This is my first post in a new series about “Blogging for Business,” which is basically where I’m going to give you alllll my secrets for turning your blog into a business and/or using your blog to support a business. Today let’s talk about how to get more traffic to your blog!
If you’d sat down with me in 2011, when I decided to take my hobby blog of five years and figure out a way to make a living from it, and told me that in 2015 I’d have a small business and that my #1 traffic referrer to my online shop would be myself, from my own blog, I’d have been very, very interested in what you had to say.
I probably would have been a little more strategic, spent more time on certain social media platforms, and maybe even been able to accelerate my blog’s growth – if only I had known then what I know now. Story of my life! 😉
The bad news is, it took me awhile to really sit down and look at my content and my stats and start figuring out what was working the best for me. Think of all the time I wasted! The good news is, I finally did just that – and I’ve been able to pinpoint a few similarities between my most popular posts (on my blog and on social media) that I have been utilizing on new content. And anyone with a blog can use these “tricks” on their own site.
For most of us, there is no quick and easy way to get a ton more traffic in a short period of time. You can read my general tips for increasing your blog traffic (and some words of encouragement if you feel like you’ve been blogging forever and no one is reading!) here. So keep that in mind – slow and steady wins the race. But here are some things you can definitely try to get the ball rolling a little quicker!
Here are three things my most popular posts all have in common: My most popular posts are highly specialized, have great pictures (not necessarily taken by me – more on that later!), and have been shared the right way (which doesn’t always mean it was by me!).
1. Write niche content. In this day and age, everyone has a blog and most people aren’t going to see yours unless you have something awesome to share (or a giant social media following, in which case, judging by some of the sites I follow on social media, you can apparently write a bunch of nonsense and people will still read it – but for now, build up the social media followings in the background while creating amazing content people actually care about).
This is not to say that people won’t love your normal, day-to-day posts. But if you’re specifically looking to appeal to a bigger audience than you already have, you’ve got to think outside the box a bit.
Here are four of my more popular posts for the last year:
One thing all of these posts have in common? They’re not just niche content – they’re very niche content.
It’s not a post about Weight Watchers recipes – it’s a post about Weight Watchers Crock Pot recipes. It’s not a post about losing weight, or a post about the 21 Day Fix – it’s a post about losing weight ON the 21 Day Fix.
And so on.
I encourage you to take your post ideas and dig just a little bit deeper. Don’t just write a post about nail art – write a post about Disney nail art. Don’t share a DIY fall wreath tutorial – share a yarn fall wreath tutorial. This is a GREAT opportunity to use your random interests to breathe some fresh life into content that will reach people who are passionate about exactly what it is you’re blogging about.
If you’re struggling for ideas, look at current events (movies coming out, popular video games, toys) for inspiration.
And on a side note, I know this can be exhausting and not every blog post you write needs to fit into this type of criteria – but I would aim to be as creative as possible whenever possible.
And one more side note! If you have a business, this content can be amazingly helpful. I sell Meal Planners and Wellness Journals for the 21 Day Fix. The Weight Watchers and 21 Day Fix blog posts were written pre-products as helpful posts for my readers…but they’ve ended up being huge traffic drivers for my shop!
2. Optimize your images for Pinterest. Pinterest is my #1 source of social traffic, so you better believe I am working hard to make sure every post has at least one Pinterest-friendly (vertical with text) image included in the post…and this post two – pin them! pin them! :). And on top of that, I often create images just for Pinterest that I upload to Pinterest and link to my blog post.
Always use the prettiest, brightest, most eye-catching photos you can find.
I can tell you the story of my Weight Watchers Crock Pot post and prove to you how important your images are.
When I first wrote this post, it had an ugly graphic that I spent maybe five minutes creating. It didn’t do well on Pinterest, and it got average traffic. I went back a few months later, bought an image to use (for just $1) and re-did the graphic for that post. I then re-pinned and re-shared like it was a new post. The post that previously had fallen flat took on new life. It’s by far my most popular post and gets pinned and shared every day!
The images in this post cost me $1 each. So for two dollars, I saved a ton of time and energy by not having to take my own photos – and these are great pictures!
My other pins that do really well are almost all collages. Here is an example of a pin I created for my 21 Tips for Losing Weight on the 21 Day Fix post. This pin does really well for me!
If you need help with pictures, here are 5 simple tips for improving your photos (no fancy equipment necessary).
If you’re ready to get really serious about Pinterest, my friend Jill has a 2 1/2 hour Pinterest course you can get here.
3. Share your content in the right way. Each type of content is different and will perform differently across your social media channels. So, how do you get the right people to share your content in a way that will reach their social networks?
Start with Pinterest. Every time someone pins your pin, they’re sharing your content. You never know when the “right” person is going to share your pin – you’d be surprised at how many times I realize something of mine was pinned by someone with just a handful of followers – and has gone on to get thousands of repins from that one person! Always create beautiful images that people will WANT to share.
My other “secret” is participating in linky parties. Linky parties are hosted by a blogger (or bloggers) and allow you to link up your content at their “party.” I don’t get traffic from people visiting the linky party and clicking my links. I get traffic when a host features and shares my content with her readers.
Here’s the thing about linky parties – a lot of bloggers are going to link up! You need A+ content to stand out – something that the host is going to see and say, “OH! That’s not the typical cupcake recipe – this is a CHEWBACCA cupcake and the photos are stunning – I definitely want to share this!”
If you’re looking for linky parties, start with this linky party list (each link below contains anywhere from twenty to hundreds of linky parties):
- Over 200 Linky Parties, sorted by days of the week
- Craft, recipe and writing Linky Parties
- HUNDREDS of Linky Parties (this is a great resource!)
- Lots and lots of Linky Parties
- Even more Linky Parties!
So, there you have it – three actionable items you can work on TODAY (or on your next blog post, at least!) to help bring in more traffic. 🙂
Questions? Future topics you’d like me to cover that relate to blogging for your business?