HOW TO BUILD A BLOG EVEN IF YOU HAVE LOW TRAFFIC
Want to learn how to build a blog?
Maybe you think you can’t because you have low traffic…
Or maybe you’ve been trying every single strategy out there and you’re not seeing the results you expected…
Just because you have low traffic doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to build a blog.
Analytics are just numbers.
They aren’t the most important thing in the world (unless you use ads a lot).
The good news is, even with low blog traffic, there are lots of things you can do to maximise your results.
In this post I’m going to take you through 8 different ways you can grow your blog, no matter if you’re happy with your traffic or not.
Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s just define “low traffic” at 20k pageviews a month or less.
By being specific with this, we can determine what we need to do to build a blog.
This is most likely going to include:
Grow your email list
Maximise your promotional offerings
Everything on your blog needs to help you accomplish these two goals with your current traffic situation.
So let’s go through what you can do to help you reach your end goals that little bit faster.
#1 | ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS FROM YOUR BLOG
When you want your reader to take specific action on your blog, such as:
Check out your landing page
Sign up to your email list
You need to eliminate all the noise from your blog that tries to steal the reader’s attention.
Here are some of the elements we need to look at:
REMOVE ANYTHING UNNECESSARY FROM YOUR SIDEBAR
Take a good look at your sidebar and remove anything that doesn’t serve a purpose for your website.
At this stage, it’s also worth checking all your links. You don’t want a user to click-through to a broken link and then leave your website.
I do a good sidebar clear out and refresh once every quarter.
REVIEW YOUR WEBSITE
Don’t clutter your website with all the information under the sun.
When readers have too many options to choose from, they won’t be able to make a decision.
For your sidebar in particular, you want to pick 2-3 things you want to promote the most, whether they’re your own creations or affiliate products. Always keep an eye on these to see if they’re performing as well as you want them too.
For instance, let’s say in your email marketing software, you can see a form in your sidebar has had over 7,000 visitors but has converted less than 10 people.
That doesn’t really deserve to take up the important space in your sidebar.
So you could choose to remove it and potentially remove other elements such as:
Ads (unless they play a big part of your monetisation plan)
Unnecessary widgets (e.g. Facebook and Pinterest that make the reader click away from your blog).
While growing your social media followers is important, email subscribers are top of the list.
Your aim is to keep people on your blog for as long as possible, not send them away.
Don’t force them to click away from your website when you’re just starting to grab their attention and beginning to build that relationship.
#2 | ADD SOCIAL PROOF
When it comes to learning how to build a blog, you need social proof.
It has a real impact on people.
It’s like when you read reviews of hotels online. When people see that others have shared something, used something or booked something, they are more likely to do the same.
A great way of doing this is to reference the total number of people who enjoy your emails, like this example from Melyssa Griffin.
Now I know most of us don’t have an audience of that size, but there are definitely other ways you can use social proof to your advantage:
“AS SEEN ON” LOGOS
If you’ve written a guest post on an authority site or you’ve been interviewed on a podcast, you can add these logos to your site. Some good places to include them are on your homepage, sidebar or footer.
You don’t have to sell products to get feedback from your audience. Any time you get a positive comment on social media, grab a screenshot of it. And if you get a really good email reply, double check with the person if you can use their feedback on your website.
#3 | OPTIMISE KEY PAGES
There are some pages on your website that people will visit the most.
You want to optimise these pages by going through the two steps we’ve just outlined above.
Your homepage can have many different calls to action, not just one. Here are the ones I use on my homepage:
Sign up to my email list
Join my community
Read my posts on the blog
Find out more about my services
Get access to the free Blogging Breakthrough magazine
But one thing to note is that the most important thing you want your reader to do after reading your homepage needs to go above the fold (aka at the very top where people don’t have to scroll down to see it).
For me, that’s to sign up to my mailing list.
That’s why it’s the first thing you see on my homepage.
Other elements you want to include on your homepage are:
Your brand statement
Latest posts on your blog
The key thing to remember with your About page is this: it’s not just there to welcome someone.
It needs to work harder than that. It’s not about your reader or about you. It’s why YOU are the right person for this subscriber.
Here are three elements to keep in mind when writing your About page:
WHY PEOPLE SHOULD LISTEN TO YOU
This doesn’t always have to come from the examples of big sites that you’ve appeared on.
It needs to come from your why. Why should people join you on your journey? Why is what you do online so important to you?
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
You’ve got to give people some context.
Why does what you talk about matter?
For instance, if you blog about organisation and productivity, your message could be: save time, you deserve support, plan life on your own terms.
If you’re a mental health and wellness blogger, your message could be: love yourself, you deserve to make time for self-care.
A CALL TO ACTION
Let’s be clear.
Every single page on your website needs a call to action when it comes to learning how to build a blog.
You’ve described why people should listen to you and why your message is important. Now it’s time for the call to action.
Let’s say your main call to action is to get people to sign up to your mailing list. That’s not actually what you should put on your website.
I explain that when people sign up to my list they get access to a free resource library.
So it’s not just one free gift, but LOADS of free gifts to help people boss their blog.
Those first three strategies mainly focused on giving your blog a refresh and optimising your website. Now we can move onto strategies that are going to make a difference to your traffic.
