11 Traffic Techniques That Are a Waste of Time for Beginners

11 Traffic Techniques That Are a Waste of Time for Beginners

Could it really be possible that almost everything you are doing to promote your website is a waste of time?

We’re not just talking about questionable hacks you picked up on some weird forum. We’re talking about proven techniques recommended by industry leaders in authority publications.

But you know what?

It’s mostly a load of crap.

Over the last five years, I’ve mentored over 2,000 bloggers. I’ve examined their promotional activities. I’ve seen their traffic stats.

And the vast majority of what you’re being told to do simply does not work.

It’s not just less effective than advertised. It produces almost no meaningful results whatsoever.

What, exactly, is a “meaningful result?”

Well, I’m glad you asked…

How to Measure Traffic Growth When You’re a Beginner

Consider this question:

If you implement a traffic technique, and it doubles your traffic, was the technique successful?

Most people would say yes, but let’s examine some numbers, and I believe you’ll see it differently.

Let’s say you’re getting one visitor per day, and you try out a new traffic technique, and your traffic goes up to two visitors a day. It’s a 100% increase, but it’s still only one freaking visitor per day.

To get that visitor, let’s also say it takes you one hour per day. The technique is therefore producing one extra visitor per hour invested.

Pardon me for saying so, but that’s horrible. You could run around naked in a public parking lot with a sign on your back advertising your website address and do better than that (although fair warning, you might get arrested).

It doesn’t matter that you received a 100% increase in traffic. When you’re a beginner, you only have so much time to invest in getting more traffic, and therefore, the best measure for a beginner isn’t unique visitors or page views or any of the other things most analytics programs track.

It’s visitors per hour invested (VPH for short). Or put more precisely:

Unique, targeted visitors acquired in a 30-day period divided by hours invested

Why 30 days?

You have to give it some kind of time limit, or you end up waiting hundreds of years to measure your results, and that’s not very pragmatic. Thirty days, on the other hand, is a good trial period. If it doesn’t produce results by then, you can adjust your strategy and try something else.

Of course, you might be wondering…

What’s a good ratio to shoot for?

My recommendation:

If you’re an absolute beginner, and you have no audience at all, shoot for 50 visitors per hour (50 VPH). Scale the number up as your site becomes more successful.

I’ll go ahead and spare you the suspense, though. Almost none of the traffic techniques so-called experts recommend will get you 50 VPH. Here’s why:

The Two Types of Traffic Techniques

Most experts seem completely oblivious to the fact that there are two very different types of traffic techniques:

  • Those that work when you have an audience
  • Those that work when you do NOT have an audience

For example, you’ve heard you should publish great content, right?

And it’s true, you should… when you have an audience. You’ll get the highest possible VPH.

But before you have an audience?

It’s the worst. Of all the techniques my students have tried, publishing great content on their own site gave them the lowest VPH.

It seems absurd, but it’s true. Soon, I plan to publish an official study with precise numbers.

But you might be wondering…

If publishing content on your own site is so ineffective for beginners, why do so many experts recommend it?

My guess: they underestimate the importance of their own audience.

They don’t realize that the traffic they receive from publishing new content is the result of an audience who likes and trusts them sharing that content. Take away that audience, on the other hand, and the same content would fall flat and get them no results whatsoever.

It’s a principle I unveiled in Blogging for Busy People called The Martin Luther King Effect. Download a copy for a more detailed discussion. It’s free.

The bottom line is the vast majority of traffic techniques depend on you having an audience. To be more precise, they depend on you having at least 1,000 subscribers who like and trust you. Anything less and the traffic techniques don’t work well at all.

Let’s go through them…

11 Traffic Techniques You Shouldn’t Be Using

According to our research, the following traffic techniques are NOT effective when you’re a beginner (and some aren’t ever effective):

  1. On-page SEO: You’ve probably heard you need to choose keywords for your posts and then optimize each post for those keywords. You also might’ve heard about optimizing images, link structures, and choosing a WordPress theme with “good SEO.” According to our research though, these activities are almost a complete waste of time (low VPH) until you have a substantial audience. I’ll talk more about this one in a future post.
  2. Commenting on Popular Blogs – Once upon a time, this used to be effective, but as the blogosphere grows, and popular blogs receive more and more comment spam, its VPH is falling dramatically. Yes, it can open doors to a future relationship with the blogger, but the traffic from click-throughs to your blog is no longer great enough to justify doing it.
  3. Press Releases – Just to be clear, I’m not against press releases as a publicity technique. If you have a genuinely important story, and you want to connect with the press, a press release can still be effective. On the other hand, if you are publishing press releases to get links and traffic to your site, you’ll be sorely disappointed with the results. Yes, it can deliver both, but the traffic and links are untargeted and spammy, leading to visitors who have very little interest in your content.
  4. Submitting Your Site to Directories – Years ago, submitting your site to directories used to be an essential part of SEO, but the benefits have largely disappeared. The only exceptions are high-quality, curated directories where you have to meet eligibility standards, kind of like winning an award. In general though, this strategy has been dead for a long time.
  5. Answering Questions on Forums – Yes, it can certainly drive traffic, but it’s an enormous time suck. You can spend hundreds of hours answering questions, receiving maybe a few hundred visitors in return. The VPH is terrible.
  6. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. – This one is a surprise. As it turns out, building a following on any of these sites actually has the second lowest VPH of any of the techniques listed. If you’ve been fretting about finding the time for Facebook or Twitter, you can safely relax. You can ignore all of these platforms until you cross 1,000 blog subscribers.
  7. Reddit, Hacker News, etc. – While these sites can drive enormous traffic, it’s difficult to get your content to the front page until you have lots of readers to vote for it. So again, cross this strategy off your list until you hit 1,000 blog subscribers.
  8. Creating Videos for YouTube – Curiously, our students who start YouTube channels are often successful at getting views for their videos, but they struggle to turn those views into visitors and subscribers to their blogs. Also, they report struggling to find the time to maintain both their blog and YouTube channel. We may revisit this strategy again in the future, but for right now, the VPH in terms of actual blog traffic is mediocre at best, so we can’t recommend it for new bloggers.
  9. Paying for a Unique Design – You’d think paying for a unique design would help establish your legitimacy and lead to more traffic, but in reality, it doesn’t seem to have any effect on traffic at all. You’re far better off using a free or inexpensive WordPress theme, and investing the money elsewhere.
  10. Releasing Infographics – Not long ago, infographics were extremely powerful for driving traffic, and they still are, albeit to a lesser extent. The problem is, for an infographic to go viral, you need either an existing audience to help you promote it or a solid outreach strategy. As a standalone strategy, we can’t recommend it.
  11. Publishing Great Posts – Much like infographics, great posts can also drive a lot of traffic, but again, you either need to do outreach or have a large existing audience to help you promote the post. As a standalone strategy, publishing great posts on your own blog actually seems to have the lowest VPH of all the techniques listed here.

