How NOT To Promote Your Blog: 9 Wrong Approaches to Driving Traffic

There are a lot of ways to promote your blog.

In fact, the whole search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing worlds exist for that purpose.

You will never get tired of finding old or new ways to make your blog go viral.

However, using these “old” tactics could make your blog disappear from search engines rather than get you the traffic you were looking for.

For this reason,  I have decided to write a blog about how NOT to promote your blog.

See, when faced with the overload of information available at your fingertips for free, you cannot tell which information is good and which is bad.

Or worse, you may even be tempted to try them all.

After all, testing is the right way to find out what does or doesn’t work.

But why would you test something that has proven to fail time and time again?

It is only a waste of your time and energy. Instead, let’s focus on what works.

Below, I have listed out the many marketing tactics you should avoid using to promote your blog.

Let’s dive in:

1  – Publish and Pray:

a vector illustration of a man praying to promote his blog

I am starting this list with one of my own very first blogging mistakes. I used to publish blog posts on a weekly basis, and I would see no results for days.

Let me take a long shot here and guess that you are reading this article because you too have realized that publishing and praying doesn’t work?

You cannot spend all your time writing content and then spend literally no time  promoting it; at least not if you’re looking for a successful blog

You have to apply an extension of the Pareto Principle which states that 80 percent of a person’s  results come from 20 percent of the work, commonly referred to as 80/20 rule.

I’d like you to think about it this way, though:

Spend 40 percent of your time writing content and 60 percent promoting it.

If you are a highly skilled writer, then spend 20 percent writing and 80 percent promoting.

Either way, you have to make sure that you are spending–at the very least–as much time promoting your content as you spend writing it.

2 – Social Media Spamming:

vector illustration of all social media platforms you can use to promote your blog

If you are just starting out in the blogging world, you will probably have no other way of getting your content seen except by just putting it out there.

You decide to visit Facebook groups, Google+ communities; you may even try to spam LinkedIn as well.

However, instead of getting the traffic you wanted, this method got you kicked out of communities faster than you were welcomed.

Your blog links were also deleted before they could even be seen by members.

By following this tactic, all you will do is give your blog a bad reputation before it was even around long enough to get a positive one.

You will probably regret this as your blog gets more traction later.

You could be banned from groups and communities, which eventually means you will lose a lot of possibilities to get your content shared and seen by hundreds of people in one click.

How To Run Your Social Media Account:

Chances are your social media skills need improvement. You need to stop using social media for simple publicity and start using it for effective branding.

Instead of joining a Facebook group to share your latest blog, consider the alternative: Introduce yourself to the community and start providing value by answering questions and sharing tips from your own experience.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to write a blog post titled “I Provide Value. Here Are My Tips for You,” and share it with your group.

I mean that you should dive into the comment sections and give your opinion whenever it is possible.

You may have an existing blog post that answers those questions directly. You will be tempted to share it, but remember that there are some group rules you have to be aware of.

Before you share a link, whether in a new post or in a comment, ask the admins to approve it first. Respect their authority and build a good relationship with them. Most of the time, they are trying to keep their community as spam-free as possible.

When you request permission before acting, you immediately become a “good member” of the community.

Your links will be accepted, and maybe the admins will even share them with their private networks if they are worth it!

3 – Blog Commenting Spam:

There was a time in the internet’s short-existing world where you could spam the heck out of blogs with comments, and they would be counted as backlinks.

That time seems like 18,920,358 years ago now, as search engines have learned to dismiss those and blogs have spam filters now.

If you think that buying a Fiverr Gig is going to get your blog link in thousands of blogs in less than a day, you would be wrong.

And if you have done that recently, the next sentence is going to scare the heck out of you:

Google sees excessive blog comments as spam and gives manual penalization for that.

Your backlink profile will look too spammy for bots to ignore, and they will, without a doubt, ban your blog from search engine result pages.

Which means…

All of your SEO efforts will be thrown away.

