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How to Promote Your Blog: 7 Proven Strategies

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How to Promote Your Blog: 7 Proven Strategies

Search for “how to promote your blog,” and you’ll see hundreds of strategies.

But not all of them work. Believe us—we’ve tried them.

These are the seven that have worked for us.

1. Build share triggers into your content

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People are more likely to share content with unique insights. Data, experiences, opinions—anything they can’t find elsewhere.

Here’s an example that illustrates this. In 2015, our chief marketing officer, Tim Soulo, wrote a guide to strategic writing on his personal blog. He crammed everything he knew and thought he created a masterpiece.

Yet, when he asked marketing influencer Rand Fishkin to tweet the post, this was how Rand responded:

Email from Rand Fishkin, a marketing influencer

A few years later, Rand retweeted our post on podcast advertising without any prompting:

What was the difference? 

In Tim’s post, he rehashed the same advice from other articles on the topic. No doubt it was useful, but nothing was unique. In the latter article by our Rebekah Bek, everything was solely based on experience. 

I’m not going to simply just tell you to create “unique content.” You must have heard it a hundred times by now. So rather than repeating the same old advice, I recommend building share triggers instead. 

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Coined by professor Jonah Berger in his book, “Contagious,” share triggers are psychological principles that make people want to share something. They are:

  1. Social currency – People share things that make them look good to others.
  2. Triggers – People share things that are top of mind.
  3. Emotion – People need to feel something to share something.
  4. Public – People tend to imitate others’ behavior if they can see or observe it.
  5. Practical value – People like to pass along practical, useful information.
  6. Stories – People don’t just share information—they share stories too.

Here’s how to put them into action (you’ll want to incorporate at least one or two):

  1. Make your content practical – Create something the reader can use right away. For example, our suite of free tools generates a lot of links and shares.
  2. Make your content opinionated – Give the reader something new to think about. Tim’s rant on email outreach and our post on podcast advertising are some examples of opinionated content.
  3. Evoke emotion – People used to share Upworthy articles because those made them feel awe, surprise, and happiness. Appealing to these emotions—alongside negative ones like anger and sadness—can compel people to share more. 
  4. Make your content visual – Visual content makes consuming content easier, thus increasing the likelihood that someone will share it. 
  5. Make your content newsworthy – Journalists and bloggers are constantly on the lookout for stories to cover. Data is one type of story. So if you have unique data to share, create a piece of content around it. 
  6. Tell a story – Humans love telling and sharing stories. A good story that captures people’s attention can lead to more shares.
  7. Include what other people are sharing – If people are sharing and linking because of certain reasons in competing pages, we can assume that those reasons are important to that topic.

For the final tip, here’s how you can find out why people are linking:

  • Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  • Search for a topic you’re writing about
  • Look at the SERP overview
  • Find a similar article with lots of referring domains
  • Click on the number in the Backlinks column
  • Skim the Anchor and target URL column for commonalities

For example, if we analyze this post on the perfect kettlebell swing, we see that people are linking because of the benefits:

The common anchors when other websites are linking to this post on kettlebell swings, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

It’s something we can consider adding to our content. 

Learn more: What Is Link Bait? 7 Successful Examples 

2. Write about “easy to rank” topics 

You want traffic from Google. But if you’re new to the game, many topics are out of your reach—at least for now. They’re too competitive, and you’re outgunned by websites with more resources. 

But what if I tell you that you can find topics that are easy to rank for? Here’s how:

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  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Content Explorer
  2. Search for a relevant term (e.g., “beards”)
  3. Add a Referring domains filter to max. 10
  4. Add a Page traffic filter to min. 500
  5. Add a Domain Rating filter to max. 30

Since backlinks are an important ranking factor, pages that still get tons of search traffic without plenty of backlinks should be relatively easy to rank for. 

Pages that get search traffic without many backlinks, via Ahrefs' Content Explorer

In this example, you’ll see >2,000 pages that get >500 search traffic a month with fewer than 10 referring domains. 

Click on any article and then on the Organic keywords tab to see what keywords they’re ranking for.

The keywords the page is ranking for, via Ahrefs' Content Explorer

If you’re running a blog about beards, you can target the same topics too.

Learn more: How to Find Low-Competition Keywords for SEO 

3. Run an outreach campaign

If you’ve published an amazing piece of content, why not show it to people in your niche who have a large audience?

It’s why Tim reached out to Rand. In digital marketing, we call this “outreach.” 

