21 clever ways to attract more readers and boost blog traffic this year

21 clever ways to attract more readers and boost blog traffic this year

Pssst…want to increase blog traffic?

If you have a website, chances are you spent some good money on it. Right?

And now you might be asking – how can I make this thing work better?

It’s like trying to work with a slow Internet connection: it’s sort of working, but also frustrating. Well, let’s fix that by looking at your blog.

Your blog is where your customers spend time. In fact, visitors to your site will spend anywhere from 300% to 1,000% more time on your blog pages, compared to anywhere else on your site.

It’s like any conference you attend. There might be a tradeshow or people selling from this stage of other conferences to sign up for. But, for any of those opportunities to have success, they first have to have people show up.

So, it makes sense that if you want more traffic to your site, you start with your blog.

In this post, we are sharing 21 ways to increase blog traffic. Today.

Some of these should be obvious (we wanted to get to 21, so we left them in), some might require a bit of technical help and many are super easy peasy. 

Let’s jump in…

  • Start with an audience Avatar
    • Who is your ideal reader? In marketing lingo “avatar” or customer profile defines your ideal customer, or multiple ideal customers and the problem you are helping to solve for them. For example, a financial planner might want to attract both individuals nearing retirement and couples who own a home in the local city who don’t have a retirement plan.
  • Discover topics your audience wants
    • Your audience – or target market – want to know you know them and you have a solution to their “problem.” If you are a financial planner, you can help them plan for retirement. If you are a relationship coach, it might be an article about using your phone when dining out. A good place to start is with questions your clients have asked you. Each question can be expanded into more blog topics as you build out your content calendar.
  • Refresh and republish old blog posts

    Look for blog posts that readers love to spend time on

    • Refreshing and republishing old blog posts is one of our favorite strategies for building more traffic. Those old posts are rich with search engine links and, done right, will outperform anything new that you publish. The trick here is to look for posts that have high “dwell time” (average time readers spend on the post) and to super-charge, the post with rich keywords, improved writing for smartphones and promoted links to your “revenue” pages. We can do this for you! Contact us today to learn how for about $3/day we can make this happen.
  • Start building your email list today
    • We talked about the importance of building your email list in this post. Your email list may become one of your most important assets. You own it, unlike any social media channels. And you can reach the InBoxes of your followers where those emails could be read even 3 weeks later (unlike a Tweet or Facebook update).
Those old posts are rich with search engine links and, done right, will outperform anything new that you publish. Click To Tweet
  • Do keyword research to focus your writing
    • Keywords are how organic searches (when someone searches the Internet for a solution, like “gardening supplies”) find you.
    • You can use keywords in your headline, subheadings and text copy. But stuffing keywords in just for the sake of SEO is bad form and makes your post less attractive and less likely to get shared.
    • Using the Google Adwords Keyword Planner is a great place to start to find long-tail (low competition, higher conversion) keywords. After that, include those phrases as a natural part of your writing.
  • Build your first Content Calendar
    • Your Content Calendar is like a map of where your blog content is taking your readers. You can create a simple spreadsheet of topics and dates or build your calendar in WordPress using the free Editorial Calendar plug-in.

Your Content Calendar is like a map of where your blog content is taking your readers. Click To Tweet

  • Write more often
The increase in publishing schedule increased our traffic

    • More content translates into more reasons to come to your site. At Blogworks we increased our publishing from two to four times per month and saw a nice spice in our traffic. You don’t always have to publish long-form articles. Options include a quick video, an infographic, book reviews, or just a quick thought.
  • Use guest posts on your site
    • A neat way to increase blog traffic and save time is to invite other experts to submit a guest post on your site. You get the content and your guest gets to promote their article – it’s a win/win – like this one from Lauren Sergy.
  • Write guest posts
    • While you have a guest writer for your blog you can use that time to write for other blogs. Your author’s bio can help you increase blog traffic. This is a great way to get exposure to bigger sites and to position yourself as an expert.
  • Keep readers on your posts longer
    • It’s great you are getting some readers to your blog, but are they sticking around? Readers who stay longer are more likely to share your post on social, write comments – even join your list. Use a writing style that encourages readers to keep scrolling and stick to one problem you can solve.
It’s great you are getting some readers to your blog, but are they sticking around? Click To Tweet
  • Learn to write amazing headlines
    • A great headline can attract more readers and intrigue them enough to stop scrolling and dig into your content. We recommend you write your headline last, but also write multiple headlines. In this article, we show you five ways to quickly discover that perfect head-turning headline.
  • Use Google Analytics to find hot posts and promote them more
    • Sometimes you need to lift the hood and have a look at the engine – in this case, we’re talking about that scary thing called Google Analytics. Once you know the basics, you’ll also know how to quickly pull out the information you need without getting lost in the weeds. One of our favorite stops is Behaviour > Overview this chart shows us our top traffic blog posts.
  • Add internal links to your revenue pages
    • Your blog should direct readers to your products and services. Just like a store showroom or trade show, you need to invite your visitors to learn how you can help them. A quick exercise is to review past blog posts and include more links to your “revenue” pages.

