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Getting traffic to your blog isn’t only about churning out heaps of random content here and there. It’s what you write and what you do with that content that really matters.
If you want to learn how to get free traffic to your blog then you need to be prepared to write great content and promote it. Below is a table contents to help you navigate through this guide.
Step 1: Strong foundations
Building a blog is like building a house. It’s only going to be as good as the foundations. Build your blog on shaky ground by cutting corners and it will eventually catch up with you and cost you more.
There are a few fundamental foundations you want to get right from the start. Not only does this future proof your site but it will save you headaches and money later on.
Foundation 1: Build a website on strong technical foundations
(Fast, reliable website, no errors, good hosting hosting)
Have you ever clicked on a link to a blog post but found nothing? Maybe you saw a 404 page, maybe you say some errors on the screen, maybe the page just didn’t load. The worst case scenario is the website has been hacked and you fin yourself looking at adverts for viagra! If you frequent surf the internet I’m pretty sure you will have experienced any of those situations.
So what did you do when you encounters error on someone else website? Did you bookmark it and go back the next day ‘just incase’ the error was fixed? No, I’m sure you didn’t. Maybe you just left the site and thought ‘hmm, tat was a waste of time, I’ll avoid that site next time’.
There is no point writing a blog if your website is slow or has errors. You put so much effort into driving traffic to your blog only for the blog to let you down at the last minute. It’s your first priority to make sure sure your website loads fast and is error free.
How can you check your website for slow loading times?
There are several good online website speed checkers. My favourite is wwebpagetest because it takes the average of three tests. Test your site speed here. if it takes too long you need to improve it. Too long is anything over 3 seconds. Now 3 seconds might not seem a lot but three seconds might be what the tools can measure and thats the absolute best case scenario. Add to the mix people with slow PCs or slow internet connections and that 3 seconds can increase drastically so the quicker the better!
What should you do if your site is loading too slowly?
There are many ways in which you can speed up your site. Here are a few basic ideas to get you started.
Check your hosting account. From the speed report you can see how long it takes your server to respond. If it is more than a second then it’s time to find better hosting.
Limit the functions and features on your site. Bells and whistles might be tempting but they all slow your site down.
Optimise your images for web.
How can you check your website for errors?
You need to visit and test your site on a regular basis, especially if you have a WordPress site and you have recently updated your theme or plugins. A good website care plan will mean your website is regularly monitored for errors. If you are not paying for a website care plan then you will need to regularly check your website yourself. At least once per month visit your most popular pages, check they look good. Also test out your main functions, e.g do you have an email option form? Test it out to see if it still works.
What to do if you find errors?
That depends on your technical skill level. If you are not willing or able to fix technical website errors then find a web developer who you trust. Then approach them to help you fix any errors you find. I recommend finding that trusted technical partner because it can be very hit and miss if you have no recommendations to go on. The worst case is if your site goes down and you need help, you don’t want to be trusting your site to a stranger at a very crucial time. Find that trusted person before things get bad!
Why will fixing errors and speeding up your site get you more traffic?
Because your visitors will want to come back. You may get a small amount of traffic even with errors on your website but fixing those errors will mean visitors will return and tell others about your blog, meaning your traffic will increase.
“An error free, fast website will encourage repeat visitors who will tell others about your site”
If you are already using WordPress for your site that’s great news but to everyone else, I have yet to come across a platform that is as limitless like WordPress. All other platforms have limitations. You won’t fully understand what they are until you want to make changes and improvements to your site to make it faster, improve SEO or add specific features to improve conversion rates and then you end up with a tough decision, to stick with what you have or bite the bullet and move. Even if you have a website built on a platform specially for you, when you need to make changes it can take weeks of planning with your developers, and it can have a high cost. One of the best things you can do for your website is built it on a highly flexible platform that you have full control over and that platform is WordPress.
Foundation 2: Implement basic web design principles
Once you have people on your site, you need them to actually be able to stay on your page and read at least a few pages of your content. If your website design is really poor, just like with the errors mentioned previously, visitors won’t hang around on your website and they won’t return.