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The key to successful outreach is to ask yourself this question each time you’re about to send a new email:

Why would anyone care about whatever I say?

There are two strong outreach reasons:

  1. You mentioned that person (or their work) in your article. 
  2. Your article has something groundbreaking that this person doesn’t know about but is genuinely interested in.

The latter reason is why strategy #1 works. There’s no trick to getting top people in your field to promote you. You have to do notable work.

This is also why whenever we send outreach emails to promote our content, we focus on pitching the article—not a sneaky request to tweet it. 

An example of an outreach email from Ahrefs

Assuming you’ve created something noteworthy, here’s how you can find people to potentially reach out to:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Content Explorer
  2. Search for your topic
  3. Click on the Authors tab
The top 100 authors for the topic "link building," via Ahrefs' Content Explorer

These 100 people have written many articles on your topic, so it’s reasonable to assume they’re interested. Find their emails, reach out to them, and share your unique insights.

Learn more: Blogger Outreach: How to Do It at Scale (Without Feeling Like a Jerk) 

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4. Update other people’s posts

Here’s another strong reason you can use for your outreach: You noticed someone’s blog post is declining in traffic, so you offer to help update it. 

In fact, this was what Irina Maltseva, the former head of marketing at Hunter, did:

An outreach email offering to update a post that was declining in traffic

Why does this work? Four reasons:

  1. It is important to update older content—you don’t want outdated information, and updated content helps boost search traffic.
  2. Keeping track and updating old content are burdensome tasks. By offering to update old content, you’re offering to take it off their hands.
  3. While guest blogging is a legitimate way to drive traffic, you’re oftentimes “guessing” the kind of topics they’re interested in. But you don’t need to guess if you’re updating their old content. 
  4. They’re more than likely to allow you to link back to your site and/or your content. 

Here’s how you can find content that’s declining in traffic:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Content Explorer
  2. Search for your topic
  3. Set the Trends dropdown to Last year

From here, you’ll want to eyeball the list and look out for pages with declining page traffic:

Pages that are declining in traffic, via Ahrefs' Content Explorer

Click on the article to see the Page traffic chart in detail:

A particular page that has declining traffic, via Ahrefs' Content Explorer

Looks like this particular article has suffered a drastic drop in traffic. If you’re in this niche, you can reach out to the editor and see if they’ll be interested in updating the post. If they are, suggest doing the work for them—it’ll sweeten the ask.

Learn more: Republishing Content: How to Update Old Blog Posts for SEO 

5. Share barebones posts on Reddit

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There is a subreddit for almost anything. That includes your niche too. There’s no doubt that Reddit is a great place to promote your content. Do it right, and it may even lead to a hug of death.

But let me throw a wrench in your plans. Redditors hate advertising and marketing. If your content smells like self-promotion, they will not hesitate to throw you out.

So you can’t just waltz in, drop a link, and wait for the flood of traffic.

Reddit, however, does love useful content. So to resolve this conundrum, you can share a barebones version of your content. Strip everything out, especially your internal and external links. Leave only a link back to the original at the bottom of your Reddit post, so anyone who’s interested can check it out. 

Here’s an example of it in the wild:

Tim Soulo's barebones post on Reddit

6. Repurpose your content into videos

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We have a video on blog post templates you can swipe. But did you know that it was originally a blog post?

Not everyone wants to read. Some want to watch videos. By turning your articles into videos, you can potentially reach a new set of audience.

You’ve already created the content anyway. Why not take advantage of it and give it a new lease on life?

Let’s be honest, though. Repurposing is hard work. It’s one thing to say, “Turn your blog post into a video,” and another to actually do it. So if you’re going down this path, you’ll have to prioritize. 

One way to do this is to focus on topics that people are already searching for on YouTube. That way, your repurposed videos can generate search traffic too.

Here’s how to find these topics:

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  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Select YouTube
  3. Enter a few relevant keywords
  4. Go to the Matching terms report
The Matching terms report, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Look through the list to see if there are any topics where you already have existing blog content. Those are the topics you should repurpose. 

For example, this was how we decided to repurpose our article on influencer marketing:

The search volume for the keyword "influencer marketing," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Learn more: The Complete Guide to Content Repurposing 

Most people who are looking for ways to promote their blogs are actually looking for free promotion strategies. They don’t want to pay for promotion because they think they have no budget for it. 

But what they don’t realize is that, in reality, no blog promotion method is free. While it may not cost upfront cash, it takes time. And time is money. Even the richest person in the world cannot buy time.

