How to Increase Your Blog Traffic — in 10 Simple Steps

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Increase blog traffic — image of a blogger typing

In this article we look at how to increase blog traffic — below, you’ll find 10 really simple steps you can take to generate a MUCH larger readership for your posts.

Let’s start with an important question: why blog in the first place?


Why blog?

Question marks (image accompanying the 'why blog' section).

Well, there are three main reasons.

First, blogging can be a lot of fun. It allows you to express yourself and share your views with a potentially large audience.

Second, done well, blogging can help establish you (or your business) as an authority in your field.

And third (and most importantly), blogging has the potential to dramatically increase the number of people visiting your site. According to inbound marketing experts Hubspot, businesses that blog regularly tend to attract 55% more traffic than those that don’t.

So, if you write well and are blogging about a subject in which there is a sizeable interest, you can end up with a large amount of traffic on your website.

And we all know what lots of traffic to a website means: increased sales opportunities and revenue.

But how do you go about creating a successful blog?


1. Find the right writer! (Hint: that might not be you)

At the heart of getting your blog noticed, and driving lots of traffic to it, is writing really great content – and that content is going to be much better if the person writing it is both knowledgeable and passionate about what they are writing about.

Posts that are written from the heart — and not by a content farm — are far more likely to be the posts that interest people and crucially, get shared.

BUT: it might be the case that you personally are not the best person to write the posts for your site.

Perhaps you’re not a great writer.

Perhaps you don’t have time to devote to blogging.

Blogger at work
Finding a great writer is key to the success of any blog.

If either of those statements sounds like it might apply to you, consider hiring a writer who is capable of creating truly great blog posts and putting in the hours to do so.

Whoever ends up writing the posts on your website, their personality has to shine through. Readers identify with writers because there is much to like — or even dislike — about their personality, mouthiness or tone of voice.

If a reader likes YOU as a writer — and not just the quality of the content you are producing — you are far more likely to attract a more dedicated following for your blog.

So, make sure your personality comes across in your posts. This helps you form a rapport with your readers, who may be more inclined as a result to come back to your blog simply because they like you as an individual.


2. Use keyword research to identify good topics to blog about

It’s really easy to sit down and write blog posts which cover, in considerable depth, topics that nobody is particularly interested in!

Similarly, it’s easy to write a blog post covering an area that people are really interested in, but to give it a title containing keywords that nobody ever searches for.

Keyword research is your friend here. You can use a wide range of keyword research tools such as Semrush or Ahrefs to discover the number of monthly searches for particular keywords — and find out how difficult it is to rank for particular search phrases. 

Keyword research is crucial to successful blogging
Carrying out keyword research in Semrush.

The trick is to identify phrases that you can use in your blog that generate a reasonable amount of traffic, but for which there isn’t massive competition.

Keyword research tools and resources

For a more detailed look at how to find the best keywords to use in your blog, you could do worse than check out Semrush’s guide to keyword research. For a limited time, you can also get an exclusive 30-day trial of the product here.

And our Semrush review, Ahrefs vs Semrush and Moz vs Semrush posts will help you find out more about some of the keyword research tools available.

If you’re a Chrome user, you might also be interested in a new SEO tool, GrowthBar, which works as a Chrome extension and is available at a lower cost than some of the products listed above. A five day free trial of GrowthBar can be accessed here.

Once you’ve done your keyword research, you should ensure that your keywords feature in all the right places in your post — its title, meta description, headers and body copy (more on all that in a moment).


3. Focus on creating long-form content for your blog

Content length matters (image of a measuring tape)
Content length matters!

Studies show that ‘long-form content’ performs better in search results than short or ‘thin’ posts.

Long-from content refers to posts with high word counts that go into HUGE depth on a particular topic.

Now, there are a couple of reasons why long-form content helps to generate higher positions in search results.

First, longer posts will naturally be more keyword-rich — and thus more likely to crop up in results for ‘long tail’ keyword searches.

Second (and perhaps more importantly), the in-depth nature of a long post is more likely to satisfy readers who come across it — it will be more likely to answer your visitor’s query, or solve their problem.

As a result, the post is more likely to get shared on social media or get linked to from other sites — with very positive implications for traffic.

Remember: don’t overdo length

Although long-form posts typically attract more readers than very short ones, it is important not to get too carried away with length.

If you are creating huge articles just for the sake of ticking a ‘long-form’ box — at the expense of producing useful content — it is unlikely that you will be rewarded by either readers or search engines for doing so.

Quality is key, as Google repeatedly makes clear in its advice on how to make content rank highly in search results.


4. Keep your blog content fresh by updating existing posts

If you do any research into blogging and SEO, you’ll come across loads of articles which stress how vital it is to create ