It doesn’t matter whether you are just starting out or have an established blog, one of the biggest challenges we all face is getting traffic!
And the simple fact is that without traffic, you aren’t going to be making any money from your site as you need traffic to:
- Generate income from ads
- Get people to click on affiliate links
- Buy any products you are selling
So traffic is important but what can you do to start getting more of it?
That’s what I’m going to cover in this post as this is a problem that I have faced myself, so let’s get started…
1. Optimize for Search (SEO)
I’m sure you are aware of what SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is and while ranking in search engines is getting more challenging due to:
- More competition
- Algorithm updates
There are still opportunities to get your content to the top of Google and other search engines but what do you need to do in order to achieve this, well there are a few steps:
#1 Find Keywords That You Can Actually Rank For
A common mistake many bloggers make (myself included), is to try and go after super competitive keywords from the start and you simply won’t come anywhere close to page one.
Instead, you need to find keywords that you can actually rank for by doing some good old keyword research and while tools like Ahrefs or Semrush can make this process a lot simpler, they are an expensive luxury.
Fortunately, there are some pretty good tools available from Google that are free to use:
- Google Autosuggest – the suggested search terms that Google shows when you start typing a query
- Google Also Asked – that section that appears on search results with questions related to your search query (great source of post ideas!)
- Google Related Searches – these are related searches that people have made that are similar to the query you entered
These three tools alone can provide you with a host of potential ideas for posts that you can create and you can check the search volume for these searches by using Google’s Keyword Planner.
Don’t be put off by a small search volume of 0-10 or 10-100 as the bigger sites generally won’t go for these but you can and there is a higher chance of ranking and if you can write 20 posts that generate 50 clicks a month, that’s 1,000 additional visitors a month!
#2 Create Awesome Content
Once you have found some search terms that you want to rank for, you want to create the best piece of content that you can and answer the search query in full as this increases the chances of search engines ranking you towards the top.
And there is more to an awesome piece of content than the words on the screen, to make it better than anyone else’s, you want to:
- Include all relevant information and link to any sources of this information
- Format it properly, such as using header tags correctly
- Include original images, which are optimized for SEO
- If possible, include a video
The aim when you are writing the post is to make it the best resource online about that particular subject, even if your competitions posts are rubbish, you want to make it difficult for anyone to come in and beat your post.
#3 Build Backlinks
Alongside content, backlinks are one of the most important aspects of blogging and the more good quality links you have to a post, the higher the chance that it will rank well in search engines.
It will also benefit the rest of your site as the more good-quality backlinks a site gets, the more trustworthy it is in the eyes of search engines and this increases the chances of your other posts ranking well.
As there is quite a lot to cover on this subject, I decided to write a guide on Building Backlinks To Your Blog, which covers this in much more detail.
#4 Sort Out Your Technical SEO
This is becoming more important as technical SEO can have a big impact on user experience and as search engines such as Google are focused on providing their users with the best experience possible, you want to make sure your site is sorted by:
- Making sure your site loads fast on mobile and desktop
- Making sure it is mobile friendly
- Checking for broken links, images etc on your pages
- Making sure that it can be indexed by search engines
Fortunately, there are some really good tools out there to help you with this, with a personal favorite being Ahrefs Webmaster Tools, which is free and performs a site audit every week.
This means that technical errors shouldn’t be around for too long but you also want to use tools like Uptrends Speed Tool, Google PageSpeed Insights and Google Mobile-friendly checker to check out your site’s performance.
By doing all of these, you should increase the chances of your posts ranking in search, which should result in more traffic and potentially more income.
2. Start A YouTube Channel
A great way to not only get more traffic but also generate a secondary source of income is to add a YouTube channel to your blog but why?
- YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine
- It is owned by the same parent company as Google
- Videos can rank in organic search results
- Google is pushing posts that contain relevant video content
You also open your blog up to an audience that you might not have been able to reach if you only produce blog posts.
Still don’t believe me that you should?
On one of my blogs, 20% of the traffic comes from YouTube and some videos rank for highly competitive search terms in Google, with the accompanying blog post being on page 2 or 3 plus it generates around 50% of the business’s income from ads and affiliate commissions.
Now, I know a lot of people are scared of starting a YouTube channel but you don’t need to be because if you don’t want to be on camera if you don’t want, there are many successful faceless channels in many niches.
You also don’t need to be the best editor when you are just getting started and if you want, you can always outsource this process.
And when it comes to content, most of your blog posts will probably make good video content and you can also cover some topics in a video that won’t work as well as written content.
As social media platforms go, Pinterest is one of the most unique as it is effectively a search engine and unlike Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, your posts have a much longer life cycle and it isn’t unusual to get clicks from Pinterest pins months or even years after you pinned them.
As with all things, there is a bit of a learning curve with Pinterest and there are some niches where it works better than others but it is still worth trying out as your content might be Pinterest-perfect (I should find a way to use that saying!).
From my experience, some of the things you can do to maximize your chances of success on Pinterest are:
- Use long images which are the correct size, tools like Canva have templates with the right dimensions
- Create clickable titles and descriptions for your pins
- Post regularly, such as every day or every other day
- Create boards and pin other people’s pins
It can be worthwhile spending some time looking at what the popular Pinterest accounts in your niche are doing and when you notice some common practices amongst the larger accounts, you can start applying these to your own pins.
4. Be Active On Social Media
Social media can be great for driving traffic to your blog but it has to be done right and a common mistake that bloggers make is just sharing their posts on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin with a short caption and then wondering why they aren’t getting clicks or growing their following.
The simple fact with social media is that you need to build a following who are going to be receptive to your content and to do this, you need to provide them with valuable content, such as:
- Posting threads on Twitter with a short guide etc on how to do something
- Putting out valuable Linkedin posts
- Following and engaging with other people in your niche
- Sharing or retweeting other people’s posts
And when you start to build a following, you can then start posting links to some of your blog posts, while still doing all the above points.
But there is a strategy that can have a bigger impact than just sharing your content and getting a few clicks and that is getting people to sign up to your email list via your social media, many people do this by providing exclusive content to their subscribers.
This way, you will build a list of people who are interested in your content and are more likely to engage with and possibly share your content via their social media accounts.
5. Be Active in Your Community
The internet is full of online communities, such as:
- Facebook groups
And being an active member of these in your niche can be a great way to generate traffic to your blog but you need to do it in a tactful way as going in and spamming links to your article is likely to annoy the community or result in you being kicked out and banned!
Instead, you want to provide value to the community and the best way to do this is by giving detailed, helpful answers to any questions posted by other members and if the opportunity arises, include a link to a relevant post on your site.
The second way to provide value is to see if there is a question that is commonly asked in the community that hasn’t been answered in the form of a post, you can create a post that completely answers it and post it to the community, this will almost guarantee a boost in traffic but it may also become a pinned resource.
A byproduct of being a valued member of the community is that others may post links to your content in their replies to questions and trust me, this happens!
The simple fact is, to get more traffic to your blog, you need to be marketing it in at least one way and in most cases, multiple ways.
This is because the days of build it and they will come are long gone in most cases and you need to be proactive in putting your blog out, which can feel strange to start with but if you want your blog to be successful, you have to do it.
But just spamming links to your blog everywhere and anywhere isn’t going to work, you need a strategy of where and how you are going to start getting eyes on your content and in many cases, providing value to others can be a great starting point.
You also want to try different methods and outlets as you never know where you might hit the jackpot!