So, you’ve created an author website to spotlight your books, your products, your writing superpowers.
You’ve chosen the perfect domain name, and you’ve added enticing visuals to your pages.
Good for you!
You’ve shared some posts on popular social media outlets.
You’ve implemented several new SEO strategies.
Still, you’re underwhelmed with your web traffic.
You know there’s a lot of great traffic potential you’re missing, and you’re ready to take your author blog to the next level.
- What can you do right now to swing the odds in your favor?
- What can you do to attract the kind of traffic that’ll sustain a creative business?
- What can you do that’s sustainable—actions that won’t tear you away from your current work in progress?
Great questions, and we’ve got answers!
Read on to discover 9 ways to get traffic to your author blog.
1. Write Great Headlines
What makes a great headline?
- A great headline makes you curious.
- A great headline makes you hungry.
- A great headline stops you from scrolling, forcing you to act.
A great headline compels you to click.
You click because you’re unwilling to miss the punchline, the big reveal, the secret ingredient promising a life-changing solution.
Like many writers, you may have trouble writing headlines.
To complicate matters, your inner artist might view headlines as manipulative, sensational, or overbearing.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
You didn’t get into writing to become a marketer.
But you can’t deny the science, the truth about what works, either.
Great headlines work in concert with human nature. In simple terms, effective headlines speak to the decision-makers in your brain.
Every other message you promote—no matter how truthful, responsible, idealistic, or unobtrusive, is worthless in comparison.
You’re not wired to notice subtle messages. No one is.
These messages never make it past your internal filters. And with hundreds or thousands of messages competing for attention each day, you can’t afford to be subtle, idealistic, or unobtrusive.
You need to show you mean business.
You need to get to the point, to demonstrate understanding, to prove that you feel your reader’s pain.
And you need to get there fast–lightning fast.
So, how do you write better headlines?
How do you write stellar headlines?
Provide the first three steps and link out to the details here (link to full article—article links to optin upgrade)
2. Share the Ups and Downs of Your Writing Journey
For a moment, try to separate yourself from the products you create: your books, your blog, your articles on the web.
People want to buy from people they like.
If your readers enjoy your writing, they’re going to want more of you:
- to know where you come from (your origins),
- to know what makes you tick,
- to know why you became a writer in the first place.
When you forge a personal connection with your readers, they begin to trust you. The space between you disappears. They begin to see parts of themselves in you, and they look forward to getting to know you better.When you forge a personal connection with your readers, they begin to trust you. The space between you disappears. They begin to see parts of themselves in you, and they look forward to getting to know you better. Click To Tweet
At this stage, as familiarity increases, doors begin to open:
- They’ll start following you on social media.
- They’ll begin adding your author website to their feeds.
- They’ll pre-order your books before they’re published.
So, share your ups and downs. Share the daily challenges of writing for a living.
If you write part time, all the better!
You have much to share about managing time, balancing resources, juggling family responsibilities and personal relationships.
So, keep it real; your readers will love you for it.
Don’t be afraid to show your struggles, your fears, your brokenness.
Too many authors jump straight into marketing, trying to impress with their success stories. You know better. Behind every success story is a dozen mistakes, a dozen failures.
These struggles provide more drama and interest, so don’t be shy about sharing your humanity.
Share your stories on your blog, in your newsletters, in your social media updates. Create a journal for your current work in progress. Share excerpts of this journey with your readers. Their curiosity will grow, and they’ll begin to anticipate your next offering.
3. Get to Know Your Blog Readership
How much do you know about your readers?
Are you sure?
I remember my first days in sales.
After a few hours of basic training—cash register, sales contracts, company policies, I was turned loose on the sales floor. I couldn’t have been more clueless, assuming I knew everything I needed about my customers.
If I had a nickel for every time someone said, “I’m just looking.”
No doubt, you’ve experienced similar feelings as a blogger and/or author after reading your sales figures or traffic stats. I’m sure you’ve stared at the screen, dumbfounded, thinking, “what’s it going to take?”
I wasted weeks pitching products I assumed my customers wanted. I wasted precious time trying to jumpstart awkward conversations. After a month of lackluster sales, I called my father, a veteran salesman. He taught me a series of steps, a way to guide the sales process, a way to elicit important information without turning off your prospects.
After practicing over the next week, I couldn’t believe the difference.
“I’m just looking” transformed into long, detailed conversations. These customers began telling me everything I needed to know. They also told me things I didn’t need to know! 😉
Getting them to open up transformed my relationship to sales. It didn’t hurt my sales figures either!
The secret ingredient?
I asked them questions, questions they couldn’t say no to.
Instead of asking if I could help them, I asked them how they were doing.
I asked them about themselves. People love to talk about themselves.
I avoided the typical sales pitch.
The ironic part is that people will tell you everything you need to know.
Offer a questionnaire.
Offer a reader poll.
4. Publish Blog Posts Consistently
Ever wonder why so many out-of-work actors sign on to reality shows?
Terrible shows, aren’t they?
These actors compete and bicker with other out-of-work actors from prior decades.
After years spent out of the spotlight, they run into trouble landing contracts.
It doesn’t matter that they’ve won awards, that they’re brilliant actors…
Without consistent exposure, people forget about them; their brand loses value.
Your writer brand is no less vulnerable.
Just like those actors, if you disappear between books, if you don’t maintain some type of social presence, your brand takes a hit.
