So you’ve written some amazing quality content and now you need to get some website visitors, some traffic to your website. Enter the 2nd pillar of blogging: Traffic.
To re-cap, here at Creative Blogger Blueprint we break the essential blogging musts into 4 key pillars. A lot of times new bloggers make the mistake of jumping ahead to ‘making money’ without focusing on the key pillars to an amazing website and doing things in a specific order to maximize results.
First is How to Start a Blog which covers getting started with your site and writing your first pieces of content. Once you have the first bit of content on your site (5-10 posts is a good target to shoot for), it’s time to turn attention to promoting your site. Keep in mind that it’s important to focus energy on the pillars in order at first. However, blogging is like a snowball and you will ultimately bounce between the pillars. You’ll write some content, promote it, write some more content, maybe send a newsletter, promote more content, create a product… you get the idea.
This post focuses on the second pillar: Promote and this is when you work on getting amazing traffic to your website.
Traffic is everything. It really is. Without it, you don’t grow and you don’t make money. You need people.. and often.. a lot of them, to come to your site and then do all the things that will ultimately make you money.
When I first started blogging, I thought traffic was like magic. I really thought that if I wrote a good enough post, that maybe someone big might stumble upon it, realize it’s amazingness and then I would go viral and be set for life.
I really believed this.
I was so wrong.
First… it’s highly unlikely your post will get noticed by Mrs Big Blogger just by pure luck. Second, even if you DO have a viral post–and honestly that is really a fun thing–but it often does not last. And then you find yourself right back to needing traffic.
The good news is that a successful blog always (or almost always) promotes content to its target audience. And this is something you can learn now and continue to improve on as you travel your blogging journey! Traffic growth is possible, even with a brand new blog!
Getting traffic is very methodical much like growing a plant. First is content creation: creating quality content your blog visitors will want to read. Think of content creation like a seed to your plant. Then you plant that seed in the right places. You water it, make small changes and tweaks as necessary. Then you leave it alone and let nature do the growing for a bit. You move onto the next piece of content and repeat the process.
Blog Traffic 101
Here are the most important things you need to understand about blog traffic:
Create Quality Content: Good traffic starts with producing good content regularly and consistently. What is consistent? Shoot for 1-2 posts a week, especially when starting. This enables you to write thoughtful posts that thoroughly cover a particular topic keyword.
Focus on One Method of Traffic at a Time: You can’t do all things at once or all things perfectly. Prioritize the easiest traffic methods that give the biggest returns. As you try new things and grow you will find that some things work better for you than others. Amplify your strengths first.
Get Back Up: The biggest lesson in an online business is that it’s not how often you fail or fall down. It’s how often you get back up. When something does not work, take a pause and try to figure out why. Then brush yourself up and do something about it. Improve what you did, or try something else entirely different.
Now let’s dive into the nitty gritty details of how to increase blog traffic:
How To Get Traffic To Your Blog
There are 3 main mechanisms to boost blog traffic: Social Media, Search Engine and Direct. Let’s go over them.
How to Use Pinterest To Drive Traffic To Your Blog
I like to start with Pinterest because it is almost always the fastest way to get traffic to a new post. Most people think of Pinterest as social media. After all, it is where a lot of people spend time to gather ideas and inspiration. However, Pinterest is really a visual search engine. It is a place where users collect and curate content.
Users do this through boards, similar to an old fashioned cork board and push pins. As a content creator, you can leverage Pinterest to drive a large amount of traffic to your site in a relatively short period of time. This is why Pinterest is one of the very best ways to boost blog traffic, especially when you are trying to figure out how to get traffic to a new blog.
As a content creator, you can create pins and save them to personal boards and/or group boards. Group boards are collaborative boards with multiple content creators all pinning. At one time, this was the single biggest way to skyrocket your way to huge amounts of Pinterest activity and therefore blog traffic.
These days I see amazing results pinning to Personal boards. If you’re interested in my exact strategy, I will be sharing more details on that soon. In the meantime here are the basics.
