Once you start a blog and put out content, the next step is getting people to read it. That usually means you want people other your mom and best friend to read it too. You need to get people clicking over. There are countless bloggers with thousands of daily page views, so they are doing something right. What do you need to do drive traffic to your blog?
You want traffic. Traffic usually means more money. Whether you have an ad network, use affiliate marketing or sell a product, you need people clicking so you can increase your revenue. So, how do you get people to your site?
Before we go any further, I want you to ignore the article that you read where someone started a blog, and a month later they had 50,000 pageviews. The truth is that while you can have that success, the fact is more than 95% of bloggers will not. And, if you think it will happen to you; you may end up very disappointed.
The truth is people who get this usually have a lot of SEO (search engine optimization) experience, past blogging knowledge or were lucky. You will be lucky to get very many people clicking at first, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way forever.
There are strategies you can implement right now that can direct traffic to your site. But, you are going to need to put in some hard work to make it happen.
TRICKS TO GET MORE PEOPLE TO YOUR BLOG
1. Using Pinterest for Blog Traffic
New bloggers need to start using Pinterest. Immediately. Why? Because it is one of the simplest ways to promote your site for free and generate traffic.
Pinterest is a visual search engine. That means people search with their eyes. Yes, they type in phrases for topics they want to learn about, but they look at the images they see to decide which articles to save (called a pin) and those to click over to read.
That is why the #1 thing bloggers need to focus on when it comes to Pinterest is creating quality images that encourage people to click. Do this by creating captivating pictures with quality text overlay on them. The more interesting the title, the more likely people are to click over.
In addition to your image, you should also make sure that the description for your pins includes strong, keyword rich descriptions. Users on Pinterest type in keywords for recipes, DIY and other information they need to know about. When your keyword matches those searches, your pins will more likely be an option.
Creating an effective pinning strategy involves much more than making a pin. You need to set up rich pins, develop proper boards and more. Take the time to read Precision Pinning so you can not only set up your account the right way but also learn how to make images, understand your stats and develop a consistent pinning schedule that works.
I’ve followed these strategies, and my sites now have more than 5,000 page views a day, just from Pinterest. But, even then, Pinterest should not be your primary source of traffic, ever (see #3 below).
2. Share your content where your audience lives
Take time to understand who your reader (also called avatar) hangs out. Is she using Pinterest or does he love Facebook? Maybe your avatar gets lost scrolling through the feed on Instagram. Where ever it is that he or she hangs out, that is where you need to be.
You want to get to know the people in the community before you start talking all about yourself. For instance, network and comment with people on Instagram and then slowly begin sharing your content. Engage with every person who comments or likes content. Creating that c0mmunity allows potential readers to get to know you and they will then be more interested in your content.
3. Make sure your posts are written to get organic traffic
You are going to need to work on your SEO or search engine optimization. SEO is the way your site gets discovered when a user does an online search. Most people use Google, but there are others such as Yahoo and Bing, but for now, focus your time on Google.
Good SEO happens when you have a quality, easy to follow website. Make sure your navigation is clear. Ensure that the colors and fonts are crisp and clean. You also need to ensure your site works well on mobile. Most blog themes will change the way your site looks on mobile devices vs. desktop. Ensure yours has the look you want.
SEO also includes your authority on the topic. When you are new, you don’t have much authority, but that does not mean you can’t rank well. Continue sharing content on the 2 – 3 topics on your site, and you will slowly develop the authority you want.
Use proper keywords. Keywords are the words or phrases people type into Google when searching. You need these, and different forms of these keywords, naturally incorporated within your articles. As Google searches, it finds sites that include such phrases. When done correctly they increase how you rank for that term and if all goes well, you can land on the first page (and possibly in one of the first few spots on the page).
SEO takes time to learn, but it is the most important thing on which you should work. Social media sites can change algorithms, taking away your traffic. And while Google can also tweak searches, well-written content will always continue to do well, sending traffic to you day after day.
There are many articles and resources you can find online to learn about SEO. You can visit Niel Patel or Moz and read their articles. However, the best way to learn search engine optimization is to take a course or read a book. But, it is important that the person you learn from understands how it works for bloggers and can help guide you along your journey.
If you are ready to jump in and take a course, try Stupid Simple SEO. Mike is an SEO expert, who is also a blogger, so he understands where you are coming from and explains it all in a way that makes sense.
