Today’s post is all about how to drive traffic to your blog. So far in my series on blogging, I have covered all the basics needed to start your own blog. Then I moved on to the next crucial stage after blog creation; blog promotion. I’ve spoken about content marketing strategies, straight-up blog promotion, how to find your target audience, promoting your blog on social media, and keyword research. And now I am going to tell you how to increase blog traffic.
What seems like old hat to some of you, may still be brand new to beginners, so bear with me as I touch on important words and concepts that are vital when you want to drive more traffic to your blog.
The goal today is to make sure you get to know the trending techniques for driving traffic. With SEO, things constantly evolve, as bloggers become more proficient at using the basic tools for driving organic traffic. This post is going to look at how you can drive traffic using tried and tested strategies
Community Building and Topic Clusters
But then we dip into the subject of Community Building and Topic Clusters. Both these ideas get implemented more often now, by bloggers who have been in the business long enough to understand the need for two things:
- The need to present content in a super-structured, easy-to-access, easy-to-digest way. This is called creating topic clusters.
- The need to collaborate and network. Sharing ideas and solutions is cost-effective and brand-building. Promoting fellow competitors through the art of link-building increases the potential for more traffic, adds to the creative impact of any endeavor, improves ranking and site reputation. Backlinking and guest posts are opportunities to get your blog out there, while at the same time you are building relationships within the blogging community.
Community building and topic clusters are causing ripples and waves in the blogosphere’s digital marketing world! They are not new to us but they are finally getting center stage. So, if you haven’t paid much attention to the new kids on the block, now is the time!
Let’s get started!
Defining The Term “How To Drive Traffic to Your Blog?”
So, what is traffic?
Simply put, traffic is the visits you get to your site. You get two main types of traffic, organic and paid. Let’s look at the differences and I’ll tell you how you can use each kind to maximize your end results. Traffic that reaches you through your SEO efforts is organic. So is the traffic you get from the marketing strategies that cost you nothing, except time. Any marketing that you pay for, that leads to traffic being driven to your site, is known as paid traffic.
When your blog starts to get traffic, and that traffic turns into more traffic, it is very encouraging. You must be doing something right. Even more important than traffic in general, is specific traffic. Bloggers know that identifying your target audience is crucial. You want to turn traffic into leads. Then you want the leads to turn into conversions. This journey is called a marketing funnel. Each stage refers to where the user is on their buying journey.
The marketing funnel
An easy way to understand the marketing funnel is to use “AIDA” principles. First, there is Awareness, then Interest, then Desire, and finally Action. Ideally, you want to drive traffic that already has the desire and is ready to take action. They are the users searching with long-tail keywords. They are looking for specific information and want particular problems solved.
When the traffic is just visiting you want them to return, and eventually to use your product. This is where blog content counts. If you consistently deliver outstanding content, your target audience from organic traffic will convert. There is software to help you get traffic. You also need analytics so that you can track your traffic. Only 5% of bloggers don’t have access to analytics.
Without knowing where your traffic is coming from, and how much of it falls into your target audience group, you will be lost and overwhelmed. Software designed to convert traffic to leads is available. Software like Yoast, Ahrefs, Optinmonster, and Moz automate processes that would otherwise take you ages to decipher and correlate.
Why Is Blog Traffic Important?
Traffic is important because it represents potential. In theory, every visitor to your site is a potential subscriber to your mailing list or a potential purchaser. Once a person has made the journey from casual browser to interested reader to regular subscriber to loyal customer, then the way you view traffic changes.
If you do projections based on traffic, you could estimate possible takings over a set time frame. For example: If you get 30,000 visitors per month and only 10% convert to subscribers, that’s 3,000. If 1% of those people convert to paying customers it’s 30 new sales. But what if you had 3,000 visitors and 10% converted? You will get 300 sales! So the more specific your target audience, the better the results. But numbers and statistics can be manipulated. You need to understand what drives traffic the most effectively and use the tools at hand. Knowing your target audience means getting higher ROI. You may get fewer visitors but they have a higher probability of becoming customers, or conversions.
