Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
The primary purpose of any website is to accumulate traffic. Whether you’re selling goods or just want someone to read your poetry, it’s all about getting visitors. But not everyone has the money to put into ad spending. So, what can you do to grow your blog traffic when the budget is tight?
It really depends on how serious you are to develop the site. The more effort you put into your blog, the more traffic it will eventually receive.
I can’t promise these methods will turn out to be miracles. All I can tell you is how well they have worked for myself as well as my clients.
Method 1: Create Good Content
First, and foremost, always create good content. I’m not talking about knowing the ins and outs of good search engine optimization. I mean good, solid content people will want to read.
Personally, I use Yoast SEO on all of my WordPress blogs simply because it’s a great tool for content creation.
What makes good content? That’s really up to your target audience. However, here are a few points to consider when you start putting words into your blog.
Make sure your blog traffic leaves the site feeling informed or entertained, depending on its purpose. Provide solid facts and present them in a way that is easy to absorb.
If you’re covering a topic that is already saturating the Internet, try to present it in a new light or offer personal insights.
Cite Your Sources
Citing sources not only helps show your dedication to facts, but it also improves search engine results. This is because sites like Google use outbound links to connect what your blog post is about.
In a world where the term, “fake news” is so heavily used, you want to quell as much of those accusations as possible. You begin doing this by making sure you’re linking to authoritative sites based in actual facts.
One of the reasons why my health and fitness blog does better than most of my other sites is because I often link to scientific data to solidify my claims.
Make it Easy to Read
You want your content easy to understand. Too many beginner freelance writers try to push and impress clients with an extensive vocabulary. Unless you creating a blog for highly advanced readers, it’s not necessary.
In fact, making content overly difficult to absorb will have the opposite effect as people will stop visiting the site. That’s because most people online, at least in the United States, have an 8th grade reading level.
Like the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” And because humans are a visual species, images work well for boosting blog traffic.
However, you want to use graphics and photos sparingly. Unless you’re creating an online portfolio, too many images slow the website as well as make the content more difficult to read.
Be Mindful of Your Data
One of the best ways to create stellar content for the blog is by keeping a close eye on analytic tools. For instance, you can take a look at your Google Analytics report and determine what kind of content is the most ideal for your readers.
Data can help find perfect keywords, understand who is reading your material and help build a good strategy to boost blog traffic.
Personally, I keep a close eye on both Google Analytics and the site statistics from using Jetpack in WordPress.
Method 2: Submit Your Sitemap
While your site will eventually be added to engines like Google over time, it’s better to just submit a sitemap yourself. This is a free service offered by sites like Google and Bing, and it really doesn’t take much effort.
This is especially true if you use blogging platforms such as WordPress. Everything is pretty much automated and takes a lot of the work out of setting up a site.
If you do plan on using WordPress, I suggest installing the Yoast SEO plugin and enabling sitemaps. You’ll also want an account on Google to use the Search Console tool. Then, all you need to do is take the sitemap’s URL from Yoast and plug it into Search Console.
Google will do the rest.
Method 3: Practice Good SEO Strategies
Your eyes might glaze over when you hear the term, “search engine optimization.” However, some of the basic strategies are not all that difficult to master and it’s worth the time.
Good SEO leads to vastly improving blog traffic. A few important elements to consider include:
- Keyword and phrase usage
- Semantic indexing, or using synonyms and similar phrases of the keyword
- Shorter paragraphs and using headers
- Internal and external linking
This is another reason why I like using Yoast SEO. It has a monitor when you’re writing that will tell you in real-time what elements you need to improve.
Anyway, there are a ton of SEO strategies you can put into place that don’t require money or hiring “experts.”
Increase Blog Traffic by Being Fast
A fast website is ideal for generating blog traffic. In fact, a lot of people will abandon a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
Use free tools like Pingdom to scan through your blog. You can go through the report and find the parts that are slowing you down. Then, you can make adjustments to make the site faster.
Be Smart with Images
Images are helpful in keep visitors engaged, but they are also problematic if you’re not careful. For instance, don’t use an image directly from your camera or smartphone. These are saved at a much higher resolution and are massive when you upload them to a blog.
I use Photoshop to correctly size all of my images. However, you can also use free online apps like Pixlr Editor. It’s a tool that is nearly identical to Photoshop and is easy to use for image editing.
Keep in Mind the Impact of Mobility
One of the most important things to keep in mind when trying to get blog traffic is mobile devices. Generally speaking, more people access the Internet from smartphones than from traditional desktop or laptop computers.