Again, I’m not saying any of these techniques are inherently bad. I’m just saying they are an ineffective use of your time, especially when you’re a beginner. Until then, you’re much better off investing your time elsewhere.

So, which techniques actually work?

The Only Four Traffic Techniques That Work for Beginners

As it turns out, only four exist:

  1. Guest blogging – If you’ve been hanging around me for long, you know I’m a huge fan of guest blogging, and there’s a reason why: it has the second highest VPH of any traffic strategy for beginners. Used properly, you can quite easily cross 50 or even 100 unique, targeted visitors per hour invested. For a free mini class on guest blogging, click here.
  2. Interviews/podcasting – Interviewing influential people and then asking them to share the interview also turns out to be a highly efficient strategy. You can do it as a podcast, or you can record the interviews privately and group them together as an incentive to join your email list. Both avenues have their pros and cons, but either way, the VPH is excellent.
  3. Outreach – This is where things get confusing. While great blog posts and infographics have a poor VPH by themselves, they have an excellent VPH when paired with outreach. You have to be willing to face rejection, and your content also has to be some of the best ever published on your topic, but the long-term traffic from this strategy is excellent. Over the short term, it’s beaten by guest blogging and interviews, which is why I typically don’t recommend it until you cross 1,000 subscribers, but it is still an efficient way to get traffic when you’re a beginner. Click here for a detailed guide on how to do it.
  4. Advertising – Last but not least, the technique with the highest VPH of all: advertising. The problem? It costs money! If you’re a beginner, you might not be able to afford it, which eliminates this strategy for many bloggers, but if you have a budget of a few thousand dollars, you can save yourself months of effort in attracting your first 1,000 subscribers. In the future, I’m considering launching a new self-improvement blog exclusively with advertising and then doing a case study to prove just how effective it is.

And there you have it.

If you are a beginner, and you are building your blog from scratch, the above four techniques are the only ones you should be using. Normally, I recommend my students start with guest blogging and interviews, and then transition into publishing great content combined with outreach.

The results from students I’ve mentored following this strategy?

A Fine Parent, Be a Freelance Blogger, Get a Book Deal 101, Rediscover the Magic, Make Creativity Pay, Tinder Hacks, and others, all over 1,000 subscribers now, many of them pushing toward 10,000 subscribers and up.

In other words, it works. 🙂

(Side note: I’ll be accepting applicants to my mentorship program again soon. Get on the interest list here.)

How to Grow a Blog Efficiently and Effectively

It’s simple:

Do what works. Avoid what doesn’t work.

Until now, you might’ve been struggling to figure out exactly what those things are, but now you have a data-driven approach to guide you. If you’ve been using the wrong traffic techniques, you can adjust course and start using the ones that work.

Because listen… blogging doesn’t have to be something that consumes your life. If you have a job or a family or business, you can totally build a popular blog in 20 hours per week or maybe even less.

You just have to use your time efficiently. With everything you do, measure the time you invest and the results you receive.

Stick with it, and you’ll have a popular blog before you know it. And if you follow the strategy I outlined here, you’ll even have time to enjoy it.

About the Author: Jon Morrow has asked repeatedly to be called “His Royal Awesomeness” but no one listens to him. So, he settles for CEO of Boost Blog Traffic, Inc. Poor man. 🙂

86 Comments

  1. Abraham
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 09:07:22

    Great post Jon,
    I understand every word of your article. What seems to be my problem is the niche that won’t get popular. How on earth am I suppose to join the crowd in the traffic generation,SEO or any make money online niche? I feel bad when I learnt the first niche I want to get into won’t be popular. But,nothing I can do. More grease to your elbow.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 04, 2014 @ 10:27:17

      For help with your niche, watch this video:

      //smartblogger.com/blf2-blog-topic-scorecard

      • Abraham
        Sep 04, 2014 @ 10:37:58

        Thanks Jon. I’ll watch the video soonest. I read your post with my friend and he almost injured me for not telling him I have a good website that tutor. Really bad on my side,Jon. Sorry,I was obssessed with…life. Looking forward to more post that’ll make me realize my responsibility.

