Several years ago, I started focusing on one “big” thing a month to try and grow my blog traffic. I did this because doing something once isn’t going to do anything for your traffic; you need to do it multiple times over a prolonged period of time. I obviously included these things in my blog traffic reports, but I’ve enjoyed also putting all the things I tried over the course of a year in one post. Some of these things yielded immediate results, but many of them required more time, and also tweaking my methods. Making this post enables me to include the things I did, as well as the things I had to do differently after the month was over. So now that it’s January, it’s time to include a new year’s worth of lessons on how to grow blog traffic: 2020 edition.
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11 Tools To Grow Blog Traffic: 2020
Tried manual pinning instead of just Tailwind – This is something that I had been hearing for a while and that I started trying in January. It actually works! As you guys know, I love Tailwind and I think that you absolutely need to invest in it if you want to take your blog far. But that doesn’t change the fact that Tailwind is a separate company from Pinterest, and Pinterest wants to encourage its users to use their site primarily. This means that they are rewarding accounts that pin manually. So how do you manage that with allllll the other things that bloggers have to do? I still do the majority of my pinning through Tailwind (I work 33 hours a week, plus having multiple medical appointments a week, plus feeling bad because I’m super chronically ill; primarily manually pinning is not an option for me. But what I try to do is spend 5-10 minutes a day manually pinning. If I’m worried about lacking the time to fill my Tailwind queue, then I’ll alternative manually and sending to Tailwind every pin (so 1 manual, 1 queuing).
Change your Facebook group strategy – There are soooo many Facebook groups for bloggers out there! They are great for networking, as well as for asking questions. Here are the groups I’m in and that I participate in: Chronic Illness Bloggers, InfluenceHer Collective, Boss Girl Bloggers, Bloggers Supporting Bloggers, Northeast Bloggers, Members of The Blog Societies, WEGO Health Patient Leader Private Connection, and Boston Bloggers. Some of these are Facebook groups for people who are members of other blogger/influencer communities and some of them are independent groups. I joined some of these before I tried changing my group strategy and joined others as a result of it. I ended up leaving a bunch of groups that I didn’t look at or participate in, especially because they do end up clogging your home feed.
When I changed my strategy, I didn’t just change what groups I was in. I also made it a priority to actively engage. A lot of these groups have follow or engagement threads, which I already participated in. (These are when a moderator makes a post giving instructions for a certain type of social media network. For example, comment with a link to an Instagram account or post you want follows/engagement on and reciprocate. The smallest number I’ve seen required is 3 and the largest is 10.) But I also made an effort to respond to questions people asked about blogging. This isn’t just to grow social media and my blog but to also build relationships with other bloggers. But, obviously, it did help grow my social media and blog, or else it wouldn’t be on this list 😉
Create super shareable content – Unless you are one of the biggest bloggers out there (like, the ones who make clothing lines), you will need for your content to be shared for you to get blog traffic. The best way to do that is to create super shareable content. This can mean a couple of things. 1) Create content that is so compelling that people have to share it. 2) Create content that is in a typically-shared genre. 3) Create content that other people aren’t really writing about, something that people will want to share because they’re not seeing it anywhere else. 4) Some combination of the above! One example from my posts is 7 Yummy Crockpot Recipes, which falls into the category of content that is typically shared, aka food. Another is Building Self-Confidence When Chronically Ill, which falls into the category of content the other people aren’t really writing about. In fact, it was a topic requested by my Instagram followers because people weren’t seeing it.
Update your blog’s pages – If you’ve been blogging for more than a year, it’s probably time to update your blog’s pages. You’ve learned more about what type of blogger you are, what you write about, and what you want people to know about you and your blog. Blog pages I have that make a difference for me are Tags & Topics and Popular Posts, which are pretty self-explanatory. I tend to have people who follow me for one topic in particular and who don’t really care about my others, so having all of my tags and topics organized in one place really helps readers, especially because I’ve been blogging for so long (I hit 1,000 posts last month!). Additionally, having all of my popular posts in one place helps to continue generating traffic for those posts. They’re popular for a reason, and it’s great to have them organized for people to peruse and, ideally, share with others.
I also made sure to update my About page, as well as my 404. A 404 page is what you go to a page on a website that has been deleted or if you put something wrong in the URL. I have a custom 404 page due to the plugin 404 Error Page, which I have customized to include some of my more popular posts. The way it works is that I created a page and did everything I wanted to make it include popular posts. Then, using the plugin, I set that page as my 404 error page. Easy peasy way to keep people from leaving my site if they accidentally use a wrong URL!Looking to grow blog traffic in 2020? Not sure where to start? Check out these 11 things to do that will increase your site traffic. Click To Tweet
Use Canva’s Pinterest templates – I personally love Photoshop Elements, which is where I create 97% of my blogging images. But I also really appreciate Canva’s Pinterest templates, which are just some of the templates they provide. If you are just getting into blogging and don’t want to dish out the money for Photoshop – which is understandable – or you don’t know how to make pins that will do well on Pinterest, definitely try Canva’s templates. They’re awesome! When I made new pins for older posts (something I’ll get into shortly), I use Canva.
