Making money through blogging is only achievable with steady traffic to your blog. There are numerous strategies to improve your traffic, but in today’s post, I’ll talk about ways to increase blog traffic with content.
All bloggers, and I mean ALL, would agree that blog traffic is vital to your blog’s success.
If you want to monetize your blog, you will have to increase your blog traffic.
The more traffic your blog gets, the more leads you can generate, and the more sales you can make.
The big question, then, is not the WHY but the HOW.
I’ve covered plenty of ways (60 ways, to be exact) to promote your blog and get your awesome blog out there. You’ve applied a few of them; okay, maybe a lot. Researched other ways to increase your blog traffic (there are a lot of articles to choose from). Applied those, too.
Weeks, even months of diving into strategies to get your blog in front of the right people. But your blog analytics seem to laugh in the face of your efforts.
In today’s post, I’ll give ways to increase blog traffic with content.
“But why start with content?” you ask. “Why not social media or SEO or email?”
All of those are important to your overall strategy, of course. But you need to start with the basics.
Your content is what your readers go to your blog for. No content means you have nothing to share on your social networks, nothing to optimize for search engines to find, and nothing to email your leads with.
Plus, your content is yours. Social media networks can fail. Search engines can change their rules. Your emails can remain unopened or go straight to spam. When everything else fails, you’ll always have your content.
Wait! Before you start…
If you haven’t already, set up your web analytics software on your blog and all your posts. Otherwise, you won’t know how much traffic your blog is actually getting and how much it will change. The most popular by far is Google Analytics (plus it’s free!).
Better blog posts are so crucial that I dedicated an entire post to it. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the best tips to write better blog posts.
The key here is that you should always aim to improve your content. And to do that, you’ll need to continually improve your blog posts.
Of all the components of a blog post, the most important thing to perfect is your headline.
Quite simply, it’s your first chance to make a great impression on your target audience. This is the part that usually gets shared on social media. This is what appears on search engines when your target audience search for information that’s on your blog post. It’s what your visitors first see on your blog post.
If you don’t catch your target reader’s attention, your blog post won’t get read. Which will be a real shame because then you’ve worked to improve your writing and blog post for nothing.
I’ve written about headlines briefly in this post. Here are a few more simple tricks that you can keep in mind when coming up with a catchy headline.
Numbers simply work. It’s an old but effective trick to call attention to your post. Plus, it’s an estimate of how long a blog post your reader can expect. If you come across an article with “20 Tips,” you can expect it to be a longer (and probably more valuable) read than an article with just “5 Tips.”
Example: Instead of “Ways To Create Headlines”, try “8 Ways To Create Headlines”
Sure, they look clickbait-y, but they do work. Just make sure you fulfill the promise of the headline. If you promised “awesome,” you better deliver “awesome.”
Example: Instead of “Ways To Create Headlines”, try “Ways To Create The Best Headlines”
Your readers want information. They’re probably asking questions in their heads.
Pose a question and then answer that question in your blog post. When readers see that question and it’s the same one they’ve been asking themselves, they’re likely to click on your headline and read your answer.
Example: Instead of “8 Ways To Create The Best Headlines”, try “Do Your Headlines Suck? Here’s How To Write The Best Headlines”
Your headline should catch attention but never mislead your readers. Be clear about what your readers can expect to get from your post. If you’re using keyword research to write your blog posts (which you totally should, if you aren’t already), make sure that keyword is also in the title. This increases the chances that your blog post is actually found by someone searching for that keyword.
Example: Instead of “Your Headline Is Hurting Your Traffic”, try “8 Ways To Create The Best Headlines”
CoSchedule presented a convincing argument with a sound scientific basis for writing 25 headlines per blog post. Hard to argue with science, so try it and see what headlines you come up with. Writing many headlines also increases the chances that you create a good headline.
CoSchedule also came up with a helpful headline analyzer. It’s a data-driven way to know which of your headlines are hits and which ones are misses. It asks for some information from you (and I’ve had to fill out the form every time I use it on different days), but it’s free and definitely worth the trouble.
These aren’t all the steps you can take, but this list should give you a great start. Remember, your job doesn’t end at writing valuable content; it’s your job to convince your readers using your headline that your content is indeed valuable and will help them.
I’m sure you’ve created different types of posts in your blog at this point. But if your blog traffic is floundering, then maybe you need to change it up a little bit and see if a break in the routine piques your readers’ interest enough to increase your traffic. Here are some examples of different types of blog posts that have been proven to increase traffic and engagement for other bloggers.
How-to posts tell readers how to do something. This is one of the most popular blog types for many reasons. First, because of their very nature, they’re educational and thus valuable. Second, it establishes you as an authority on the topic.