Some design foundations you should strengthen to keep visitors coming back are;
Make sure your site is mobile friendly. You can check using this tool here.
Layout your blog so it is easy to read. Use subheadings and white space to break up walls of texts to make your content welcoming and easy for skimmers to read.
Include some blogging elements that will increase your traffic such as sharing buttons, enable comments and add next post / previous post links or add a related posts section.
“Design your blog well to keep people on your site and to encourage them to come back”
Foundation 3: Look after your website
(Keep it backed up, well maintained and secure)
If the worst happened and you lost your blog how long would it take until you could get it back online? Imagine all the damage that could be done if your site was down for a week, all the traffic you would lose? If you have tried hard to get traffic don’t run the risk of losing it. Safeguard against this scenario by;
-Keeping regular backups of your site. Don’t rely on your host. Mistakes happen and they can lose your backups. It’s easy enough to set up a free plugin like WordFence to back up your site. You have no excuse not to be completely secure if the worst happens to your blog.
-Run regular security checks on your website so you can be alerted if there is any security breach or if your website is vulnerable to hackings. It’s better that you know if something has happened to your website rather than your website visitors tell you.
-Have a good, regular maintenance plan for your website. Keep plugins and code updated. Fix problems quickly.
“Your website is an important business asset, treat it well, look after it and it will look after you for many years”
Foundation 4: Follow Technical SEO guidelines
If you are blogging without considering SEO then you are missing out on potentially your biggest source of free traffic. SEO isn’t all about titles, keywords and links. It needs a solid foundation upon which to build and create great content and backlinks. This foundation is called Technical SEO. Any SEO effort applied to a site with without technical SEO foundations is likely to lose out on a lot of traffic.
I have managed to get clients a huge boost in traffic just by fixing some technical problems on their site that affected how Google saw the site.
Some technical fixes include;
Removing duplicate content
Removing low quality pages from the search results
The majority of technical SEO only needs to be done if you have a new website or if you have made major changes to your site. After that, it just needs to be checked periodically. I recommend every three months. I’ve seen sites that have never checked their technical SEO and they have let thousands of errors build up. It’s a lot of work to correct.
The best place to check for technical SEO error is in Google Search Console, the free tool that Google provides. If you check out the Google search console crawl report, it will reveal a lot about what Google thinks about your website!
Go here to check it out.
You can get a ton of free traffic from search engines like Google but only if you have a grasp on On page SEO basics. As a parent of a vegetarian daughter I am also on the look out for friendly vegan and vegetarian meals. I came across some fabulous recently in my search for ‘kid friendly vegan recipes’ some of which I will use for this example. When I tell you to be SEO savvy I mean for you to take a little time to grasp some SEO basics so your blog has the best chance of being found.
I searched for kid friendly vegan recipes and the first website was vegnricha.com.
Out of curiosity and because I love SEO (I’m a total nerd at heart) I used one of my many recommended SEO tools to see how many searches that keyword got. That search term was getting 590 searches per month. From the keyword research tool I could also see that the website taking the top spot was getting 179 of those visits.
Now, to be top position they must be doing something right so I did a very quick SEO audit on that page. Wow, the site was getting over 100k hits but they did have 112k keywords bringing that traffic. So, when you understand keywords and how to construct your content so it is searchable and readable by the search engines your blog can get a lot of free traffic.
Basic SEO isn’t always enough to get you noticed. If you find that after basic SEO you still don’t get traffic then you may have to work on other areas of SEO such as technical SEO and authority building. This is even more important if you are in a competitive space or you find your rankings have suddenly slipped.
Step 2: Be strategic
Strategy 1: Content strategy
Creating good content for your blog isn’t about creating content for the sake of creating content. If you can be strategic about your content then you will get more traffic. Being strategic means really thinking about what to write. In most circumstances, content that is helpful and solves problems is going to get read more than a blog about your walk by the river. When it comes to blogging, you need to be writing for your audience and for your business. You want to make a living out this don’t you? So you must combine the questions, “How do I write great content my audience will love” and “How do I write content that won’t take up all of my time but still build my business?” . Once you start asking these questions you will see that you need to be strategic about what you write or you could waste a lot of time writing content no one wants to read and that just doesn’t help you to build the business you dream of. Here are a few tips on how to be strategic with your content.
