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10 surprisingly simple tune-ups to make your blog sexy (and get more blog traffic)

Make your blog sexy and get better results

We all want more blog traffic.

Way back, when Tyrannosaurs roamed the earth, blogs were personal journals for reflection and maybe for close friends to enjoy.

Not anymore.

Many blogs are for building your brand, attracting business, building your list, and hopefully even growing sales.

But the question is, how to get traffic to your blog in the first place?

In this post, we’re looking at super simple tune-ups to make your blog work better and, maybe, even a bit sexier.

Sound good? Let’s go.

1. Use keywords

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.

2. Powerful headlines

The LAST thing I work on when writing a blog is the headline.

Your headline is the first thing people see in social media posts (after the image), Internet searches, and links from other sites—it’s worth getting it right.

It can make a world of difference when it comes to getting traffic to your blog.

While a headline like, “10 Ways to Deliver Better Customer Service” may be accurate, it’s as boring as ordering a cup of coffee.

So, what’s a better option? Something like this: “10 Ways to Knock the Socks Off Even the Most Reluctant Customer”.

Great headlines include words like this: lists, “you”, “your”, “free”, “how to”, “DIY”, “I/me/my”, “easy”, and “new”

3. Good images

More natural photography can help blog traffic
Stock photography vs. more natural photography

A quick fix for ANY blog is better images.

Try to avoid “stock images” of multi-ethnic teams smiling into the camera-instead look for natural images of real people doing real things.

A quick fix for any blog is better images. Click To Tweet

For posts longer than 400-500 words, insert a second image to break up the text and keep the reader moving.

If you’re serious about your blog, it’s worth getting familiar with basic editing tools like Canva or picmonkey.

If you are looking for an easy new way to find or create images and audio, we recommend Adobe products. You can find all of their creative software packages here.

4. Cross link

Here’s a simple strategy for how to get traffic to your blog and keep readers on your site longer (which is measured as lower Bounce rate in Google Analytics)…

Cross link from one blog post to another. 

Why?

The idea is to invite the reader to learn more about your topic by reading a related post. Like this one, where we offer up 21 blog traffic building tips you can’t miss.

See what we did there?

A simple strategy can keep readers on your site longer Click To Tweet

Start with a short list of 4-5 posts you ideally want every reader to see. Then, link to them whenever it seems like a natural opportunity.

5. Current dates

Consistent publishing dates is a good thing. Just like a magazine, it’s going to be easier to attract followers if they know they can count on the regular issues.

Or course, life happens and you might have a gaps between posts. The good news is, WordPress makes it easy to smooth out your publishing dates and even republish old posts.

Simply open individual posts, change the “Published on:” date and click “Update”.

Presto – your posts are re-dated or older posts are re-published.

Current dates

6. Opt-in is working

When was the last time you opted in to your your own opt-in?

You might be surprised to learn that your invitation isn’t, well, very inviting.

Here are some quick tune-ups for your opt-in sequence:

When was the last time you opted in to your your own opt-in? Click To Tweet
  • An inviting offer – Most people aren’t interested in getting “newsletters” anymore. Try offering “weekly tools and tips”, or “free helpful advice”, or “regular updates”, or simply offer your opt-in gift and let them decide if they want to join your list.
  • Double opt-in instructions – Remember the opt-in isn’t complete until they click on the confirmation email. On your “success” page (that pops up once they enter name and email) instruct them to check their inbox but also to “white list” your emails.
  • Send follow-up emails – Once a person becomes a follower, it’s time to nurture them and invite them to stick around. An email sequence (ideally, you remove them from regular emails while in this “quarantine” period) of 3-5 emails to welcome them and introduce them to your services is a smart way to build loyalty and even move a follower to a buyer.
Example of ‘success’ page and instructions on how to double opt-in
Example of ‘success’ page and instructions on how to double opt-in

If you haven’t started building your mailing list yet, be sure to ask these 5 questions first. 

7. Use the “Featured Image” for your main image

If you’ve ever noticed that the wrong image gets pulled from your blog on Facebook or Twitter, it could be you aren’t using the Featured Image option in WordPress.

“Featured Image” is a selection on the right-hand side of your WordPress editor that allows you to choose one image from your media library for the top of your post, but also to be the thumbnail pulled anytime the link to your post is used (like in Facebook).

The right image could be what makes someone choose your post over someone else’s.

 

Use the Featured Image feature in WordPress to ensure your image is properly pulled into social media
Use the Featured Image feature in WordPress to ensure your image is properly pulled into social media

Not sure if you’re using Featured Image?

Head over to your latest blog post, scroll down, and on the right-hand side you should see a thumbnail of your main image labeled “Featured Image”. Click there, select the image you want from your media file, and you’re set.

8. Social share buttons

When a reader shares your post on Twitter, Facebook, or any social media, they’re exposing your content to their followers.

That’s a good thing. For many bloggers, this is the primary way they get traffic to their blog.

The easier you make it for readers to share your content the better. But tiny icons from now-obscure social media channels, like Yelp and Foursquare, won’t help you get traffic to your blog.

To see what posts are getting the most shares, head over to buzzsumo, drop in your site URL, and you’ll get a list of your top five.

