Do you as a blogger ever wonder why it is that some bloggers seem to have a knack for attracting loads of traffic while you struggle to bring in more than a trickle?
Over time I’ve discovered from my own experimenting and reading hundreds of different blogs many useful secrets that too many bloggers either ignore or are completely unaware of.
Let me fill you in on 14 secret blogging tips I’ve discovered over the years that hopefully will help you out and just might change the way you blog.
1. Internal linking
One of the best and most simple things you can do that will immediately boost your search engine optimization (SEO) metrics is Internal Linking. An internal link is simply a clickable link that connects a page of your website to another page of your website (see two examples in the paragraph above.)
Experienced bloggers are aware of the importance of internal linking, especially near the start of a blog post. As well as being great for SEO, they help to encourage readers to stay on your blog for longer, so it’s best to link to some of your other posts at an early stage of your blog posts.
You should however avoid using too many internal links in your posts or it’s possible that Google might flag the post as spam.
2. Have a great title
One frequently cited statistic regarding blogs is that 80% of readers will only read the title, with only 20% actually bothering to read the text. (Many people will share a post purely on the basis of it’s title.)
A great title will ‘sell’ the content of your post for you – it’s what people will see most clearly on email, social media and search engines. You don’t want to spend hours laboring over a post, only to have people ignore it completely because you gave it a pedestrian, unexciting title.
(See the bottom of this post to download my free PDF ‘How to Write Great Headlines That Get More Blog Traffic.’)
3. This is an excellent ‘website grader’ that will let you know how well your blog is going. Check it out:
Go here and enter your blog’s URL.
See your ranking for keywords and other useful information regarding your blog, including the number of domains that are linking to you.
You can also grade your competitors’ blogs and compare their stat’s to yours.
4. Disable old comments
Some bloggers have complained that when people leave comments on older posts (over a few months old) that it’s search engine traffic plummets. When the comments were removed the search engine traffic picked up again.
Or possibly your traffic has grown quickly and you have more comments than you can keep up with. Spam is also an issue – closing comments early can greatly reduce it’s nuisance value.
The quick way to disable comments is to use the ‘Automatically close comments on articles older than’ setting in Settings > Discussion in WordPress. If you want to disable comments over a year old you’d enter 365 for example.
5. The money IS in the list
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that email is boring and outdated – a favorite saying of experienced bloggers is “The money’s in the list!” They also usually recommend that you begin to build your email list from day one.
James Clear, internet entrepreneur: “I don’t even consider my blog to be my community, my email list is my community. Caring about these people, writing for them, and delivering value to them should be your number one goal.”
The majority of most bloggers sales comes from their email subscribers – these are people who’ve already entrusted you with their email address and permission to send them emails, so they’re your perfect audience for clicking on your affiliate links or buying your ebooks and other products. So don’t neglect your biggest fans – start building your email list today!
6. Your readers are skimming!
Here’s a secret that many bloggers don’t seem to be aware of: people don’t so much READ as SKIM when they’re browsing through posts and articles on the web. Knowing this, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to scan quickly through your posts, commonly known as readability.
The most common ways of doing this are:
- bullet points
- white space
- short paragraphs (two to three sentences maximum)
- headings and subheadings
- short line length (don’t run all the way across the screen; optimal line length is recommended to be between 50-75 characters per line)
- line breaks
- large fonts (12 pixels is fine for books – 16-18 pixels is recommended for blogs)
Also be aware that a large and growing proportion of your readers are using mobile devices, so you want to make sure that your blog looks good on smartphones and tablets. I use and recommend the StudioPress ‘Genesis Framework‘ which is optimized for mobile devices.
7. Graphics and video make your site ‘stickier’
Graphics and video embedded within your post helps to slow readers down as well as encourage them to keep reading. It also adds to the ‘readability’ factor as mentioned in the previous secret.
I was advised early on by experts to add graphics and video to as many posts as I could (a minimum of at least one graphic at the start) and it definitely helps with the average time spent per page view – videos are particularly good for this, especially the longer ones for obvious reasons (so long as they’re interesting and relevant of course!)
