how to get traffic to my blog for free

The secrets to incredible traffic that I've gleaned from four top rated Pinterest courses.

Find out how I tripled my blog traffic in just one month using these 5 top Pinterest strategies! Then implement them, be consistent, and watch your traffic skyrocket too.

How to Get Your First 1000 Email Subscribers

get email subscribers

*This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my affiliate disclosure here.

You've heard all the stats. You know it's time to start your email list, like yesterday.

And maybe you've even set it up! (If you haven't, be sure to check out this tutorial.)

But when it comes down to it, all you can think about is... How am I actually gonna get subscribers??

Relax, cupcake. It isn't nearly as complicated as you might think.

And lucky for you, I've got loads of experience in this area and I'm ready to dish it all out!


#1. Create A Killer Freebie Download

A freebie is pretty much mandatory online today.

With so many blogs trying to capture people's email addresses, and people getting so much email in general each day, you're definitely going to have to go the extra mile and bribe people to sign up. 

Don't worry, it's not as weird as it sounds.

Your mission here is to come up with at least three ideas for some really great opt-in freebies.

Why three??

grow email list bloggers

We'll get to this in Step 2, but a key component to successfully building your email list is placing a variety of opt-ins all over your blog.

Not everyone is going to be interested in the first freebie you offer them, so it's important to have a couple of others in case one of those might catch their attention.

Overall, the more freebies you have to offer, the more likely a reader is too opt-in. (Within reason of course!)

Here are a few guidelines to follow when creating your freebie:

Step #1. Make it pretty! 

People definitely judge books by their covers, so it's important to make sure that your freebie is attractive and easy to read.

I like to create my freebies in PicMonkey and then convert the images into PDFs when I am done. If you want to create a clickable PDF like my Profitable Blogging Blueprint, you'll need to use Adobe Acrobat.

I'm pretty useless when it comes to graphic design, so one of my secrets has been to look for template packages on Creative Market.

There are some really beautiful and easy to edit PDF templates there under $20 which you can use over and over again for a variety of small projects on your blog. Plus, it's a tax write-off!

Creative Market offers tons of beautiful and affordable branding products.

Step #2. Include testimonials.

You guys!! This little tip works so darn well.

People love testimonials! If you can include them on your landing page or opt in pop up, I just know you'll see an increase in sign ups.

To get started, ask around in some Facebook groups related to your niche and see if you can get a few testimonials, preferably from other bloggers.

A name, head shot, and link to their blog goes a long way in building your credibility for potential email subscribers.

I've found in my experience that many bloggers are happy to give a testimonial in exchange for a link back to their blog.

Here's an example of how I've used testimonials  to increase my email sign up rate.

how to start a blog blueprint testimonials-min (1)

Step #3. Relay the benefits. 

The key here is to make sure that the title and description of your opt-in is really enticing and makes people want to sign up.

It's important to talk more about the benefits your reader will receive from downloading the freebie, rather than going on about its features.

Keep in mind the transformation your product will give them, and keep that the focus of the language you use on your opt-in.

Related Posts-

#2. Place opt in forms all over your blog.

Now that you have three really great freebies ready to go, the next step is to optimize your blog.

This is such an important step, so please don't skip it! Optimizing your blog for reader sign ups is going to make all of your traffic building efforts in the next couple of steps so worthwhile. 

I have opt-ins placed on seven different areas of my website. You don't need to use all of the same ones I do if it doesn't work for you, but I do recommend choosing at least five of these areas to promote your freebies.

Here are the strategic locations I've placed my freebies:

1) Header-

I put this one at the top because it is such a great converter for me! Placing a freebie right in your header, especially if your header features a photo of you, is so powerful. 

It shows people who you are, what you have to offer, and what they can gain by following you. I highly recommend using the space to your full advantage.

get email list subscribers-min

2) Pop ups-

If you've been around the blog for a while, you will notice that every post I have features a pop up opt in. I know, I know, they're annoying!

That being said, pop ups work and that's why I used them. Of course, there is a right way in a wrong way to do pop ups.

The wrong way is to have them open the second someone comes to your post, which causes them to quickly click away. They don't know you yet! It's too soon.

Instead, I set my pop ups to go off between 20 and 30 seconds after someone arrives on one of my blog posts. If they've kept reading that long, it means they have gotten to know a little bit about am I writing style in the type of information I have to offer, and they are interested.

Let me tell you, my opt-in rate jumped significantly after I made this simple tweak.

You can adjust the pop-up time in Thrive Lightboxes, which is how I create my opt-ins.

Bottom of post-

The bottom of your post likely won't get nearly as many conversions, as only a small percentage of readers typically get to the very bottom of a post.

However, there are enough to make it totally worthwhile as a next step after they read your post. On the bright side, if someone does read your entire article, it's likely that they enjoyed your content and would like to hear more from you!

I use a static opt-in at the very bottom before the comments section to catch these dedicated readers.

Notification bar-

I absolutely love my notification bar. This thing is pretty much on par with my header opt-in. It works so incredibly well, likely because it isn't as intrusive as a pop-up but is still quite noticeable.

