This post is by Shane MeLaugh of imimpact.com.
Imagine if this traffic screenshot was yours:
Of course, your traffic levels might be more or less depending on the size of your blog and how long you’ve been blogging, but the purpose of this post is to show you how to double your blog traffic—while getting paid to do it.
The above screenshot reflects traffic to my previous blog two years ago, at its infancy. Then I made a simple change and something significant happened.
Here’s exactly what happened:
- I doubled my blog traffic almost overnight and it kept growing every month.
- I was able to build a sizeable mailing list.
- I made a total of over $100,000 in a two-year period because of this simple change.
Watch this short video to see what the change was, that caused this increase in traffic:
Yes, that’s it. One product resulted in big increase in traffic and a very healthy income, all at the same time.
You’ve probably read several articles on increasing blog traffic, but you’ll rarely hear people tell you to create a product to increase your blog traffic.
Creating a product is often seen as something that’s difficult to do, so many bloggers shy away from even trying.
By creating a product however, you’ll be able to:
- grow your blog traffic
- build your expertise
- build a strong email list
- make a lot of money.
I’ll be explaining more about how to do this later in this post.
I’m Shane Melaugh from imimpact.com and the result I’m sharing above was from two years ago. Does that mean it doesn’t work anymore? Absolutely not. Product creation continues to be my main method for increasing traffic to my websites and it works better than ever. The reason I’m sharing a case study from two years ago is because:
- this was my first attempt, with no experience or leverage, so anybody can do it
- I had a relatively new blog with no email list, few connections and little traffic
- it works wonders, but it seems no one ever talks about this method.
Why creating a product is the best way to increase your blog traffic
Your blog is never too small to create a product. In fact, if I were to start again from scratch I’d create a product, even with no existing traffic at all.
1. You give people an incentive to market your business
The best way to grow your blog is by getting support from other bloggers and marketers in your field and the best way to get this support is by creating a product.
No blogger will send an email promoting that awesome blog post you wrote to a list of 10,000 subscribers no matter how great your blog post is. However, many bloggers will happily send one or several emails to their list promoting your product if it’s a good enough product and they know they’ll get affiliate commissions.
Instead of just linking to you out of goodwill, they can promote you, knowing that it helps their audience, it helps you and it also helps them earn some money.
2. You establish your blog with the right readers
What’s better to have: a blog with 1,000 monthly visitors or a blog with 10,000 monthly visitors?
You bet it’s the blog with 10,000 visitors, right?
Wrong (sometimes, at least).
It’s not just about traffic quantity, but also about traffic quality. You can have thousands of visitors who don’t engage with your content, don’t share your content, don’t leave comments—they just eat up your bandwidth. Or you can have a small group of highly engaged fans who give you feedback and spread your message through social media.
The great thing about selling a product and getting affiliate promotions is that it adds customers to your mailing list and to your blog readership. Happy customers are some of the most engaged and helpful readers you’ll ever have.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take 1,000 happy customers over 10,000 anonymous browsers any day of the week.
3. You build a business, not a blog
These are two very different things that are easily confused.
There’s a huge difference between building a blog of 10,000 monthly visitors in two years before creating a product and building a blog with the same 10,000 visitors in the same two years’ time while making $100,000. The difference is that the first one is a blog while the latter is a business.
4. Most bloggers won’t dare to do this
This approach is unlike guest blogging, article marketing, or SEO. It isn’t something you can easily do. To succeed, you have to commit yourself and think long term and this is why most bloggers won’t even dare to create their own products.
Releasing a product was an effective way to grow your blog two years ago, it’s effective today and it will be, for a long time to come. You’re doing something that’s “difficult” and so you have less competition.
“The fishing is best where the fewest go, and the collective insecurity of the world makes it easy for people to hit home runs while everyone else is aiming for base hits. There is just less competition for bigger goals.”
A 4-step plan to creating your own traffic-boosting product
I recently released a free comprehensive one-hour video and case study report that explains the process behind my six-figure launch, but here’s a summary of the steps I took to create my first product.