Update the automatic emails for your newsletter – This is something you should do if you have had your newsletter for more than a year. If you’re unfamiliar with what this is about, it comes down to what happens when you have someone sign up for your newsletter. Sometimes people will delete these without reading them, but ideally they will open them. When they do, you want that email to work well for you. In my welcome email, I explain who I am, share information about the blog, and explain what they can expect from my newsletter. I also include links to popular posts. Why do I do all of this if they’re signing up for the newsletter? Because while some subscribers are long-term KTAG readers, some are also new ones who found my blog and newsletter through providing free printables.
Looking for more information? The Content Boss has a great post called 3 Things Your Welcome Email Must Do (And Probably Doesn’t!)
Super maximize your website for mobile use – While I mostly view blogs and websites on my computer, that’s not true for a lot of people. In fact, 85% of adults think that a company’s website when viewed on a mobile device should be as good or better than its desktop website; 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout are unattractive; 47% of users expect a maximum of 2 seconds loading time for an average website; and mobile traffic as a share of total global online traffic in 2017 was 52.64% (x). Suffice it to say that it’s really important to have a mobile-friendly website. One way to figure out how mobile-friendy (or unfriendly) your website is is through using Google’s mobile-friendly test at search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly. Looking on how to improve your site? Hostgator has a great post about it.
Try writing posts outside of your niche – This is one that I’ve tried before, but I didn’t see much success with it in the past because I didn’t really know what I was doing. Especially because I don’t exactly have a niche. I write a lot about health stuff, but not enough to be a health blogger. I write a lot about blogging, but not enough to be a blogging blogger, if that phrasing makes sense. And I write a fair amount of general lifestyle posts (like about beauty, books, Boston, and food), but nowhere near the same frequency that I write about my other key topics. What I decided to do is to step fully out of my comfort zone – the aforementioned topics – and write about something that I wasn’t used to posting about. I did a full food post, which was a recipe and decorating instructions. I also write a guide to what to do in Ireland for first-time visitors after my trip there in September. I enjoyed writing both of them, and I would like to write my travel posts, but I think I’m okay with not doing food as frequently.
My advice is that, if you’ve been blogging at least a year and you feel that your blog traffic is stuck, to write a post that’s slightly out of your niche or comfort zone. It’s a good way to test the waters and see if your readers like it, and it’s also a good way to stretch your creative muscles.
Complete a 30-day SEO challenge – I’m not going to lie: I felt a little silly when I started doing this. I’ve been implementing SEO in my website for years; did I really need to do this? But by the end of it, I was so, so glad that I had. Once you’re used to SEO in blogging, you can fall into a rut, like with many things. I was doing essentially the same things for all blog posts, and I had forgotten some of the things that I did when I first started using SEO. I chose a 30-day challenge because it gave me an action to do every day to improve my blog, which was nice. I know a lot more about SEO than the average person, but I’m by no means an expert. I found this extremely helpful. Learn more about the 30-day SEO challenge I did here.11 ways to grow your blog in 2020 Click To Tweet
Make new pins for old(er) posts – As I mentioned above, I’m in a Facebook group called Boss Girl Bloggers. This group is run by Ell Duclos, and she is a Pinterest wiz. She has shared multiple times in the group that she regularly makes new Pinterest images for her posts and repins them. While this is something that I do occasionally, it’s not something that I do (or did) often. So I decided to try this! To make this take as little time as possible, I decided to do it with Canva’s Pinterest templates because a) they have templates that get results b) they have a whole bunch of stock images available for use, so I wouldn’t have to personally search for and download them and c) it’s easy. Pick a template, pick an image, type a title, maybe come up with a different one just to mix things up, share to Pinterest (with the link to the post, of course). So easy!
Refresh old content – This is another thing that I had tried in the past, but this time, I stepped it up a notch. I not only worked on updating an out-of-date information or adding more words, but I also added a lot more words, more (high-quality) images, added related SEO keywords, and added new blog posts that were relevant. Additionally, I found some older posts that I hadn’t optimized for SEO and then did that for them, and I made new pins for some of these posts. But for all of the posts I updated – whether or not they had new pins – I added them to my Tailwind queue again. If I felt that I had an especially incredible new pin, I would also add them to my Tailwind Tribes. (There’s a limited number of pins you can add per month and my new posts always come first.) You can learn even more from optinmonstere.
To recap, here are 11 things you can do to grow blog traffic: 2020 edition.
- Pin manually in addition to Tailwind
- Reevaluate and update your Facebook group strategy
- Create shareable content (and make it easy to share)
- Update your blog’s pages
- Make pins using Canva’s Pinterest templates
- Update your newsletter’s automatically-sent newsletters
- Maximize your blog for mobile use
- Write blog posts outside of your typical niche
- Supercharge your SEO knowledge with a 30-day SEO challenge
- Make new pins for old(er) posts
- Refresh your content with more information, related SEO keywords, and up-to-date content
What tools are you going to try to grow your blog traffic in 2020?
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