Traffic is a biggie when it comes to blogging. The reason is that if you want people to get to know your brand, love your brand, and ultimately, become customers, they first have to see you. They have to know your business exists.
It’s like you need a signpost to draw their attention to your business…and in the blogosphere, traffic = signpost.
Truth is, blogging is a lot of work and when you see our hard work pay off with more traffic, you can’t help but do a happy dance. You get excited and want to keep the momentum going, no?
On the flip side, when your blog traffic plateaus or even goes down, it can kill your enthusiasm for blogging altogether. We don’t want that to happen, so…
Today, I want to share some things I’ve been experimenting with that have helped me increase my blog traffic, so that you can increase the traffic to your website too.
Before I continue, I have to tell you the one thing I did that actually made my traffic go down:
Yep, I said it. I did nothing. Didn’t promote my posts after I published them. Just let them sit there, and my blog traffic dipped down fast, I tell you. I know this because my traffic was on the rise and I thought Good, I can ease up on content promotion a bit. Let’s just say lesson learned!
Ease up on content promotion = take down my signpost = no traffic. Which is pretty much the gist of it.
There’s a whole lot you can do to drive tons of blog traffic, without spending thousands of dollars on advertising. You just need to understand the types of traffic sources there are and these powerful techniques to get over 10K page views per month.
Let’s check out the steps.
Things You Should Do As Part of Your Overall Blog Traffic Strategy
1) Build your following
Decide which social media sites you want to lean on and work to build a following on those platforms. Social media will be a huge source of blog traffic if you approach it right, so spend some time actively engaging on those sites, sharing other people’s content as well as your own. I cover more about creating a social media strategy in this post.
2) Social media profiles
Give your website a boost in traffic by making sure you include your website URL in all of your social media sites. You’ll be amazed at how much traffic this can drive to your website.
3) Post on social media regularly
I know we’re all busy, still posting regularly and frequently on social media is going to make a huge difference in building your following. Of course, we can’t be on social media 24/7, and scheduling tools will help automate your posts so you’re always active without being active, make sense? My favorites are BoardBooster, SmarterQueue, and Buffer, and there are many others.
4) Post frequently + consistently
The more of your own content you have to share, the more blog traffic you can get from social media and search engines. Updating your blog regularly also helps to build your brand so that people can get to know you, and keeps readers coming back for more.
5) Focus on one audience
It can be tempting to want to blog about a lot of different things, especially if you have a lifestyle blog. The more you can narrow the focus on one specific topic for one specific person, the more success you’ll have with it and the easier it will be to build your audience. Writing about just one topic will also keep you on track with your blog and keep you from spending time on vague or unrelsated topics.
6) Add social share buttons to your blog
Share buttons are what you see at the end of this post, and image share buttons are what you see when you hover over my blog post image. If you’re using WordPress, Shareaholic and SumoMe are two popular share button plugins.
While you’re at it, why not install the Click to Tweet plugin and add some tweetable quotes in your post? All of these are subtle ways to encourage people to share your post and get even more visibility.
7) Use basic SEO
You want that when people enter important terms into search engines, they see your blog post. Learning some basic SEO will help you optimize your posts for search engines and improve your chances of being ranked higher. If you ready to get your SEO game on, check out this SEO guide for bloggers.
8) Set aside time to promote your posts
I know it takes what seems like forever to write posts, and if you’re like me, you’re tempted to call it a day once you publish it. Please, friend, don’t be like me! As I mentioned above, promoting and sharing your post is what’s going to help you get more eyes on it.
And really, after pouring our hearts into our work, we owe it to ourselves to let people know about it, right?
I cover some ways to promote your post in the next steps, but for now just know that the same way you put aside time to write your posts, you need to set aside time to let the universe know about them. If you write your posts on Mondays and Thursdays, set aside time to promote them on Wednesdays.
Ways to Promote Your Posts After You Hit Publish
Ok, now for the good stuff. The steps I’m listing here are like a blog post checklist of things to do after you publish your posts to drive traffic to them.
