The sad truth for many bloggers out there it has taken them too much time to build up their readership. Getting their first 10,000 pageviews can take years and some blogs never seem to ever get there.
At WHSR – we are growing consistently and regularly attracting more than 800,000 visitors every month. In this guide, I will share some of the crucial strategies and lessons I have learned from growing this site.
1. Optimize Your Blog for Search
When you have better search engine rankings, you will see an increase in traffic and revenue. Figuring out the holy grail of how to rank higher in the search engines can seem overwhelming, though. While it’s true that research and improving off-page factors (such as obtaining links) are naturally important, there is plenty of low hanging fruit in SEO that many bloggers overlook.
Google regularly changes their algorithms, so it can be difficult to figure out just what Google wants. There are three things you need to focus on if you want to rank well in Google’s search engine: Content, performance authority, and user experience.
All of these factors come together and combine into what Google considers a “good” blog that is worthy of a higher ranking in their search results.
Some simple things you can do to improve search rankings are:
- Use descriptive alt-tags on all images
- Rectify all 404 errors and broken links
- Include keywords into your H1, H2, and H3
- Internal linking – make sure your important pages are well-linked internally
- Use original, useful content that answers users' needs – Google Panda penalize sites with too many thin content pages
- Use breadcrumb and sitemap to help Google understand your site structure and content flow
- Use a table of content if your content is longer than 2,000 words
- Test your page titles to improve search result page CTR – case studies showed that CTR affects sites’ ranking.
- Improve site engagement rate – bounce rate and time on page affect site rankings.
For more tips and ideas, please read my SEO 101 Guide.
Increase your search traffic by 321% with onpage SEO
Lately, I have been studying the ways of increasing organic search traffic only through changing and formatting the content (On-Page SEO).
And I’ve got nice results.
The search traffic of one of my posts has increased by 321%!
Here are the basic On-Page SEO steps that will help you get more traffic:
1. Track outbound links to extend your content with the information your audience is interested in.
For example: In my article about the first blog post there are links to other resources with dozens of ideas for blog posts.
As soon as I added the code for tracking outbound links, I found out that my readers click on these links like crazy. What did I do? I extended my content with 57 ideas for the first blog post. And now this is my most popular keyword which brings the most of Google traffic.
2. Create a Table of Contents if you have more than 2,000 words written.
This will help you get quick links to Google SERP and increase your CTR.
3. Find the questions that are asked by your audience on the topic of your article and give answers.
You can take questions from Google in the “People also ask” block.
These actions will increase your chances of getting into the featured snippet.
4. Try to include relevant long-tail keywords in your H2.
But do not overdo it!
5. Use numbered and bulleted lists to have a chance to hit the featured snippet.
As soon as I was there, the clicks to my article on this query increased by 20%!
6. Always try a new Title for your pages if you are unhappy with the results of your traffic from Google.
Change it. Experiment! Add modifiers and new keywords.
For my most popular article, I changed the Title tag more than 20 times this year :)
And as a result, I increased traffic by 321% thanks to these simple On-page SEO steps.
— Michael Pozdnev, I Wanna Be A Blogger.
2. Give Out Free Tools and Freebies
Everyone loves freebies. After all who doesn’t like getting something for free?
However, keep in mind that not all freebies are good on their own. You need to offer something in demand so you give the public a reason to talk and share your blog on social media. Remember the whole point of this is about getting traffic.
My core business at Web Hosting Secret Revealed (WHSR) is promoting web hosting services. Rather than squeezing into the crowded Google SERP, I’ve found better odds targeting web designers who likely have use for my hosting advice. To land a seat with that audience, I’ve created loads of freebies.
We have made loads of free icons and original logos. We have also created a Web Hosting Spy Tool on our homepage so users can use it to reveal websites' infrastructure for free. These freebies helped us draw attention from the blogosphere, build natural backlinks, reward our existing readers, and attract new social media followers.
3. Guest Post at Other Blogs
Regardless of how Google bashes guest posting practices – this strategy works. Writing quality guest posts on others' blogs simply is the most efficient way to reach targeted audience and build blog readership.
The key to success, as I see it, is finding the right blogs – those with real readers and social media followers. You can use SEMrush or Buzz Sumo to spot popular blogs and influencers in your industry.
Always keep in mind that you are blogging for real readers (hence the quality of your content is crucial). Forget about posting on blogs with “high Domain Rating” (DR) but zero readers – this practice simply doesn't work anymore in today's SEO.
Here are some of my guest posts in the past.
- 8 ways to increase your website value
- Blogging habits to increase your chances of success
- Jumping into affiliate marketing: The guide for beginners
- Keeping it simple – Why simple newsletter works
4. Produce Content that People Want to Read
People are drowning in social media updates, news feeds, emails, and different kinds of promos. It's increasingly hard to get people to read your content. However, you can still do well if you know who your ideal audience is and what they are looking for.
