All the promotion in the world won’t build a thriving audience if your content sucks. Truly incredible content, products or services can be your best marketing tool. Everything you do online has to start with creating something incredible.
Don’t be afraid to say what everyone else is thinking but not saying. Other people are probably thinking about it too, and they’ll love you for being brave enough to say something.
Be everywhere (as my friend Pat Flynn likes to say). Make videos, create a podcast, represent on different social media platforms.
Write guest articles for other blogs. This is still one of the most effective and underused strategies for building your own audience. Just do it and stop making excuses. Start with this complete overview of how to land guest posting spots by Glen Allsopp.
When someone comes to your site, you have to answer the question they’ll be asking themselves: “why should I spend any time on this site instead of one of the dozens of other sites I already know and love?” You have to answer this question quickly, clearly and compellingly. Your Unique Selling Proposition is the key to making your case. If you don’t have a USP, it’s time to get one. Start with our guide to finding your USP.
Keep Them Coming Back
The best audience is a captive one. Instead of constantly relying on other sources of traffic, create your own by getting your visitors to subscribe for updates from you (focus on email first, social media second).
Directly ask people to subscribe once in a while. Tell ‘em what’s in it for them.
In your welcome email for new subscribers, point them to your social media profiles so they can connect with you in different ways.
Optimize the heck out of your email sign-up offer. Try placing email sign-up boxes in different places (in your header, sidebar, within posts, end of posts or footer). Try changing the wording, button label, call to action and offer. See what works best over time. Just keep the best interests of your audience in mind and don’t do anything you don’t appreciate yourself.
Make it Pretty(ier) and More Functional
Your site’s design matters more than you think. If you have a crappy looking design, you’re missing out because too many of your hard earned visitors are leaving before they read your incredible content.
Design for function. What do you want your site to achieve? You want to hook your visitors and keep them coming back. Design with the end goal in mind.
Use social proof. New visitors are looking for clues about whether your site is worth spending time on. Use validation (in the form of metrics, testimonials, “as seen in” logos, etc.) to reinforce your value.
Make it easy for people to share your content (try using a plugin like Digg Digg, for example).
Play Nice with the Search Engines (SEO)
Optimize your headline and content URL for the search engines. Use the Google Keyword Tool to find popular keywords. Don’t worry about optimizing your content. Write for humans like normal but use keywords in your headline and content URL.
Make your site as fast as possible. Site speed is now a factor in search rankings, and a faster site will keep more people from leaving before your page loads. Consider moving to a faster webhost and leverage caching (if you’re on WordPress try using a caching plugin like Quick Cache).