Here are the steps I’m covering here:
- First, share them on social media
- Next, schedule additional shares, tweets, and posts
- Then, add them to bookmarking and content curation sites
- Then, add to more blogging platforms
- And finally! Yes, try paid promotions (they work)
Let’s walk through each of these.
I. FIRST, SHARE IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
The first thing to do once you publish your post is to share it to all of your social media accounts.
As a rule of thumb, I have accounts on most platforms, but am not really active on all of them. That would be humanly impossible! Still, more social media accounts means more eyes on your content, so it makes sense to create profiles on as many as you can.
Pinterest is my #1 traffic source of blog traffic, so I’m pretty obsessed with it. It’s actually more than a social media platform. Pinterest is also a search engine, which is huge. If you want your content found, you need to make sure you share your it here. So every time you publish a new post, make sure you pin it to Pinterest.
Because Pinterest can be such a huge boost in traffic, let’s take a look at some other things you can do to give your posts that extra boost:
Make sure you create a pinnable image, which really just means a vertical blog post image that includes your brand elements (logo, icon, URL) and the title of your post. This will be the image people see in their Pinterest feed, and as they repin your post, this is the image that they will share.
Add a description to your pin image so that when people share it, the description is there with it. The description should include the title of our blog post plus any other descriptive keywords that people might use to search for your pin. And of course, a call to action.
See how the title is in there, plus some additional keywords and a CTA? That’s what your description should look like too.
Twitter’s been a great source of blog traffic for me, right behind Pinterest, so I spend a lot of time on this platform too.
With Twitter, more tweets is better! Tweet a link to your post right after you publish it, and then use tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule more tweets throughout the day and week. Make sure you include hashtags and change up your tweets so you don’t look like you’re spamming!
You may be using your personal profile for updates or have a branded business page. Either one is fine, just make sure you share your posts here too and work to build your following so that your posts reach more people! Organic reach on Facebook is like a thing of the past, still I get traffic from it with only a few followers, so there’s something there.
12) Facebook Groups
Groups are Facebook’s secret sauce, so join some and share, share, share! Don’t be spammy and just share links to your blog blatantly, though. There’s an etiquette to Facebook groups and what makes them so great is that you’ve got real people sharing tips, asking questions, and helping each other out.
That’s how you want to approach groups. Join a few where you feel like you can contribute (and even learn). Then, if you see an opportunity to share a post, or maybe someone has a question that your post helps answer, you can share your link.
Always check the group rules. The admin will let you know when and if it’s ok to share promotional links, along with other general guidelines.
I plan on putting together a spreadsheet on Facebook groups in a future post. Let me know in the comments if this is something you think would be useful, and I’ll hook it up!
I confess. My brain has room to tackle one beast at a time and I’ve been a Pinterest girl up ‘til now. I’m just getting started with Instagram and shared my first post there today! Yaay for me! You’re probably way ahead of me on this one, so if you have any epic tips for me, please do share!
Stay tuned for updates on my IG journey…
By the way, have you tried Planoly? I really am in love with this Instagram scheduling tool! I know I only used it once, but if I’m being totally honest, I was dreading Instagram because I couldn’t figure out a way to share images from my desktop instead of my phone. Then poof! Along comes Planoly and breaks it all down for me. Watch out Instagram, here I come!!
Google+ is worth posting to not only for social traffic, but also because, after all, it is Google’s site, which means that being active on Google+ can help your posts rank higher in Google search results overall.
If your audience is on LinkedIn and you have a decent following, you’ll want to share you posts here too. It’s not a huge traffic driver for me, but hey, it all adds up, right?
16) LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn has groups much like Facebook where you can share your posts. I prefer FB groups to LinkedIn, still if your peeps are on LinkedIn, why not poke around and find some groups to join?
Before their latest update, it was super easy to share to groups. All you had to do was post your update, select Share to Groups, and then select your groups. Now you have to manually share your post to each group one by one, which is a bummer. Who said promoting a blog was easy?!