Encouraging sharing can help build blog traffic
The SumoMe social share menu floats on the page as the reader scrolls through your post

We use SumoMe by Noel Kagan – the Social Share menu floats alongside your blog as the reader scrolls down the screen and works perfectly on mobile.

 

Readers can click on these social share options, spreading the word, and getting more blog traffic.

9. Measure results

Google Analytics is your dashboard—it’s the only way to accurately know what’s really going on with your blog traffic, visitor behaviour, history trends, and sources of visitors.

As for opt-ins?

Your CRM (Customer Relations Management software, like Mail Chimp or Aweber) is the only place to accurately measure opt-ins.

If you haven’t been checking Google Analytics, first make sure it’s installed by following these instructions.

Next, get familiar with basics, like:

  • User volume (number of unique visitors),
  • Page views (total pages visited),
  • Bounce rate (percent that leave after one page),
  • Average session duration (time on site),
  • Behaviour (scroll down main menu, on left, and look for box icon > Overview – most viewed pages on site. This is where you can discover which blog posts are most popular.

Want to dive even deeper on this strategy? Check out these 5 quick ways to measure your blog’s performance. 

10. 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 blue bird will appear in your editor menu bar. Highlight and copy the text you want tweeted, click the bird, paste the text where asked and you’re set.

If you’ve gone through this post and realized you haven’t implemented some, or (GASP!) — any — of these strategies, it’s time to get to work!

No more asking how to get traffic to your blog — you know what you need to do.

Liked this post? Got another 5 minutes? Here are 3 more of our most popular posts all about putting your blog to work:

How to (finally) make money with your blog
How to increase blog traffic by almost 30% in only 90 days — a case study
9 blog topic ideas your audience will love

How to increase blog traffic by almost 30% in only 90 days – a case study

Busy street symbolizing an increase in blog traffic

At BlogWorks we love to see results.

Especially when the results are fast.

And we really, really love seeing client results when we’re using one of our favourite techniques.

What we call re-loving old posts.

The idea is simple…

If you have been blogging for a while, your inventory of posts will have been indexed by the search engines. In other words, Google will have decided how to “rank” your blog posts against all the other posts about similar topics.

This is why some of your posts show up on the first page of search results and some on the 13th page.

Updating old content can fix that.

Let’s start with why updating old posts works.

Why you need to update your old content to increase blog traffic

The strategy of updating old content to increase blog traffic works best if you’ve already published at least two dozen blog posts. This post explains in detail how to use this strategy.

Here are the most important reasons why we love this strategy. Book a call today to learn if this can work for your business.

1. Better click-through. When you update that old content you improve your click-through rate – the volume of people who choose to click on your article – simply because the date is more current.

2. Google likes fresh content. One of the many factors Google looks for in posts is how fresh is your content. When you update your old posts you also will update the publish date. More recent equals more results.

current dates in search engine results page
In this example, 6 of 7 search results were posted in the last 12 months

3. Improve your title. Your post title tells readers what the article is about but also should attract and intrigue the reader enough to want to jump in. Now is the time to turn that boring headline into a killer question, or use any of the 5 techniques described in this article.

According to Convince and Convert, a great title is clear (what will I get if I read this?) but intrigues the reader to dive in. Remember, you are competing with everything else on their phone or laptop – you need to get and keep their attention!

blog post title matters
The best headlines are about 8 words and 70 characters

4. Fix grammar and spelling. Updating your old posts gives you a chance to catch those spelling mistakes or tighten up the grammar. A quick improvement is to remove the word “that” – it will make your sentence read better and improve the flow of your post.

5. Link to “revenue” pages. Here’s a quick test: in the first third of your article does you post link to at least one “revenue” page, like a product or service page? When you update the old post, also update internal links to your site.

image of internal links in a blog post

6. One less article to post. Updating an old post takes a fraction of the time it takes to write a new one. Many of our clients combine one new article (we do that as well!) with one updated article each month.

Now that we’ve looked at the reasons, let’s look at an example of how one BlogWorks client used this strategy.

The Speaker Exchange

Like many small business owners, Brittanny and Julie at The Speaker Exchange were aware of the value of content marketing, but needed an outsourced solution. They had been using newsletters to stay in touch with their audience.

They reached out to BlogWorks for a solution.

Home page of The Speaker Exchange

The goal was to create consistent inbound traffic using original blog posts targeted to the event planner audience. At BlogWorks we have a team of local writers, each with specialties.

We write blog posts for a wide variety of wonderful clients ranging from leadership authors and public speakers to cyber security experts. And in this case, we have writers who know the speaking industry.

The BlogWorks solution

The BlogWorks solution was to write one original post and to update one older post every month, plus promote the blog through social media. In the first 90 days, site traffic was up almost 30%! Even better, Sessions and Pageviews were both up over 20%.

Image of analytics showing increased blog traffic

A part of the solution was more consistent blog publishing, but the biggest results was from updating old content with better keywords, headlines, and content.

The client example we shared in this post could be yours(!) Contact us today to learn how to increase your blog traffic by updating old posts.

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

How to start a blog post – 5 examples that really work!
5 brilliant ways to start your blog post with a bang
9 blog topic ideas your audience will love