You work hard on writing helpful, easy to read posts that your audience will love. So it’s frustrating when it feels like no one is paying any attention.
I get it.
If you want to get more eyes on your content, there are a few things you can do to accelerate your growth. Here 17 dos and don’ts to maximize your blog traffic, even if you’re brand new.
1. Do stay true to your niche
It can be tempting to cast a wide net with your content, and write about everything connected to a particular topic. However, when your posts are too broad it’s difficult to grow your audience because people don’t know what to expect from post to post. Maybe last week you wrote about a DIY birdhouse and this week you gave a gluten-free pizza recipe. They’re technically both “home” related, but different people are going to be interested in each, with perhaps a little overlap.
You might think that getting different people to your site is a positive, but if someone comes to your site for a specific post, but it’s the only one of its kind, they won’t be back. You want to keep people who find you coming back AND attracting new people, too.
That’s much easier to do with a clearly defined niche. If you want to know more about niching down, check this post.
2. Don’t forget about your old content
One mistake people make when it comes to promoting your content is thinking of promotion as one-and-done.
Remember that if you’re writing evergreen posts, they’re useful to your audience any time, so you can keep sharing them over and over. Make sure there’s some space in between when you share the same content. I recommend resharing each evergreen blog post about once a month.
You can do this most easily by using a scheduler, like CinchShare, or creating a spreadsheet of each post that includes a link and description. If you want to try CinchShare free for 14 days, click here.
3. Do guest post strategically
Guest posting – writing for other people’s blogs – can be a great way to expand your audience.
Essentially, when you publish on someone else’s site, you’re borrowing their clout and getting exposure to more people who can then follow your blog.
When writing guest posts, it’s important to choose the sites you write for carefully. Find bloggers who would have an overlapping audience with you, but who aren’t in the exact same niche. For example, an artist might do a guest post on an interior design blog, or vice versa.
Check the guidelines for each site and, if possible, include a link to one of your self-hosted posts within the post you share on their site. And of course maximize the bio at the bottom of the post with a clear description of your blog and a link to find it.
4. Do use internal links
An internal link is a link that you include within a blog post that leads to another piece of content you’ve written. The benefit of internal links is that while someone is reading one post, happily devouring it and discovering your genius, they are naturally led to another post they may find helpful.
If done correctly, this can help people stay on your site longer, going from post to post, and increasing your time on page average while decreasing your bounce rate. (More on those later.)
5. Don’t spam groups your in with your links
I encourage my clients and students to join Facebook groups that contain your ideal audience to build relationships. However, going into these groups and simply dropping links in every thread is not going to help you.
In fact, it can do the opposite.
When you use the spray and pray method – spamming groups and pages with your links – can not only get you removed and blocked from groups you want to be in. It can also lead to a reputation as one of *those* people that no one wants to build a relationship with.
7. Do make it easy to share your posts
When I read a great blog post, the first thing I do is look for a button to press so I can share it with others. But I’m not going to spend forever looking for it.
At the absolute least, you should have sharing buttons at the bottom of each post, but I also recommend installing a plugin like Social Warfare that will display a floating bar on the side of each post. A floating bar follows readers as they scroll down the page, always in view, so they can share with the least amount of effort.
8. Don’t try to be everywhere
You have a limited amount of time, and trying to post on every platform and network is just going to drain your time and energy. And to be honest, you’re going to see very limited returns. Instead, decide on a primary platform (your blog), and one social network on which to focus.
I suggest starting with the social media platform you already use the most and are most familiar with, with a few things to think about:
- Since new social media platforms pop up every 6 months or so (remember Clubhouse), choose one that’s more established.
- Consider the content you want to create. If you love watching TikTok videos, but don’t want to make them, don’t feel like you have to because it’s your favorite platform.
- Go where your people are looking for you. People are everywhere online, but if your ideal audience group is using Instagram to watch videos of people making cakes and cats riding Roombas, you may have to test the waters to see if they also want to consume your content there.
9. Do get to know SEO
According to Search Engine Land, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your site to increase its visibility when people search for products or services related to your business in Google, Bing, and other search engines. The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to garner attention and attract prospective and existing customers to your business.
I recommend using a free plugin called Yoast to help manage your SEO. It allows you to set a keyword for each post, as well as a meta-description (a summary of your post that web crawlers read as they index your side). It also gives you feedback on how to improve your post’s SEO.
