If you have a blog you know how important traffic is.
More traffic means more people buying your products, joining your list and more sales for your business. The challenge is to know what works.
Search online and you’ll find lots of advice – some works, some doesn’t. It’s confusing and can waste a lot of your time.
That’s why we’ve polled 21 of the most successful bloggers to bring you traffic building tips to make your blog more attractive, more shareable, and ready to attract the right prospects.
This post is also available as a PDF. So if you would rather download it and read it at your leisure, just click here.
1. Understand Your Audience
Your first job as a blogger is to understand your audience and the problem you’re there to solve. Typically, a narrower audience is better. For example, targeting millennial leaders is better than targeting any leader and writing for online entrepreneurs is better than targeting any entrepreneur.
“You need to understand your audience better than they understand themselves.” Brian Clark
2. Block Time to Write
Blocking time to write – like 1 hour in the morning – helps avoid the nasty pull of procrastination and get you into a rhythm from topic to publishing to promotion. Waiting until you have enough time typically means you never have the time.
3. Save time with a Template
A quick way to get your content into order and get to first draft is with a writing template. Using a template can jump start your writing process and help avoid ‘writer’s block.’
Your writing template could be as simple as:
- The problem,
- Promise a solution,
- List 3-5 solutions,
“Writing is like the gym: the more often you go, the more results you see.” Ann Handley
4. Give Them Your Best
Your job is to showcase your best materials (ideas, solutions, theories, research) to your target audience.
Just like buying a car, your prospects need to test drive your solutions before buying. And as your prospects enjoy more of your content and you become a trusted resource they will want to share your content with their followers, helping to grow your business.
“Give away free content that adds value to people’s lives ‘until it hurts’ and they will love you and become loyal fans.” Jeff Bullas
5. Write Great Headlines
With just a bit of extra effort, you can turn a boring headline like “Lose weight by walking more” into one that will get more attention and more shares, like “This is How Much You Should Walk to Lose Weight Fast, it’s Way Better than Running” (viralgallerysite.com). Try promising a solution (list posts are a great way to do this), asking a question, including unusual adjectives or make it personal by including words like ‘you’ or ‘your’.
“Without a compelling promise that turns a browser into a reader the rest of your words may as well not exist.” Copy Blogger
6. Go Big with an Ultimate Post
Sometimes a topic deserves more. An ‘Ultimate post’ is a more detailed, in-depth post about a topic your readers are hungry for. If you write about health and fitness, an ultimate post might be all about home equipment options, or a detailed comparison of smoothie recipes or health supplements.
“Longer content is 52% more likely to get heavily shared. Aim for at least 2,000 words per post.” Brian Dean
7. Mix It Up!
If you want readers to keep coming back, experiment with different topics and themes – just like a magazine. For example, if you’ve been posting mostly “how-to” articles, try a case study, check-list, or “did you know” theme. Measure what themes work and then repeat those throughout the year.
“Focus upon creating content that changes people’s lives in some way and it will help people feel like they know, like and trust you.” Daren Rowse
8. Dress it up with Pictures
Our brain can process images some 60,000 times faster than words. Posts that contain multiple images receive double the social media shares compared to articles with only one image.
“Help people help you by providing an image that they can share—if people can look like a rockstar sharing your content, it’s a win!” Peg Fitzpatrick
9. Go Viral with Video
Even a short video can add variety to your posts and enhance the reader’s experience. Your videos don’t have to be professionally produced—as long as you have good light and sound, you’re good to go.
“Video is quickly becoming one of the most effective ways to drive floods of targeted traffic directly to your blog, sales pages and other online offers.” James Wedmore
Even if you’re writing a B2B business blog, readers want to know something about the person behind the blog. Start by sharing personal experiences relating to your blog topic – if you write about customer service, share a story of a good/ bad/indifferent service experience you had.
