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Use a Blog to Increase Web Traffic

Almost any type of website can use a blog. Most themes come with that option built in. Creating and using a blog the right way can increase interest in your website thereby increasing traffic. Search engines tend to like it as well. Making regular blog posts that are relevant to the content of your website is highly recommended. It is hard to know exactly what the Google search engine looks for, but we do know that it likes authoritative, informative, and relevant content that grows over time… as do people.

Who knows, you might become a go-to authority for the subjects that are your specialty… the things that your website represents. If you sell a certain line of products, tell the public all about them. Give them some of the science. Tell them all about the many uses. If you are an artist, tell them all about how you create and what inspires you. If your products are part of a specific subculture, write articles about it or promote and write about related events. If people like what they see and find new content upon return, the word will get out.

Below is a lot of helpful information about using a blog. If you read all this and still want to know more, click the Read More>> link at the bottom and you will, indeed, get much more from Adam Connell, a go-to expert on the subject. Use the two links in his bio at the end of the linked article for even more.

Have you ever looked at your blog’s analytics and wondered when the hordes of visitors are going to start showing up? You’re publishing great content and have something to say, but try as you might, those traffic numbers just don’t seem to be climbing as much as they should be. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be that way – you can get way more traffic to your blog and in this post I’ll show you how. With the use of just a few of these tactics, you could see a 425% increase in traffic (yep! It’s happened).

Why the “right traffic” matters for your website

Before we dive into discussing specific ways to increase your website’s traffic, there’s something I need to mention. More traffic won’t always get you what you want. Your goal should always be to generate relevant and targeted traffic – which is exactly what all of the tactics and strategies included in this guide will help you with. A big part of this is knowing what you want people to do once they arrive on your blog, it’s one thing to want more traffic, but there has to be a reason for it. Once you have a clear idea of exactly what you want people to do on your blog, you can optimize your blog to improve the likelihood that it will happen – small tweaks can make a big difference with conversions.

How to drive more traffic to your website and blog

There are a lot of tactics listed below and when used in the right way they can have a huge impact on your traffic. For example, I’ve seen people put only a few of these tactics into action and see a 400%+ increase in traffic. Awesome right?! The key here is to focus on a single tactic, make it work and then come back to this post to try something else. If you try too many at the same time, you won’t see the traffic increases that you deserve. Ready to get started?

Switch up your approach to content

Plan content that can generate traffic

Traffic generation doesn’t start after you’ve published a blog post; it starts right at the planning stage. There are two elements to consider here:

1. Topic selection

If you decide to write about a topic that nobody is interested in, you’re going to struggle to get traffic, no matter how good your content is. So how can you get a good idea of which topics to write about? Reading a lot of other blogs and forums can be a great way to start, but there are also a bunch of tools that will help you here, for example:

  • Google Trends – This will show you a graph of how interest has increased/decreased over time.

  • BuzzSumo – This tool will show you which topics are generating the most social shares.

  • SEMrush – With this tool you can find out exactly what keywords your competitors are ranking for in Google and get an estimate of how much traffic those keywords can bring in.

The important thing here is to ensure that the topics you choose fit with your content strategy and are focused on helping your target audience. Matching your audience up with the right topic is a huge first step in winning the battle for attention online.

2. Pick a content type

Certain content types may get more traction than others. A study by BuzzSumo (and published on Noah Kagan’s blog) found that infographics and list posts received more shares than any other content type. On a personal note, the majority of my top shared posts are list posts and they are also the posts which generate the most referral traffic for me.

3. Add value

Now that you’ve decided on a topic and content type, it’s time to think about how you can position your content to stand out from all the rest. The reality is that there are probably a bunch of posts on other blogs that are talking about something similar. The key is finding that element that separates your content from all of the rest. That might mean finding a unique angle, including more depth, adding more detail, improving usability or just giving away more information.

Write more engaging headlines

David Ogilvy famously said “On average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy.” Even if this average isn’t 100% correct today, one thing we can be certain of is that headlines matter. They can either make or break the success of each post you publish. There are plenty of posts discussing best practices of writing awesome headlines but there are two important factors to remember:

  • Your headline is a promise and you should always deliver on that promise

  • However you write your headline, it should leave an unanswered question

There are also headline writing tools like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer which can help you but the one thing that will serve you best which is the one thing these types of tools can’t replicate. And that’s … YOU!

Give your old content a new lease of life

It’s good practice to update your old content when possible. Why? It will improve the user experience and help you get more traffic. When content becomes outdated, it becomes less helpful for users and chances are that it won’t rank as high in search engines anymore (freshness is a ranking factor). It’s a good idea to prioritize which blog posts you update, so you could try one of the following:

  • Look in your analytics and identify content that doesn’t get as much search traffic as it used to

  • Check your Google Webmaster Tools account to find keywords you’re ranking for at the top of page two which could do with a boost

Don’t just update the information, also consider how you can streamline the user experience of the post and genuinely make it more helpful. Once the post is ready you could simply publish it as a new post under the same URL or choose to publish under a new URL (and add a 301 redirect from the old URl to the new one).

Note: if your post is already getting traffic from Google you may want to stick with the existing URL and if you do change the URL, you will lose most social share counts (e.g. # of tweets won’t be visible). It’s also important to ensure that you promote this post as much as possible; you’ll get more traffic from social media, search engines and other blog’s if you do.

