The 5 Primary Methods Used To Market A Blog & Generate Traffic

by John Hoff on April 15, 2009

As a blogger, there are many avenues you can explore when it comes to marketing your blog and driving traffic to it.

This topic has been beaten to death so many times I’ve lost count. Therefore, in this article I simply want to outline the 5 primary avenues new bloggers should know about when trying to market their blog. From there, you can read all the different ideas on how to create backlinks, be remarkable, use social media, etc. etc.

The 5 methods of marketing your blog are:

  1. Search Engine Optimization
  2. Social media networking
  3. Paid banner ads
  4. Affiliate marketing
  5. Pay Per Click

Method 1: Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization is basically a method you can use to get search engines like Google to notice your site and rank well in searches based on your website’s design, content, incoming links, and a whole heap of other things.

One such search engine optimization tactic might include strategically inserting keyword phrases in key areas of your website. Blog titles and links are great places for these. If you know what Google considers important areas of your website, you can feed it key information you want it to “really get to know”.

Pros & Cons


Pros Cons
  • doesn’t really cost any money if you do it yourself
  • most people look in the organic search results before paid search results
  • once you rank well in searches, you’re set and don’t have to pay to get on top
  • people will consider your site relevant and important
  • slow and takes a long time to generate a decent amount of traffic
  • difficult to learn at first (but gets easier)
  • requires a lot of your time to be set aside for studying
  • seo companies can take advantage of your lack of knowledge and keep you paying them
  • if you need to make money today, this won’t work (leading back to the slow process)
  • if you’re not careful, you could do something which could ban your site from Google search results

My take on Search Engine Optimization: Learn it, because down the road it will start to pay off. It might take you 4 or 5 months to really get the hang of it, but once you do, you can make it work for you as long as you’re online.

Method 2: Marketing Through Social Media

Social media marketing is the process of promoting your site or business through social media channels and it is a powerful strategy that will get you links, attention and massive amounts of traffic. (source Dosh Dosh [Update: site now gone])

That was a quote from Maki of Dosh Dosh. If you want to know about social media marketing, that’s the blog to read. Social media sites include StumbleUpon, del.icio.us, Digg, Twitter, YouTube, Squidoo, and more.

To be honest, I consider marketing through social media to be a close relative of search engine optimization because of A) the time it typically takes to get it to work for you if you’re just starting out and B) it’s really simply another way to attract a bunch of links to your website (yes I know it’s more than that, too, but as a marketing tool, that’s what you want).

The key idea when it comes to using social media to market your blog is to join social networks, get to know people interested in things similar to you and/or your business and network.

Important to note, however, is there are some rules out there you need to abide by when using social media to market your blog; some are written, some are implied. One such rule you will want to master is the art of marketing your blog without really marketing it.

Confused?

Yeah, so was I when I first started out. As a business owner, I’m out networking and marketing my product and not wasting time making small talk and dancing around the subject – which typically is “come over to my site and buy this, it’s what you’re looking for.”

Pros & Cons


Pros Cons
  • doesn’t cost a lot of money, if any
  • you can make great contacts
  • you can learn from other like minded entrepreneurs
  • can drive lots of traffic to your website
  • can be fun
  • not a direct marketing tactic
  • can take a long time to start building traffic (could be quick, also)
  • you spend a lot of time away from finding people who need what you sell today
  • time consuming

My take on Social Media Marketing: Social media is not going away any time soon. Find a few social media sites you can get into and start learning it. What you’ll find is not only can it start sending some traffic your way, but your learning curve will increase.

Method 3: Paid Banner Ads

Paid banner ads are simply small image ads you create and pay another website owner to display on their blog or website.

On blogs, you will probably find them in the blog owner’s sidebar or footer. Typically, you pay a monthly fee to have your ad hosted and displayed on another site. These fees can vary depending on how popular (how much traffic) the site you’re advertising on is.

There have been many discussions on how well ads work these days. This is because you see them everywhere and on almost every blog. Many times, bloggers and Net surfers tune these ads out because that’s not what they were looking for. Their eyes skip right to the items or content they are looking for.

However, they do still drive some traffic to your site. If this is the route you decide to go with, be sure to track how much traffic each site you’re advertising on sends you and weed out the ones which aren’t cost effective. This should be an ongoing process.

The key here is to make sure you’re advertising on sites where your potential customers might be, see your ad, and click over. Also, usually it is best not to link the ad to your home page; instead, link to an optimized landing page which gives your visitor exactly what they want immediately.

Pros & Cons


Pros Cons
  • a semi targeted marketing tactic
  • has potential to drive a decent amount of traffic to your site
  • grabs attention better than text links
  • increases brand awareness
  • many, if not most, site visitors ignore these ads
  • can take some time to figure out which sites are cost effective
  • can be expensive until you start generating a positive cash flow
  • need to create the ads, which probably means $$

My take on Banner Ads: If your site is new and you have a small monthly budget to work with, go ahead and give them a try. But be careful, you can loose a ton of money here if these aren’t done right.

Typically, it makes more sense to link your ad to an optimized landing page (sales page), and not your home page. Set up a good analytics program like ClickTale to monitor how your visitors respond to your sales page. Then tweak it until customers are consistently taking your desired action.

Method 4: Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is basically a revenue sharing process in which a website owner (you) creates an affiliate membership program and another website owner can sign up, link to your product, and if they send a buyer over who purchases something, you and your affiliate make money.

For example, let’s say you sell a product for $50. If you sell the product on your own, you make $50. If an affiliate sends a buyer over and purchases that product, you may have it set up so your affiliate gets paid $30 and you make $20.

At first this might not seem like a great deal, but consider that this is a sale you wouldn’t of had anyway. In fact, many times these programs may cause a loss. The idea is to get people in the door, perhaps capture their email address, and generate more profits through the use of upsells or having them join a monthly program you offer.

ShareASale.com is one such program you can sign up for if you wish to either A) sell products through affiliates or B) become an affiliate yourself and advertise other company’s products to earn a commission.

Pros & Cons


Pros Cons
  • get targeted traffic to your site (if you’re the merchant)
  • great way to generate leads (if you’re the merchant)
  • can create backlinks to your site (if you’re the merchant)
  • typically is free to become and join an affiliate program (if you’re the affiliate)
  • great way to generate some income through your blog (if you’re the affiliate)
  • can take a lot of time managing your accounts and to do research
  • you may find yourself blogging about things you don’t care about just to make money through an affiliate link
  • can be expensive to join a program if you’re the merchant

My take on Affiliate Marketing: I like affiliate marketing and you can make A LOT of money just through this method alone. For the merchant, you can create a sales force all working on commission. Then once you have the customers, you can increase profits through upsells. For the affiliate, you get a free way to make money from your blog.

Method 5: Pay Per Click

Pay Per Click is a great tool you can use to generate highly targeted traffic to your website almost instantly.

You sign up for a program, such as Yahoo! Sponsored Search or Google’s AdWords, and inside your account you tell Yahoo or Google how much you’re willing to pay if they display your ad on their search engine and someone clicks on it.

The more money you’re will to pay per click, the higher in the paid search results you will show. There’s more to it than that, but that gives you an idea of how it works. If you have any questions about this form of marketing, comment below and we can discuss it.

As with banner ads, it is extremely important to lead your visitors to an optimized landing page. Rarely will you link them to your home page.

Pros & Cons


Pros Cons
  • sends high quality traffic to your site
  • get customers to your site today
  • forces you to focus your landing pages for better conversions
  • lets you compete with your competition, no matter how big or small
  • can be expensive ($50 can be blown in a few hours)
  • tricky setting up when you’re new
  • need to know how to write a good (and very short) sales ad
  • time consuming when it comes to tweaking your landing pages

My take on PPC: I think PPC is a must if you sell products online and wish to get highly targeted customers to your site today. It does take some time to get the hang of, but once you do, you’ll find it can be a very lucrative marketing avenue.

Right now if you set up a new Yahoo! Sponsored Search account, you get a free $25 credit deposited into your new account. I think Yahoo is a good place to start your PPC journey as their prices are not as expensive as Google but still provides for a decent amount of traffic. Once you get the hang of it, Google is the place to go.

Related Links To Sites & Products To Learn More

  1. ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Incomethis is the book to buy if you’re new
  2. 30 Tips for Marketing Your BlogOnline Marketing Blog
  3. How To Market Your Blog in 2007Problogger.net; article still valid today
  4. SEOmozLearn about search engine optimization
  5. Pay Per Click Journal
  6. Yahoo! Search Marketing Bloglearn from Yahoo how to use PPC
  7. AdWords Learning Centerlots of help on how to use PPC with Google AdWords

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