This is a guest contribution from Garrett Moon, co-founder of CoSchedule.
Of course, you know that writing more blog posts will increase your blog traffic.
If one blog post results in an average of 200 visits, then two blog posts should magically turn into 400 visits. Voila!
But, that sucks.
What if there was a way to increase your blog traffic without creating more content?
Rather than using two posts to reach 400 visits, what if you could get those same 400 visits from a single post?
The good news is that it’s possible. Just recently, we began publishing one less post per week on the CoSchedule blog. Even better, our traffic actually went up. Yes, up!
We did it by better optimizing the traffic we received from each piece of content that we posted online. We decided to blog smarter, and not just harder.
The good news is that you can easily do it, too.
Here are the 10 ‘hacks’ that we used to optimize traffic on our own blog. Most of them will make an instant impact on your traffic growth, so plan to implement a few as soon as you can.
1. Make Your Content More Shareable Using A Click To Tweet Plugin
Click To Tweet links do just that by helping you to create tweetable quotes and comments throughout your post.
The idea is that you are not only providing readers a way to share, but actively suggesting that they do. This naturally leads to more shares and more exposure for your content.
At CoSchedule, we wanted to be able to add these Click To Tweet boxes with a single step, so we made a custom plugin for ourselves and have since decided to distribute it for free. It’s easy to install. You can grab it here for free if you’d like.
2. Maximize The Emotional Value Of Your Headlines
A while back, we did some research on more than 1 million blog post headlines and make a huge discovery—blog posts with more emotional headlines actually result in more shares.
The takeaway? Write headlines that have stronger emotional output.
There are several tools that you can use to do this. The Emotional Value Analyzer by the Advanced Marketing Institute will give you a basic rating on the emotional value of a headline.
The Blog Post Headline Analyzer will do the same, but also give you a rating on the overall quality and length of your headline. It should make it easy for you to to write awesome (and emotional) headlines every time.
3. Create Longer-Form Content
Did you know that Google gives precedence to long-form content in its search results? By long-form content, I mean posts that have a total of 2,000 words or more.
In a recent post, Neil Patel outlined Google’s trend towards long-form writing. He found that long-form content was more likely to be linked to from another site, and it was more likely to take the top spot in search results.
Not a bad deal for a few hundred (or thousand) extra words.
4. Improve Your Meta Tags And Rich Snippets
There are a ton of things you can do to your blog to make sure that your content looks as good as possible when it’s shared on social media or picked up by search engines like Google.
Most of this relies on a small bit of meta tag code that you should include in the <HEAD> of your html page. This code will provide instructions to networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest by telling them which image, title, and description to use when a post goes live.
You can even preview what your own link previews look like using this handy debug tool provided by Facebook.
If you’re using WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin is a great way to make sure that most of it happens automatically. By making sure your content looks as good as possible when it’s shared, you will increase your blog traffic with ease.
5. Tell A Better Story
In 2014 helpdesk software maker Groove shut down their content marketing blog after seeking a solution that would bring them more traffic. Groove decided to shift their content from “generic evergreen content” to the story of their own success.
Groove relaunched their blog as a step-by-step telling of their journey from $20k in revenue per month to more than $100k.
As it turns out, the relaunch worked! In the first five weeks of the new blog, Groove gained 5000 new email subscribers instantly, and gave us all a lesson in the power of storytelling.
One way to increase your blog traffic is to actually tell your story!
6. Promote Your Content On Social Media More Than Once
One of the biggest mistakes we make as bloggers happens right after we press the “publish” button. Once a blog post goes live, too many of us only share our posts once or twice on social media—even though we are frequently producing evergreen content.
The trick here is to follow a simple pattern to promote your content on social media.
- On publish – Social messages publish when your blog posts go live.
- Same day – Initial social messages trickle out to your accounts throughout the next 2–3 hours.
- Next day – Messages are shared again on the appropriate social channels.
- Next week – Another series of messages are pre-scheduled and sent the following week.
- Next month – More social messages are pre-scheduled for the following month. This is especially important for evergreen content.
- Next _____ – Additional messages can optionally be scheduled for the three-month mark or beyond.
By the way… make sure you add some variety to your social content so you don’t come off as just another spammer. You can read more about this whole process here.
7. Make Your Blog Load Faster
Did you know that Google considers the speed of your website when ranking your website in search results?
Back in 2010, Google engineer Matt Cutts announced that Google is now factoring site speed into search rankings. So, it only makes sense that you would make your blog as fast as possible.
If you aren’t careful, you can easily add a bunch of crummy plugins and themes that degrade your site’s performance over time. It’s important to spend some time reclaiming that speed and improving how you rate on Google.
While it can be a bit technical, WPMU DEV has a great guide for speeding up your WordPress blog. Follow it, speed things up, live long and prosper.
8. Optimize Your Social Sharing Buttons
Do you know where the best place to put your social media buttons is?
The placement of these buttons can actually make a big impact on how many shares your posts receive. Our research has found that they seem to do best near the top left of the page, but you can use this free heat map tool from SumoMe to find out how readers interact with your pages.
9. Clean Up Your Sidebar
One of the fastest ways to make a big impact on your blog is to simply clean up your act. After a bit of time, most blog sidebars start getting pretty congested with ads, links, and other cool widgets.
But, those widgets aren’t so cool if they’re distracting your readers from what they should really be doing. Take a minute to really decide what you want your readers to be doing and remove any clutter that you can.
10. Improve Your Call To Action
One way to determine if a widget belongs on your blog is to ask yourself if it is contributing to your bottom line.
At CoSchedule, our blog is set up to lead readers to only two different calls to action. Users can either sign up for our email list or try CoSchedule. It’s that simple!
Have a a clear call to action, and a blog layout and design that accurately leads your readers to it. This is a guaranteed way to improve your blog traffic and conversion rate.
Garrett Moon is a co-founder at CoSchedule, a social media editorial calendar for WordPress that allows users to schedule blogs posts and social media on an easy drag-and-drop calendar. He blogs about social media and content marketing every week on the CoSchedule Content Marketing blog. You can follow him on Twitter @garrett_moon.