I chose to write on this topic for this week because I recently asked fellow bloggers about the most challenging parts of blogging that they feel they needed help with, and getting blog visitors was the one that most are still trying to figure out.
Since the idea of starting a website or a blog is to share your words and your creations with the world, then most certainly part of your focus would be on how to get more people to reach it.
And so, in this post, I explore 10 different methods you can try to help you increase the traffic to your blog and have more readers. They are all things that you can start doing right now.
- Master Social Media
- Engage Your Family and Friends
- Work on SEO
- Submit Your Sitemap to Search Engines
- Create An Easy-to-Navigate Design
- Build an Email List
- Interact with Readers on Similar Blogs
- Write Guest Posts
- Conduct Interviews
- Use Different Mediums
1. Master Social Media
This is probably the most obvious outlet that you would use to drive traffic to your website. But if you are not using it right, you might still not be getting traffic.
There are so many options when it comes to social media and each of them has its own rules and ways of gaining an audience.
To be able to make the best out of each one, you will need to familiarize yourself with some of those rules and “etiquette of use” if you will.
I’m going to go through some of them briefly here.
- Always share your new blog post to your Facebook profile
- Automate sharing the new blog post to your FB page
- Add a link to your website to both your profile’s and page’s about section
- Join Facebook groups related to your niche and share your new posts there
- Make sure to add helpful or attractive information from your post along with the link. This would drive more interest to click it. (This applies to all other social media platforms.)
- Interact with other bloggers in these groups and visit their blogs too
- If you have a separate Twitter account for your blog, make sure your website link is in both accounts’ bio
- Leave a link to your new post on the “comment threads” and “follow trains” you find. There are accounts and hashtags dedicated for such posts (you can check @bloggerstribe and #bloggerswanted for a start)
- Make sure you interact with other bloggers and don’t just throw your link and take off. This increases your chances of attracting some of them to your site
- Mention bloggers in your niche that provide useful content. This way you are supporting a fellow blogger and also an opportunity for you to be exposed to their audience (especially beneficial if they have a bigger following)
- Share and re-share both your new and old posts on your profile
- Use the right hashtags that fits your content and interact with tweets in those hashtags
I wrote an entire article about Pinterest earlier, How To Pinterest: A Beginner’s Guide For Bloggers, but I will add here the main points that you should pay attention to.
- Learn Pinterest’s SEO and remember it is mainly a search engine like Google
- Use attractive Pins with clear fonts and coherent colours
- Use infographics to give a glimpse of what your post content provides
- Claim your website and add a link to your profile
- Re-pin similar pins to your niche to increase your visibility on feeds
- Use the right keywords and hashtags to appear in search results
- Join group boards of bloggers with content similar to yours
- Pin/re-pin daily
- Add website link in bio (I know I said this many times already, but you really should leave a link to your website everywhere you are online.)
- Attractive photos; obvious but still has to be said. Make sure your photos are of high quality and with good lighting and are actually related to the content of the post you’re promoting
- Add an excerpt to the photo’s description or some information to attract viewers enough to actually go to your bio for a link
- Try to coordinate colours and keep a coherent theme for all your photos. This gives it a more attractive and elegant look
- Use relevant hashtags
- Don’t use the exact same set of tags on every post. Try to change it a bit, whether in the number of tags you use or the tags themselves. This is because Instagram also has alogarithms that could very much mark your photo as spam (in that, it wouldn’t show you in the top/recent results of a hashtag)
- Comment on other photos that are similar to yours and engage with other commenters on those photos. If they’re interested in their content, they will most likely be interested in yours too. (Applies to every online comment section, everywhere.)
- Post daily! (It is said that one photo everyday is the magic formula for Instagram.)
Now, if you will take my humble opinion, if you don’t already have a huge following on one of those platforms, it is better if you focus your efforts on one or two platforms at first and once those take off, you can then expand your effort to more of them.
This is just so you don’t overwhelm yourself with too many channels at once, each with their own posts to schedule and rules to follow and interacting to do, especially if working on your blog is not something you do full-time.
2. Engage Your Family and Friends
As important as it is to share your work on social media, it is equally important to share it with people around you. Family members and friends who might be interested in knowing what you’re doing.
You can send them a link in a message whenever there is a new post published (that you know they may want to read) or if they are following you on social media, maybe check in with them and make sure they checked your latest post that was about so and so.
If your content is indeed of value, they will not only be interested in reading it but they will also want to share it with their own circle of friends.
For example, I get visitors to my website from South Korea, which is unlikely to happen given that I only write in English, but because I share my posts with my family, my sister shares them with her friends who are in SK, and they share them with theirs, and so on.
Those are unique visitors you wouldn’t necessarily be getting if it weren’t for those people around you.
3. Work on SEO
If you read about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), you know that it is one of the main factors of driving traffic to your website.
