Business Blog: From Zero To 40,000 Visitors In Under 6 Months Using 'Social Hubs'
In this post, I will give you a very robust traffic generation system using 'social hubs' and it will allow you to get 'instant' traffic to your business site.
It is one of over 200 strategies and tactics I have used to gain consistent traffic to my sites and have them found by the right people. In the last few years I have been on national radio to 8 million listeners, gained my clients national press coverage, been in publications read by millions and I now write for an audience of over 40,000 people each month, all from the combined power of blogging, SEO and social media and all with zero paid advertisements.
In this post, I will break down for you how I got 40,000 visitors to a new business blog in under five months and tell you what 'social hubs' are and how to find them.
I was not always good at blogging, in fact, I was terrible. I started out with only a few readers each month to my blog.
Here is an example from an old site and it shows just how bad I was getting only one visit in July 2012 to a site. It was that same month that I had a kind of 'genius moment' and that changed what I did forever.
Back in July 2012 I was fed up of getting hardly any readers of my work, and I had an idea that would help me to generate more blog visits. The results of that experiment are below. A nice 285,000 page views in the last few years to a site that I do not write on very often. This was all down to the use of 'social hubs' along with good SEO.
What is a Social Hub and How Will It Help My Business Blog?
The moment that changed my blogging ability was when I found what I call 'Social Hubs' and I have used them ever since.
What Is a Social Hub?
A social hub is simply a 'centre of activity' that exists on the web. It is an engaged and focused collection of people around a particular subject, be it blogging, home decorating or whatever you can imagine. These days there are hubs for everything. Hubs can be found on Facebook, LinkedIN, Google+, forums and numerous other platforms. It is not the platform that makes a hub special it is the group of people and how they interact with each other.
I will tell you how to use and find social hubs in this article, but first I need to give you background on how I discovered them.
My background is pretty unusual in the fact that I was a police officer for 17 years and for a long time I was involved in Covert Intelligence gathering. It sounds far more James Bond than it was, but I was in the business of buying information for the police to use. A lot of it was about drug dealers, car thieves or burglars. However, the work was very much based on communities. Even though I worked in a city that had about 300,000 people, the communities within it were very small. These estates acted like mini towns. A lot had their own shops, Doctors surgeries, vets, betting shops and every other type of service you could imagine. People really didn't need to leave their area if they didn't want to, and a lot didn't.
My work involved building relationships with people and finding people who could provide intel. As a result, I got to understand the psychology of how people communicate with others and how they build relationships with others. In many
One thing that always crept up in my work was that people enjoy small, tight-knit groups. From little pubs, Cafes, community centres even street corners. People go there and talk, share interests and socialise. These places were 'hubs' of activity.
After months of having no success on-line with my articles, the penny dropped, and immediately I realised that just as people in real life liked to be in small groups or hubs. To get more readers, I realised I needed to go out and find those 'hubs' of people on the web. Basically finding the people that would like to read my blog.
From that day on my blogging results dramatically changed.
I made a decision that I needed to find the right readers for my work and these readers would logically be in 'hubs' on the internet. Just like how I learned how people communicated in the real world. I just needed to go out and find people on the web.
In essence, I went from the trying to be heard on the web among hundreds of blogs, to wanting to be heard by people who I know would enjoy my work.
This is all a social hub is. It is just like that small Cafe or pub on an estate. It is a place where people connect in small numbers digitally, don't worry I will break it all down for you and explain why these little groups can be better than huge pages on networks such as Facebook.
Is this better than SEO?
SEO is a complex subject, but let's be clear, SEO isn't easy, and it takes time. If you have a site, it pays to invest in SEO. However, not all businesses exist in industries where Keywords for that type of business get huge amounts of traffic. As you will see in the case study, I will provide you. The sites product is based on the word 'Uchikomi' that gets 590 searches per month on Google. For those that don't know 'Uchikomi' is a Japanese word related to the sport of Judo. My client has a product in that niche but even with a page 1 ranking 590 searches per month is not going to produce millions of sales, or expose their site to lots of people.
You might also have this same problem, perhaps you are in an industry that others find boring, or there just aren't many searches on Google each month. This tactic isn't better than SEO, this is actually part of SEO, but it is a supportive process. If you run a business, you want results straight away and SEO doesn't give you those results immediately. SEO takes time, in contrast as you will see, social hubs have immediate results if you follow my steps.
