Whether for personal or business interests, one thing is certain: blogs are in. Through WordPress properties alone, over 87 million posts are created every month. That’s a lot of competition…
…competition for your readers’ bloodshot, screen fatigued eyes. The question for you is, “How do I grab and maintain their attention when everyone is fighting for it?” Admittedly, it’s not an easy question to answer.
However, difficult doesn’t mean impossible. While there is a lot of information out there with tips, tricks, and hacks, 3 things trump them all:
keeping your head down, consistently working a plan, and revising when necessary
Yes, there are tips, tricks, and hacks that are effective and work quickly…BUT, their effect is temporary. You need effective and persistent. What can you do to acheive that? I’m glad you asked…all it takes is 6 tactics…
1. First things first: build out from popular content
Your readers come for one thing, content; specifically, your content. Are they not coming? I’m sorry to hear that because it means that you’re creating content for not…well not completely, practice does make better.
And if they’re not coming? You won’t increase blog traffic. You’re not about that, you’re reading this.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that your content sucks; it might just mean that it’s not consistently registering. Thankfully, that is an easy fix and begins with auditing your content. Have you audited your content lately? Ever?
Look for posts that have highest visitor counts (new and returning), lowest bounce rates, and longest time on page. If you’ve been posting long enough, you at least should have a top one or two that foot the bill.
Tip: chances are that your older content will have higher numbers. Normalize by comparing timeframes.
When you find them, dig deeper. What’s the topic, length, and layout? Hint: the topic of the post is likely the primary factor. Now, you have a place to build from: use Google Trends to search for the posts’ keywords.
At this point, we don’t so much care about the keyword as we do related topics/queries. For instance, if I wanted to expand on our recent RTB post’s popularity, I could check for related trending queries:
I want to know what is trending because that’s a signal. Next, I might click programmatic because it’s a breaktout, and look at its top related queries:
Why switch from trending, or rising, to top? Because I want to see where my search traffic is beginning to go and then grab from near the top to secure the advantage as my readers begin to expand their searches.
Lastly, I can address one of the queries directly or use it as a starting point for conceptualizing a related topic. For example, I could expand on what is programmatic by creating a post on the four main methods of programmatic advertising.
The work you do here goes hand-in-hand with SEO because you’re trying increase blog traffic through attracting readers with similar interests as yours…and the way to do that? Writing about what interests them most.
2. Be responsive now, prepare for your AMP: Mobile matters
The majority of web searches are now made via phone and Think with Google has been talking a lot about mobile. Meanwhile, 75% of smartphone time is spent in apps and only a few of them at that…not good for Google.
Google wants you navigating the online world within their properties: enter AMP and Android Instant Apps. These two projects comprise Google’s latest traffic grab to retake some of the ground lost to apps.
The former, Accelerated Mobile Pages, is aimed at creating mobile pages that load up to four times faster. Major outfits like the Washington Post, owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, have taken part — that alone should mean something.
Oh yeah, THIS definitely means something. Google is giving priority to pages that include AMP code during mobile searches. The tide is quickly turning. Your blog better be mobile-responsive but you need to look further afield.
Start the implementation process for AMP code. After all, it’s the first movers that experience the greatest benefit in this world. If you’re using a WordPress theme, chances are that you already have responsive pages…
…so there’s no excuse, look into AMP NOW.
3. Stay in touch with your readers: Capture emails
Your readers will be the least expensive and most powerful promoters of your blog. Are you asking them to stay in touch? Remember, your readers are busy and their eyeballs are tired.
They shouldn’t have to remember to visit your site. Give them the opportunity to subscribe to your mailing list, tell them what to expect and stick to your promise.
Yes, it’ll help you maintain the readers you’ve grabbed, but it also provides a few traffic building benefits:
- You encourage them to spend more time on your site. The more time your readers spend on your site, the greater authority Google gives it and with that you’ve earned a bump in SERP ranking.
- When you incorporate share buttons within the email, you give your readers the opportunity to share the email with their network. The network theory of six degrees of separation theory is real…use it.