Pins are visual images saved by users. They can be images from posts that users save natural. Or the images can be designed specifically for pinning with words and branding included. Video pins are pins that are completely video or they can be images with a moveable graphic. Pinterest also continues to experiment with other pinnable content.
I love Pinterest because it’s the easiest of all ways to drive traffic to your blog, even if your blog is brand new. Pinterest is entirely visual and encourages users to leave the platform to go to the website. Each pin is like a little lure leading right to your website!
This is different than Instagram or YouTube, for instance, where users tend to want to stay on that platform instead of wandering over to your website for more information.
What Should You Do To Increase Traffic From Pinterest?
Upgrade Your Pinterest Account to a business account for free. That way you will be able to see analytics on Pinterest and be optimized for search.
Create a Great Profile that says who you are and appeals to your audience, using keywords relevant to your niche.
Create Good, Relevant and Overlapping Personal Boards using popular keywords for your subject matter. Use good keywords for your board titles themselves and for the board descriptions. Be sure to also use those keywords in pin images, post titles and pin descriptions.
Create Appealing Pins that are fresh and interesting. Focus on new images and not repining the same old content over and over again. This is an old school method that no longer works. Pinterest loves fresh content!
Encourage People To Follow You on Pinterest and to pin your content. Use social sharing plugins to encourage people to follow you. Create a pin that resides right at the bottom of your post along with verbiage to ‘Pin it For Later’.
Use Tailwind to schedule pins and make things easy for yourself. Set aside time to work your pinning schedule once a week (or once a month), schedule it out and forget about it.
Track Your Results. Do more of what works and try new things when your method isn’t bringing the results you desire. Also be mindful that the ultimate goal is traffic to your site, so place more weight on what you learn in Google Analytics than Pinterest Analytics.
How to Use Social Media To Drive Traffic To Your Blog
Now we are entering the dangerous world of social media! Dangerous because it is so, so easy to slide down the rabbit hole of crazy and suddenly you are off on some unrelated tangent that has your passions flaming but no progress being made on your blog traffic!
The truth is, promoting your blog posts on social media can be a great way to reach your target audience and bring targeted traffic to your website.
How to Bring Traffic to Your Site using Facebook
Sometimes Facebook gets a bad rap. In the early days, Facebook traffic was amazing. Facebook showed your posts to your followers in real time every time. Now they don’t. Their algorithm constantly changes and it can be difficult to get traction on Facebook.
Slowly growing your own Facebook Page and/or Facebook Group is a good long term endeavor. But for quicker traffic, even as a brand new blogger there are ways to win on Facebook and drive traffic to your blog:
Find Groups Within Your Niche that allow sharing. Follow the rules for sharing and share your content there. Be sure to also be active in the group a bit. No one loves it when someone drops a link and runs. Interact with comments on your post and on other posts. I find it best to keep a spreadsheet to keep track of what content I am sharing and where.
Comment As Your Page on fellow role model blogger Facebook Groups and Pages. Be mindful of rules and not to be too salesy when you do this. Be helpful and offer good information.
Find Groups of Fellow Bloggers In Your Niche and network with them. Some of these types of groups allow sharing, such as threads for round up posts. It is also a great way to learn and grow in your niche. The relationships I’ve built with fellow bloggers have been integral to my success. This is so important to do.
Put Share and Follow Buttons on your posts using plug ins to encourage following
Ask Your Readers to Like and Follow you. It seems like a gimmick but really.. often it really IS as simple as asking and people will just do what you ask!
Facebook Ads. Facebook ads can bring you traffic. They also can cost a lot of money and there is a lot of finessing to get them to work well for you. I mention a Facebook Ad as a method, but really caution against using them until you have time to devote to learning all the ins and outs of how they work.
Can I Use Instagram To Drive Traffic To A Blog?
Ah.. the question of the ages… is Instagram a useful tool for a blogger or is it just a pretty time suck? The answer to this really depends. Does it actually bring you traffic or money in some way? Do you love curating beautiful content and engaging on Instagram? Or is it a drudgery you feel you must do and it’s not bringing you results?
