If you're hoping for a "Blog it and they will come" field of dreams, you can forget that. Recent statistics from blog search engine Technorati show that a new blog hits the Internet every 7.8 seconds! Sheesh, talk about having to rise above the noise level to be heard, how in the world are you going to get eyeballs glued to your blog when there is so much competition out there?
Unlike e-zine subscriptions or autoresponder mailings, it's not the quantity of visitors that counts, it's the quality of the visitors as well as how often they return to continue reading your blog.
Quality, in this case, refers to how often they click on revenue-generating links in your blog and how often they buy something that you're blogging about. Of course, if you're operating an altruistic blog that has no revenue-generating features, then you are only concerned about how often the readers return to bask in the illumination of your knowledge, expertise, biting sarcasm or humor.
Either way, those are the two measurements of a successful blog. Now don't get me wrong, the number of readers is important, of course, but it's better to have 1,000 faithful readers who return regularly than it is to have 5,000 readers who come once and you never see them again after that.
There is no free traffic!
I love when bloggers say "I won't pay for traffic. I can get it for free". Nothing is "free" my friend. You will either pay for traffic with money or you will pay for traffic with your time. Neither way is "free".
So what you have to do is decide which of these situations describe you best:
A) You have more money than time.
If you are so blessed, then you need to develop an advertising plan to help you spend your money wisely. An advertising plan requires you to research the different advertising programs that are available, study the demographics of the traffic that you'll be receiving, make a budget, set up test purchases and analyze the final results.
Well, you don't HAVE to develop an advertising plan. You can always just throw money at different potential solutions and hope for the best. If you do that enough times then you will automatically end up in the "B" category of "more time than money" because all of your money will be gone and you still won't have any traffic.
B) You have more time than money.
You've got a great blog going, the few people who show up already absolutely love it, but you're in a financial crunch. Is there any hope for you?
Yep, there's plenty of hope. What you'll need though is a lot on ingenuity and the time to turn your smarts into traffic. Believe it or not, you should still develop an advertising plan because even though you're not spending cash, you are spending time. Time IS money and if you waste time then you're wasting opportunities to get traffic to your site.
No matter which way you end up paying for your traffic, time or money, you should first make an investment in buying some "knowledge" from people who have already been there, done that and got the T-shirt. That way you can spend less and get more bang for your buck or your time.