“Don’t delegate relationship building or try to outsource your personality.” Mari Smith
11.Create Round-Up Posts
A round-up post is a collection of opinions, interviews, reviews—anything that brings together solutions from a variety of sources. For example, a collection of book reviews, or opinions from authors, or advice from bloggers (like this article). One trick is to choose contributors with a big follower base and then ask them to share your post to their platform.
“The experts that participate in your roundup can send traffic directly to your post by sharing it with their (often large) social followings—it’s the type of content people actively want to share.” Jon Morrow
12.Deliver More of What They Want
This might seem obvious, but if your readers really liked one post you should plan to write more about that topic. While you might be tempted to keep dreaming up new topics; if readers already ‘vote’ with their traffic, comments and social shares, give them more on those topics.
“Pay attention to what your readers respond to and find a way to deliver more of the same.” Hugh Culver
13.Write Like You Speak
The word “blog” is a truncation of weblog and the original blog format was created to facilitate discussion on the Internet. Like any discussion, you’re more authentic if you write like you speak. Avoid unusual words, overbuilt, or awkward sentences that slow the reader.
“Use a conversational tone and keep it light. People are attracted to blogs because they aren’t full of boring, standard advice found elsewhere.” Rich Brooks
14.Don’t try to be Everywhere
When promoting your blog, it might be tempting to try to be everywhere. One day you’re all over Twitter, then it’s back to Instagram and Facebook, then LinkedIn. Instead choose 2-3 channels (like LinkedIn and Twitter), build up your followers, and apply a simple posting sequence for every blog post.
“Your audience will dictate where they want to see you by the way they interact with you.” Leslie Samuel
15.Make it Easy to Consume
To hold a reader’s attention design your post to be easy to consume.
- Use short sentences and paragraphs, dashes and em-dashes to break up your reading,
- Use subheadings for any post longer than 300 words, and
- Insert images to break up long posts.
16.Build Your Email List
Building your list allows you to use direct email to promote sales, webinars, contests, surveys and to promote every blog post. Experiment with different opt-in offers and measure your results – your blog should be a magnet to attract more prospects to your list.
“Building an email list is one of the cheapest, most cost-effective solutions for staying in touch with your prospects and customers.” Derek Halpern
17.PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE
If you want to get noticed, you have to promote every post. Email your list, promote on social media, re-post on LinkedIn and Medium and respond to every comment, retweet, and share. And document your procedure – eventually you can outsource part, or all, of the process.
“Think of it more as publishing instead of marketing. Be authentic as a publisher and create content that helps you connect to everyone else…because they’re already connected.” Mitch Joel
18.Make Your Reader Feel Smart
Readers share what makes them look smart—your job is to write compelling, original content that makes them think “This is so good I need to share it.”
“If you want these people to share your content, create objectively exceptional content.” Marcus Taylor
Consistent publishing encourages consistent readers and will make it easier for you and your team to execute, measure and modify both the publishing and promotion of the post.
“It’s much easier to lose your traffic than it is to build it up, so make sure you consistently blog.” Neil Patel
20.Don’t Measure Stats too Early
It takes time before you’ll see the results you want from your blog. Be patient and create goals for traffic and list building, and measure results (at least monthly).
“If you’re obsessing over daily numbers and you’re only a few months into your blogging journey, you’re wasting your time. It’s still too early to pay close attention to trends.” Jeff Goins
21.And Finally… the last of our traffic building tips: Experiment!
This is your blog – use it to experiment and learn more about your customers.
Start by trying different topics, headlines (#5), ultimate posts (#6), themes (#7), images (#8), video (#9), round-up posts (#11), and promotion (#17). Then watch your reader comments, social shares and changes in traffic.
If you see something working, try it again!
The more you experiment and refine your blog (and measure results), the better it is for your readers and the more readers they’ll bring to your blog.
And now it’s time to get started!
This post is also available as a PDF. Just click on this link and we’ll send you a copy.
“The reality is that for many companies, their blog is their first impression. It’s what future customers see BEFORE they become customers.” Dave Schneider