Your blog is a valuable marketing tool–perhaps one of the most valuable marketing tools if you’re using it correctly–and knowing how to increase blog traffic can do wonders for your business. Your blog is an excellent way to inspire your customers, generate leads, establish yourself as a trusted voice in the market, and subtly reinforce your brand. Unfortunately, there is a lot of competition, and putting together a blog that leaves a lasting impact can be easier said than done. Case in point: I visited three blogs during this first paragraph. Will I remember any of them by the time I’m done writing this post? Doubtful. It’s a crowded platform, but it is possible to claim your space within it and boost your site’s traffic. And we’ll show you how it’s done. But first, let’s answer a couple of key questions:
How Much Traffic is Good for a Blog?
There’s a lot to consider before answering this question, and it will not come down to a mere value of X, unfortunately. The sad truth is that the traffic you generate from your all-time most-viewed blog might equal your fiercest competitor’s off day. Remember, good traffic is more than just several page views; good traffic means that visitors are on your site, becoming familiar with your brand, and moving slowly down the sales funnel. It’s better to have one qualified lead look at your blog than ten unqualified leads.
You’ll want to set your own benchmarks to determine successes or opportunities relating to blog traffic. If your blog is brand new, you’ll see some rapid increases (anything is better than zero), but it might take a while to figure out what kind of traffic you can expect regularly. If your blog has been around for some time, you might want to shoot for around 6 percent monthly traffic growth. As you continue blogging and more people start noticing, you can start setting more aggressive monthly growth goals.
Why is Increasing Blog Traffic Important?
Increasing blog traffic not only widens the net for valuable leads but it lets Google and other search engines know that you know what you’re talking about. As Google notices that your site is an important resource for specific search terms, you’ll see your rankings start to go up. Better rankings mean more traffic, more leads, and more sales.
Is that a gross oversimplification of the process? Perhaps. If it were that easy, everyone would quit their jobs, find a couple of advertisers, and become full-time bloggers. The truth is that SEO blogging is a highly-complex medium, and best practices are changing and evolving daily. It can be hard to keep up. For this reason, we’ll always recommend having a trusted content marketing agency in your corner.
13 Fool-Proof Steps to Get Your Blog Noticed
Getting people to visit your blog without bribery, trickery, or witchcraft can be challenging but not impossible (I mean, we got you to read this one, right?) While there’s no legitimate magic formula that’ll send your site visits into orbit, there are a few steps you should take with every blog you write just to increase your chances of success.
1. Study Your Audience
If you want your blog to be read, you need to understand your audience and their needs. You are writing for them. Your blog needs to connect with them and offer insights and information they crave. Ultimately, if you’re not writing with your audience in mind at all times, you’re missing the mark, and your traffic will prove it. (What, you think we write these blogs for our health?)
2. Develop Tailored Topics
Topic research can be one of the tougher steps in this process. Make sure your topic is broad enough to reach a wide audience, yet specific and focused enough to where you won’t have to write a 50,000-word anthology just to cover it. In addition, going too broad with initial blog topics can make things much more complicated.
3. Study the Competition
Before deciding what to write about, it’s important to check out what’s already out there surrounding the topic. Google your keyword and see who’s already ranking. Are you going up against Wikipedia, CNN, Buzzfeed, or Google property? If so, you might want to go in a different direction. When you start seeing your competitors, or sites with comparable domain authorities, you’ll know you’re on the right track.
4. Hire an SEO Strategist
An accomplished and knowledgeable SEO strategist can help you find the right keywords with the right amount of search volume to get your blogs where they need to be SEO-wise. Your organic pushes (social media, email newsletters, etc.) will certainly help, but an SEO strategist can help you craft a perfect blog that gets noticed by search engines and boosts the authority and profile of your overall site.
