10 free ways to gain exposure for a young blog

Every blogger knows the frustration of starting a new blog, and not having any readers. You’re writing great posts, but no one’s listening. Sure, maybe eventually people will hear about your blog, but you want traffic to start building up now.Well, growing traffic will take patience, and you won’t get a flood of new visitors overnight (at least, not without some luck). But you can do things that will start to get you noticed, and start to get some traffic, and over time, those things will add up.The more of them you can do, the faster your traffic will come.

  1. Build a destination.The first step, of course, is writing the content. There’s nothing more important than having great content if you want to attract readers. If you think you can skip this step, you should probably skip blogging. However, it’s not enough to write one or two great posts and then try to attract readers. Think about it: you get a few readers to come to your blog, and they read your post and like it, and then start looking around for more. And they find an empty blog. They’ll leave, and you just lost your first readers. Instead, concentrate first on building a great destination for readers. Have a couple of weeks’ worth of great content, at least, before you start the promotion. Then, when they come to read one of your posts, they’ll see a lot of other good ones on your blog, and perhaps subscribe or at least come back for another visit.
  2. Comments. This is one of the earliest techniques for new bloggers: find a popular blog, and leave an intelligent comment with a link back to your site. However, many bloggers do it the wrong way — they just flood a bunch of blogs with their links, and are essentially spammers. Other bloggers will not appreciate your comment spam, and readers of those blogs won’t either. You will be getting your links out there, but you’ll be turning off your target audience — and perhaps getting flagged as spam in the process. Instead, become a regular commenter on a bunch of popular blogs, without leaving a bunch of links. Now and then, link to a post of yours if it’s relevant and useful — with an emphasis on useful. Don’t just post it because you wrote about a similar topic. If you do this on a few really high-traffic blogs, keeping the links to a minimum, you’ll get a few readers and begin your slow growth. Again, aim for slow growth, not an overnight flood.
  3. Forums. Similar to the comment strategy, but on popular forums in your niche. Again, DO NOT spam forums with your links. You will get banned. In fact, don’t even post links at first. Become a regular contributor in forums, a valuable member of those communities, and then offer relevant and useful links when appropriate. This strategy will take much more time and effort than spamming, but it will pay off much more in the long run. Again, target the forums with high traffic to make it worth your time.
  4. Submit to bigger blogs. When you’ve written an outstanding post, email the editors of high-traffic blogs with a link. Don’t do this every day, as they will start to treat you as spam. And don’t expect them to link to you every time either — they get thousands of such emails. The key is just to make them aware of you and your blog and some of your absolute best posts. If they don’t link to you, fine. But maybe they’ll at least read it and keep you in mind next time. And if you get lucky enough to get a link from a high-traffic blog, that’s one of the best ways to start the traffic snowball rolling.
  5. Social media. I wouldn’t submit your own articles to the social media (Digg, Reddit, etc.) as a regular policy. In fact, the best policy is to let the more active members of those social media submit it for you … you’re more likely to get popular then. But in the beginning, those active members won’t even know you exist. In that case, you may want to submit some of your best articles. They probably won’t go anywhere, but you might get a few readers in the meantime. Another strategy is to become friends with popular members of social media, and when you have an outstanding article, send them a link and perhaps they’ll consider submitting it. Don’t pressure them, though, and definitely don’t spam them. If you get an article that does well in the social media, your snowball of traffic will build up big time.
  6. Guest blogging. I’m a big fan of this technique, as you’ve read in my recent post, “Why Guest Blogging is a Powerful Way to Gain Exposure for Your Blog“. And it’s something you can do even when you don’t have a lot of readers yet. You should have some good articles written before you approach other bloggers about writing guest posts for them. And when you approach another blogger, send them one of your best articles, so they can see what a great writer you are. If you get lucky, they’ll agree! Do this with as many bloggers in your niche as you can — the more guest posts you write elsewhere, the better. And if other bloggers are kind enough to write a guest post for you, even better!
  7. Link to lots of other blogs. Other bloggers like it when you link to them, and if you do, they’ll probably notice. And if you get lucky, they’ll link back! The key is to keep your links relevant, and part of a very useful post. So create a resource post, one that will be extremely helpful to your readers, with lots of links to other articles on the topic. It’ll eventually get you some links back.
  8. Answer questions. If you are an expert on a topic (and if you write about a topic for long enough, you become an expert), then it’s useful to write answers to questions on the topic in popular sites, such as Technorati’s WTF, Yahoo Answers, etc. You’ll get exposure to a lot of other readers, and if they like your answer, they just might click on your link back to your blog. This can be significant for a young blog.
  9. Directories. There are hundreds of Internet directories out there, along the lines of Yahoo (Google “directories”). Now, it costs cash to submit to Yahoo, but many of these other directories are free. I should note that a lot of them don’t get a lot of traffic, but every link counts, and you may get a few readers from them, which is important early on. Here are a few directories to get you started.
  10. Make blogging friends. This is another of my favorite strategies. Too often bloggers become competitive, but the truth is, if you help each other out, you both win. If you try to beat each other up, you both lose. The key is to collaborate, be friendly, and be helpful. Perhaps submit good articles from other blogs to the social media. Perhaps drop them a line and compliment something they did well. Perhaps ask a question (be genuine), or suggest that you collaborate somehow. In other words, just get to know the other bloggers in your niche (and outside of the niche too), and work together, not against each other. These types of relationships benefit everyone involved, and it can make blogging a genuine pleasure.
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44 Responses to 10 free ways to gain exposure for a young blog

  1. Devin says:

    When you agree to guest write an article, do you write the post solely for this persons website or should you also post it on your site?