4. Don’t participate in Facebook threads
As much as you think they are helpful, Facebook threads often do not work. Dropping links in these groups is the same as throwing a dart at a dartboard while wearing a blindfold. You might be lucky and get what you want, but in most cases, you are going to miss the center.
The reason I don’t recommend these is that often, is because the content you see may not be a fit for your audience. If you blog about healthy living, why would you ever share anything about fashion? If that is not what your audience wants, you would not (and should not) share it.
The only time Facebook groups and threads can work is when you are in a very deeply niched group. For instance, if you are a food blogger, find a group where people are sharing each other’s recipes. Because your audience already follows you for food content, they will be much more interested in other recipes. It is a win-win situation.
Finally, share groups also may not work because the content and images are not the best quality. You don’t want to send readers to a site riddled with typographical errors and bad photos. It is essential you direct them to sites you yourself would visit and follow. If the posts shared by others do not meet your standards, then you can’t reciprocate, or get forced into sharing crappy content.
5. Use HARO (Help a Reporter Out)
Reporters and bloggers are always looking for experts to provide insight and help with the articles and stories they produce. They use a platform like Help a Reporter Out so they can find the right people to help them.
You create a free account and then you will get requests a few times a day. If one works for your niche and expertise, you can respond to them. They may include a link to your site which will appear on their publication and in turn, get people to click over. There is an added benefit here that if a site with a higher authority than yours links to you, you’ll get a win in Google’s eyes.
6. Pay attention to what works
Before you spend hours crafting your next post, find out what it is your avatar is looking for from you. The simple way to do this is to dig into your Google Analytics. For instance, if no one reads your articles on using free weights, but they love your cardio workouts, why would you continue writing about free weight workouts? It just does not make sense.
Once it is working, go to Google Analytics to see which posts are getting the most traffic from all source. Do this by clicking on Behavior —–> Site Content —–> Landing pages.
Edit the date at the top of your page to the past 30 – 60 days (so you can look at it over time).
The top pages are those people are most looking at, from all sources of traffic.
7. Write a guest post
While it may not get you instant traffic directly from the article, guest posting can build your authority, which in turn can boost your rankings in Google. Guest posting is when you write an article for a blog in your niche. They like you doing this as they don’t have to write as many articles, and you can get a link to your site.
Before you start cold pitching bloggers it is important to keep a few things in mind about guest blogging:
- Read their contact page carefully. Sometimes bloggers do not allow or are not accepting guest posts. If you ignore this, your email will more than likely end up in the trash (or could even be flagged as spam).
- Try to get an introduction. Many larger sites are cautious about who they allow to guest post (as they should be since there will be links). Try to find someone who knows the blogger who can do an introduction. You can get a lot further this way and may be more successful in getting your content onto that site.
- Understand that no (or no response) is not personal. As your site grows and your authority increases, blogs, and websites will be much more open to working with you.
- Make sure that your audiences match. I run another website about saving money. I can’t even tell you how many pitches I have received about “loving my fashion content.” First of all, there is nothing about fashion on my site, telling me they have never even looked at it. Secondly, the audience they want to reach is not mine. They have nothing in common. Stick within your niche when it comes to finding blogs.
- When you pitch, be very clear about the type of content you can write. Tell them about you and include a link to your website. If you have done guest posts for others, create a page on your site listing the links where you guest posted (make sure these are no-followed). You can include that link in your pitch so they can see where you previously posted in the past. Make sure you also tell them what you will write about and include sections and as much information up front. Doing sell lets the site owner know what it is you plan to write about.
8. Optimize old content
When you have been blogging for a long time, you will have content that is on your site you wrote more than a year ago. Go into that post and update it!
Review your post and make sure that the information is still correct and that something has not changed. Take some time to do some keyword research to find out what similar phrases or terms go along with your content. Maybe you can explain the process more or give some history behind what it is you are talking about in the post.
As long as the date is not in your URL (i.e., where your link is not mysite.com/month/year/article, or another similar form), change the date and push it back out as brand new content. If you currently have the date included, you should get that changed so your old content can update without breaking your site URL structure (leading to bad links). If you do not know how to do this, consult with a tech expert, so you do not mess up your site.