5. Prep with Content Outlines and Strategies
Okay, so you’ve got your keywords and your topic…now what? Before you start writing your blog, it’s time to jot down some notes of exactly how you want this blog to look. What is its purpose? What questions do you need to answer? How will it be structured? Who is your leading competitor on this topic? And what can you offer that they don’t? Plan your blog top to bottom, ensuring your account for your H2s and H3s (your SEO strategist can help here). Once your content outline and strategy are in order, it’s time for the heavy lifting.
6. Create Engaging Content
This is your chance to shine. Tell the story your audience needs to hear and do it in a way that connects with them and leaves a lasting impression. Your viewers need information, and you need to provide it better than anyone else with a keyboard and Internet access. It’s a tall order, no doubt. But you’ve got this. Pay close attention to voice and tone (and grammar and spelling, obviously). Sites like Grammarly can be life-savers here. Remember, stick to your content strategy and spell it out for your reader in your own style.
7. Invest in Eye-Catching Images
You have some options here. At the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with finding and paying for stock imagery online, but consider if that’s your best course of action. If you’re writing about your products, for example, snap some pictures yourself. If possible, original, high-quality photography will always be a key addition to your blog. And for SEO purposes and a better user experience, don’t forget to pay close attention to your alt-text (e.g., “One dozen pink frosted donuts from Kelly’s Bakery” is going to be much better than “donuts8372.jpg”).
8. Develop Useful Features
Now that your content is ready to go, what else can you offer your audience in terms of value? Give those competitors another look and figure out where you can fill in the gaps. Remember, a “useful feature” doesn’t need to equate to a fancy interactive experience with hours of development time. It could be something as simple as a shareable quiz, infographic, or chart.
9. Establish Crosslinking Opportunities
Again, you might want to bend your SEO specialist’s ear on this one. You’ll want to be very selective and strategic regarding where you’re putting internal crosslinks. An effective crosslink strategy can elevate your overall SEO and analytics. Remember, it’s not enough to simply attract people to your blog; you want them to stick around a while and see what else your site has to offer.
10. Promote Through Social Media
Obviously, right? When it’s time to start driving real-life traffic to your blog, why not start with those who’ve already said they’re interested in what you have to say? Your content needs to have some click-attraction and shareability for this very purpose. Organic or paid social media posts can be excellent drivers of web traffic.
11. Grow Your Email List
Email newsletters can be another effective way to get your blog off and running in terms of traffic. Every blog you write can be the centerpiece for a worthwhile email campaign. And make sure your website has clear and enticing CTAs where appropriate (including your blog) to have people sign up for your email list.
12. Perform Routine Content Audits
Hitting publish on your blog might feel like the finish line, but don’t be fooled. You’ll want to perform regular content audits on your site just to see how things are performing (might want to tap your SEO specialist on this one too). By paying attention to how your blogs rank organically, you can edit and update them to reach an even wider audience.
13. Post Regularly
Regarding what “regularly” means, you will have to make the best decision based on your time and resources. For some, that might mean two or three blogs a day. For others, it might mean one or two a month. You don’t want to have giant gaps in your posting schedule, but you don’t want to burn yourself out. Build a schedule that works for your needs and stick to it.
How Long Does It Take for a Blog to Get Traffic?
It depends on many factors: competition for the keyword, backlinks, domain authority, etc. Between social media traffic, email newsletter traffic, and regular site visitors, you might get lucky and see some decent numbers in the first couple of days. But realistically, this isn’t sustainable over time. For this reason, your best bet is to ensure your blog is optimized for search engine traffic. And even if you’ve done everything correctly, the timeline by which you’ll start seeing regular traffic is, unfortunately, going to be measured in months rather than hours or days.
This isn’t exactly Field of Dreams level, but rest assured, if you build it, they will come…even if some of those who come are unqualified hits (and yes, I forgot those first three blogs I mentioned earlier). The bottom line? Just keep doing what is best for your audience and your website: create valuable, strategic content and never let up (and it never hurts to partner with an experienced content marketing agency, either). So while it might seem impossible to increase blog traffic, just know that it can be done.