We are in that weird week in between Christmas and New Years, and normally it’s a week filled with family Christmas celebrations and not wanting Christmas to end. But in 2020, the only family celebration was on Christmas day itself, and I’m ready for Christmas to end if it means 2020 ends soon, too. (Not to say that 2021 will be markedly better unless we drastically change our society, but I digress.) This week also is traditionally a time of looking back at the past year and a week when I traditionally share a post of the blog strategies that worked for me.
These are all strategies that I tried this past year and that brought me traffic. My method has always been to try something for a whole month and, if it worked, to continue with it moving forward but with adding something else every month. Doing something once or twice generally won’t help you, but doing it over and over again gives the opportunity for it to make a difference.
I hope you enjoy this post and find it helpful. Happy blogging!
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13 Blog Strategies for 2021
One: Individual marketing plans for each post
I have my standard way of promoting posts, which isn’t changing. But what Sharon discusses in that worksheet about creating a marketing plan for each blog post is that a standard procedure is not enough to see a prominent change. Which was pretty obvious once I thought about it; how can I do the same thing for each blog post and expect my traffic to grow? For every single blog post, I think about what are special ways (for me and that post) to promote my posts. Am I a member of online communities who might benefit from seeing that post? Is there a special hashtag or topic being discussed online that I could use? That worksheet/ebook linked above is so simple that it was feasible to use for each post. It really helped my blog traffic!
Two: Pinterest with Ell course
I’ve seen a lot of Pinterest courses over the years, and I don’t think that I ever purchased one. (Or at least, I don’t remember ever purchasing one.) I’ve been a member of Ell’s Facebook group for at least a year, and I’ve seen a lot of people say how helpful Ell’s course is. I thought that I was pretty good at Pinterest already (and, not to brag, I was definitely better than the average user), but this course showed me more ways to use Pinterest that have clearly brought me more traffic.
I’m not going to share what exactly I learned from Ell’s course because that’s not fair to her. But I will say that I implemented what I learned in it, and I’ve used it frequently over the year. The reason that I chose Ell’s course is that I’ve heard so much about it since I’ve been in her Facebook group, and it wasn’t just from people who were new to blogging and using Pinterest for blogging. It was also from bloggers like me, who already used Pinterest and already thought that they were experts. The course itself is $39, which is a pretty good price, especially if you’re new to Pinterest and using it for blogging. Coincidentally, I had $40 allocated for continuing my blogging education this year, so I decided to spend that amount on the course. To me, it’s worth it. Especially because Ell regularly updates the course, so you can get up-to-date Pinterest information without paying again.
Three: Writing posts longer than 3,000 words
The whole point of writing posts longer than 3,000 words is those help raise your authority with search engines. Why do longer blog posts help get search engine traffic? A couple of reasons.
Writing longer, more authoritative posts increases your authority with others, “And being an authority on the topic, your article is likely to earn natural backlinks from those who refer to it on their blogs” (x). So people who link to my blog posts bring traffic to my blog from their readers, and when other people link to my (or your) blog, search engines learn that my/your blog has authority and show your blog sooner in the search results.
Longer blog posts also tend to get more social media shares, and longer posts also give you more opportunities to use different types of search keywords (x). And when you write longer blog posts frequently, your average blog traffic will increase, and then the people who go one long blog posts will go to other blog posts, and it becomes a cycle of bringing you traffic.
Four: Focus on Domain Authority (DA)
Domain Authority is “a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages” (x). Moz emphasizes that DA is not taken into consideration by Google when determining search engine results. However, it is extremely helpful for the people behind these sites to figure out how they/we are doing with search engine optimization.
Moz says that “Domain Authority is calculated by evaluating multiple factors, including linking root domains and the number of total links, into a single DA score” (x).
I’ve been keeping an eye on my DA over the years, which means that I know that approximately 4 years ago my DA was 23, in May it was 33, and now it’s 35. And for the first year ever, this year I have had multiple posts or pages rank in the top 3 search engine results! That’s pretty awesome.
Five: 30-Day Russell Brunson Traffic Secrets Book Challenge
Full disclosure: I received the book Traffic Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Filling Your Websites and Funnels with Your Dream Customers and completed the challenge as a part of a sponsored campaign. But I was never paid to mention the book past that sponsored post, and I’m not paid to mention it now.