How To Do Blog Commenting:

Don’t get me wrong, blog comments are very powerful… IF they are used the right way.

You can leverage the power of a comment to engage with other bloggers in your niche. Don’t try to sneak in a link to your website.

Just… don’t!

What you can do is add more value to the blog post in that comment. Find what the article is missing and discuss it.

Since your name will (without a doubt) be linked to your blog, your comment alone will be the reason why other readers may want to check you out.

Other than that, getting on bloggers’ radar is what will allow you to outreach when the right time comes. You will be less of a stranger than when your random email just pops up in their inbox.

In fact, Michael Pozdnev from IWannaBeABlogger has shared one of the best blogger outreach methods ever.

And guess what?

It’s all about writing a comment on a blog post. Read all about that technique in his article  1 Simple Blogger Outreach Case Study or How to Find Friends

4 – Fiverr (and other) Paid Traffic Gigs:

By saying paid traffic, I don’t mean ads (although that too is not a great way for new bloggers).

What I mean by paid traffic is  Fiverr Gig, for example, which promises you 70,548 visitors in a month.

What Is SEM? PPC & Paid Search Marketing Explained” by Search Engine Land should help explain the point I’m trying to make.

Just please, pretty please, don’t pay for this traffic. You can use that money for a lot more effective ways than paid traffic.

There are two reasons why this method will only fail you miserably:

  • This traffic is fake.
  • If by some miracle it is not fake, it’s not targeted.

You don’t want random robots visiting and leaving your website every second of the day. That will only slow down your website for actual visitors and web crawlers that are trying to index your page.

And, if you have thousands of non-well-targeted visitors, well… what’s the point?

You can’t monetize traffic that doesn’t care about you or your blog, and is just visiting because it’s what they were created to do..

You can say that you have ads running on your blog. The problem with that is that audience is usually from tier 3 countries that is too cheap for ads to bring revenue; let alone that they will probably be using ad blockers.

Therefore, you will not even gain anything from their visits.

In the end, here’s the bloody caveat:

If they start pogo-sticking (clicking on your link and quickly leaving the page), Google is going to notice. And they’ll send your blog down the rabbit hole where blogs go to die.

How to Use Paid Traffic:

I’ll keep it short and sweet:

Unless the traffic is real and targeted, don’t use paid traffic from Fiverr Gigs.

Just don’t!

You can, however, find relevant blogs that allow for sponsored ads and banners.

They already drive real traffic to their blogs, so you have a better chance of converting this audience rather than an automated and forced audience.

This can technically be considered another way of using paid ads, but that’s a matter of semantics.. As long as the traffic is real and can be monetized, you are on the right path.

5 – Publishing at Random:

Oh, I am having some bad flashbacks right now!

I once published 70 blog posts (1500-2000 words each) in the span of two months on my first site.

I had some help from friends who were just starting out as well. We thought we knew what we were doing, and we did it.

You can imagine how frustrated we were when we had no visitors for the whole two months.

We didn’t get any rankings, no leads, no subscribers… NOTHING!

And yet we kept publishing, hoping that someday this would all change.

But it didn’t.

Why? The answer is very simple:

It doesn’t matter how frequently you publish on your blog, rather, it’s how valuable the content is and how heavily you promote it.

We wrote average quality content at best and we didn’t do any content or blog promotion. We just published and published and published…

There are no results to show you here. They are non-existent.

How To Use A Publishing Frequency:

If you can put yourself to the challenge, just like Nikolay Straynov and Craig Campbell have, then you will be surprised at the outcome of a busy publishing schedule.

Or, you can take Neil Patel as an extreme example of non-stop publishing.

The results go totally against what I have said above:

  • More traffic to their blogs
  • More leads and clients
  • Higher rankings for their blogs overall

Yes! They did all that by publishing more frequently than they used to. However, there are a few ingredients missing from that recipe:

  • Great keyword and topic research before writing and promoting new content.
  • Domain age, trust, and authority play a role in their ranking.
  • Having an existing following, sharing and interacting with their new posts.

