When I first started blogging, I did what many naïve new bloggers do: I focused 95% of my time on creating new content and 5% of my time on promoting it. For my first several months as a blogger, I shared my articles on my Facebook page and Twitter – that was all I did to promote my new posts.
I only had a couple hundred page views per month and I was starting to feel frustrated. I decided to start researching how to grow my blog traffic. First, I read an article called Why Bloggers Fail which explains the importance of promoting your content (instead of focusing solely on creating content or taking a “build it and they will come” approach).
Next, I read Ruth Soukup’s How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul. (I’m currently on a three-year shopping ban, but my hubby was nice enough to buy me the book for my birthday – and it was only $10).
Over the past couple of months, I’ve tried implementing several of the practices that I’ve learned about. I’ve seen a noticeable difference – my page views have gone from a couple hundred to thousands of unique views per month. It’s amazing to know that I can reach so many people and connect with others who feel as passionately about personal finance as I do.
The single most effective way to get more traffic on your blog is to find another blog that already has a lot of readers (thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions) – and get that blog to direct readers to your site. The easiest way to do this is to guest post on another blog. I have guest posted on Broke and Healthy, Simply Save, Financegirl, Millennial Money Man, and Dear Debt. My take on gratitude and student loans was also featured recently on SaveMoney, Dammit!
If you aren’t sure where to begin, do a Google search on how to approach another blogger to guest post on their blog. If you’re not comfortable reaching out to any of the big name blogs yet, try connecting with some smaller blogs and starting there. Many bloggers state on their “work with me” page whether or not they accept guest posts and the guidelines for guest posting.
Make sure to follow these guidelines, choose a topic that fits well with the blog’s niche, and make your post unique. If the blog already has 100 posts on that particular topic, that probably is not the best topic to choose. When a blogger considers having someone guest post on his/her site, they are looking for something that will provide a valuable, unique perspective for their readers.
Read and Comment on Other Blogs
Commenting on other blogs is a great way to start building relationships with other bloggers and to “put yourself out there”. Other bloggers aren’t going to check out your site if they don’t even know your site exists! Readers can also click on a link that brings them to your blog if they find your comment interesting and want to know more about you and your blog. Reading other blogs is also a great way to learn more about your niche.
Develop Relationships with Fellow Bloggers
Developing relationships with other bloggers is a great way to increase traffic to your site and connect with new people who share many of the same hobbies or passions that you have. Don’t approach other bloggers asking for favors – for example, don’t ask another blogger (who you’ve never talked to before) to proofread an article for your site. Bloggers are busy people, and they don’t have time for those types of things.
Instead, propose mutually beneficial ideas such as guest posting. Heather at Simply Save (one of my favorite blogs!) recently asked me to guest post on her site and offered to do a guest post on mine as well. This was mutually beneficial – we each get access to the others’ readers and we were both able to add valuable content to the other person’s blog. Many of Heather’s posts focus on minimalism, and I loved having her write a post on that topic on my blog. I love minimalism, but I don’t write about it much (at least not yet), so it was awesome for her to contribute that to my blog.
Another thing you can do to develop relationships with fellow bloggers is to attend conferences on blogging. I haven’t done this yet, but I plan to in the future. I didn’t realize that there are local conferences specifically for Minnesota-based bloggers. This is awesome and would be a great way to connect with other bloggers who live in my area.
Create a Social Media Strategy
At the very least, your blog should have a Twitter page, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Many bloggers swear by Pinterest and say that the majority of their traffic comes directly from Pinterest. Pinning frequently isn’t enough – you need to have a solid strategy in place. Three important pieces of a Pinterest strategy are creating a cohesive brand for your blog on your profile page, pinning to group boards, and pinning vertical, visually appealing pins.
Make Your Blog Visually Appealing
It’s crucial to promote your blog – through social media, guest posting, commenting on other blogs, and developing relationships with fellow bloggers. These methods will drive traffic to your blog, but you need to make sure that traffic stays there (in Web Design terms, you want to have a low “bounce rate”). If you want followers to keep reading your blog, you need to do three things: offer amazing content, include professional-quality photos, and make sure your blog is well-organized and easy to navigate.
How long will you stay on a website that is poorly organized and frustrating to use? Even if the content is awesome, you probably won’t stay on the site too long. A Beautiful Mess is a great example of a well-organized blog with easy to use categories.
If you’re not into photography, try using Pixabay or Google Advanced Search (you can filter it to only show images that are “free to use or share”). If you use either of these sites, you can avoid any potential copyright infringement. All of the images on my blog were either taken by me or my husband, or downloaded from Pixabay or Google Advanced Search.
Whether you want to start monetizing your blog or you just want to help more people, increasing traffic to your site is crucial. There are a ton of blogs out there, and it takes a lot of work to promote your blog and get your blog noticed. To increase your number of readers, follow the following steps:
- Guest post on popular blogs.
- Comment on other blogs in your niche.
- Develop relationships with other bloggers.
- Create a social media strategy.
- Make your blog appealing by offering amazing content, high-quality photos, and easy to use categories.