The Importance of Instant Site Visitors
On a side topic, I want to explain just why this strategy is so useful and why it is important to get instant visits to your blog.
I nearly gave up on blogging when I got zero visitors. I would sit down and write and get a few readers. That's tough. You write 50 or so posts and get a handful of readers, it hurts, and if you are paid by your company to blog, the boss is not going to be happy when you tell him you had 11 readers of your latest post.
Using social hubs is a way to get instant traffic and mentally seeing your post being read is a huge boost and helps keep you writing and the boss happy.
The Business Blog CASE Study
My client for this case study is Neil Adams MBE. He is a Judo player, coach and commentator. A former world champion and a two times Olympic medal winner. The site is www.effectivejudo.com
When I started to work with Neil and his company they had a site already but wanted to get more visitors to their site and get more exposure. Their e-commerce site was set up by a friend of theirs and was getting about 400 visits per month. Neil is a huge name in Judo and the site traffic needed to be increased so I knew business blogging would be their key to more traffic.
Neil had a Facebook page that we went to work on straight away. Your Facebook page is an ideal platform to start off but let's be clear, a Facebook fan page is not a hub. I like to think about it as a platform where your business can promote your industry and yourself.
So I took over Neil's page in late 2014. Although I didn't set up my business until April 2015, I wanted to both prove my ideas worked and would love to have Neil as a client. I recall reading a blog post by Seth Godin where he states: "The more generous you are with your ideas, and the more they spread, the more likely it is your perceived value goes up." Read the full post here
I decided that if I proved my skills on a small sale it would lead to better results.
So when I started work on the page I took a fan baseline and it had 4364 Facebook fans.
My plan was very simple, to promote the sport of Judo and turn the page into an entertainment channel. We would have great action from the world of Judo fill up 90% of the daily posting, intermixed with Neils content, however, other than his YouTube channel we had no blog content to share, and this didn't come in until late April.
The results are clear that from August 31st, 2014 to Oct 2015 we have 6190 likes in total that consists of 2,284 likes and just 251 'unlikes'. However, there have been over 3 million impressions by an incredible 1 million users. We have vastly increased engagement with the page as well. All with zero paid ads
While adding a few thousand fans and increasing engagement is great, it is a mistake when people just publish their content onto their pages and just leave it. With Facebook only allowing about 3% natural engagement from posts you need to either pay for ads or become creative and my client was on a limited budget. The use of social hubs was always part of my plan.
Business Blog Creation
I am a
I set up their blog we launched around the 21st of April with a clear objective. To create content that people enjoy and find useful. In the blog, we have pages about their products and services and links to their e-commerce site. However, the idea of the blog is not to be about 'sell, sell, sell', it is all about providing valuable and useful content to your audience. This is how you build up trust with consumers and people buy from who they 'know, like and trust'.
I work very closely with my client to get the articles done, they are the experts in their field so we have a process where we discuss article ideas regularly, plan ahead, they give me the information and I produce articles that are SEO'd. The article goes back for checking and editing so I have got their concepts, tips and ideas down as they want and we publish. This is where hubs come in.
The thing you need to understand is this, other people and businesses have great Fan pages and if you get shared on those it is fantastic. It is often worth messaging the pages to see if they would like to promote your page in return for you promoting theirs. However that is not the Hub approach.
When it comes to Hubs we are looking for Groups on Facebook and not pages. You do this by going to Facebook and scrolling down your timeline screen until you see the groups button and click it. You will this next page:
The next stage is where the hard work comes in. Start by searching for groups in the search bar in the niche of your client. The suggested groups are next to useless if you use your personal facebook log in because it will give you things you like.
The local tab is very useful if your client or business is a local one, but don't spam the groups. I suggest if you have a great 'deal/offer' for their audience or a competition that using the groups would be a good plan, but do it the right way, get in touch with the admins prior to posting your message.
However in most cases the business will be national or global so you need to find niche groups for your industry. The key here is to be creative. If we take a step away from the Judo world and use 'House Building' we can take a look at how I would tackle this.
If I was selling housing or promoting a house
You have to dig deeper and be more creative. Perhaps your house building company uses the most eco-friendly building substances; this can be the fuel for your unique approach. Next you need to look at where your target customers hang out (or your clients). So if we search for environmental groups we get a different set of results:
There we see a group with 19,995 members. What a traffic source that would be, in
15,000 members in this group just talking about home decorating, that's a huge group.
