The majority of blogs launch and it takes a long time to cut through the noise. Months after launching and you’ve only managed to garner a handful of readers. That’s the exact problem that I had when my first few blogs launched, I felt the frustration caused by my base of readers growing incredibly slow. That was until I found a series of tactics that consistently worked and now you can do exactly the same too. After all, other bloggers are using these same tactics to grow their blog quicker and now it’s your turn. #1. Use a coming soon page but not in the way you are thinking The most valuable channel for any blog to focus on is email marketing. Why? When all other marketing channels fail, when Google allows negative SEO to impact your site and when Facebook kills organic reach – it is your email list that will still be there. How does this relate to your coming soon page? I check out a lot of blogs and when most are about to launch, all you will see is a generic opt-in form asking people to sign up for notifications. It works, but not very well. The only way that these work is if you already have an established audience and are able to drive engaged traffic to your coming soon page. What should you do instead? Instead of just asking people to opt-in and offering nothing in return, try offering a free report that solves a problem that your target audience is facing. This is how Jon Morrow built an engaged mailing list of 13,000 subscribers – all before he published a single blog post on BoostBlogTraffic.com. There’s another effective tactic to add to the mix You need to work towards getting the word out and you need to drive traffic to your coming soon page. One of the best ways to do this is to contribute to authoritative blogs in your industry, using your author bio to drive engaged visitors to your blogs ‘coming soon’ page which will eventually become your home page. With a couple of Google searches you should be able to find some key blogs to reach out to, but you need to consider which will be beneficial for you to contribute to. You will need to gauge the level of engagement that the blog receives, a great way to do this is to look at the number of genuine comments that it receives. For some advice on reaching out to these blogs, read this post. #2. Write content that your target audience wants to read Before you start writing you need to figure out what type of content your audience wants to consume. More importantly, what topics do well in terms of earning social shares, backlinks and generating traffic? Also, what is your audience searching for? Here are a few ways to get started: Find out what your audience is talking about. There are forums and communities all over the web where your target audience hangs out in large numbers. These are a goldmine for finding out exactly how you can help your audience Find out what type of content your audience is sharing. Your audience is sharing content but you need an easy way of finding out what content is working. The big question is how do you find out? Use a free tool like BuzzSumo which allows you to search by topic or domain (perfect for finding what works for your competitors). Find out what your competitors are ranking for in Google. Using a tool like SEMrush you can search for your competitors and get a detailed list of the keywords that they are ranking for, as well as an estimated number of monthly searches. It’s worth noting that while SEMrush has a huge database of keywords that it tracks, it won’t have every keyword – but it is still a great indicator of what is working for your competitors. And it can spark some great content ideas. Find out which posts are earning the most backlinks for your competitors. There are a number of backlink monitoring tools on the market, but my favourite has to be Ahrefs. It’s got a huge database and when you check a competitors URL you can easily filter by the most referring domains. You can also see the number of social shares each of your competitor’s pages received. One important note is to make sure you look at referring domains rather than the number of backlinks. #3. Leverage the power of industry influencers When you are launching a new blog, chances are that you won’t already have an established audience. You will be starting at the very beginning and you need to make an impact. But, there is a straight forward route you can take to gain traction quicker than you thought possible. There are people in your industry who have influence over your target audience; you can plan a strategy to tap into that influence to accelerate the growth of your own audience. In its simplest form, you can break this down into a 4 step process: Find influencers Develop a relationship with them Say awesome things about them via your blog and social media Let them know they’ve been mentioned This doesn’t work without the last step. You have to let people know when you’ve mentioned them. If you don’t, how will they know? Sure, plenty of people monitor mentions, but not all of them and it really helps you to get noticed when you mention them in a tweet or a G+ post. Why does this work? It’s a type of ego bait, but in a good way. When you say awesome stuff about people, they are more inclined to share the post because it increases their perceived authority to their audience. It acts as a form of social proof. This post over at Pro Blogger explains the nuts and bolts of this process in a bit more detail. #4. Get the technical side of things right When you launch your blog, you need the technical side of things to work like clockwork. Technical issues can happen, this is a reality but there are things you can get in place to ensure that your launch goes as well as possible. Use a host you can rely on. You get what you pay for with web hosting and the reality is that most budget web hosts crumble when it starts to receive simultaneous visitors. It’s worth checking your website using Load Impact; it will show you how your web host copes when it receives multiple visitors. The reason page load times are important is because just one second delay can cause a 7% loss in conversions. Accelerate your hosting. More often than not, a fast web host isn’t enough. This is because if someone visits your site who is on the opposite side of the world to where your web hosts servers are located, it will take them longer to access your website. You can get around this by using a CDN service like MaxCDN. CDN stands for ‘content delivery network’, a large number of servers strategically positioned around the globe to allow for super-fast load times. If you use WordPress there are a few tasks you need to complete. Countless blogs run on self-hosted WordPress but there are a number of things you should do after installing WordPress that are usually forgotten. This includes things like disabling directory browsing and securing your blog for example, a more expansive list can be found in this post by Joe Fylan. Does everything work as it should? If you don’t test your blog before you launch, you could hold up your launch or be faced with the prospect of frantically trying to fix the issue after launching. Here are a few examples of things to check: Appearance in multiple browsers Appearance on mobile devices Contact forms Broken links (this can be done easily with Xenu’s Link Sleuth and it’s free) Google Analytics (or another analytics tool) is setup and working #5. Have a strategy in place to increase the reach of your content Don’t be the person that spends hours, days or even weeks writing content that doesn’t get seen by anyone. Be the person that puts the same amount of time into promoting the content they write. You will be glad you did. How can you extend the reach of your content? There are plenty of channels that you can take advantage of, these include: Social networks Niche social bookmarking sites Guest posting on authoritative blogs Online communities and groups (e.g. Google+ communities and Facebook groups) Curation sites like Scoop.it Paid promotion using sites like Outbrain and Taboola Paid social promotion using paid posts on StumbleUpon, Twitter and Facebook Websites in your industry that syndicate content from other blogs When it comes to most of these channels such as social networks and communities, the aim is not to just drop links to your content, the aim is to generate real discussion around your content that gets people involved. Over to you Have you launched a blog in the past or recently? I’d love to hear about your experience and what tactics have worked well for you in the comments below. 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