To embed a Youtube video, click ‘SHARE’ under the video, then ‘EMBED’ on the popup. Then copy and paste all text within the <iframe and /iframe> brackets into the ‘Text’ box of your post. You can change the numbers in ‘width’ and ‘height’ for a better fit in your post – I usually change width to 560 and height to 315, as in this (interesting and relevant) video by Jeff Goins:
8. Comment on other blogs
If you want to build your brand, as well as gain backlinks and lots more traffic, commenting on other blogs seems to be a secret too many bloggers are unaware of. However don’t leave useless comments such as “This is great! I’ll definitely read your blog again” or even worse “Great Post!” Such comments will often be seen as spam by blog owners and simply deleted (or ignored if moderating their comments.)
Try instead to leave useful comments of at least two or three sentences that demonstrate that you’ve read the post. Also make sure that you get yourself a Gravatar, which is a little image that appears next to your name in blog comment sections. It helps you to stand out and be more memorable – all part of building your brand!
9. A blog commenting secret
When you comment on another blog, add your site name next to your own name. Once source said this increased her traffic by 500%!
Example: Justin | wordsbyjustin.com
I know that if you’re using a Gravatar that people just need to click on your swoon-inducing image, but either a lot of people don’t know to do that or just find it easier or more convenient to click on your much more visible website name. It’s at least worth testing out for a while!
10. A secret blogging tip that should get more traffic to your blog:
Go to your blog’s dashboard (if using WordPress)
Click on ‘Settings’
Click on ‘Reading’
Next to ‘For each article in a feed, show’ click the ‘Summary’ box.
11. Outsource some of your content
The ’80/20′ rule says that you should spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% promoting it. If you want to avoid burnout from cranking out content regularly at the same time as tweaking your blog design, answering comments, reading email and promoting your brand on social media, it’s a good idea to hire some writing help to share the load.
I’ve written elsewhere about my experiences with hiring writing talent, and can recommend HireWriters for good reliable writers at decent rates. I’d recommend you follow my advice on filtering writers in the above-quoted post though, or else be prepared to spend a lot of time editing–good writing talent (at a good price) is hard to find (and keep for that matter.)
12. Add a ‘Related Posts’ plugin
When a reader reaches the end of one of your posts and sees nothing of interest to click on then there’s a good chance they’ll just go on to another site. This is where a good ‘related posts’ plugin is useful, displaying an assortment of posts relevant to the one just read (see the bottom of this post for an example.)
This also adds to the ‘stickiness’ of the site I mentioned earlier, making for longer average browsing time, lower bounce rates and more page views on your site.
The related posts plugin I use on this site is Contextual Related Posts by WebberZone, which as it’s name implies bases it’s choices on the content of the title as well as the post text. You have a choice of either thumbnails or text display.
13. Choose a great hosting service
This may not sound like much of a secret, but a lot of new bloggers are being misled due to affiliates with dollar signs in their eyes. First of all I should mention that if you’re even remotely considering monetizing your site at some future date, you should be self-hosted (as opposed to using a free website.) For more information see this post.
One hosting company in particular, BlueHost, is constantly being complained about in regards to poor service and “slow as molasses” site speeds. So why are so many reviews praising it to the skies? Simple – they’re offering the highest affiliate fees, so be warned!
After much research I chose SiteGround for this, my latest website and have had excellent service and great loading speeds thus far. The only review for a hosting company I’ve written is for SiteGround – I’m not interested in reviewing inferior services. In my view those praising BlueHost are sacrificing credibility and trust for dollars, and do so only to their long term detriment.
14. Find a niche you can be expert in
People usually visit blogs hoping to find a solution to their problem. If your blog is unfocused and contains posts on many different topics your visitors are likely to go elsewhere to a blog that’s focused only on their area of interest.
Although a niche blog reduces the size of your overall audience, it’s more likely to keep them coming back for more. An excellent example I often like to cite is that of a little blog that was only a collection of exam notes for a single exam.
When it’s owner realized that it was suddenly and unexpectedly generating a large amount of traffic he rushed to produce an ebook to profit from it. The blogger, Pat Flynn, was soon making over $30,000 monthly from that site and went on to build an international blogging empire. Read his story here.
To wrap things up, another 7 Secrets from Neil Patel:
Do YOU have any blogging secrets you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments!
FREE PDF: 'How to Write Great Headlines That Get More Blog Traffic'
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