  2. Pooja
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 09:35:18

    Smashing post Jon.

    The idea of posting epic content on your own site when traffic’s a dud is indeed a time suck.

    It reminds me of #LowesFixinSix campaign — Lowes pushed it out everywhere, on platforms such as Vine, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, but their own site.

    I figure they realised that when done right, the combined effect of these popular platforms will be greater than their just own website. 🙂

    Thanks for the share!

    Pooja

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 04, 2014 @ 12:59:36

      It’s true, synchronizing your social platforms can create a lot of traffic… but only if you have a large audience. When you’re a beginner, pushing it out everywhere actually gets you nowhere, unfortunately.

  3. Daryl
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 09:39:23

    Dear “Sir Elton” Jon Morrow, His Royal Awesomeness, Grand High Scepter of the Royal Order of Blogging, OBE, MBE, QRSTUV,

    Could you please explain what you mean by “outreach”? Do you mean simply contacting influencers and asking them to share your content, whether via email/Twitter/etc? Or is there another meaning I’m not picking up here?

    Cheers,

    Daryl

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 04, 2014 @ 10:25:04

      Here’s what I mean by outreach:

      //smartblogger.com/blogger-outreach/

  4. Kevin Duncan
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 10:42:12

    Hi Jon,

    This is wonderful, goes-against-conventional-wisdom advice (of which I’m always a fan)!

    I think the “not publishing great content on your own blog” tip is the one people have the most trouble swallowing. Giving away your BEST stuff to another blog just feels wrong. But you’re absolutely right. Your blog doesn’t have traffic. Theirs has traffic. How does publishing your best stuff on their blog NOT make sense?

    Keep up the great work, Jon. I’ll Tweet and G+ this shortly…

    – Kevin

    • Sumitha
      Sep 04, 2014 @ 11:11:01

      @ Kevin, I totally get what you mean! I’m one of the proof-that-this-works students Jon mentioned above and this was one of the hardest things for me to grasp as well.

      The key for me was to realize that Jon wasn’t actually saying “don’t publish great content on your own blog” but rather “don’t publish great content on your own blog *unless you pair it with a well-planned outreach effort*”. I’m only starting to apply it now (almost a year into blogging!) and at this point for me, it’s still a hit or a miss. While the misses are disappointing, the hits really have huge ROI. My outreach strategy is far simpler than the one in the post that he has linked above, and I keep going back to that post and tweak my strategy just a tad bit each time… but, even with this iterative approach, I’m seeing some great results. Definitely worth spending some time studying.

      @Jon, Thanks for including my blog in the proof-that-this-works list 🙂

      • Jon Morrow
        Sep 04, 2014 @ 13:00:38

        Thanks for being a student, Sumitha. You’ve been a pleasure to work with. 🙂

  5. Fabienne Raphael
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 10:49:06

    Jon, I think you revealed all the secrets to have your first thousand subscibers in that blog post. People waste their time on Social Media for a tiny result.I can confirm those techniques work because i applied 2 of them with great results(Podcast and Guestblogging) on my mentor advice Sir Jon Morrow.

    Thank you again for your work i hope more people will take advantage of that post.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 04, 2014 @ 13:01:37

      Thanks Fabienne! I’m so happy things are working out well for you.

      • Dahlia
        Sep 07, 2014 @ 02:15:36

        Hi Jon,

        Thank you for your words of wisdom. I hear that guest blogging is one of the top ways of getting traffic to your blog, but what if your blog is a personal human interest blog (overcoming physical disability by defeating the odds and learning to walk again) created to help others and there are no other blogs out there for you to write for?

  6. Noufal Binu
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 10:51:50

    Jon, Exactly it is true, Because beginner look like a homosapien and In this stage a beginners need some techniques for bite with Search engine, Social media and more default stages, finally he know all things about blogging and he become to a Super blogger. But many blogger are failuer in their blogging career, Because they are missed blogging formula > Keep calm in blogging and finally you are win because you’re not doing a stupid thing. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Obafemi Fawibe
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 11:00:22

    Guest blogging works wonders. I’m yet to learn about the outreach method though. I will give it a try. Thanks Jon.

  8. Godwin Adams
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 11:04:31

    Jon,

    You’ve finally let the cat out of the bag. It’s so easy for beginners to spend a ton of time and energy gathering Facebook ‘likes’ and twitter followers without knowing why they end up being frustrated.

    I think most people will get it right when they ask themselves where exactly their audience is, and in what frame of mind they are.

    Sure, the audience is often on Facebook and Twitter, but a whole lot of them are concentrated in socializing and not deeply searching for information to solve some kind of problems.

    Good Job Jon. These four strategies you highlighted are simply the go-to sources for new bloggers.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 04, 2014 @ 13:03:45

      I agree, getting inside the mind of your audience is essential, regardless of which traffic technique you choose.

  9. Zeeshan
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 11:10:26

    Onpage SEO, Social Media, infographics marketing and video marketing still works for me.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 04, 2014 @ 13:05:39

      Umm, you have an average of zero comments for each of your posts. Must not be working that well.