Third, it fits the problem–solution formula quite well. The problem is in the title, and the body of your blog post is the solution. Lastly, you get points for SEO because when your target audience need to learn to do something, they’ll be searching for “how to [do something]” on their browsers.
Tip: Enhance your how-to post by including diagrams and images.
Example: How To Create Content For Your Blog (from this blog)
List posts condense information into a numbered list that’s easier to digest than paragraphs. Some would say list posts, or “listicles” as many call them, have been overdone to the point of saturation. But many articles are still written in this format for the simple reason that it works, and works well.
Tip: Listicles have gained a bad (if undeserved) reputation for having low-quality content. Ensure that you’re listing high-quality ideas or tips.
Example: 60 Ways To Promote Your Blog (from this blog)
Curated content is a list post that enumerates content from other sources. It seems unoriginal, but this type of post actually involves a lot of effort in researching and checking these resources.
An added bonus is the goodwill you get from the bloggers/influencers/businesses you got the links from. After all, they get links to their blog in front of a new audience. Make sure to inform them and ask them (very, very) nicely to share your post or give it a shoutout.
Tip: Add extra value by adding a one-line description or introduction.
A think piece is an article with your personal opinion and analysis of solid facts. It’s meant to be provocative and spark discussion. Again, this sounds like something you can just write out while watching “The Simpsons,” but for your opinion to matter, it needs to be informed.
This type of post requires serious research and stock knowledge. But if you get it right, you can get your readers to consider problems or trends in your niche and think of them in a different way.
Tip: If you can handle the backlash, try to write a controversial stance on a popular topic in your niche. It’s not for the faint of heart, but controversy attracts attention.
Example: Why New Internet Marketers Should Avoid PPC At All Costs (from this blog)
A post for sheer entertainment can break the monotony of your blog and give readers a teeny, tiny break. This type of post seems “valueless,” but people value entertainment, too. It’s an insight on your personality as well, and if your readers appreciate your humor, then that’s a real connection no amount of tutorials can achieve. Plus, a high-quality entertainment piece may just be the post that gets shared a lot and goes viral.
Tip: Use this rarely. It defeats the purpose of breaking monotony if you put this out too often.
Review posts provide an actual user’s perspective on the pros and cons of a product. You can also do a side-by-side comparison of two products and then end with a recommendation.
Find out what the popular products in your niche are. What products are your target audience talking about? What are they looking at but can’t decide because they aren’t sure if it’s right for them or if it’s worth buying? Reviewing a popular product can increase your shares and your traffic as a result.
A good product review offers valuable insights on a product from someone who’s actually used it, and should help your readers decide if the product fits their needs or not. Evaluate the product/s based on important details like the price, dimensions, expiry date etc., the overall user experience, and whether it solves the problem it promises to solve. More importantly, be absolutely honest, balanced, and detailed when doing this type of post.
Tip: Accompany the post with plenty of proof that you used the product/s in question.
Example: Penny Clicks Academy Review (from this blog)
Some topics are best given in parts. This is where a blog post series comes in. It’s a good way to present a topic that is too much for a single sitting. You can also do a 7-day or a 30-day challenge to walk your readers through a big task.
Having multiple posts about one topic and making it clear that it’s part of a series makes it more likely that your readers look at all the blog posts out of curiosity. Plus, Google bots like blogs that are updated. Having a blog series ensures your blog gets updated often, at least in that span of time.
If you’re going to do a serial post, it’s wise to have a central page that links to all the posts in that series that gets updated every time you post a new one. Link to this central page as well in all the posts in the series so that your readers will have some sort of “anchor” to go back to when they want to review past posts.
Tip: Plan early on how many posts you will write and how long you want the series to run for.
The text content of a blog should be the most important component, but images fulfill the human need for visual stimulation. Here are some reasons why adding images to your blog posts can help you increase blog traffic.
Data and statistics are educational, but you can take it up a notch by presenting it in a graph or chart. You can try to find accompanying graphs and charts to statistics you’ve found, or you can do this yourself using your chart software of choice, like Microsoft Excel.
A video demonstrating the topic you’re presenting will be a great addition to your blog post, aside from increasing the time your readers spend on your page. You can try to find videos on Vimeo or YouTube that fits your content, or you can try to produce one yourself.
If video feels like too much work, you can use screenshots when showing how to do something on the computer, like a software tutorial or just any process you need to do on the computer.
Example: How To Set Up Your Domain Name
Know how to draw? Why not try drawing for your blog? Draw like you normally draw with whatever you’re comfortable with (colored pens, watercolor, your blood… okay, maybe not that last one) and then scan your drawings or use your smartphone to scan them.
