When it comes to blogging, you might have heard tips like, “write about your passions” or “write about your feelings.” Well, if these are the only two things you’re doing, your chances of building a successful blog is slim. The truth is that even if people are interested in what you’re writing about, it’s impossible for them to visit your site if they can’t find you. And even if they do find you, traffic is meaningless unless you can actually get them to read your content. So today, we’re going to share some important blogging tips that will help in bringing traffic to your blog.
While there’s nothing wrong with blogging about your passions, creating a successful blog goes beyond that. You should be a half-decent writer, understand the technical elements of blogging as well as social strategies that can take your blog from nothing to something. So rather than giving you a popcorn bowl full of random blogging tips, let’s break these down into three buckets to help you get more traction.
Becoming a better writer
#1: Focus on a specific part of your niche
Now, you might label yourself as a food blogger. But by covering the topic of “food” as a whole, you may be spreading yourself too thin. For example, even if you were able to publish two posts per day for an entire year on subtopics like grilling food, smoothies, vegetarian diets, slow cooker recipes, nutrition, and more, it’d be tough to compete with larger sites or those that are just focusing on one of those topics. So in my opinion, it’s better to focus on being a master of one than a jack of all trades. So focus on becoming the go-to place people go to find smoothie recipes. Become the go-to place where people go for grilling techniques. And after you’ve dominated that niche audience, you can try and expand to other subtopics to reach new audiences.
#2: Create content that’s worth referencing
Referencing requires attribution. And attribution in the world of blogging equals links. Links from other websites are important because search engines like Google use them to help decide which pages should rank higher in the search engines. Now, how do you create content that’s worth referencing? Find out more in our article talking about the role of content in link building!
You can also include unique images worth “stealing”. Creating high quality images is hard. Which means that it’s a point of leverage for those that are willing to put in the effort. Adding custom images whether they be graphs from data studies, or illustrations that help better explain concepts will not only create a better experience for readers, but they result in links!
#3: Make your posts easy to read
The truth is, nobody likes to read. We just want the information and if there was a way to download it to our brains, we would! The closest thing we can get to that is to make sure that your posts are easy to read. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Use short paragraphs instead of big walls of text. Short paragraphs help readers process your article in small and easy steps. Next, break up long sentences because they’re hard to follow. Break up these sentences by finding places with words like “and,” “because,” and “that.”
- Use multimedia in your posts. So whether that be videos, images or GIFs, they can often help illustrate your points clearer than words.
- Write in a conversational tone. The easiest way to check this is to read your copy out loud. If it sounds like you’re talking to a friend, you’re on the right track. But if it sounds like you’re competing in a national debate, then try again
#4: Write click-worthy headlines that aren’t clickbait
The one thing that separates your website from a user is a click. Fail to get clicks and you fail to get traffic. Now, since most people will find your web pages through search or social media, you want to craft a headline that accurately represents your article without sounding boring. For example, an article titled: “15 Best Headphones” gets the point across. But it’s boring. Something like “15 Best High-End Headphones For Under $100” is much more click-worthy!
#5: Write introductions using the APP formula
The headline’s job is to get the reader to click through to the page. Then, your intro needs to hook them in, so that they’ll read the rest of the post. So to do that, we use the APP formula, which stands for “align, present, and proof.” First, you need to align yourself with the reader’s problem. Then you present your post as the solution to that problem. And then you finish off with some proof as to why they should trust you! Keep your intros short, on point, and focus on addressing why the reader is on that page in the first place.
#6: Create feedback loops
Your first draft should never be the last, and many companies out there are known to go through a pretty rigorous editing process. T writer generally starts with an outline. After that’s approved, they write their first draft. And no doubt, it should already be pretty good. Then someone else from the team will review the post, question any claims or suggest different formats for example. This usually results in a document that’s highlighted in yellow with suggestions. Then the writer makes any necessary changes creating the final draft and will have that reviewed one last time before publishing. This feedback loop helps you to always put your best foot forward on every post you publish.
However, if you don’t have a team to work with, it’s worth connecting with other bloggers in your space. But don’t just reach out and say, “Hey, can you edit my posts? I’ll edit yours too.” This kind of process should come through relationships, which we’ll expand on later. For now, let’s move on to the more technical aspects of blogging.
#1: Do keyword research
Basically, keyword research just means, write about topics people are searching for. 51% of all website traffic comes from organic search. And if you want a piece of that traffic, then you need to use keywords that people are actually searching for!
Fortunately, search engines like Google give you clues through features like Аutosuggest. Just type in a topic you want to write about, and you’ll see a few other closely-related terms. There are also other free tools out there like Answer the Public where you can find keywords phrased as questions. Now, the problem with these tools is that you can’t see keyword metrics, meaning you don’t know how much traffic you can get.
To get this information, you’d have to use premium tools like Semrush or Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, where you can generate lists of keyword ideas and see important metrics like Search Volume and Keyword Difficulty, before deciding if they’re worth pursuing for your site.
#2: Cover your competitors’ best topics
By “best”, we mean the pages that are giving them consistent traffic every month. To find your competitor’s popular pages, just enter their domain in a tool like Semrush Competitive Research which will show you the pages that get the most monthly search traffic.
#3: Do basic on-page SEO
On-page SEO refers to the practice of optimising web pages to help them rank higher in search engines. So without overcomplicating things, you should include your primary keyword in your title and URL, and make sure you cover your main topic’s subpoints. For example, if you’re talking about how to make the perfect cup of coffee, you should probably talk about things like finding the right roast, water temperature, grind, and brewing methods. All of these would be relevant, if not crucial to truly cover the topic in full.
And now we’re on to our final category, which is to…
We’re talking about which social media platforms you should use! We’re talking about connecting with other bloggers you admire in your space.
#1: Build relationships
Smart bloggers reach out to forge relationships with one another. They offer feedback, help, and often cross-promote each other’s content. And this is often why it seems like all of the big players in your industry are friends! They started early and they grew together.
Now, not everyone is going to want to be friends. But there’s a good chance some people in your industry want to connect. They just don’t know you exist yet. So to get started, think of 5-10 people you admire in your space. These might be people who run blogs and newsletters that you’re subscribed to or maybe people you follow on social media. Now, go and email them with the purpose of just connecting. Don’t ask them to share your content, review it, link to you, or ask for any kind of favor. Just send a simple and genuine email like…
Just wanted to say that I really admire [whatever you do]. Thanks for [whatever you admire].
Cheers, [Your name]”
#2: Build an email list from day one
Have you ever had one of those moments where you’re trying to remember which site you were on that had that awesome recipe, or tutorial, or whatever it was? Well, if you had joined that email list, you’d know. Without any kind of email opt-in forms, you’re preventing your readers from getting future content or product updates. Building an email list also acts as a good way to perpetually get traffic to new posts you publish. And since subscribers are warmer visitors than cold traffic, some of them might share it on social, or even link to you if they have their own blog.
#3: Promote your content in online communities
Now, this is a bit of a touchy subject because you don’t want to spam Facebook groups or Reddit with things that people are going to get angry about. Instead, spend your time integrating yourself into these communities. Become a recognizable name and face. And as you see a need, share content that can help solve other group members’ problems. If you nail it, you can get thousands of visitors. If you don’t, it can get you banned from those communities. So share links sparingly, and spend most of your time just meeting like minded bloggers to build mutually beneficial relationships!