  10. Monty Campbell @ The Financial Freedom Blog
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 11:14:35

    Thanks for another great post Jon! Regarding your suggestion for advertising, I write about achieving financial freedom on my blog and my message is about a common sense approach to financial freedom, instead of gimmicks. Where would you recommend I advertise so that my message doesn’t get lost in all the get rich quick nonsense that’s out there? Appreciate your thoughts.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 04, 2014 @ 13:04:17

      Right now, the best place to begin advertising is almost always Facebook.

      • T. Gilson
        Sep 04, 2014 @ 17:20:19

        Really Facebook first? Over AdWords?

      • Monty Campbell @ The Financial Freedom Blog
        Sep 04, 2014 @ 19:55:22

        Thanks for the reply Jon. I would have thought you would recommend Adwords instead of Facebook ads. I just announced my first contest on the blog today (giving away copies of classic success books). I’ll run a Facebook ad for the contest and see if it helps boost traffic.

  11. Ángel Candelaria
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 11:50:57

    Hi Jon!

    I just wanted to take a minute and say thanks for this useful post. I’ve been meditating for several days about what strategies I should follow to build my blog followers. It’s been a little challenging for me since I write mostly for a Spanish speaking audience, and the resources are limited compared to English – it’s been a little hard to find good guest posting opportunities on my niche.

    To be honest, all the information I looked up on the Internet was driving me nuts and confusing me even more. I was even looking at posts that say “blogging is dead” and recommend not blogging at all as a strategy…but somehow I don’t feel like throwing out to the garbage something I’m so passionate about and that I know it’s helping others. I knew there had to be another way…

    Then I found this post, and reading it has helped me to indentify new strategies and refocus my efforts on growing my blog followers. So thanks. You have a new subscriber!

    Looking forward to seeing more great posts like this (actually, I already have some more of your previous posts bookmarked for future reference 😉 )

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 04, 2014 @ 13:06:58

      For Spanish (or any other language), I would cross guest blogging off the list and focus on the other three strategies. Like you say, the opportunities for guest blogging in other languages is just too limited.

  12. M. J. Kelley
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 11:59:10

    Thank you for outlining the traffic techniques that work best. This is a super useful post.

  13. John Benzick
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 12:01:50

    Very, very helpful. This is the information that I’ve needed — to get dialed-in and re-focused. Now that I’m back in the game after a crazy summer. Thanks, Jon.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 04, 2014 @ 13:07:22

      Glad to hear you’re back, John!

  14. Kevin Carlton
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 12:17:48

    Jon

    I personally don’t have a problem with doing what the big bloggers do.

    At some stage, you need to get into the habit of writing quality content, applying SEO and learning how to use social media properly. This is provided you keep things in perspective and accept, as you say, that other things will give you much better VPH.

    I kinda call this gearing up for when you go big.

    Nevertheless, thanks for speaking out and saying what really works for rookie bloggers and what doesn’t.

    And, as for the advertising thing, it’s perhaps not so expensive if you think about it like this: If you redirect the time you spend faffing around on social media to servicing clients instead then you’ll earn more than enough to advertise your blog anyway.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 04, 2014 @ 13:10:05

      Looks like you’re doing well. I’m guessing you are over 1000 subscribers by now though, right? If so, then yeah, writing and optimizing your content is going to give you the highest VPH.

      And yeah, there is some truth to gearing up for when you go big. Personally though, I think it’s more productive to gear up on someone else’s blog by writing guest posts.

      • Kevin Carlton
        Sep 04, 2014 @ 13:50:48

        Jon

        I can’t complain about the traffic I get considering how often I post. But I’m still nowhere near that magic 1000 subscribers mark yet.

        So, yeah, I still have to peddle hard to keep the visitors coming.

        I’ve been doing the outreach thing and it sure is great to have bigger bloggers like and share my stuff.

        But I definitely need to put more into guest blogging than just the one post so far.

        It just makes sense to go where the people are already, doesn’t it?

  15. Peggy Nolan
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 13:30:14

    Thanks for this awesome, awesome reminder. I’m no longer torn between guest blogging and blogging on my own blog. Sure, I can do both, but the truth is in front of me. I get better and faster results every time I blog on Huffington Post and I’m now getting great traction with Aspire Magazine as well.

    Thanks for keeping the flashlight shinning in my face!
    Peggy

  16. Ion Doaga
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 14:04:53

    Glad you telling that, Jon.

    I tried most of the 11 traffic techniques you numbered above, and they work with periodic results. The problem is I don’t have time for all of them. I almost killed myself trying to embrace those promising traffic techniques. The hint is that they really bring immediate traffic, while on the other side you need more time to write guest posts or interviews. It takes more time until you get a respons that your blog is accepted or ignored, or someone agrees for an interview.

    This is probably the most difficult mind shift as a begininng blogger.

    But this is fairly legit.

  17. Nick Baker
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 14:22:24

    Hi Jon, thanks for this. Despite a well executed site and a good niche, I’ve really been struggling to pull the visitors in. Too much time wasted tinkering with twitter and not enough doing the things that actually count. I’d heard of the strategies you have outlined, but you’ve succeeded in pointing out how important they actually are and how futile my previous efforts have been.

    Onward and upward,

    Nick

  18. Antone Goyak
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 15:09:15

    This was one of the more helpful posts I have read about blogging. Thanks, Jon, for your great insights. I fall into that beginner category as I have been blogging for about a little over a year and a half (at least I still feel like a beginner).

    My question to you is about the social media side of it. I currently use WordPress.com and do not self-host my site. One of the features is to post to social media when I send out a new post. Should I just stop posting to social media and try to work on those who are actually subscribed to my blog?