  2. Ben says:

    There are some nice ideas in there. I would say though, that these ideas are applicable to all blogs, not only young ones.

  3. jan says:

    One of the things I am missing here is SEO. And part of that: Good categorization and tagging.I am still amazed how some people find a certain blog of mine, but when checking the referrers, most of the time it was because of the categories and tags I am using.Building your blog on a good foundation (technically spoken) can give you some extra headstart too.Check for instance what plugins are being used at top blogs in order to gain more exposure. Doing that from the start together with some basics in SEO will enable your blog to differentiate from others.

  4. Devon,You usually just write for that person’s site, but it is common to make a quick post on your blog that says a bit about the topic and then tells them “Hey, check out what is up at x-blog today that I wrote.”

  5. Leo says:

    I definitely agree with #’s 6, 7, and 10, as these are in my opinion among the most important methods to employ when writing a new blog, team up with others in the niche, be courteous and supplement their work, and they might appreciate it with a link or something.

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  7. With forums and also emails, use your links in the signature section of your posts/ emails/ replies.

  8. Jason says:

    Thanks for the directory links.

  9. Skellie says:

    @ Jan: I don’t think new bloggers should be devoting much time to SEO. No amount of tweaking is going to make you rank well for any search term until you start getting some quality inbound links.I’d say work on getting those links first, then worry about things like SEO later when you have two legs to stand on.

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  12. Wallace says:

    great tips and articles!anyway, for new blog, i think the most effective method is social bookmarking. for my new design blog, i got hundreds of target visitors.

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  15. Andrew says:

    Great article! Must read for any blogger…

  16. it’s really useful

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  18. Seth says:

    Great post! Very informative for all new bloggers out there. I can definitely apply some of these.

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  20. Glen Allsopp says:

    Awesome post. By no means am I new to blogging but I do have a new site and am trying promotion techniques out on that. I think today will be my best day so far

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  22. Shypy says:

    Great stuff :D PS: I know I’m not adding to the discussion, but really felt like saying it :)

  23. Ann L. says:

    Dang-thanks for all this. And thanks to C’man for the link. I’ve done a lot of these and it feels good to be on track.I guess I feel pretty naive to think that blogging was an easy task. It’s W*O*R*K* (and just when I thought I’d get out of it!)

  24. Andy says:

    Great article. I think no 1 is the most important by far for me and its where I’m going to focus on for the next few weeks. Not only will a good destination be more valuble to visitors but you will also start to rank for long tail keywords in the articles.

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  26. jaumeAV says:

    HEY! great article!This goes extremely well to me be cause i’m starting my blog about design&gaming (in spanish) recently, and these are things that bother me.Hope it helps me to get more readers.thanx :)

  27. This article is very usefull and I love to work with these tips on my website https://www.designexpanse.com. Its about 4 month old and I need suggestion to improve the exposure of this website to the world.Thanks

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  29. Guitar Noize says:

    Somtimes it just takes time, unfortunately I have a google analytics widget on my dashboard reminding me! I also think if people want a lot of traffic they must be in it for the money in which case the content has to be outstanding in such an overcrowded bloggiverse!

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  31. Great post. You left out 9 Rules and Blog Catalog, which are both popular. I think Blog Catlog helps a little with SEO for your blog’s name.Squidoo is another option. Its also SEO very friendly.

  32. YourITronics says:

    Its a very usefull article for me as a new blogger, i learned some new things from here which i will put in practice on my blog.Its a long way from the start line until you get some visitors on your blog, but this is the way.Everybody goes through this.Great information thank you

  33. sean says:

    hellohave a look at my blog is on how to make money online,new website and much more.thanks

  34. Michelle says:

    Interesting article and a perfect example of the ‘authoritative lists’ posting that should be referred to by every newbie blog start-up!Many ta’sShellie

  35. Most of these are common sense but I guess you don’t really realize how those little details and tricks matters until you applied them. great post!N

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  37. Code Centre says:

    Hmm. I like this article since it gives me very useful blogging information and strategy. Though, some point may take more times, especially to make friends with other bloggers.Thanx

  38. A helpful article here. I love blogging so much and I love to share my knowledge and my interest through blogging. Of course, I want my blogs can have a lot of traffics and perhaps, with this tips, I can realize it.Thanks for your sharing.

  39. One of those posts you really should read when starting out blogging. Thanks for this, I am trying to apply numbers 1, 2, 5, 7 and 9 to my new blog.

  40. mepc says:

    Very useful post. Was wondering if there is a way of getting a decent post included/featured on wordpress.com?(As part of point 4. Submit to bigger blogs)

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  42. Mary Ann says:

    Thank you for the tips! I have a couple of follow up questions – what is a good way to find active/large blogs to leave comments on & try to establish a “relationship” with? Also, how does a new blogger find good message boards to get involved with?Thanks again :)

  43. S.E. Gordon says:

    Excellent points. I have a young blog and am trying to do this very thing. I’ve come to the realization that I need to get a better understanding of my target audience and improve my blog’s focus. Analyzing the current traffic to my site has been a real eye-opener as well.

  44. Nessa says:

    Great ideas to gain exposure. I just started a little lifestyle/humor blog that I am excited about but have very few readers. Will definitely be using some of the tips here! thanks.

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