As a blogger, you want each post you write to get noticed!
There is nothing worse then spending a whole whack of time crafting an amazing post, just to have it bring you little to no traffic and hear crickets.
It’s not just a game of luck though. There are really specific things you can focus on and do with each blog post to make sure it reaches its full potential. From my experience of writing blog posts that have done super well AND not so great (trial and error, peeps!!), here is what I have learned: 7 proven strategies to increase blog traffic.
7 Strategies to Increase your Blog Traffic:
1 // TEACH SOMETHING
The types of blog posts that not only get read, favorited, shared, and stand the test of time, are the ones that provide ultra valuable content.
A short post that doesn’t leave the reader feeling like they gained a lot from it ain’t going to have much of a lifespan on the internet. On the other hand, if you write a really comprehensive article that imparts some kind of knowledge to the reader, they are going to really value it and share that bad boy.
Try to write every blog post with the intention that readers would want to bookmark and come back to to read again, because it was THAT GOOD. I’m not saying that each post needs to be a tutorial of some kind (though those are great!), but try to always write your post from the perspective of offering value in some way to your reader.
My top posts that do well and continue to send traffic my way, even years later, are comprehensive posts that taught the reader something – usually a DIY project tutorial or some kind of how-to. This post on choosing quartz countertops for our kitchen is an example of one of my best performing posts. In it, I took the readers through our experience of selecting countertop options and included all the marble-lookalike quartz options out there, our decision making process, which we choose, and how we ended up liking it. It’s a pretty clear guide for someone wanting to do something similar.
2 // HAVE STELLAR PHOTOGRAPHY
Photography, particularly in the design / DIY / food / fashion / lifestyle arenas, plays such a huge role in blogging. Let me embarrass myself for a minute, k? Here is a photo from one of my very early blog posts. It was one of my first furniture makeover posts – this was the “during the makeover” pic.
Small, SO dark, a weird angle, and terribly composed with the sofa and random stuff in the background. NOBODY is going to find that inspiring. It’s just plain bad.
This image, on the other hand, is well-lit, better composed, and is all around more appealing. Waaaay better. Obviously I have learned a thing or two in my 5+ years of blogging.
I know all bloggers aren’t photography experts. I’m definitely not. But, I promise that you can get better if you just dedicate a bit of time to figuring it out.
Look up tutorials online, read through tips, and get to know photography editing software like Photoshop, LightRoom or PicMonkey (only $40 for the Royale version). There are even tons of apps out there for creating amazing photography just using your phone – here is an article outlining some of the best ones.
If you don’t need to use original photography in your posts, then be sure to use beautiful stock images to amp up the visual factor of your article. There are plenty of sites that offer free stock photos. If you are looking for something more unique or specific, then there is also a whole market out there for paid stock (check out Creative Market, Etsy, etc.). Just never ever ever use a photo that isn’t yours without knowing that you have permission to do so.
3 // MAKE IT PINTEREST-FRIENDLY
Pinterest is a huge driver of traffic for most bloggers. It is consistently in my top 3 referrers to my blog, sending me a minimum of 1000 hits a day. In order to get your full potential out of Pinterest, you NEED to make sure you have a “pinterest-friendly” image in each and every blog post you write.
What does this mean?
Size – The image should be vertical and sized around 735 x 1100 pixels. Vertical images are proven to be way more successful on Pinterest than horizontal ones (they always appear really small), so please please please don’t ignore this piece of advice.
Text – Although I would argue that it isn’t always necessary, images with a text overlay tend to do well on Pinterest. An overlay refers to your post title or some descriptive phrase placed on top of the image, like the one below.
There are two free software tools you can use to do this. The first is Canva, which if you’re anything like me, you will get obsessed with. They even have a Pinterest image option with templates you can use – your designs are going to suddenly look SO good! The other option is PicMonkey, another solid option that I use regularly.
Tags – Alt tagging. I know, I know. You’re like “alt whaaat?”. You know how when you pin an image from a website it automatically pulls a description into the Pinterest description? Well, if you don’t alt tag your image with something, then it’ll pull whatever the title of the image is (think “DSC_0959”). Not great. You want to ensure that you have entered a good phrase into your image’s alt tag so that it pulls this as its’ description, making it way more search and reader friendly in Pinterest (meaning it’s more likely to get re-pinned). If you don’t know how to edit the alt tag, google it for instructions using your platform (wordpress, blogger, squarespace, etc).