When done right, memes can be effective in driving your point home and getting a chuckle or two out of a reader when your topic is important but a bit humdrum. This one is tricky, because it’s possible to find yourself neck-deep in memes when looking in Meme Generator or Imgflip and trying to find one that fits your content.
Example: Blog Memes to Seize Your Smile
How many quote photos have you liked on Instagram or pinned on Pinterest? You can make powerful words visually appealing, too. It’s something that can easily be shared by your readers.
Try to create something like this:
Infographics are here to stay. This text + diagrams + chart hybrid is highly effective in presenting tons of information at a glance. Plus, it’s so easy to share. It’s not so easy to make from scratch, but you can use tools like Canva Infographic Creator, Infogram, or Piktochart.
Want even more traffic? You can submit your infographic to infographic directories. You can find a list of them here
Example: 2017 Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet (in case you ever wanted to know what size your images should be when sharing to social media. You’re welcome.)
Bonus example: This is a very helpful article, plus almost all the content I just enumerated are here (except the memes, and the cartoon he featured wasn’t drawn by him). 15 Quick Tips to Convert Visitors Into Email Subscribers
I’m sure you already use images on your blog posts. Here are some tips on how you can play with your existing visual content to increase traffic.
From: Featured image
To: Featured image with headline
Your blog post’s featured image appears right on top and appears when you share your blog post on social media. It seems redundant to place the headline right on the image when the headline is right beside it, but think of what happens when the image gets shared by itself.
If the headline is right on the image, the topic of the post is clear with just a glance. For an example, look no further than the featured image on this post.
To: Images with faces
Humans tend to look at faces longer (Don’t you love heat map studies?). Plus, faces go with almost any topic.
From: Generic vector images
To: Diagrams specific to your post
It seems like something only a graphic designer can do, and it’s probably the case for the more complicated ones. But when you want to illustrate a simple process or a flow, online apps and even your trusty Microsoft Office apps (PowerPoint and Visio, anyone?) can help you do this.
Creating your own diagram is much more fulfilling than spending hours looking for vector images that even remotely resemble what you want to show. Plus, you are in control over every aspect of it; how it looks, how big or small it is, how it fits in with your blog.
To: “Embeddable” infographics
Infographics, as I’ve said, are so easy to share, but you can take it one step further. Make it easy for other bloggers to embed it on their own site instead of just them downloading and posting it. It’s actually easier for them, and creates an opportunity for their readers to go to your blog by simply clicking on the infographic. It’s a win-win!
If you’re not comfortable handling HTML codes, check out this free embed code generator so you can create one in a snap.
To: Animated GIFs
Twitter and Tumblr are treasure troves of funny GIFs, but you can also use animated GIFs in your blog. Instead of using a million screenshots or create a video then embed it to teach something, you can use an animated GIF instead.
You can record a screencast of yourself doing the procedure and then convert it to an animated GIF using an online tool such as Ezgif or ScreenToGif. This works best for videos that are only a few seconds long.
Putting out new, original content is a challenge for any blogger. There’s so much time and effort that goes into a single post. Meanwhile, life happens, something comes up, and you find yourself pressed for time to make a new blog post. But you also know that a blog that isn’t regularly updated goes down in search rankings and stops being visible.
So what can you do? You can look at your old content and repurpose them.
But you do need a new approach to keep your content fresh. Here are some ways to repurpose your old blog posts to drive traffic to your blog.
The focus keyword you used to create a one-year-old blog post or even a six-month-old one may not be relevant anymore. Do your keyword research again, get a more relevant focus keyword, and edit the old blog post around that new focus keyword.
It’s safer to update the old post and then note that it’s been updated than posting a new post that’s too similar to the old one. Google’s bots will see that as posting duplicate content and will penalize you for it.
Again with the infographics, but hear me out. Instead of thinking of a brand-new topic for creating one, try to look through your old posts and choose one that could look good as an infographic.
This technique especially works well for list posts with helpful tips. Post one tip a day, expand on it (don’t forget your keyword!), and post the tips separately. This way you posted a different type of blog post, but didn’t have to think of a new topic.
You can turn your post into a series of tweets. Take tweet-worthy phrases from your post and tweet them, with links back to the source post.
Take phrases from your post and instead of tweeting them, make quote photos out of them so you can post them on Instagram. Don’t forget the link to your blog on your profile. Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t allow posting clickable URLs on the captions and comments section, so direct them to click the link on your profile to go to your blog.