Now that that’s covered …
Russel Brunson is known for creating “funnels” and being a leading authority on them. Traffic Secrets is the 3rd book in a trilogy about getting more traffic, and the 30-day challenge is a way to implement what he teaches in the book. Now, I love me a good 30-day challenge to grow blog traffic, so I was excited to participate. And participating changed how my blogging for good!
One thing I did as a result of the challenge was finally narrow my niche to health, which I’ll talk about next. But there are so many other things that I did! There were plenty of parts of the book and the challenge that didn’t really help my blog, but that’s to be expected given not all advice in general is going to work for everyone.
I’m actually planning on going back to the book in 2021 because I’ve been losing traffic in December, especially because the challenge only goes through about half the book, and December is usually my biggest traffic time period. So I’m going to go back to the book and I’ll let you guys know if moving through the other half helps.
Six: Narrowed niche (to health)
For years, I maintained that I have at least 2 distinct audiences. But through the Traffic Secrets challenge, I focused more on a health audience, and I definitely saw results. First of all, my newsletter subscribers have definitely increased. I also started aiming a lot of my Instagram posts at a chronic illness/pain audience, as well as following a lot of people on social media that fit in that audience, which has been increasing my following within that ideal audience. The more I did this, the more engaged my audience was.
I narrowed my niche back in June, and I’ve stuck with it because it made a difference. This didn’t mean that I wrote every single post for a health audience; I mean, just look at this post! But it does mean that I aim posts at health readers more than any other audience. For example, I try to focus my lifestyle posts at a health audience or a health-leaning audience as much as possible.
I’m a little annoyed at myself for resisting a niche as long as I did. Moving in that directions majorly helped me!13 things to do to grow your blog traffic Click To Tweet
Seven: Created a hashtag on Twitter
Over the summer, my friend Kayle and I created the hashtag #DisabilityIsntAShame and encouraged people to use it. The purpose was to remind people that it isn’t shameful to be disabled, especially because often when someone learns that I’m disabled they’ll actually say something like, “That’s such a shame” but follow it up when “and you’re so young!” or “you’re too pretty to be disabled” (yes, that’s an actual thing people have said).
Once people started using it, we would retweet those tweets. Often, between retweeting and creating the hashtag, people would then follow us. I don’t know how many people who followed me then still follow now, but it definitely increased my follower count, and since I share a lot of blog posts on Twitter, I’d like to think it also increased my page views.
Jumprope is an app where you can build how-to videos! You might be familiar with them if you follow Austen Tosone on her blog or Instagram, as she works for Jumprope. I’ve made several based on blog posts. I also uploaded some Jumpropes to Pinterest to use as story pins!
I’ve heard this from Austen that Jumprope is great for SEO, but I wasn’t really sure. I tried Jumprope because TikTok and YouTube REALLY aren’t my things, and Jumprope is so much more my style. And it definitely boosted my SEO results! I genuinely don’t see a lot of traffic come from traditional search engines. But that really changed once I started using Jumprope, and for the first time ever (I think) I had a post show up in the top 3 search engine results on Google! How did this happen? There are a couple of things, which I’ll get to next, but one is that if you make a Jumprope that connects with a blog post, you can directly add the link to the post to your Jumprope. This enables you directly send traffic from your Jumprope to. your blog.
One of the things I like about Jumprope is they make it really easy to save and upload your Jumprope to a variety of other platforms. Like I said above, I’ve uploaded most of my Jumpropes to Pinterest to use as video/story pins. One thing I’ve learned about social media over the years is that most networks like you more when you try their new things. For example, Instagram Reels (which I am not trying at all because, like I said, TikTok isn’t my thing). If you use that, Instagram is going to show you more to people following you.
Pinterest is no exception. I uploaded one Jumprope to Pinterest on August 11, and that post quickly became one of my top 5 pins in terms of Impressions. Plus, if you embed Jumpropes in your blog posts, you’re going to take up more space in Google results, including as an image in the search results. This can get people to notice your blog post among all the other search results.
Learn about Jumprope:
- 4 Ways To Add Jumprope to Your Blog
- How Mediavine and AdThrive Bloggers Are Leveraging Jumprope
- Why I Joined Jumprope and Why Creators Will Love It
Nine: Add a table of contents to long blog posts
One of the big benefits to doing this was that it reduced my bounce rate. I mean, it decreased by 29%! That’s so much! I tried this because know that when I visit a long blog post I sometimes want to skip stuff that I don’t really care about. And I figured that’s probably true for some people visiting my blog!
