This is a guest post written by Zoe Linda.
The question on every blogger’s lips (after “how do I take the perfect flat lay?”) is “how do I grow my blog?”
Let me guess where you’re at:
- You’re regularly posting strong quality content on your blog but no one is reading
- You’re working tirelessly to grow your social media following but no one is clicking your #linkinbio
- You feel like you’re putting everything you have into your blog but you’re not getting the results you want
Listen. You can work long and hard to create the perfect blog post with beautiful images and a valuable opt-in freebie, but it’s all for nothing if no one reads it.
This is where you need some killer strategies in place to get dedicated blog readers flocking to your site whenever you hit publish.
Don’t worry, girl, I got you. Keep reading to hear my 4 ways to grow your blog and drive traffic to your website.
Before we get started
We want to make sure your blog is ready for all these new visitors you’re going to get. You want your blog to stand out and encourage your readers to stick around to read your posts (or, even better, drive them to come back for more)!
I see a lot of bloggers that are let down by their blog design. You could be writing amazing posts with incredible value for your readers but if your design is hard to navigate, or is displeasing to the eye, then they might not stick around to read your post.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure your blog design is up to scratch:
- Declutter your sidebar. Keep your sidebar clean and simple with only a few widgets in play. Try to keep it short in length so visitors don’t have to scroll down for long to reach the bottom of your site.
- Clear navigation. Make your navigation menu clear with pages such as ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ pages easy to find. These pages are essential for when your new readers come along!
- Easy to read fonts. Are your blog’s fonts easy to read? I’m not talking about using Comic Sans (bleurgh) but switching out a decorative/scriptive font for something simpler - especially in the bulk of your blog posts - can make a huge difference.
- Set fonts and colours. Too many fonts and colours can be overwhelming and negatively affect your blog’s brand. Pick 2 to 3 fonts and 3 to 4 colours to focus your design on.
- Check your blog on mobile. It’s super important to check how your blog looks like on a smartphone. You’d be surprised how many readers will come from social media apps instead of desktop sites.
If you want to learn more about how to improve your blog design, I have a whole Pinterest board of resources for ya right here!
#1 | START WITH SEO
I like to think that Search Engine Optimisation is basically another way of saying "putting your blog on the virtual map".
For those less tech-inclined, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) means that you're tailoring your blog content to be picked up more by search engines. Whenever you search for something on Google, Google searches through millions upon millions of websites for the most relevant content to display to you.
The more you focus on SEO strategies, the more likely you are to appear in the first page of Google’s search results, which will drive more traffic to your website. Only 9% of searches go onto Google’s second page of search results so effective SEO can have a huge knock-on effect for your blog.
Confession time. SEO is something I’d skimmed over in my first year of blogging.
What a mistake!
Now, I’ve implemented some simple SEO strategies, my most popular blog post has gone from just under 600 page views per month to over 3,000 page views per month. That’s crazy effective.
Here are some of the easy to implement SEO techniques I used to increase my blog traffic:
Use Google’s keyword planner
You’re going to need to get access to Google’s keyword tool before you can implement any SEO on your blog.
Create an Adwords account with Google but remember to skip the first ad setup or you won’t be able to access to keyword tool without setting up a paid advert.
When you’re all logged in, head to Tools > Keyword Planner > Search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category and plot your blog post topic into the Your product or service box.
Research long-tail keywords
Instead of researching one-word keywords to stuff into your blog post, discover long-tail keywords (group of words or phrases) to include in your blog post title, permalink, image names, and throughout your post.
For example, for this blog post, my long-tail keywords would be ‘grow blog traffic’, ‘increase blog traffic’, and ‘drive website traffic’ instead of just ‘blog’.
Top tip: You should be using your keywords throughout your post but you shouldn't be bombarding your post with them. If you use too many keywords in your posts and labels/tags, search engines see this as spammy and it will negatively effect your SEO ranking.
Edit your permalink
Including keywords in the permalink (URL) of your blog post will really help in telling Google what your content is about.
If you don’t edit them, your blog post permalinks will usually be something like "myblog.com/2016/01/13/2398" - which is super messy anyway! You should be changing these to be something more like "myblog.com/grow-website-traffic".
You can do this on Blogger by selecting 'Manual Permalink' and editing this. On Squarespace, it's under 'Options' when you're editing your blog post!
Create quality content
Google focuses on pushing the most relevant and high-quality content it can to its users. The more valuable and resourceful your content is, the more visitors your blog will get - which tells Google that your content is useful and popular.
Google stress this themselves in their Webmaster Guidelines:
“If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. In creating a helpful, information-rich site, write pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic. Think about the words users would type to find your pages and include those words in your site.”
Quality content will result in more shares and more backlinks, which have a positive effect on your SEO rankings. It’s a win-win!
If you want to learn more about SEO, click here to read my 5 super simple tips for bloggers or read Holly’s post of 12 SEO mistakes to avoid!
#2 | UTILISE YOUR INSTAGRAM LINK
To this day, I still see bloggers and business owners that don't link to their website on their Instagram page. SUCH a rookie mistake!
On Instagram, you only have one opportunity to send followers to your blog - you’ve got to get it right. By making the most of your #linkinbio, you’ll be increasing the chances of sending a whole host of new readers to your blog.
