This is the final installment in my three-part blogging series. By no means is this the end but hopefully after reading the first two articles, (Reasons to Blog: A 3-Part Series from a Pro and How to Start a Blog and Not Be Overwhelmed) you feel more comfortable with blogging and some of you have even started your own blogs. For those of you who are now blogging — congratulations!
Once your site is up and running and you are consistently posting articles to your blog, there will come a time when you want more. More traffic, better search rankings, and the ability to generate business leads, etc. The good news is that there are a variety of things you can do to increase blog traffic and get the readers you deserve!
If you’re ready to learn how to increase blog traffic like a boss, check out my tried-and-true tips below:
Set Your Blogging Goals
Getting started is the first hurdle, now it’s time to get real about your blogging goals. Whenever I speak at conferences, I try to simplify blogging and the goals of websites to three goal sets. The three goals of any site can only be: Content, Community, and Conversion.
Are you blogging to publish content to help position yourself as a subject matter expert or increase your search visibility? Are you trying to develop a community around your product, service, or brand? Or are you looking at conversion points by trying to get your readers to take a specific measurable action? (Hint: almost every onsite action is measurable.) And a measurable action means it will be the most beneficial to your business.
Strategize and Analyze
As you begin to strategize, keep in mind that search may be the VERY first point of contact for a new customer to your company. If you make a good impression in search, you’ll get the click, which may lead the person doing the search down the road toward becoming a client.
Whatever the goal you have in mind, there needs to be an associated metric of success with it. A typical goal for content may be search rankings. A common goal of community is an increase in social network followers and people sharing and re-distributing your content. Conversion may be measured by the number of leads you are receiving from your site or your click-through rate (CTR.) Remember, success looks different to every blogger and every site owner, so these metrics are your own.
Develop Your Content Strategy
No matter the goals and metrics you decide upon, a strong content strategy needs to be put in place. Read other blogs in your vertical and see what other bloggers are writing about. I swear, I get almost half of my ideas from articles by reading other blogs. Bloggers I like such as Jay Baer, Brian Gardner, and Matt Cutts have always inspired thought and made me want to write. [Blogging Tip: The more you read, the more you will write.]
Keywords and SEO
Once you’ve decided on a topic or issue to write about, it’s time to do your research. I like to use the Google AdWords tool to see what keywords are relevant to my topic. Once I discover how my topic is being searched for, I can construct a strategic outline for my post. [Blogging Tip: Use my Content Construction Worksheet to organize your thoughts and ideas. If this worksheet doesn't work for your process, make your own.]
Carefully constructed strategic content is the name of the game. The better your content is, the more your articles will be read and shared — thus increasing your site’s traffic. When writing articles I try to do as much research as possible and respect the search engines, but in the end I write for people not for search robots.
Speaking of search, SEO will always play an integral part in your blog’s success. Make sure your post titles are optimized using your main keyword or search phrase. Stay away from punctuation in titles and make sure you don’t have underscores (_) in your links. Instead of underscores, make sure your post link uses dashes in between words.
Select an Image
Every article should have a relevant image posted in it. This helps the reader gauge what the post is about, but it also helps the search engines rank your site. All images should be name appropriately. A posted image with the name wddcgyfd.jpg will not help your SEO efforts, but an image named relevant-title.jpg will help your search visibility. Since search engines only recognize text, a properly named image will help get your post ranked.
When it comes to blogging and site development, everything works hand in hand and once you get used to taking the proper steps to include SEO into your posts — over time you will increase blog traffic.
Add Your Call to Action
I suggest at the end of every article you have a call to action to help stimulate conversation. A call to action may be as simple as, “What do you think? Leave a comment and tell us!!!” or another call to action could be, “Need more information on XYZ? Send us an email or fill out this simple contact form and one of our experts will get back to you shortly.”
Telling people what you want them to do is the first step in maximizing conversion. That’s why so many large companies spend money and time A/B testing concepts, colors, and messaging. It’s a science of trial, error, and testing or what I like to call review, refine, and repeat.
Practice Makes Perfect
Now you know why I saved this for post three in the series. Things are getting a little more strategic and tactical. Don’t worry if you aren’t ready to dive into the SEO of your new blog or the content strategy just yet. But at some point, to make things really work for the marketing blogger, you will have to ease into this at some point if you want to increase blog traffic.
We’ve covered a lot in the last three posts. Blogging is a marathon and not a sprint. Getting traction and gaining leads for your business through your blog is a long tail strategy — it will take time. What may be incredibly difficult for you today will become easier over time. Please keep at it and don’t quit.
If you’ve read my last three posts and have any questions, please feel free to comment and I will do my best to address your issue. Thanks for reading, stay calm, and blog on!
Tell us: What is your best tip to increase blog traffic?