Write evergreen content
Getting more traffic doesn’t mean endlessly churning out content. Think about writing evergreen content. This is content that never goes out of date, such as ‘Why SEO is essential for your business” . You can promote this content in cycles so each time it is promoted you bring in more traffic for your blog.
Create Updatable content
Content that can be refreshed. You can also write blog posts that can be frequently updated e.g Top SEO tips for 2019. This can be updated each year so you don’t have to start your blog post from scratch (just don’t put the year in the URL). Each of these blog posts can drive traffic for years. Think about the sort of content that people will be happy to re-read after a refresh. This will save you time having to create content from scratch.
Build pillar content
Write big, long pieces of highly valuable, high quality content, these are more likely to get you traffic, backlinks and shares than short pieces of content.
Strategy 2: Think business strategy!
Understand how sales and marketing funnels work and how your content plays a part in that. Create content for the Top Of Funnel (TOFU), Middle of Funnel (MOFU) and Bottom of Funnel (BOFU) . Built the know, like, trust factor with your content and watch your business grow.
Examples of strategic content.
The title just needs to be updated to 2019!
Guide to help https://www.copyblogger.com/evergreen-content/
Identify and understand your audience, was do they ask, read, what are their problems – You content needs to be educational so it has a specific purpose and entertaining so readers will stay engaged with it. If you are wondering how to find content your audience want to read then try answerthepublic.com or quora.com To get more traffic to your blog content then it makes sense that the more it is shared the more it will be seen so write articles that people will want to share.
Strategy 3: Content promotion strategy
Strategy 4: Build connections
Step 3: Improve your skills
If you want your website to be visible then you need some skills! If you don’t have the time or inclination to learn and practise then you must hire someone who already has the skill you need.
Skill 1: Develop your technical skills
Building an online presence is full of technical challenges. If you have ever tried to build your own website you will find very quickly that some jobs are best left to those with more experience. You really need the ability to make changes and fixes to your website very quickly, because time is money. If you suddenly find a WordPress update has broken your site you need to debug it and fix it ASAP. You need to find a reliable, capable person and find them quick. Otherwise you risk losing traffic.
You will also want to update the functionality of your website from time to time. A complete website redesign can be impractical, time consuming and costly so it can be so much better for your business if you have the technical ability to make changes when you want them.
Action: Get skilled or find a skilled, reliable technical partner.
Skill 2: Develop strong writing skills
Strong writing skills can be split into two areas. Writing for people and writing for search engines. First and foremost you must write for people. We’ve all seen those awful posts written just for search engines, they are crammed with repeated keywords that just doesn’t make sense when reading them. Don’t do this to your audience. They will feel something is amiss with your content and and this will rapidly reduce the value of anything you say on your blog.
When someone reads your blog, there are three preferred actions you are looking for them to take to help you get more traffic. Those actions are;
- To share your content
- To stay on your website and read another article
- To get on your email list so you can get them back to your website, give more value, build trust and eventually convert them into a customer.
If your reader didn’t like your article or if they didn’t find value in it they might not get to the end and if your reader doesn’t get to the end of your content they are less likely to take any of the preferred actions.
So follow these tips to write good content and keep your reader engaged to the end so they take action and help drive more traffic to your blog.
6 quick tips for writing for people and search engines
Tip1: Write catchy titles
Write catchy titles that interest people but also contain your primary keyword to help your SEO. This will help your content to both show up in search and also encourage people to read it. How to write catchy titles link.
Tip 2: Layout your content well
Think about the layout of your content. I touched upon this issue in the design considerations above. Use subheadings to help pull leaders through your content. Putting keyword synonymies and related keywords in here as H2 headers will help your SEO. Use white space to make the content easier to read.
Tip 3: Learn the art of storytelling
If you can master the art of storytelling writing blogs becomes easier. People relate to stories and find them easier to remember. If they are interested in your content they will read to the end and are more likely to share. Link to story brand.
