by Molly Greene
A reader recently asked for ideas that would help increase blog traffic. Growing traffic is one thing, of course; convincing visitors to stay, and to subscribe and/or return, is closely aligned with every blog-building effort. You need both! Here are a few ideas.
1. Beef up your Twitter followers
I’ve often said that Twitter is one of the best social media platforms for growing a blog. But if you want to leverage the power of Twitter, you’ll need lots and lots of followers. The more followers, the wider your net will be cast, and 20,000 is better than 2,000. That takes time. If you’re weary of the time commitment, try using the free (or paid) version of ManageFlitter. I hear this is the vendor people prefer and get results from.
ALSO, be sure you’re tweeting links to your own blog posts every few hours or so, M-F, between 6 am and 6 pm. Try 6, 9, 12, 3, 6 o’clock. Tweet other peoples’ content as well, be sure to retweet others, and develop a Twitter support group of fans and friends who share your links. Review Using Twitter Lists To Grow Your Blog to simplify the process.
2. Be consistent about interacting live
I started my blog and Twitter almost simultaneously in 2011. It was new, fun, and exciting, and back then I aggressively grew my account. As a result I met a ton of lovely people on the platform who remain friends. But I’ll tell you the truth, I’ve slowed my Twitter presence markedly since late in 2014, deciding to use much of that time to increase book production.
As a result, blog traffic from links I’ve tweeted has also dwindled markedly. It’s a clear correlation. I’m not chatting with folks live and in real time, so they’ve lost interest. I don’t blame them – that’s how it works. Blog visits stay high for me because I now get a lot of search engine traffic, but until you get to that place, you have to spend a certain amount of time online.
3. Freshen up your blog post format
Be sure that when traffic lands on your website, visitors are visually compelled to stay and browse, and then subscribe and return. To do that, you need to use images, lots of white space, and things like bolded subheads to make each post more visually interesting and keep the eye moving down the page. I use free images from morguefile in my posts. I also covered this in How To Build A Perfect Blog Post.
4. Change up the type of posts you publish
For instance, try publishing curated posts once in a while, aggregated from the links you’re tweeting from favorite resources, etc. Bring in guest posters. Write about your experiences at different venues. Try a few personal posts. All these ideas are not pertinent to everyone, but you might just find something you can use here: 101 Fabulous Blog Topic Ideas. That article also covers the different types/categories of posts you can put together.
5. Add video posts
Also, consider video. Podcasts, recorded bits from classes you give or attend, things like that. You can use video in a lot of different ways, including links to a YouTube or iTunes channel/page. Video is very important nowadays, and Author Ben Wallace has had great success with his podcast series, which he discusses here.
6. Add another social media platform
Let’s circle back around to sharing your blog links. If Twitter isn’t bringing you as much traffic as you’d like, it’s time to consider adding another platform, like Instagram or Pinterest, which are more visual. That means better for video. So if you take the video and podcast route, those are a great tie-in. Here’s a good article about How To Add Video To Pinterest.
7. Offer a freebie to increase subscribers
You can try an opt-in plugin for a while – that’s a pop-up that appears when people land on the site – although they do tend to irritate repeat visitors. A couple of them (not free) have settings you can choose that will recognize (and therefore not antagonize) repeat visitors. To leverage an opt-in plugin, you should put together some kind of free incentive to draw people from social media to your blog, then encourage them to subscribe. A free book is nice.
8. Add a search function to your homepage
I recently did this on my own blog, and was flabbergasted to see page visits for my past-post archives increase enormously. What it seems to do is encourage folks to remain on the blog, reading posts. A side benefit is that when visitors hang around longer, your blog’s Alexa rating might take a dive – which is a good thing.
If you feel it’s time to jazz up your blog, a couple of these ideas should help. Let us know if you’ve tried anything else that has brought success!
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