This is really only a question you can answer for yourself. It is not the first place I would invest my time as a new blogger as a traffic driving vehicle because plenty of people do NOT get good traffic from Instagram.
However, it can be great for connecting with big brands, which is good in other ways. First brands CAN drive traffic to your blog and nurturing a relationship with a brand could lead to sponsored posts which is a great money making opportunity.
There are also enough Instagrammers who DO make money through the platform, so it definitely can work for some people and some industries.
Other Social Media Opportunities
Some Bloggers use YouTube and Twitter to drive traffic to their sites. They are platforms that encourage users to stay on the site, as opposed to going to yours, which is why they aren’t my top picks for traffic drivers to focus on.
There are also new social media outlets coming out all the time. This can be a mixed bag of results. Sometimes this can present a good opportunity to get in on the ground floor of things and get your content out ahead of others. Other times a new social media offering might not be a good fit for your niche or it doesn’t catch on with enough people to bring significant traffic to your site.
I recommend focusing on the social media outlets most likely to bring the best results and right now that is Pinterest, followed by Facebook.
How to Increase Organic Search Traffic
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the method of writing content to rank higher in the search results. It can be the search results from any platform, but most often Google since that is the most common and largest search engine.
Technically one can buy traffic on Google, otherwise known as ‘paid traffic’. But we’re just going to assume for our purposes that you want to do this for free and are going for organic traffic.
A search engine is pretty straight forward. A user enters in a keyword phrase or question and Google returns the results they think will answer that need. A keyword can be one word or several words. And, as you can imagine, some keywords get more queries than others. “Long Tail Keywords” are keywords that are comprised of multiple words, longer phrases or more obscure keywords. Many bloggers find success targeting long tail keywords because they are easier to rank for.
As a blogger, it would be amazing to land the #1 spot on Google for every keyword you attempt. In most cases, this is very difficult. But the higher in search, the better chances that someone will click through to your website. I’m thrilled when I rank in the top 3 spots on Google for a keyword, but pleased when I make it to page one.
The Google algorithm changes constantly, and no one ever knows quite what that is. You win when you provide amazing content that makes the Google robots happy at the same time.
Here are the most important things to boost your organic search traffic:
Understand the User Intent. Ask yourself what someone is really looking for when they type in a particular keyword. Are they looking to buy something or to learn something? If they want to buy something and you aren’t selling the thing, then you won’t be meeting their needs. If they want to learn something, think about what it is that they want to learn. If they only want to find out how drive to a local venue, then you likely aren’t the solution. But if they want to know how to do something, well that can be a huge opportunity to meet needs and answer questions.
Be Relevant. Google wants your post (and keyword) to both be relevant to your own site and relevant to the reader. In exchange for granting you top billing in search, Google expects you to be knowledgeable about the overarching topic (your blog niche). Google also wants the post to be relevant for the keyword itself. Sometimes it might be necessary to pick a different, but more relevant keyword for a post.
Write a High Quality Post. Your post should be useful and thorough. Ask yourself.. if you knew nothing about the topic, would your post provide everything needed? The post should be long, but not too long. In other words, it should thoroughly cover the post topic but should not be filled with fluffy bits that just make it long for no good purpose. Good blog content is key.
Research and Use Keywords. A keyword is the target search term. A long tail keyword is a phrase that is more specific, thus less searched, and potentially easier to rank for. For example, the keyword “Crochet” is very broad. It receives a large amount of traffic per month and the top spots in Google are dominated by large brands, local businesses and YouTube videos. It would be difficult to rank for that term. “Crochet Ski Hat” is a long tail keyword. A well written post on a long tail keyword is usually much easier to land at the top of search results. So it makes sense to do good keyword research ahead of time for the best search result.
Scatter Keywords in Post. There is an art and a science to writing a post that makes search engines happy. Include the keyword in the title, the headings, the meta description and scatter in the post.