Review the article and add affiliate links where you can so that if they click and buy – you can make money! A little bit of review with new keywords, headings, and links can bring the oldest content back to life again.
9. Continue to reshare your content on autopilot
Ask any blogger who has been doing blogging for any time, and they will tell you that blogging is 20% content creation and 80% marketing. That means you will spend 4x as much time and effort sharing your posts than you do creating them.
When you write an article and share it on your social channels, there is still more work to do. It is essential to continue to share your content again and again. You must always reshare your old content, so it continues to be visible and send traffic to your site.
There are a few ways to do this. The most important is to make sure your website has social sharing icons that are easily visible. If they are too small or do not stand out, readers can’t use them. These icons are for visitors to share your content for you. If they like what you wrote, they may want to pin it onto Pinterest or tweet it out to their followers. When you do not have social sharing icons on your posts, you are missing out on others helping you promote your traffic for you.
There are different options available for purchase. One that I recommend is Social Pug. It is relatively light (meaning it will not slow down your site).
As much as it is great for your readers to help you share your posts, you must do the same. You will want to continue sharing your content on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as well as other platforms where your readers live. Fortunately, there are systems and platforms you can use to do this for you, so you don’t have to do it time and again manually.
It is important to share your content again and again on Pinterest. There are programs available to do this for you, but make sure that whatever you decide to use, that is an approved partner. Not using one puts your account at risk for using systems that Pinterest has not verified.
The best one to use is Tailwind. They have a new feature being released, called Smart Loop (currently in beta testing). You can set it up so that your old content gets shared time and again, without manually sharing it. It saves countless hours. You can also add all of the items you want pinned to your schedule and drips them out for you. Imagine spending no more than 30 minutes a week and setting up all of your pins to go to Pinterest!
You can also join Tribes, which are groups of bloggers get together to share pins for one another. Tailwind also offers great stats and customer service to help you get the most out of your pinning strategy. Give Tailwind a run by trying it for free to see what you think!
One new feature you will find on Tailwind is the ability to share to Instagram from the same platform. It makes it very convenient as you can access both sites from one login. It is super easy to share your posts, and they even offer help to find the right hashtags you should use to get your posts as more reach.
If Tailwind is not for you, check out Later.com. Just like Tailwind, it too allows you to schedule your posts, and they will have them shared at the time you indicate. One unique feature about Later is the ability to add a link to an article. You need to add the link, and it will be visible when someone clicks the link in your profile. It’s a simple way to re-direct that Instagram traffic right to your most recent article.
Twitter has cracked down on reposting the same content again and again. Instead, it wants you to retweet what you have shared in the past. It is important to use a platform that understands this, so you share correctly.
You can use PostPlanner. You can create a regular tweeting schedule and indicate if you want to share an image, update or link at each time. You can also add all of your existing content to their site, and it will reshare it again and again (as a retweet, of course). You can also use Post Planner to source other content and schedule a week (or month) of tweets in just a few minutes.
You can also try using Hootsuite, which will also allow you to schedule tweets in advance. However, unlike Post Planner, you will not be able to recycle them automatically and will need to add them to your schedule manually.
Whether you have a Facebook page or group (or both), it is essential to share your content. Facebook has a built-in scheduler that you can use for free. There are also external apps you can use that do the same thing.
And, before we go into the apps, let’s put a myth to bed. Some people claim using a third-party app for scheduling will hurt your FB reach. I have tested this theory, and it is a myth. There is no direct relationship between reduced reach and using an external app. The issue is usually because of what you share more than anything else. So, feel free to use a scheduler.
10. Make site improvements
Sometimes, the smallest changes can have the biggest impact. If someone tries to visit your site and it does not load quickly, the colors are too bright, the font too small or they find it difficult to navigate, they will leave and never return. A few simple updates can make all the difference in getting quality traffic and losing out on readers.
First, make sure your site loads quickly. Use Pingdom to check your website load time. If there is room for improvement, they will let you know. Some simple things you can do to ensure your site loads more quickly include:
- Upload your images as a jpg (rather than png) and make them the size you need them to be. That means do not use your platform image resizing tool. Doing so forces your site to resize the image(s) each time the page loads, which can slow down your speed.
- Use a good host. Many times, newer bloggers are told to use a very cheap host. The thing is – you get what you pay for. Using a good host can ensure that your database and site can accommodate the traffic to your site, which can also ensure a speedy load time. If you aren’t sure where to go for hosting, check out Siteground. It is not the cheapest, but it one of the better hosts.
