Hey, fellow bloggers, do you sometimes wonder why that blog post you worked on for hours, maybe even days, hasn’t attracted the number of readers you hoped it would?
Do you search for strategies that will increase traffic to your blog? (Who doesn’t?)
And hey, blog readers, do you sometimes feel disappointed when an article you read is not what you expected from the title?
As I’ve mentioned before, helping other bloggers/writers get their work in front of readers is important to me. It just makes me happy. I know how hard most bloggers work at putting together blog posts. I understand the frustration when readers don’t find posts you’ve poured so much of yourself (and time) into.
I sure don’t have all the answers, but after nine years blogging, I have picked up a few tidbits, and I want to share a few of them with other bloggers and blog readers too.
Yes, I said blog readers too.
You might be thinking why would blog readers want to read a post about driving traffic to blogs. They aren’t writing them; they are reading them.
Blog readers are the reason for blogs, are they not?
If you’re a blogger, blog readers are likely the reason you’re writing a blog. Blog readers are the ones you want to help by sharing your tips and experience about cancer (or whatever). Blog readers are the ones who will comment on and hopefully share your posts.
In other words, blog readers are everything to a blog writer. I love my Dear Readers. And the ones that stick around are gems. Yes, gems.
Without readers, blogging can feel pretty lonely, am I right?
In other words, blog traffic matters, and it’s okay to admit this and even say it out loud!
Now and then, someone will comment that since I blog about cancer, I shouldn’t care about blog traffic, write about other topics (like politics, for instance), and I certainly shouldn’t try to monetize a cancer blog by having ads or selling my books.
This line of thinking always mystifies (okay, irks) me. Illness bloggers are sometimes looked upon differently and held to a different, perhaps higher standard.
If you’re trying to make a few bucks with your illness blog, some people view you as less noble or something. Like your one and only goal should be helping people.
Helping others who find themselves in this cancer maze IS my primary goal. It ALWAYS will be. However, Dear Hubby and I have bills to pay. Blogging is hard work. Writing of any sort is time consuming. Bloggers and writers have value and should not sell themselves short.
(Always good to get that off my chest.)
You might want to read, Is Blogging & Writing About Cancer My Job Now?
Now let’s get to the nitty gritty of this post. Let’s talk about driving traffic to YOUR blog.
Again, if you’re a reader of blogs, this post will hopefully help you realize just how important YOUR role in this blogging partnership (that’s how I view readers) is too.
This blogger always wants to know what you, Dear Readers, are thinking, so be sure to share your thoughts and/or suggestions in the comment section at the end of this post.
12 Strategies that Will Increase Traffic to YOUR Blog!
1. Titles Matter, So Pick a Good One.
In order to get readers to actually read your content, you need to first grab their interest with your blog post title. So it has to entice, interest, offer something or spark curiosity in some way.
Key words matter too. Let’s face it, we live in the Land of Google, so you gotta put some key words in your title AND throughout your article. This makes it more likely your post will get ranked by Google and like it or not, most of us need a little help from the Google machine.
However, you definitely do NOT want to fall into that “click bait” trap. In the era of too often, so-called fake news (I hate to even use that term), misleading medical headlines and such, always be wary of sounding like you are about to share something you really aren’t. Sure, be excited and promotional even, but above all, be truthful and transparent.
If there’s one thing you do not want, it’s a disappointed reader. So don’t promise more in your headline than you actually deliver in your post.
Honesty and integrity always matter. Always. People can see through disingenuous headlines and writing pretty darn quickly.
2. Follow Up that Enticing Title with a Captivating Hook.
As with any piece of writing, you gotta start out strong. People (including me) have short attention spans. I don’t remember the stats, but I’ve read that a small percentage of potential readers read your title when it floats by on social media feeds or wherever. An even smaller percentage clicks to read your opening paragraph and you guessed it, a smaller yet percentage will actually stick around to read your entire piece.
So again, always start out strong. Regardless of topic, I like to start off with an antidote or personal story and go from there. Starting off with a question often works well too. (I did that in this one.)
3. Good Content Will Always Be King. (I hope.)
No matter what your niche is, you gotta write fresh, interesting, timely, relevant content that readers will want to read. After all, you are writing for them. Mostly, anyway. Always think about your readers’ perspectives, too, when you write and share posts.
