You check your traffic stats – again – and feel a bit disheartened. Again. Should you continue? Or is this ‘blogging for traffic’ thing a bit mythical?
It’s easy to lose heart and become demotivated. Far too many give up way, way too soon.
It takes time. The most important tip of all is to hang on in there and keep blogging. For traffic, it’s the best investment you can make.
It also takes certain key tactics that can make all the difference, and accelerate your traffic attraction. This list of 101 essential tips for getting more blog traffic gives you most of them.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say, and you won’t get all of this built and in place at once either. But implement a new tactic every few days or so and you’re one step closer each time.
You’ll start to see your traffic build and your blog transform. You, the influencer. You, the authority. Yes, you. It’s all within reach.
- The main focus of your blog should be to encourage visitors to join your email list. Once on your email list, you can drive subscribers to your blog on a regular basis.
Grow Your List …
- Include a call to action with each blog post that encourages readers to join your list.
- Use delayed popovers and exit popups to encourage new subscriptions to your list, and add a couple of banners/links to your sidebar that people can click to join your list as well.
- Test out different lead magnets to see which attracts the greatest opt-in levels and resonates best with your audience.
- Set up one or more squeeze pages that exist for the sole purpose of getting people to join your list.
- Split test all your list-building pages, links, banners, and so on to maximize conversion rates over time to convert as many visitors as possible to email subscribers.
- Use solo ads to help build your list (and from there, your blog traffic). Offer a suitable lead magnet via a squeeze page, and set up regular adverts via a site like Udimi.
Communicate Regularly …
- Communicate regularly with your list and build up your relationship. Apart from driving traffic to your blog, this is how you will drive the majority of your sales too (presuming you’re monetizing your blog properly).
- Develop an ezine you can send out each time your blog is updated.
- Use the Featured Image from each blog post in your ezine to increase engagement and help drive traffic.
- Only include the first paragraph or so in your email, and then link to the post for the rest. Include some curiosity factor to help compel readers to click the link.
- Once your blog has a number of posts, try including archived posts in your ezine as well as alternative or additional click-through options.
Not everyone on your list will be interested in each new post – but they may be interested in an earlier post that they’ve previously missed.
Use smaller thumbnails of the Featured Image from each post that subscribers can click through on.
- Create a set of regular follow-up messages for new subscribers to your email list that directs them to key posts and/or pages on your blog.
Increase Response …
- Split test the subject lines of the emails you send out and check the open rates. This means for example that you send an email with one subject line to half of your list, and an email with a variation on that subject line to the other half.
Take note of the subject lines that attract the highest open rates, and use it to help guide the creation of your future emails. The more people you can get to open your emails:
- The more people will click through on the link(s) within that email, i.e. to your blog post
- The higher your deliverability will be – so again, the higher your open rate, and the more traffic you can send to your blog from your list. Email providers like Google with Gmail judge open rates to determine how to treat your email when it arrives in your subscribers’ inboxes.
- Encourage new subscribers to add your email to their contact list, or to otherwise whitelist your email. This helps ensure your emails reach the intended recipients and don’t end up for example unseen in their spam folder. Higher open rates will of course have a significant effect on the amount of traffic you can drive to your blog from your email list.
- Create a Facebook Page for your business. This is where you can post content relating to your business and other content that is of value to your marketplace. By opening up social media accounts and posting regularly, you develop your own authority with your marketplace. You also open up possible joint venture opportunities in future that can help drive a lot of traffic your way and help get your blog noticed.
- Include a link to your site in your Facebook Page’s About section. The page you link to should encourage visitors to sign up to your email list. From there you can drive traffic back to your blog on an ongoing basis.
- Similarly, include your site’s URL in your header image. Again, offer some kind of incentive for click-through.
- When you create new blog content, post an update to Facebook.
- Promote your post using the “Boost Post” option, linking back to your blog.
- Add opportunities to your blog for people to Like you without needing to go to Facebook separately. This means they will potentially start seeing your updates in their feed, and allow you to reach them via Facebook’s advertising options.
- Add Facebook social proof to your website, for example via a Facebook Like widget. As people start to Like you on Facebook, show your numbers on your blog. This social proof builds your credibility and authority levels, and encourages your visitors to Like you and to revisit your blog in future. See an example of how this works in this blog’s sidebar, as well as below:
- Create a Twitter account for your blog.
- As for Facebook, include a link to your site in your profile info.
- Similarly, include your site’s URL in your header image. Keep your profile and header images consistent across your social media channels so visitors gain a sense of familiarity with your business. This helps your relationship build with them.
