I’m here to answer the big question on every blogger’s mind: How do you drive traffic to your blog? I wish the answer was simple, but it’s the combination of several practices that will ultimately bring you success. There are so many websites out there, it can be hard to get noticed. You can’t just publish your site and expect people to be able to find it; it takes some serious work! When I first started blogging, I would go days without anyone visiting my site. Since I started doing these 18 things, I’m far from that. I can’t tell you how accomplished I feel when I wake up and see that my site has been active while I slept. I want to help others get to that point because it was not long ago that I was struggling to get page views. Here are the top things you should do to drive traffic to your blog.
*Note: Don’t forget to optimize your site. There’s so much to SEO, so I’ll save that post for another day.
1. Create great content.
I know this one seems obvious, but it’s crucial to building a successful blog. You can do everything else right and you still won’t see results if you’re writing unengaging posts. Always triple check your work for grammatical errors and formatting issues.
2. Write about things that other people want to read about.
I can’t tell you how often I see bloggers make this mistake. If you started a blog for your own entertainment or for a few family members to follow along, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But if you’re looking to grow your audience and get your writing out there, you have to choose topics that are a little more interesting than your trip to the park last weekend. And trust me, I know this struggle. When I first started “blogging” on Tumblr, my main goal was to document my pregnancy and write about my personal milestones and achievements. It did pretty well! On Tumblr.
If you want to create a professional blog that has the potential to bring in money, you’ll have to write about topics that random people (that have no idea who you are) will be interested in clicking on. I’m not saying you should never post personal stories. I have a few of them on this blog as well, but I don’t expect them to go viral. They were written for my enjoyment, and for my readers to gain a little insight on my life.
You can spin personal stories into interesting and informative posts. Maybe people won’t click on a link to an article about a random person’s trip to the park, where they drone on about how nice it felt outside and how they probably should have worn sunblock because they got a mild sunburn. But they might click on a post that highlights why going outside and getting fresh air is great for your health, and what kind of activities they recommend trying at the park.
Many people look to the internet for solutions to problems they have, to gain insight on a topic, or to gather ideas for things they would like to do. Try to center your posts around something that you think other people are curious about, and always picture your posts on social media. Ask yourself honestly if you would click on it.
3. Don’t post every day.
Don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to write a post every day. It’s not realistic. When I first launched My Momtastic Life, I forced myself to write an article every day to every 2 days for a month or so, and you know what? Most of those posts are no longer up because the quality just wasn’t there. If you’re new to blogging, I get it. You can’t promote your blog without posts for people to read (well, you actually can, and I’ll link an article here once it’s up). But when you set unrealistic goals, not only are you setting yourself up for disappointment and anxiety when you inevitably fall behind, but your content is going to be lacking.
Posting too frequently leaves you with very little time to work on other things that are just as important to your success, if not more so. If you’re new to blogging, it’s easy to underestimate the amount of time it takes to not only create a post with pin-worthy images, but to promote your work and grow as an influencer! You have to network, do research on SEO, work on future posts, find more affiliate programs, gain followers on your social media accounts, the list goes on.
*You also don’t want to annoy your subscribers with a new email every single day.
4. Write posts consistently.
Now, while you don’t want to write too often, you don’t want to be inconsistent either. Most bloggers suggest setting up specific days to post, so your readers know when to expect new content. I’ll be honest though, I haven’t done that yet. I make it a point to post 1-3 times a week, depending on how involved the posts are. I definitely don’t recommend going long periods of time without posting. Your subscribers will miss you, and anyone new that visits your site will see that you’re not being active, which may deter them from subscribing.
5. Write guest posts and invite guest contributors.
Not only do you get to add new content to your blog that you didn’t have to write, it also brings new visitors to your site. The guest poster will surely share the post with their family, friends, and followers, and they may even ask you to write for them as well, opening up new opportunities. These writers can also share some insight on topics that you may not have any knowledge on. Just make sure the guest post fits in your niche.
6. Make sure your blog is easy to navigate.
If your page is overrun with ads and the layout is confusing, most people won’t bother sticking around to figure it all out. Have you ever clicked on a post that sounded interesting, but once you landed on the page you discovered you had to click through 25 slides just to read a small tidbit of information? Unless it was extremely captivating or juicy, you probably exited without even making it to the end. It won’t be any different for your readers if your site looks like a jumbled up, ad-ridden mess.
7. Know your niche and your target audience.
You may be interested in a wide variety of topics, but you need to narrow your niche down to a couple of things that you’re passionate about, and that you’re good at. I’m interested in musicals and video games. I don’t post about those things because it would be of no use to my readers. If you’re not sure who your target audience is yet, you need to figure it out. If you’ve been blogging for a while, look at your analytics reports, and if you’re new to blogging, try to picture who your target audience is and aim to please them. This is the best way to gain real, long-lasting fans of your work. If someone new clicks to your site and sees a bunch of posts that are completely unrelated to each other, they’re not going to know what to think, and probably won’t subscribe. You don’t want to be too unpredictable.