To get ideas to write about, start by asking your readers what they want to read about. Follow news and trends in your niche. Visit other blogs to see what topics they write about. This does NOT mean copy anybody, but it’s perfectly fine to use a post from someone else as a starting point for yours. Always link back to the post that inspired you. This makes everybody happy.
There isn’t agreement as to how long blog posts should be, but current recommendations seem to favor more lengthy ones. I’m talking over 1,000 words. Up to 3,000 even. (Personally, that’s too long for me to write or read.) Of course, if you get too long, you risk losing readers.
Content format matters too. Pick a pleasing font and size. Keep your paragraphs short. Long ones can overwhelm and send readers to someone else’s blog. White space is good to break things up.
Use boldface type to add interest, emphasize or set apart sections. This breaks up your content and helps make scanning easier, and lots of people are scanners only. But reading sometimes begins with scanning, so you want those scanners.
Obviously, good grammar and spelling are important too. But don’t stress about perfection. Blog readers don’t care if you make mistakes, but making too many of them decreases your credibility, and you’re trying to up that.
So, be sure to proofread several times before hitting that publish button.
4. Don’t Forget to Add Something Visual.
While what you’ve got to say in your blog post might be king, visual appeal you present is queen. I include an image or two with every single blog post, and I rarely share a post from someone else that doesn’t have an image. (I’m guessing lots of other people don’t either.)
It’s imperative to use quality images that are copyright free, fit with your blog post’s message and are appealing to look at without being distracting.
When in doubt or whenever having trouble finding an image that seems to fit, I turn to Mother Nature. I prefer to use my own images whenever possible, but there are sites that offer images for free or for nominal fees.
In addition to having quality images, adding some text to them can help grab and keep potential readers.
I use and recommend Canva. It’s free and easy to navigate and use. Graphs, charts, videos and such are also great. (I sorta suck at creating those.)
5. Some of Your Content Should Be Evergreen.
What the heck does this mean?
Well, think about evergreen trees. They’re always, well, green. Evergreen content simply means content that remains relevant. Timeless. Won’t become dated. That sort of thing.
Lists and posts offering tips that don’t get stale work especially well for evergreen content.
For example, one of my most read posts is 12 Tips to Make It Through the Holidays After Loss.
This post isn’t even one that I’d consider my best post on grief, but every holiday season it gets tons of traffic. This makes me both happy and sad.
6. The Cardinal Rule of Blogging Is to Leave Comments On Blogs You Read.
Okay, maybe it’s not the cardinal rule, but it’s important. It’s perhaps more like the Golden Rule. You know, do unto others…If a blogger comments on your blog, it’s nice to reciprocate when you can. It’s called good manners.
Besides, when you comment on someone else’s blog, you are leaving a trail back to yours. Literally, a trail.
As for non-blogging readers, your comments matter even more (well, to me anyway) because you don’t have to comment. You’re sharing solely because you’ve got something to say. (Thank you!)
Make every effort to reply to comments left on your blog, and try to be at least somewhat timely about it. Again, it’s good etiquette. If someone takes time to comment, they deserve a reply. Again, this isn’t always possible, but do it when you can.
7. Persistence and Consistency Are Key.
If you’re a newbie to blogging, you gotta be patient. It takes time to build up a readership. I’m talking months, years even. There are no short cuts. Well, none that I know about anyway.
Be at least somewhat consistent with your posting schedule. If you aren’t posting regularly, how can you expect readers to make their way to your blog consistently?
Blogging is work. Community building takes time. Gathering loyal readers who want to read your stuff doesn’t happen overnight. Sure, you’ll get some organic readers via Google, but the loyal ones are the cream of the crop and building that base takes effort, persistence and consistency. And again, time. Which really means patience.
And once you have that base, small in number or huge, you need to keep tending to it. Readers know when you care, listen to them and whether you’re being genuine or not. They also notice when you disappear.
8. Engage On Social Media.
To build a community of readers, you need to engage with readers and potential readers. Social media can be a time grabber and sometimes a downright pain, but it’s necessary to have a social media presence somewhere. Pick one or two platforms to concentrate your time on.
And don’t use Twitter or Facebook to only share YOUR blog posts. Do that, yes. (You have to. And do it often.)
But also, respond to comments on social media, ask questions, participate in conversations and definitely share posts from other bloggers in and outside of your niche. Yes, you can share political stuff too, if you want. Share whatever you’re passionate about or interested in.
