It happens to the best of bloggers.
You produce stellar content that’s helpful and easy to read.
You even publish a blog post a week – or more – to prove you’re serious about blogging.
You genuinely care about your audience.
But sometimes, despite doing everything by the book, the traffic’s a dud.
That’s when the questions start – am I good enough to be doing this? Heck, does blogging even work as a legitimate business model? Am I wasting my time?
If that’s you, let me clear the air by quoting Jon Morrow, “Each and every one of us decides who we are. No, you may not be ready to be a popular blogger now, but you can become ready.”
Blogging works. We’ve seen a lot of proof around us for that. The problem is not blogging; it is doing things that don’t yield trust or traffic to your blog.
You see, a decade ago you could crank out a 300-word piece and get more content published, left, right and center. In those days, just having something published meant you could attract huge traffic. Because not many were doing it.
Gradually, the world caught up and more people started putting out better content. Longer, more in depth, more useful content. Bloggers started calling it “epic posts”.
Today, most of the world has caught up with “epic”. It’s no longer a differential point. It’s a given.
The secret to attracting more traffic is doing what others are not doing, or unwilling to do yet.
And what if I told you it could be done in under 30 minutes?
To make it easier for you, I have compiled a list of 13 quick tricks to drive traffic to your blog in minutes:
1. Add drama to your work
Spice things up by telling a story or starting out with a metaphor. Kevin Duncan of Be a Better Blogger uses this technique like no other. His posts open with engaging anecdotes that establish a connection with his readers right at the beginning.
The result? A hooked reader.
2. Pick a topic that attracts traffic
Needless to say, if your topic is dull, you are not going to attract much traffic any time soon. Start with Google Trends, BuzzSumo and Feedly to research what’s in demand. I suggest the “three-circle strategy” to pick a topic/niche when you’re starting out.
Here’s how it works:
Draw three circles on a piece of paper. In the first circle, write down all areas you’re knowledgeable about. In the second, write what interests you. And in the third circle, pick topics from the above two circles that are in demand.
Your sweet spot is where the three intersect.
3. Analyze your headlines before hitting “publish”
Use a headline analyzer like CoSchedule. Once you are done writing the post, copy and paste your draft headline into the free tool. It’s super-quick and effective.
Once you punch in a headline, the tool assigns it a “Headline Score”. It also gives your headline a grade based on the overall structure, grammar and readability. The report dissects your headline into “common words”, “uncommon words”, “emotional words” and “power words”. It tells you your headline “type” (this post is a “list type”) and does a length analysis. Lastly, you get some cool tips to improve your headline, all for free and in under a few minutes.
Here’s an example:
4. Go visual
Why? Because the human brain craves visuals. The last time I checked, humans had a shorter attention span (8 seconds) than that of a goldfish (9 seconds). The proof lies in the wildly popular visual platforms such as Facebook Timeline, Instagram and Pinterest.
We’re drowning in words and don’t have enough time to read every single blog post out there. If visuals, such as memes, videos, infographics, comics etc, can help you retain attention, why not give them a try?
5. Improve your blog’s loading time
As you probably know, Google considers loading time as an important factor in ranking websites. Research shows that 47% of readers now expect a page to load in 2 seconds.
Let’s start with the low lying fruit – the first thing you want to do is reduce the number of plugins you use. Plugins make your blog sluggish, so unless absolutely necessary, get rid of extra add-ons. Replace these with an all-in-one plugin, such as Jetpack for a more efficient loading time.
Compress images using Smush.it or use BJ Lazy Load for an image to load conditionally when the reader scrolls to the bottom of the page. An alternative is to use a CDN or a Content Delivery Network which is a network of webservers such as Incapsula.
6. Make social sharing easy
A recent study found that using social sharing buttons on posts leads to 7 times more mentions. Start with writing magnetic headlines that are short and brief (for platforms such as Twitter so there’s room for shortened URLs). Include hashtags and usernames when appropriate.
7. Join HARO and answer relevant queries
HARO or Help a Reporter is a “free publicity” service dedicated to bringing reporters and qualified sources together. As a blogger, you can be a story lead or an expert source for a reporter query. Signing up is free and it takes less than 10 minutes to briefly answer a HARO query, which can result in high-quality inbound links to your blog.
8. Convert a visitor into a lead
Add a solid call-to-action at the end of your posts that urges them to either read another of your posts, subscribe to your list, click a link to a landing page – do something.
Here’s an example:
Use TrenDemon to add customizable calls-to-action based on visitors’ realtime engagement. It’s made up of several algorithms that analyze and identifies the pages that bring in most traffic and engagement, and helps optimize your marketing ROI.
A landing page is a dedicated page to convert a reader into a subscriber by offering a “freebie” or a “lead magnet”. A great alternative is GetResponse’s Landing Page Maker.
Short on budget? You can try LaunchEffect, a free launch theme, and start collecting leads even before you’ve launched a blog.
Of course, this post is about attracting traffic, so how does collecting leads help? It does — because once you have a thriving list you can always direct them to your blog through a series of well-written autoresponders and emails.
9. Come up with the optimum number of posts, then stick to it
What’s the optimum number? Research shows that the more a company blogged per month, the more traffic it attracted.
On the flip side, how much is too much? One of the easiest ways to figure it out is to watch your subscriber activity closely. Are you getting many unsubscribe requests because of “too much posting” like this blogger? His quick case study will help you to find your minimum viable posting.
10. Start a forum on your website
An active forum will not only serve as a useful community to your readers but also attract new traffic with the help of natural longtail keywords that go into it.
To do a quick search of active and popular forums in your niche, just search for your keyword + forum. Then, all you have to do is create a free account on the best forum(s) and use your brand name as a nickname. You can start contributing as well as studying these forums before you launch your own.
11. Connect with bloggers who send you traffic
Monitor Backlinks is a neat tool for SEO and web marketers. It notifies you every time you gain or lose a backlink; every time your competitor gains a high-value backlink and compares ranking with your competitors.
12. Respond to your blog comments thoughtfully
According to Neil Patel, responding to comments increases your traffic. The more you respond, the more number of words accumulate on the page. This is ideal from an SEO-perspective. Not only that, repeat traffic also builds over time because they look forward to new posts and even become subscribers to keep updated.
You can also control your traffic by adding a link in the comment URL box and directing them where you want. Neil increased visits to his “About” page by 5,137 visits a month by simply using this feature in the comment box.
Here is a useful guide to help you deal with different types of comments you get on the blog.
13. Build up your professional brand on Quora
It’s a great place to answer questions and build a legitimate following. You get immediate exposure to 1.5 million monthly visitors, and add links to your blog posts and articles as resources in your answers.
If you know everything about your topic, answering a question shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes. You want to follow all related topics too, just in case. You can also join in relevant conversations and educate your prospects better about your service/product (of course, no spamming).
Here’s a teaser for the topic Content Marketing (Fair warning: It can be addictive!):
The bottom line
I want to challenge you to try these techniques. Of course, not all of them will work for you so pick and choose a handful and run with it.
Gaining new traffic sounds like a lot of work, but it’s worth every minute. And with the above tips, you can boost traffic in 30 minutes or less. You may not feel it happen immediately, but stay consistent. You’ll see the results.
Eventually, the more you do these techniques, the more trust you will build. Writing epic posts is no longer enough – you want the right audience to read them too.
Guest Author: Pooja Lohana is an Online Business Coach + Writer & Editor. She helps entrepreneurs shine their blog and copy, and simplifies online marketing so they can make more sales and live the Un-9-5 life. Check out her step-by-step course on breaking into freelance writing.