This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll make a little bit of pocket change to keep this blog up and running when you make a purchase through them. Thanks as always for your support!
As a relatively new blogger, I’m constantly looking to improve ways in getting traffic to my blog. It’s not easy, and I’ve tried so many things to get things moving in the right direction. While many things I’ve attempted to do to get more followers have failed, I’ve have had some good success with others. In today’s post, I’m going to share some of my most successful tips on how I’ve been able to grow my followers. I hope some of these prove to be successful in helping you learn how to get traffic to your blog.
1. Put effort into your blog’s design
You may be wondering what your blog’s design has to do with increasing your following, but it has everything to do with it. A blog that’s well-designed (theme and navigational structure) attracts more readers. Make it easy for your visitors to find what they need without having to swim through mountains of ads and links. Your menu should have the basics (home page, about me, contact me, resources page). You only have once chance to make a good first impression, so spend a little extra time setting up your blog’s appearance. Trust me, it’ll make a difference!
Another aspect of your blog’s setup is to make sure it’s fast. Is your page taking too long to load? There is a direct correlation between site load time and traffic volume. The easiest way to find out how fast your site loads (beside trying to load it yourself) is to use WP Engine’s free site speed test. Site speed has a big impact on search engine ranking. It’s worth it to take the time to investigate and repair anything that’s slowing your site down.
When thinking about how your visitors get to your blog, remember that not all visitors are using the same device. While some prefer tablets or personal computers, many visitors are using a smart phone. Make sure your site is optimized for mobile viewing. When using WordPress themes, you can filter themes down by only those that have been optimized for view on multiple devices.
2. Respond to comments
This goes beyond just acknowledging that someone responded to one of your blog posts. Your response should be meaningful. Don’t wait days or weeks to respond. Show your readers you are extremely interested in their feedback by responding immediately.
Respond on other blogs as frequently as you respond to comments on your own blog. Most of the time, you have to enter your name, email and website whenever you comment. Hello??!! Free advertising!
3. Get to know other bloggers
Do you know other bloggers in your niche? If so, network with them. Engage with their blogs and provide them valuable feedback. By doing so, you are getting your name out there and creating a positive reputation. There are many ways to get to know other bloggers. Search for blogging groups on Facebook. These groups have been extremely helpful for me as I have grown my blog. Not only do you get to share your content, but you get to see other bloggers’ content as well. I get a lot of good feedback from the groups I’ve joined.
One good piece of advice I was given is to be where your readers are. Social media is the number one place to do that. If you aren’t an avid user of Facebook or Twitter, get started today. Twitter really is a gold mine. Up until about a year ago, I wasn’t using it more than just to share my latest post. Unleash the real power of Twitter by commenting on other bloggers’ tweets. What I’ve found is that nine times out of ten, if I show engagement on other blog posts, that blogger usually reciprocates. If that blogger has 10,000 followers, all of a sudden I’ve shared my content with 10,000 more people! Amazing!
Hey, one more thought about Twitter. The great thing about it is that it’s easy to mention other writers. If you do mention or thank other bloggers who are on Twitter, make sure you include their Twitter handle in your post. By doing so, they get notified that you mentioned them (and all of their followers also see it in their feed).
4. Write more
I know some bloggers that post 2-3 times a day, while others post 2-3 times a week. I can’t give you an exact formula for success, but it has been proven that the more VALUABLE content you write, the better chance you have of driving more traffic to your blog. If this means you can spit out 1 or two valuable posts per week, then you’ve found your answer. For me, it’s been 2-3 on average.
When you start to think about increasing your writing frequency, you also need to think about increasing your social media posts as well. Plan ahead by making your own social media schedule and stick to it. The more blog posts you write, the more time you’ll need to share that content on social media. I use a scheduling tool called Hootsuite for my Facebook and Twitter posts, and Tailwind for my pins on Pinterest.
5. Create a freebie
Have you considered making a freebie for your readers as a perk for signing up for your mailing list? There are really so many ideas out there! While I don’t have a freebie for my own mailing list, I do have my own 7 day email course teaching bloggers how to create a profitable blog. I use MailChimp to create the campaign and have it set for emails to go out each day for the next week. Each email has a different tutorial on creating a profitable blog.
Another popular freebie idea is to create a eBook. Think about it. If you already have hundreds of blog posts, why not take that body of work and convert it into an eBook? You can start out by making the first book free and subsequent books can be a paid product. If you are going to use a third party to help design your eBook, I highly recommend Blurb to help with that.