Some bloggers don’t share what other bloggers write, but IMO, that’s a big mistake. It’s also poor etiquette. Blogging is all about community. Especially illness blogging.
When you engage, in addition to getting more readers to your blog, you’ll likely meet some wonderful people. I know I have. As I’ve mentioned before (as have others), most of my friends “live” in my computer.
9. Ask readers to share your posts.
Since blogging is about community building, it’s okay to ask for help. I know. I know. This is hard for some of us. But sometimes you need to ask readers to share your posts. Just do that. Ask. Readers are your best promoters, or can be.
And make it easy by putting share buttons that will get noticed at the end of your posts. But don’t put too many on there either. Too many can overwhelm readers and they won’t bother.
Don’t require readers to log in to engage. If you make it hard, readers are not going to bother to comment, share or even read your post.
I never comment if I have to log in first. (Maybe I’m just lazy??)
Also, if you have a question you’d like to ask a fellow blogger, ask it. Most have contact info posted on their About Pages or somewhere. Or just leave a comment on a recent post.
10. Speaking of that About Page, You Need One.
Tell a bit about yourself there. But don’t get carried away. Sometimes less is more. You can put anything on there that you want people to readily find out about you. You might get an interview/guest post request, a paid writing gig, or who knows what from your About Page. Clearly state that you’re available and for what. It’s like a mini ad about you and your blog. So why not utilize it?
11. Start, Develop and Maintain an Email List.
Yeah, I know, like you need one more thing to do, right?
Believe me, I get it.
But doing this isn’t as hard or as time consuming as you might think once you get the hang of it. I started my email list four years ago, and it was one of the best things I’ve done to increase traffic to my blog. (Thank you, Lindsay and thank you subscribers!)
Haven’t signed up yet?
Facebook and other social media venues can be helpful, but they are limited as to how much you benefit by using them to share your posts. Facebook’s algorithms are particularly mystifying (and frustrating) to me. Sometimes my posts get lots of exposure and sometimes close to none. I’ve tried a few paid Facebook ads to promote posts, but the return has never been worth it, so I can’t say I recommend doing that. It’s not in this blogger’s budget.
Having your own email list puts YOU and YOUR subscribers in control of what posts get seen and therefore read. Plus, you can share older but still relevant posts. I mean, why just leave them sitting around in your archives? Use them!
I use Mailchimp. It’s easy and free for up to 2,000 subscribers. So far, it’s worked out well for me.
12. Keep Readers Guessing and Always Be You.
Vary things up. Writing about a variety of topics from differing angles keeps readers coming back for more (hopefully). And it’s fine to revisit topics from time to time too.
My perspective evolves. I bet yours does too.
It’s important to get personal now and then. The tricky part is deciding just how personal to get. I have yet to completely figure this out. But readers do want to learn about you, the person. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to show emotions including fear, anger or whatever you’re comfortable revealing. Each of us feels differently about where that line of sharing too much is.
#KeepingItReal is always one of my goals.
Of course, you probably shouldn’t just write about yourself with no message for readers tucked in there. Nobody is that interesting, or at least I know I am not!
This is another one of those fine lines. It’s about finding YOUR voice and only you can find it, define it and write with it. In other words, be you.
Scary, I know. But also pretty wonderful.
So, those are 12 strategies I hope you find helpful. If you implement them, you should see traffic go up. For more ideas, check out the posts listed below.
I had a lot of fun writing this post. If there’s a decent response, I’ll write more like it from time to time. Now and then (like at the end of another Pinktober), it’s nice to write about something else for a change.
After all, I am about more than cancer.
So are you.
If you like this post, please share it! (See, it’s not too hard to ask.) Thank you!
To get more articles like this one delivered weekly to your inbox in 2020, Click Here! #KeepingItReal #SupportYouCanUse
A few posts you might find helpful are listed below. Two are mine. Two are from Marie Ennis O’Connor, who is a wonderful “how to do blogging/social media” resource.
If you’re a blog reader, what draws you in initially to read a post, and do you have ideas/suggestions about any of this stuff?
Bloggers, what strategies work for you, and do you have ideas, suggestions or questions about mine?
Are you interested in more posts like this one, yes or no? (Either answer is fine. Really.)