Your hard work and sacrifices can be lost:
- the years of writing for free,
- the years spent studying your craft,
- the years spent struggling to build an audience and a platform.
So, keep your name in circulation. Take advantage of guest posting opportunities.
Find ways to contribute to your writing community.
5. Build an Email List
If you’ve spent even a few hours reading marketing advice on the internet, you’ve heard this common axiom:
The money’s in the list.
What they’re talking about is your email list.
Your email list is important for several reasons:
- Your list is targeted, aimed at a pre-qualified audience with compatible interests.
- You own your list, which means it’s invulnerable to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google algorithm changes.
- You’ve gained the trust of your audience, and you have written permission to communicate with them.
- You have 100% control over your marketing messages and the frequency of interaction.
With a targeted, responsive list, you can promote your products without the risks associated with common advertising.
- You can manage the costs.
- You can test and measure the efficacy of different approaches.
- You can apologize when you screw up, for missing the mark with your readers.
Building a list is one of the most effective marketing tools in your arsenal. It’s your best option for long-term growth and sales.
As writers and blog owners, you likely already possess valuable insights into the dos and don’ts of successful email communication.
You know how to provide value, and you know how to respect the relationship.
Think back to the last time you unsubscribed to a list. No doubt, the list owner was contacting you too many times and/or incessantly pitching products.
Imagine yourself in your reader’s shoes, and reap the rewards.
6. Share Links to Your Blog on Social Media
If you’re new to marketing your writing online, social media can offer the fastest results with the least amount of difficulty.
If you’re not taking advantage of social media, you’re missing a golden opportunity.
Think about it…
Millions of potential buyers are already gathering in a single place. And they’re already organized for you, too, by their common interests.
You can find them by the hashtags they use, by the people they follow, by the people who follow them.
The process comes down to these four basic steps
- Find your tribe.
- Interact with them.
- Build trust.
- Send them to your website, product, or offer.
Unfortunately, most marketers treat their social accounts like personal accounts, wasting precious hours each day, accomplishing little more than hanging out.
You could (and should) be making significant, reliable, daily progress.
To take full advantage, you’re going to need some premium tools.
You’ll need quality apps to help you sort through the noise. You’ll want to target the best possible followers. To accomplish this, research the latest and best following apps.
7. Join Writing Communities
Thanks to social media, new, diverse writing communities are growing in popularity. These communities offer writing tips and advice, genre-specific support, critique groups, and marketing opportunities.
Some are stand-alone websites and forums. Others are public and private Facebook groups with impressive membership numbers. You’ll find communities geared toward writers at every stage in their careers.
These groups offer everything a writer would need: information, inspiration, entertainment, comfort, and support.
With a solid support network, a beginning writer can find quality advice for plotting a novel or finding an affordable, professional cover designer. Today, you’ll find many friendly communities with writers willing and eager to help each other succeed.
Check out some of these popular options:
- Reddit’s Writing Community 3M Members
- Reddit’s Fantasy Writers Community 171K Members
- Writers Unite! 4K Members
- Absolute Write Water Cooler 68K Members
- Insecure Writers Support Group 4600 Members
Once you locate an active community, begin sharing:
- Ask and answer questions.
- Leave comments.
- Offer support and advice.
As you post, follow, and make new friends, members will check out your profile. Include links to your website, books, and social media accounts.
Make sure to read and follow each community’s guidelines. Most have specific rules about links.
So, find a few active communities, and start making quality connections.
8. Consider Alternative Media Opportunities for Blog Traffic
Another way to gain blog traffic is through alternative media.
Too often, writers decide their blogs are enough, never considering the diverse traffic opportunities they’re missing. After launching a site, they hope Google will do the heavy lifting, flooding their websites with visitors.
Many successful writers turn to alternative media for exposure: video and podcast channels. In addition to their weekly blog posts, they interview colleagues and experts for their podcast series.
They create entertaining and informative videos.
They offer flash fiction, haiku, poetry on their social media updates. The key is consistent content in a variety of formats.
If you’re not ready to commit to a weekly podcast or video series, consider a weekly video roundup of resources for your readers.
With a little creativity, you can expand your reach through various forms of media.
Your audience will get to see a new side of you. At the same time, you’ll double or triple your opportunities for links and visitors.
9. Offer Your Blog Readers Exclusive Content
Ever wonder why retailers have early bird specials, blow out sales, and seasonal promotions?
These limited-time offers create a sense of urgency.
Often, until something is scarce, people don’t recognize its value.
It’s human nature.
Exclusivity works because people have a deep desire to belong, to become part of a community. When you make the community rare/special/exclusive, you enhance that desire.
To create urgency in your own readers, offer exclusive content.
Exclusive content refers to any limited quantity content, limited time offers, or special content readers wouldn’t normally find on your website. Also, they’ll need to take specific actions to access the content.
You can offer exclusive content to your email subscribers, to your social media followers, to someone else’s audience as a limited-run promotion.
Offering exclusive content makes your readers feel special, like they’re receiving insider information. Creating scarcity and urgency pushes casual readers into action.
Use this opportunity to collect email addresses.
Coming up with exclusive content doesn’t have to be difficult, either.
Offer a free report, an eBook, a downloadable list of resources, a mini workshop, or a chapter from your upcoming book release.
So, what have we missed? What are your top traffic-producing strategies?
Join the conversation below.