First of all, let’s get one thing clear, content really is the key here. You can do every single thing on this list but if what you’re writing is essentially shite then it’s pointless. What are you playing at? Just take some time to write something decent.
Right, now that’s out of the way, let’s get down to the business of how to promote your blog.
So, you’ve written something ace. Maybe you have an amazing product to tell me about. Perhaps you’ve taken the best picture of a pig in wellies that anyone has ever seen. Good work. Now comes the tricky bit – getting people interested.
Unfortunately there isn’t one easy peasy way to get millions of people visiting your website or blog, but there are lots of little things that you can do, that if done regularly and as a package of activity, can help boost traffic.
Here ‘s a by no means comprehensive list of 43 ideas to get you started, in no particular order:
Know your audience and write about stuff they will be interested in. Seems obvious doesn’t it? But could you tell me right now what percentage of your readers for instance are women? Use feedback from readers and analytics from Google and your social channels to build a profile of your target reader and give them what they want.
Hang out in the places your readers are already – not like a stalker, outside their place of work, I’m talking online. Are they Facebook users? Do they use forums that you could join? Read some top tips about comment marketing here.
Start a Facebook page and post a mix of interesting content, some of which is directed to your website. Encourage engagement by asking direct questions. Keep updates short and punchy and avoid pushy sales techniques.
Run a linky or regular feature where other bloggers submit posts on a theme and increase blog traffic by asking as many people as you can to join in.
Reply to as many blog comment as you can. This encourages a feeling of community and brings more people back to your site.
Be consistent. People like to know what to expect so blogging consistently is useful. I use an RSS generated Mailchimp email system, so new content gets sent out at the same time every day. I hope that this means people know that lunchtimes are the time to look out for an email from me.
Get on Twitter and start getting properly involved. It’s been a fantastic way to increase blog traffic for me, as you can see from this:
Use graphics. That little wheel thing was cute wasn’t it?
Join networks where you have the opportunity to submit content or connect with people in the same industry.
Post your content on LinkedIn. It’s not just for job hunting you know. You could join a LinkedIn group too and start making yourself useful.
Pull out interesting quote, facts or headlines and use Click to Tweet to encourage people to share them.
Submit posts to StumbleUpon but don’t be spammy – like and submit lots of posts as well as your own.
Include your blog or website link in your email signature. Sure, not everyone is going to click on it, but some people will, and it will add to that drip effect. Hell, get it tattooed on your forehead if you’re brave enough.
Get business cards made and keep some with you all the time. You never know who you’re going to meet. I like Moo.com because they do round corners. (They is no evidence that suggests round corners get you more traffic.)
Use numbers in your titles. Like this one. It made you read it didn’t it?
Make posts more scannable and easier to read by using lists and subheadings. How often do you read something online simply by scanning through and looking at bullet points or quotes? Display key information as a list, subheading or graphic to draw your reader in. More info here.
Use nice images and make them Pinterest friendly. Portrait pictures work better for Pinterest and include text to make it immediately obvious what your blog post is about. Online picture editors like Picmonkey are great for this and very easy to use.
Include social sharing buttons with each post to make it as easy as possible for readers to share your content through their own channels to increase blog traffic without doing any of the work yourself. (People are basically dashing from one thing to another online, so make it simple for them.)
Write guest posts for other blogs and ask to include a link back to your site. This will introduce you to a whole new audience and is good from an SEO point of view.
Install the Yoast plugin if you’re a wordpress user – it’s a super easy to use SEO plugin to help you optimise every post.
Go a bit further and get to grips with SEO basics to increase blog traffic coming from search engines. I like the beginner’s guide from Moz.
Use Bufferapp to schedule social content. In the analytics tab you can see exactly which posts have been most successful. Test titles, timings and use of images to optimise everything you do.
Leave thoughtful comments on other blogs. Don’t do it for the sake of it, no ‘great blog!’ type comments please – instead choose a selection of blogs you genuinely enjoy and read and comment regularly. Try a tool like Feedly or Bloglovin to help you keep track of them.