Here is an example of one of my post photos that I would consider Pinterest-friendly:
4 // SMART SEO
SEO stands for “search engine optimization”. Basically, there are a whole bunch of things to do with keywords and the tagging of your post, that are going to help make your post rank high in google search. The higher your post ranks, the more people are going to see it and click on it.
Here are the basic things you want to think about:
Your keyword phrase. This is the phrase that when searched in google, you would want YOUR blog post to show up nice and high in the results. Make sure your phrase isn’t too long, but also specific enough. If you were writing a post about a paleo chocolate cake that uses zucchini (does such a thing exist?), you would want to have the keyword phrase be “paleo zucchini chocolate cake recipe” instead of just “chocolate cake recipe”, where your competition is going to be much higher. Make sense?
You want your keyword phrase to be included somewhere near the top of your post (first paragraph is good), in the title, in the URL, and elsewhere in your post if possible.
Your title. As much as it might be cute to have a title with a funny pun, you want to have a title that is explanatory and grabs peoples’ attention. That fine line between being both educational AND interesting / thought provoking. When you show up in google, you want the title to encourage folks to click over. Something like “Friday Faves” doesn’t tell you anything about the post. I’ll admit – I struggle with titles! I feel like it’s a total art that I definitely haven’t mastered yet. Here is a good article on title creation.
If you use WordPress, there is a plugin called Yoast SEO that I really recommend. It takes the guesswork out of SEO tagging and gives you a green light once you have “good” SEO. I use it for each and every blog post I write. It’s especially perfect if, like me, you don’t totally understand all the nuances of SEO but want to make sure you are going to rank well.
There is WAY more info you can learn on improving your SEO, but that’s a good place to start.
5 // MAKE SHARING EASY
Having other people share your content is one of the absolute BEST ways of getting your content out there. You need to make it super easy for people to do this. Make sure you have social sharing buttons placed in a really obvious spot in or throughout your post so that your readers are encouraged to click on them. When someone hovers over an image in your post, the social icons should pop up for the reader to click them (hover over any of the images in this post to see what I mean).
There are tons of plugins that you can use to make this possible. I keep hearing and reading great things about SumoMe, both for sharing buttons and email sign-ups. I’m just getting started with it on my own site, and will report back if I notice a huge leap in sharing!
6 // AMPLIFY ACROSS SOCIAL MEDIA
Speaking of social media, you need to make sure you share each and every blog post you create across your own platforms. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, and wherever else you and your target audience hang out.
Now, I don’t just mean share it once and call it a day. The best thing you can do with your blog’s social media strategy is to continue to share these evergreen blog posts for a long time to come. That’s why we are making sure they are valuable and comprehensive … because those posts ain’t going to go out of style!
There are loads of tools out there you can use to schedule your social media updates. What I recommend is keeping a record of all of your blog posts in some kind of document (like a Word doc, even). Have the link, title, and short description saved and build it up over time with all of your posts. That way you have this amazing document you can pull all of your old blog posts from to schedule into your social media.
For scheduling, these are the software tools I recommend as I find them to be the “smartest” and least time consuming for me:
7 // HAVE A CONTENT UPGRADE
What is a content upgrade?
It’s the “freebie” you sometimes see at the end or within a blog post available for instant download. The blogger has thought about the reader and created some kind of ‘extra’ to give them. Like I mentioned above, it’s allllll about creating value for your readers to get your post shared and folks coming back for more.
You always want your content upgrade to be related to your blog post’s subject matter (having it be totally un-related would be a little weird). Some content upgrade ideas:
- Cheatsheet (like a one-pager that summarizes your post content)
- Resource List
- Worksheet / Assignment
- Case Study
- basically whatever you think your readers will dig!
Content upgrades not only increase the sharing of your post, but they are also a great opportunity to collect email addresses and turn those readers into subscribers. Building up your email list is really important for your blogging biz, so you want to use this as an opportunity to land some new folks on there.
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