I published this article, The Simplest Guide To SEO For Beginners, that goes into great detail and provides step-by-step checks to help you optimize your website to become SEO friendly.
However, here are some of the most important things that you need to pay attention to when working on your SEO.
- Your posts ought to be detailed and elaborative. A longer post indicates more knowledge and therefore a priority of appearance on the SERP (search engine results page).
- You need to make sure that you are providing quality content and that you share things that other people will have interest in learning about. Because if your posts are long but users bounce off of your website too quickly, this means to Google that your content is not good enough to be shown on a first page, for example.
- You also need to make sure you are using the right keywords throughout your articles to drive the right audience to your content. The people that are actually interested in reading what you have to say.
b. Mobile Usability
When working on your SEO, you must put into consideration the mobile user and how easy it is for them to navigate through your website.
People are browsing the Internet on their phones most of the time, so if your website is not built for mobile usability, it will not be shown in any search results page for a query that is searched from a mobile phone.
This would cost you a lot of potential visitors. So, to make sure your website is mobile friendly, use this free test through the Mobile Friendly Tool.
You will enter your website’s URL and it will run a test giving you a detailed report of how your website is performing and whether or not it is mobile-friendly.
4. Submit Your Sitemap to Search Engines
Every search engine like Google, Bing, or Yahoo! has a page where you can submit the link to your website’s sitemap.
By submitting the website you allow those search engines to crawl your site pages and collect information about your website. While search engines already crawl the Internet looking for new links, it may not have yet indexed your website, if it is still a new one. And it may also not reach and index every page on your website.
Another perk to doing this is that search engines like Google can actually alert you if you have any kind of error on your website such as pages that don’t load or aren’t accessible on mobile phones.
So, by manually submitting your sitemap:
- You speed up the process of indexing your website by search engines.
- You increase the chances of more of your pages showing up in search results for these search engines.
- You learn more about your website’s weaknesses and how to improve it.
You can check out this step-by-step article on how to submit your sitemap to each of the major search engines.
If you are a WordPress user, you can just check this page to see how you can submit your sitemap.
5. Create An Easy-to-Navigate Design
This is actually one of the things you would need to work on from an SEO perspective, but I wanted this to be on a separate point because of how important it is.
Apart from SEO, if your website is generally unattractive, or cluttered with too many links, ads, and images that are put in an incoherent way, this will make it hard for the visitor to navigate your site and find your quality content and, therefore, they will not be coming back to your website again.
They will most certainly not be sharing posts from it or recommending it to other people either.
This way you would be losing a possible recurring visitor and other potential unique visitors that could have come through them.
So, pay extra attention to how your site pages look from the point of view of the visitor. If you are not sure what exactly an appealing design is supposed to look like, consider the design of your favourite websites and blogs, ones that you feel comfortable reading and navigating through them, and try to create something similar.
6. Build an Email List
Having an email list is one of the best ways to increase traffic to your blog. This is because you can easily send your list letting them know you have a new post published.
The other great thing about having an email list is that you actually have full control on this list. Unlike with social media pages, where you do not really own anything there and if the platform shuts down or your account gets suspended you lost the connection with your visitors forever, with an email list, you always have a way to communicate and promote your content with your visitors.
In your emails, try to provide value and not just link to your new post. Provide a reason for the reader to bother clicking through this link and reading the full thing.
However, when sending those emails, make sure you do not spam your list or they can very much unsubscribe from it.
The best way to do this is if you send this type of email once a week or twice a month, that has a collective of your published posts in that previous time-frame.
Especially if you publish daily posts, no one wants to receive emails every single day from the same website asking them to go check their new post. (Or maybe that’s just one of my pet peeves.)
7. Interact with Readers on Similar Blogs
This can be a huge traffic drive for you if you do it right.
Search for the most popular blogs and websites in your niche and go to their latest posts and add comments there. After you do that, read what others have commented and see if you have anything you can help them with.
For example, if one of them asks a question that you happen to know the answer to, or better yet, happen to have a blog post that explores that topic, comment with a brief advice then link them to your post where they can find more about it.
Make sure when commenting on these posts, that you actually add some value with your comment. This is your way to show off your intellect and knowledge. If you will just type “great post,” then don’t even bother.
You ought to read the post, and either add information from your own experience with the matter, or ask an interesting question. Something that has the potential to either strike a conversation or drive commenters to your website because you are knowledgeable in an area that they are already interested in.
8. Write Guest Posts
Writing a guest post for a well-established blog/website in your niche, that also has high viewing rates, will most certainly give you a bigger opportunity in reaching a wider audience. (Also a major SEO boost, because backlinks!)
And those readers will be ones that are already interested in the type topics you discuss on your own website. So they will easily click on your link and will genuinely want to read your content.