Traffic is an indication of how many people visit your site. But you still need to understand how they got there and what they will do next. You can help them decide by hooking them with killer headlines, stellar content, and a product or service that seals the deal.
How do most people find content?
And if you recognize the search intent of your core audience, you can create content based on what people in your niche are looking for. Keyword research is essential to content creation. You need to tap into what your target audience wants. What questions do they have? What problems can you solve?
But there is no quick fix.
Consistency is key.
It takes the top bloggers years before they start ranking on Google’s first SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Driving traffic is just a way of herding people to your content. Once you have them there you still need to keep them there and make sure they come back soon!
There are 6 main ways to drive traffic:
- SEO – SEO strategies include on-page SEO, keyword research, and link-building. Organic traffic comes from SEO.
- Content marketing is all about curating accurate, inspirational, helpful content and then promoting it.
- SEM – Paid ads – SEM is a paid strategy to increase traffic. These can be sponsored ads that will appear at the top of the first SERP. Or display ads that appear as banners. Google Ads, CPC, PPC, and other CTR advertising all fall under the SEM umbrella.
- Create collaborative communities – By interacting with your target audience on a personal level, you promote your business, blog, or brand. But it goes deeper than that. It helps you to establish yourself as an authority in your niche. And people come to depend on your input because it’s helpful, accurate, and interesting. This is a beautiful organic strategy because as much as it may seem like the agenda is all about sales, leads, and traffic, it’s also about forging friendships with like-minded people. Whether those friendships are business or social, the result is community. Community brings with it a sense of unity, security, and mutual benefits. It cultivates goodwill.
- Email marketing (falls under content marketing)
- Social Media Marketing (falls under content marketing)
All six strategies bring success if executed with insight and consistency. Time has also taught us what works and what doesn’t. This means veteran bloggers get to improve on previous strategies and newbies can learn from the mistakes and experiences of already-successful bloggers. Getting organic traffic is no longer all about stuffingords and putting an SEO formula in place that ticks all the boxes.
How to drive traffic to your blog
How to drive traffic to your blog is becoming more sophisticated, but at the same time easier. Remember though; easier is not faster, or less work! It’s a case of working SMART not hard! There is a strong focus on community building, to drive traffic. There are ways to grow online communities that help drive organic traffic. Bloggers have created platforms where they can get together to share ideas and content.
Create a pool of collective resources and exchange links with other bloggers to increase SEO through backlinks.
4 Main Strategies To Increase Traffic (And 2 New Kids on the Block)
Most people and businesses use their blog as a platform to:
- Boost business through content marketing
- Inform customers about their brand, product, or service
- Educate people on topics that are relevant to their products
- Assist customers by answering questions and offering solutions
But blogging is all for nothing if nobody is finding your content. Curating content that is SEO-driven improves your chances of being picked up by crawlers (the software that searches for keywords to give to Google), and gets your content ranked. But ranking in the top ten is almost impossible for 99% of bloggers. There are literally only ten spots in a sea of content.
Good news though! It is no longer necessary to fight for a place on the first SERP. There is a better way that brings far more success to far more bloggers. Why do you need to implement 50 ideas to drive traffic if only 25 of them are proven to bring substantial results. But again, on the other hand, is it wise to ignore any strategy if it means even a small percentage of traffic?
I guess the biggest factor would be time. Do you have the time to try every single strategy out there, or would you rather pick a handful that will guarantee more organic traffic, and go from there, adding ideas over time. This is where a solid content marketing strategy comes in.
Statistics show that both paid and organic traffic have advantages. Organic traffic takes more time and results take longer to reflect. Paid traffic, although it costs you financially, is a surefire way to speed up the process of driving traffic to your blog.
1. Successful SEO Strategies to Score More Traffic – Drive your blog Traffic
Optimize SEO for your target audience:
Optimize SEO for your target audience, not the search engine algorithms. In my article on “How to find your target audience”, I spoke about building personas based on your target audience. When you identify your core group and build personas based on that information, you are making a smaller pool with more fish. Thus increasing the likelihood of better quality organic traffic.
