Figuring out how to get traffic to a blog is probably more important than writing the blog itself, especially if you intend to be profitable. It would be unthinkable for you to set up a business without considering the potential of the market; you’d end up without customers. The same goes for your blog. You can’t possibly spend a lot of your time and energy writing up and fixing up your blog without considering if you can produce some kind of audience. Here are some ways by which you can rustle up some readership.

1. Tap Into Search Engines

You can think of search engines as huge rivers of visitors seeking information on the Web. Just like the early farmers, you’ll want to be able to divert at least some part of this river toward your website or blog. This means you’ll need the know-how, and this means learning the ins and outs of search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). SEO are the techniques for getting your website or blog listed as high as possible on search engine results pages. This is often referred to as ranking “organically” based on the relevance of your blog’s content. Getting high search engine ranking requires you to learn about and understand how keywords work, then sprinkle your blog content with these keywords in strategic places. This lets the search engines pick out and discover your site, and then allows its internal algorithms to figure out how relevant your content is relative to what people are searching for.

SEM involves bidding on specific keywords and writing ad copy that shows up on the search engine results page based on your bid. Getting your SEM initiatives right will quickly get you traffic, but this will cost you every time someone clicks on your ad on the search engine results page.

There are hundreds of free and paid SEO and SEM resources on the Web, but the best place to start is Google’s own guidelines for webmasters.

2. Cultivate Backlinks and Referrals

Equally important for getting traffic to your blog is getting other sites to link back to yours. This allows you to exploit the audiences generated by other bloggers. There are a number of ways you can do this. First, you can search for forums and blogs that share the same subject matter you write about. You can then participate in the discussions in the forums, demonstrating your expertise in the subject matter and then eventually pointing people back to your blog for more information. On similar blogs, you can leave comments and also post links back to your site.

3. Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and all the other social media networks each open up a channel for you to reach out to and interact with your friends, followers and subscribers. You can build a community around your brand and engage them in two-way communication, gently nudging your members toward your blog.

These basics are just the tip of the iceberg; there are more options for how to get traffic to a blog. But getting these three right will ensure that people will find your work on the Web.

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