6. Build a YouTube channel
If you are anything like me, the idea of watching myself in a video isn’t very appealing, but, getting your face out there to your audience is key in increasing engagement and followers. A lot of bloggers have their own web series in addition to their blogs. Videos don’t have to be very elaborate or long. Create a video to serve as a companion video to your blog posts.
You will be surprised at how many people actually prefer watching videos on a topic versus reading about it. Here’s an example: I needed to install a dishwasher I bought and wasn’t willing to fork out the money for a plumber to do it. I started out by doing a google search, but was left dumbfounded by the few posts I found that were partially helpful. So, I turned my search over to videos and immediately found a ton of them that were of high quality. I was able to see the work done and was able to use that information to install my dishwasher. (It’s still running today!) Again, you don’t have to go the elaborate route with a video, but make sure you have good lighting, good volume and of course, valuable information to provide to your audience.
If you do decide to create videos, make sure you include a call to action just as you do in your blog posts. Invite your audience to subscribe to your blog and social media accounts. If you come across as a trustworthy source, you will get followers. I guarantee it!
7. Allow guest posts
If you’ve blogged for any length of time, you’ve probably seen emails come in asking to guest post on your blog. Now that my following has dramatically increased, I get maybe 5-10 requests per day.
Allowing guest posts is a great way not only to get to know other bloggers and share their content, but it allows your blog to get in front of more readers. Most bloggers asking to guest post on your site will share their post with their followers. If they have thousands of subscribers, your blog suddenly gets more exposure.
If you do allow guest posts, make sure you create clear guidelines as to what is acceptable and what is not. Will you allow do-follow and/or no-follow links? How about length? I usually expect my guest posters to provide a minimum of 1,000 words.
Remember, you want to remain the dominant voice of your blog, so limit the number of guest posts that you accept. Proofread and reject posts that don’t fit your guidelines. Definitely don’t accept guest posts where advertising is the primary content. You don’t want your blog to appear as spammy and the same goes for the guest posts you publish.
8. Don’t publish garbage
Only write a new post if the content is going to provide value or a solution to a problem. Don’t publish just to publish. You’ve seen me talk about a blogger who only posts about running marathons. How does that benefit their readers? Oops, it doesn’t.
Don’t write garbage. Think of your blog as a marketing tool. If you were shopping for a new car, would you go into a run down building where everything was falling apart, and the salesman wore a tshirt and jeans? Probably not. If you’ve ever been in a car dealership, you are probably impressed by the quality of the showroom. The same holds true with your blog’s content. Post to impress. The more value you provide to your readers, the more trust you establish. The more trust your readers have with you the higher level of traffic you will see.
9. Make your readers want to return
Ok, so you’ve brought a new user to your site. Great. Are they eager to return? A good habit is to find ways to entice your readers to come back later. One way to do this is to run a good contest or giveaway. The more of these you host with quality products, the more interest you are going to see from repeat visitors.
Another way to make sure your readers return is by utilizing your newsletter. Have a good deal your readers will love, or offering up a freebie? Now’s a good chance to let your subscribers know. Make sure to encourage your subscribers to forward the email to their friends. You’d be surprised at how many people want the information your providing. If that information is provided on a regular basis, you’ll see a boost in traffic volume.
Would you want to return to a blog that had countless pop ups and ads all over the place? I’m not talking about one or two ads in a post, but pop up ads that cover up the content. I certainly would not return. If I’m searching for information and it leads me to your blog, the last thing I want is to have to close a bunch of windows just to read the content.
If you do choose to go with a popup for your email subscribe form (which does increase signups), make sure it is non-invasive and easy to close. A lot of visitors (like myself) immediately close out of popups. I am usually in a hurry when I’m searching for something and don’t want to have to spend my time getting past pop ups and ads.
10. Make it easy for visitors to subscribe
If you are serious about gaining more followers, one of the easiest ways to do that is to make it simple for visitors to sign up for your newsletter. If you are using WordPress (if not, why not?), you can put a sign up form in your sidebar (see mine over there??). You can also use Mailchimp to create custom sign up forms and embed them in blog posts.
Create solid call to action statements at the end of every blog post, and make encouraging your readers to subscribe a regular practice. The more you promote it, the more response you’ll get. You can also coordinate signups with your Facebook page. See mine as an example.
