5 Simple Ways I Grew My Blog Traffic
As a creative, I try not to care so much about numbers. But at my previous job, where I was responsible for developing blog content, the numbers are what decided whether I got paid more, or got told to hit the bricks (I don’t think people say that anymore).
I don’t claim to be the best blog writer in the world, but I got better at it by understanding what works and what doesn’t. In the year I worked for them, I grew our blog traffic from 20 readers a day to around 600-700.
We went from around a few hundred readers per month, to around 20,000. It’s not huge, but it’s something.
And unless you’re a huge company with tons of money to throw around, the only way to get huge blog traffic is to create interesting content that people will organically want to read. That’s right, organic traffic is still the king, and that means knowing what Google and other search engines look for.
By meeting with and collaborating with data scientists, business analysts, designers, etc., I’ve found a few things that have proven to be successful for this exact purpose. While Google and search engine optimization isn’t quite an exact science, there’s enough there to know what basic steps you should be taking.
- Be a good writer. This one sounds fairly simple, but anyone who has been through English Lit and Grammar classes knows that clear writing is actually kind of hard. While not perfect, search engines know the difference between good writing and bad writing, and so does your audience.
- Focus on the best content, not just words. Sometimes this means developing a compelling video, or graphics to illustrate your point, rather than talking about it. I know what you’re thinking-how does Google know what to search for if you don’t have words? As their algorithms evolve, so must your content. Which brings me to…
- Ignore SEO. I mean not completely, of course, but it’s best to not think about it in terms of things like keywords, or tricking the algorithms to bubble you to the top. Why? Because people aren’t machines, and Google knows this. People want to read content that makes sense, is clear, and is actually useful. If you do those things, Google will reward you.
- Find out what your audience is looking for. This is pretty easy. Just Google questions your customers might be asking you. Or look at Google Trends to find out what people are looking for in your industry. With enough research, you’ll start to find some subjects that you can lend your unique perspective on.
- Become a wizard at writing headlines. Yes, headlines are gold in the day in age. With so much content out there, headlines are what will ultimately attract readers. One good headline might not move the needle much, but consistently good headlines will attract readers and will have them coming back to you. The big media guys like Gawker, Buzzfeed, and UpWorthy know this, and have mastered the art.
There’s obviously more to it than these simple steps, but hopefully this gets you started on the path to thinking about creating exciting content your readers will love.