Your website needs to fit on a hand-held device so visitors can read it without squinting or pinch-to-zoom features. In fact, you may find yourself losing traffic if the site isn’t optimized for mobile devices.
For instance, more than 60% of the visitors to my health and fitness blog are from smartphones. And that’s not including tablets.
Not to sound like a broken record, but again WordPress is naturally responsive – which means mobile users get a good experience automatically.
Method 4: Establish a Social Presence
Most social sites are free to use. In mere moments, you can set up an account specifically for your blog and begin reaching out to potential visitors. This also helps to build branding of your blog and strengthen your online reputation.
By using hashtags correctly, you can easily jump into various conversations as your brand in Twitter. Just make sure your connecting to relevant topics. For example, a blog about animal care probably shouldn’t jump into topics related to baby clothes…unless you can relate the two somehow.
LinkedIn is more for the professional-minded blog owner. This platform is great for building networks of people who have potential to boost your career path. It’s also a helpful social hub if you’re reaching out looking for a job or offering freelance services.
Did you know you can easily create a Facebook page specifically for your blog? This is a good way to share your content without showing your personal account. After all, strangers might not care if it’s your sister’s birthday or when the family reunion is going to happen.
Even though YouTube has undergone some major issues as of late, it’s still a viable method for marketing your blog. Don’t get into making videos for that “YouTube money.” Instead, use it as a platform to add video content to your website by embedding it. This lets you reach out to viewers on both YouTube and Google Search.
Use Free Social Sharing Platforms
After you create a few social accounts, it’s easier to use sharing systems to update them simultaneously. This saves a great deal of time instead of going into each social site and updating your blog’s status.
For instance, I use Buffer to share new blog posts with Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for my health and fitness blog. With a click of the mouse, all three are updated at the same time.
Of course you can pay to expand what some of these systems can do for you. However, using the free versions have helped me tremendously over the years.
Method 5: Install Push Notifications
Push notifications work exceptionally well for generating return blog traffic. You probably see these from your YouTube subscriptions. Each time a new piece of content is created, you get a message in the web browser.
As you collect more and more visitors, you’ll quickly grow a list of those who receive updates when you write something new. If you use systems like OneSignal for WordPress, you can also send messages and news updates without publishing an article.
Method 6: Set Up Mailing Lists or Newsletters
Newsletters and mailing lists are another great way to generate return blog traffic. However, you want to stay away from buying email lists from 3rd parties. A lot of the time, these lists are created without the person’s consent and your newsletters could be seen as unsolicited junk mail.
Use popups and subscription forms to generate these lists. It will have a much better impact as these people already show interest in your content by signing up. This translates to more visitors from emails and less time your messages wind up in the recycle bin.
Method 7: Use Blog Submission Sites
Blog submission sites have potential for usefulness. However, I’ve only found two or three out of the many that are available which actually work. These sites will take your content and put it in front of more readers.
Unfortunately, you can’t expect a lot of traffic from some of them.
Out of the many I’ve signed up with, Blogarama is probably one of the most productive for my sites. That’s not saying you won’t have a better experience with the others. Bear in mind that every blog is different, and what works for one person may not work for you – and vice-versa.
Method 8: Leave Blog Comments
One method which has worked well for me in the past is leaving comments on other blogs. Provide some kind of valuable insight to the writings of others. Don’t just say something like, “great content” and leave a link back to your blog. Many site owners will just delete the comment as spam.
I know I do.
This is only useful for blogs that will let you put your site’s URL in your profile. Not only does it give someone something to click to visit your blog, but search engines also crawl that content – which improves the visibility of your site.
Of course, you want to make sure your website is relevant to the one you’re commenting on. Otherwise, people will be less likely to visit.
Method 9: Answer Questions and Create Backlinks
Having the ability to answer someone’s question is an excellent way of showing authority. And including a link back to your site to reinforce your answer gives people something to click.
I use Quora.com for a couple of reasons. Not only does it help me come up with blog ideas, but I can also help others by answering questions in topics related to my blog. That way, I can include links back to my site within the answer to further help someone in need.
You may also have a similar experience using things like Yahoo Answers or by being a regular contributor on a few forums relevant to your blog’s niche.
Blog Traffic Relies Heavily on Branding
These are only some of the free ways you can boost blog traffic without spending money. If you really want to score well with the masses, you need to do a bit of brand building. It takes more than amazing content to really get the ball rolling. Be proactive and get your site in front of as many people as you can.
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