You’ve built your blog, learned how to make great photos, are active on social media, and create great content. Unfortunately, your blog doesn’t seem to be making it to the next level. It’s time to take stock of your blog and make changes that will drive traffic and grab subscribers.
Is Your Blog Really Doing Badly?
There are well over 200 million blogs out there, and the average monthly viewership for new blogs is quite low – less than 20.
If your Google Analytics shows 1,000 page views a month and have social media followers, you’re actually doing well and can begin to attract advertisers, work with brands and write sponsored posts. As I approached over 3,000 visitors and 5000 page views for my blog, my opportunities increased, so don’t sell yourself short if your numbers are below 5 digit expectations.
Set Your Goals First and a Then a Way to Measure
Firstly, make sure you set realistic goals. If you only have a dozen visitors to your website, you’re not going to 10,000 overnight, however you can create a plan to get your first 1000 page views. If you are ramping up a new tool, such as Instagram, set the bar low and remember to connect with people you know first. You’ll also need tools for measuring statistics.
Must-Have Measurement Tools:
- Install Google Analytics to explore your monthly reach.
- Open Site Explorer, where you can get Domain and Page Authority, plus lots of other great rankings.
- Register at Alexa Rankings to find your Global and US rankings.
For social media, you can use the native tools such as Facebook insights for free or you can use the following:
- HootSuite: If you are using this tool for publishing, you can see reports for all your social media, but you will need to update to pro version for more than just the basic few.
- SumAll: Free or premium. Tracks all your online programs. Takes a while to integrate all your systems.
- Social Report: Starts at $9 / month.
Let’s review some specific problems and see how you can fix them.
Problem #1: I Hate My Design
Is the design a problem or are you just bored of it? Are high value areas not getting any attention? Is it easy to comment? Can you visitors what they need? Does it represent your brand?
Solution: Check Your Site
It’s a good idea is to have someone who is your target audience review your site for specific concerns. Friends with design and graphic skills can be a great help if available, but please don’t ask them to work for free. You can set up a brief survey at Survey Monkey with questions such as, “Did you find where to subscribe?” or “Do you know how to contact me?” Ask what the biggest pro’s and cons of your site were, then address these concerns first.
Solution: Change Things Up
Assuming you don’t have a few hundreds for a complete revamp, there are a few things you can do. You can reorganize your menus and categories to highlight areas you want to emphasize. First, sit down with pen and paper and think about what areas you want to stress and regularly post on. Create an editorial calendar so that you can target specific items on certain days. For example, I do a weekly news wrap up on Fridays, making sure it’s visible with an eye-catching pinnable news image and tagging my niche.
You can also create some text widgets with ways to contact you and subscribe to your blog or email, or to draw attention to specific posts. Use a thumbnail of a post and
As far themes, WordPress has a lot of free themes available, although you should take care with plugins and customization, and read all documentation. You can also purchase a theme for under $60 or join a WordPress themes club if you really feel the need to change things and ensure that things work properly. These minor changes will allow you to take time to save up for a redesign and rebranding, if required.
Problem #2: Your Social Media Isn’t Growing
If your stats have plateaued, it may be time to jump in and get more involved with your audience. Focus on one specific outlet at a time on a weekly basis.
Solution: Host a Giveaway
While social media likes and shares are a great form of entry for contests, make sure that the giveaway matches the theme of your blog AND is of value. Don’t give away junk, but products and prizes that people can really use. For example, a blog about organic living can give away gift certificates to Whole Foods, stylish organic cotton clothing or products for an organic garden. Seek out vendors willing to work with you or attach yourself to a group in your niche that signs up bloggers for giveaways. While driving traffic this way may seem like a cheat, if you provide visible and accessible clues (via popular posts) to what your blog is about, you will find followers.
Solution: Spend More Time
Invest some time in pre-publishing and studying posts. Analyze responses to see what posts and updates are generating the most buzz or conversation, and then network to what is working. Remember that this is social media – that is, a social outlet and not primarily a marketing tool. You’re here to build relationships. For example, on Twitter you can interact with your niche by attending Twitter parties or promoting campaigns held by leaders in your niche and tweet honest and useful responses to them. This works especially well if you are in a niche with a small audience or a low attendance Twitter event.
Problem #3: Unsure If You Have Reached Your Target
Who is coming to your site and how did they find you? Google Analytics will be invaluable here to find those referral sites. What’s working and what isn’t?
Solution: Define Your Audience
Although you can assess your audience, if key posts in your niche are not getting traffic or shares, it’s time to define your ideal visitor. Create a user persona – that is, a real life person who would be driven to your site. Drill down everything you can about that person – from family to income to hobbies – as a way to map out where you can find them. Finding a real person that meets this criteria will help you get a feel for their needs, their pains and where they hang out online. The ultimate goal of this exercise is to discover where they hang out the most – Facebook? Blogs? Forums? Read our guide on how to understand your audience.
Problem #4: Can They Find You?
“If you build it, they will come” is false, but perhaps you think people are seeing you when they are not.
Solution: Improve Your Visibility
Are you finding yourself by Googling your preferred keywords? Make sure you have public interaction properly set up for Facebook and Google+. Plan to go viral by taking on a controversial topic WHERE you see the most action and tag specific people when you post. If you, like many, are struggling with Facebook, here are tips to improve your Facebook News Feed’s performance.
Solution: In-Person Networking
Sign up for groups with experts in your area – meet and greets no longer need to be in person unless you are hyperlocal, however, you’re cheating yourself if you don’t get out and involved in events that target your audience, even if you are a lifestyle rather than a niched blogger. Forget the big conferences. Instead, go for small venues, local events, and more. I find a lot of my events through my local Facebook groups and friends. It’s imperative to have a core of bloggers – at every level – to build a networking group that can help you find and share opportunities, discuss trends and solve blog problems.
Solution: Befriend an Influencer
One of the fastest ways to go viral is to hook up with a blogger who is influential in your niche – but don’t stalk them. Devote yourself to sharing their posts and updates, commenting and pitching in when they need a hand. It’s key not to look at this just as a business relationship. If you are in the same niche, you have a lot in common, so work to honestly build a friendship based on those commonalities. Over time, they may even trust you enough to share opportunities with you.
Solution: Don’t Rely on SEO, But Don’t Forget it Either
As mentioned before, Google doesn’t want you doing SEO. That said, when you are writing a good post, be mindful of trending topics in your niche and address them. Google the phrase to make sure your natural keywords are being searched. That should get you Google’s attention without doing actual SEO work. I’d recommend as well using an SEO plugin such as Yoast, and keeping your keywords in your selected post categories and tags.
These are some quick and more involved fixes you can do to start improving your blog. My best advice? Be at it every day, as much as you can. Bring your smart phone everywhere and share your life on social media, if you are a lifestyle blogger, or relevant items that catch your eye if you’re niched.