Alright, so you’ve taken the plunge and decided to start your own website. Love it.
It shows that you’re serious about your business. You may have even made some financial investments, via design or web hosting.
Whatever it is, just know that the time you’re putting in, and the money you’ve spent will come back to you.
Now that the pep talk is out of the way, we need to face certain realities.
YOU HAVE NO VISITORS.
I’m sure it’s no secret to you guys how crucial web traffic is if you want to grow your business.
Despite all of your hard efforts, something just isn’t clicking. You don’t have to feel alone.
Many bloggers just starting out can barely crack 100 visitors a day, let alone thousands.
As a fellow blogger, I know EXACTLY how you guys feel because I was once there. There is no secret formula. You just need a strategy.
Here’s the overview of my users in 2016 for TwelveSkip.com. See how I’ve consistently generated 300,000+ users per month throughout the year?
Here’s what you can do to generate a big amount of traffic in no time:
The Ultimate Guide to Blogging for Small Business
1. Invest in social media marketing
I’ve learned that every social media channel is different. Some networks may work for you while others may not.
While I use every major social media network myself, I choose to focus on two channels – Facebook Groups and Pinterest. I did invest in other social networks too but I figured that only these two work well for me, mostly because of my niche.
Check out this stat from 2016: (see how Pinterest and Facebook bring the most social traffic?)
In Pinterest, most of my own pins generate thousands of repins. Some of them get over 10,000 repins. My Pinterest generates over 900,000 views per month. In Facebook, I started a group where bloggers help promote each other. Now it has over 7,000 members and 100+ bloggers active daily.
Image Source: Pinterest
How did I do this? Besides reading a lot of tutorials, I also followed some successful people and observed how they use social media. Like they say, learning from the best is always one of the best methods to generate ideas and techniques.
Lesson here? Be active on all social media by using a scheduling tool (to save time) but only focus on those that work well for your niche. Determine where your target audience hangs out the most. Each network works differently so research for tutorials on how to promote on each social network effectively. Lastly, watch how your competitors use social media.
Here’s what I’ve noticed:
- Pinterest works well for those who are in the creative industry (bloggers, fashion, makeup, weddings). Most people use Pinterest to search and curate ideas.
- Facebook works well for those who are in the entertainment industry. The audience here usually likes and/or shares content that sparks emotion.
- Instagram works well for those who are in the creative industry as well. It’s similar to Pinterest but you share your own photos and you need to be active daily in order to make it work well for you.
Social media should be a part of your daily marketing and that is a non-negotiable – at least until you are able to build up a big enough following.
2. Provide freebies that your target market craves
People think that in order to sell, that making money must be their entire focus. Of course, you want to make money.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t throw out a free nugget of wisdom every so often for your new or loyal visitors.
People LOVE free. If you keep churning out free content that is relevant, you create trust with your visitors. The more they trust you, the more often they will visit your site, and eventually purchase whatever product or service you are selling.
I use this tactic all the time and it works.
In my blog post, 100+ Blog Post Title Templates That Grab Attention, I break down the simple, yet effective way to create catchy blog titles. Here’s an example:
This article really generated a lot of positive feedback because, not only did I write about what works and what doesn’t, but I also provide over 100 title templates for them.
People need information but they don’t necessarily have a lot of time to implement the new information they are absorbing.
This step-by-step formula made it easy for people to create powerful titles, without having to waste precious brain power to create them.
This gives entrepreneurs more time to focus on their business, rather than small details that can often drive people crazy.
What do I get in return? I’ve been racking up relevant backlinks and email subscribers. More backlinks = better search rankings = more traffic = more email subscribers.
This is Google GOLD!
3. Prioritize email list building
Imagine, I started prioritizing this method after about a year of blogging and I really wish I started earlier than that.
As of 2017, here’s my current number of subscribers – 100K!
It does bring a decent amount of website traffic, and no it’s really not as hard as you think.