- When you post to your blog, don’t just send out a single fleeting Tweet or you’ll miss out on a lot of potential click-throughs. Instead, send out multiple Tweets over time that focus on different aspects of your content, linking back to your post. This gives you the chance to pique the curiosity of your followers in different ways, and attract more click-throughs to your content.
- Use appropriate hashtags to help with the visibility of your content.
- Include the post’s Featured Image – or other images within the post for further tweets – when you tweet to increase engagement and help your tweet stand out and be noticed.
- Tweet and retweet content from influencers and other authority blogs in your marketplace. Include their Twitter handle so that they’re notified when you tweet their content. This helps get you noticed, and can open up opportunities for future partnerships and reciprocal tweeting of your own content.
- To build your audience on Twitter, follow other people who are in your target market (or who follow a competitor for example) and a proportion will follow you back. Unfollow those who don’t, and then follow some more.
- A more effective approach, consider using Twitter’s paid ads to build your Twitter follower count. This builds your authority and credibility and helps attract followers in future, plus you’ll get increased traffic from these additional followers for some time to come.
- You can also promote tweets with Twitter and get your blog post in front of new audiences.
- Leave 20 characters or so free in each Tweet you publish to encourage retweeting. This gives room for anyone who wants to retweet it to add their own comment.
- Add Twitter social proof to your blog. For example, add a Twitter Followers plugin. As with the similar Facebook widget mentioned above, you’re building your credibility and authority, and encouraging visitors to connect with you on Twitter. Both help build your blog traffic for the future.
- Don’t forget the power of your old content to continue to generate traffic for you. Go back through old posts and set up scheduled Tweets for them too.
- Be patient. Don’t expect overnight success and riches. Such lofty unrealistic expectations set you up for long-term disappointment, and mean most give up way, way too soon.
Instead, aim to spend several months blogging before you start to notice traffic and success starting to build. You’re unlikely to see any results in the first month. You’re likely to only see a few mediocre results after a few months (which is when most people give up because it’s ‘not working’). However, after 12 months or so, you’ll really start to see traffic starting to build, especially if you’re putting more and more of these tips into action.
And, while it can be demoralizing and demotivating at times, hang in there and you’ll see it as time well spent when you look back in future (see it as a rite of passage if you want to!).
During this time, you’ll:
- Improve what you do
- Create better content
- Develop your own style
- Better understand your audience
- Build your social communities
- Build relationships with your audience and other bloggers and business owners
- And so on.
- Create great content. Make it the best that you can. The more valuable your content is, the more it fuels the long-term success of your blog.
- Spend time on the headline or title of your post. It needs to attract attention and tempt potential visitors and readers to check it out. Its worth your attention to make sure it does so. The title of your post is no different to the headline of a sales letter – its job is simply to get someone to read the next paragraph (and from there, the rest of the post).
- Be consistent. Create content on a regular, consistent basis. And share it consistently too through email and through your social channels. Without a consistent publishing schedule – recommended at least once a week – you won’t build the relationship with your audience that you need for long-term success. Plus you fuel many of the other traffic-building tips in this post, not least your email and social media marketing activities. Google also values consistency, and you’ll get more traffic as a result. When Neil Patel (QuickSprout) stopped blogging for 30 days, his traffic tanked.
- Make your blog posts as visual as possible. Include relevant photos, images, infographics and so on that add value to your post. This increases engagement with your post, reduces your bounce rate, makes your post more readable, increases social shares, and provides more content for the likes of Pinterest (see below) – and therefore more traffic-building opportunities.
- Use keyword research to help shape your blog post and maximize your search engine visibility. For example, this post is based on the keyword how to get more blog traffic. At the time of writing, this keyword has a fifth of the traffic but less than 1/15 of the competition levels of rival keyword how to increase blog traffic, and so far more chance the post will get ranked over time.
- Create a Featured Image for each post. This increases engagement, enables more effective and eye-catching social posts, and can be reused in various ways such as in creating a Slideshare off your post.
- Install and use the SEO by Yoast plugin for WordPress. This ensures you’re maximizing the ability of search engines to understand what your content is about and rank it accordingly.
- Link to valuable posts on other blogs. When you do so, contact them to let them know and ask if they’d consider sharing the post with their own community. However, don’t apply any pressure for them to do so. The relationship and connection you develop is more important longer term. Even if they decide not to, it helps raise the visibility of your blog. They may return and do so at some point in future, or guest posting opportunities might develop over time.
- Create evergreen posts. This means you can continue to post it to social media over an extended period of time without the information appearing to be dated. It also means of course that others will continue to find it valuable and do likewise.
