When creating a blog, it is important to rely on more than the old mantra of “if you built it, they will come.” With millions of blogs out there and countless more coming and going every single day, it takes a little bit extra to stand out, gain traffic and become profitable. Blogging for a business helps boost search engine optimization while blogging as a business can prove financially beneficial. However, either way, it does require external assistance to build these blogs up and to find new sources of traffic. By taking advantage of these seven proven strategies, any writer, business owner or marketing director can experience an increase in authentic, unique traffic by 206 percent (if not more).
1) The Power of a Self-Published E-Book
Authors still need a major publisher’s assistance to land physical books on store shelves around the country. However, it takes little more than an Internet connection to publish electronically. In fact, according to Author Earnings, over 30 percent of all electrically purchased books now come from self-published authors. An interested reader can download books from services such as Google, Amazon, and Apple for reading on their portable, digital devices. Because a digital storefront only needs to house a single file per book (instead of hundreds of physical copies in a warehouse), it’s possible for these retailers to include downloadable books from anyone interested in producing and publishing an electronic book.
What does this have to do with increasing blog traffic? The attention and traffic generated by a listed e-book sends traffic directly back to a blog. According to Chris Guthrie, a top-100 ranked e-book in a given category can generate anywhere from 300 to 3,700 new visitors to a website every single month. All of this simply comes from a link placed into the book. Link location may appear in the “About the Author” section or in other support material for the book. Either way, individuals who may have never visited the website on their own can find their way to the blog through the published e-book.
There are additional methods to use a self-published e-book to boost traffic to a blog. Offering current readers of the blog a free e-book with an easy to follow “Call to Action” helps boost download numbers for the book. When a book is downloaded more frequently, it becomes more visible to users of the digital book service (such as Amazon). Free downloads don’t initially put more money into the writer’s pocket, but by increasing visibility on Amazon, it helps draw in additional external viewers, who then may purchase the book and visit the blog.
The graphic below shows a blog’s traffic both before and after self-publishing an e-book. It does take some time for the e-book to generate traffic and establish itself, but a solid foundation is established, it is possible to see a drastic increase in blog views.
It is important for a website owner, blogger, and writer to understand quality is still very important for an e-book. The books must provide either quality information, offer a solid story and demonstrate a professional knack for writing. If the book is poorly produced, contains errors throughout or does not provide anything of use, it may end up hindering the blog more than helping. As is the case with everything else online, quality very much matters.
2) Going Viral Needs a Plan
Nothing brings in content like a viral post. The problem with this is, very few people understand how to create viral posts, and even when intending on generating additional views and visitors, it doesn’t always pan out. While knowing whether or not a post will expand through the Internet like wildfire, understanding what goes viral for both the mainstream audience and key demographic of a post is important.
There are three key steps in creating viral potential posts. It’s important to note none of these three key steps assures content will go viral. However, not following the three steps will likely prevent any potential traffic growth from happening. With that in mind, the first step in creating viral content is to focus on creating the right headline and title length. According to Hubspot (2017), an optimal blog title should consist of between eight and 12 words. Then, when sharing the post to Twitter and Facebook, the headline about the title should consist of 12 to 14 words. Part of this is also reliant on including the right kind of information within a title. The title should contain anywhere from one to two long-tail keywords while the title itself should force the audience to think (Have You Ever…, Top 10 Reactions When You…and so on). A title draws the audience in. They won’t even read the content if the title doesn’t prove interesting.
The second step is to write a blog of the best length. Blog length is very important. Something too long and the reader may not want to devote the necessary attention to the content. Too short and the reader will likely find it doesn’t provide desirable insights and thus not share it. In fact, according to Buzzsumo and OkDork, blogs under 1,000 words in length perform the worst. The best blogs on Facebook range anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 words, while top performing blogs on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn fall in the 3,000 to 10,000-word range. It is true people online have shorter attention spans now than ever before, but they won’t even read the content if they believe it won’t have any perceived value to it.
3) The Long-Tail Keyword Is A Must
As covered briefly in the previous strategy, developing and establishing long-tail keywords with not only the blog title but the content itself helps drive traffic and make a blog easier to locate on search engines.
