Blog traffic can be a fickle thing. It takes a bit of patience along with a lot of trial and error to see what works best for your blog. Here are a few of my favorite simple ways to increase your blog traffic without feeling stressed out or overwhelmed.
1. Google should be your best friend. Set up Google Analytics right away. Analytics is like your "man on the inside", telling you what is going on behind the scenes. What are your readers doing when they get to your site? What makes them leave? Go ask Ana. Yeah, I named it. I told you before, best friend! The Social Media Examiner has adetailed guide on pretty much everything you would want to know about Google Analytics. Google Webmaster Tools is another awesome resource that you'll want to get set up on right away, submitting a site map is SUPER important. Moritz Fine Designs has an awesome guide on how to submit your sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools.
2. Write great content. This is a no brainer. Be yourself and just write! The more content you have available, the more that there is to read and index into search engines, which means more people finding your blog.
3. Give your readers something. I don't mean money or gifts, I mean something that they can take away from your post. Did you learn something that helped you recently, or are you an expert on something? Let your readers know! We're going to go back to Google Analytics here for a moment. A great way to find out what posts your readers are most drawn to can be found there. Just click on Behaviors>Overview. This will give you a list of your most popular posts AKA what your readers want to read about.
4. Grow your social media accounts. I started off small, with just two social media platforms and added more as I became comfortable. Share your content as well as useful and helpful information from other blogs in your niche. Find conversation, meet other bloggers, comment on posts and just have fun! Not all social media platforms are created equal, and some may not be for you. We'll get to that later.
5. Follow and comment on other blogs in your niche that you have genuine interest in. It's not only a great way to maybe find some new readers, but it's a fantastic way to make some bloggy friends.
6. Using a checklist like this can really help with numbers 4 and 5. Getting into a daily routine of commenting, sharing and interacting is no easy feat, but it does amazing things for blog traffic.
7. Make your content "Pin-worthy". You catch more flies with honey and you catch more eyes with better graphics. Here is a super simple tutorial on making more pinnable blog images.
8. StumbleUpon is often overlooked and it's a shame, because it can be a great place to help drive traffic to your blog as well as find some great content to share. I think a lot of people make the mistake of only sharing their own content on StumbeUpon, don't see results and then give up. There is a little obvious "trick" to SU. Make sure you use it as intended: content curation and not just as an advertisement for your blog. You basically tell it what you like and what you don't and it will find some amazing content for you. Go ahead and share some of your posts, but make sure you are still sharing and liking other's content as well. The StumbleUpon gods do not smile on those who are only there to promote their own content. Check out my post on using StumbleUpon HERE.
9. Link parties and blog hops are a great way to get your content out there as well as network with other bloggers. You link your post(s) up at the party and then go check out what other people have linked up. When I was completely new to blogging, I was linking up to 10+ parties a day. This got old (and tiring) quick. So, as the months went on I took a look at Google Analytics (Aquisition>Referral) and started takikng note of which linky parties were bringing traffic to my site. As much as I truly love and enjoy linking up, I just couldn't feasibly keep linking up to so many parties. So, after a couple of months of watching my Analytics, I trimmed them down to the ones that I saw were actually bringing in traffic.
10. If Google Analytics is your best friend, SEO is your blog spouse. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is the bread and butter of blog traffic. There are so many wonderful tutorials out there about it, that I won't even attempt my feeble explanation. Check out these guides and tips to SEO by Amuse Your Bouche and The Wonder Forest. Google Plus is also a great tool for SEO as explained here by Sharon at Midlife Blvd.
Remember, everything takes time. If you aren't seeing results immediately from something, that is perfectly normal. If you have given it time and still aren't seeing results, it is time to step back and reevaluate the situation. Not everything is going to work for every blog, everyone is so different. Change things up, try new things and don't be afraid to get rid of what doesn't work for you. Your time is too valuable to waste it on things that you don't like doing or simply don't work for you!
How have you increased your readership and engagement?