So you actually do have the budget to promote your content with ads because they free up your precious time—time that could be better spent elsewhere. 

At Ahrefs, we run ads for all our newly published content. Facebook ads are our go-to:

An example of a Facebook ad

If you find Facebook ads too complex or too expensive, don’t forget that there are other platforms you can test too. For example, we also run ads on Quora:

Data on Ahrefs' Quora ads

And Twitter:

Data on Ahrefs' Twitter ads

Learn more: PPC Marketing: Beginner’s Guide to Pay-Per-Click Ads 

Final thoughts

Ryan Holiday writes in “Perennial Seller”:

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Creating more work is one of the most effective marketing techniques of all. 

If you’ve published an amazing article and got tons of success, the best thing you can do to promote your blog further is to publish another amazing piece of content. 

A consistent output of great work is the foundation behind all your blog promotion strategies. It supercharges everything. 

Any questions or comments? Let me know on Twitter.



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Google On Hyphens In Domain Names

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What Google says about using hyphens in domain names

Google’s John Mueller answered a question on Reddit about why people don’t use hyphens with domains and if there was something to be concerned about that they were missing.

Domain Names With Hyphens For SEO

I’ve been working online for 25 years and I remember when using hyphens in domains was something that affiliates did for SEO when Google was still influenced by keywords in the domain, URL, and basically keywords anywhere on the webpage. It wasn’t something that everyone did, it was mainly something that was popular with some affiliate marketers.

Another reason for choosing domain names with keywords in them was that site visitors tended to convert at a higher rate because the keywords essentially prequalified the site visitor. I know from experience how useful two-keyword domains (and one word domain names) are for conversions, as long as they didn’t have hyphens in them.

A consideration that caused hyphenated domain names to fall out of favor is that they have an untrustworthy appearance and that can work against conversion rates because trustworthiness is an important factor for conversions.

Lastly, hyphenated domain names look tacky. Why go with tacky when a brandable domain is easier for building trust and conversions?

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Domain Name Question Asked On Reddit

This is the question asked on Reddit:

“Why don’t people use a lot of domains with hyphens? Is there something concerning about it? I understand when you tell it out loud people make miss hyphen in search.”

And this is Mueller’s response:

“It used to be that domain names with a lot of hyphens were considered (by users? or by SEOs assuming users would? it’s been a while) to be less serious – since they could imply that you weren’t able to get the domain name with fewer hyphens. Nowadays there are a lot of top-level-domains so it’s less of a thing.

My main recommendation is to pick something for the long run (assuming that’s what you’re aiming for), and not to be overly keyword focused (because life is too short to box yourself into a corner – make good things, course-correct over time, don’t let a domain-name limit what you do online). The web is full of awkward, keyword-focused short-lived low-effort takes made for SEO — make something truly awesome that people will ask for by name. If that takes a hyphen in the name – go for it.”

Pick A Domain Name That Can Grow

Mueller is right about picking a domain name that won’t lock your site into one topic. When a site grows in popularity the natural growth path is to expand the range of topics the site coves. But that’s hard to do when the domain is locked into one rigid keyword phrase. That’s one of the downsides of picking a “Best + keyword + reviews” domain, too. Those domains can’t grow bigger and look tacky, too.

That’s why I’ve always recommended brandable domains that are memorable and encourage trust in some way.

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Read the post on Reddit:

Are domains with hyphens bad?

Read Mueller’s response here.

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Benny Marty

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Reddit Post Ranks On Google In 5 Minutes

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Google apparently ranks Reddit posts within minutes

Google’s Danny Sullivan disputed the assertions made in a Reddit discussion that Google is showing a preference for Reddit in the search results. But a Redditor’s example proves that it’s possible for a Reddit post to rank in the top ten of the search results within minutes and to actually improve rankings to position #2 a week later.

Discussion About Google Showing Preference To Reddit

A Redditor (gronetwork) complained that Google is sending so many visitors to Reddit that the server is struggling with the load and shared an example that proved that it can only take minutes for a Reddit post to rank in the top ten.

That post was part of a 79 post Reddit thread where many in the r/SEO subreddit were complaining about Google allegedly giving too much preference to Reddit over legit sites.

The person who did the test (gronetwork) wrote:

“…The website is already cracking (server down, double posts, comments not showing) because there are too many visitors.

…It only takes few minutes (you can test it) for a post on Reddit to appear in the top ten results of Google with keywords related to the post’s title… (while I have to wait months for an article on my site to be referenced). Do the math, the whole world is going to spam here. The loop is completed.”

