How to Really Grow Your Blog Traffic

By Guest Author

Firstly, a few words about other guides, blog posts, and entire blogs on blog growth. Forget about them.

Chances are they’ve been full of fluff and haven’t gotten you where you want to be.

I’ll start by telling you two tips to blog growth. They’ll make all your efforts more worth it, meaning everything non-blog-growth related you do with be more worth it. If you don’t read the whole post, you’ll at least benefit from these.

Tip 1: Social media is next to nothing. Your growth doesn’t depend on Twitter, or Facebook. Unless you have a massive following and use a media platform to tweet your messages 500 times a day, it’s not worth it. Facebook marketing, if you haven’t noticed, is a bag of hot air waiting to burst. It’s leaking as you read this.

Tip 2: Loyal readers grow blogs. Excited, loyal readers will do more for your blog than you can and will. They’ll comment, share, like, and buy from you all while you’re not even blogging. That’s the holy grail of blogging and what you’ve probably tasted, at least to some extent.

I specialize in keeping readers on blogs for longer. Bounce rates, retention, interaction, and the like. Why? It’s actually just the area of blogging I chose to specialize in. College lets you choose your major, and in my opinion, so does blogging. Darren Rowse focuses on digital photography, and Glen Allsop covers SEO. It’s really wherever your heart is.

Keeping readers on your blog and building relationships is the key to growth. If you’re not succeeding at this, your work might be phenomenal but it’s not going anywhere big. That’s sort of the bad news. The good news, is that you can improve. Surpringly enough, you can retain readers and grow your blog more by changing the most simple things.

Take a look below. I’ve focused on 5 parts of a blog that make or break it. I’ve also included slight modficiations you should make to keep your blog airtight. Do all of this and you’ll win over readers, and once their on your side your work will truly take off. Note: I focused on these 5 techniques this past summer, and by summer’s end my pageviews and subscribers had more than doubled.

Titles

Don’t sell yourself short with boring post titles. Do you spend three hours writing and editing a post, then slap a generic title on it? It should be the opposite. Your titles should pop, and make people click. Erase a few posts titles, and convert them to statements that challenge your reader’s beliefs, or relate two seemingly unrelated things.

The general criteria for great titles are: challenge, relate, and explain.

My post “How Playboy Helps your Blog” airing soon on ProBlogger.net relates in a unique way. When you pose a statement that relates unrelated things, you catch the reader’s attention, and from there all you need is a good intro. The Blog Tyrant writes gripping posts, like “Why Your Post Style and Structure is Killing Your Blog.” These titles evoke emotions and get clicks because of it. Excited yet?

Tone

You must sell yourself through writing. Hate to say it, but it’s not enough to write good information and it never has been. If you don’t boost yourself, talk about your own expertise, and show some social validation, how the heck are people supposed to know you’re a legitimate source? Your quality advice, research and information literally sails off the face of the interwebs if you fail to insert statements on your own knowledge. Build your tone up with bold statements, and again, challenge readers. Look at what major bloggers with strong personalities do. They’ll begin with bold statements, end sentences with questions, and include little “notes” of how their techniques have worked.

Images

Are your images random, irrelevant or things only you find funny? I’ve got two words for you. Delete them. Images are ONLY useful if they clarify a point or create curiosity. Those are the criteria I’ve lived by since day 1 and I’m doing alright. Or, just roll without images and let users focus on your text. See how DailyBlogTips doesn’t use many images? That’s a good thing. It’s a subtle way of telling readers what’s important, and where to focus.

Place as much emphasis on your images as your text. If you do a clever job relating images to text, even in an abstract way, you’ll tell readers you know what you’re talking about.

Diversify

Show that you know your topic, and hit users from a lot of angles. Now I know this is a broad statement, but it’s actually easy. Diversification in blog posts can be quick and painless. If you’re an online marketer, insert a case study into a post. If you’re an artist, show a crafty coloration you did with someone semi-famous. Even things like tweets, quotes, or charts from Google Analytics can be inserted in your posts to show readers you really know your topic. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot and hide your knowledge into with huge blocks of text. Not even your mom will read that.