I recommend using Linktr.ee to create a page with multiple links for your followers to go to! Linktr.ee allows you to use one link in your bio that drives your followers to a 'menu' of sorts with multiple links. It's basically amazing!
You can see how this looks in reality with my profile below. You can see I have my linktr.ee URL in my bio; linktr.ee/zoelinda_
If you click that link, you'll be taken to my menu of links (below)! This screengrab was taken on desktop, but it is super mobile friendly and adapts perfectly to fit a smartphone screen.
Linktr.ee is great because:
- you can easily add new links
- there doesn't seem to be a maximum link limit
- you can easily rearrange your links
- you can track the number of clicks per link
- you can customise your menu colours
Now you’ve got a great link set-up, make sure you’re including a strong Call To Action (CTA) in your Instagram posts and Instagram stories to encourage your followers to click it!
You can learn more about how to make the most out of your Instagram link through authentically growing your Instagram account here!
#3 | CREATE PINTEREST FRIENDLY GRAPHICS
I’m a HUGE advocate of using Pinterest for your blog. I didn’t used to be so “into” it and I didn’t really utilise it for my blog and business.
When I learnt the error of my ways, I did a major Pinterest makeover which included creating branded Pinterest graphics for each of my old blog posts.
Creating a Pinterest friendly blog post graphic for each of your posts means more clicks, more repins, and ultimately more pageviews! But, how do you create something that is Pinterest friendly and that stands out amongst the crowd?
Keep it attractive
You should use your blog’s colours and fonts to make sure your pins reflect your brand identity. You want your audience to be able to spot your Pinterest graphics from a mile away - that's all down to maintaining your branding.
Also, try to use imagery where appropriate to add more depth to the image. I try to use a range of stock photography that fit in with my brand. You can find stock photos to use for free on the below sites:
This is a little more to do with your blog post content rather than your graphic but I'm a great believer in keeping blog content informational as opposed to a personal narrative. Writing about '10 Things To Do For Free In London' will resonate much more for your readers than a post diarising your day in London.
This will also make your blog post graphic more enticing as it will resonate more with your audience if it’s positioned as a solution to a problem or a useful resource!
Top tip: When brainstorming blog post ideas, try to think about what will provide the most value for your audience. If you come up with an idea, think to yourself "will my readers care about this?" This will help you filter out all the fluff and create only strong, creative content that is beneficial to your audience and will help you increase your blog traffic.
Believe it or not, Pinterest isn’t a social media platform - it’s a search engine.
So, remember everything we spoke about with SEO earlier? You’re going to want to use similar strategies on Pinterest!
You should add keywords onto your Pinterest graphic to make it stand out to those who are looking for resources in your niche. Also, incorporate keywords into your pin description to ensure your pin is showing up when your topic is being searched for.
You won’t believe the difference these small changes will make to your blog traffic.
Want to learn more about how to use Pinterest to increase your blog traffic? I have a handy guide for you over here!
#4 | USE FACEBOOK GROUPS
I’m a sucker for Facebook groups (including my own) but there is definitely a right and wrong way to use them.
Yes, lots of Facebook groups include weekly promo threads - but that’s not the only way to drive traffic to your blog through a group.
Find groups aimed at your ideal audience - not just your peers
It’s tempting to join a bunch of groups aimed at bloggers helping bloggers but, unless your ideal readers ARE bloggers, these are necessarily the best places to share your content.
If your writing is aimed at mothers, join a parenting Facebook group. If your blog focuses on helping business owners, there are tonnes of business focused groups you can join!
Don’t leave groups that are great on you and your peers but do try to find ones that are focused on your ideal audience.
Give value and answer questions
Instead of just spamming each Facebook group with links, try to go through and help other members by providing value, support and answering their questions. The more you help out, the more you’ll be recognised and known as an authority within your niche.
In most groups, if you are commenting on a post you have a blog post on, you are allowed to provide a link as long as it is relevant to the conversation and will give value to the members.
Keep note of promo days for each group
Finally, try to keep note of which groups have promo threads on each day of the week so you can pop your blog post link in when allowed!
Don’t get into the habit of dropping your link and bolting. Remember to take the time to click on a few other links and maybe even leave some comments. This will help you show that you are an active member of the community and you are there to support others in the group!
If you want to know more about using Facebook groups to grow your blog, click here to read my quick tips!
Finally, be patient
These strategies are not shortcuts to reaching your blog goals. You need to be patient and wait for them to kick in.
SEO and Pinterest especially take a few months to really get going so, honestly, don’t feel bad if your blog success doesn’t happen overnight. Heck - does anyones?
Most importantly, pageviews are great but don’t get yourself bogged down in website traffic statistics and social media followers. Try to focus on creating killer content for your ideal audience and the stats will grow later.
I hope these tips helped you out! What your highest referrer of traffic is on your blog right now? Are any of these 4 strategies working for you currently?
Zoe Linda helps passionate female entrepreneurs find clarity online through intentional social strategy. She is a social media strategist specialising in Instagram and Pinterest and offers influencer marketing services for businesses to increase their exposure online.
Get a breakthrough with your blog today!
Download this exclusive challenge to grow your audience, nurture your community + build your brand