Google’s ability to interpret natural language has opened the doors to search intent. Many users search by asking questions. When you search using four words or more, you are using long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords increase the chances of being found by search engine crawlers.
On-page SEO is a simple procedure that works. Fill in your meta title, meta description, and URL. Also, fill in alt tags. Alt tags give your images a textual description so they get picked up by crawlers. Filling in on-page SEO is vital. Use plugins like Yoast or Ahrefs, but remember they are not magic 8 balls. You still need to put in the time when doing your initial keyword research.
Long-tail keywords are the BOMB! Do keyword research. Search engines have become more “intelligent”. The more specific your search query the better the results. As users change the way they search, search engines have to be adapted. And the results are way better for more people now. When you narrow the search parameters right down, you end up with less organic traffic than you would when using short-tail keywords. But the traffic you get will have a higher possibility of converting to leads.
Link-Building to drive traffic
Use link-building and infographics to generate organic traffic. Combining SEO strategies with content marketing strategies is added power. Everything you do to curate content should convince readers that your site is authoritative, accurate, and helpful. You get software that helps you to design infographics. Some companies hire graphic designers to create them. Go onto sites like fiverr.com and find young designers that won’t charge you the sun and the moon! Or use sites like Canva and create your own.
2. Cost-Effective Content Marketing Strategies to Claim More Traffic
Curate Content with Intention (includes the content marketing benefits of Topic Clusters)
- Content is the reason you blog. Content is what sells your product, helps your customers, educates the uninformed, and keeps them coming back for more.
- Create headlines that are 6-15 words long and articles longer than 2,000 – 2,500 words. More words equate to more SEO opportunities which will lead to higher conversion rates. Longer posts will have more backlinks which will generate more organic leads.
- Content should grab attention, cause curiosity, deliver inspirational ideas and give actionable advice.
- Publish new blog posts regularly but don’t compromise quality content over quantity. Less is more. One excellent post a week is far better than 5 sub-standard ones.
- Give value-added content that helps people with real-life problems. Read customer reviews and search forums and sites, like Quora, to get insight into what your target audience needs. What questions do they have? What problems need solving?
- Generate ideas for viral content.
- Back the ideas up with excellent content
- Articles with 2,500 words and up tend to do better.
- Use headlines that hook readers and stir their curiosity.
Evergreen content is content that stays relevant long after it gets published. When you think of evergreen trees, you get reminded that they stay green all year. Evergreen content stays fresh. Certain blog formats are suited to evergreen content.
The most popular formats for evergreen content are:
- Listicles – People love lists. A list breaks sections up into easily digestible content. The info on a listicle is concise. Readers can skim-read a listicle post and still get all the main points. And considering that over 45% of readers skim-read blog posts, you can never go wrong with evergreen listicles.
- How-to articles – Instructional blog posts are evergreen. Adding videos or photo sequences add to the content’s appeal.
- Product or book reviews – As long as they are relevant to your brand or business, these will remain in vogue. Although you may need to repurpose some reviews if newer models and editions come out.
Examples of content that’s not evergreen includes:
- Current affairs
- Celebrity gossip
- Holidays like Thanksgiving, Easter, Halloween. (Holidays or seasonal posts can be repurposed though.)
- Articles that give statistics are not evergreen. But with relevant updates, they make good repurposed content.
Examples of good topics for evergreen content are:
- Food, cooking, and baking. But food trends do come and go so you’d still have to repurpose.
- Health and fitness
- How to budget
- Frugal/Minimalist/ Natural living
- Pet and Animal care
There is a slight difference between repurposed and evergreen content. Evergreen content stays fresh while repurposed content needs to be updated. Repurposed content and updating older posts have been shown to bring positive results in terms of traffic.
If you can combine evergreen and repurposed content with effective keyword research, you’ll have a winning formula. And you will see an increase in organic traffic.
3. Buy Traffic
Buy Traffic With SEM Strategies to Keep The Traffic Trickling In
Cost per Click (CPC) is a way of placing paid ads that bring ROI every time a user clicks on your ad. There are different types of CPC ads and marketers have to bid on keywords to get their ads placed at the top of the first or second SERP.
