23 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Blog
It has never been easier to start your own blog. But it is a lot of hard work if you want it to be a success. If you manage to make it to the top in your niche, you might even be able to make a living out of it. Don’t get us wrong though, of course you can have other goals with your blogging. But since you are writing for the public, we assume you want people to read it. After you have read this guide we think you will have a lot of new ideas on how to drive traffic and new readers to your blog.
This article will be a bit different from what you usually read about here at Wincher. Of course, SEO will be part of it, but we will cover quite a bit of strategy involving social media as well. When it comes to driving traffic to blogs and websites, SEO is a great way. But there are a lot of great synergies when you are using different channels.
Before we get started I just want to give you my opinion on blogging and how you can get the best possible start. There’s a lot of free blogging platforms out there, like Blogger.com, Blogspot.com (both owned and run by Google) and WordPress.com (don’t get it mixed up with the CMS found at WordPress.org, we’ll get into that in a second). These free blog platforms are really good. But I think that if you are serious about your blogging you should host it yourself. Or at least have your own domain name.
Hosting these days are dirt cheap, and most hosting providers lets you install WordPress with a single click. Now we are talking about the CMS WordPress, the one found at WordPress.org. The reason I recommend this is that you will have a lot more flexibility when it comes to SEO. Which after all is a vital part of this guide.
But I’m not here to lecture you, nor to sell hosting. You are here to learn how to get more readers and visitors to your blog so let’s jump to it.
1. Do your homework and chose a topic that already has traffic
You might already have heard it before, especially if you have read our blog before. But as with any piece of web content, always do your keyword research before you start writing. But you shouldn’t necessarily go for the topic with the most searches, maybe aim for a similar topic with slightly lower search volume, but lower competition. These keywords are usually referred to as LSI-keywords. You should also look for long-tail keywords, or the tail, which are similar or related to your topic.
2. Use your keywords, but don’t forget about the synonyms
After you have done your keyword research you probably have at least one keyword in mind. You should obviously make sure that the keyword is used in your article, but don’t try to force your keywords into the context. A long long time ago you could fool search engines by stuffing your content full of keywords. And it actually has a term, it’s called keyword stuffing and you want to avoid that.
Instead, we really recommend you have the reader in mind and make sure to use synonyms. It will not only make the content more pleasant to read, but it will also most likely help your SEO and traffic in a positive way.
This might be a bit overkill for most bloggers, but we still think it’s worth mentioning whilst we are at it. If you are planning to write a lot of content within a certain niche, do it with keyword cannibalization in mind.
3. Write a great headline
So we are still covering the result of your keyword research. It might be very tempting to use the exact keyword or search phrase that you have found, as a headline for your blog post. But we strongly recommend you don’t.
Don’t get us wrong, it’s great if you can incorporate your keyword or search phrase in your headline. But make sure it makes sense, it’s readable and preferably something that excites the reader to click. Especially if you are trying to get traffic through social media, but also to get a good CTR in the search result.
Also, you probably don’t want to sound like a robot.
4. Don’t forget about meta description and titles
Let’s look at meta description and titles whilst headlines, titles and search results are still on top of your mind. Depending on what platform your blog is running on your meta title and description might already be perfect. But there’s also a chance they need improvement.
Meta title and meta description is what’s shown in the search result on Google and other search engines. Both the meta title and description should attract a potential visitor to click and at the same time reflect what your blog post is about.
A tip is to Google the subject of your article and see what the competition looks like. You don’t want to copy someone’s meta title, or description for that matter. You want to create an even better one. This will make you stand out. This is easier said and done, but do your best.
5. Use images, illustrations and videos
Most people have really short attention spans. Especially online. Few people have the discipline to read a wall of text, so make sure to make use of different visuals. Depending on your niche it might be photos, illustrations, graphs or videos. Even short animations like GIFs can help your readers finish reading your blog post.
6. Plan your content – write more and write often
SEO is a great way to get new visitors to your blog. But don’t underestimate the power of returning visitors. Depending on the character of your blog you might want to post several times per day, a few times a week, or maybe just once a month.
Consistency when it comes to frequency is more important than how often. And whilst a high frequency of new blog posts probably is better, don’t compromise on the quality of your blog posts. That will probably not work in the long run.
7. Know your niche and find your audience
Unless you are trying to create the next Wikipedia, try to find your niche. And stick to it. You are more likely to build a loyal and devoted crowd of followers if you have a clear niche of your blog.