Why I really enjoy writing longer blog posts (this one will be close to 3,000 words), I recognize that not everyone wants to read every word of long blog posts. The table of contents increases page views and decreases bounce rate while also enabling people to skip all the parts of a blog post they don’t want to read. I can’t tell how you frequently I’ve skipped whole parts of long posts just to read one paragraph or one quarter that I’m actually interested in!
I decided to go with a table of contents plugin, which is what you see towards the beginning of this post. When you click on the link to go to a particular spot of the blog post, you are basically going to another page, which is why my page views increased and my bounce rate decreased. The plugin I use is called LuckyWP Table of Contents.
Ten: Social media editorial calendar
I stopped doing this a few years ago, but for 5 years I was meticulous about planning and managing my social media. This involves intentionally planning out social media posts for Twitter, Facebook, and now Pinterest. I do this in Google docs with one tab per social media network.
Everyday on Twitter I share: someone else’s blog post, a question to encourage engagement, an inspirational quote, and one of my blog posts. I schedule Twitter posts with Buffer. Everyday on Facebook I share one of my blog posts and I alternate sharing other people’s blog posts, a question to encourage engagement, and an inspirational quote (with an image for it). I also schedule Facebook posts with Buffer.
Organizing my blog posts in a Google doc helps me be more intentional with what I’m sharing and make sure I’m not sharing the same posts multiple times in one month. I share other people’s posts to help build community, and since I started doing this again, I only share health bloggers’ posts instead of a wide variety of bloggers’ posts (due to my niche). I share inspirational quotes to provide value for my followers, to encourage interaction with my content, and to ensure my profiles aren’t solely links to my posts. I ask questions to build community as well as to not solely share links to my posts.
I’m now also using my editorial calendars to help track whether or not I’ve made new pins for older blog posts. Essentially, I make at least 1 new pin every time I schedule an older post. I make these new pins with Canva or Tailwind Create and I, of course, schedule Pinterest posts with Tailwind.
Eleven: Tailwind Create
This is Tailwind’s new smart tool for making new images. You add a link to a post, the title, choose some photos (including from stock images they have), and it makes a bunch of images. You choose one(s) you like and download or directly schedule them in Tailwind! Are these pins the best ones? Not usually. But it’s easy and perfect for when you don’t have a lot of time or energy. For example, if you have a surprise medical issue that leads to being hospitalized 3 times in 1 month and having surgery like I did in October. Making new pins is essential in 2021 because Pinterest is now really giving attention to new pins over old(er) ones.
Twelve: Continuing your blogging education
I mentioned this a bit earlier when I talked about Ell’s course, but it’s important to continue your blogging education. The industry is constantly changing! To that end, I purchased the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit at the end of September, which meant that I payed less than $100 and got a variety of courses and resources.
Here are just some of the courses I’ve taken in the last few months:
- Holiday Spike, a course designed to get more traffic and make more money during the holiday season
- 52Prompts, a course with 52 email newsletter prompts. This really helped with planning out my newsletter!
- Ramp up your visibility by getting your blog posts in front of waaaay more people – perfect for health bloggers (Leesa is a health blogger)
- Pin Practical Primer (all about Pinterest ads + Canva templates)
- The Hot List – for your email list
I’m still working my way through the courses, but I’ve already learned a lot. Blogging is hard because you have to be really good at a lot of different things, and it takes years to build those skills. (Trust me.) I advise budgeting for your continuing blogging education!How to grow your blog traffic next year Click To Tweet
Missinglettr is a tool that lets you set up an automated set of social media posts, and I learned about this resource from taking the Ramp up your visibility by getting your blog posts in front of waaaay more people course. The free plan gives you 1 social media network and 50 scheduled posts at any given time. The posts look like this. I set up a campaign for a new blog post; I accept or reject different quotes, hashtags, and images from the post; I review the posts; I decide if I want the posts to be scheduled over the course of an entire year or over less time; and I approve the campaign. Then I don’t think about those posts any more!
Since I started using Missinglettr in November, I have gotten 225 just from Missinglettr. That’s so many to get from a resource I didn’t know existed 2 months ago! Go sign up now.
What blog strategies have helped your blog this year?
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