Whether you started blogging simply to share your passion and expertise, or you had monetization in mind, you’ve likely entertained the idea of “going viral.” It’s the dream, right? We all hope to one day experience the kind of boon in traffic that turns our blog into a bona fide reader magnet.
It’s a worthy goal, too, because traffic is the lifeblood of a blog. If you ever hope to generate any substantial income, you need more targeted traffic.
Of course, as many of us know, growing your blog involves more than snapping your fingers and watching the traffic magic materialize. It takes time (read: patience), creativity and determination to accelerate growth.
Although there are many, often complex, ways to successfully drive traffic to your blog, the following baseline tips can be applied by even the greenest of bloggers.
Understand your audience
In order to drive more targeted traffic to your blog, you need to know your readers. What are their needs? Where do they come from? When are they most active? What content appeals to them, and what puts them off?
One way to get to know your audience is by using the right web metrics to analyze your visitors — and, yep, this means you should get to know your way around Google Analytics. Fortunately, there are plenty of tutorials available to help you make sense of the statistical data.
Another way to understand your audience is to engage them via blog posts and on social media. By speaking with readers directly, you can better identify their “pain points,” or the areas of life in which they’re challenged. Then you’ll be better equipped to provide them with content that actually helps them.
Which brings us to the next point.
Produce quality content
If you’ve read it once you’ve probably read it a million times: Content is king. It won’t matter how many people you drive to your blog if what they find there is of no service to them. According to the research based on Google searches, content and links are the top two ranking signals.
When writing blog posts, have your readers in mind.
Unless your blog is academic, legal or another profession that calls for more technical language, speak in a conversational tone. Create content that is useful — whether it helps your readers solve a problem or makes their lives easier.
Per Quick Sprout, there are at least 15 different types of content that will help you achieve this, from infographics to product reviews and everything in between.
Collaborate with other bloggers
While the blogging world can feel vast and overwhelming at first, you’ll find that it is largely a community of like-minded individuals. And collaborating with other individuals in that community boasts plenty of benefits — including being an organic way to drive traffic to your blog.
Well, there are myriad ways this works to your advantage. If you have someone guest blog for you, your readers are treated to a refreshing change in perspective. Adding another voice in the mix occasionally signals to your readers that you’re committed to keeping content interesting and varied. If you guest blog for someone else, you’re introducing your blog to a new audience of readers. Tapping into that new network could mean a major bump in your traffic.
Essentially, you’re improving your online visibility anytime you guest post or even comment on another blog (which you should absolutely be doing on a regular basis).
If you collaborate with another blogger whose skills are opposite yours, you may be able to trade services in a way that benefits you both. You know, sort of a “You SEO my blog, I’ll copyedit yours” kind of scenario.
We know, we know — if you’re not accustomed to implementing good SEO practices in your posts, this may seem like more trouble than it’s worth. But, spoiler alert, it’s worth the extra effort.
And, really, it doesn’t even take that much extra effort once you get the hang of it. Fortunately for bloggers in the modern blogosphere, there are plugins like Yoast specifically created to help bloggers maximize their SEO. At the very least, install one of those.
It’s also helpful to go the extra mile and learn the basic principles of SEO. UpdateLand has an SEO for dummies guide up for 2019 that’ll only eat up a few minutes of your time but leave you with a much better grasp.
Fix any glitches
With all these dos, let’s toss a don’t into the mix — don’t underestimate the power of keeping your content updated. Old content can still bring in new readers, especially if it’s frequently reviewed for quality.
Updating your blog posts can also give your blog a boost in Google searches, so it’s certainly something that should be given proper attention. This includes removing any broken links, replacing photos that are no longer relevant or the wrong resolution, taking out videos that have since expired, and anything else that will make visiting your blog a more user-friendly experience.
Doing so may also help ensure your page loads fast because, let’s be real, readers have little patience. According to Kissmetrics, 47 percent of visitors will leave your site if it doesn’t load within two seconds. Two! So, prioritize page speed, too.
Make it easy to share
While content is king, you still need to know what to do with that content for it to truly be successful. You’ve worked your little fingers to the bone this week researching, writing, taking photos and perhaps even shooting video — and you can’t wait to hit “publish.” But what happens next can make or break a blog post in terms of potential traffic windfall.
In order to drive traffic to your blog, you have to actually promote your blog posts. In other words, share! After all, sharing is caring.
You can start by installing a really good social media sharing plugin that makes passing along your post a no-brainer for readers. Then, you’ll need to do a bit of old-fashioned hustling. Per a 2015 report on Shareaholic, social media accounts for over 31 percent of overall traffic to sites. This shift from search to social traffic means it’s more important than ever to utilize Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and any other social media feed to your full advantage.