There’s nothing wrong with writing blogs based off of passion. However, for a writer who wants to boost traffic and bring in more frequent visitors, topic research is a must. Research consists of looking up popular topics, following other, popular blogs within the industry and taking note of published content here. Keyword research remains another staple of blogging topic research.
Long-tail keywords are more in-depth versions of traditional keywords. It isn’t just a single word, which may prove too generic and basic to bring in any true results. With likely millions of other websites out there using a similar keyword, only the top performing websites in the world can base a blog post off of a generic keyword in order to generate traffic (and these kinds of websites don’t rely on search engines for most traffic anyway). Instead, long-tail keywords focus on more specific searches in order to bring in results. For example, instead of using the keyword “cars,” a long-tail keyword might be “antique metal toy cars.” This is a much more specific keyword which brings in a much more specific target audience.
A generic keyword does receive more monthly searches. For a company looking to advertise with the keyword on search engines, the suggested PPC bid also increases, due to the value of the single keyword. This means it costs more to bring in visitors and readers to the blog. However, a website owner and blogger will find using long-tail keywords to be far more financially friendly while also boosting traffic.
As Search Engine Journal points out, a blog receives 78 percent of its organic traffic through properly optimized long-tail keywords. The real question is how can a blogger optimize their content for long-tail keywords? There are three easy to follow suggestions for this. The first is Google Autosuggest. This is where an Internet user begins typing a single word into Google. Google will then provide a list of suggestions, all before “Search” is clicked. These are the top performing and suggested searches. A blogger needs to notate these. The next option is with Google Keyword Planner. Google Analytics provides beneficial keyword search options, including top-performing long-tail keywords. This information can be used within a planner, so the writer can write blog posts around these top-performing keywords.
Lastly, the third step is to simply write the blog. Not all blogs receive the same kind of traffic off of long-tail keywords. It will take some experimentation to determine which work the best. This is due to a blog’s key demographic and current traffic. By monitoring results through Google Analytics, it becomes possible to identify trends and use this information for future blog posts, which will benefit from the previous posts and the research conducted.
4) Lists That Are Evergreen
Lists are great. People love lists. Whether the top 10 movies of the year, the best five beers in the world or the most common baby names, lists have a way of bringing people in. There’s something about ranking one item against another that generates interest. However, it’s important for lists to remain evergreen. Going viral is one thing. Having staying power is something completely different. So while a sudden spark of an audience off of a viral-like post does provide a nice onetime boost to Internet traffic, offering evergreen content that lasts and can prove insightful for years to come is something else. These two different kinds of posts can work well hand in hand. The viral, attention-grabbing posts might bring a new reader into the blog, but the evergreen content keeps them coming back.
Creating evergreen lists does not need to be difficult. It simply requires a writer to follow a handful of important tips and tricks. For starters, the writer needs to steer clear of writing a list regarding a passing trend. The occasional passing trend centered topic can provide real-time insights, but it won’t last. Covering passing trends has its time and its place, but for those looking to produce lists capable of benefiting the blog long term, it’s vital to avoid these passing trends.
Industry principles should go into the building blocks of the content. This helps keep it feeling fresh and connected to where the given industry is when a reader comes across the content. Additionally, the beauty of producing evergreen content is the blog admin can reuse the content at a later date.
With regards to reusing content, the writer should not simply post the content again for a second time without updating it. Reposted content may end up hurting the blog’s SEO due to offering duplicate information. Instead, it’s important to repurpose the content, update it, offer new statistics and provide new data for the new time period. This way, evergreen lists will remain not only fresh and new, but timeless as well.
5) Guest Blogging
Writing for other Internet blogs opens up the creator to new avenues of readers. These are all people who may never have come across the writer’s blog, the connected website, or the eCommerce aspect of the site. By guest blogging, the recipient of the post not only places it on their website, but they also will likely share it across other spectrums, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media platforms. Moosa Hemani, for example, wrote a single guest blog for Moz.com. Within four months, over 3,000 additional visitors came in due to the impact of the post. However, not all guest blogging is created equal. In order to take advantage of the tactic in order to boost traffic to a specific blog or site, it is necessary to follow through with a very specific process.
