8 Ways to Boost (and Maintain) Your Blog Traffic
The one thing all bloggers seem to want to know is how to boost their blog traffic. The more pertinent question though, is how to maintain that traffic. It’s relatively easy to create a short-term increase in figures; the trick is to maintain that increase long term. Here are some ideas as to how you can boost your blog traffic, and then maintain it:
1. Produce Evergreen Content
Evergreen content – sometimes referred to as “killer content” or “cornerstone content” is, basically, content that can be shared again in six weeks’ or six months’ time, and still be considered an amazing blog post. A post about what you did when it rained this weekend might be seen by the 50 people who follow your blog, but a post listing ten amazing rainy day activities might be seen by 50 people every time there’s a rainy bank holiday weekend.
You can’t make every single post evergreen content; that would be really hard work… though I’m sure there are blogs out there whose every post could be considered as evergreen – Buzz Feed, for example. To start with, aim for one piece of absolutely brilliant, evergreen content each month, and then build it up to one per week. Seasonal posts will also fall into this category as you can bring them out every year as if they were new.
2. Mention Other Bloggers
Be generous; don’t do it just so that they’ll link back to you or retweet you. If you find content that’s useful or engaging, or inspires you to write your own post, always link back to that person. The person you link to might only go as far as to favourite your tweet, but other people reading your post will see that you are not afraid to share other people’s posts and point traffic away from your own blog. You could even go so far as to produce a post where you curate posts from other bloggers. For example, “my 5 favourite posts about Christmas” or “my 10 favourite cake recipes.” This provides a useful resource for your readers, and the bloggers featured in the post are likely to at least retweet you. Many bloggers will have a “featured in” page on their blog that they may well add your post to as well.
3. Produce Lists
People love a good list. My ten favourit these, my 6 least favourite those. Ten ways to do this, twelve ways to avoid that. There’s just something about a list post that makes people want to read it – and to see if the list you’ve made matches up to the one they’re now making in their own head! Plus, added bonus: you can add your link to The List, a linky run by Mums Days and You Baby Me Mummy for everyone’s list posts. A great way to get your posts out to a wider audience.
4. Produce Tutorials
If you’ve managed to do something recently, and someone has said, “wow, how’d you do that?” – consider writing a “how to” post to show people how to do it. Of course, if you’ve used someone else’s tutorial to do it, it’s poor etiquette to then reproduce their tutorial. But if you used a tutorial and found it missed a few pieces out, or you had to use a combination of two or three different tutorials to help get the job done, create your own tutorial to show how you did it. If you’ve made something from a recipe, but you’ve altered the recipe to make it your own, just mention at the top of the post that you began with this recipe (with a link back to it) but you’ve modified it slightly to make it your own. A tutorial is something that may well fall under the “evergreen content” banner – as these posts tend to be the sort of thing you can share without time limit.
Nobody likes a blogger who only leaves a comment so that you’ll comment back, or only follows you on Twitter so that you’ll follow back. Don’t be that person. And don’t leave comments along the lines of “nice post” or “thanks for joining in.” Try to leave valuable comments that add to the conversation, wherever you can. If you leave lots of useful, engaging comments on a blog and engage in conversations on social media, people will be more inclined to come and see what you are up to on your blog.
There is also the “in person” side of this: attending events with fellow bloggers is always a great way to network. However, this one is only handy if your target audience is other bloggers. If you want to get business owners to read your blog, network at business networking events. If you want to get parents to read your blog, network at mother and baby groups, or even at the park. I don’t mean you should rush up to people, shove a business card under their nose and say “read my blog!” before moving on to the next bemused mother supervising the swings. Instead, strike up a conversation and mention your blog only if and when it is a relevant addition to the conversation.
A lot of us tend to focus on networking with other bloggers or brands. We forget that the place to network, both online and in person, is where people from our target audience spend time. It’s worth doing a little research to figure out the best place to spend time networking in order to find new readers.
6. Guest Posting
The usefulness of guest posting for driving traffic to your blog seems to be one of those contentious issues. Some say it’s useless; others say it’s the best possible way to get new eyes on your content.
I would say it depends on where you’re guest posting, and what you’re writing. If you can find another blog in your niche that’s likely to have perhaps a slight overlap in readership, and you can provide top-notch content for your guest post, it can work really well. If you just adopt a blanket approach where you guest post anywhere that will have you, with any old content you can bodge together, you’re unlikely to be successful!
7. Appear in Print Media, TV & Radio
This is not as tricky as it sounds! If you can provide a journalist with an answer to their question or story requirements, you can usually get in a quick mention for your blog. For me, any time I am in a magazine or on TV, they might not be able to mention my blog – but if they ask for a photo I always provide one of the instantly-recognisable photos of me with my daughter in a bright lion suit. This worked well when I went on This Morning last October, I knew I would probably be a little bit too overwhelmed to shoehorn in a blog mention – so when they asked for a photo of me with my daughter, I used one I knew everyone would recognise from the blog. Sure enough, several people contacted me afterwards to say they hadn’t realised it was me until they’d seen my photo flash up on the screen, and recognised it from Twitter.
My local radio station used to have a weekday afternoon feature where they had a panel of people from across the county. Each day they would choose a story from the day’s news, and call up two of their panel members to get their opinion on it, live on air. It’s easy to sign up for something like that; check whether your local station has anything similar that you can get involved in. The feature no longer runs locally to me, but the station have kept my details on file and because I provided good content, I have been asked onto other shows and even other stations in the network.
Whenever you are able to appear in print media or on TV or radio, try to write a post on your blog to tie in with it. My most popular post so far this year is one I wrote about why I won’t have more children, after appearing as one of several parents in a half-page feature in the Times.
8. Email List
What do you mean, you don’t have an email list?
Social media these days seems to have become like so many people shouting at us: look at this, read this, watch this, go there. It can become overwhelming, and it’s difficult to get your posts seen above the background noise. If you have a person’s email address, you can send a link directly to their inbox: come and see what I’ve written, I think you’ll like it. I don’t mean that you should have people sign up to receive your posts by email; that’s a bit useless, in my experience. You need a MailChimp or AWeber account, and a signup form like this one. In fact, you should probably go ahead and sign up for that one – it’s pretty good!
With an email list, you can send people a weekly or monthly roundup of your posts. You can include exclusive content, ask them questions and point them in the direction of useful information on other sites. It’s a brilliant way to get your blog posts under people’s noses, and by providing exclusive content, you’re making that person feel more like they’re special to you, like they know you personally, like you value them as a reader.
So there you are: eight ways to boost and maintain your blog traffic. None of them is exactly rocket science, but they will all work in their own small way.
Great pointers all, Vicki, especially the reminder to produce evergreen content. Which is akin to your other great tips: producing lists and tutorials. I'll add another one—how about repurposing your content on another platform? For example, while I blog on Wordpress.com, the platform at Medium.com makes it a breeze for me to post my content there too. And though I'm not a Tumblr or Pinterest devotee, those seemingly lend themselves as well. Taking advantage of social media to share your blog posts, and sharing other bloggers' posts as well, brings in new eyes who may stick around too.