Make your content more visual

Visual content is a big deal – fact. And there are plenty of statistics on the web that highlight just how important it is. Visual content will get you more shares, earn you more likes and ultimately get you more traffic. So how can you make your content more visual? Here are some ideas to get you started:

grahic image here

The image above was created in less than 5 minutes thanks to the help of a free tool called Canva.

Mention influencers in your posts and let them know you’ve mentioned them

When you first start your blog, you’ll be starting from scratch but there are those in your niche that already have influence. So what should you do? When you write your next blog post, link out to other posts written by influencers that provide additional insight and complement your post, then you can let them know that you’ve mentioned them.

One important caveat: don’t mention influencers for the sake of it, only mention them if it will add value to your post and help your readers.

People love to share stuff that makes them look good. So when you say cool stuff about them in a post, chances are they’ll share it with their audience. Not always, but sometimes. How you let them know is up to you, I’ve found Twitter, Google+ and email to work well. The important thing is to just let people know you’ve mentioned them, don’t keep asking them to share your content.

Note: this can also be a great way to build relationships with other bloggers.

How do you find influencers in your niche?

There are a bunch of helpful tools you can use here which include the likes of BuzzSumo.

Interview an influential blogger

From a reader’s perspective, interviews can be a great way to get another perspective on things as well as being a great source of inspiration. There are plenty of ways to position these interviews. You could do written interviews or you could start a podcast. A great example is John Lee Dumas who interviews entrepreneurs with inspiring stories. This is a great way of kick starting the relationship building process and chances are that the influencer will share the interview with their followers.

Put together a group interview

When done right, group interviews can be amazing. It’s one thing to mention an influential blogger, but when you invite them to contribute; they are far more invested in the success of the post. I’ve had some great results from this; a post I published last year received a few thousand shares and around 5,000 visits within a few days.

Invite influential bloggers to contribute to your blog

Think of this as guest blogging, but in reverse. It can be a great way of getting more content and expanding your audience at the same time. A good approach for this is to find out who is guest blogging on other blogs in your niche and invite them to contribute to yours too. The important thing here is to frame your pitch the right way, similar to how you would with guest blogging or any other form of blogger outreach – think “what’s in it for them?”

Monitor trends and write newsworthy content

Finding out what’s hot right now and writing about it is a great way to get more traffic. The key here is to monitor for new trends and be one of the first to write about them. There are a few ways to approach this, but one way that I see a lot of people doing is following larger publications, waiting for them to make a stir then publishing a post as a response. For more on this topic, check out this post by Ann Smarty.

Repurpose your content for another audience

Repurposing your content is a great way to gain access to another audience. The reality is that we all prefer different mediums to learn. I prefer written content, but others may prefer audio or video. It’s also worth considering infographics and Slideshare presentations too. A great example of this in action is the post I mentioned as an example for group interviews. With the help of 24Slides and Niall from TweakYourBiz, it was converted into an infographic and published by TweakYourBiz.

What was the result?

The repurposed post on Tweak Your Biz received 2,500+ social shares and more than 21,000 visitors.

Improve your site

Streamline your site’s design

Design matters – when your site’s design is clear and crisp, people will want to keep coming back to it. You may find yourself being mentioned on other blogs and websites as an example to follow when done right. The great thing is that you don’t need to be a designer or developer to have an impressive blog design. So if you use WordPress, you’re in luck because there are so many impressive themes out there. Sure, you could use a free theme and there are some decent ones about but the best tend to be paid.

Here are some resources to help you pick out a rockin’ theme:

Remove unnecessary distractions from your blog

A big part of traffic generation is keeping the traffic you have, so ask yourself this question – are there any elements on my blog that I don’t need? Everything on your blog must have a purpose that is focused around helping you achieve your goals. For example, do you have any blog directory badges that aren’t really helping you? Or are you displaying CPC ads that aren’t performing very well?

Improve your blog’s loading time

Loading times are so important. Slow loading times have proven to cause a huge drop in conversions. While it’s true that page loading times are a ranking factor for search engines like Google, it’s only a small part of their algorithm so it may increase traffic but not by too much. The real benefit here is in keeping your existing readers coming back to your site and providing an awesome user experience.

Tools to improve page load times

  • Load Impact – Checking your blog with this tool will show you how load times hold up with multiple simultaneous visitors. It will give you a clear picture of how your web host copes with traffic spikes.

  • PageSpeed Insights by Google – This tool will give you an idea of exactly how to improve page load times.

Resources to help you improve page load times

Add relevant internal links

When you add relevant internal links to your blog, you make it easier for people to find your best content and you also make it easier for search engines to index your content. Don’t add internal links just for the sake of it; add them only when you feel it’s relevant and helpful to readers.

Add social share buttons to your blog

It’s important to make it easy for your followers to share your blog posts. But adding too many social sharing buttons could potentially have a negative impact. The key is to identify the most important social networks for your audience. If your content is written for small businesses, it may be helpful to include a LinkedIn share button.

Make it easy to share your visual content

Earlier we discussed the importance of visual content. And while visual content alone will help you get more traffic, it’s important to make it easy for your readers to share your visual content. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a plugin like Social Snap, which will let you display Pinterest share buttons on your content (it’s not a one trick pony, it does a lot more!) Related note: check out Elna Cain’s post on driving traffic to your blog from Pinterest – it’s easy to get started.

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