    Also, you mentioned guest posting. I assume you mean my going out to various blogs and submitting my own blog post to post on their site?

    Again, great post. It helped me realize where I need to focus my time more. Thank you!

    • Emily Lock
      Feb 20, 2015 @ 14:59:53

      Blog posts like this are why you are my greatest hero, Jon, and why I keep your ‘You have to be unforgettable’ quote in front of me every day. I tried putting my best Emily the Dodo blog posts on Stumbleupon, and one page about a code of honour for a modern warrior got over 19K views and 500+ likes… People absolutely loved it! And my Alexa rank went up by 5 million in 2 weeks. Whoopee!

      But I got no subscribers, no comments on my blog, no Facebook shares or tweets, no sales (because I’ve only been blogging for 4 months and I wasn’t selling anything yet), no real engagement with anyone – so I wasted a great shot at success. If I’d guest-posted it somewhere successful, it could have gone viral. Rats. But I’m learning!

  19. Mary St. Dennis
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 17:40:29

    I’m very new to blogging, and I’m still trying to determine exactly what “nitch” I fit into. How do I find others in my nitch, and how do I approach someone to let me guest host?
    Thanks for the great info.

  20. Steve Sagovac
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 20:08:00

    Great article. This is one of the few (out of many) “increase your traffic” articles out there that makes a lot of sense.

    My site is only a couple of weeks old, so my question is:

    Before trying to attract any traffic, shouldn’t your site have a certain amount of content. If you only have a couple of posts, surely people won’t subscribe.

    Is there a magic number of posts you need to give your site enough credibility for visitors to stay interested.

    Thanks again!

    • Matthew @ Calming Music Weekly
      Sep 04, 2014 @ 22:45:07

      Hi Steve,
      That is my logic too – there is not much point driving traffic to a site that is devoid of at least some useful content. I suspect your question of “what is the magic number of posts” is probably very much like the “how long is a piece of string” doozie. Probably the answer is “some posts”. Rather than making it perfect, having some good content is important – even a fair amount of content – but there comes a point when allocating time to the correct strategy is the main goal. As Jon has suggested, perhaps having some content, then marketing via other sites via various means (the 4 methods he’s mentioned) then coming back and adding to the content might be the way to go.
      Thanks,
      Matthew

  21. Matthew @ Calming Music Weekly
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 22:33:42

    G’day Jon,

    Having only very recently discovered your blog (via EntrepreneurOnFire) I am really enjoying it. Having also been banging my head (mind you, Hootsuite has reduced the headache somewhat in this regard) against at least 9 or your 11 inefficient traffic techniques with several of my websites for far too long for little return, I have found this post of yours to be both illuminating and inspiring.

    I am pleased to note that I’ve dipped my toes into the podcasting waters already very recently, so, based on your post here I suspect I will close my eyes, hold my breath and jump right in. Thank you for clarifying what I had suspected but had failed to understand ! Sensational stuff, this BoostBlogTraffic – yours and your guests posts as well as the comments from your readers. Thanks, Matthew.

  22. Alexander
    Sep 05, 2014 @ 03:40:41

    Thanks Jon, as usual, a great resource.

    If one were to advertise, will you write a guide as to where and how to do it?

  23. Leanne Regalla
    Sep 05, 2014 @ 04:46:27

    Thanks so much for including me, Jon!

    I’m wondering, for the artists I coach, I guess having your work featured in a magazine or online publication would fall generally under PR or outreach? As would being interviewed by other bloggers, podcasters, or other press…

    These opportunities came up for me as a result of guest posting, and they all resulted in subscribers as well.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 05, 2014 @ 13:53:38

      Yep, I would put it under PR.

  24. Bryan Collins
    Sep 05, 2014 @ 05:09:58

    Great post Jon. You’re the only person I’ve read online who talks about visits in terms of hours invested. Bookmarked.

  25. Jake D. Parent
    Sep 05, 2014 @ 10:26:16

    Hey Jon,

    Been out of commission the past few months but glad to see you’ve been rocking it big time. It’s inspiring to see how much the site has grown since launch.

    Well done.

    And this post is awesome!

    Jake

  26. Kostas Chiotis
    Sep 05, 2014 @ 12:29:38

    Really interesting post Jon. I would agree that Guest posting has the most benefit for newer bloggers – but I wouldn’t discount it as a waste of time for established bloggers either.

  27. Chris Schulz
    Sep 05, 2014 @ 14:54:49

    Jon, I understand the concepts you present and no one can argue with your results. However, being the perennial skeptic, I always take with a grain of salt anything that comes to me from people who are obviously good at self-promotion. Your methods just seem counter-intuitive. How can you guest blog for anyone if they don’t have a means to see and judge your work?

  28. Godwin Adams
    Sep 05, 2014 @ 15:40:41

    Chris,

    Yea it seems counter intuitive. One thing I’ve come to discover is that our own thoughts hinder us from making progress and advancing more than any external factor.

    Most bloggers don’t need to see a collection of your works to judge you. Your pitch is part of “your work” that ultimately determines if you’ll be considered or in the first place or not.

    If you can’t craft a compelling headline that resonates with the blogger’s audience, you won’t stand a chance no matter the size of your work.

    My suggestion is this. Accept what Jon tells you to do and do it. He’s telling the truth. I’ve personally been accepted to guest post on big blogs after studying Jon’s blog posts. I’m talking of blogs where my former thinking has held me down for long.

