Since 2009, over at the website I run called Think Traffic, we’ve worked to answer one simple question: “why do some websites and blogs become massively popular, while the vast majority go almost completely unnoticed?”
Website “traffic” (in other words how many people visit your website) is elusive for most people. There are hundreds of millions of websites and blogs in existence, but only a tiny percentage of those will ever attract more than a handful of visitors.
But for the sites that do become popular, the recipe is actually very simple. We’ve learned this from interviewing dozens of successful entrepreneurs and from publishing over 450 articles on the subject at Think Traffic.
We’ve also learned the recipe for growing a popular site by growing Think Traffic to over 200,000 monthly visitors in under three years.
Our approach to growing the site has been fairly straightforward. No tricks, no “secret” tactics, never anything black hat, and no paid advertising.
Here’s our basic recipe for growing an audience online (please tell the social media gurus and SEO salesmen that it really is this simple). Every week we:
Focus on writing extremely useful content whenever possible
Meet and interact with readers (we read and reply to every email we receive, and pay special attention to reader feedback)
Connect with other bloggers (through interviews and over email and Skype) and praise people publicly when we love the work they do (this is great for building karma and getting linked back to and shared)
Give people a clear reason and easy way to subscribe for email updates (and make RSS, Twitter, Facebook and everything else secondary)
Show up, set goals, work hard, challenge ourselves and try new things
That’s really about it.
Of course, in the beginning you also need to establish a killer foundation by choosing a great topic, making a case for why your site is worth paying attention to, delivering results, and developing a good looking and functional site.
Once all that is in place, you have to resist the urge to tweak your site every day. Set your site up and refine your topic by listening and interacting with your audience, but then give it some time to work.
We didn’t update our site’s layout and design for over two years. What we had served us well and we knew it was good enough to make our message shine.
Show up, set goals, work hard, and challenge yourself.
Focus on producing great content, connecting with bloggers/writers/entrepreneurs, and growing your army of supporters.
Don’t overcomplicate things. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you things should be complicated. Building a following really is straightforward.
You’ll hear this simple strategy over and over again throughout this book. We’ll dive deeper into each of the main components, and you’ll learn how to apply this strategy (and the simple tactics to support it) at your own site.
We hope by the end of this book you’ll have a clear vision for making your own site as popular as you need or want to.
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