Traffic is the lifeblood of any blog – without it you’re just a voice crying out in the wilderness. So what is your best course of action to boost your blog traffic?
It’s often said that you should spend 80% of your time promoting your content and only 20% in it’s creation. But you can’t do everything at once and all the possible choices available can seem overwhelming at times.
But don’t worry, it’s not rocket science and there’s no need to spend a huge amount of time and money on it either. Whether you’re a beginner or a more experienced blogger, I think there’s an excellent chance you’ll find at least one or two useful traffic-boosting ideas in the guide I’ve assembled here.
1. Optimize your blog for search engines
Given enough time, search engines (mainly Google) will usually be the major traffic source for a blog. Learn to do keyword research, include internal links, add SEO plugins such as Yoast, and learn at least the basics of SEO fairly early in your blogging career.
Too many bloggers focus almost entirely on social media for traffic and neglect SEO, considering it too complicated/time-consuming/boring. If this is you consider hiring a Virtual Assistant (V.A.) to manage your SEO for you – in the long run you’ll find it’s an excellent investment if you can find the right person.
2. Build a large Twitter following
Twitter is the best platform to quickly and easily build a very large following. Implementing the ‘follow/unfollow’ method using Crowdfire, it’ll cost you a few dollars a month and a few minutes a day but the rewards are well worth it if you persevere with the strategy.
See my review of ‘How To Gain 100,000 Twitter Followers‘ for much more detail!
3. Comment on posts on other blogs
A great way to gain backlinks, improve your brand and gain more traffic is to comment on other blog posts in your niche. This is a strategy too often ignored by bloggers, but well worth the time spent.
Don’t just leave spammy one-liners such as “Great Post!” and suchlike – take the time to leave more useful and relevant two or three sentence comments that demonstrate to the author that you’ve taken the trouble to read and understand their post. Do that and readers are much more likely to take notice and click on the link to your blog.
A useful commenting tip is to put your name and website at the end of your comment (as well as in the text boxes provided), e.g. Justin | wordsbyjustin.com. Studies have shown that doing that will get more people clicking through to your website. And definitely get yourself a Gravatar as well!
Pinterest is often overlooked by bloggers who think it’s “just women’s crafts and stuff”, but the truth is it can be a great source of traffic for their websites. And it’s not just fashion, crafts and recipes – many other topics are popular such as business, education, gaming and technology etc.
Each time a fellow ‘pinner’ saves one of your pins to their ‘boards’, your content is also shared with all of their followers to reach a much wider audience. This has an exponential effect, occasionally resulting in one of your pins going ‘viral’ and bringing you a tsunami of visitors to your website.
5. Viral Content Bee
This is a great site I discovered a while back where I can drive lots of traffic to my site 24/7 at the expense of only a few minutes a day (and zero cost.) You can’t ask for much more than that! The concept is simple: you share others content on your social platforms to gain points which you can spend for others to share yours.
It’s easy to join – just sign up using your Facebook or Twitter profile. Viral Content Bee is so good I wrote an entire post on it here.
You probably already know that YouTube is owned by Google. What this means is that whenever a search is done on Google, Google looks for results on YouTube as well as websites and blogs etc. So as well as being a site to view videos, YouTube is also a search engine where people can search for specific terms they’re interested in.
What this means for bloggers is that as well as having a huge audience to view your videos, it’s also great for your SEO to have your content there.
If you don’t want to spend the time to create your own videos however, you should still at least be emebedding YouTube videos into your posts occasionally, as it helps to both break up the text, make your post more entertaining, and keep visitors on your site for longer.
(See instructions for embedding videos in this post.)
Flipboard is a popular ‘content curation site’ that allows you to store your favorite content in your own personal ‘magazine’. With over 100 million users it’s worth considering at least on a trial basis.
As with other social media sites, the philosophy of “Give and you shall receive” works well here, as you’ll get better results sharing (or ‘flipping’) more articles of others than your own. You should also engage with other users, liking, commenting and reflipping other users articles.
Depending on your niche it can be a massive source of blog traffic, though it’s usually reported that Flipboard users don’t ‘convert’ as well as from other sites such as Pinterest.
Nevertheless once you’ve set up your magazines it only takes a few minutes a day, so it’s certainly worth experimenting with.
8. Use Social Media Sharing Buttons
The more people who read your posts the better right? One very important method (used by nearly every blog these days) is to include social media sharing buttons on every blog page to facilitate the sharing of their posts on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc.
Over time as your content gets more widely shared on social you’ll get valuable, natural links. And the more your content gets shared, the more of those links you’ll gain.
9. Write Great Headlines
With studies showing that 80% of readers will read the title while only 20% will actually read the text, it should be obvious that having an excellent knowledge of how to create a great headline is a very useful skill to have. What’s the point of laboring for hours creating fabulous content if nobody reads it because you gave it a bland or boring title?
This is a skill that no blogger who hopes for long-term success can afford to be without. Thus I’ve spent a lot of time researching the subject myself, and you can download my PDF, ‘How to Write Great Headlines That Get More Blog Traffic’ at the bottom of this post.
10. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging (writing for other blogs) is a great way to share your expertise, create relationships with other bloggers, and increase traffic to your blog. Since bloggers make up a big percentage of internet conversations (especially on Twitter and Facebook) they are extremely influential and thus very good friends to have.
It’s best to start out guest blogging on smaller blogs since the larger ones are inundated with wannabe guest bloggers, and gradually work your way up to the bigger blogs. Smaller bloggers too are much more grateful for the free content (as long as it’s good quality of course) and so more likely to help you to publicize it. Often too they’ll reciprocate by writing a guest post for your blog and commenting on some of your posts.
11. Write Great Content
“Write great content!” Everybody says that right? Only because it’s one of blogging’s great truths! If you’re writing bland, boring or rehashed content then you can drive all the traffic to your blog you like, but they’re not going to stay very long and are even less likely to convert.
You need to create interesting and well-thought-out content that adds value to people’s lives and solves their problems. If you can do that consistently then people will share your content, return for more, join your email list and your blog will thrive and prosper.
Do you have a good tip for driving more traffic to your blog? Let me know in the comments!
FREE PDF: 'How to Write Great Headlines That Get More Blog Traffic'
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