Before I started blogging…
Before I met Derek an the boys…
I was a career girl. I didn’t just work any old job though, I worked in the ultimate pencil skirt and high heel wearing field – public relations.
More specifically, I spent my years as a public relations executive working with politicians and sports super stars. At first glance it may seem that the two are completely different. However, politicians and athletes have AT LEAST two things in common – GIANT EGOS and an incredible WORK ETHIC.
Though I think we can skip over any discussion of the giant egos, I have to tell you successful bloggers have traits very similar to well-known politicians and sporty types. The most important? They work hard. Very hard.
Last weekend I spoke at Sewing Summit. (I love this group!) I shared five steps to improving blog traffic in 30-days. I’d love to tell you that improving your blog traffic in 30-days will be easy. It won’t.
The principles I shared are simple, but you have to be dedicated, follow-through and WORK HARD.
Now that I have scared you to death, let’s chat about increasing your blog traffic.
Improve Your Blog Traffic with Blog Design
You’ve heard of an elevator pitch, right? Well you need to come up with your BEST elevator pitch in a matter of just a few words and include them as a descriptive tag on your blog.
Here are a few great examples:
- Studio DIY. Inspire, Create, Celebrate
- Sewaholic. Sewing projects, tips and inspiration for the modern seamtress
- SYTYC. 10 weeks. 10 themes. 10 crafters. YOU decide.
- I Heart Naptime. Easy recipes, DIY crafts, Homemaking
Just adding a tag can increase your pageviews.
Add a projects tab to your site. Feature it right up top in your navigation. It will become the most visited page on your site and will probably keep people around for a while.
Here are a couple of blogs that do this well:
Want to create your own projects page? If you’re on Blogger, you will have to create a projects page with a tool like InLinkz and add your posts in manually. If you’re on WordPress, your life is going to be a bit easier. You can actually use a plugin like Category Thumbnail List and automate the whole process.
Feature top posts (or the post you want to draw attention to) prominently on your site. A great place to do this is in the sidebar. You can see how I’ve done this on SYTYC.
Be sure to have a SEARCH BOX on your site. It’s most often found in the upper left portion of the site.
Include a related content feature at the bottom of your posts. Here are a few you can try:
I’ve shared WordPress plugin links, but you can find these for Blogger as well.
Improve Your Blog Traffic with Basic SEO
SEO affects traffic. It affects it a lot. At some point we will dive into SEO a bit deeper. Today, I am sharing a few BASIC SEO tips that will help increase your traffic right away.
Think like a searcher. You know, think about how you’d Google the topic you’re writing about. For instance, if I’d like to make a simple costume for my child, I am probably going to search for easy princess costume or simple homemade costumes.
Once you’ve come up with your key phrase, use it in your headline, your URL (you can change this in Blogger or WordPress, you just need to be set up as a .com) and your content.
The first time you use your key phrase, BOLD it. It gives web spiders the heads-up that THIS is important content.
Use headings throughout your post.
Include relevant images. Be sure to save your image with the key phrase included, i.e. easy princess costume 1. Once you upload your image, be sure to add an alt title as well.
With a niche blog, you’re going to have a lot of related content. You can boost your SEO, by linking back to related content within the body of your post.
If you’re on WordPress, make sure you’re using the WordPress SEO plugin.
Improve Your Blog Traffic with Social Sharing
Once you’ve created your post and implemented some basic SEO, it’s time to share! When sharing your post online, be sure to utilize the key phrase that you used in your post – it keeps the SEO rolling!
The hope with social sharing is that 1) it will push traffic to your site and 2) your share will go viral.
Today, Pinterest stands out as the largest driver of traffic in the creative arena, so that’s where we’re going to start. Here are a few thing you should look for when crafting a post on Pinterest:
- Vertical are pinned and repinned more often than horizontal images. Try to include a vertical “money shot” in every post.
- Not clear exactly what’s special about your beautiful image? Add a little descriptive text.
- Create keyword (key phrase) rich titles and descriptions. Remember the Google SEO example? Instead of saying “adorable dress,” you’d say simple DIY princess dress #costume #halloween #DIY #sewing
- Be consistent in your pinning. Really want to grow your following? Try to pin at least five times a day (that’s a lot of content!)
- Pin at the more popular times of day for Pinterest – morning, noon and…2 pm
- Can’t spend all day pinning? Me neither. Consider using a scheduling tool.
Let’s talk about Facebook for a minute. I know that you’ve probably decided to move on, but don’t underestimate the power of this medium. Facebook remains one of the most pervasive networks on the web.
Understand the importance of impressions versus click-through rates. A status update may get more impressions, but hands-down photos get more shares and a higher click-through rate. I don’t know about you, but I care a whole lot about click rates, so I implement both. It’s more rare for me to share a link with a preview.
Whatever you do, don’t “link in the comments.” Your link will get lost and you will loose the potential click throughs you might have initially gained.
What to track your click through rate? Simply use a tracking URL like bit.ly.
Like Pinterest, there is a better time to share…I find my fans tend to be online in the morning early afternoon and late at night. Experiment with posts and figure our what time is best for you. Once you’ve got those times of day down. SCHEDULE.
Create consistent engagement via regular everyday banter and chatter. People may not want to talk about deep topics, but I promise they will share their favorite soda, upcycle, etc.
Improve Your Traffic with Link-Ups & Networking
Have you participated in a link-up? Do you know what that is? You have the opportunity to link/share your latest project on another blog. I host a link-up here on my site every Wednesday, but the most popular linky on the web happens every Friday night over at Tatertots and Jello.
Do you submit your photos to gallery sites? They are great traffic generators. Here are a few examples:
Another great place to share your posts is on feature sites. There are loads of sites you can check out, like:
Finally, I think guest posts have fallen off the radar a bit for some bloggers. Don’t discount the power of a good guest post. It can send you loads of traffic and boost your SEO.