17) LinkedIn Pulse
I see people getting decent blog traffic from posts they publish on the Pulse platform. A while back Mike Alton got 4,000 page views from one post alone (more than double his normal LinkedIn traffic at the time). I’m definitely excited to try it, and you should too!
II. NEXT, SCHEDULE THE POSTS FOR LATER
Love, love, love this new scheduling tool! I’ve been using it for the past few months in a quest to find the perfect scheduling tool. I use it to recycle and share my evergreen posts to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. My traffic has definitely bumped up since using this, and the price is perfect at $20 a month for up to 4 social accounts.
After I share my tweet in step #10, I use Buffer to schedule about 15-20 more tweets during the first week. This is a great way to give your posts that initial spike in traffic.
Note: I was hoping SmarterQueue would replace Buffer altogether, but alas, not yet! I’m hangin’ in with Buffer because I share other people’s content via Feedly and IFTTT, and Buffer integrates seamlessly with both of these.
This is another magic tool that I love, love, love. I think it must have easily doubled my traffic since I started using it. I only wish I’d started sooner…BoardBooster is a scheduling tool for Pinterest, and let me tell you, it is all magic! You must, must, must check it out.
Follow step #9 to pin your post, and then schedule additional pins using BoardBooster.
III. THEN, USE BOOKMARKING SITES
Create accounts on each of the sites listed below and then start sharing your posts here too.
StumbleUpon is a content discovery site where people “stumble” different web pages to find things that interest them. Add your post here too and include tags to make it easier for people to find your content. But you can’t just post your own content here. Stumblers don’t really like it when you only post from your website.
You can either stumble and “like” other pages, or add pages manually. Let’s say you’re on Pinterest and find a pin you want to save to a board. Grab the URL from the post and add it to StumbleUpon too.
Try to go for at least a 10:1 ratio, meaning that for every 10 posts you share from other websites, you share 1 of yours.
Note: Because of the way StumbleUpon is structured, the traffic you get isn’t very sticky, which really just means that the bounce rates tend to be pretty high. To make your posts more sticky, make sure you capture people’s attention right away so they read through your post.
Bloggers beware! Reddit is one seriously intimidating platform. What I mean by this is that redditors can smell spam about a thousand miles away and your account can easily get banned if you don’t adhere to subreddit rules, so please be careful on here. They can also be very direct (aka tough) with their comments.
You need to be thick-skinned on here, but we’re fearless bloggers, so we got this…
Curious about subreddits? They’re just like Facebook groups. No biggie there.
I’ve seen amazing traffic and I’ve seen very little blog traffic. I’ve also been banned from some subreddits. So while I’m still on the fence with it, it’s worth adding your posts here too because the bumps in traffic are noticeable and make a difference. Reddit traffic tends to convert pretty well too.
You just have to be very careful with your approach to adding links to your posts. Best practice is to approach subreddits the same way you approach Facebook groups. When you come across a post or a question where you can help, include a link to your post within your comment.
I’ve been using BizSugar for about 3 months and am just starting to see some traffic from it. Like any other platform, the more you share, the more visible you become, and that’s when the magic starts happening.
24) Hacker News
If you blog about entrepreneurship, Hacker News will get you traffic. Plus, it’s so easy to submit your posts. Just share the link and a title and you’re done!
25) Growth Hackers
If your blog has anything to do with growth hacking, startups, or tech, Growth Hackers is another place you can share your posts.
What can I say about Scoop.it? First, it integrates with Twitter, so if you have a following on Twitter, you can hit the ground running with a decent amount of followers on Scoop.it too. To add content, either set up an RSS feed or add your posts manually, which is what I prefer to do. This way I can add specific tags to each one.
Love, love, love! This is my new fav… Don’t ask me why, I couldn’t tell you! Probably has to do with the way the feed looks. It’s just got a really great design and I want to spend time on it. Which is really how you should approach all of this. If you love a particular site, dig in, friend.