- You open the door for a dialogue between you and your most dedicated readers. Specifically, you won’t have to rely only on your analytics to infer what they like; you can go directly to the source.
Kissmetrics provides a great article on strategies to capture emails. For us, we use content offers, sidebars and a pop up triggered at the bottom of the article.
4. It might be an online world, but it’s still a community: Engage
If you aren’t using social media to engage your readers, you are far, very far behind. Hopefully, you’ve already created social media accounts connected to your blog or business property.
The next steps are simple: identification, activity, automation and group building*. Whether you’re starting out and haven’t created your accounts or have established accounts, identification starts with channel analysis.
Is this channel where your readers are active? Do different types of content, such as written posts or infographics, resonate with different channels? Every platform provides analytics software to help you.
Additionally, if you’re using Google Analytics, use their Campaign URL Builder to create custom tags that you can easily identify when reviewing your analytics. Doing this will help you see which channels truly equal visits.
The competition for feed space is just as hot as it is for readers: you have to maintain a good pace of activity. If it makes sense and you can sustain it, try to post once a day to each channel. Just don’t force it.
To help you maintain a good pace, use automation tools; we use Hootsuite. But beware: you may miss out on some platform features, such as targeting. Yes, post targeting isn’t just for paid posts.
Use your off- and on-platform analytics tools to build out reader profiles that you can target across platforms. For instance, you can use Facebook’s Audience Insights to identify complementary interests:
We were able to increase our Facebook followers by over 2,000% using the tools and strategies above.
*If it’s relevant and you have the resources, create and moderate a private group. These groups encourage engagement within and without the community: remember…six degrees, six degrees, six…
5. Increase your profile and increase blog traffic: network
Building your blog’s profile and yours as a writer or thought-leader is like adding a small amount of potent fertilizer to your blog. While everyone is talking about link building (this is important), you need to do more.
An efficient way to do more is by joining HARO, or Help A Report Out. This website acts as a source for sources. For example, reporters can submit a query when they need a quote and sources can submit their answers.
Often, you will be asked to include a social media link or some piece of referral information that will be included in the peice they write. You’ll receive three source requests a day that are timed to news cycles: morning, midday and evening.
You can also specify which areas you are interested in answering questions about…I use it myself and have experienced good results. Nonetheless, your main effort should be directed toward building relationships with other thought-leaders.
Rule of thumb: read their stuff and build the relationship before you propose anything; persistent traffic is a long game…remember? You can use services such as BuzzSumo to help find them, but they aren’t necessary.
6. Get a quick bump in traffic: Paid promotion
Whether it be through search ads, paid social or an ad network, paid promotion isn’t as out of reach as you might initially believe. Use one, two, or all three in concert; the key is to assess each channel before you commit.
Set a test budget, implement your ads, and analyze your the results. Once your test budget and period finish, then commit. Search ads are great for keyword targeting, but can get expensive for highly competitive terms.
Use Google Trends and the AdWords Keyword Planner to find keyword adjectives that your readers may also search and consider their long-tail variants:
Be bold, Google’s algorithms are becoming semantically smarter and also focus on intent.
Ad networks operate similarly, just make sure they possess relevant traffic and the necessary targeting tools. Regardless of your choice, understand that this will likely only create a temporary bump.
To make the most of it, have your email capture tools in place. You will maximize your return on investment by grabbing some of those readers you acquire through your paid promotion.
Start now and increase your blog traffic today
There’s great news: if you implement the 6 tips now, you’ll increase your blog traffic today. But wait! There’s even more: you can use those same ad networks to monetize your traffic if your blog is the monetization source.
After all, you deserve to receive compensation for your time and effort even if you’re creating content for pleasure. However, always bear in mind that your readers come to your blog for one reason…to consume your content.
Regardless of your blog’s purpose, the key to what has been covered is that you will build a persistent reader base, one that will supplement your efforts by generating additional readership and/or leads automatically. Start now.
Be heard! What tips and tricks do you use to increase your traffic?
With a background in psychology, sales and marketing, Kyle harnesses his experience to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.