First, it’s important to not just go out and start asking to post content to random blogs. Instead, it is best to research both the blogs and the social influence each blog has. So, a current blog writer needs to go out and look for blogs within the niche audience. From there, investigating the kind of social influence the site has is necessary. This includes how many followers the site has, plus the number of unique blog visitors and the average number of interactions each blog post and social media upload experiences. Carrying out the research should help indicate the highest value sites to guest blog on.
From here, a writer needs to look for the top ranking sites. Performing searches through Google using long-tail keywords most associated with the writer’s own site should bring up the highest ranked sites in the similar target demographic. By taking this and combining it with the social influence research, a writer will have everything he or she needs for top sites to guest on.
Lastly, the writer needs to pitch an idea for the guest blog. Blogs love the idea of bringing in a guest writer. It means less work for their own staff of writers while also possibly bringing in additional readers from outside sources. The pitch needs to revolve around a topic important to the site the individual wants to write for. It also should be a topic not previously covered, so doing a bit of research on the specific website is also important.
As the graphic below illustrates, blogger Silvio Porcellana wrote 44 guest posts on 41 different sites (over the course of five months). At the end of the five-month period, he saw an increase of traffic by 20 percent every single day, with additional links and traffic coming in from a variety of sources.
6) Email Marketing: The Marketing Gift That Keeps Giving
The basis of email marketing comes from mailer marketing, which derives from physically walking door to door to tell people about a product or service. In essence, email marketing stands as a reincarnation of the very first form of marketing (outside of store signs and word of mouth). Despite its connection to such an old form of advertising, email marketing very much provides a beneficial method for driving traffic to a blog to help boost both new readers and grow RSS subscribers.
Research firm Redicati recently published several helpful bits of email information. Currently, there are over 3.6 billion active email accounts worldwide. Furthermore, 247 million emails are sent every single day from these accounts. Now, not all of these emails are opened. Many end up in the spam folder or are removed without the recipient acknowledging the contents. Sending out junk messages does next to nothing for a company blog (or professional blogger). Instead, what is necessary is to build an email list of potentially interested viewers who are more likely to return to the blog.
Building an email list helps with generating blog traffic as these email accounts only come from targeted leads, result in a higher open rate, and can help boost referral rates. The question here rests in how a website admin can build a quality email list. Email marketing provides a boost in traffic and a large amount of analytical data, which can then be used for future blog posts and eCommerce content as well. The graphic below from Capterra (2016) shows email marketing provides the highest level of analytical data when compared to all other forms of marketing.
For starters, if the blog is simply part of a larger eCommerce website, email addresses can come from customers or those who have subscribed to receive special discounts. It can come from social media interactions (many social media users have email accounts prominently connected to their platforms). Email accounts can also come from offering free e-books (back to the first proven strategy to increase blog traffic). When a customer offers their email account for the free e-book, it already demonstrates their interest, and they instantly identify themselves as prime recipients for email marketing.
7) Don’t Just Reuse, Recycle
There’s nothing wrong with recycling an old post. If the old post proved helpful previously, it can still offer excellent insights. However, simply reposting it doesn’t do much. In fact, Google and other search engines will likely penalize the website for publishing duplicate content. It also forces the two posts to compete with one another for search engine traffic, which doesn’t do much good either. Instead, it’s necessary to take a quality, previous post, and recycle it.
Recycling the previous post does take a bit of retooling. First, updated states are necessary. If the post about social media demographics came out in 2012, there’s a high probability the information has changed in six years. Due to this, updated information is necessary. Fresh keyword research may help update the content and make it more attractive to Internet users. Plus new ideas can be brought to the blog as well. There’s nothing wrong with reusing an old blog post, it just needs a face-lift to update it for the present.
There are all sorts of ways a writer, website admin or e-commerce owner can bring in more traffic to his or her blog. These are seven sure-fire ways to do just that. From publishing a quality e-book to taking advantage of tried and true email marketing, there’s no limit to the ways a writer can reach out to new audience members. These just happen to be seven of the best that will provide faster results than other methods out there.