- Remember, people are consuming content in ever-increasing numbers on mobile and other smaller devices like tablets. Ensure your blog uses responsive design so that, regardless of device, people can still consume, enjoy and share your content. This is also important for SEO, with mobile-friendliness now a significant ranking factor for search results.
- Experiment with different types of post to see what generates the most engagement and appears to be more popular. And then do those post types more regularly. For example, the following post types tend to generate some of the best results:
- List-type posts – this post is a case in point. So 7 Ways to …, 101 Top Tips …, 15 Best Recipes …, and so on.
- How-to posts – people are always keen to know how to do something. In fact there are whole websites dedicated to how-to info.
- Use Buzzsumo for research. This is a website that shows you the most popular posts relating to specific keywords. Type in several keywords relating to your own niche and see what type of content gets shared most often. This tells you the type of information your market enjoys and would be likely to attract more traffic to you. Use the information to help guide the type of post you create in future.
- Similarly search subreddits for keywords relating to your niche, and try to find a relevant community ideally with several thousand subscribers. Read through the questions and answers to see what people are interested in and what would prove to be valuable information for your niche.
- Use list-type posts to create a series of helpful updates on social media. For example, this post could be turned into a series of 101 tweets, all connected with a particular hashtag. You could use this technique to help drive traffic as follows:
- Directly: link back to the original post so people can read the full series
- Indirectly: this might in fact be a better approach as you’re adding value to your social community. The goodwill helps drive traffic through the other posts and tweets you share. Reaching a number like 101 also shows commitment and consistency with your social media marketing activities, and can help generate a lot of referrals.
- Make it as easy as possible for visitors to your blog to share your content on social media. For example, add share buttons for the major networks, add a Pinterest plugin for your images.
- Create long-form content. For example, this post is over 5000 words – there are 101 tips after all – others on this blog are 2000+. Studies have found that long-form content do better on search, and can be hugely popular on social media.
- Create resource pages on your blog. These act as an ongoing resource that you refer visitors to in future, and are attractive for other blogs and websites to link to and share. For example, this blog has a resource page listing stock photo sites that can be added to and enhanced over time. Develop several such pages over time as a useful traffic-attracting asset for your business.
- Create a post that aggregates content from other blogs. Provide a few sentences from each, and link back to the original post. For example, for a cooking-related blog you might create a post featuring recipes from other blogs around a particular theme such as baked cheesecakes. Contact the respective blog owners to let them know about the post, and invite them to share it to their social networks.
- Always respond to comments. This again is about building relationships with people who visit your blog, and encouraging them to return. Your blog post should be a conversation initiator, and you can then continue the conversation with your readers in response to the comments they leave with you.
- Comment on other blogs where your marketplace are likely to hangout. This can not only lead to direct traffic, but also help attract comments to your own blog. Other bloggers will appreciate the time you take to leave comments on their blog, and a proportion will be encouraged to start doing likewise on your blog.
- Connect with other bloggers on networks like Twitter. For example, you can DM via Twitter a compliment on some content you enjoyed and where you also left a comment. These relationships can drive a lot of traffic growth over time.
- Ask for permission to quote or link to fellow blogs from a post of your own. As previously suggested, when you do so ask them to share the post and help spread the word.
- Invite them to guest post on your blog. When they do so, thank them and remind them to share the link with their own audience. Similarly …
- Ask blogs for the opportunity to provide them with a guest post. Invite them to suggest the topic, or suggest possible topics you can write about. The quickest route would be to base a guest post on a post you already have. Obviously, you need to make it completely unique for the blog you are guest posting for, but if you can dig out an archive post and rewrite by restructuring and refreshing it with updated information, it can save a lot of time. You could even outsource this last bit, and then edit it heavily to ensure it reflects your own voice and style.
- Create a company page on LinkedIn.
- Include your link in your company description. It’s not directly clickable, but will attract visitors who go and have a look anyway, especially if you incentivise them to do so (for example, offering a free report, checklist, cheat sheet, etc.)
- Whenever you post to your blog, share it on your company page.
- Adapt each post into one or more articles you then publish on LinkedIn Pulse (how to post on LinkedIn Pulse). Link back to your blog via these articles. For example, you could link back to specific posts on your blog where the reader can learn more information, just like you do when on your blog itself. You publish under your own name rather than your company name. When you publish on LinkedIn Pulse, it shows in your personal profile and in the feed of people in your network, plus your network are notified via separate notifications. People with large LinkedIn networks enjoy thousands of views of their content. So it pays to …
- Build up your personal network on LinkedIn. As stated above, this increases the views of your content on LinkedIn Pulse (and thereby traffic to your blog). You can also utilize this network in other ways for both business partnerships and to drive traffic back to your site in other ways.
