7 modern ways to significantly boost blog traffic (that only rookies skip)
Are you looking to quickly increase your blog traffic? Columnist John Lincoln reveals some key strategies, from connecting with other bloggers to creating long-form content and more.
The first rule of content marketing is to drive traffic to your blog. From there, the idea is to convert at least some of that traffic into paying customers.
The law of averages dictates that the more traffic you have, the more people you’ll convert. More conversions lead to more revenue. More revenue is good. See where I am going with this…
That’s why you not only want to grow your traffic, but you want to grow it as quickly as possible to boost your online sales. Here are seven blogging strategies for doing just that.
1. Talk about other important bloggers
Create a list of other important bloggers who aren’t competitors. If they’re influential in a space that’s tangential or mildly related to your vertical, make it a point to mention them in your content.
For example, if you’re running a search engine optimization (SEO) company, you can mention bloggers who are influential in other aspects of online marketing, such as conversion rate optimization and copywriting. Those people aren’t direct competitors, but they offer a skill set that will be of interest to your customers.
Of course, before you even get to the point where you mention other bloggers, you first have to find them. You may have been so head-down in your own digital marketing efforts that you haven’t had chance to search around cyberspace for people who are influential. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to find them.
Start with BuzzSumo and FollowerWonk. Both are great tools that will probably give you everyone you need.
If those don’t give you a list of at least 30 people, you can always search around on Google and Twitter for the rest.
Once you’ve got a list of influential bloggers, start mentioning them in your own blog posts. There are two reasons why that’s a good idea.
First, it’s karma. The laws of the universe dictate that when you do good to others, you’re going to get the same treatment in return. That’s as true in business as it is anywhere else. When you start quoting other bloggers, soon other bloggers will start quoting you.
Second, when you quote other bloggers, you’re almost certainly going to link to them (you should). Those bloggers might notice that traffic to their site is trickling in from yours. They’ll visit your site and possibly practice their own karma by offering a link back.
2. Email other people that you mentioned them
Busy bloggers won’t always check their backlink profiles to see who’s mentioning them (the bigger they are, the less chance). With that in mind, it’s a good idea to go the extra mile and inform them via email or social media that you mentioned them in a blog post.
Although influential bloggers undoubtedly receive countless pieces of spam every day that they delete en masse, they’ll be happy to see that somebody else is talking about them. That’s why you have to get their attention with a subject line that doesn’t look like spam.
“I Mentioned You In My Blog” is simple and straight to the point.
“Thanks For Being Part Of My Blog” stands out a little more and also creates an implicit curiosity gap. The reader will immediately think: “When was I a part of this person’s blog?”
“You Have Been Featured!”
That has to work. I would check it.
Brainstorm and create eye-catching subject lines that will grab the attention of influential bloggers. Make sure to ask them to share on social.
You can do this manually or use a tool. Recently, I have been using Pitchbox, and it has saved my staff and me a lot of time with outreach. It also has been a lot more effective and easier to keep track of contacts.
3. Integrate blogging with your email strategy
You use email marketing to promote your brand, right? You should also use it to promote your blog. Lately, I am in love with SumoMe.
People who haven’t responded to your seven-day or 30-day “drip” marketing effort should stay on your email list so that you can promote blog posts to them. That keeps them interested, draws out the drip and may eventually convert them to paying customers.
Here’s why I emphasize the importance of list segmentation. Although you might have one “master” email list, that list should be segmented based on interest.
For example, if you’re running an SEO company, you could have one list for people who are only interested in Local SEO. That way, you can promote Local SEO offers to people on that list.
However, you can also promote blog posts based on interests. To continue with the example above, if you’ve just posted some content about the importance of Local SEO, you can send that link to people on your Local SEO list. It should receive a much better open rate than an email sent to the broader list.
- Main content marketing list
- Content marketing by subject list 1
- Content marketing by subject list 2
- Main service list
- Individual service list 1
- Individual service list 2
4. Issue press releases
For decades, professional marketers have understood the importance of using press releases to promote their brand. In the Information Age, press releases are arguably not as vital as they used to be, but they’re still important.
Part of your content marketing effort includes a content distribution strategy. That includes letting others know about your awesome content via email, social media and other sites that offer backlinks.
Those are great channels for content promotion, but it’s important not to neglect paid channels, as well. That’s especially true if the content is unusually engaging.