10. Don’t stuff your content full of keywords
Not to state the obvious, but keywords are important. You might say they’re *key* (see what I did there?).
Keywords are what people enter into a search engine when they are looking for something online. As I mentioned previously, you can set a keyword for your posts, but since Google, Bing, and other search engines read your whole post to determine its subject and value, you can also include related keywords in the body of your post.
When done naturally, this works well to boost your searchability. However, when you simply use all the related phrases in your post without regard for readability or, you know… making sense, search engines don’t like that (and neither do your readers).
11. Do email your list
Whenever you publish a new post, email your list. Anyone on your email list is already primed to want to read more of your content. You’re not bugging them. You’re letting them know that you just wrote a new kick-ass post that they’re going to love.
This is, hands down, the easiest way to get people to return to your page week after week and build your authority with your list. You can even start for free with ConvertKit’s free plan!
12. Do put effort into your post titles
Your post titles are what people see in big print when they search for something, so they’re your best chance to convince people to click on your post as opposed to someone else’s. A great post title should clearly state what your post is about. Fight the urge to be clever or wordsmithy.
Not only does your title play a role in SEO, a person who searches for how to save money at Disney is going to click on a post with a title that says “X Ways to Save Money on Your Disney Vacation in 2022,” not, “Save Your Mickeys!”
Use a free browser extension called Headline Analyzer to help.
13. Don’t be afraid of the competition
My philosophy is that other bloggers – even those in my niche – aren’t competition. The idea of competition is based on the belief that blogging is a zero-sum game, which it’s not. Just because someone follows another person that writes about what I do, doesn’t mean they won’t read my blog, too. In fact, they’re more likely to read my blog because they’re interested in what I write about.
When it comes down to it, other bloggers are your colleagues. You don’t have to crush them. You can collaborate with them, get to know them, and support them! Comment on their posts. join their groups and post helpful responses with no links to your own content or courses, and reach out to them on social media.
14. Do make and follow an editorial calendar
An editorial calendar is essentially your blog’s scope and sequence. It organizes the topics you plan to cover, and the order in which you plan to do it. Keep in mind one key difference – when you’re blogging, you don’t have to order your posts like you’re sequentially teaching something. In fact, if you’re planning on creating a course at some point in the future, you probably don’t want your free content to be structured that way.
Your editorial calendar is a way for you to make sure that your content is touching upon all your content pillars. It also allows you to plan posts around things you may want to promote (whether they’re your own or affiliate products/ services), and tease upcoming content to your readers.
And, it takes the pressure off you each week if you know what to write about. Bonus!
15. Do track your blogs key performance indicators
When you’re getting started it’s tempting to sit at your computer and hit refresh over and over to see how many people have read your blog, but it’s not particularly productive. (Ask me how I know.)
Instead, dedicate one day a month to check in on your key performance indicators (KPIs) to see how things are going. This will let you have enough data in between checks to see progress and set new goals or adjust your old ones.
Some things to check on during this monthly appointment are page views, sessions, pages per session, bounce rate, new email subscribers, top posts and pages. Stay tuned for an upcoming episode all about KPIs (which I can tell you about because I use an editorial calendar).
16. Don’t copy other people’s content
This one is obvious, right? It’s not okay to copy other people’s work. On top of that, it’s not going to help your blog traffic (or your reputation) either. It’s okay to be inspired by other posts and it’s okay to curate ideas, tips, tricks, etc. from other posts. But you must create your own work, in your own words. Otherwise the post is missing what makes your blog posts different – YOU!
Also, if Google has already read and indexed their post, your copycat post will never, ever rank higher than the one you copied.
17. Do be patient
Growth takes time. It’s tempting to look at people who’ve got tons of page views and think you’re falling behind, but I promise you, you’re not. Even the big names started at nothing and had to grow their audience slowly.
In fact, growing slowly is positive in many ways. You can get to know your readers personally, you have a chance to find your blogging voice, and you can work out the technical kinks in your systems all while your audience is small.
Take your time, give yourself the same grace and patience you provide your students, and look for progress, not perfection.
Ready to jump into your blog? Enroll in my now-free 5-Day Content Challenge! In it I’ll show you how to come up with 6 months worth of blog topics in just 20 minutes a day! Click here to join.