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12 And a Half Stupidly Simple Ways to Improve Your Blog Traffic
Blogging for your business? Well done. There are still so many who don’t bother.
I’ve been blogging personally, for my business, and for my clients for almost seven years now and I’ve seen some great success from it.
But the world’s got more noisy over recent years. There’s so much STUFF out there. Getting anyone to read your content is really REALLY hard.
You have to make it readily available, simple to understand and more importantly: easy to read online, on a smartphone, in a hurry, while carrying a bag and looking for the car keys.
Yup… we’re not consuming your content in the comfort of our own home with shed loads of time these days.
Now we’re reading content on our phones more than ever. Recent research suggests that mobile traffic is now more than desktop traffic. The tipping point passed a while back. We’re now on our smartphones more than our desktops! (It’s OK – Jo’s parents still use the Big Computer Upstairs.)
So not only are we dealing with the diminishing attention span less than a goldfish with ADHD, we’re contending with everything else in the world. Content is consumed on the go so it has to be crafted it so it’s easy to consume that way.
So what can we do to ensure our content gets consumed?
- How can we make sure our written content is actually read?
- How do we compete with the rest of the world and that bus your audience is running for?
Here are some tricks you should start to add in to your content and sharing (yes the sharing is important too).
12 And a Half Stupidly Simple Ways to Improve Your Blog Traffic
1. It’s All About The Titles
Titles, titles, titles. It’s all about them. When your blog is shared online this might be the ONLY part that carries over. Not the amazing images, graphics, stats, research or content – just the title.
Look what happens when I share the blog of Seth Godin, one of the greatest bloggers on this earth:
It’s ONLY that title that will carry across.
Yes, Seth Godin is Seth Godin so when he writes a blog with the title ‘Problems’ he’ll still get traffic – he’s Seth Godin! But you’re not Seth Godin (unless Seth’s reading this week’s Spag Blog, in which case – hi Seth!). So you must create great titles until you have a huge tribe.
Spend time making your titles clickable, intriguing, attention-grabbing, descriptive, seductive, powerful and persuasive.
2. Numbered Lists Still Work
“9 ways to skin a cat (plus one bonus one)”
“13 unlucky guys and how they found love eventually”
“101 reasons to use numbered lists in your blogs”
“21 and half things I’ve learnt about 4Networking from my first 100 meetings” (Most viewed blog this year!)
Lots of experts advise you to “Stop using numbered, list blog titles!”
But they’re still rocking the traffic on my blog over the ones that don’t have a numbered title, and I’m not alone. Look at some of the biggest bloggers in digital marketing and you’ll see that they’re all still using them too. Jeff Bullas loves a numbered blog title.
The reason they work is simple: People have less time than ever and numbered titles give an indication on the amount of reading they’ll have to do. It’s the perfect shortcut for time-poor browsers!
3. Get On With It!
Here’s the thing; your content might just be too long. Get to the point. Keep it short. Try to get your point across in under two minutes of reading time (the average time spent on a website is only 58 seconds).
Try to get right to it and give them what you promised in your title.
4. Invest In White Space
Over the years my use of white space has increased.
At first this was a pure accident as the formatting from Word gave me double line breaks. Then I made it a regular thing.
But, people really like it.
It makes it easier to read my blog on a mobile and it’s not just me who’s at it.
Give the eyes some resting points.
A whole block of text can be overwhelming.
This blog is quite long, but with regular resting points for your eyes and lots of breaks in the copy you’ll find you’re able to skim it easier.
5. Write With Sub-headings
The fact is: we all skim online. Research shows that hardly any of us read an entire article online. That sucks, but dry your eyes, mate and listen up.
You can still engage your audience by making it easier for them to skim and encouraging them to share on social media or subscribe to your list.
Writing in subheadings is a really good way to give your reader a simple way to scan a page and decide if they want to read it or share it without reading it (this happens too).
(As a bonus it also keeps you on track and gives you some really good structure!)
6. Add Bullet Points
- Bullet points break up the text
- They’re really easy to read
- Search engines love them
- Your copy is instantly broken up and easier to digest.
Sum up your blogs with bullets, simplify key points with bullets, or tell your readers what you’re going to tell them with bullets.
7. Add Images (And Name Them)
Images are the perfect remedy to lazy eyes. You know when you’re reading a piece of content and you begin to switch off… zzz…
… and just when you do – BAMM – a great graphic, giff or video to engage you!
Using relevant images and then naming them really helps your search visibility too. Naming your relevant images gives you the perfect excuse to use some keywords in the very place search engines look.
Oh… and it makes your blog look real purdy, too!
8. Bold, Italic And Underline The Best Bits
Using bold, italic, or underline makes your key words and points jump out of the page!
Get creative with your formatting and give some more fodder for the eyes of the skimmers. Don’t go overboard though! It’s not as easy to read with a whole load of bold and italic text. And don’t underline when not hyperlinking, or it looks confusing.
9. Answer Popular Questions With Your Content
Blogs and articles should offer value and help your audience. At best your content should be top of Google for the big thing that people search for in your chosen field. You should at least aim to answer the key questions that you get asked all the time.
- If you’re a driving instructor tell us how many lessons we’ll need to pass our test.
- Selling plants? Tell your readers when to plant the most popular seasonal bulbs.
- If you’re an interior designer then give some simple, easy to understand home décor tips to get your potential customers started.
10. Think About Social Sharing
It’s a common misconception that it’s the work ‘on’ the page that makes a blog go viral or at least gets a decent stream of traffic. Social media is a huge driver of traffic to our blog and it’s no accident.
Each post is created with a socially shareable title and a featured image that appears on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If you feature your image on your WordPress blog it will show up on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn like this:
— Todd (@SocialMediaTodd) May 30, 2016
The way a post looks when it’s shared is important and also how you share your post on social is too. Consider a scheduling tool to pump out your content on social media.
- Share your blog 20-30 times on Twitter
- Several times on your personal Facebook
- Once early morning or late evening on LinkedIn
- And pay to boost your content to your Facebook Page fans.
Setting fire to your content will always start with you, unless you have a huge email subscriber list.
11. Build Your Email List
One of the most certain ways to gain traffic is to grab readers as they visit your site and get them to share their email address so you can let them know about fresh content.
There are many ways to do this and pop-ups (despite us all hating them) seem to work the best. If you go to many of the big digital marketing blogs you’ll have to navigate a plethora of pop-ups before you leave. Or you could simply have an obvious call-to-action at the end of your blog to subscribe. Something we’re working on to improve on this blog.
12. Guest Blog On Relevant Subjects
Blog for other people!
Yup, blogging for other (relevant) sites can really send you some great traffic, especially if the site you write content for gets a lot of traffic. Piggyback on higher authority sites and try to convert them to your email list when they arrive.
12. And A Half… Create Great Content!
It goes without saying that your content needs to be good. Poorly written, thin on the ground for value content won’t win any love from social shares or subscribers.
You have to go the extra mile. Do your research, share great tips, ideas and insights or put your money where your mouth is and be opinionated about something you LOVE!
When you share useful, helpful, passionate, controversial, throught-provoking content people share it, more hear about it and more talk about it. Don’t be afraid the try new things and of course make sure you focus on the goldfish-like, smartphone-using, busy bees trying to read your content on the go.
Attention is currency now and earning it has never been so hard!
Got More To Add?
I’d love to hear what’s worked for you. I love learning about blogging and how it works for others. Blogging changed my life – how does it affect yours?
Tags associated with this articleBlogging Content Copywriting Marketing
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