It doesn’t need to be super narrow, as long as the niche is clear for both you and your readers. If you have a lifestyle blog, but 90% of the content is about watches it might be better to just stick to watches and skip the other 10% of travel, food, and leisure content. Just as an example.
When they think about whatever subject you are writing about, they should think about you!
8. Write evergreen content
Newsworthy content might give you a nice peak in traffic, but quite often this is highly temporary. Instead, you should try to write timeless pieces of content.
We usually call this evergreen content. Some examples of evergreen content are recipes or historical events. Some examples of content that is not evergreen are news articles.
Obviously it’s not that black and white. If your content is seasonal, it could be a good idea to make it as evergreen as possible. If you are a food blogger writing about the tastiest Christmas recipes you might want to put the year in your titles and headers. But not necessarily in the URL. Then it’s super easy to reuse the blog post year after year, or at least parts of it.
9. Don’t let outbound links scare you
Links are a big deal when it comes to traffic and especially when it comes to SEO. Every incoming link to your blog will probably have a positive impact on your SEO. The same applies the other way around as well. When you are linking to someone else’s blog or website you are technically helping their SEO.
That being said, you should not be afraid of linking to other blogs or websites. If the link can help your readers to get the most out of your blog post that might be worth more. But you might want to think twice before you are linking to one of your biggest competitors.
10. Remember internal linking
Inbound links and outbound links both have an effect on your SEO. But so do internal links. An internal link is basically you linking to something on your blog. It can be a blog post, a category page, or your homepage.
We think that there’s a lot of benefits to using internal linking between your content and blog posts. Not only will it have a positive effect on your SEO, but it will also help your readers to discover more content on your blog.
This could be used in many different ways. Instead of explaining the same thing over and over in your blog posts, you can refer to a blog post that explains whatever there is you want to explain. You can also take the opportunity to refer to related or similar blog posts.
11. Do guest posting
Guest blogging and guest posting have been used by SEOs for many years. Some would say that guest posting is dead, but we don’t agree. At all.
Guest posting done right might be more powerful than ever. Reach out to similar blogs to see if there’s any interest. You will probably be turned down more times than people say yes, or even reply. But don’t worry. It’s the same for most bloggers and fully normal.
If you get the opportunity to a guest blog you might expand your own audience as well as getting a backlink, which would be good for your own SEO. Just keep in mind that you want to write something truly interesting. Way too many guest bloggers put together some low-quality content, just for the sake of a free backlink.
12. Invite guest bloggers
What comes around goes around. Accepting guest bloggers might be as great as doing some guest blogging yourself. But you should also demand a certain quality and not accept anyone. The last thing you want is to disappoint your loyal followers.
Obviously, most will be forgiving if it happens once or twice. But if your blog starts to fill up with sales pitches of various products full of outbound links you will probably see a steady decline in readers.
13. Giveaways and competitions
Giveaways, lotteries, and competitions are a great way to engage with your readers. And you can make it even greater by asking for something small back.
Could be anything from a like on Facebook, follow you on Instagram, or writing a blogpost about you. Maybe with a backlink. There’s a lot of different approaches and we are sure you can find a lot of creative ways to experiment with giveaways.
Just make sure you follow the laws or regulations for lotteries and competitions.
14. Get the most out of Social Media
Even though most of us use social media on a daily basis, it’s easy to forget how powerful it can be. Especially for people who mainly work with SEO. Although social media has too little no direct impact on your SEO, it does have an indirect impact. And it’s also a great way to drive traffic to your blog.
Some social media works better for a certain kind of social media, whilst other social media might not work at all for your audience. The best way to find out is to try them out. Do your best to build an audience on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any social media you can think of. If your blog is more of the corporate kind, LinkedIn might be your primary choice.
Give it some time and you will soon find which social media channels work best for you and your blog.
15. Share your new and old content
When you have managed to build up some followers on your social media profiles, singular or plural, don’t be afraid of sharing your content. I guess it’s quite obvious that you should share your latest blog posts.
But there’s also a great way to share some old content every now and then. It could be content that really engaged your social media audience before. It could also be content that for some reason never got the reception you expected.
Just remember that no one likes to be spammed. When you share your content do it with moderation and especially if you are sharing old content.
16. Social share buttons
Might be obvious for a lot of bloggers. But we see so many blogs that don’t have share buttons on their blog posts. Even if they are only used by every hundred or every thousand visitors they are still worth the small effort.
