liberally with their own networks.
- Email your list each time you post great content. This one seems too obvious, but it’s surprising how many bloggers don’t do it. Make sure your email is optimized for all size of screens. And rethink the timing of your email. It used to be that first thing in the morning was best, but now that people are deluged with marketing emails, later in the day when they’re not so rushed might be better.
- Build up your V.I.P. Contact list. Make friends with those in your niche. Promote their blog posts and their work. Build relationships. When you write posts, they’ll want to reciprocate and promote you as well.
- Link to websites, blogs and authors who have large social media followings. In your blog post, find ways to mention these folks in a positive way. Maybe you reference one of their posts, or a technique they’re using. When your blog post goes live, send them a message letting them know you mentioned them. Often they will tell their followers and you could get a nice flood of traffic along with a new contact.
- Do a case study on someone successful. This could be one of those bloggers in your niche with a large following. Analyze what makes them so successful, do an interview with them, get quotes from their followers, etc. Again, you’ll get a big surge of traffic when they promote your post to their followers, plus you’ll have a new friend.
- Target a particular blogger. In this case, you’re choosing a topic that you know is near and dear to a particular blogger. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to look at their recent posts, find one that was emotionally driven, and write your own post about the topic. You might point out in your post how this blogger was right about the topic, but use a slightly different angle on the story. You’re not copying what they did, you’re taking it up a notch or moving it in a different direction.
- Get influential opinions. When you’re writing a post, email a pertinent question to several influential people and ask their opinion. Everyone loves to give an opinion, and unlike a full-fledged interview, it only takes a couple of minutes to answer. Then quote these people in your post and let them know when you post it. Odds are they’ll share it with others. Added bonus: Placing movers and shakers in your posts also increases the chances of your post being shared by readers.
- Use quotes from personalities in your niche. This one is really easy to do and it doesn’t even have to affect the flow of your post. Simply find appropriate quotes from leaders and shakers in your niche and insert them between sections of your post where appropriate. It’s a great way to visually break up the copy and you can link the quotes back to the original author. Be sure to let the authors know you quoted them.
- Write lists. You might list the “10 most influential people in your niche,” for example, and link to all ten influencers. Posts like these tend to get shared a great deal.
- Use Twitterfeed. Not only will Twitterfeed alert your social media networks each time you make a blogpost – you can also set up feeds for the relevant content blogs you trust. Now you’re automatically alerting your social media networks when your trusted bloggers post – and you can be sure some of them will reciprocate when you post great content, too.
- Use infographics in your posts. Yes, it takes extra effort and / or money to generate an infographic, but the results can be powerful. People love infographics and are more likely to share them with others. And if you’re on Pinterest, you’ve already seen how viral infographics can be.
- Go negative. Write a blogpost on the things you’re doing or have done wrong, or the mistakes people are making. Fear of loss is greater than desire for gain. People are more likely to read and share “10 things you’re doing wrong” than “10 things you’re doing right.” Just don’t go too negative or you’ll turn people off.
- Be contrarian. If everyone else thinks one way, make an argument the other way. Be polite, be nice, but clearly state your case, your evidence, and why you think the way you do. If it’s a topic people care about, your post is very likely to go viral. Be ready for a major traffic surge as well as many heated comments on both sides of the issue.
- Present one post in several different ways via social media. Let’s say you have a post on how to raise pigs. Different sections of the post might include: Choosing the piglets (or birthing the piglets, if you own the sow) feeding them when they’re young, housing, feeding when they’re older, exercise, training, things to watch out for, health issues, etc. Each of these topics can be individually highlighted in social media, so that you have several different ways to promote your post instead of just one.
If you spend as much time promoting your post as you took writing it, you should see a dramatic upturn in your traffic. One good rule is to do 5 things every day that promotes a post on your blog. Make this a habit and traffic will never again be an issue for you.