If you’re new to blogging, you may be struggling to increase traffic to your site. Building traffic is definitely a process, but with some hard work, you’ll be achieving six-figure views in no time. If you’re looking to boost your traffic and gain exposure, here are a few tricks of the trade that I have found particularly successful.
*Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. I only share products I trust and believe in.
The majority of web traffic is driven by major search engines (Google, Yahoo! and Bing) who provide targeted traffic to different websites. Think of a search engine as a middle man, connecting you with answers to your questions. The words that readers type into these search engines carry a lot of weight – search engines are great at finding relevant websites, but they still need a little help. Search engines typically “think” that if a website is more popular, it has more valuable information. Although we know that isn’t necessarily true, search engines employ algorithms to sort through websites based on relevance and traffic.
Google has provided a few guidelines for you to try and get better rankings:
- Make pages primarily for uses, not for search engines.
- Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
- Create a useful, information-rich site. Write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
- Use keywords to create descriptive, human-friendly URLs.
Do some keyword research. Most searches performed on the internet are what we call “long-tail” searches. This contains hundreds of millions of unique searches on the same topic. Long-tail searches often convert better because they tend to catch people who are planning to act. For example, a person searching for “dresses” is probably browsing and not quite ready to buy any products. But a person who searches “Old Navy Swing Dress in Size 8” is ready to pull the trigger. Spend some time doing research on keywords and long-tail searches that best fit your niche.
I like the SEO Secrets ebook from Divine Write. This eBook is an awesome resource for getting your sites to rank higher on Google. It helps you understand what SEO really means and how to choose the right keywords for your content. At only $2, it is definitely worth your time and money! I really don’t think I saw much growth from search engines until I really sat down and started focusing on my keywords. I assumed that what I was writing about was getting picked up by search engines, but boy was I wrong!
No one wants to hear this, but the fact remains: if you want to get more blog traffic, guest posting on major sites can do wonders. It may seem counterintuitive to do all that work for someone else…but it helps you gain exposure, and some sites will even pay you for your work. Try a Google search for “write for us,” or search popular websites like Huffington Post or About.com. If this seems like too much for you, freelance the work. For as little as $5 per article, you can hire others to do the work. Try websites like Freelancer or Fiverr.
Promote Like Crazy
One of the main drivers of traffic is promotion. As soon as you publish a post, focus on your promotion strategies. This is where social media can make or break you. Find groups on Facebook that match your niche. Join group boards on Pinterest. Share gorgeous pictures on Instagram. Add your site pages to StumbleUpon. Go “live” on Facebook or post a video to YouTube.
Once again (I can’t stress this enough!) make sure to use search engine optimization when writing and sharing your content. It is crucial to use keywords and related phrases throughout your post AND when sharing to social networks (more on SEO below). And, don’t go crazy with the social media. I’ve been blocked on Facebook and Pinterest for posting too often. Social media sites are notorious for picking up posts and blocking as spam. Be sure to spend some time analyzing your social media sites before posting. Which Facebook groups tend to have the most interaction on your posts? What Pinterest boards get the most website clicks? Post strategically and spend your time making quality posts that stimulate engagement.
Looking to share your blog posts? Join my group Pinterest board Happy Blogging
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Write More Content
Google rewards sites that are constantly publishing new content. At a minimum, you should be publishing new posts 4 times a week. Adding 7 – 10 new posts a week seems to bring me the most traffic from search engines. And don’t skip on the length. Google loves long articles, so aim for at least 800 words per post. If this seems daunting, try adding quotes or or telling stories. Use photos and add captions. Provide links to other posts on your blog or link externally to other sites you love.
And, make sure that your content reads well. Write clear and compelling headlines with popular keywords. Be credible and write with integrity. Your readers trust you!
Submit your blog content across various content syndication networks to gain a bit more exposure. These networks are similar to major search engines, but they focus specifically on promoting other content (like blog posts and articles). If you’re an established blog with at least 50 blog posts, you may have some success with syndication. Try companies like Outbrain, SimpleReach or Zemanta to syndicate your posts across networks with thousands of publishers looking for great content.
There are no two ways around this: Pinterest drives traffic. Pinterest is like a visual search engine. It connects you to keywords AND photos it thinks you’re looking for. Many bloggers recommend using automated apps like Tailwind or Boardbooster, but I have had success manually pinning to group boards. Aim for at least 50 pins per day and make sure to pin posts from other websites. Similar to StumbleUpon, your pins tend to get more exposure the more time you spend pinning.
Make sure your Pinterest homepage is clean and organized. Create at least 10 boards with easy to read, vertical, pinnable images. Sort your personal boards by popularity and create board covers to match your themes. Make sure your blog posts contain pinnable images and add “Pin It” buttons to promote sharing.
With the recent Pinterest algorithm changes, I find that my own boards have been doing better than group boards I belong to. I am seeing more clicks and more impressions on my own pins than those that were shared from other boards. This is a pretty new concept for me as I used to see more page views from MY pins shared by OTHER people. For now, I am continuing to share my most clicked pins to my most popular boards (and I have been seeing steady growth). But I do find it interesting that my most clicked pins tend to be pins I uploaded from my site directly to my personal boards.
I struggled to get started with Pinterest. At first, I did’t really understand there was a strategy to pinning – I was getting so frustrated with the time I was spending on sharing my content without getting results. If you have a great Pinterest strategy, by all means keep plugging forward. For those of you who need some guidance (like I definitely did!) I recommend and eCourse called Pinterest Ninja. I absolutely SWEAR BY this course – it is one of the most powerful resources I’ve come across as a blogger.
For more information, visit my post, Pinterest Ninja | Drive Tons of Traffic to Your Site, or check out the eCourse from Love, Family, Health.