Links (my best point)

You want people to click your links, right? Especially if they go to related posts, or better, to affiliates you’ve setup deals with. So make your links clickable. Place links around action verbs. I pitch premium themes on my blog from Theme Junkie, because that’s what I myself use. I generate clicks with words like “browse beautiful themes”, “upgrade your look”, and “go pro today”. I’d get a lot less clicks with link-text like “check these out” or “click here” that people are sick of. Another trick? Make your links pleasing. Give them a hover color, so users feel like their grabbing the link instead of just floating on it. Just a subtle trick that works. Google “hover link color” to begin.

That’s 5 solid tips to make your content gripping, win over readers and encourage them to click through and share your content. Do you think readers share boring content, or things they’ve seen 10 times already? No, and they’re not sharing your content if it looks that way. These are things the bigger blogs do as second nature that help them remain at the top of blogging. Stop wondering, start doing, and always savor the small gains in blogging.

Greg hold two advanced degrees in social sciences and blogs at Dear Blogger, where you can ask him any question on blogging.



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13 Responses to “How to Really Grow Your Blog Traffic”

  • Sarah L. Webb

    These are not only helpful, but extremely doable! I can implement this advice ASAP, which is what I’m going to do. I especially hadn’t thought about my links the way you’ve described.

    Thanks for the clear action plan!

  • Synth Ninja

    These are solid tips. As pointed out in the first paragraph you SHOULD forget about most tips given about this stuff, because of the simple fact that they are given by people who have little to no success with running websites or blogs and therefore tend to advise people to do what works in theory but not in practice.

    While I agree that using Twitter as a pure broadcasting medium is an exercise in futility for 99% of the people doing it, I do think the platform can be used effectively to build relationships with people – other bloggers in particular. And when these bloggers start linking to your site from their blog and not just their Twitter account, you start getting some real juicy benefits both in terms of referral traffic and authority in the search engines. And that is certainly something that helps your blog grow too. People should stop looking at other bloggers in their niche as just competition and instead see them as resources that can help them grow their own blogs.

  • Andreas

    Once again, an article that gets straight to the point, no sweettalking here, just hard facts. Those 5 tips have probably done more for me than the many instructional blogs I read over the last few months. Thanks.

  • Andi the Minion

    Excellent tips, we use social media as nothing more as a way to share the new post to people who may be interested and hopefully share but in reality social media and Facebook especially is pretty poor for anything else.

    Andi

  • Santosh Mishra

    Growing traffic of a website is the major concern for any website owner, but one can increase traffic to a blog/website using these strategies.

  • Ian Eberle

    I know many people who use the software called Tweet Adder and that generates most of their traffic to their blog. There is something to be said about social media marketing, but having people share your posts themselves is even better. For example, I recently had Host Gator share my Host Gator review post on their Twitter and I got tons of views because of that.

  • Dean Saliba

    Writing a good title is something that I have struggled with for since I started writing online in 2001. I do hit the jackpot once in a while though. 🙂

  • Ferb

    Yep, I feel like that, too. I thought the more I use Social Media, the more its gonna benefits my blog. But it won’t. An example on Twitter: I post 10 Tweets a day but got only like 3-4 new followers. And when I publish a post to my blog men, numbers of followers increase like crazy 11-17 and even more.

  • Aditi

    Hi,
    All the tips that you have suggested are just great. Setting up a blog and then growing traffic in it definitely not an easy task to do. Well, I think that in order to get traffic to your blog, update it with unique content as it is always appreciated by readers. Thanks for the share!!

  • Manoj Rawal

    good post man….These are really the best ways to promote your blog posts.
    thanks for the other tips

  • Trent Dyrsmid

    Simple but straightforward.

    Of course there could be other ways to do it but these tips are basic. Thanks!

  • Richard Ng

    Good tips but all these are more of in-blog optimization, I personally view that there is still a need to do some cross promotion/marketing of the blog before the visitor even hit your blog title. Thus, social media, forum, blog commenting aer still some necessary channels to bring the traffics to your blog (especially for new bloggers whom have not established themselves)

    Just saying..

    Cheers!

  • Ehsan Ullah

    Hey Grag, These are really great tips and I’m sure newbies will take advantage from it. You gave me idea to sell Themes Junkie themes because I also use it on my blog.

    BTW, a great post.

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