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Reddit Post Ranked Within Minutes

Another Redditor asked if they had tested if it takes “a few minutes” to rank in the top ten and gronetwork answered that they had tested it with a post titled, Google SGE Review.

gronetwork posted:

“Yes, I have created for example a post named “Google SGE Review” previously. After less than 5 minutes it was ranked 8th for Google SGE Review (no quotes). Just after Washingtonpost.com, 6 authoritative SEO websites and Google.com’s overview page for SGE (Search Generative Experience). It is ranked third for SGE Review.”

It’s true, not only does that specific post (Google SGE Review) rank in the top 10, the post started out in position 8 and it actually improved ranking, currently listed beneath the number one result for the search query “SGE Review”.

Screenshot Of Reddit Post That Ranked Within Minutes

Anecdotes Versus Anecdotes

Okay, the above is just one anecdote. But it’s a heck of an anecdote because it proves that it’s possible for a Reddit post to rank within minutes and get stuck in the top of the search results over other possibly more authoritative websites.

hankschrader79 shared that Reddit posts outrank Toyota Tacoma forums for a phrase related to mods for that truck.

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Google’s Danny Sullivan responded to that post and the entire discussion to dispute that Reddit is not always prioritized over other forums.

Danny wrote:

“Reddit is not always prioritized over other forums. [super vhs to mac adapter] I did this week, it goes Apple Support Community, MacRumors Forum and further down, there’s Reddit. I also did [kumo cloud not working setup 5ghz] recently (it’s a nightmare) and it was the Netgear community, the SmartThings Community, GreenBuildingAdvisor before Reddit. Related to that was [disable 5g airport] which has Apple Support Community above Reddit. [how to open an 8 track tape] — really, it was the YouTube videos that helped me most, but it’s the Tapeheads community that comes before Reddit.

In your example for [toyota tacoma], I don’t even get Reddit in the top results. I get Toyota, Car & Driver, Wikipedia, Toyota again, three YouTube videos from different creators (not Toyota), Edmunds, a Top Stories unit. No Reddit, which doesn’t really support the notion of always wanting to drive traffic just to Reddit.

If I guess at the more specific query you might have done, maybe [overland mods for toyota tacoma], I get a YouTube video first, then Reddit, then Tacoma World at third — not near the bottom. So yes, Reddit is higher for that query — but it’s not first. It’s also not always first. And sometimes, it’s not even showing at all.”

hankschrader79 conceded that they were generalizing when they wrote that Google always prioritized Reddit. But they also insisted that that didn’t diminish what they said is a fact that Google’s “prioritization” forum content has benefitted Reddit more than actual forums.

Why Is The Reddit Post Ranked So High?

It’s possible that Google “tested” that Reddit post in position 8 within minutes and that user interaction signals indicated to Google’s algorithms that users prefer to see that Reddit post. If that’s the case then it’s not a matter of Google showing preference to Reddit post but rather it’s users that are showing the preference and the algorithm is responding to those preferences.

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Nevertheless, an argument can be made that user preferences for Reddit can be a manifestation of Familiarity Bias. Familiarity Bias is when people show a preference for things that are familiar to them. If a person is familiar with a brand because of all the advertising they were exposed to then they may show a bias for the brand products over unfamiliar brands.

Users who are familiar with Reddit may choose Reddit because they don’t know the other sites in the search results or because they have a bias that Google ranks spammy and optimized websites and feel safer reading Reddit.

Google may be picking up on those user interaction signals that indicate a preference and satisfaction with the Reddit results but those results may simply be biases and not an indication that Reddit is trustworthy and authoritative.

Is Reddit Benefiting From A Self-Reinforcing Feedback Loop?

It may very well be that Google’s decision to prioritize user generated content may have started a self-reinforcing pattern that draws users in to Reddit through the search results and because the answers seem plausible those users start to prefer Reddit results. When they’re exposed to more Reddit posts their familiarity bias kicks in and they start to show a preference for Reddit. So what could be happening is that the users and Google’s algorithm are creating a self-reinforcing feedback loop.

Is it possible that Google’s decision to show more user generated content has kicked off a cycle where more users are exposed to Reddit which then feeds back into Google’s algorithm which in turn increases Reddit visibility, regardless of lack of expertise and authoritativeness?

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Kues

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WordPress Releases A Performance Plugin For “Near-Instant Load Times”

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WordPress speculative loading plugin

WordPress released an official plugin that adds support for a cutting edge technology called speculative loading that can help boost site performance and improve the user experience for site visitors.