- Take part in LinkedIn Group discussions and conversations. Or consider starting up your own LinkedIn Group. This can help drive traffic to your blog via your profile, as well as grow your own network on LinkedIn.
- Consider sponsoring the update about your blog post, and get it in front of an increased network on LinkedIn. Ensure you have effective visitor-to-subscriber conversions on your blog, and this could be a useful source of new subscribers and ongoing future traffic for your blog.
- Create a business account on Pinterest (see my previous post, How To Use Pinterest For Your Business).
- Add your website’s link to your profile and verify it. This means your clickable link will show to people viewing your profile, as well as give you access to Pinterest Analytics (see below).
- Pin your blog post’s Featured Image to Pinterest when you post to your blog. Do the same with other images in your post that fit Pinterest’s image size requirements (120×120).
- Use Pinterest Analytics. You can see the type of content that enjoyed the most engagement, and this can help you plan your future content. Use information about your most popular pins to help plan visuals for your blog in future.
- Run a competition. Here’s a list of 8 examples to give you inspiration. Done right, this can give your blog a lot of publicity.
- Get into the habit of answering questions on Quora. As you answer questions, Quora will invite your answer on similar questions in future. You can also click the Write button after logging in. Provide a full and interesting answer that adds a lot of value, but link back to a post on your blog for more in-depth information, inviting interested readers to click through.
- Use Quora for research on topics that people in your market are interested in finding out more about. In fact, this post was inspired after seeing (and answering) several questions on Quora relating to building blog traffic. To start researching on Quora, search using keywords related to your industry or niche. Look for interesting questions you can provide answers to with a blog post. Create the blog post, and then go back to the question where you can then link to your post in the way suggested above.
(See related content: How to Start a Quora Blog for Your Business)
- Create an account at Slideshare, and link back to your site in the same way as for eg. Facebook above.
- For each blog post, adapt it into a Slideshare presentation. Repurpose the Featured Image for your post as the first slide. Create say 15-20 slides based on the content in your post. Convert the post to mainly bullet format so that each slide is easily scannable.
- Include your link on each slide, but include it in image format so that it’s not repeated for each slide in the transcript. This keeps your transcript readable and encourages click-through from people who are interested to find out more. Remember to hyperlink the image – but also note links don’t work in the first three slides of a Slideshare presentation.
- Include a link and call to action at the end of the Slideshare. For example, you could link back to the post that the Slideshare is based on so that people can click through for more information. Remember to hyperlink the link to ensure it’s clickable.
- Share the Slideshare across social media. This helps build your relationship with your social community, builds your authority and credibility, and indirectly brings people back to your blog.
- Add the Slideshare back into the blog post to which it relates. This has a number of advantages:
- It keeps people on your blog for longer, reduces your bounce rates, and helps build your ranking (i.e. the length of time people stay on your site after clicking through from search engine results pages helps determine your ranking) …
- It increases your view count on Slideshare, which builds your authority and helps build the visibility for this and future Slideshares. The most popular Slideshares can also find themselves on Slideshare’s front page which can give a further significant view count lift (and traffic spike for you).
- Visitors can engage with you on a deeper level, build a stronger relationship, and become potentially more likely to add themselves to your email list to keep updated in future.
Posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts.
- Create a YouTube channel for your blog. Your channel will attract subscribers over time. Each time you publish a video, your subscribers are notified, increasing your view counts. This builds the authority of your videos and gives them increasing visibility.
- Similar to your other social channels (see above), upload a header image containing your link.
- Include the link to your site in your channel description.
- Create a video based on each blog post you create. The easiest way to do this is to create a screen capture video based on the presentation you created for Slideshare, based on the same post (see above). Create a voiceover by going through the bullets on each slide as if running a presentation. Record using either Camtasia on a PC or Screenflow on a Mac.
- Add annotations to your video in YouTube to link back to your blog. For example, if converting your Slideshare to a video, link in similar places to your original presentation, and certainly in your call to action at the end of the video.
- Upload the video to YouTube:
- Upload the Featured Image (which is also the first page in the presentation on which the video is based) as the video’s thumbnail
- Include relevant keywords to give your video more visibility
- Include your link in the description, as near to the top as possible.
- Just as with the tip for Slideshare above, consider embedding the video back into the original blog post. The advantages are similar too:
- You hold visitors on your page for longer, reducing your bounce rate and increasing your ranking.