  29. Paul Back
    Sep 06, 2014 @ 03:26:01

    Hey Jon

    I really admire the way you structure your advice – I try to tell similar things to my clients and I have never put it as wonderfully as you just did in this article.

    I have had some success with outreach already – even though I don’t have that many subscribers yet.. Even though it has worked for me I still think you are right about guest blogging bringing the most traffic per hour.

    Always looking forward to your work.

    Paul Back

  30. Monika
    Sep 07, 2014 @ 13:51:43

    Since some days I’m a student of your professorial wisdom, Jon. And I know that my money is well invested!
    To #9: I’m a designer (and programmer) – so I don’t like to see, that paying for good design is a waste. I would recommend the addendum: “Design without content doesn’t pay the rent.”

  31. avoaja
    Sep 07, 2014 @ 17:59:17

    Hello Jon, Great post …
    I will really like to know the minimum number of a posts a beginner should have to have any traffic technique work for them

  32. sjp (@sjp_title)
    Sep 08, 2014 @ 21:58:16

    You’re actually right about the social media point, when I thought about it, I might get a couple more views through twitter but they rarely generate into recurring visitors or comments. I find creating relationships with other bloggers and actively participating in the community helps get committed followers.

  33. Fabienne Raphael
    Sep 09, 2014 @ 08:53:48

    Hi Jon,

    Thanks so much for this post. I find critical that you show us the difference between the techniques used for growing our list DEPENDING of the amount of subscribers we have. I’ve never read this type of information before. It’s tremendously valuable, precious as gold!

    A lot of beginners do the mistakes you mentioned, especially because they don’t know… When we start, we want to be everywhere, try everything and be effective in all of those things…

    I guess it goes back to FOCUS: “follow one course until success.”

    Thanks again Jon.

  34. venkatesh i khajjidoni
    Sep 09, 2014 @ 10:50:13

    well informed post jon. you are guiding me what to do and what not to do. As a beginner freelance blogger, i am following your instructions. I am waiting for further great posts. Thank you very much.

  35. Phil Smith
    Sep 10, 2014 @ 04:10:17

    Excellent post. I feel sorry for any small business that sets out to do their own online marketing based on the advice they can find online. As you point out 99% of the advice published by so called expert bloggers is a complete waste of time for anyone first starting out. The paid model is the only one that really works, followed by EMail marketing once some basic audience has been built.

  36. Kayl
    Sep 10, 2014 @ 15:36:27

    This was so useful! Thank you so much! This really told me what I need to know about VPH. I’m going to store this away for future reference.

    Well, I’m off to do some Guest Posts to see if that helps.

    Thanks!

    -Kayl @ Kayl’s Krazy Obsession

  37. ScrewtheSystemJoe
    Sep 10, 2014 @ 18:28:28

    Wow, this just blows me away Jon.
    For two years I’ve been struggling, releasing great content on my website yet never growing my subscribers or traffic to a level I’m happy with.
    After reading this post, I’m starting to realise why. Gonna have to buy myself some new sunglasses as I have SEEN THE LIGHT!

  38. Charlene Woodley
    Sep 11, 2014 @ 01:27:55

    I was surprised to see technique #2 (commenting on popular blogs) as something that we shouldn’t completely depend on, because I see the exact opposite of this advice given all the time. But it makes perfect sense, because relationships with those who have the greatest influence on us is what opens the door to guest posting and ultimately what we as beginners need – traffic.

    What was most profound for me was the fact that having no traffic indicates the beginning stages of blogging.

    I have been calling myself an *old newbie* for the longest time, so I appreciate the confirmation.

    Reading your posts and watching your videos is bringing me out of the mindset that my content isn’t good, it’s just that no one can read it due to lack of traffic. I can see clearly now – thank you Jon!

  39. Glenys
    Sep 11, 2014 @ 03:09:57

    I like your direct, tell-it-as-it-is style Jon.
    The specifics are very useful, such as the 1,000 blog subscriber benchmark before spending a lot of time on social platforms.
    The efficiency message really resonates, something I need to strive for.
    I highlighted one of your previous posts in my blog roundup last month; looks like you’ve hit the nail on the head again with this post.
    Thanks Jon!

  40. Mohd. Rajak
    Sep 13, 2014 @ 00:20:34

    Hello Jon Morrow, you wrote a great article, its a wonderfull post.
    thank you for this useful informative words…

  41. David
    Sep 14, 2014 @ 19:07:05

    Great Post Jon! I saw the link in one of the replies up top about blogging, going to listen now…But, thanks again, great post!

  42. Bianca Forbes
    Sep 15, 2014 @ 06:18:18

    Jon,

    This is some of the best real advice I’ve heard in a looong time. The trouble with following people as they get bigger, is that you get left behind *watching the ride* instead of being on it. Thanks for being honest and straight up about what works 🙂

  43. Andrew Park
    Sep 17, 2014 @ 19:49:36

    Some really interesting ideas here. Still, with SEO factoring in website age, starting with SEO-optimized content remains a good idea. Once that fledgling blog starts taking off, and getting subscribers, having one’s blog be both well-aged and well-optimized can only help your blog set the world on fire, no?

  44. Justin Nichols
    Sep 19, 2014 @ 22:03:43

    Jon, your no b/s style is sick!

    What about the ride the coattails method? You know, like using the popularity of say,Ray Rice knocking-out his girlfriend as a metaphor for your blog post on knocking-out your business competition? 🙂

  45. Abbey
    Sep 20, 2014 @ 06:53:02

    Hey Jon.

