One of the questions I hear a lot from fellow bloggers is how to increase traffic. More specifically, how you increase traffic to your new blog.
It’s hard to know where to start when you’re new to the blogging game.
Maybe you have no idea where to start at all. Or maybe you’ve done some research and all of the advice you’ve found seems to apply to bloggers who have been around for years.
One of the reasons I started Flourishing Freelancer was to provide help and guidance to those who were new. And when I say that, I mean practical advice that you can implement from day one of your blog.
So, let’s go back to the basics of how you increase traffic to your new blog.
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The title of this post is How to Increase Traffic to Your New Blog. With an emphasis on the word “new”.
As a new blogger, it’s essential that you get the basics right before going any further. You could waste hours of your time and, potentially, a lot of money implementing fancy strategies but, if you don’t have the basics right they just won’t work. Then after all that, you have to press pause on everything whilst you go back and fix the basics.
Put simply, it’s much easier and will save you time to get these things straight from the very start. And, you know what? As a newbie, you’re in the perfect position for this.
Set Up Your Site Correctly
There are entire eBooks and courses dedicated to the creation of blogs. So, it should come as no surprise that most of the detail is beyond the remit of this post!
But, there are a few things that you can do to increase traffic to your new blog.
1. Go self-hosted & have your own domain name
One of my biggest blogging regrets is not going self-hosted sooner. Whilst it might not seem essential in the very early stages, I promise you, it is completely worth it. A number of the things I mention later in this post (including making your site appealing) are much easier when you are self-hosted as you have a lot more choice.
If you’re looking for a hosting site, I would recommend both Bluehost and SiteGround (I have blogs hosted with both).
Having your own domain name means that your site is easily identifiable and more memorable. It means that your site URL will be http://www.flourishingbusinessmum.com rather than http://www.flourishingfreelancer.wordpress.com. Not only is it easier for your readers to remember, but it makes your blog look more professional from day one which will help drive traffic to your site.
2. Make your site mobile friendly
In 2016, just over 50% of internet users accessed the internet on mobile devices. What does this mean for you and your blog?
It means that your site must read well on mobile devices. And, if it does, it will perform better in search engine results than sites that don’t. It probably goes without saying that the better your site performs in search engine results, the more traffic you’ll get.
So, how do you make your site mobile friendly?
Well, a good place to start is your WordPress theme. You can find this information within the details of your theme – if it’s mobile responsive, it will say so. It’s a big selling point so it’s usually very clearly stated.
The same goes for plugins. Each time you add a new plugin, check if it is mobile responsive and, if it’s not, whether you can disable it when people view your site from a mobile device.
Speaking of plugins, if your theme isn’t mobile friendly, there are a couple that you can use to ensure that a mobile version of your site is displayed on mobile devices. I use Jetpack – Simply install, activate, configure and go. Another strong favourite is WPTouch.
If you want to test your site, you can use this free tool from Google. Simply input your site URL and let the site do the rest. If your site is mobile friendly, you’ll get a nice little success message like this.
3. Make your site appealing
This one is simple. Would you spend time on a site that was unappealing, difficult to navigate or just a bit dull? No, probably not. Making your site appealing will not only encourage people to visit your blog in the first place but will also encourage them to share your site with others too, instantly increasing your reach!
Like I said, a lot of detail behind creating and setting up your site is beyond the reach of this blog post but these three tips will help you make a really good start.
Now on to the more strategic info…
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The best way to increase traffic to your new blog is to consistently create high-quality content.
High-quality content will always come above quantity when it comes to driving traffic to your site. Many new bloggers are under the impression that, in order to be successful and gain traffic, you have to post every single day or numerous times a week. That’s not true at all. Whilst a lot of bloggers will find success in posting every day, you don’t have to.
Take Flourishing Freelancer, for example, after just 6 months, I averaged 5,000 pageviews per month and I only post once per week. Oh, and I work full-time so don’t have hours on end each day to put into networking and actively driving traffic to my site.
Creating high-quality content is the only way to build traffic in my opinion. Well, if you’re focused on true readers rather than just empty stats. What do I mean by this?
It’s fairly easy to get people to click on to your site from Facebook and Twitter (we’ll get on to how later on) but it’s pointless if all they are doing is clicking onto your site and then right back off again. It’s pointless if they aren’t sharing your site and information with others and if you aren’t becoming a “go-to” person in your niche. For all of that to happen, you have to create content that is worthy of spending the time to read, that is worthy of sharing and that gains the trust of your readers.
So, what is high-quality content?
As a rule of thumb, everything you write should offer some sort of value to your readers. It might solve a problem, answer a question, be educational or be entertaining.
Whatever it is, each time you write a post, ask yourself “what does my reader get out of this”? If the answer is “nothing”, then it’s probably not valuable.
For the most part, making your content “valuable” isn’t necessarily enough to really stand out and drive traffic to your site. So, if you really want to increase traffic to your new blog, make your posts actionable too (so far as you can).