- Check for unnecessary plugins. Plugins are ways to add features to your WordPress blog. As amazing as they are, they can also slow down your site. For instance, if you use a plugin for your Google Analytics code, remove it. Follow the simple steps to add the code to your theme’s header. Now, you’ve got the tracking you need without a plugin slowing you down.
- Use a caching plugin. I know, I know. I just said not to use too many plugins. But, a caching plugin is one that is important to help improve site speed. A caching plugin allows your site to load more quickly, as it keeps your logo and other setting saved for return users. That way, when they click to read, much of the content is already saved for them in their browser. W3 Total Cache is an excellent plugin that you can add to your site. A word of caution!! If you don’t know how to set this up, reach out to your IT team or person.
11. Create a sharing network
A simple way to get traffic is to get to know the bloggers in your niche. Join Facebook groups that discuss your blog’s topic and get to know people. (But please, do not just link drop when you are new — give them time to get to know you first).
Comment and engage on posts. Share what you know on the topic and have fun with the members of the group. Once you know those bloggers, you can reach out to them and see if they would like to work with you and cross-promote one another’s content.
12. Use Q&A Sites
Bloggers often blog to solve a reader’s problem. I blog at PennyPinchinMom to help people save money. That’s what I am about over there. When you can solve a problem, you become a valuable resource.
Q&A sites, such as Quora are an excellent way to show your expertise in a particular field. Search through the questions and help when you can. Make sure you read the rules concerning using your links, as they sometimes are not allowed.
Even if they don’t click over from a link, they may be intrigued to learn more about you and check your profile, where they can find a way to follow your site.
13. Use your email newsletter
Your email newsletter is the direct connection to your readers. They have signed up because they love what you have to say. So, why are you not emailing them?
If you don’t send anything because you don’t know what to say, you aren’t alone. Figuring out what to put in an email can be very challenging, but it doesn’t need to be.
First, make sure you use an email provider. Do not use the automated email that is sent if you are using WordPress.com (you don’t own that list, WordPress does). A couple to try include MailerLite and ConvertKit. The prices vary, so use the one that works best for your budget.
You can email them great offers on products you love or talk about what is going on in your life. For instance, look at the blog post you just shared on your site. Talk about what lead you to discuss this topic and then send them the link. Try to use a question or an exciting subject line to encourage them to get clicking.
14. Publish regularly
Consistency is key to a good website. When readers visit your site, they want to find new content waiting for them. If you haven’t updated or added a new article in a month, they may leave and never return.
A new article that you share on your social channels and email is a perfect way to get people clicking back to your website. Set up a regular posting schedule, so you add an article at least once a week.
15. Do expert round ups and email those featured
If you have ever scrolled Pinterest, you will see many images that show a list of ideas. For example, you may see 16 Way to Save $100 or 25 Simple Pie Recipes to Try this Fall. These bloggers did not write that many articles. Nope. They did a round-up post.
A round-up post is one where a blogger curates content from other bloggers who have a great article on a topic. They email the creator and ask for permission to use their image (a must for these posts). Then, they add them to the article.
When they are through, they usually email everyone included, and those people share it, hoping to get their content more exposure. While not everyone will share, it can be a simple way to network and get to know others in your blogging niche.
16. New pin images
Pinterest is all about the image. After all, it is a visual search engine. That is why your images are vital to a good pinning strategy. But, if you have pinned the same image for months (or even years), it could be stagnant. Pinterest has said it loves fresh, new images and descriptions and those sometimes get a little extra Pinterest love.
Find a new image for your blog post and share it for your pin. Make sure it is the right size and will work for the platform. Sometimes an old post needs a fresh look to get people interested.
17. Quality content
While all of the above are great ways to increase your traffic, I can’t stress enough how quality content is the most important one of all. You need to take the time when writing a post to ensure it has the proper keywords and helps the user. If the user does not like what you are writing, they will click out. But, it is more than the user. It is also Google.
Google loves good content. They want your articles to have lots of great, helpful information so that the reader can get the right information. Short posts are easy because you can do them rather quickly. However, taking the time to put together a well laid-out blog post, will not only make your readers love it, so will Google and that may get it ranking more quickly.