  • Regularly share your old articles on social media
    • Sometimes the old is new again – like with your older blog posts. Our favorite strategy is to regularly share the most popular posts on our social channels – regardless of how old they are. A quick visit to Google Analytics (#12) will show you which articles are pulling in the most traffic.
  • Promote your posts on Social Media
    • This should be a no brainer – you need to use your social channels to reach more readers. Your blog has everything you need to get attention: important topics, a catchy headline (right?) – even an attention-grabbing image. We recommend (we can do all of this for you) promoting your new article immediately but also continue to promote your most popular articles (like this one that we originally published in 2017.)
This should be a no brainer - you need to use your social channels to reach more readers. Click To Tweet
  • Install click-to-tweet
    • The old, manually-loaded “Click To Tweet” was a neat way to get readers to quickly fire off a tweet to point people to your post. But now there’s a better version, cleverly called Better Click To Tweet. This makes it easier for you to create the tweet as you load your new post into the WordPress editor…You might have noticed a few of those throughout this post.
    • Once the plugin is installed, a bluebird will appear in your editor menu bar. Highlight and copy the text you want to be tweeted, click the bird, paste the text where asked and you’re set.
  • Publish your article on LinkedIn
    • This is a no-brainer that can get you lots of attention. LinkedIn allows you to publish your article directly onto your profile. Once you have published your final post on your site, simply copy/paste the article onto LinkedIn. Remember to invite readers back to your site and to invite comments. Note you can only publish articles from your computer’s IP address (not from a VA or agency.)
  • Publish your article on Medium.com
    • Just like putting your blog articles on LinkedIn, Medium is a platform where you can easily reach a bigger audience. It only takes a few minutes to create your profile and to publish your first article. Be patient, you will need some time to attract your followers.
  • Add images, charts, infographics, and video to your blog

    • Depending on your topics and your audience, you might want to “dress up” your posts with more media content, like infographics, screenshots, illustrations, additional pictures – even video. Keep in mind that a large and growing percent of your audience will be reading your blog on their smartphone and heavy use of media content might affect their reading experience.
  • Include experts in your blog posts
    • A fun way to grow your community and to increase blog traffic is to invite experts to contribute to a blog post. This is often called a “roundup” post. The idea is pretty simple: come up with an interesting topic, reach out to experts for their comments, ideas or best practices, compile the article and then encourage your contributors to share the article.
  • Do something crazy
    • Sometimes you need to take a risk to get attention. Your blog is a great place to take a risk and test your market reaction. You could write about a topic your audience is worried about (like this post about boring content), or be a contrarian (like this post challenging the assumption that starting a business is a great idea.) or even poke fun at your readers for something they know they need to change (like this post about being a drama queen and procrastinating.) 

There you have it – 21 ways to spice up your website and increase blog traffic. Now it’s time to pick one and get started!

Enjoyed this post? Got another 5 minutes? Here are 3 more of our most popular posts all about writing blogs:

10 surprisingly simple tune-ups to make your blog sexy
5 brilliant ways to start your blog post with a bang
9 blog topic ideas your audience will love

Why you need to stop micromanaging your startup

A hand controlling a marionette, representing a manager micromanaging employees.

“If you really want to grow as an entrepreneur, you’ve got to learn to delegate.”
– Richard Branson

 

Are you building your business with bold, brave action, or…

micromanaging the life out of it?

We see it all the time.

A new client signs up for our team at BlogWorks to write blogs for them (we also update old posts to get more traffic) and then micromanages us.

We love feedback – in fact we need feedback to get aligned with the style and goals of our clients.

But it can go too far.