How this works is you submit your post to these networks, and then they place it on other high-traffic sites. You pay every time a reader clicks on your article.
It sounds like pay-per-click advertising, and it’s very similar. But content syndication is more systematic and targeted such that it’s highly likely that your content is being shown to people who are actually interested. You can prevent overspending by setting a budget. More importantly, they’re known to work.
I know, this doesn’t seem like an issue with content per se, but hear me out.
First, let me explain what categories and tags are. They are both means to organize your blog posts, but they do so in different ways.
Categories are used to group your posts according to general topics. They tend to be broad and not overlapping with each other. All blog posts must fall under at least one category. Categories are thus crucial for your blog structure. For instance, if you run a beauty blog, you can have categories like makeup, skin care, hair care, and beauty services.
Tags are used to define specific details of your posts. A typical blog post can have 5 to 10 tags, but it can be more or less depending on how long the post is and how detailed your post was. Following our beauty blog example, if you make a blog post about a review for lipsticks from Rihanna’s new makeup line Fenty Beauty, you categorize it under “Makeup,” and it can have the tags “product review,” “lipstick,” “FOTD,” “Fenty Beauty,” and “Rihanna.”
If your readers look under the Makeup category, all makeup-related posts will come up. But if your readers look under the tag “Fenty Beauty,” they can see posts you made mentioning Fenty Beauty, like reviews for their foundation, or when you used their eyeshadows in your FOTD (that’s “face of the day,” but if you Instagram you should already know that 😉 ).
So, okay, that seems pretty nifty, but why should you even bother?
Categories and tags provide a better experience for your readers.
I’ve read a blog post when I searched for something and liked the post so much that I tried to look for other similar posts on their blog. But the author didn’t make a way for me to find those related posts. No category was displayed on the navigation menu ready for me to click on, no tags shown (at this point, even the much-maligned tag cloud would have been welcome), no list of related posts at the end.
I did the next logical thing and skipped out of there. There was NO WAY I was going to take the time to scroll through the entire blog to find something that would maybe interest me. Nope.
The thing is, after reading a couple of their blog posts, chances are I’d have left the page anyway, but I wouldn’t have left feeling miffed. Sure, it was only a few seconds of my time, but a few seconds is sometimes all it takes to either impress your reader or piss them off. Choose to impress them.
You need to think the same way as your reader. As the author, it’s on you to make sure your readers’ experience in your blog goes smoothly.
Categories and tags increase the time your readers stay on your blog.
If I had found what I was looking for after I read that blog post, I would have stayed longer than I did. It might seem insignificant, but staying longer meant I would have explored the blog a little more, maybe read a lot more than a couple of blog posts, or possibly even signed up for updates.
Think of the same about your readers. Something as simple and overlooked as categories can spell the difference between your readers staying 5 minutes and them staying for an hour. You can’t lose with readers who stay longer in your blog, even if you don’t gain them as leads.
When readers stay longer, this tells search engines that your content is engaging and valuable, and your blog gets rewarded accordingly.
Here are some best practices when using categories and tags for your blog posts.
So much to remember! But just keep in mind that the primary purpose of using these tools is to organize your content and so that your reader can easily make sense of your content.
Blogging is mainly about content. Sure, selling and marketing sound like fun, but for your visitors to become regular readers and for them to become buyers, you need to create content that’s worth going back to. Before you apply these techniques, though, I just have a few reminders.
It takes months, sometimes years, for your traffic to grow and more importantly, become stable. Don’t think that you can just churn out content and the readers will come. It doesn’t quite work that way. It takes a lot of hard work and sleepless nights and tears.
Some of your posts will have a spike in traffic briefly, enough to give you a glimmer of hope. And then go down to what it was. That’s the point when most bloggers give up. (I’m not making this up. It really does happen.) With other blogs, it flatlines and then steadily rises up and then plateaus.
What I’m trying to say is that there is no single path to achieve your goals. Keep at it, work hard, and adapt to the times. You WILL get there.
The downside of being inundated with helpful tips and strategies is that you feel pressured to LEARN ALL THE TIPS and DO ALL THE TIPS.
Choose one or two techniques, stick with it for a while, and see if it makes a difference in your blog traffic. If it does, keep doing what you’re doing right. If it doesn’t, or if it stops working, apply other techniques. Keep going until you achieve your blog traffic goals.
Email marketing a bust? Can’t seem to create a product that sells? Maybe you need to take a break from all that and go back to what your blog is REALLY about: content.
Remember: Nothing will ever beat creating valuable content that helps other people solve their problems.
Blog traffic got you down? Which one of these tips are you likely to try out? I want to hear about it! Sound out in the comments below!