5 Steps to Growing Your Blog Traffic for Free
Do you feel like your blog has a lot to offer? Do you feel like your content deserves to be read more than it currently is, but you can’t seem to get enough traffic?
It can be frustrating when your traffic levels don’t reflect the quality of your content, but the reality is you can’t just write compelling content and then sit back and wait for readers to flock to your website.
If you want people to read your posts then you need to actively promote them. You need to put your content in front of your target audience; and if it’s good enough then they’ll share it, and your content will get spread to more and more readers.
And perhaps most importantly, you have to do this consistently! You need to consistently create engaging and content, and consistently market that content to your target audience.
But how do you go about promoting your content to your target audience? Let’s look at five steps to generating a buzz around your content and blog, and generating your site the traffic it deserves for free!
Interact and Network with Your Target Audience in a Genuine Way
Who is your target audience? And where do they hang-out? If you are actually part of your target audience, then you most likely already do this to some degree; but if you’re blog is targeted at a group of people that you do not associate with, then you may need to do some research to find out where people from your target audience are congregating, and then you need to start conversing with them.
This could be on forums; Q&A sites such as Yahoo Answers; or other blogs (speak to other blog owners directly by leave a comment on their blog with a link back to yours).
This first step is perhaps the most crucial. Creating a prominent and vibrant blog involves being genuinely active in the sector your blog exists in. If your blog is about methods for weight loss, you should be actively offering out advice to people on forums, discussing and critiquing other people’s ideas, answering questions others have regarding weight loss.
Worried that this sounds time consuming? Well, it is. And this is why it is greatly beneficial to have a genuine interest in and are extremely passionate the field your blog is related to. But if you’re not actively out there promoting your blog, and creating a buzz around your ideas, then you’re just hoping someone is going to land on your site, stick around, and hopefully come back.
Social Network sites
Share your content on social networks like twitter and FB – this gives a place for users to find you, engage with you and follow what you are saying. On its own social media will not likely generate you the traffic you are looking for, but combined with your other efforts and interactions, it gives those who take an interest in what you say a way of staying up to date with what you are saying, and reply to what you are saying, without having to continuously visit your website each day or week.
This doesn’t mean that you should just post/ tweet a link to your blog posts each day, with a comment that took you five seconds to think up. If you are not genuinely interacting with other users; discussing ideas, answering possible questions; looking at trends; paying attention to what other people are saying, and replying to them; then very few people are going to be engaged by your tweets/ Facebook posts.
Remember that it’s a competition!
You have to remember that, depending on the niche your blog is in, there are likely hundreds of thousands of other bloggers doing exactly what you are doing, who you are competing with. Unless you want to get lost in the sea of spammy social signals, your tweets need to be more exciting and engaging than the next guys!
Create content that is Likely to be shared
Infographics, top ten lists, controversial titles… these are all amazing “link bait”. Some of the content on your website might be extremely informative, and in depth, but it may also be highly niche. A good strategy for getting your content shared by a large proportion of your readers is to create at least some content which will be fun, easy to read, and which will appeal to a large proportion of your target audience. This will help to ensure that your readers share your content.
Interact with your visitors
Creating a conversion on your blog posts by replying to blog comments is also a good strategy for getting your content shared, as people are more likely to share a post they’ve read if there is also an engaging discussion at the bottom of the post which opens up new and interesting points.
Make your content SEO friendly to maximise your organic rankings
As your site begins to generate more backlinks and more and more people are mentioning your website in their own posts and on social media, your site will begin to rank for relevant search terms within Google and other search engines.
At this point every visitor your organic rankings generate for you are so much more valuable; as when they land on your site, they are going to see extremely engaging and sharable content, they’re going to see a lot of interactions going on in the comments section, and they’re going to see really engaging social profiles, which will draw them back to your site time and time again.
In order to maximise your rankings in the search engines you want to be making all of your content SEO friendly. Generating large reams of good quality backlinks is great, but it also helps to have your on-site SEO down to a T. After all it is free to do.
- Research some related keywords/ search terms while writing your article, and try to make sure that your article is at least based around some subjects which are being searched for.
- Make sure that your Meta-Data – Title Tags, Meta Descriptions are written well to inform web users about the content of your page, and maximise your click-through-rate.
- Page titles should be informative, and may benefit by containing your main keyword or one that is at least semantically similar.
- Page layout should be designed around delivering quality content to website visitors, and should make navigation of the site easy. Sites which are top heavy with adverts will be less likely to appear high on the results page, as compared to a site with no ads. Added to this, websites which do not have adequate content above the fold will struggle to rank high on the results page, so always make sure that visitors are instantly engaged with quality content above the fold of the page.
Now that you are generating hundreds of hits to your site each day, you can now begin to analyse the traffic you are getting. Google Analytics is an invaluable tool when it comes to analysing the traffic to your blog (so it’s a good thing that it’s free to use!). It is especially useful for analysing the behaviour of your visitors, and the sources of your traffic. You can analyse:
- Geographic location of your visitors
- How visitors found your website: i.e. social media, organic traffic, referral, directly by entering your URL into their browser
- User interaction: what did users click on, and which page did they go to next?
- What percentage of your users are returning versus new
Using this information you can, for example, view which sources of traffic are working for your site; which demographics are visiting your site most, and try to replicate what is currently working. You can build on your strengths and generate more traffic from these sources.
And, you can view what is not working, which types of content do not get viewed as much, which visitors are not visiting your website, and you can either give up on these avenues, or try something different with them.