The clues are pretty obvious:

We get back an email that starts with “I’m really disappointed with…” And then they point out two words that need to be changed.

Or, we’ve agreed on a publishing schedule, but they are checking every day to see if we’ve delivered the blog.

Building a startup is not easy.

Your business seems to have a million details: building your marketing, finding the work, delivering the goods, working with contractors.

It can be overwhelming.

And the temptation is to do everything perfectly – just like when you worked at your last job, or when you only had 3 clients.

Think again.

We love giving attention to detail, but we also know the value of getting shit done (excuse the French.)

Are you a micromanager?

Your micromanagement tendencies might be subtle or super sized – either way, you can’t change until you recognize them. Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Am I delegating work and still doing more?
  • Do I easily get frustrated with the quality of other people’s work?
  • Do I find myself incessantly correcting people’s grammar?
  • Do I tend to tell people how to do something instead of letting them figure things out?
  • Do I take back assignments as soon as I see it not going smoothly?

If you said “Aaaaagh, yes that’s me!!” to any of these questions, please keep reading!

Here are our top 5 ways to stop micromanaging (hint, if you find a grammar error…smile and keep reading.)

“You don’t build a business. You build people, and people build the business.” – Zig Ziglar

1. Work with urgency

Everything changes if you’re leaving for vacation or a big client trip tomorrow. We call it the day-before-vacation phenomenon—you are working with urgency.

When there is urgency in your work – because you organized your week around specific high-value goals – you stop micromanaging. You simply don’t have time for it.

When there is urgency in your work - because you organized your week around specific high-value goals - you micromanage less. You simply don’t have time for it. Click To Tweet

The simplest way to stop micromanaging urges is to macro manage by working from 2-3 very important goals for the week.

2. Dive into delegation

“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.” – John C. Maxwell

Nothing grows a business faster than delegation. It is like a multiplier on your work and leverage on your talents.

And you will screw it up horribly – at first. Everyone does.

You choose the wrong contractor, over pay, or don’t set clear expectations.

Nothing grows a business faster than delegation. It is like a multiplier on your work and leverage on your talents. Click To Tweet

Growth in your business only comes in a few packages: charge more, work more, or delegate more. If you know you need to delegate, start small:

  • Go on fiverr.com and outsource some market research or graphic work. Spending $30 on a single task will teach you how to use online outsourcing tools.
  • Use upwork.com to hire a freelancer to fix your web site, or set up an email sequence in your CRM. It’s easy to create a one-time contract that teaches you how to manage expectations.
  • Hire a local student to enter contacts into your email software or do social media for a month.

3. Sell the big picture

Effective delegation includes other people making decisions on your behalf. So, instead of telling people how to do the work (of course you have to explain what’s needed), sell the big picture.

Take a few minutes to share your goals, the history of your business or this client – create some context for the work.

The better you prepare the person doing the work the better they can make decisions without you.

4. Pick your battles

You can’t do it all and you can’t fight every battle. You will see endless opportunities to rewrite a paragraph, rework a graphic, change an email or coach on telephone skills.

Choose carefully.

Your goal is to grow your company. Right?

Micromanaging every detail is a sure recipe for burnout, frustration and stagnant business growth. Stop micromanaging. Pick your battles wisely.

Micromanaging every detail is a sure recipe for burnout, frustration and stagnant business growth. Pick your battles wisely. Click To Tweet

5. Love 90% good

Every author finds mistakes after publishing. Every new car model gets updated after it first rolls off the assembly line. And you will find mistakes in the work of others.

It’s inevitable.

And sometimes you have to love that it’s 90% done instead of shooting for 100% and it’s (still) not done.

We want you to be successful. 

It’s hard – you have chosen the path of the startup, the entrepreneur, the self-employed.

You will be faced with more details than you can manage and more opportunities than you can handle.

Growth will only come from delegation and letting go. But, remember this: letting go is not about losing control or allowing bad work. Letting go is about giving responsibility to others to get the work done, fix the problems and help build your success.

It’s time to get started.

3 Amazing WordPress Blog Plugins to Power up your Site

WordPress blog plugins to power up your site

This might be the most important article you read this year.

Okay, a bit of hyperbole, but if you’re trying to get bigger results from your blog, this will be damn good.

In this article we are looking at the 3 WordPress blog plugins we use the most often on this site.