Use Google+. Don’t ask me how.
Don’t ignore your analytics. Keep an eye on where your traffic is coming from and if you spot something that’s working well, do more of it. More info here.
Do some research into keywords when writing a post to help you create content around popular search terms. Google’s Adword Keyword Planner is useful for this.
Link back to your own posts within new ones. If you’re writing about interiors for instance, reference similar posts you’ve written recently.
Don’t be afraid to be a bit controversial to stimulate debate, but make sure it’s something you’re genuinely passionate about and that you’re prepared to argue your case.
Introduce a new regular feature or series, to get people coming back for more.
Optimise your blog for speed and mobile. Google PageSpeed insights can help with this.
Invite guest posts from other bloggers or industry experts.
Interview interesting people. (I am available.)
Keep an eye on the calendar and reshare seasonal content from previous years – perhaps you’ve got a great post about Valentine’s Day or an awesome pancake recipe? Generally having a lot of evergreen content, (stuff that doesn’t date), is a good way to ensure your blog traffic keeps growing.
Set up an Instagram account and share images from new posts.
Review your social channels and make sure your branding is consistent and clear. Make sure you’ve included a link to your blog everywhere possible.
Be generous with your likes and shares. Tweet links to other blog posts you like and tag the writers so that they know you’re being nice. Fingers crossed they may return the favour.
Label images well. Include relevant keywords in the alt text to boost the chances of your images popping up in Google image search.
Write shorter posts. No one on the internet cares about anything for more than about 10 seconds remember? Keep posts punchy; around 300 – 500 words works well.
Keep headlines and social media updates short too. There’s some interesting research about it here. Did you know for instance that the optimum length for a Facebook update is apparently only 40 characters?
Offer to speak at events. It’s pretty fun really.
Do some face to face networking. Lots of people make the mistake of thinking that all blog promotions need to be online but meeting people face to face is a fantastic way to start a relationship. Try to make yourself useful and follow up afterwards with a ‘nice to meet you’ and offer of help.
Ask friends and family to share links on their own social media sites. If you can’t exploit your family then who can you exploit?
Create useful resources, stuff that people will actively want to share. Like this post hopefully.
What techniques do you employ to help drive traffic to your blog or website?
Laptop image – Syda Productions/shutterstock
Ooh thank you for this. I feel like I’ve hit a bit of a plateau so this is really helpful
Glad you found it useful Claire, I’d be interested to know if any particular tactics work well.
Thank you for the post and very timely.
Great content this – Not everything will work for everyone. Being both male AND running a site that is dedicated to earning money online in the UK there is no real gain for me to spend my time on instagram / pintrest. I don’t think you can make an image of a £1 coin sexy thus it wouldn’t gain any traction on those social networks. I get decent traffic through Twitter. Facebook I just find a bind at times but sadly it is necessary.
I still focus on keywords and good unique content that isn’t elsewhere within my niche above all else and will continue to do so
Thanks for your comments Jon and very true that some apply more to some niches than others. I agree with you about Instagram but I reckon you could find some use in Pinterest – I see a lot of infographics for example on Pinterest as the shape works well, and money making ideas and information could translate well to that? It’s very much a case though, like you say, of knowing what works well for you, otherwise you can end up spreading yourself too thin and not doing any one thing well.
Spot on. If something isn’t going to work for your niche there is zero point is trying to shove that square into that round hole. All you will do is spend extra effort trying to make something work for an audience that just doesn’t care about your niche.. When I first started I used an awful splatter gun approach and if I was cheap (£5-£10 a month) advertising I snapped it up!. Anything from beauty blogs to fitness ones, I thought there might be ‘some’ crossover there with the audience I was after but there was none. Total waste of money – quick learning curve! lol
For the working from home sector I’ve found commenting on blogs works quite well however this latest Google change has seen a REAL upturn in both viewers and user engagement. Running the a site with a forum the site of ours with over 32,000+ posts engagement will always rule over passive views.