Tip 4: Have a purpose to your content
Can you write in a way that is Informative, education, entertaining. Making sure your content isn’t boring will encourage you to inject your personality, use a wider range of words which helps in search engines. Google likes to see a range of words rather than the same keyword repeated over and over.
Tip 5: Use media rich content
Include images and video if possible. This will keep people engaged and on your page for longer which also helps your SEO ranking. If people are engaged in your content they are more likely to get to the end and share it which means more traffic for you.
Tip 6: Ask for your content to be shared
At the end of your blog post ask people to share it. Don’t have too many sharing buttons, this can overwhelm people and stop them from making a choice. Choose just a few social media channels where your audience hangs out.
Skill 3: Improve your On Page SEO skills
On page SEO is the act of constructing and optimising your content so search engines can crawl it, understand it, then index it. Some blog articles and website pages can rank very well without optimisation, but this usually happens in a market where there is very little competition.
6 tips to improve your on page SEO
Tip 1: Understand intent
There are two types of intent, reader intent and business intent.
Reader intent is the reason behind why someone is reading your blog post or web page.
Business intent is the reason you wrote the blog post in the first place.
These two types of intent need to meet otherwise your content will flop. For each page you want to be found in the search engines you need to be clear on your intent behind it. Is it to educate, inspire, generate leads etc. Then you need to understand the intent of the people searching out that content. Does it match? E.g I could write a post explaining how to set up Google Analytics. My intent is encourage the reader to download my free Google Analytics course which gets them on my email list where I can continue the lead nurture process. Their intent is to learn more about Google analytics. So the intent matches.
An example of where the intent doesn’t match is if you write a blog post about what a lovely day you had with the intent someone might just contact you about your services. Why would someone even come across your ‘I had a lovely day’ article? What would they be searching for? What is their intent? There is none. So always make sure you consider intent before you write an article.
Tip 2: Keyword research and placement
There are a ton of keyword research tools to help you find the best keywords for your blog. I won’t go into them here but I do just want to touch on the importance of keywords. Keywords are what people type into search engines when starting their search. This is how Google matches the search to the content. If you have the same keywords, or similar keywords in your content your content should appear in the search results.
Keywords need to placed in your content at various places. This helps Google decide if your content is relevant to the search. Some of the paces you need to place your keywords are;
- The URL
- The H1 tag
- In other sub headings (H2 / H3 etc)
- The image alt tag
- In the first few sentences
- Throughout the content
But.. you can’t over do it. This is called keyword stuffing. Everything you write needs to flow and sound natural. Continuous repetition of the same keywords will bore your reader and tell Google you are trying to game the SEO system. So, choose similar words and related words to give your content a more natural feel.
Tip 3: Include schema markup code
Schema is most useful once you are on page 1 and you want to get a high click through. Schema helps your search result stand out. There are a lot of types of schema code to help you stand out in search, such as reviews, recipes, books, services etc. You can find them all here https://schema.org/.
Step 4: Distribute and promote your content
Distribution your content to your ever growing audience
Creating content is one thing, but getting people to read it is another. Neil Patel says you should spend 20% writing your content and 80% promoting it. If you want lots of traffic you need to put the effort in to get it and that means distributing your content to your audience. You have two groups of people you should be distributing your content to. Readers and influencers.
Readers – these are the people that will benefit most form your content and eventually become customers.
Influencers. These are people that you should focus on creating relationships with, these people will share and link to your content, helping you to get lots of traffic.
Tips on How to build a network of readers to promote your content to.
Social media – you tube / Facebook / twitter / linked in / instagram
Dont try to dominate every social media channel, if you are a solo-preneur this will quickly get overwhelming. Pick one or two where your ideal client is and focus your effort there.
5 tips to get traffic to your blog from youtube
first, please think of youtube as a search engine, much like Google. People will go there and search for something, therefore, it’s a search engine. Remember the goal is to get traffic to your website, I’m not talking about how to get more views of your videos – well not in this post anyway. So, to get traffic to your website by using YouTube I have 5 tips for you.