    Awesome, awesome, awesome post..

    Until recently, I was a real estate
    entrepreneur with my business operations based in Dubai and Singapore.
    Everything changed when I diagnosed with a brain tumor recently and undergo surgery. After that I left dealing in properties. . I began the quest to find the real meaning of my existence, the real purpose of my life! Why I am telling all these to you?

    Because I have just initiated a blog and planning to write a book. Also enrolled for “blog that converts” socialtriggers.com and “tribewriters” (Jeff goins)

    But no strategy gave me this much clarity than this post. Infact I am reading other posts of yours and those are awesome too:)

    Keep up your great work.

  46. Andrew M. Warner
    Sep 26, 2014 @ 12:30:12

    Hey Jon,

    This was a great post. I’m one of those people that do spend a little bit of time in the forums (however, not as much as before) and using that as a platform to build relationships, traffic and convert into subscribers. But I found that the majority of people on forums will subscribe to receive your free offer then immediately unsubscribe. Maybe that’s just my experience.

    Guest blogging is something I just recently started to do and I’ve gotten a good amount of subscribers who signed up from those guest blogging opportunities. I’ll have to agree that this is a great strategy.

    Regarding podcasts, I had a podcast before that I stopped but I went about it all wrong. I created various topics each week rather than interview experts to share their thoughts. It all goes back to the “Nobody wants to hear what you have to say” syndrome. WHen I podcast again, I’ll be interviewing experts.

    Great information and post here, Jon.

    Truly appreciate it.

    – Andrew

  47. Sinea Pies
    Oct 10, 2014 @ 11:37:24

    Jon, you are so right. I thought this would be painful truth to read till I came over here and took a look. I tried a few of those when I was a beginner and dropped them soon after. Directories? I’ll bet a lot of newbies have never heard of them. They can forget them! I have to say G+ is doing a lot for me but I get it when it comes to the rest. My blog is a lifestyle blog for homemakers so Pinterest is a biggie traffic source for me too. I’ve just begun to study your material. 4 years in and about 1000 unique visitors a day, it’s time for me to fine tune and start to make some serious money! Want to interview me ? LOL

  48. Scott
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 15:34:03

    Umm, agree with a lot you have on here, but.. I have started numerous blogs and have achieved #1 position Google, bing and yahoo for the search terms I was after. I have achieved a living from doing such things. Ensuring your items are genuine is a must. Social media is also a must I.e a blog with 14,000 facebook followers will nearly always get approx 64-70% of those people looking back to the site to read the remainder of the blog if they enjoy it… For any blog that has 1-2 stories every couple of days this is a great boost. statements like big no to facebook etc are very misleading. Directories? Good blogging directories can also help as Google acknowledge them as relevant links and the reason I do them is to get additional readers.. They do work. Maybe you should point is to one of your blogs that is doing exceptionally well then we can see, if it has any social media links or references in directories, then we could take a lot of this seriously…

  49. Bill
    Oct 23, 2014 @ 00:45:08

    I can hardly disagree with your points Jon. About social media, Facebook is the best place to advertise for me. Most FB users are active. And you are right, you can only utilize social media platforms effectively once you’ve crossed a thousand blog subscribers. Great information.

  50. Brandon Patros
    Oct 26, 2014 @ 19:40:40

    Any thoughts on recycling the traffic from Youtube to your blog? (Embedding the Youtube video into your actual blog post?? I’ve noticed that just over half my Youtube views actually come from Youtube itself – not just the views from the blog??
    Any thoughts?

  51. Alex Bloom
    Nov 06, 2014 @ 18:49:31

    Thank you Jon. You’re the first guy I’ve found who actually cuts through all the crap and tells it like it is. Everyone bangs on about how you have to post 3 times a week, create YouTube videos, make infographics etc etc blah blah — which I’ve been doing for months now and not gotten anywhere. Going to stick to the four you mention. What advertizing do you recommend btw? Google, Facebook, other? Thanks again man.

  52. Teh Hijau
    Nov 20, 2014 @ 02:31:41

    i’m agree with this article. strategy to gain traffic for new website and established website is different. This article give the best insight for beginner to develop their website. thanks Jon for share this informational source

  53. Eli
    Nov 20, 2014 @ 22:53:07

    Hey Jon, I am getting ready to launch my first blog. Is there such a thing as too much guest blogging? If the majority of my content was from guest blogging and interviews for the first couple months after I got started could that take away from the quality of my blog?

    Thanks.

  54. Monu Kumar
    Nov 27, 2014 @ 03:43:10

    Respected Jon Morrow,
    I am 99.99% agree with your thinking and knowledge. Please tell me that if we will not do On Page Search Engine Optimization then how we can increase more new readers on our blog. If I am using your plan that don’t commenting and don’t use social sharing sites, then how we can make relations and how we can learn more things from our readers. Jon Morrow, in these days if we will do commenting and create link building then its called spamming. But if we will not do this then how we can live in the internet industry. Need your awesome answer respected Jon Morrow.
    For all useful knowledge thanks from heart.
    Best Regards
    Monu Kumar

  55. Ankit yadav
    Jan 02, 2015 @ 03:09:29

    Thank you for this great article. Surprisingly, I feel relief that I don’t have to worry about different traffic techniques. Instead I can start from your basic approach of guest blogging. Thank you so much 🙂

  56. Thomas E. Hanna
    Jan 12, 2015 @ 12:06:09

    Great post Jon. I think it is super important to dispel the “if you build it, they will come” myth. While I do not advertise, I have consistently seen a powerful ROI in applying the other three “techniques that work.”

