Have I ever told you how long I’ve been blogging? Almost 20 years. Yes, you read that right, YEARS.
I started back when I was just 13 with a brand new internet connection (AOL anyone??) and the budding need to overshare with strangers on the internet. And in those 20 years I went from zero traffic to a few hundred pageviews to a few thousand to tens of thousands. And after almost 1,000 posts on this little blog and who knows how many hundreds more on LiveJournal, Angelfire, and Blogger, I finally hit 100k pageviews in a month. 113k to be precise!
But these gains don’t just happen by accident and they definitely don’t need to take 20 years (should have stopped blogging about boys and bands way sooner!), so today I’m happy to share 7 things I did this year to grow my traffic to 6-figures . . .
Longer blog posts
This was one of the changes I made this year that had a big impact on making my content more shareable. Not only does Google really like when you publish longform content (thousands of words instead of hundreds), but readers really like it too. They don’t just want ideas or suggestions, they want DETAILS. They want specifics with examples and charts and numbers and the exact info on how you accomplished whatever you’re blogging about.
I look back on some of my older blog posts and cringe at the fact that I penned 500 words and called it good. Which is just what it was…good. Not great, not badass, not insanely helpful.
And yes, writing longer blog posts takes more time, but I made it easier on myself by only publishing two new posts each week (I think even cutting it down to one would have still produced a pretty solid traffic boost) and planning content that I could break into sections (like this!).
Better share icons
Along with writing longer posts to make my content more valuable and therefore more shareable, I also made it EASIER for people to share by adding SumoMe buttons to the side of my blog. (Those green things over there <<< you should click them!)
Previously I had been using only the WordPress JetPack buttons at the bottom of my posts. And they’re still down there, but I get at least twice as many shares from the buttons on the side.
Now (super important thing coming – get out a pen + paper) if you’re going to add those super clickable share buttons, you MUST add a description to the alt text of your image (either click edit on your image or look at your image code for alt=””). This will allow people to share your content with two clicks. I almost never share posts that don’t have a description pre-written for me and I’m sure your readers don’t have time to be writing your descriptions for you either!
I wrote an entire post about this and built an e-course, but it’s important enough to be said again – Pinterest was my game-changer this year. Not just pinning, but pinning each of my posts to multiple boards and designing bigger/bolder images.
I use TailWind to schedule pins for new blog posts over the course of about two weeks to ensure that they don’t just bring in traffic the day they’re published. I also updated my blog images around August last year to make them taller and easier to read and my traffic jumped from 38k pageviews/month to 57k.
Host giveaways with share buttons
Hosting giveaways is a no-brainer, right? People love free stuff and they will gladly come to your site for a chance to win something awesome. But in order to boost my traffic, I leveled-up my giveaway game by using KingSumo Giveaways. KingSumo is a plugin for WordPress that gives entrants extra entries (say that three times fast!) for sharing the giveaway with their friends. People – this WORKS.
Previously, I had run giveaways using a form and requiring users to send a tweet and then comment with that link. But it stops there – entry requirement fulfilled, they had no incentive to help promote my giveaway more than one time. By using a giveaway platform that integrates sharing, I was able to create a larger incentive and get users to share the giveaway multiple times. More entries, more shares, more TRAFFIC.
Webinars are like the holy grail of free content. You can provide SO MUCH VALUE in just an hour. And not only that, it allows your audience to ask questions live. This is good for two reasons: first, it helps you to sound super smart and authoritative, and second, it gives you lots of ammo for more blog content. Using a platform like LeadPages to host your webinar allows you to (again) add those share buttons and give people something valuable to send to their audience.
Collaborating with someone on a webinar will bring in even more traffic as you each introduce your audience to the other person. Don’t worry that you’ll have the same audience if you’re in the same niche – I always find there is a lot less overlap than I expect and double the hosts = double the shares!
It never fails, people love free stuff. I did three things with content upgrades this year in order to generate traffic. First, I included the info about whatever worksheets or checklists were included with my blog post to my pinnable blog images (like this). Second, I created a gallery of all the posts with upgrades on my shop page to make them easier to find. And third, I added a customized thank you page with share buttons to every single upgrade that allows users to tweet or Facebook the link and tell their friends to grab the freebie too (like this). Lots more on content upgrades over here >>>
Give up the stuff that didn’t produce the return I wanted
Lastly, it’s important to pay attention to where your traffic is coming from and cut out tasks that don’t help bring in visitors. This is one of the biggest issues I see with bloggers lately – they don’t have a specific purpose for blogging or they don’t have a goal for what they want to accomplish so they just do EVERYTHING and end up accomplishing NOTHING. Multi-tasking is the enemy here. If you’re putting time into trying everything, then you’re taking time away from the platforms and strategies that will move you forward in a significant way.
So the TL;DR version of this – make SUPER valuable long-form content, give away free stuff, make it insanely easy for your audience to share it with their audience, and skip the stuff that doesn’t make a big impact on your stats.