Tip 1: Use a call to action
Use a clear call to action and give people a compelling reason to visit your website from your YouTube video. This is a great time to use a lead magnet (valuable content in exchange for an email) that people can only get if they visit your website.
Tip 2: Provide an easy way to find your website,
i.e put links to your site wherever you can. In your channel art, in the description of your video.
Use YouTube Cards
Create end screens
Create a video as part of a series where some of that content lives on your website.
5 tips to get traffic to you blog from facebook
Facebook isn’t a search engine like youtube so you can’t expect your content to be found in the same way. Instead, you are interrupting people as they look at funny cats in sinks. So when you pop up in their feed with your fantastic content, you need to remember that some will resonate with you content and want to find out more about you.
Make sure your Facebook page or personal profile (whatever one you are posting with) contains a link to your website.
Include a call to action in your profile, asking people to book a call or download something cool from your website (a lead magnet preferably)
This may seem obvious but post your new blogs to your Facebook page, people will click on it and you get the traffic!
Post your content in Facebook groups if they allow it. Or create your own group!
Use Facebook live streaming to discuss a particular aspect of your latest blog post then leave a link to your blog where people can read more.
5 tips on how to get traffic to your blog from Linkedin
If your ideal client is on LinkedIn then these tips are for you.
Complete your company and personal profile as fully as possible, using links to your website in the profile will help people find your website and of course, drive traffic.
Increase your profile views so more people see your profile and your website links.
Like Facebook, post links to your articles, always give a good reason why people should read your article, don’t just post the article without an explanation.
Join groups where your ideal customer hangs out and post your content there when appropriate, or create your own group.
Write a post on linkedin pulse that links to your website.
Grow your email list
Your email list is the one asset you actually own, and no-one can take that away from you. Each time you create a blog post, you can email your list, tell them about it and drive a lot of traffic to your website.
5 tips on building your email list
Put email option forms all over your website. Your blog side bar, at the bottom of your blog, at the top of your website in the header, in the footer, as a pop up… there are many places to place an opt in form, the more places the better.
Offer something valuable in return for being on your email list. Otherwise known as a lead magnet or ethical bribe. You can create short email courses, a pdf of your best content or PDF of unique content that can’t get on your website.
Building your list doesn’t have to just be a job for your website, fill out your social media profiles with your option form or a link to your option form.
Put a link to your lead magnet in your email signature.
Create content upgrades inside your blog post. This is where you offer additional useful content that is very specific to the blog post in return for an email.
Be active in communities online and offline and interact with people online Build your network
Getting yourself known in communities, whether online or offline will help you get traffic when you post your articles online. As you become known people will be more likely to read your content and share it.
Interacting online with people will also build familiarity so when you do post your articles people are more likely to read them. You can interact by commenting on blogs, responding to comments on your blogs, commenting on social media posts and answering questions in forums.
Use push notifications
You’ve seen them, that little box that pops up asking you to subscribe to someones blog. They are very good at driving traffic. I have one my site, admittedly I don’t make as much use out of it as I could but it does drive traffic. If you have less than 200 subscribers you can use the free account of https://subscribers.com
It’s great for staring out. Give it a try.
Build relationships with influencers aka influencer marketing
Influencers can help you get your content infant of new audiences and bring new traffic to your website. Here is a great article that explains influencer marketing in great depth. It also includes some tips on how you can get started with influencer marketing.
5 ways influencer marketing can bring traffic to your website
You can write a guest blog post for their website. Include a link back to your website, preferably to a lead magnet or some great content.
You can ask an influencer to write a guest blog for your blog, or ask them to contribute to your blog. They then promote the blog to their community and your blog gets a traffic boost.
Comment on their content
Influencers can review your services or products.
You can create a combined service or resource then promote it to both of your communities. Win win for both of you.
Influencer marketing can simply share your content to their community.
Case study: Katerina Ruth. I’ve been a follower of Katrina Ruth for a while, I love her no BS approach to business. She recently contributed to the article ‘7 Successful Leaders Share the Advice They Wish They Could Tell Their Younger Selves’. I received an email from her alerting me to this article and I went and read the article.