11. Update old blog posts
We all have those old blog posts sitting in our site from 2 years ago. More than likely, your knowledge of that subject and maybe even the subject itself has changed. By regularly reviewing your old blog posts and updating them, you show your readers you are committed to keeping your information relevant and current.
Reviewing old blog posts can also reveal how much traffic they are getting today. If you are in WordPress (again, if not, get on it!), you can go to your site stats and look up the post to see how well it’s performing. If the post hasn’t had very many views, why? Find out what’s happening and fix it. Or, if the content just flat out sucks, don’t be afraid to delete the post altogether.
12. Ask for feedback and suggestions
Have you ever wondered if the content you are providing is something your readers actually enjoy and want more of? If you aren’t asking them, how can you know for sure? It’s a great idea to ask them through social media or through polls on your blog. You’ll be surprised as to how many actually respond. If you are opening yourself up for feedback though, be prepared for the negative comments as well. Just because you are getting negative feedback, don’t get upset. The feedback you are getting is going to be used to make adjustments to your blog.
13. Pick the right niche
Ok, so maybe this one should be at the top of this list, right? What I mean by this is if you pick a niche that you don’t know much about, or, there isn’t a lot of interest in, you aren’t going to be able to write regular posts (and posts with quality). Pick a niche that allows you to write about something you love. For me, I love helping others succeed with their blogs. I know a lot about how to do that and love sharing my experiences and expertise with them.
You want to pick a niche where you can write about something new every time. While it’s okay to focus on a subject in your blog, make sure you put a new twist on it so that the content is fresh and exciting. If I’m a food blogger writing about baking brownies, posting about brownies over and over will get old fast. Mix it up and make it new to your audience. How do you do that? Make a video or info graphic. Offer a free tutorial. Do something that generates interest above just writing about it.
14. Make yourself available to your readers
How do you interact with your readers on a regular basis? Skype? Email? Facebook? Blog comments? Let your readers know the best way to contact you, when to contact you and how long it will take you to respond. A great place to put this information is both in your call to action and in your Contact page.
Making yourself available is more than just posting your social media links and contact me form. When someone does contact you, you have to be able to provide a valuable response. Always respond professionally and respectfully. You’re going to get very weird emails from time to time. Remember to not let it get to you personally. Turn a negative into a positive. If someone is complaining about something on your site it means that you have pushed a button. It’s good to generate a little heat from time to time, but be ready to support your readers and keep things as cool as possible.
I once wrote a blog post about the misconceptions non-Catholics have about Catholics. Since I’m a Catholic convert, I once believed some of those misconceptions too. The post I wrote about it generated a little heat and I got a lot of questions from my readers. It’s good to create a little controversy. It means readers are engaged with your topic enough to strike a nerve. But again, be prepared to defend your answers!
15. Offer a service
Offering a service is something every blogger needs to be able to do, and do well. If you’re good at photography and graphic design, offer up your services to your fellow bloggers. If you are good at training and leading others, create a webinar or video tutorial series. If you do this and do it right, your following will increase as your reputation gets around with other bloggers.
16. Share with family and friends
Sharing your content with your family and friends (and asking them to share) is easy. A lot of bloggers get embarrassed to do this, but in reality, they are your greatest support circle. Tag family and friends in posts on Facebook and you’ll see an increase in likes, comments and hopefully subscribers to your blog.
17. Create an epic resources page
A resources page is an opportunity to provide your readers with a list of everything you find valuable and useful. If you click on my link above, you’ll see my own resources page. It’s kind of small and growing at this point, but as I learn about new blogging tools and products, I make it a habit to update my resources page. Share your resources page regularly with your readers. Whenever you add something new, share it! Don’t forget to give a shout out to the creator of the product on social media. Again, do everything you can to bring in views.
18. Make your About Me page stand out
Would you say today that your About Me page stands out above the others? I’ve read in the past that it’s the most important page on your blog. It’s the opportunity to tell your readers about how you can help them. It’s NOT an opportunity to self-promote. Consider your About Me page like a brochure. The whole purpose of your About Me page is to draw your readers in to what you can offer them and why they can trust you. Provide links to some of your most popular posts, and of course, list ways on how they can contact you.