You may have to give each one a solid try before you call it, though. I originally thought BizSugar was a waste of time until I started getting comments and traffic, so you never know! Now, of course, I love it!
You just have to hang in there long enough with each one before you decide which ones to stay with.
No doubt FlipBoard is a keeper for me. I’m seeing some blog traffic from it already, plus I love spending time on there. Win, win!
Like HackerNews, the people on Inbound are excited to help each other out. If you blog about content marketing or marketing at all, this is a great place to share your posts.
IV. FORUMS + OTHER BLOGGING PLATFORMS
I’ve gotten decent traffic from Quora, and also, surprisingly, a number of clients. Quora is a question-and-answer forum where you can find and answer questions on just about any topic. The trick on Quora is to make your answers pretty extensive and really provide value on there, then include a link back to relevant posts, which is where the traffic part comes in.
Re-post your content on Tumblr. I actually like this platform because the content on there is beautiful to look at. I didn’t pay much attention to it at first, but have noticed more and more blog comments from Tumblr, which means it’s driving a decent amount of traffic.
Medium is a blogging platform like WordPress or Blogger where you share stories. “Stories” is just their lingo for posts. I haven’t tapped into how to drive traffic on here yet, but trust me, I’m working on it! Medium is really designed to feature your entire post instead of an excerpt with a link back to your original post, so it’s been a little tricky.
But! I’m testing the excerpt route now and will keep you posted on how well it works.
One thing that’s cool is that you can build a mailing list directly on Medium, by adding a sign-up button via Rabbut. So far I have zero Rabbut subscribers, so I have my work cut out for me :).
Create an RSS feed and add your blog to Bloglovin’. This is another one I’m on the fence with, but it’s easy enough to add your feed, so what have you got to lose? Make sure your post images include an enticing description, which I’m sure you’re doing already for Pinterest, but just note that your featured image description is the one that will be added to Bloglovin’.
Also, you may want to consider including only excerpts from your posts (in WordPress: Settings/Reading/Summary) rather than the full post itself. I use the full post and am so tempted to try the excerpt to compare traffic.
V. PAID PLATFORMS
Ok, so I know I said these are FREE tips, but I can’t help but include a few paid options too. You don’t have to spent a lot to get traffic here.
33) Facebook Ads
Yes, they’re worth it. Before you start with Facebook ads, you need to get your strategy on.
In other words, make sure the post you’re promoting includes a content upgrade or CTA to encourage sign-ups. Or, run your ad to a landing page with your freebie, challenge or email course, you get the gist.
And if you’re a superhero (which of course you are!), you’ll include an option to purchase something more (like a $7 mini-offer) within your email sequence. Take that income and reinvest in your ads, so really you wind up spending little to nothing. Now who’s the game-changer?
34) Pinterest Ads
Pinterest ads are a secret weapon for me. They give new pins a boost in visibility to get repinning started. Once you have a bunch of repins from your promoted pins, the snowball effects starts happening, and you can get the ball rolling with only $5/day ad spend.
35) StumbleUpon Ads
Have you tried these yet? Let me know in the comments if so… I haven’t and want to experiment with Stumble ads soon. I think the high bounce rate has been holding me back.
36) Reddit Ads
Because Redditors can be so tough, ads may be the way to go here. The traffic you can get from Reddit is no joke, so I recommend giving ads a try. Again, you don’t have to spend much to test them out. I’d wait until you have a course or paid offer to promote because I think that’s where the magic really happens here.
With Reddit ads you can choose to block or show comments. I suggest showing them, because redditors are all about their comments and being social. When in Rome, right?
37) Quuu Promote
Love, love, love! This is a new platform I discovered where people share your posts to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. It’s like a community of sharers. Have definitely gotten decent blog traffic by promoting my posts on there, and for only $30. Looks like their prices have recently increased to around $40 or $50 depending on your category, but still it’s worth it. How well does this traffic convert? Jury’s still out on this one…I will keep you posted for sure :).