With that in mind, issue press releases that promote content on your blog. Your fee for that will vary depending on the newswire you use and how often you issue press releases. (You’ll find that economies of scale apply here.)
There are several reasons why issuing a press release is a good idea:
- It builds authority. A press release tends to carry more prestige than a standard blog post.
- Journalists will contact you. Once you’ve issued a press release, you might find that professional journalists will call you to find out more about what you’re offering. That’s additional free publicity. It also gives you something to show the journalist, so they know your are serious about the story.
- Better SEO. Your press release will run on the web. That will give you enhanced visibility.
- More leads. Did you know that you can add a call to action to a press release? It’s true. You can ask readers to download a white paper, sign up for a newsletter or request access to a webinar.
If you want to grow your blog traffic quickly, get in the habit of issuing press releases.
Sometimes they even rank in Google.
5. Write posts that are over 1,500 words
If you’re not familiar with the buzz-phrase “long-form content,” then now is the time to understand it.
In a nutshell, long-form content describes blog posts that include at least 1,200 and probably no less than 1,500 words. It offers much more comprehensive information than the easy-to-scan listicles that are offered on many websites.
Make it a habit to publish long-form content, and you’ll see a boost to your traffic. (You can read more about SEO and long-form content in my post on Search Engine Land.) There are several reasons for that.
First, Google loves long-form content. A 2012 study from serpIQ found that long-form content tends to rank better than shorter content. Researchers analyzed a variety of keywords and found that the average content length in each of the top 10 results was over 2,000 words. The average word count for the #1 spot topped 2,400.
Google itself says that long-form content ranks well. This is what Pandu Nayak, the creator of the Panda algorithm, has to say about it on the Google blog:
[blockquote]Users often turn to Google to answer a quick question, but research suggests that up to 10% of users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic. That’s why today we’re introducing new search results to help users find in-depth articles.[/blockquote]
Also, long-form content tends to generate more backlinks. A Moz study found a direct correlation between backlinks and word count. That is, the more words in your content, the more backlinks you can expect.
Don’t have time to write the content yourself? You can always use a freelancer to help you do the heavy lifting, and then you can edit it later. I will say that if you use a freelancer, you will need to do a lot of coaching. You need to provide a summary, outline, references and brand guidelines to be successful.
6. Include optimized images
You might think that the best way to get the word out about your business is to optimize the text in your content for search engines. That’s certainly true, but it doesn’t mean you should ignore image optimization, as well.
Remember, Google also offers an image search engine. That means people who are searching for specific images can land on your website.
However, for Google to discover your images, they have to be optimized. That’s how Google will determine whether or not to show your images when people search for a specific keyword. Images are currently shown about 32 percent of the time in the search results.
For starters, use the “alt” attribute in your image tag. Although that attribute is designed to show people text in the event that the image can’t be displayed, it’s also used by Google to determine the nature of the image itself. Use the attribute to provide a keyword-rich image description, but limit it to no more than 125 characters.
It also helps to fill in the “title” attribute of the image tag.
And use unique images, if possible. There is more value there.
For more advanced image optimization techniques, consider creating an image sitemap, adding schema markup and using open graph.
7. Use native advertising on social media
It’s great to use social media to promote content to your followers. However, it’s likely that there are many people in your target market who aren’t following you. What are you doing to reach them?
One of the best ways to reach them is by running native ads on various social media channels. For all intents and purposes, native ads look like “normal” content published by someone that the user follows. However, they’re actually promoted content.
One of the best reasons to use social media native advertising is because you can target people who are likely to be interested in your product or service.
Additionally, advertising on social media is relatively inexpensive. It’s likely you’ll spend a lot less on social media native advertising than you will on search advertising. (That all depends on various factors, of course.)
However, you’re interrupting people when you advertise on social media (as opposed to when you run search ads that are clearly giving people what they’re asking for). That’s why your headline and corresponding image have to be compelling enough for a click. Otherwise, your ROI is likely to take a hit.
Still, if you’ve got some awesome content with a clickbait headline, you can expect to get a lot of traffic to your blog from social media channels for as little as four or five cents a click. That’s worth it.
Make sure you use a service like ClickFunnels to create a clear funnel so you can push users in the right direction.
Now start building traffic!
To build your brand, your blog needs traffic. Fortunately, there are numerous ways that you can promote content and generate leads in the process. Now get out there and make it happen!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.
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