There’s plenty of plugins that make it easy to implement on your blog. Just make sure the share button shares the actual blog post and not only your blog URL.
17. Write viral content
A lot of bloggers probably dream about their content going viral and get shared by thousands of people on social media. Writing a viral article is hard and it’s even harder to predict if it will go viral.
But there are shortcuts that you can and should make use of. If you check out a viral site like Bored Panda and search for one of their viral posts you will realise a lot of viral sites have more or less the same content. Even newspapers.
And you can do the same. Find something that has gone viral before and that suits your crowd of readers. Adapt it to your audience and give it your personal touch and share it. You might need to give it a few tries before you find a recipe that works for you. But remember to do it with moderation, a lot of people are fed up with clickbaits.
18. Promote your blog in email signatures and bio
Today is a blurred line between social media and things like email and forums. Most people would probably not consider email a social media, whilst they would say that WhatsApp is one.
Nonetheless, if you have the possibility to show people where to find your blog, take it. It could be your email signature, a forum profile or basically any kind of bio. At some forums and portals, you will still get SEO friendly backlinks, which is a great bonus.
19. Invest in advertising
Depending on the character and purpose of your blog, advertising might be a great way to expand your audience. If someone mentioned advertising a decade ago you probably thought of something requiring thousands of dollars in budget. But thanks to social media you get a lot of exposure for peanuts.
Facebook is probably easiest to get started with, assuming you are actually using Facebook. To promote a post that you have shared usually just requires a few clicks. But even platforms like Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and obviously Google lets you advertise. Starting at cents, or maybe a dollar.
20. Make it easy to subscribe via RSS
A lot of industry professionals will probably disagree with me on this one. But hey, that’s ok. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is a way for people to, kind of, subscribe to your content. It was especially big for blog and news content. I say it was, because RSS probably had its peak around 2006 and has been declining since.
But there’s still people using it, so again, depending on your audience it might be worth supporting it. Also, most blog platforms already support it out of the box.
21. Create an email list
This might sound like a recommendation from the ’90s, but email is far from dead. Social media in all it’s pride and glory. But a lot of people, especially from certain generations, still prefer email.
If your audience is right, newsletters will be a great way to engage with your audience and remind them of your latest blog posts. Done the right way, of course.
22. Invite readers to engage
You should always try to engage your audience. Giving them the option to comment on your blog post is a great way to do this.
Depending on how big your crowd is, it might not be possible for you to reply to everyone. But at least they have the possibility to interact and discuss in between each other.
I think all blog platforms I’ve seen have some sort of comment section. But it might be worth looking into a third-party platform like Disqus or Facebook Comments Plugin. Using a third-party comment platform can help you reach beyond your current crowd when they engage.
23. Improve your blog’s loading time
Talking about people’s attention span, no one wants to wait ages for a website or blog to load. Doesn’t really matter if they are coming from Google or Social Media. You should always make sure your blog is loading as fast as possible. If your blog is super slow, it might even have a negative impact on your SEO.
A super-easy way is to make sure your photos and images are optimised for the web and not unnecessarily big. Videos hosted at third party sites like YouTube or Vimeo don’t affect your speed as much. If your blog is hosted on one of the big blog platforms there’s not much more than this you can do.
If you are hosting your own blog at a hosting provider there might be a lot of things you can improve, but that’s a chapter of its own.
Follow up on your progress
Even if you just decide to pick up on some of our tips and recommendations on how to drive more traffic to your blog, you should invest a little bit of your time to track the progress of your efforts.
You should definitely keep an eye on where your visitors come from. This is easily done with Google Analytics, or maybe one of the great alternatives which also does the job for you.
Basically, these tools will give you a lot of insights on where you get your visitors and readers from. Is it from social media, someone else’s blog or maybe from Google? Which of my content is the most popular one? Which content and what pages do my readers spend most time reading? These are typical questions which a visitor analytics tool will help you find answers to.
If you do rely on traffic from Google, you should obviously keep an eye on your rankings as well. Using a rank tracker like Wincher will not only help you to track how your content is performing in Google, but also help you find new content ideas with our Keyword Research tool.
What can we take with us from this? The best way to build a big and popular blog is to make the most of each channel. Don’t be afraid to try new things and to experiment. But do make sure you learn from your experiments. Stay calm and keep blogging!
Please share your tips on how to drive traffic to your blog in the comment field below.