There are literally hundreds of these groups out there and this is not just limited to Facebook either, If you go to Google plus you can search on their communities tab:
Again we can see that there is a huge opportunity for traffic generation in these groups as well with one having 40,000 members. LinkedIN and Reddit are two other locations for you also to try. Ultimately your business and Niche will be a factor in choosing the best fit. Another great social hub is forums; I think they are great if your industry has them.
To find them on LinkedIN simply log in and click on the drop down to the left of the search bar
After you have clicked the group button the search box will allow you to search for groups
Next just type in your search phrase and in this example we use building.
As you can see the search provides you with a huge amount of groups and you can also see how active these groups are. There are literally endless discussions and opportunities to link your brand in these hubs.
What Makes a Good or Bad
Yes, there are hubs that are good, and some are bad. Some like people posting links, others just like discussions. It will take you time to spot them. My personal favourite ones are closed hubs that have over 1,000 to 5,000 members. When they are closed, it means the group tends to be quite engaging, and they don't want spammers in the group.
Bad groups can often be the really large ones because the larger the group you might find it populated with more negative people and trust me they are quick to comment no matter what the product or industry. I have found that closed groups are more active places. You also may be asking why I prefer lower numbers? Well, to be honest, this goes back to the 'community' thing. Many people join big groups because others are in them, and they see this, but they then don't engage or use the group because there are so many people inside. This then affects what a person sees in their social feeds. You want to try and keep to groups that are busy, and a variety of people post regularly. When you check out a group, take a look at the interactions for the posts and when the last ones were.
The Rule of 3
If you start using this tactic yourself, you will recognise when others use it. The biggest danger is overuse. Don't become a spammer
This happens when someone posts their stuff in lots of groups. One person I know will regularly drop their content in 10 groups, the issue with this is that it becomes annoying to the end user. Imagine your checking your social feeds and you see the same post ten times in a row in all the groups you are associated in, pretty annoying really and it happens a lot. This approach tends to annoy hub owners and readers who become less engaged with your stuff. Its classic spamming.
Instead, pick 3 hubs on one platform, that is the key. Rotate the 3 hubs with other posts and as such you make your contribution to each group that much more special. This especially comes into play with larger hub audiences.
Getting Your Posts Seen and Not Deleted
Before we get back to our case study, you need to understand that if you approach these groups and just go and post adverts or links to your site then expect to be deleted. My view is simple, go out and spend eight weeks involving yourself in the groups long before you start sharing your stuff. Yes, this is a time investment, but when you consider the huge traffic opportunities you soon see that it is well worth it. Comment on others posts, ask group questions and share others content. Do not simply go in and 'post and run'. It's a way to get your post deleted.
When I launched Neil's site I had researched the groups for the launch and knew which groups to be part of and where they sat. The result is after one month the traffic for the site was doing well. Remember this site had zero backlinks, zero traffic and it was an entirely new domain, never registered before.
The site was released on April
The key here is simple, to use high-quality evergreen blog posts to gain traffic and by placing this content inside communities that exist all over the web in your chosen field, you have a huge opportunity to get instant traffic.
So what was the end result?
40,000 visitors between April 23rd 2015 and Oct 21st 2015.
From the data below you can see where we had a dip in traffic when we didn't post any new blog articles. The huge spike you see is the week I tried a new idea. That week I posted two blog posts using techniques I learned from Brian Deans excellent 'Seo That Works' Programme. Brian has an incredible website full of useful articles that you should checkout at his site Backlinko.
The key with all of this is, of course, great content combined with SEO and proven content frameworks has produced great results. Now I am well aware that the site needs further SEO work to strengthen its position of which is the next step. Rome wasn't built in a day.
If you have a business blog, you need to more creative and stop publishing and hoping people will come to your site. You are in business because you are superb at what you do, it makes sense that you go out and tell as many people of the right people as you can. Using social hubs you can gain traffic quickly and efficiently but also you will learn more about your consumers, what interests them and what they are talking about. This data is also very useful.
Social Hubs are simply where people hangout on line. Now go out and find your customers.
Did you find this post useful or have any ideas for social hubs? Comment below. Oh and please subscribe to my newsletter list as we have some great free resources coming soon.