I used the Notification Bar plug-in to create a simple, bright pink bar that encourages people to click through to one of my freebie landing pages.

notification bar increase email signups-min

Start Here page-

Using your start here page to capture traffic makes a ton of sense. Readers who are new to your blog will be looking for what to do next, and a start here can help introduce you and what you have to offer in a quick glance.

If you don't currently have a start here page, create one today! Not only is it a quick task you can check off your list right away, but it's a page where you can showcase all of your freebies in one spot so people can pick and choose which is best for them.

Nav link-

This location certainly isn't mandatory, but I've included it here because I do get a fair number of sign-ups from this page.

If you've created a landing page for each of your opt-ins, you might consider placing one of the landing pages within a link on your nav bar. This is just one more place people might find your freebie and decide to sign up.

Top of the post-

The top of the post area is the most recent opt-in location I've taken advantage of, and I'm so glad I did. My sign ups easily jumped 40% when I began using this space for my Pinterest freebie.

Crazy, right! While it is located right at the very top of each post, I find that it is reasonably unobtrusive and easily scrolled past if someone wants to keep on reading.

Here's an example of how I used my nav bar links and the top of my blog posts to increase email signups.

increase email subscriber signups-min

#3. Share your posts to relevent Facebook groups.

Optimizing your site for sign up conversions likely took you at least a few days. That's okay! 

It's a crazy important step, and I'm proud of you for finishing it! Once your site is already to collect subscribers, it's time to start getting more traffic to your blog post.

In this step I want to encourage you to begin sharing your posts in promo threads and share threads of related Facebook groups each and every week.

Many Facebook groups have a certain day of the week where they allow their members to share their content within that particular thread. Some Facebook groups even allow members to post their content freely at any time. Make sure you read the rules and follow them so you don't end up getting banned!

To share my posts officially, I've gone through each of my Facebook groups that relate to my blog niche and added each one to a spreadsheet. This helps me always know which groups I can share to on which days of the week.

#4. Master Pinterest for some serious blog traffic.

While Facebook groups are an excellent way to start driving some traffic to your blog posts, I would argue that Pinterest is the heavy hitter here. 

If you aren't yet on Pinterest, or you aren't getting much traffic from it, now is the time to buckle down and get serious about it.

Pinterest is by far the quickest and easiest way for new bloggers to start driving hundreds or even thousands of visitors to their blog daily. There are tons of ways to get blog traffic, but none of them are as immediate as Pinterest.

I currently get 85% of my traffic from Pinterest if that tells you anything. It is sooo worth my time!

increase pinterest blog traffic-min

In addition, my Pinterest traffic nearly doubled after taking the Pinterest Traffic Avalanche course, effectively raising my blogging income by more than 50%.

For me this has been one of those investments that was worth every minute I put into it.

pinterest traffic avalanche review-min

Here are a few of the basics to using Pinterest successfully to drive traffic to your blog:

1) Create more boards-

Pinterest LOVES fresh content, and new boards are no exception. I aim to make at least one new board every month or two.

Then I fill it with a minimum of 50 really great pins that I've vetted and am sure are of good quality. Don't forget to use keywords in your board titles and descriptions as well! This is an important part of how Pinterest ranks their boards and shows them to other users.

2) Create 5+ pins per post-

I used to create only three pins per post, but after upping it to five pins I saw my traffic increase significantly enough to make it worth my while.

While it's important to make sure you are putting out quality pins that are easy to read and visually attractive, more is often better! If you can find that balance, you will do very well.

3) Use Tailwind Tribes-

Last month I left all of my group boards and zeroed in on Tailwind Tribes. And guess what? 

My traffic quickly rose by about a third in under a month!

Group boards are losing favor with Pinterest, but Tailwind Tribes aren't. Tailwind is an official partner of Pinterest, meaning that we know they are playing by all of Pinterest's rules.

This is a good thing for bloggers, and something you should take advantage of! I'm currently a member of about nine Tribes that are delivering great traffic to my blog.

You can see within my Tribes Insights below that I've received more than two re-pins for every pin I've submitted, and nearly 4 re-shares for every pin I've submitted. Woohoo! 

tailwind tribes blog traffic-min

Some Tribes aren't nearly as active as others, so it's a good idea to apply for a handful of them and then watch your Insights to see which ones are delivering traffic and which aren't. 

Any that aren't delivering, I leave and then search for new Tribes to join. After a month or so of this, you should have a fistful of Tribes that are driving traffic steadily.


Let's recap! Here are the beginning steps to getting your first 100 email subscribers:

  1. Create a killer freebie download
  2. Place opt in forms all over your blog
  3. Share your posts to relevant Facebook groups
  4. Master Pinterest to get serious blog traffic

And if you aren't sure which things you should be working on next in your blogging business, make sure to grab my Profitable Blogging Blueprint below!

It will walk you step by step through every action you need to take, in correct order, to create a profitable blog from scratch.

canning jar labels free printable

Ready to start stocking your pantry full of your own preserves? Grab these editable canning jar lids as a perk of becoming a subscriber, and you'll have shelves of beautifully labelled jars in no time.