Think about the gap in your niche, what type of content is missing and how you can bring more value to your audience.
Here are things that can help you with your research:
- Use SEO tools to find high demand topics and generate new content ideas
- Use social media tools to track the successful content on social media. In such away, you can generate content ideas that get good feedback from social media.
- Use content tools like Answer the Public to search for popular questions people ask in Google.
- Use number of views in YouTube to find topics that people are interested in.
- Use a keyword research tool to determine the specific topics that people are looking for within your niche. You can produce content based on those keywords.
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5. Connect with Your Community
“Shared and done” is no longer the name of the game.
You must continually share your posts, over and over. If you are invited to join a group Pinterest board that matches your niche, sign up and share and comment frequently. If you join a list of like-minded bloggers, odds are they will share each other’s content regularly – weekly or daily. This will help grow your readership and engagement.
Consistently seek out your tribe – reward other members in it and connect with them.
Help out at Twitter parties. Comment on other members' posts. Share articles in your newsletters. Round up and reward blogs that you love by featuring one every week or month.
Ask how you can help someone out with a guest post or by offering guest post spots. Sell their products, use their affiliates links, promote their links on your social media while tagging them. As opportunities to recruit bloggers come up, these bloggers will remember your help and invite you to participate.
6. Comment on Other Blogs
First off, commenting on blogs is quite possibly the most overlooked method for building blog traffic – mostly because people suck at making quality, meaningful conversations with strangers (myself included). However, blog commenting is a quality method for building traffic that also happens to be free – can’t argue with that!
There are two golden rules to blog commenting:
- Always write a quality comment. If you don’t have something meaningful to add to the discussion, don’t leave a comment (“Thank you – great post” comments… they’re useless)
- Only drop a link where appropriate. Don’t spam, no matter how tempting it may be; it will backfire on you.
While another rule (not a golden rule, perhaps), if you leave a link, don’t just give your blog’s URL. Instead, link to a relevant post of your own that adds value to the original post and discussion. Relevancy is the key here.
Here’s a great example of someone who has done blog commenting right.
7. Leverage the Power of Crowdsourcing Posts
Producing crowdsourcing posts is a good way to network with other bloggers in your niche and share each others’ social media followers attention.
I have gotten some great results using this tactic myself; and I have seen plenty of good results by others. This crowdsourcing post on Triberr marketing that I recently bumped into pulled in more than 1,000 retweets in a very short period. This social media marketing post by WishPond has drew 1,000+ social shares and pulled in dozens of high profile backlinks.
8. Answer Questions on Q&A Platforms
Forums and Q&A platforms are great places to get a seat in front of your relevant, interested audience. The trick is to monitor ongoing conversations in your niche so that you can chime in when you have something helpful to say (and no, not every post is going to be an opportunity – but some will). You’ll need a good feed reader, such as Feedly, to make this work.
Not finding an exact fit or enough on-the-dot opportunities?
Create some custom content relevant to a particularly hot conversation. For example, if someone asks how to do something with .htaccess code, you could write a tutorial and post it to your blog – then, in the Q&A section of the site, respond to the requester with a teaser, linking them to your blog to get the full codes and demos. Odds are that if one person asked the question, others have that same question – and your forum answer and link will live on to advise them as well when the time comes.
In terms of which Q&A platforms to use, I recommend:
- Quora, Klout, and Yahoo! Answers – these are three of the best general Q&A platforms
- StackOverflow – if you are a publisher selling programming books.
- Tripadvisor – For travel bloggers
You can also find relevant questions in your niche (ie. Google search “keyword” + site:quora.com), post helpful content/replies, and promote your blog when it’s appropriate.
Final Thoughts: Results Come from Action
So You Want to Start A Blog?
This is part of my Blogging 101 Guide for those who are serious about starting a blog and (perhaps) making a living out of it. In this article, we will look at the needed steps to grow your blog traffic. Other guide in this series include:
How to start a blog from scratch
Finding the right niche for your blog
Things you can do to improve your blog
Ways to monetize and make money blogging
In this post I have shared some of the blog traffic tactics that work for us. I would be happy if this inspires some of you to take the next step and start growing your blog using the mentioned strategies.
Here's one last reminder before I end this post: Results comes from action.
Many who came to me in the past had sufficient resources (skills, knowledge, time) to start a blog and make money. But they failed – because they also had more excuses to delay their plans and wait for the stars to align.
I can only show you the way and remove a few obstacles along the way. To succeed, you will need to walk the road yourself.
This article is part of my Blogging 101 Guide. In case you are new, also check out: