Probably one of the worst and most discouraging things in blogging is to know that your competition gets much more traffic than you do, even if they’re not as experienced or haven’t had their blog up for as long as you have. Looking at your competition and realizing how much better they are than you is one of those things that brings you close to wanting to simply drop everything and quit Internet marketing.
But never fear! Just remember that if they can do it, so can you. Like as not, they’ve probably done these seventeen very important things to make their blog work, while you didn’t. Follow up on these, and you might just find yourself nosing ahead in the race pretty soon.
1. They’ve Analyzed Their Competition
They know who their competition is. They know how their competition works, and what makes them tick. They’ve researched everything about it, and done everything they can to make sure that they prey on their competition’s weaknesses, and copy their strengths.
If you haven’t analyzed your competition yet, then it’s high time you did. Once you track your competitors, that’s when you can destroy them and leave ’em in the dust in the SERPs.
Here’s a comprehensive guide on analyzing your competition to get you started.
2. They’re Proactive On Social Media
Considering that 25% of the seven billion – that’s nearly 2,000,000,000 people – use social networks (eMarketer), branching out into social media just might be a good idea. Scratch that. It IS a good idea – one of the best decisions you could ever make for traffic to your online business.
When I started out on my own blog, nearly 60% of my traffic came from social networks (the majority of which came from Twitter). Although the Twitter traffic didn’t convert nearly as well as SEO or referral traffic, it still got the job done to boost my Alexa rank and more importantly, give me, a newbie, confidence to go on.
If you’re gonna do social media marketing, make sure you do it right. Social media is just one of those things that can backfire if you offend someone or some group of people. Additionally, there’s a fine line between promotion and spamming. Make sure you stay on the white side of that line.
3. They Hired A Professional SEO Service
There are some things you just CAN’T do manually. A complete SEO package is one of them. If you don’t have the hours or the skills it takes to make a blog shine in SERPs, hand the job over to someone who does (yes, that means doling out your hard-earned cash).
An SEO service takes care of everything for you – onpage & offpage optimization, keyword placement, anchor text, etc. They go over your site with a fine-toothed brush taking care of things that you might have never thought about, even though they play a big role in Google’s algorithms.
Psst! Ours is one of the finest search engine optimization services out there!
4. They Regularly Publish High Quality Content
And remember – they’re not just publishing any ol’ content. Every single time, they’re actually adding value to the blogosphere. They only send out high quality stuff – not the boring, repeated trash that you’ll find on most “generic” blogs. They put a new light on old subjects, and constant come up with innovative new headlines that people actually want to read.
They have a posting schedule, and they stick to it like glue, come what may.
5. They Guest Post
Guest posting has been proven again and again to be one of the fastest ways to grow new blogs into high authority Internet resources that command respect from a huge, devoted readership. Guest posting leverages the targeted traffic of an existing popular blog and channels that traffic to your own.
Even though landing guest posts and actually writing them are quite a bit of work (especially if you go after the popular blogs right from the get go), the results make it all worth it. Ryan Biddulph from Cash With A True Conscience reported a spike of 20,000 visitors after publishing a guest post on ProBlogger, as well as seven times the visit-to-subscriber conversion rate. Even one guest post can have a huge impact on your blog, as Ryan saw. With that in mind, just think about what ten guest posts across popular blogs could do…
Your competitors make it a point to guest post, get out of their own little shell on the blogosphere, and get noticed on the popular blogs. They leverage each and every guest post to the maximum. Copy them.
6. They Use Multiple Streams Of Traffic
SEO is great. But you know what’s better? SEO AND forum marketing AND social media marketing AND guest posting AND content syndication AND solo ads, etc.
Relying on one single source of traffic is one of the most foolish things you could ever do (unless you’re buying traffic, in which case that isn’t much of a problem). If that traffic source was to somehow fail, you’re sunk. I always say if there’s any ONE thing that can make or break your blog, then you’re doing everything wrong and need to completely rewrite your game plan.
Your competition doesn’t just rely on Google for their traffic. They’re also heavily into YouTube, blog commenting, forum marketing, and the works. Are you gonna be left behind?
7. They Set Goals
Your competition has set specific goals. They know what they want to achieve, be it a specific number of monthly visitors, conversions, subscribers, sales or dollar dollar bills y’all.
They know exactly where they are headed, and they know exactly what they want to do with their blog. Not having a game plan is like trying to win a rugby game without a play. You have no strategy.
If you haven’t created your goals yet, drop everything (even stop reading this post – but don’t forget to come back) and do so. Get out the old-fashioned pen and paper, and list ten things you want to see your blog do in the next month. Ten things in the next six months. In the next year. In the next 5 years, and so on.
8. They Have A Work-Till-Ya-Drop Mentality
Setting goals is only the start – there’s no point to it if you just write it down on a piece of paper, stick it in a file folder, and never see it again. You’ve gotta put in the work and time it takes to achieve those goals.
Your competitors work. And they work hard. They knew from the start that blogging, Internet marketing, and traffic generation wasn’t about “push button traffic”, traffic exchanges or anything of the sort that promises you hundreds of thousands of visitors a day with one hour of work a day.
Traffic generation doesn’t work like that. You have to work, and you have to work hard.
9. They Didn’t Get Discouraged
The problem that most newbies have is that they when they don’t see results immediately, as in the first day, they quit. They falsely believe that blogging just “isn’t for them” and only the “pros” would ever be able to get traffic.
Now let’s be honest. Your very first day, you probably won’t see a single visitor. You might not even get that first one to your site the whole first week. In most cases, you’ll take a good few months if you want to get anywhere close to that elusive 1,000 visits per day.
Your competition realized that right from the get go, and they didn’t worry about the lack of results in the beginning. They decided to pick up and just keep on doing what they had to do, and they were rewarded because of that in the long term.
10. They Engage With Their Community
You’ve got to give your community a reason to stay – otherwise, you might as well say bye bye to traffic and hello to a high bounce rate. Luckily for them, your competition engages their visitors. They build a community around their blog. They’re active in the comment section. They reply to user questions and they actually respond to contact form submissions.
11. They Make Return Visitors & Recycling Traffic A High Priority
In my book, a returning visitor is one of the highest achievements you could ever get to. The fact that somebody left your site, but decided to come back a day or two later to learn more speaks volumes about any site.
Your competition made return visitors a priority. They did everything they could to recycle their traffic – building an e-mail list, setting up an RSS feed, tweeting their links to their social media followers, etc.
And, most importantly, your competition gave visitors a reason to come back.
12. They’re Not Afraid To Invest
You have to have money to make money.
It’s not a lie. If you buy traffic (PPC campaigns with Google AdWords, direct advertising on similar sites, social media advertising, solo ads) you’ll get where you need to be a lot quicker for quite a few reasons:
The traffic is super-targeted, meaning you’ll get more conversions, more sales, and ultimately more revenue.
There’s no limit to the amount of traffic you can get – it all depends on your budget.
Once you find that you’re getting a comfortable ROI on a traffic investment (you spend $20 on traffic and earn $30 in sales), all you need to do is up your daily budget and suddenly, you’re rolling in cash.
Your competition wasn’t afraid to invest in traffic, a custom design, the fastest hosting possible, and everything else that makes a good website great.
13. They Create A Buzz Around Their Brand
Branding is quickly becoming one of the most important things in search engine marketing – Google rewards the sites that have built a brand around their blog/website. An excellent example of this Pat Flynn’s SmartPassiveIncome. In a few years, he’s becoming one of the biggest names in the Internet marketing industry, having built the SPI brand and gone to extreme lengths to create a huge buzz around it.
Do everything you can to make your blog more than just a blog. There are over 150 million blogs in existence today. Make yours a brand, and you’re suddenly in the next level up.
Your competition realized the importance of branding, while you still haven’t. Get on it today.
14. They’re Here To Help
Face it – the only reason you and me (and everybody else) started our blogs is to make money online. Fact.
Making money and “dollar dollar bills y’all” is probably the major driving force behind all your online efforts. Truth be known, there’s nothing wrong in that.
But don’t just be here for the money and nothing else. Whenever you take someone else’s money (a customer buys an (affiliate) product), make sure they’re getting their money’s worth in return. And, if they ever need help, make sure you’re only an e-mail away.
That’s what your competition has done and they’ve reaped the benefits of it in terms of traffic, sales, and revenue.
15. They’ve Identified Their Target Market
Your competition isn’t just aimlessly wandering around trying to find anybody and everybody interested in their niche. They’ve laser-targeted their efforts into a single specific group of people which bring them much more conversions than what they would get if they focused on the entire market.
On the other hand, you’ve foolishly focused on not just one specific subniche, but you’ve tried to go after the whole entire thing. Problem is, you’ve just become a generic blog focused on a generic topic, like 90% of the other blogs in your niche/market.
16. They’re All Over The Place
Your competition doesn’t just stay in their own little shell of a blog. They branch out. They make connections. They meet other bloggers and they build connections and relationships with the masters of their niche.
They comment on relevant blogs. Their feed is syndicated all over the place. Wherever you turn you see them.
This does two things. Firstly, it brings in a boatload of traffic since they’re all over the Internet and not just sitting waiting for traffic in one little corner. Secondly, they’re building that brand buzz.
Get out of your own little shell, and go meet new people!
17. They Took Action
Internet marketing forums are great. Traffic forums – awesome. There’s a ton of information in those forums and on other blogs about how to generate traffic, recycle it, and make money from it.
But if all you do is sit there and read, read, read and read some more, the end result is that you have a lot of knowledge, but you never take action. There’s no point in knowing the ins and outs of online business and traffic generation if you don’t put them to use.
Your competition took action just as soon as they had enough information to go on. Yes, they made mistakes, but they were able to recover quickly and keep on going, no matter what.
This Isn’t An Insult
This isn’t an insult, so don’t take it as such. This is merely a wake up call to all the webmasters and bloggers out there. These seventeen things your competition does better than you is something that you need to reign in and master yourself. Take action. Get out of your shell. Build your brand. Create a buzz.
Generate traffic. Make money.