8. Write great titles.
This is so important! Don’t worry, I struggle with this too. Just last week I had to ask my friends to help me rename a post because it was just so bad. If you have trouble creating catchy titles, you’re not alone. But it’s very important. It’s the first thing people see when they find your article on Google or Pinterest, or wherever! It can make all the difference in your page views. Create interesting, straightforward titles that grab people’s attention.
9. Promote with social media.
When I publish an article, I spend the next day or two promoting it on social media. If promoting your post on social media isn’t time-consuming, you’re either very successful, or you’re not doing it right. Unless you have millions of readers that hang on to your every word, you can’t just hit publish, make a quick tweet about your post and expect the page views to come rolling in. It just doesn’t happen that way. After you publish your post, you need to spread the word! Let everyone know you have something new to read. Post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and most importantly – Pinterest. And when you post on Pinterest, don’t just post it once on your blog board. Join as many group boards as you can handle and post it in all of them (as long as it’s relevant). You can join my group board Momtastic Mommy Bloggers.
10. Host giveaways.
Hosting giveaways is a great way to give back to your followers and gain new subscribers at the same time. Just make sure the giveaway is geared towards your target audience. Giving away an iPad might bring you a ton of followers, but most of them won’t care about your content and will have no problem unfollowing you once the contest is over. You can even do small giveaway events, where a comment or a share might give someone an entry to win a free e-book that you wrote. You can provide the prizes yourself, or invite a company to donate or sponsor the promotion.
11. Write about things that you’re passionate about.
It’s easy to fizzle out and grow tired of writing about a subject that doesn’t excite you. Plus, your readers will be able to tell when you’re being ingenuine.
12. Retweet old posts.
Don’t spam your followers feed with the same post over and over again, but DO retweet posts that you wrote a few weeks or months ago. There will always be people who weren’t on Twitter the first time you posted it, so it will be new to them.
13. Occasionally go back and look at your old posts to make sure they’re on the same level as your new content.
Your writing is going to evolve, so you’ll need to check back on old posts sometimes to ensure that it’s up to par with your new posts. Maybe you figured out that you wanted to go a different direction with your blog, and you haven’t realized that some of your old posts just aren’t a good fit for what you’re going for. Here are some things to ask yourself:
- Is this post even relevant to my niche?
- Are there any grammatical errors that I might have missed?
- Could the pictures/graphic be better?
- Can I optimize this post to increase traffic?
Sometimes your post might just need a few tweaks, but don’t be afraid to let go and delete posts that aren’t doing your website any favors. You never know when it will be someone’s first impression of your site, and you want them to be inspired by your work.
14. Add social share buttons to your posts.
If you don’t have social share buttons on your posts, you need to add them right now! You want to make it as easy as possible for people to share your work! I use Social Pug, which has a great free version. When you have some extra money, I recommend upgrading to their paid version.
15. Incorporate links in your posts.
Google likes to see outbound links from your website, so go ahead and link websites when you mention a product, business or website. Don’t go overboard, but try to add them when it seems relevant. Your readers appreciate it when you make things convenient for them too.
16. Include pictures in every post.
Pictures are so important. You can have a well-written post with no pictures and it won’t do nearly as well as a simple post with great pictures. Again, think of Pinterest. The pins with awesome pictures do significantly better than pins with just text. It just makes for an overall better experience when you’re visiting someone’s site. It’s so important to have at least one picture on each post that is “pin-worthy”. Check out my post on 15 Sources For Free Feminine Stock Photos.
17. Invite your readers to leave a comment or interact with you on social media.
This engages your readers and makes them feel involved. You’d be surprised how many people will respond positively to that. I always like to ask my readers to tag me on Instagram or Twitter if they try out an activity or idea that I wrote a post about.
18. Connect with other bloggers in your niche.
This is possibly my favorite part of blogging. (Well, other than the money and free products haha). Talking to other bloggers can be so rewarding and honestly, really helpful for reaching your own goals. Meeting like-minded people with the same vision can keep you motivated and help you get an idea of what works for other people, so you can form your own plan. You have to network and really put yourself out there. If you think keeping up with your messages on every platform is easy, just wait. It shouldn’t be, once you really get your blog going.
If you’re unsure of how to meet other bloggers in your niche, look for Facebook groups and start interacting with people on Instagram and Twitter. I’m not telling you to comment on people’s posts with an ulterior motive. Really connect with people in a genuine way. I can tell when someone is commenting on my posts simply so I’ll check their content out, it’s plain as day. So don’t go out and spam a bunch of people’s threads with fake comments, or even with the intention of receiving shares or comments on your own posts. Be real, and good things will come to you. You might even make some close friends!
If you’re a blogger, comment below with something you do that successfully drives traffic to your blog.