Basically, publishing more frequently is not just for new blogs. You won’t drive as many leads or get as much website traffic as you would if your blog had just launched. And you definitely aren’t going anywhere without some amazing keyword research skills.

Also, many attribute the surge in traffic to Google’s Freshness algorithm.

Basically, new content gets a boost at first. If it gets enough traction, links, and good quality score, it does stay in the first pages for longer time.

Best Example of a Publishing Frequency:

I have to use Moz’s Whiteboard Fridays as the best example.

As its name suggests, it is new content that you can expect every Friday.

And guess what? You do wait for it every Friday.

They publish regularly as Moz Blog is one of the biggest SEO blogs today.

However, their Whiteboard Friday is the most anticipated as it happens on a week-to-week basis.

6 – Intrusive Blogger Outreach:

Please don’t send an email to the biggest fish in your pond (blogging niche) asking for a share or a shout out.

They don’t know who you are, they have never interacted with you; why would they check your content out?

They know you are doing it for publicity, and they aren’t going to give you a boost.

There are a ton of bloggers you can easily reach out to using their contact forms, Twitter DMs, or Facebook Messenger. And yet,  why would you want to take such a cold strategy?

If an influencer has been blogging and internet marketing for a while, you should know they receive tons of emails daily.

They may open all their emails, but they definitely do not respond to all of them.

They pick and choose based on what’s in it for them.

Sharing your new blog post is pointless, and your email may have just wasted a minute of their time.

How to Do Blogger Outreach:

Remember that when you are using social media and blog comments right, you will have started the initial outreach phase.

You should think of outreaching to other bloggers in a three-phase strategy:

  • Phase 1: Get on their radars. Comment, share and tag them with their own content.
  • Phase 2: Interact and communicate in a public place. Find out where they hang out online and talk to them there.
  • Phase 3: Outreach to their RIGHT emails. You will have more luck getting a response if they have talked to you before.

Tim Soulo’s email outreach article will teach you a lot about how to do it the right. Be sure to check it out.

7 – Search Engine Over-Optimization:

SEOO is the art of making sure your website never gets seen in search engines. Not to be confused with SEO, the art of making sure your website gets ranked as high on the search engine results page (SERP)s as possible.

When you over optimize your website, Google bots and spiders won’t appreciate it..

You may think that this strategy will allow you to have an advantage over your competition, but you’d have to be living in 1995 to think that.

Search Engines have grown more intelligent than ever. The algorithms are smarter than you think.

Therefore, putting too many keywords in one article is not only a bad way to promote your blog, but it is a definite penalization waiting to happen.

  • If you try to hide keywords in files or cloak content, watch your blog tank.
  • Try to get a load of backlinks in a short time span and get yourself a manual penalization.
  • Try to fool the search engines and watch them fool you.

How to Do Search Engine Optimization:

In case you are still unfamiliar with SEO, you can download my ebook here or read my complete SEO for Beginners guide here. It will explain everything in detail to you.

But, for now, I’ll tell how to optimize your blog so that search engines will be happy to rank your content higher.

  • Write high-quality content that is around a topic and NOT a keyword.
  • Get quality, editorial and natural backlinks to your blog.
  • Make sure your blog offers a great user experience (UX).
  • Allow the search engines to crawl and index your website.

These four suggestions are not everything, but they are the basics of SEO in 2017, and they will be so for years to come.

Everything else is open to change any minute now. It only takes one algorithm update or release for the whole industry to change. Ask SEOs about 2013.

8 – Buying Email Lists:

vector illustration of email marketing as a way to promote a blog

There are lists of emails that you can buy on the internet and send your content to.

As simple as this may sound, the problem is very similar to the one for paid traffic.

This audience, although it is real,–is not well-targeted.

They don’t know who you are and they are upset that you have their email.

If they didn’t manually subscribe to your email list, you can be certain they will unsubscribe as soon as they see your email.

Your blog is strange to them. They don’t care about it, and they don’t want anything to do with it. So, don’t bother emailing them.