You can search for websites that has the option for guest posting by simply googling (your niche + guest post). You will find plenty of websites asking for guest post submissions.
Check the ones that appear to have quality content on their website and high rates of interactions (comments/social shares) and ask to write a post for them.
When you write a post, you will of course have a link to your own website at the bottom of your article in the “about the author” section.
You may also link to one of your posts within this guest post if it is relevant and will add more value to the reader or help them understand something better.
There is also this very informative guest posting guide if you want to learn more about it.
9. Conduct Interviews
Interviewing influencers and well-established bloggers in your niche can be another great way to drive traffic. This is because you will, also, be exposed to this person’s audience.
When you interview someone, they will most certainly be sharing that interview with their own circle of friends and on social media (and maybe even link to it on their website). This will create major traffic to your website.
By interviewing professional bloggers or influencers in a certain filed, you are also offering the people who are interested in taking the same path these pros took a grand opportunity to learn. They will want to know how they did it and their journey to get there. So, you will be attracting anyone who is interested in their field as well.
Ask the right Questions
To go about this the right way and create a successful interview, you ought to first have a prepared set of questions that will result in an interesting conversation.
Because if your questions are boring, so will be the answers, and no one wants to read boring content.
To get a better perspective of how interesting or not your interview questions are, imagine you are the reader who will be reading this interview. Will you be eager to read the answer to this question? Will it add some value to you in any way?
In order to have interesting questions, you may want to think of what you are actually trying to get out of this interview. How will this interview benefit you and your readers? And also maybe challenge the interviewee a little bit, make them think.
Given that you have, of course, done your research and know enough about the interviewee, you may also find things about them or their work that will spark interesting questions.
You may even go to your social media followers and ask them to pitch in some of the questions they might be interested to know the answer to!
Here are also some helpful tips on how to approach a blogger for an interview and what exactly you need to pay attention to.
10. Use Different Mediums
Providing the content of your blog posts in more than one form can very much increase your audience base and help you reach a wider range of people.
Because while there are people who would rather read the content, there are many other people who might find it more convenient to listen to your article instead, which would allow for multitasking.
Others might feel more engaged if they watch a video explaining the content instead of reading it.
Of course no one is going to spend their time creating content for all three forms (although, it would certainly be great if you do have the time for that), but realistically speaking, not everyone will have the time or the tools to create content for more than one form.
So, there are a few options to explore here.
If you are interested in creating content for your blog in the audible form, you can go about this by creating everything yourself or have an app/plugin do it for you.
I will publish a post soon where I get into detail on everything you need to create a Podcast for your blog, so if you’re into this option, stay tuned!
If you don’t think you will have the time or don’t feel like investing in tools to make this happen, you can opt for the plugin option.
You can use a plugin, like Play.ht for WordPress, that will allow you to convert your blog posts into an audio file, and simply attach that to your blog post. However, this is a paid service. Another similar plugin that is free and is also what I’m currently using is ResponsiveVoice.
This will give you the option to provide the content of your post in an audible form with nearly no effort on your part.
Of course the two options are not entirely the same. A Podcast with your voice speaking and interacting will be different from a generic voice reading the post word for word.
However, it will still serve the purpose of providing a different means of information consumption to your visitors.
The other option is to provide your content in a visual form. This one can be a bit more time-consuming than with a Podcast, however, it is also a more engaging outlet that has its own wide audience.
If the enormous popularity of Youtube is any indication, it is that people love to watch stuff!
Your options here are much like with the Podcast, you have one option with less work and equipments required and one with a bit more work.
In order to convert your content into a video, your first option is to create a setting and film yourself explaining the content of your post for the viewer. If you will opt for this option, you will need to consider a number of things for your set such as lighting, good camera, and a proper background.
If you will be filming the video yourself, make sure you use the right tools and equipment for an attractive and appealing look for your video which will make your visitors actually want to watch it until the end. They don’t have to be expensive tools, you just need to learn the technicality of it.
Here is a very good video that explains in detail how to create a YT video from scratch and with basic equipments, like your mobile phone.
The other option is you can record your voice only with a screen that displays titles, bullet points, and images, as if you are giving a power point slide show presentation, for example.
You can learn how to do this here.
I have seen both examples done on very popular websites and so they can both be successful.
Last word on this one:
Whether you will opt for a podcast or a YT video, they both can be equally successful and they both can increase traffic to your blog and widen your audience base.
So it all really boils down to what you are more comfortable doing and what you think you can afford either financially or time-wise.
Also note that not necessarily every post on your website would make for an interesting video material or a Podcast episode.
If you will be creating either of those, try to target first the posts that already had high rates of engagement on your website, or posts that you feel you could add to it or can make for an interesting topic in your Podcast discussion or video.
I hope this list can be a somewhat helpful source for you to start increasing your blog traffic and getting more visitors.
Till next week, happy days!
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