Super useful post, Jo. Even for someone who’s been blogging for a couple of years, but there’s always something you can improve or tweak x
I know what you mean Carolin, I was thinking I should really do more of these myself!
Yup you are right there Carolin. I think constantly looking at ways to improve you blog, either with content or with style should always be the done thing!
Some great tips there and a few I hadn’t considered. I know what my biggest issue is and that’s lack of consistency. I need to be more disciplined to write consistently if I want to grow my blog, which I do, I love it.
I’m sure a lot of us are guilty of this Rachel. I’m trying to get better at planning, so when I have a creative burst I set up posts for times when I know I might be busier.
Yeah consistency certainly is key! I’ve spent the last 2 months posting 2-3 times a week and it has had a real upturn in not only my readership levels but also the amount of sponsored post opportunities offered to me
I’m going to get business cards one day, although I’ve been saying this for years and they still don’t exist for me. I honestly wonder how many bloggers use business cards and whether it gains them much return. I really love the possibilities of a free lunch or free happy hours at my local restaurants but that’s probably not getting me traffic. Who could argue with free lunch, though ;) I also have yet to attend a blogging conference and am not sure if I ever will. Since my blog is extremely niche, the topics I’ve read don’t usually pertain to me but I do think it would be nice to meet other bloggers and network that way.
I do wonder about business cards sometimes, especially as I know I often throw other people’s away! I guess it only takes one out of 100 though to stick and for some paid work to come of it and you’ve covered your costs. Mine are quite snazzy and have a picture on that always gets comments – you do have to do something a bit different I think to stand out from everyone else.
I’ve just taken a look at your blog and while it is quite niche there must be quite a lot of wedding fairs around you where business card advertising would pay off.
Brilliant advice. I would add though that sharing promotion of posts via email exchange of newsletters with other bloggers works well too!
Another good one, thanks Richie!
How have you found the traction on newsletters? I do them few and far between (maybe 4 times a year at most) but just don’t think they are worth the time for a niche such as mine
It all depends in how well you present the offer, how well you really communicate.
Also depends on why people signed up, send wrong email content and don’t get traction, send the right one and works well.
Say you have 1000 email subs, if you email them once a week, mix with links to your posts, links to other genuine content and tips, you will find at least 20-40% of these visit your site and links.
The key is to test.
You and I are in similar niches I think.
Thank you for the post and very timely. May 30 marks my 1 year blogging anniversary. I still am not sure where I am going with all this, moslty fun and personal growth, but if there is any potential for something more like actuall supplementing my income, your advice is gold.
Ha! – yeah we sure do seem to be in the same niche!
Pop over to our site and come and join in! – Bet you would have some fantastic content to add!
Cool tips Jo! Some very helpful insights in there – especially the rounded card corners.. ;)
Hello Jo, thanks for your this complete guideline. Really Good one. I am newbie Blogger and that’s why i also search about HOW TO INCREASE MY TRAFFIC as well you know Without Traffic no blogger can be sucess in his/her Blogging jounrey and i wanted to do the same. And Yes i am agree with your points that you mentioned here. Really these are not only good but also Best methods. Specially Guest Posting, Social Media shares as well Facebook, Twitter and Also Blogging Interview are just work as magic. Again thanks for this kind of great article .
Happy Blogging. Have a Good Week End
Great advice and so much I hadn’t thought about! Love the idea of business cards with round edges. Will definitely be employing some of these tactics for future posts and will be checking out that Moz SEO guide. Thanks for sharing :)
Great blog post. Thank you. How do you go about finding events to speak at? I love showing off
Well, mostly people ask me, but sometimes I just ask! I went to an event recently for example where I noticed there was a TBC speaker slot, so just volunteered myself!
Great blog post. I am going to try these.
Great post , thank you for sharing such a wonderful post. its very helpful for me.
Nice post, and still quite relevant.
I would probably leave Google+ out unless you are blogging about google products or heavy tech stuff.
But everything else is spot on, knowing your audience should always be the first and most important one to start with.
This is really great stuff. Thank you for sharing with us.