Step #1: Market and product research
Creating a successful product isn’t about thinking and creating a product based on the first idea that pops into your head; you need to research who your audience is, what kind of product they want, where they hang out, the exact terms they use, and how much they’re willing to pay.
Creating a generic product in a popular niche won’t work. It’ll be more effective to create a solution to a very specific problem rather than trying to cater to all the problems your readers experience.
In my own case, I observed during my research that a major problem my audience face is getting traffic; after further research, I observed that most of them have problems with SEO and that the most challenging problem for them when it comes to SEO was building backlinks.
There was the idea for the product I needed to create!
How to research
Researching what your audience wants can be very complicated if you’re a newbie without a strong audience, but this doesn’t always have to be a problem. Here are a few ways you can research to find out what your audience want:
- Try gathering feedback on industry related forums where you’re already active.
- Conduct a survey with your existing audience, no matter how small, or get support from fellow bloggers to send the survey to their audience.
- Offer free products, in the form of an ebook or multimedia, to gauge response and feedback to see how people will respond to a similar paid offer.
- Help people one-on-one, via Skype or email, to find out what their major challenges are; this will also reveal exact terms and key words they use and this can be very powerful marketing material.
Step #2: Create your product
Your product doesn’t have to be high-end or massive for you to get results.
You can create a product in an afternoon, then sell it for a few bucks and grow your audience at the same time. A perfect example of this approach was implemented by Becker and documented in a recent guest post here. One example he cited was creating a $5 product and selling 6,000 copies, gaining 6,000 new subscribers as a result.
While that kind of thing can work, the approach I took was to create a high-end product.
This took me a few weeks of effort and research, but it was well worth it. I focused on making the product of very high quality, and constant updates were added in its lifetime. The focus with this product was to make it so valuable that buyers would become lifetime fans.
Step #3: Create an affiliate program
Getting affiliates to promote your product will be a huge part of making it successful.
Once your product is unique and of great quality, you’ll experience success by getting affiliates to help you sell it; you’ll be able to make money and grow your network at the same time.
Luckily, it’s very easy to set up an affiliate program for your product these days. You can simply list your product on an existing affiliate platform/marketplace and everything else is taken care of.
Step #4: Market your product
Creating a product is not a substitute for marketing.
There are various ways to go about marketing your product. Here are some ideas.
1. Viral marketing
The best kind of traffic you can get is viral traffic. In this context, I’m not talking about “going viral” in terms of getting a huge windfall of traffic, but the kind of traffic that self-perpetuates.
You can’t make something go viral, but you can create systems where traffic always leads to more traffic, even if it’s on a very small scale.
For example, I offered a discount on the price of my product. But customers could only access this discount by tweeting a link to my sales page or sharing it on Facebook. This didn’t lead to a massive flood of traffic, but it kept traffic coming in and it lead to extra sales and extra exposure. I explain more about this and another “mini-viral” traffic method in my case study report.
2. Solo ads
I purchased a few solo ads, which are just paid emails to other people’s mailing lists. This helped get some initial momentum for my product launch and contributed to the total sales made, as well.
3. Affiliate traffic
This will be the most powerful aspect of your marketing. The idea is to get other bloggers and marketers with a huge list and audience to promote your product. An affiliate doesn’t need to have a product to promote your product.
There are three very important steps to benefiting from affiliate traffic and they are:
- Sell a great product.
- Ensure your product is highly specific; very few people will promote generic products since these products are everywhere and they’ll have gotten a lot of offers to promote them but no one can resist promoting a specific, “new” kind of product.
- Try to get as many affiliates as possible on board; the more the merrier. You should expect a lot of affiliates not to take you up on your offer but the more people you contact the higher your chances of success. This isn’t about the numbers, though; make sure your affiliates don’t lack in quality and quantity.
In almost 2,000 words, I believe this post contains all you need to know about getting paid to double your blog traffic. But if you still have questions, let me know in the comments.
Shane Melaugh is an Irish guy from Switzerland. He owns imimpact.com, a blog about increasing the bottom line for online business owners by creating unique and compelling offers, growing web site traffic and maximising conversions.