Some of them will blacklist your address or IP and mark you as a spam.

As a result, your future emails may fail to reach your potential customers. You will be marked as spam even before they have seen your emails.

How to do Email Marketing:

There is no way around this one; you will have to grow your own email list.

You must find a way to entice your audience to want to subscribe to your newsletter. For one reason or another, you want them to enter their names and emails into a signup form and click subscribe.

You will need their consent to subscribe so that you can email them without the fear of getting blacklisted or reported as spam.

The worst that could happen is they unsubscribe from your list. It’s okay, then. Just find another reason to sign them back.

There are many ways to grow an email list. You can learn about most of them in these articles:

9 – Press Releases:

What is the fastest way of getting backlinks from news sites in bulk?

Press Releases.

What is the fastest way of getting banned from search engines in 2017?

Backlinks in bulk.

It is that simple.

Sending out press releases is a short drive out of the SERPs. You may get referral traffic from news sites while your links are still in there, but organic traffic will drop like a plane whose pilot jumped out.

The exposure you will get is not worth the trouble you will deal with later when Google decides that your blog has violated its terms of service.

PR Best Practices:

public relations written on a screen as a possible method for blog promotion

There is a lot to benefit from proper PR, if you know how to use the power of public relations to promote your blog. At the end of the day, a PR department does the best job at building links. They just don’t do it with SEO in mind.

In your case, you can write the press releases with valuable content, optimize them for SEO, and then send them away.

Not only that, but a good practice would be to have these links in a no-follow tag. Google bots usually honor the no-follow tag and don’t penalize blogs for these links.

Since you are looking for exposure and more traffic, an organized PR campaign will get you those desired traffic numbers without killing your chances of ranking in the search engine result pages.

Conclusion:

These were my nine suggestions on how not to promote your blog. I wouldn’t just say, ”Don’t do this!” without giving you a better way to benefit from these techniques.

Don’t be fooled, however; what might work for you, may not work for somebody else.

And just because you know someone who’s bought backlinks and didn’t get a penalized for it, that doesn’t mean you should also do it.

Pick and choose which techniques are the best to promote your blog and test them out. If they fail, they fail. If they succeed, you will get your desired results.

 

Let me know in the comments down below what you think of these nine  non-blog promotion techniques

I’d be happy to learn more about other techniques that aren’t a good practice. So, feel free to drop me a line.

 

Don’t forget to share this article with your friends!

 

Until next time,

Happy Blogging!


6 comments

  1. You’ve nailed it with this article Youness!

    The point about buying traffic on fiverr that screws with your bounce rate is something I think most people just can’t grasp to start with unfortunately. I know I was guilty of that.

    I’m gonna give this article a tweet 👍

  2. Great article!!

    The whole marketing thing I’m still having a hard time. I usually blog 2-4 times a week. And get stress out if I only blog one time a week. I realize I don’t put enough time aside to market my blog

    Granted, I’m better at marketing my posts than I was a few years ago. But, I need to do the whole 20/80 rule and the 40/50 rule with my posts.

    I’m going to try that out. Just do 1-2 posts a week and spending my time marketing the posts out.

  3. Thank you for this very useful post! I am exactly in the situation of building my own blog and I am at the stage of thinking how to promote it! It gave me the more genuine solutions to promo.
    Thumbs up 👍🏻

  4. Very interesting for me, I’m still totally inexpert in SEO and promoting and I will surely follow your precious tips! Thank you for sharing with your readers your experiences!

  5. Thank you for this.

    I expect to return to your words of wisdom many times. I am particularly impressed with how you incorporate good manners and civility into your approach. Sometimes it seems those things have vanished from the world so nice to find it here.

    Not being a spring chicken, I haven’t made a lot of the mistakes & gaffes that you mention–not because I was wise, just because I didn’t know they existed. I have been promoting my blog in a very organic way and, while I never expect to go viral, it has been quite rewarding.

    Thank you for sharing your work and your voice, Amy

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