You start a blog, create great content and wait for the floods of visitors that will soon become part of your community.
There’s a trickle, but nothing like you expected.
I experienced the same thing and there were times when I thought I was never going to get the traffic that I was hoping for.
Then everything changed.
I found the right combination of tactics and the all-important tools that helped me use those tactics to rapidly accelerate my blog’s growth.
In this post I’m going to show you some incredibly effective tools that you can use to do the same thing for your blog – most of them are free.
Are you ready to accelerate your blog’s growth?
Let’s get started!
1. Identify influencers and top performing content with BuzzSumo
If you’re serious about growing your blog, you need to do up front research to pave the way for rapid growth.
It’s essential to answer two questions early on:
- Who are the people that influence my target audience?
- What content is performing best for my competitors and other blogs in my niche?
With BuzzSumo you can easily find answers to both of these questions. No dipping and diving between different platforms, just type in research terms and you’ll have answers in minutes.
The results are limited on the free version but the data it gives can still prove incredibly insightful.
Price: Starts from free, unlock additional features from $99/month
2. Improve your headlines with CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer
I’ve been using the EMV Headline Analyzer to help me write better headlines but there was always a limit to how much you could get out of it.
Then the CoSchedule team put together a new headline analyzer that took things to the next level.
Instead of just getting a simple score and type of emotion, this tool goes into:
- Word balance
- Headline type
- Previews in search and email subject lines
- And more
There’s also links to helpful articles that explains each section in depth and how you can use it to write better headlines.
3. Use Ninja Outreach to find influencers and manage the outreach process
Blogger outreach is one of the most effective tactics you can use to grow your blog.
The great thing is that there are so many ways to use this, right from pitching a guest post or inviting an influencer to take part in an interview.
The problem is that it’s difficult to keep track of after a while. You can manage it with spreadsheets but the truth is they aren’t really designed for it.
You need a tool to manage each stage of the outreach process, right from research to contacting other bloggers.
This is where Ninja Outreach comes in; it’s a new tool that makes every stage of outreach easier.
I particularly like that it pulls in a lot of engagement metrics, not just typical SEO metrics.
At the time of writing this post, it’s only just out of beta so we should see some great feature enhancements.
Price: Starts from $19/month
Note: If you want to find out how to write better outreach emails, read this post.
4. Create eye-catching visuals with Canva
If you want your blog to stand out, you need to focus more on visual content to enhance your blog posts.
It used to be that you would have to buy software like Photoshop and spend a long time learning how to use it if you wanted to create better visuals.
But now you don’t have to, thanks to free tools like Canva.
Canva is extremely easy to use, just pick a template or enter custom dimensions and you can start creating your own images right away.
Any of the existing design templates come with a variety of ready-made layouts for you to customize – these are great for inspiration.
There are plenty of icons, backgrounds and images that come with Canva to help you create awesome visuals.
Price: Free with option to buy cheap stock images within the platform ($1 each)
5. Find interview opportunities using MyBlogU
To create a popular blog you need to focus on growing your audience and becoming more visible in your niche, making yourself available to be interviewed or contribute to group interviews is a great way to do this.
The problem is that it’s difficult to find these opportunities when you first get started.
That’s where MyBlogU comes in; it’s a great community of bloggers where you can easily find interview opportunities.
You can also list your own interviews/group interviews and invite other bloggers to contribute; this is another way to grow your audience.
When someone contributes to a piece of content, they’re already invested in it and they’re far more likely to share it with their audience. And it’s a great tool to help you network.
6. Get cheap, relevant and engaged traffic using Outbrain
Have you ever seen those recommended links at the bottom of articles on sites like CNN, Slate and Fast Company etc?
You can get your articles displayed in those recommended links – it’s one of the cheapest ways to get paid traffic that’s relevant and engaged.
Using tools like Outbrain you can import your posts, select how much you’re willing to pay per click and wait till the traffic starts pouring in.
The more you pay per click, the faster you’ll get the traffic but I have managed to get clicks as low as $0.05 – that’s incredible when you compare it to other paid traffic like StumbleUpon and Google AdWords etc.
The price will likely vary slightly depending on your niche and it depends on how enticing your headline is. And the more enticing, the better but deliver the promise your headline makes.
Price: Clicks as cheap as $0.05, minimum $10 budget
7. Build your following using your email signature with WiseStamp
If you use email a lot and don’t have a signature, you could be missing a great opportunity to build your following.
In the past I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to design my own email signatures and usually ended up not using them at all.
The truth is that in that time I’ve conversed with 100s, maybe 1,000s of people in that time and I could have been using those emails to drive traffic to my content and social networks.
With WiseStamp you can quickly put together your own smartly designed and well-optimized email signature.
You can use it to share important information about yourself, links to social profiles, your latest posts via an RSS feed and so much more.
It connects directly to the likes of Gmail or you can copy and paste your signatures into clients like Outlook.
There are plenty more widgets you can use as well, for example:
- Custom HTML
- QR vCard
- Random quotes
- Latest tweets
- And much more
Price: Free with branding or $4/month billed annually to remove branding and unlock full features
8. Expand your reach and network with other bloggers using Triberr
You need to network with other bloggers. One of my favorite tools for this is Triberr, a social networking platform for bloggers; we could also call it the “reach multiplier” because that’s exactly what it can do for your blog.
You can use it to network with other bloggers, find awesome content to share and get more eye-balls on your own content at the same time.
It all starts with tribes:
- Add your blog and RSS feed
- Find a relevant tribe
- Share their content
- Ask to be promoted to a full member so other members will see your content in their tribal stream
You can create your own tribe too and invite other bloggers in your niche to join up.
Triberr works on the reciprocity principle – you share my stuff and I’ll share yours. Don’t feel that you have to share everything though, share what will vibe with your audience.
Price: Free but paid plans are available for extra awesomeness
9. Easily schedule social messages using Buffer
Sometimes you just need a tool to help you schedule social messages, Buffer is perfect for this; it’s one of the easiest scheduling tools that I’ve found so far.
The way it works is you pick a schedule for your social updates, so you might want 5 updates to be shared to your Twitter every day (you can specify times).
You then just load content into your Buffer account and it will publish the next update in accordance with your schedule.
You can schedule your updates from within the platform or you can install the Chrome extension and share directly from your content (or other people’s content).
Price: Starts from free
Over to you
It’s time to start growing your audience, there’s a lot of tools in this list so go on and see how much of a difference they can make for your blog.
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