WHEN YOU'RE JUST STARTING OUT IN THE ONLINE SPACE, the one thing you'll notice immediately is that there are a lot of businesses and bloggers already out there, doing a great job in getting both traffic and viewers. So, how do you start getting some traction and build your own following and produce more sales?
The good news it that there are some tried-and-true methods you can do today, and they're not difficult to follow. Here are 10 Ways to Increase Your Blog Traffic.
(By the way, we've made an easy checklist of all of the below so you can take this on the road. Click here to download directly from our Resource Library)
1. Know Your Niche
If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times. Know. Your. Niche. When you know exactly who you're targeting as a business and within your blog, the content writes itself and you'll know immediately via that weird feeling in your belly when you're stepping away from your audience.
Is your blog focused on fashion for women over 30, or large breed dog trainers? Probably not a good use of your blog to write a review of the newest game just released for your XBox, then. By focusing on the content that is relevant to your audience, you'll eventually create a worthwhile brand that this audience will follow, and a reputation as an expert in your field.
2. Write Blog Titles that Attract Clicks
If you do a quick look at some of the top blog posts right now, you'll see a pattern. They often start with words like, "Why," "What," "How," or are a "listicle" where it's the "Top x ways to..." (like this post, actually!).
Here's why: You're presenting either a question or an answer that tickles a reader's curiosity enough that they'll investigate. The title of your blog post is not like the title of an e-mail: it's a headline that is meant to grab people's attention and want more information.
This is not to be confused with "clickbait," however, which is so absurd in its attempts to force people to click that it becomes almost laughable (Like, "This Man didn't know what was inside him until they cut him open. The results will shock you!" UGH). Make sure you content fulfills on your snazzy title, and you'll have avoided a major blog pitfall.
3. SEO-up Your Blog (and website, too)
SEO, for the uninitiated, stands for Search Engine Optimization. By having an SEO-friendly site, you've made your site easy for search engines like Google or Yahoo to properly read through so it knows the quality of your site and if its worthwhile to show to its users. Ever wonder why some sites appear on the first couple of pages on Google and not others? This is why. If a search engine can't make heads or tales of your site in a way that it requires, you'll be stuck in the back of the bus.
So, how do you make your site SEO-friendly? We could make an entire post about this, but here are some tips.
- Cross-linking. Within your posts, link to other posts that are related. This will show Google that your post is strong, and will also keep readers clicking through your site.
- Know your keywords. Keywords are the, well, key to SEO. You know how Google auto-completes your search queries before you're even done typing? That list of possible auto-complete possibilities are golden keywords. Name all of your images using a slew of those keywords, as well as in your headlines, titles, and actual content, and the search engine will think it's hit gold when someone looks up something similar.
- Use headings. Your blog has three different levels of headings: h1, h2, and h3, and they're not just for formatting your blog to look pretty. Search engines use these to index your pages and, if it finds consistencies and lots of those keywords we mentioned, it's much more likely to throw your website in front of its users.
- Meta Descriptions. These are a <160 character description of your page that websites present to users so they can decide whether or not to click on your site. You can probably tell right away why this is critical, as there are going to be at least 10 other results on this page. Make sure the description is well-written and pulls your reader in.
4. Guest Posting & Hosting
Guest posting on someone else's blog allows you to be in front of an entirely new audience who will have the opportunity to then follow you, should they so choose. In a similar vein, Guest Hosting does the same but reversed: you invite someone to post on your blog with the agreement that they'll push it out to their followers.
All in all, it can be a very effective way to cultivate new followers, establish credibility, and even sell things like online programs or products from your website. There are some finer points of etiquette that you should probably follow, so I'd recommend you check out this post on socialmediahq.com.
5. Photos, Fonts, and Formatting
Having a polished-looking blog is key to repeat visitors. Have you ever visited a blog post that looks like it's from 1995? I'm talking, the entire post looks to be in Times New Roman, there is nary a single photo or illustration, and the margins: what margins? There aren't any.
I'm guessing you didn't stay on that blog post for long, and most-certainly didn't bookmark it. Do some research and look at blogs you respect and look to be doing well and take notes. What combination of fonts are they using? How many photos do they have? What is the overall look/feel? While you shouldn't copy anyone outright, get inspired and feel free to pull in elements and make it your own.
6. Cross-Promote with your Newsletter
Not everyone will be visiting your website on "the regs" nor will they see your Facebook or Instagram post blasting it out, so remember to push out your posts via your e-mail list as well. But, don't give away the farm: Place in the first couple of sentences only, with a link to the rest of the post. Anyone who missed it will have their curiosity piqued and the clicks will rain down on your site. One of the easiest services to use for this is MailChimp. Here's a great, in-depth post that goes over all of the basics of how to use MailChimp so you can do this exact thing.
7. Multi-media Options
Not everyone likes to read all the time, so providing options for digesting your content is a smart way of increasing engagement. You can create a mini-podcast of your blog post, reading it aloud. Another option is to create a video, where you can either be talking into the camera, reviewing the same points, or create a video slideshow of your content if it's more of a How-To guide.
The more options you have, the more of an opportunity you'll have of building trust and viewership, so this one is a no-brainer. (Check out two examples of how I've done this on my blog here and here)
8. Share the Love on Social Media
Social Media is obviously one of the most crucial aspects of marketing your content. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and all of the other wonderful platforms each provide the means to share your post to your followers and others in the community. Here's how to intelligently promote your content like a pro:
- Have a share button on your posts so people can easily post it to their platform of choice.
- Advertise your post on any of these platforms. You don't have to spend much to get some traction. The key is to make sure you target your buy to your exact audience by focusing on what groups they belong to, demographics, and other metrics.
- Post often. Try posting at least once a week on your blog and then push it out on all of your social media platforms. If you have a habit of hitting the blog hard and then disappearing for a month, this is going to impact how effectively you're building trust, and as a result, how often people share and interact with your content.
- Share within your Facebook Groups. Join groups on Facebook for people within your industry or interests, and share your post within them (while following the group guidelines, of course).
9. Analytics are Key
Put plainly, analytics are the data surrounding how visitors interact with your website. Use Google Analytics or any other analytics of your social media platforms, such as Pinterest Analytics, to see what people are clicking on and interacting with. This will be a good indicator of the type of content they want more of. Come up with five or ten different ideas that are in a similar space and continue to test to see what is working and what's not. Here's a video from Google themselves going over the finer points.
10. Content Upgrades
Content Upgrades are one of the most effective ways to get potential readers to engage with your blog. (If you're not sure what they are, check out this blog post here where I go into all of the details you need to know about it.) By using Content Upgrades, you're creating a true win-win between yourself and readers, and you're framing yourself as an absolute expert in what you do. It can't be said enough: Content Upgrades for the win.
Psst...if you didn't download the free checklist, click here and it's alllllll yours!
AUTHOR: SCOTT ROBSON
Scott Robson is a career + branding strategist who helps professionals and entrepreneurs expand their hustle.