The Skinny on Blogging: Growing Your Blog and Driving Traffic
Welcome back to week 3 of my new series, “The Skinny on Blogging.” Last Monday, I covered the importance of social channels and integrating them into your blog. Today’s topic is about growing your blog and driving traffic to it. I’ve already mentioned several times during this series about how important it is to make your blog the main platform and using all other channels to drive your followers back to reading your blog posts. Your Instagram should not be your only/main focus in blogging. In today’s post I’ll mention some other means of how I drive traffic back to my blog in addition to my social channels.
Today’s Look Details:
SEO: Search Engine Optimization
One of the main sources of referral traffic for your blog should always be organic search. This means that Google, Bing, etc. are recognizing your blog as a reputable source of information thanks to the SEO strategies you are implementing on your content. If you find that very little of your traffic is being referred through search engines, then you should probably redirect your strategy towards optimizing each of your posts for search engines. I am no SEO expert, and in fact have considered many times hiring a professional to oversee this portion of my blog because it is SO important. However, I’ll give you a small look into how I optimize each post to the best of my knowledge.
First of all, you should know that search engines often “crawl” your site and analyzes it’s content to determine when and how often it should show up in peoples’ search results. If you Google the name of your blog and it shows up on the first 5 results for that search, you’re off to a great start! Mine usually shows up in position 2-5. Unfortunately, my blog is also a popular phrase and the name of products on Sephora and pharmaceutical companies so I’ve had a really difficult time optimizing my blog for search engines. Generally, your web designer or a SEO specialist can help you with optimizing your home page and other pages within your blog. In this post, I’ll simply lay out what I do on a post-by-post basis.
Search engine bots can read your content, but they cannot read your images. Therefore, it is important that you tell the bot what each image is by laying that out in the photo title and alt tags. On WordPress, you can click the “add media” button and each image should allow you to adjust this content. I never add captions because that shows up within your post. Secondly, if you have not downloaded the Yoast SEO plugin, I recommend you do that ASAP. It provides you a score on your post in regards to SEO and readability for bots, and tells you how to improve that score. I use this as a guide when writing my posts. Last but not least, you can use this plugin to add a focus keyword that is the topic of your post. This tells search engines what you’re writing about so that when someone searches for that topic, your post will display within search engines.
I could go on and on about search engine optimization, but this information should get you started and begin improving your search engine results.
Pinterest and Tailwind
One of the largest referrers of traffic to my blog is Pinterest, hands down. Pinterest is a search engine in and of itself, and it’s largest market, creatives. Isn’t that who you want to read your blog content? Creatives that are interested in exactly what you are writing about. I pin each and every single one of my blog images to my Pinterest page. Of course, I don’t have time to do one pin at a time throughout the day, so I use a Pinterest scheduler called Tailwind. It optimizes each of your pins to display when your audience is on Pinterest. That way your content has the highest chance of being seen and repinned. The virality of your pins is what determines if it shows in Pinterest search engines, so you want your pin to get as liked and repinned as possible, similar to the Instagram algorithm. Give tailwind a try for free using THIS LINK. You can decide if you’d like to upgrade to pro later. Last but not least, make sure that you have the Pinterest plugin installed on your blog. This adds the “pin-it” button to each of your images so your readers can pin your images to their own page.
Create a Newsletter Network
A reader who joins your newsletter subscription is your most loyal reader. They WANT to read your content as soon as you post it and be the first to your site. Grown and engage this audience, and then reward them. Your newsletter network should receive the first information on sales and be able to access behind the scenes content that your social audience can’t. If there is no motivation to join, then they will not want to receive those weekly emails to their inbox. I once read that links or content within a newsletter is 75% more likely to be clicked and read then an Instagram post, and I believe it. Don’t forget about this core part of your audience, they’re likely your most loyal.
Engage with Other Blogs and Leave Comments
In addition to your current readership, other bloggers should also be a target market for driving traffic to your blog. Chances are if they’re writing a blog, they’re also reading them. Some of my most loyal readers are other bloggers, which was some of the motivation of starting this series. I love visiting other blogs and leaving comments on their content. Not only does this increase engagement as a whole across the entire blog community, pushing others to read your content, but it also allows you to leave your blog link on other blogs. I usually do this in my signature of the comment, Xoxo, Bailey (blog name). Chances are whoever is reading their blog will make a stop on your page as well. If they like your content, they will likely come back. This is a great way to get your blog out there and push people to your page.
Create Engaging Content and Improve Your Titles
You would think this one would be straight forward, but I can’t tell you how many times I find myself in a creative rut just wanting to post my most recent OOTD and share it with my followers. Unfortunately, this can only be engaging for so long. Readers want to learn something when they visit your posts. For instance, if today’s look had simply been me sharing my OOTD, I could have made it more engaging simply by changing the title and focus of the post. Instead of Orange Tank, perhaps I call it “5 Summer Bags I’m Loving.” The difference in page views simply by changing the title is unbelievable. In addition, if you find yourself in a creative rut, think of a series you’d like to write about and advertise it on a specific day. This motivates return visits to your content because people are curious about the next installment of your series.
I can’t emphasize this tip enough, and I know how difficult it is because I struggle with it regularly. Set a post schedule with your audience, and STICK TO IT. That doesn’t mean you have to post Monday-Sunday, it can be Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or even just Saturday and Sunday if that’s all your schedule allows for. Readers will become demotivated if they visit on your blog on a day that you’ve promised content, and there is nothing new to read. You will lose loyalty and trust in your readers, which is the only key to your success. TRUST is everything, so don’t lose it.
Honestly, I could go on and on about ways to grow traffic to your blog as there are so many strategies. These are the tips that I put into play most often, if not on a daily basis and I have slowly been able to grow my blog traffic over time. As long as you see continued growth, know you are on the right track. Don’t forget to check in next Monday for week 4 of my blogger series!
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