Speculative Loading

Rendering means constructing the entire webpage so that it instantly displays (rendering). When your browser downloads the HTML, images, and other resources and puts it together into a webpage, that’s rendering. Prerendering is putting that webpage together (rendering it) in the background.

What this plugin does is to enable the browser to prerender the entire webpage that a user might navigate to next. The plugin does that by anticipating which webpage the user might navigate to based on where they are hovering.

Chrome lists a preference for only prerendering when there is an at least 80% probability of a user navigating to another webpage. The official Chrome support page for prerendering explains:

“Pages should only be prerendered when there is a high probability the page will be loaded by the user. This is why the Chrome address bar prerendering options only happen when there is such a high probability (greater than 80% of the time).

There is also a caveat in that same developer page that prerendering may not happen based on user settings, memory usage and other scenarios (more details below about how analytics handles prerendering).

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The Speculative Loading API solves a problem that previous solutions could not because in the past they were simply prefetching resources like JavaScript and CSS but not actually prerendering the entire webpage.

The official WordPress announcement explains it like this:

Introducing the Speculation Rules API
The Speculation Rules API is a new web API that solves the above problems. It allows defining rules to dynamically prefetch and/or prerender URLs of certain structure based on user interaction, in JSON syntax—or in other words, speculatively preload those URLs before the navigation. This API can be used, for example, to prerender any links on a page whenever the user hovers over them.”

The official WordPress page about this new functionality describes it:

“The Speculation Rules API is a new web API… It allows defining rules to dynamically prefetch and/or prerender URLs of certain structure based on user interaction, in JSON syntax—or in other words, speculatively preload those URLs before the navigation.

This API can be used, for example, to prerender any links on a page whenever the user hovers over them. Also, with the Speculation Rules API, “prerender” actually means to prerender the entire page, including running JavaScript. This can lead to near-instant load times once the user clicks on the link as the page would have most likely already been loaded in its entirety. However that is only one of the possible configurations.”

The new WordPress plugin adds support for the Speculation Rules API. The Mozilla developer pages, a great resource for HTML technical understanding describes it like this:

“The Speculation Rules API is designed to improve performance for future navigations. It targets document URLs rather than specific resource files, and so makes sense for multi-page applications (MPAs) rather than single-page applications (SPAs).

The Speculation Rules API provides an alternative to the widely-available <link rel=”prefetch”> feature and is designed to supersede the Chrome-only deprecated <link rel=”prerender”> feature. It provides many improvements over these technologies, along with a more expressive, configurable syntax for specifying which documents should be prefetched or prerendered.”

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See also: Are Websites Getting Faster? New Data Reveals Mixed Results

Performance Lab Plugin

The new plugin was developed by the official WordPress performance team which occasionally rolls out new plugins for users to test ahead of possible inclusion into the actual WordPress core. So it’s a good opportunity to be first to try out new performance technologies.

The new WordPress plugin is by default set to prerender “WordPress frontend URLs” which are pages, posts, and archive pages. How it works can be fine-tuned under the settings:

Settings > Reading > Speculative Loading

Browser Compatibility

The Speculative API is supported by Chrome 108 however the specific rules used by the new plugin require Chrome 121 or higher. Chrome 121 was released in early 2024.

Browsers that do not support will simply ignore the plugin and will have no effect on the user experience.

Check out the new Speculative Loading WordPress plugin developed by the official core WordPress performance team.

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How Analytics Handles Prerendering

A WordPress developer commented with a question asking how Analytics would handle prerendering and someone else answered that it’s up to the Analytics provider to detect a prerender and not count it as a page load or site visit.

Fortunately both Google Analytics and Google Publisher Tags (GPT) both are able to handle prerenders. The Chrome developers support page has a note about how analytics handles prerendering:

“Google Analytics handles prerender by delaying until activation by default as of September 2023, and Google Publisher Tag (GPT) made a similar change to delay triggering advertisements until activation as of November 2023.”

Possible Conflict With Ad Blocker Extensions

There are a couple things to be aware of about this plugin, aside from the fact that it’s an experimental feature that requires Chrome 121 or higher.

A comment by a WordPress plugin developer that this feature may not work with browsers that are using the uBlock Origin ad blocking browser extension.

Download the plugin:
Speculative Loading Plugin by the WordPress Performance Team

Read the announcement at WordPress
Speculative Loading in WordPress

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See also: WordPress, Wix & Squarespace Show Best CWV Rate Of Improvement

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