Don’t just tell your readers which SEO Plugin is the best, tell them where to find it (usually by including a link), how to install it and how to configure/use it (along with some screenshots to make it even easier).
Another thing to consider when generating high-quality content is the length of your posts. Don’t skimp out on the details! Although, if you’re ensuring that your content is both valuable and actionable, you’re probably well on your way to creating a really long, detailed post.
I’ve found that any posts over 1,000 words perform the best because they have the most detail in them. They contain advice that people can actually get their teeth into and follow. I read somewhere that you should try to write under 4,000 words (I can’t for the life of me remember where but it’s stuck with me!). I think if you’re writing that many words for a blog post, one of two things is happening:
- You’re waffling – no-one really cares about your “filler” content, it’s not helping them or adding anything to their experience
- You’re on your way to writing an eBook – keep going but don’t give it away as a blog post! Develop it into an eBook and give it away as an opt-in freebie or sell it (depending on length and detail)
Of course, as with everything I write on this blog, there are the odd exceptions to the rules and every now and then you might write a personal post which isn’t really of any “value” to your readers other than getting to know you a bit better or you might get excited about a particular topic and write 3,800 words before you know it!
But they are the three main things I would focus on when thinking about creating high-quality content.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It’s a huge topic that could never be covered in a single blog post, let alone in one paragraph in this post.
It does, however, form a huge part of your strategy if you’re wanting to increase traffic to your new blog. So, it definitely deserves a brief overview in this post, starting with the basics for beginners.
Going right back down to the most primal element of SEO, we have “Keywords”. For any online search to even take place, someone somewhere has to type some words into a search bar. Those words are your keywords. When people search for certain keywords you want your posts to feature in the search results.
The big question is how?
You need to optimise your posts and tell Google what your posts are really about. That way, when someone searches for a particular topic, Google will associate your post with it, and display it in the results it returns.
I’ll say this now though. SEO is not something you can just do overnight. It’s a long process that you need to stick with but, if done right, can really help increase traffic to your blog.
The first thing you need to do is to decide which keywords you want to use for each of your posts. I would recommend using Google Keyword Planner for this to make sure that the terms you want your post to rank for are popular, without being over-saturated.
Once you have decided upon a keyword or phrase, it’s time to get it into your work. To ensure that your posts are well optimised, I would recommend installing the Yoast SEO plugin. Simply install, activate and go!
After you activate the plugin, a box will appear at the bottom of each post whilst you are in draft mode. Input your keyword into the relevant box and follow the prompts. The plugin will ensure that your keywords are featured in all of the right places such as the title, subheadings, multiple times throughout your post, in the meta description and on your images.
Like I said, there’s a lot more information on SEO, which you can read about here.
A lot of people think that the key to increasing traffic to your blog is by promoting. And, to a certain extent, that is true.
But it’s not as simple as just putting your promotional Tweets and messages out there and hoping people click on the links.
The key to getting people to click on those links, is to engage and build relationships with your audience. If you’re constantly trying to “sell” people will skim over your posts. If, on the other hand, people feel like they know you, they will give more time to listening to what you have to say. And that includes reading your posts.
So, what’s the best way to engage and build those relationships?
I started out with Twitter and Facebook so that’s what I’ll cover here.
Twitter is a fantastic way to meet and engage with people quickly. I followed people who worked in the same niche as me and tagged them in relevant posts. This not only got their attention but also the intention of their followers who, unbeknownst to them at the time, were my target audience and about to become my followers too!
The thing that made the biggest difference on Twitter was starting to take part in Twitter chats. You can read my full post on Twitter chats here. The reason that Twitter chats made a big difference to my Twitter followers and blog traffic was that they allowed people to see my personality. It also allowed me to give them something rather than just asking all the time. Twitter chats allowed me to share my opinions, as well as hints and tips with others before asking them to go and check out my site.
The same is true of Facebook Groups too. Since being actively involved in Facebook Groups, I have seen a huge spike in my traffic. And the great thing is that you can use Facebook Groups to increase traffic to your new blog from day one.
Facebook Groups are an amazing platform for you, as a new blogger, to ask for help and advice. This, in turn, will help you grow your blog and also make you a familiar face in the group. These groups are also a fantastic way to show off your expertise and build a reputation as a go-to resource for your niche. They also usually offer great promo threads! You can read my full post on using Facebook Groups to drive traffic to your blog here.
For more detail and exact strategies on using Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bloglovin and StumbleUpon, to increase traffic to your new blog, I would recommend reading Boost Your Blog Traffic by Ana from The She Approach.
I wish I had had this level of information and guidance from the very start. It would have made such a difference and saved me a whole load of time (and quite a few tears and tantrums!)
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- A beginner’s guide to Google Analytics
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- Bonus 1: Access to Ana’s resource library for blogger
- Bonus 2: 65+ Places to promote your blog checklist
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So what are you waiting for? You’ve got everything you need to increase traffic to your new blog right at your fingertips! There’s no stopping you now.
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