Here are the methods I use to generate subscribers:
- Offer an incentive. Remember, people love free stuff. So offer them something they crave in exchange for their emails.
- Place your opt-in in multiple places. Create several catchy opt-ins and place them somewhere visible on your website. This can be done via pop-ups, top bar, bottom right or within your blog posts.
- Make it easy to subscribe. Remember, you want to make people’s lives easier. Only request 1 or 2 pieces of information (email and name).
- Take advantage of your most popular blog posts. This is actually the most effective method for generating subscribers. 50% of my subscribers come from my most popular blog posts. Check your most popular pages via Google Analytics and offer freebies that are relevant to the current article. For example, you’re offering advice on how to write a catchy title, create a template for them with sample title templates.
You can check out my website (TwelveSkip.com) and see how I place my opt-in forms. There is one on the top, there is one pop up, some within my blog posts and at the bottom of every blog post.
Here’s an example post:
Encourage your readers to subscribe by using beautiful visuals and an effective call to action button. Let them know exactly what they’re getting.
4. Make your content easy to read
Remember, one of your goals is to make a good impression (to keep your visitors coming back).
You want people to remember that your content is easy to follow or scan. You don’t want to scare them off with lengthy, uninterrupted text.
Organize your content in an easy-to-follow format. This includes everything from having images that are big and clear, to making sure your content is easy to read.
Here’s what I do:
- Keep your paragraphs short. I like to break up my paragraphs, so users don’t get bogged down by too many words. When you break up the paragraphs, users can read a lot faster. This is particularly useful for articles, which are over 1,000 words.
- Use lists. Not only does it make your content look more appealing but it also give your readers a visual break.
- Use readable fonts. Use fonts that are easy to read. I recommend using commonly-used ones such as Arial, Georgia, Times New Roman or Trebuchet MS. Do not use less than 12px in size.
- Use visual aids. Keep your readers’ attention and make reading a lot more enjoyable with relevant and appealing visuals.
5. Infuse SEO
SEO has always been my most favorite method for driving website traffic. Here’s a stat from Google Analytics. In 2016, about 70% of my visitors came from search engines. Amazing, right?
Let’s take a look at this example post with over 1.8 million views:
When you type “Twitter Header” or “Twitter Cover” on most search engines, you will see that my The New Twitter Header Dimensions + Templates Included (2017) post is on the first page of the Google search.
Why? Not only is it useful, but it’s also optimized for search engines.
See how I use long tail keywords in the post title itself? Instead of just using “Twitter Cover Dimension”, I added “NEW” and “2017” because I know Twitter keeps changing their layout, and people would always search for the latest and most updated template.
Here are some other methods I use to get better search rankings:
- Generate backlinks. In order to generate backlinks, create useful content, provide freebies and link to authority websites. Be active on promoting your content by spreading out on social media, engage with other bloggers within your industry, and guest post for high-quality blogs.
- Use keywords effectively. Determine what keywords you need to use by defining your target market’s wants and needs, and by watching your competitors. Here’s a good guide for you.
- Improve user experience. One of your goals is to get visitors to stay longer on your website and decrease your bounce rate. How? Make your website responsive (mobile friendly). Use a reliable web hosting company that has minimal downtime. Remember, your website’s speed impacts search ranking so be sure to choose the right web hosting for you. Make your website easy to navigate and easy to scan (ask yourself: when you go to your website, do you immediately understand what it’s all about?)
- Apply on-page SEO methods. I optimize my content for search engines by using SEO-friendly URLs, linking to authority websites, using ALT tags on images, removing duplicate content, optimizing meta tags, using headings and doing internal links effectively.
You may be feeling all alone when it comes to increasing the traffic of your website. But I promise you that if you start implementing these tips, you will experience massive amounts of growth in no time!
What are your favorite ways to increase traffic? Time to share!
Guest Author: Pauline Cabrera is a digital strategist based in Toronto, Ontario. She helps bloggers & businesses get noticed online using effective internet marketing strategies combined with web design, SEO + email marketing.