19. SEO is everything
I know, I know, you’ve heard a lot about SEO. So have I. I’m still trying to become an expert at it. It’s a difficult concept, but so important in generating traffic. I use the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress that does a lot of the work for me, but there are things I need to do on my own to increase SEO rankings. Things like:
- Use keywords in post titles and meta tags
- Use headings and subheadings (and include keywords in them)
- Limit affiliate links and ads in posts. The more you link to these the harder it will be for sites like Google to rank you high in search results.
- Link out to other good sites. If you are writing an informative post where you may have gathered information from other bloggers, link out to them (and make sure to give them credit in your post).
- URLs should be short and contain keywords. (Yoast SEO helps with this)
20. Use images
Integrating images into your posts is a good way to break up the content for your readers. I make it a rule not to use low-quality images. Any image I use is directly related to my content and is a good visual aid for my readers.
When using images, make sure to name them something related to your blog post topic. Did you know search engines can find images? Don’t name them some oblivious name. Make sure you are also include alt tag descriptions that relate to your post as these are also crawled by search engines.
Alongside images, you can also include videos, charts, graphs, info graphics and slide show presentations. Vary it up the best you can, but don’t over do it. The more images you have on your site can actually hurt you as they take up space on your site, cause your site to load slower and may detract your readers from staying focused. My rule of thumb is 1 or 2 images for every 1,000 words.
21. Participate in affiliate programs
You’ve seen me go on and on about affiliate programs and how they have increased my blog income. Yes, they are a good source of passive income, but offering high quality products on your blog is a great way to generate interest. There are many different affiliate marketing sites, but the one I use the most is ShareASale.
Of all the affiliate programs I’m a member of, the top income producer for me has been Candy Club. Have you read my review of Candy Club? If not, you should. I got the chance to sample the candy and fell in love with it immediately! It’s one of those products that have sold very well through advertising on Facebook and Twitter. I usually see a few sales come through every time I share my review post.
You can also visit merchants directly to see if they have an affiliate program. The application to join is usually at the bottom of their website. Keep in mind to limit the affiliate programs you join to only those you use and truly believe in. Don’t over do it. The last thing you want to do is come across as an advertiser only and not a niche influencer.
22. Showcase your popular posts
Your blog is a prime place to show your readers everything you have to offer. Why not showcase your popular posts? There are great plugins and widgets for WordPress that can put your most popular posts in your sidebar. I use a free widget called Top Posts & Pages. This widget automatically looks for posts that have had the most activity over the time period you specify and puts them in your sidebar. I limit mine to only 5 top performing posts (not pages or categories). There are other good plugins and widgets out there, so find one that suits your needs and get it up and running.
23. Reference your other posts regularly
The longer readers stay on your site will reduce your bounce rate. This is definitely a plus for you. A good way to keep readers on your site is linking to your other internal posts. You can see examples of that in today’s post. I’ve found ways to route readers to more information I’ve written about these tips that will be of value to them.
If you are going to do refer readers to your other posts, this goes back to tip number 11. Make sure you are keeping the other posts you are linking to updated and accurate. The better organized and updated all of your posts are, the more trust you are going to build in your readers, and your traffic volume will increase.
24. Stay mobile
One advantage to running a blog is that I can do it from just about anywhere. I use the WordPress app to keep my blog updated when I’m on the go. Whenever I go on vacation, I don’t have a laptop, but I can use my tablet or smartphone to respond to comments, write new posts and answer any emails that come in. Being mobile helps you to stay connected and visible to your readers.
25. Use a consistent profile
Every single medium you use to promote your blog gives you the opportunity to create a profile. Do everything within your power to make every profile as consistent as possible with your other profiles. Doing so makes you look more professional. Profiles are also a great opportunity to gather email sign ups. Even if you can’t gather them in the post, you can still ask your readers to sign up using the form on your site.
Are you ready to boost blog traffic?
I hope today’s post has provided you with a ton of useful information and sets you out on a course to seeing a rise in traffic. I’m here to help, so please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments below and I’ll be happy to help.
Want to be a part of my Blogger Share and Promo Facebook Group? Click here to join. There are daily threads giving you the opportunity to meet other bloggers, share your content and boost your traffic.
Pinterest Group Board
I also have a Blogging Tools and Tips Pinterest group board with over 12,000 pins and more than 140 contributors. I’m always accepting new contributors so please follow me on Pinterest then fill out my Google form to request contributor access to the group board. You can share as many pins as you want as long as you share another blogger’s pin for every pin you share.
Please share this post with your readers and get it going viral!