Link to Relevant Content. Google loves to see interconnected content. Link to your own relevant content and to other websites that provide useful, related information for your reader.
Backlinks Matter. A backlink is a link on another website that leads to your post. When a website with a higher “authority” than yours links to your blog post, it’s like they are giving a recommendation to Google that your post is good too. A backlink can come naturally or you can help it along by writing a guest post on another website. When guest blogging, be sure to find out if any links to your site will be “do follow” links (which is a good backlink for you).
Use A WordPress SEO Plugin for Guidance. Yoast is a good SEO plugin for making sure you’ve got everything covered in your blog post. It is best to use it as a guide and not the be-all-end-all. Start with Yoast, but know that it is just one piece of the SEO puzzle.
Set Up Google Search Console. Track your statistics and other ranking data in Google Search Console. It’s great for seeing what keywords your post might be ranking for and to see new opportunities for new posts (or revising old posts). You can also ask Google to crawl your newly written or revised post for faster crawling.
Be Mindful of Site Speed. Site speed matters to Google. Keep track of how your site is measuring up using free sites like GtMetrix. If your site is slow, look for ways to make it run faster, such as compressing images.
Keep Learning. SEO is a complex subject. As you can, take time to learn the ins and outs. Learn, implement, then learn more SEO strategy to up your game.
How Does Direct Traffic Boost Blog Traffic
Direct Traffic is often “everything else”. Any time someone comes to your site directly (not from search, Pinterest, social media or other easily identified source), Google considers this Direct Traffic. Much of direct traffic is not within your control.
Traffic from your loyal fans often comes through Google Analytics as direct traffic. Maybe your reader just types your site right into the search bar unprompted because they remember you had something amazing to check out. Or perhaps links in emails you send to your readers are reflected in your analytics as direct traffic.
Email traffic to your blog will show up as a separate item on its own in your Google Analytics. However, you can often change a setting with your email provider to make this happen–and it’s very useful to see your own email driven traffic as a separate benchmark in Google Analytics instead of lumped in with Direct Traffic.
While direct traffic in general is largely out of your control, your email list is the exact opposite.
You’ll often hear online marketers say, “The Money Is In The List”. I believe my email list is my #1 most valuable asset. Why? Because it’s traffic I own and control!
There are no algorithms to constantly figure out. When you attract your true fan and nurture that relationship, your reader knows, likes and trusts you. When you have something new… a new blog post or something you think they might like to buy, you can email them.
Since you are helping them, and you feel like a friend, the information you provide is useful to them and often financially beneficial to you. They are your buyers. And they often tell their friends and help spread the word about your business.
Over 72,000 readers have signed up for updates from Crochet 365 Knit Too. I thoroughly enjoy building and nurturing my tribe of followers with juicy emails that help them achieve their crochet goals. It’s my secret sauce. I’m good at it and I love it! Building a list also happens to be our third pillar of blogging, so be sure to pop over and learn how to build a list.
Final Thoughts on How to Increase Blog Traffic
Driving website traffic to your blog is a long term game. It’s one of the balls you will constantly juggle. As bloggers grow in their blog journey, they often find that a few blog traffic methods resonate and work best for them.
Remember, you really cannot do it all and you won’t be amazing at everything. So start with focusing on your own strengths. Work what’s working the very best you can. Then evaluate, test, tweak and move forward. Try and learn new things while you juggle all the blogging tasks.
Most importantly, don’t just keep chasing something that works for other people while sacrificing what’s already working for you. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. Learn how to leverage and amplify your strengths and decide how to approach your weaknesses. Sometimes it makes the most sense to leave those things in the dust.
There is no one perfect path for everyone. There are many, many ways to be successful online.
And most importantly, continue to learn. Learning helps you grow as a human and it’s incredibly satisfying to learn something, implement it, and see positive results.
If you want to fast track your learning, consider an ebook or course on the subject to rocket your blog to success. You can find my top picks in Blogging Resources.