Think of a plugin like an app on your phone. They can be a waste of time and actually slow down your site…or they can be amazing and make life oh-so-much-better. Add to that, most plugins are free, or at the very least have a free version.

Here they are:

1. Better Click to Tweet
2. Insert Post Ads
3. Editorial Calendar

I’m going to spell out the steps for each of these WordPress blog plugins below. You can also grab some popcorn and watch this 12 minute video.

Video roll:

01:00 Better Click to Tweet
4:38 Insert Post Ads
10:26 Editorial Calendar

1. Better Click to Tweet

This might be the simplest improvement you make to your blogs results—make it easy for readers to Tweet about your blog. In our goldfish-like attention world, nothing is better than saving your customers’ time.

In our goldfish-like attention world, nothing is better than saving your customers’ time. Click To Tweet

Better Click to Tweet is a simple, free plugin that makes it super easy to let your readers, with just 2 clicks, share your post to all of their followers on Twitter. And that one tweet can put you in front of thousands of followers loyal to that reader.

There are similar tools, like Click to Tweet and plugins like sumome and social warfare offer a click to tweet option.

This video explains how to install the plugin.

Once you have the plugin installed adding a click to tweet is easy:

Copy a quote from your blog you want readers to share. Click on the location in your post you want to insert the click to tweet. Click on the blue bird in your menu bar, paste the quote and you’re done!

more blog traffic

2. Insert Post Ads

This WordPress blog plugin is amazing! I first came across it on Mike Stelzner’s Social Media Examiner’s blog (which has become like a Wiki for how-to social media). I noticed there were ads for his conference on every blog post. And I knew he had thousands of posts – clearly it wasn’t possible to have inserted the ad manually. That’s when I had a peak at his source code and viola!..Insert Post Ads (Thank You Mike.)

On any WordPress site, you can insert a banner for a webinar, live event (like Stelzner did for his conference), book sales, optin, content upgrade, a sale event or your daughter’s lemonade stand.

Within a few minutes your advertisement/offer/announcement is on every blog post on your site. And just as quickly you can remove it.

more blog traffic

Here’s how this clever little plugin works…

Once you have the plugin installed (did I mention it’s free?).

1. Drop the banner image you want displayed into a draft page on your WordPress site. You won’t be publishing this page – it’s just there so you can quickly get the html code from the image.

2. Click on the image, go to edit, and select “Link to Custom URL” and paste the link to the event or sales page you want to promote. Click “Update” to save the banner. Now that you have a linked banner, you need to load that into the Insert Post Ads plugin.

3. Click on “Text” to display the HTML code for that page (if you’re getting confused, watch the video on this page.) Copy the code for that banner into your clipboard. Click “Save Draft” to save your page in WordPress.

4. Go to your Insert Post Ads plugin “Post Adverts > Add New Posts.” Enter the name of the new insert where it says “Advert Title.” Paste the HTML code into “Advert code:” Choose “Display the advert After Paragraph Number” and choose a number. Click “Publish”

That’s it. It’s going to seem like Greek (no offense to all the Greeks who read my blog), but once you’ve done it, oh let’s say 114 times, it gets easier!

I encourage you to write out the steps so next month when you go to replace the banner it’s much quicker.

3. Editorial Calendar Plugin

I think I saved my favourite of the WordPress blog plugins for last.

Imagine having all your blog posts – past and future – nicely organized and displayed on a calendar. Automatically! That’s what the Editorial Calendar plugin (yup, free as well) will do.

Imagine having all your blog posts - past and future - nicely organized and displayed on a calendar. Automatically! Click To Tweet

All you have to do is install the plugin and presto! it populates with all your posted blogs and – this is my favourite part – it lists all your draft posts in a tidy list in a right-hand side bar.

But, wait, there’s more! (thank you Steve Jobs for that one.)

more blog traffic

You can do a quick edit of a draft right from the calendar. You can also move your draft posts on the calendar and it will automagically update the posting date on the draft.

If you aren’t using a more robust tool, like coschedule or post planner, Editorial Calendar is a slick, nibble alternative. And if you collaborate with an editor or assistant, this tool will save you tons of emails back and forth about dates.

You’re welcome.

Ready to learn more? Here are 3 of our most popular articles on this topic:

7 Types of Call To Action to Move your Blog Readers to Action
Your end of year blog tune up
51 ways to get more business from your blog in the New Year