You might be blogging because it’s fun or therapeutic. At first you might not even care how many unique visitors you have per month or what your bounce rate happens to be. At some point, however, the blogging experience tends to change from casual to professional and a need to know how to increase blog traffic becomes a high priority.
There’s no magic pill to swallow that will make people come see your blog. Paying someone for thousands of social media “likes” or false followers isn’t going to do you any good. What you’ve got to do is follow these specific steps so that your blog can become more attractive to a wider readership demographic.
1. Optimize Your Blog
Bet you thought this step was going to be about search engine optimization. Nope. It’s all about format optimization. The loading speed of your blog can actually make or break the user experience before anything else happens.
Let’s face it: people today are impatient. We’re all a little busy and we don’t like our time wasted. If a blog takes a few seconds to load, then the average reader is going to feel like you’ve wasted their time for no good reason. Sure – people used to wait 5 minutes for a site to load not that long ago, but times have changed. There’s an expectation that your blog be formatted properly so that it can load each page in 1.5 seconds or less.
Here’s how you can make that happen.
- Keep your digital images to as small a size as possible that doesn’t compromise the quality of the photograph.
- Limit the advertising coding that gets copied and pasted into your site.
- Keep the column widths manageable so that all users in all browsers or PC types can adequately access your content.
2. Be Mobile
Mobile traffic accounts for 50% or more of the blog traffic that is received today. As the use of tablets increases and smartphone use saturates the planet, this trend is only going to continue. Your website must be mobile friendly if it is ultimately going to succeed in the long run.
There are a couple pretty easy ways that this can happen. You can create a responsive site that will determine the type of device that is being used so that the content is automatically optimized for reading on that user’s screen. You can also create a mobile site that will kick in and display on tablets and smartphones, but not on PCs.
If you use a mobile site, make sure to use your SEO canonical tags so that you aren’t dividing your link equity or worse – assigning the equity without your control.
Many free blogging platforms give users the option to do this automatically. Just select the mobile settings within your dashboard and adjust the blog as necessary.
3. Link It Up
In the past, blog owners have been encouraged to add links in a number of different ways. A decade ago, the way to add backlinks was to use a “sponsors” page that included a link. In the past few years, paid backlinking became a very profitable SEO venture. Today’s links, however, have to be organic in order to be beneficial.
How can a blog create organic links? Sometimes you have to give out some organic links in order to get them. As you’re creating the unique content that is attractive to your readers, include a few outgoing links to valuable websites or sourced information. This will add to your overall credibility, which creates added value to the niche expertise your blog offers.
Another easy way to get some links is to guest blog on other platforms. Don’t guest blog on a direct competitor, but do stay within your industry. A carpenter, for example, wouldn’t want to write a guest blog for another carpenter. For a general contractor? Absolutely.
4. Participate in Forums
There are several communities online that are already offering bloggers the chance to interact with their readership base. Social media is often a point of emphasis, but the online forum boards cannot be ignored. They also can’t be spammed with a ton of links to your blog if you don’t want the entire community to be alienated to what you’ve got to say.
You really just need to become part of the community for this to be effective. Answer questions that come up. Ask questions. Make sure you introduce yourself and don’t mention anything about your blog. Make the blog be a small part of what you do instead of the only thing and the relationships you build online will become regular readers over time.
5. Know the Stats
If your blog doesn’t have analytics on it yet, the now is the time to install them. Google Analytics is pretty easy to install and the account links up to your overall presence as it is, so setup is super easy too. Once you start collecting data, you’ll be able to determine who is visiting your site and from where. You’ll be able to receive a number of insights you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise and discover that some of the most lucrative unique hits are coming from some specific sources.
6. Link Your Licensing
If you are creating content of any type, then you are creating an easy way for others to organically link to your blog. Photographs are the #1 way to make this happen. Have your usage licensing directly linked to the image so that readers can know exactly how they can use this content. Here’s a hint: they need to provide a link with specific anchor text.
Will some people use the images anyway and not give you the link? Of course. Google offers a “search similar images” option for every picture today, however, so you can find the non-linked images and ask those folks [in a nice way, of course] to give you the link.
7. Think About Keywords
Although SEO isn’t a top priority, there are some components of the optimization practice that can be remarkably beneficial. One of them is to do some light keyword research using many of the free online tools that are available. Take notes of the most popular keywords that are 4-5 words long [these are called long-tail keywords] and think about ways you could create content around those subjects.
If you get a great idea, then be sure to include those phrases in your content in a natural way. Make them blog post titles if you can. In doing so, the value of your site will translate to those keywords and the equity boost can provide your blog with extra traffic.
8. Internal Linking Matters
The internet is a living, breathing entity. It is constantly moving and flowing. It was not meant to be a static resource of information like a newspaper page. People enjoy being able to read through related blog content if they find a specific post to be valuable. They’ll click on those internal links because they want to experience even more value.
How you reference your internal links is important. Just as the anchor text for incoming and outgoing links is reflective of the value that can be experienced, so it is for internal links. Use the keywords that you discovered in the step above to create anchor text for several internal links per blog page and mix them up with your backlinks.
9. Use Comments To Create a New Community
Your blog comments are a great place to begin interacting with readers. Don’t interact with the spam comments, of course, because you’ll just be asking for trouble if you do and not receive any gain. Comment back when there are genuine observations or questions left and create conversations that enhance the value of the content that was posted. This lets people know that you are actively engaged with your blog.
Remember to be professional with comments that are mean-spirited, negative, or counter to your own opinion. Readers who see an unprofessional comment from you, even if its in response to another unprofessional content, are not typically going to hang around your blog. Two wrongs does not make a right.
10. Enable Subscriptions
People like to know when you’ll post new content, but they don’t like needing to keep coming to your blog to check on it. This is where your feed can be a beneficial tool, but don’t forget about email subscriptions as well. Subscribing allows people to get their fill of unicorn videos filled with rainbows and cats with laser eyes before coming to your blog to consume the new content.
This gives you a second benefit: you’ll know what content is attracting people. You can then take that information to create new content that is more specific to the interests of your blog’s readership.
Knowing how to increase blog traffic means investing a little time and sweat equity into the value experience of each reader. Use these proven methods to do that and you may just see a spike in the unique visitors that come your way in the near future.