Starting a website is overwhelming but always exciting.
I love that stage when you feel those ideas flowing and you start setting yourself some goals and building task lists.
But there’s always that question of getting your first clicks that always seem so rewarding.
Once you know your niche and prior to monetizing your site, there’s always that inevitable stage of figuring out your traffic building strategy.
“Where do I start?”
Here are five inexpensive marketing ideas for a new blog:
1. Define your branding before you start
Successful branding is paramount for website success. I’ve seen sites become known in their niche within 3 months after the launch. It is faster than one can hope for some organic search traffic.
Instead of starting with an SEO strategy, start with how you will get noticed and remembered in your niche.
Both SEO and banding have strong long-term benefits but a recognizable brand is easier (and faster) to create. This is not about global or nation-wise recognizability, of course.
All you need is to become fairly known in your narrow circle of fellow bloggers and social media peers, and that will be enough for their community to notice you and include your site in their reading lists.
This initial engaged following will be the core of your site’s community for many years to come. They will help you with links, comment on your posts and refer to you outside of your immediate circles driving more people to your site.
And that all starts with choosing your domain name and identifying how you are going to match your brand identity to your chosen niche expectations.
Namify is a great free tool to help with this initial step. It is an unbelievably effective way to brainstorm a cool brand name that reflects your niche.
Just provide your keyword and choose your industry and let the tool generate name ideas for you to go though. Each brand name comes with free logo ideas to make creating your future brand identity even easier:
2. Identify your initial keywords
Along with branding, an SEO strategy is another fundamental step. In essence, the earlier you start working on either or both, the faster you will see results.
There’s a never-ending debate on how fast organic traffic can start coming after a launch of a site.
Don’t trust anyone who claims they started seeing clicks from organic search positions within two weeks or even a month. Even if you pour thousands of dollars in optimizing your new site, Google needs time to start trusting it enough to recommend to their users.
And since in this guide we are focusing on budget-friendly methods, let’s just agree that the above scenario is outside the scope of this article.
Yet, you can see solid organic traffic within three months of launching a site, even on a limited budget.
The key here is to apply a highly targeted approach to your content strategy.
You need keywords that can send clicks without having too high competition.
SE Ranking offers a cool keyword generator that evaluates every search query based on how easy or difficult it is going to be to rank in the top 10. For a new site, pick keywords with the difficulty no higher than 5:
WebCEO’s Content Assistant tool provides clear guidelines on how to utilize those keywords on every page for maximum SEO potential:
Additionally, it is a good idea to use Text Optimizer to better understand those keywords you pick. The tool uses semantic analysis to identify underlying concepts and helping you build more in-depth content:
The tool will also evaluate your content to identify how well it is semantically optimized.
Search engine optimization is an on-going and never-ending process but laying a solid foundation is crucial for long-term success.
3. Invest into social media ads
Social media advertising is a great way to generate quick traffic on a tight budget. I’ve seen (and done) successful social media advertising campaigns on a daily budget of $10.
But quick traffic and subscribers (or even sales) is not the only benefit of running social media ads. Not many people realize the long-term potential of on-going social media advertising campaigns: You invest into data.
After a few months of social media ads you can start remarketing to those who visited your site but failed to become your customer or client. All you need is to install Facebook pixel right after the launch of your site.
Creating engaging social media ads can take some time experimenting with different formats and media. Creatopy will make this step easier by providing you with free templates and ideas on how to position your site and/or your product through video ads.
It also makes it easy to create ads in different dimensions (to reuse them on different social media channels) and collaborate with freelancers:
Another possible way to utilize social media ads for blog marketing is to attract the attention of those people who are able to link to your content, like other bloggers and journalists. In this case, your targeting will include all kinds of job titles, like “writer,” “reporter,” etc.
This tactic is a great way to promote your lead magnet or pitch your newsworthy piece to reporters who may find it cool enough to link.
Speaking of newsworthy content…
4. Keep an eye on niche trends and news
One of the biggest successes I’ve had on my personal blog is being quoted by the NY Times.
And it happened when my blog was only about 6 months old.
I was already fairly known in the niche but, of course, not outside of it.
The link from NY Times made a huge difference to my traffic, and in the long run it sent many more links to that page and helped boost my whole site’s organic rankings.
So how to achieve that kind of success with a single piece of content?
First of all, it will never happen if you give up after one article. You need to keep trying.
Then covering current news and trends is a great idea. Being the first to cover it helps. Providing original commentary based on your unique expertise is another great content.
You can do both.
One great example of that technique done well is Barry’s reporting on changes in any Google’s guidelines.
Visualping is a cool tool that can help you accomplish the same thing. Identify important reference guides and policies in your niche and set up monitoring to be the first to report on any changes.
In closing, you want to launch simply. Try to minimize everything: Choose a minimalistic site theme, create an easy navigation and shorten your sales funnel.
If you are selling services through your new site, consider letting your leads make a phone call right away, without the need to submit a form. If you are building an email list, collect as few details as possible. If you want your readers to register at your forum, enable social login.
None of the above traffic building methods are shortcuts. They all provide long-term benefits instead of focusing on quick gains only. This is intentional because ideally we want all we do to contribute to the future well-being of our blog.