#4 | MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR PROMOTIONAL OFFERS
For each item you want to promote, this is what you need to consider:
HOW IS IT GOING TO BE FOUND?
You’ve just created an opt-in freebie and it looks great. Well done! But how is it going to be found? Are you creating opportunities where readers will be able to find it and download it?
A dedicated landing page on your website where people can access it?
An image in your sidebar?
Pinterest pins to the landing page which promote your offering?
Other social media posts that drive traffic directly to your landing page?
Your offerings are at the core of your brand. Work outwards from there.
ARE YOU GIVING PEOPLE ENOUGH OPPORTUNITIES TO BECOME A SUBSCRIBER?
Here’s the thing - it takes 7 times for someone to see something before they act upon it.
I believe it actually takes way more than that.
There’s no one size fits all formula as to when a follower becomes a subscriber.
It might take one week or one month.
Sometimes, someone will fall in love with your brand and sign up to your email list straight away.
They’re probably at a different place in their journey.
They may also have a better understanding of how you and what you offer can help them and they’re more ready to act on it.
You’ve got to take the chance to present your offer to someone who is in this exact position.
Do you get what I mean?
PRESENT YOUR OFFERING ON A LANDING PAGE
I see lots of bloggers present their services and offerings on their blog page or in their sidebar.
This is fine, but having a dedicated landing page is going to help you learn how to build a blog in a much more effective way.
At the moment I do this through Squarespace and create them as unlinked pages.
#5 | HAVE A PURPOSE FOR YOUR CONTENT
Not everyone who visits your website is at the same place in their journey.
In fact, each person is probably at a completely different stage.
Some may understand how you can help them with their struggles.
Others may be actively searching for someone who gets them.
Some may just be at the start of their journey and may not even be aware that they have a problem that needs solving.
So depending on what stage your reader is it, they need different pieces of content to help them move forward through their journey.
Now we’ve discussed in previous posts that content can be made up of:
Whatever you use, all of it builds a relationship with your reader by entertaining, educating and inspiring them so they have more trust in you.
You need to understand how you’re going to move your readers from one stage to another.
Why are they stuck here right now? What do they need from you and your content to move forward?
When you’re planning your editorial calendar, plan to create different pieces of content that move people along their journey.
Now you understand the importance of having different pieces of content, we can move onto the next important step.
WHAT IS THE MAIN PURPOSE OF EACH BLOG POST?
I talked about this more in this blog post, but basically, before you start writing any post, you’ve got to know the overall purpose of it.
Here’s an example:
Purpose: To give an insight as to what I do with my coaching clients. To give them access to their own plan that might encourage them to find out more about my services.
WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR OPT-IN FREEBIE TO DO?
I know your opt-in freebie grows your email list.
But you need to be more specific than that. Because while your freebie needs to grow your list, it also needs to be aligned with the overall purpose of your blog.
For instance, the goal of my Resource Library isn’t to grow my email list but to introduce readers to my Facebook group community.
Don’t create a piece of content without knowing how it relates to your current overarching goals.
Remember we’re learning how to build a blog with a low amount of traffic, no matter whether you think that number is good or bad.
#6 | OPTIMISE YOUR LANDING PAGES
A landing page requires a certain action. These directly contribute to your overall goals, which is why they deserve their own section.
Does your headline pass the 5-second test? (If they glanced at it, would they know this freebie for them?)
Is there a picture of the freebie?
Does your page explain everything they will learn from the freebie? (Benefits not features!)
Is there social proof?
After you create your landing pages, always remember to create pins and add them to Pinterest so you can drive more traffic to your website.
#7 | KEEP PEOPLE ON YOUR WEBSITE FOR LONGER
You have a very small chunk of time to turn someone into a subscriber before they leave your site.
There are a few options you can choose from:
Have an exit intent pop-up (this works really well for me)
Have an info bar at the top of your site (you can use HelloBar for this)
Include a content upgrade with each blog post
Add your landing page to your navigation bar
But like we said earlier, your main aim is to keep people on your website for longer. Because the longer people are on your site for, the more chance they have of signing up to your email list.
I won’t go into detail on this now, but here are a few things you can do to get you started:
USE INTERNAL LINKING
Throughout each post, I’m always linking to other useful posts within my content. You can also add a related posts section at the end of each post.
ADD POPULAR POSTS IN YOUR SIDEBAR
This is a great idea because you only need to change them every few months and it’s getting eyes on your old content. Just keep an eye on your analytics.
#8 | ADD A CALL TO ACTION TO EACH BLOG POST
Your blog posts have the opportunity to work really hard for you.
Your call to action for each one has to be clear.
What exactly do you want your reader to do when they finish reading this post?
Not every ask has to be a huge action.
It could be to ask them to check out another blog post, or download the additional checklist you’ve created for the post.
I know asking is tough, but it’s worth practicing from the very beginning so your audience gets used to it.
That way, when you do ask them to do something bigger it won’t be a shock, because they know that you mean business.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
Learning how to build a blog doesn’t have to be impossible with low traffic.
It’s all about working smarter to convert the traffic that you do have.
Working in this way has endless benefits. You’re also going to attract a more targeted audience because you’re actively working to create intentional content and calls to action across your website.
It all has a purpose and relates back to your main WHY.
What are you struggling with when it comes to your blog traffic? Let me know!