- Your view count for the video on YouTube is increased, leading to higher visibility.
- You connect in a deeper way with visitors – presuming you do the voiceover, they can now hear your voice – and this stronger connection can lead to increased visitor-to-subscriber conversions, and increased likelihood they will continue to return to your blog in future.
- You attract more subscribers for your channel who want to see your future videos too.
Visitors who view videos stay two minutes longer on average and are 64% more likely to purchase than other site visitors.
- Podcasts are huge right now and soaring in popularity. You already have the content in the form of your regularly created blog posts. Why not adapt them into new podcast episodes you can then share potentially with millions? For example, this blog post could fuel several such episodes. A basic article on getting started with your own podcast can be found here.
- While some podcasts make money by selling advertising, you will simply ‘sell’ your blog. Mention your blog at frequent intervals, as well as in the intro and outtro for your podcast. You could even ‘advertise’ a link just for listeners to the podcast where they can get a special gift for adding themselves to your list.
- Invite other related blog owners or business owners to be interviewed for your podcast. Most will jump at the opportunity for additional exposure in return for a few minutes of their time, even if your initial listener figures are small (episodes stick around for a long time). Ask them to then share the podcast with their list – while helping you, this builds their own credibility and authority with their list as an ‘expert’. For those running their own podcast, you may even be asked as a guest yourself and be exposed to their audience.
- Market your podcast by:
- Referring to it in emails
- Advertising it on your blog
- Update your social media channels each time you publish a new episode
- Here are some more ideas for marketing it elsewhere and getting the word out.
- Do keyword research and ensure your blog is optimized (on-site SEO) for the top keywords and phrases that your marketplace is likely to use to try to find content – or a business – like yours. In addition, many of the above tips will quite naturally help your blog to rank well on search engines like Google. For example:
- You’ll have links from a number of authority, high-traffic websites
- You’ll have an increasing social presence
- Publishing posts consistently means quicker – and higher – ranked content
- Ensure you maintain the uniqueness of the content on your own blog to maintain its authority and standing in the search engines. This means you don’t republish it elsewhere. You can also protect the content and help ensure others don’t steal it by using a tool such as Copyscape.
Other Marketing Tactics
- Develop a powerful webinar to help sell your business’s products and services. Find partners happy to run your webinar to their list, and split the profits with them. This results in a spike of traffic to your website over a short period of time as they promote the webinar, and often hundreds of new subscribers for your list. The more subscribers you have on your list, the more traffic you can build to your blog – and it all helps build your relationship with them and allow you to sell further products and services in future.
- Run periodic online training sessions (again delivered via webinar) where you’re not necessarily selling anything, but simply offering your expertise to your audience. This helps build your credibility, authority and trust with your community, and can generate a ton of referrals. Here’s a couple ideas you can use to encourage this:
- When people register for your webinar, ask them to share the webinar on the thank you page
- At the end of (or even during) your training, ask your audience to share your link, and even offer a free gift in return for doing so (for example, the slides, transcript, and additional notes for the training). Make it easy for them. Give them a page to go to where they can do this in seconds by clicking a button.
- Use retargeting on advertising networks like Google Adwords. This means people will start seeing adverts relating to your blog around the web for a time period of your choosing after they visit you. This can help build your authority and credibility, builds your relationship with your visitors, and reminds them to return. Suitable offers advertised on your blog or on specific blog posts can help monetize that relationship and help you recover those advertising costs more quickly. Or start profiting from that relationship more directly by driving them to a sales page of your choice.
- Become active in a few forums related to your niche. Be as helpful as you can in sharing your expertise and include a link to your blog in your profile. Where relevant, share a link to a specific post on your blog where it helps add value to a particular thread or answer a query someone has. You can also use forums to help you determine new content to write (and then feed the content back into the forum in a similar way).
- Share new posts on StumbleUpon. It’s not as powerful as it used to be, but still works for traffic. Again the key will be to convert as many such visitors as possible into email subscribers, and from there build the relationship with them.
- Include links to your blog in your email signature, and in the signature for customer support emails.
Okay, I think after 100 tips I’m probably allowed to make the final one a little cheeky …
- Bookmark this post! Print it out! Come back to it regularly. Obviously implementation is the key to getting more blog traffic. Try to implement or tick off one more tip a week for the next 12 months. Considering you’ll probably already have some of them covered, that means you’ll be well over half way in a year’s time. Building your blog’s traffic is a journey, not an overnight trick. So just take one steady step at a time, keep moving in the right direction, and you’re guaranteed to see your traffic grow.
So there you have it – 101 tips showing you how to get more blog traffic!
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