You need to do proper keyword research and bid on long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are used by people further along in the buying journey. The search volume may be lower but so will the price. If you don’t plan your paid campaigns properly you may waste money. But if you do it right you’ll be guaranteed ROI.
4. Topic Clusters
Pillar content or pillar posts are posts that act as the main article for a series of articles, all based on a specific topic. The pillar post is also referred to as cornerstone content. In that article, you can add links to all the other articles that lead from the main one. The articles that branch out from your pillar post are called topic clusters.
These topic clusters will also have links that connect to other relevant content on your blog. This type of organizational structure makes it easy for users to find exactly what they want fast, and without leaving your site.
Your content and the way it is laid out will bring people back, get more shares, and ultimately get you recognized as an authority site. The importance of ranking on the first SERP cannot be neglected but thanks to social media marketing, on-page SEO, the use of long-tail keyword research, and email marketing, traffic increases even if you haven’t been ranked.
5. Site Architecture and Hierarchies
In the past, you would have had your landing page, your home page, and an “about me” page. To increase the time your visitors spend on your site it must be designed for easy use. Instead of a link to your About Us page, bloggers are now labeling it “Start Here”. This will take them to your bio/about us page. It gives the perfect opportunity to introduce new visitors to you and your business. It can also give them all the information they need to contact you., as well as what they can expect to find on your blog and in your online store.
Keep all your bios across platforms up to date. Make sure that your bio is tweaked for the platform you are using. For example; your bio on your YouTube channel is not going to sound or look like your LinkedIn profile.
Hierarchies: When you write your posts be sure to use H1, H2, H3 headings. This optimizes the pages for SEO. H2 must support H1 and H3 must support H2 and similar hierarchy order must be followed.
6. Create Collaborative Communities Where Sharing Is Caring and Blog Traffic Gets A Boost
Find forums where you’ll find your target audience asking questions you can base new content on. Use Reddit and Quora as well. Read customer reviews on sites like Amazon to find out even more about the needs of your target audience.
Join Platforms for fellow bloggers. Here you can network to improve backlinking, find guest bloggers, or be a guest blogger. Collaboration strengthens the sense of community. Competitors that speak well of you, and vice versa, also reflect the ethics and morals of that company. A company that is confident enough to offer up a piece of their pie shows they stand behind their product and know they have the best to offer customers.
Keep your finger on the pulse. Stay on trend with what’s hot and what’s not, in your chosen niche.
Get interactive. Don’t just post your new content to groups. Rather get stuck in and join groups relevant to your business. Give input and build authentic relationships with the groups you are on. These groups are essentially your target audience.
In this post, I laid out the ways to drive traffic to your site. Traffic that generates leads and conversions is the goal. When you identify your core group you can aim to increase traffic that is made up of your target audience. This increases the potential for an even higher success rate of turning traffic into conversions.
To drive traffic, you need to market your content. Blog marketing strategies include:
- SEO marketing: this includes on-page SEO, link building, keyword research, blog format, structure, and hierarchies
- SEM marketing: which are the ad campaigns you run with paid ads.
- Content marketing
- Community building
- Blog architecture and hierarchies
In addition, there is also:
- Email Marketing
- Social Media Marketing and
- Blog Promotion
Content marketing has been covered in previous posts and deals with:
- How to start your own blog
- and How to create a blog geared for SEO
- How to promote your blog
- as well as How to structure your blog
- How to monetize your blog
You want traffic but you want traffic that will bring leads that generate conversions. This is done by focusing on keyword searches for both paid and organic traffic.
Blogging and content creation is an art form. Anyone with passion, drive, and commitment can develop their skill set by reading digital marketing content and using software that automates processes like analytics and email marketing. Much can be done on a shoe-string budget but it’s essential to have a solid content marketing strategy in place. Don’t be afraid to pay professionals to do the stuff you can’t do. Or don’t have time to do yourself.
Analytics and good keyword research are important factors when compiling your content calendars and content marketing strategies.
I hope you found this blog post helpful. Please feel free to contact me with any questions and comments.