Whether you currently have 5, 500 or 5,000 daily visitors on your site, if you are anything like most bloggers, you are always looking for ways to increase your traffic. After all, if you’ve monetized your site, more traffic means more moolah, and even if you haven’t, it means people like what you have to say. And either way–that’s always good news!
When it comes to driving traffic to your site, there are five main ways to get it: social media, other websites, search engines, your mailing list and direct traffic. These are the same groups you’ll find in Google Analytics (along with “other,” which is pretty hard to predict, since they don’t tell you what it is!) No matter how simple or fancy you get with your blog promotion, your efforts will pretty much always boil down to these five things.
Social media traffic offers several advantages. It is quick, easy, fun, takes very little time to set up and can bring in tons of new visitors. Unfortunately, these advantages do come at a cost. Social media is also the most unpredictable platform, as reach isn’t guaranteed and any platform could disappear at any time.
Love it or hate it, social media can’t be ignored. So you might as well make the most of it. Here are a few suggestions:
- Pin your blog posts to Pinterest group boards for greater exposure to new audiences.
- Share your blog posts in niche-specific Facebook groups to reach your ideal reader.
- Trade Twitter shares with other bloggers in your niche. TwitterFeed makes it easy and automatic.
- Get large Facebook pages to share your posts. Here’s a list of pages that allow you to share your posts to their wall.
- Share your blog posts on BOTH your Google+ profile and your Google+ blog page for greater exposure.
Another great way to get your blog in front of a greater audience and to drive more traffic back to your blog is to get your site shared on other websites. This process can be time-consuming and even intimidating, but the results are worth it.Here are a few suggestions:
- Submit guest posts to large sites in your niche.
- Regularly add your posts to traffic-driving link-ups.
- Write an excellent comprehensive guide and ask other bloggers to add it to their resource pages.
- Trade sidebar ads with other bloggers.
- Be a contributing writer on another site–with a bio linking back to your site.
SEO (Search engine optimization, or the process of helping your content do well in the search engine listings) is one part of blogging that many bloggers simply don’t understand. It is complicated. But once you get the hang of it, it is an excellent way to bring in traffic. Here are five quick and easy tips to help get you started with search engine traffic:
- Submit your sitemap to Google.
- Include relevant keywords in your post. (What is your article about? Use the phrases people will be searching for.)
- Do plenty of internal linking. (linking to other articles on your site within your posts)
- Delete unnecessary plugins to reduce your site’s load time.
- Make sure your site is mobile responsive (meaning it displays well on smart phones, tablets, etc).
Your Mailing List
Do you have a mailing list? You should! While your mailing list may not bring as much traffic as social media, it is pretty much immune to all of the damaging effects of changing the algorithms you’ll find with social media and search engine traffic. With your mailing list, you own it. Here are a few ways to make the most of it:
- Link to your latest posts with images and compelling descriptions.
- Send out extra newsletters linking back to blog post articles for special events or promotions.
- Highlight old posts in your newsletter for those who missed them the first time.
- Trade mentions with another blogger to get in front of their mailing list as well.
- If you send out full-RSS emails, consider changing your settings to a partial feed.
Direct traffic is traffic that comes when people visit your site from a source that doesn’t give Google any source information. For example: through a button in their toolbar, by typing in your site URL directly, by clicking on a link to your site in an email and even sometimes through a search engine. Direct traffic is the hardest to analyze, since you don’t know exactly where it is coming from for sure, but there are several ways you can get more of it. Here are five:
- Choose a site name that is easy to remember and type so people are more likely to visit you directly.
- Publish posts (especially series posts or certain posts you always do on the same day) on a regular schedule, so people make it a habit to visit you on certain days.
- Make business cards for your blog and hand them out whenever you can.
- Use word-of-mouth. Tell other people about your blog anytime you have the chance.
- Advertise or get featured on radio, in a newspaper or on a magazine. (Yes, it’s possible! I’ve done it!)
Which of these five main ways of driving traffic to your blog are working the best for you right now? Which one do you need to improve? What other strategies are you using to bring more traffic to your blog?