    While I think this is a fantastic (and important!) article, I am going to push back on two points:

    1. Having solid content on your own site IS important.

    It is true that, initially, quality content does not generate traffic in and of itself. However, it does sustain it. If you manage to generate a surge of traffic yet have nothing that demonstrates your value when they land on your site, then your traffic-generating time is wasted. The goal is not to drive one-off traffic, but to drive traffic that leads to return visits. That’s how you build a community around your blog.

    2. Social Media IS Effective

    In fact, within the first six months of launching BlogPhoto.tv, social media has become my primary driver of traffic, currently averaging 400+ shares per article. But there is an important distinction: if you view social media as an advertising platform, the ROI is very low. If social media instead becomes an OUTREACH platform, through which you look to connect with industry colleagues and potential readers rather than simply push out content, then it can be extremely effective.

    Of course, that means that you use social media differently as a beginner than you do once you have an established platform, but that does not mean it should be counted out.

    That’s my 2c on it. In both cases, it comes down to building effective relationships. As an added benefit, those relationships actually fuel the impact of the remaining three “strategies that work.” Establishing industry relationships adds punch when you do outreach, provides opportunities for publishing guest articles, and enables easier access to experts for interviews and podcasts.

    As always, great stuff Jon.

  57. Marcia
    Feb 05, 2015 @ 14:34:42

    Could you tell me a little more about advertising to grow the traffic on my blog ? Do you mean like putting up banners in others great web pages with my blog image and such? Or paying for advertising in social media? What would you recommend on this specific topic?

  58. Kaila
    Feb 05, 2015 @ 20:12:21

    This is an excellent and informative post!
    Thank you for sharing and being really frank and honest with the methods that won’t ever work. I’ve been reading posts from popular blogs and they all tell me the same thing (namely, those you listed in the NOT TO DOs).
    Now i know what to focus on, fewer choices but at least i can spread my investing hours better.
    Thank you again!

  59. Akash Mahamud
    Feb 05, 2015 @ 22:20:12

    How excellent information in a post, its all about us, nice guide line for me to carry out my blog to user face. I have a request like which advertisements will be best Social media or paid search engine.
    Any way thanks again for nice post.
    I have subscribe for next update.

  60. Arif
    Feb 06, 2015 @ 00:52:30

    Its a grate post for me to increase my knowledge in future implement. Thanks a lot.

  61. Nouman Sidiki
    Feb 06, 2015 @ 02:55:21

    Hey john your are right, really good and excellent knowledge specially for me because some days ago a launched new blog, I will implement in light of your instructions to my blog.

    Thanks

  62. Adrian Samuel
    Feb 06, 2015 @ 07:06:36

    All makes perfect sense given that the bloke doing my SEO is making zero progress for me. Thanks Jon #sortmydispute

  63. John
    Feb 06, 2015 @ 21:20:29

    Great post. But it still kind of does the same thing all those other “experts” do, it says “this works, go do it” but doesn’t really tell you anything useful about how to develop those relationships with influencers in your relevant field.

    Most are far too busy (as the article says) to even give you the time of the day, and given that many fields has a small amount of people at the top who are too busy to do anything that what they are doing, most people starting out from scratch don’t have a chance in hell.

    I really like this series of articles, but it still ultimately sounds great in theory, but how to actually take action on any of it.

    It is like me saying all we need to do not get sick is be healthy, yeah that is pretty obvious, but HOW? There is a lot in the details that gets glossed over.

    Well, thanks for writing this post, I still feel it adds more clarity than confusion, but I read a lot of other mailing lists from bloggers and marketers, and most if not all of them say “the other guys are doing this, which is wrong, we are doing this, which is right, so listen to us and please give us money now”

    After a while it starts to sound a bit like religion.

  64. Laurie
    Feb 08, 2015 @ 11:55:16

    Jon,
    In the few weeks I’ve been reading your posts, I’ve learned more about blogging than in the last year. Embarrassing but true. I’ll crack this nut yet! Thank you for your wonderful insights.

  65. Sherman Smith
    Feb 08, 2015 @ 17:59:28

    Hey Jon,

    I tip my hat off to you. I actually want to focus on people in general who want to grow a home business through blogging that don’t have enough time because of a job, family, etc.. And you know what? I haven’t read a blog yet that went into detail about what beginners should concentrate on to get that quantum leap of traffic and subscribers.

    One thing I myself haven’t done yet is do guest posts. I incorporated it into one of my goals for this year. The major reason for this was that I wasn’t too confident in my writing, but now I’m more than willing to take the bull by the horn and roll with it … I noticed a lot of improvement and I want the world to see. But I digress.

    The main point is to look for strategies that beginners will be able to use to make use of useful strategies so that they don’t have to wait years and years just to get 1,000 subscribers. Thanks for sharing Jon! I hope you’re having a great weekend!

  66. Sergio Felix
    Feb 11, 2015 @ 16:20:08

    I believe that the people with huge audiences on Facebook can actually drive a ton of traffic from there but I guess it depends on the level of engagement the marketer has.

    As for another source of huge traffic, I’d include adding links for “gifts” in the first pages on your Kindle books (the pages you can preview without actually buying the book).

    Sergio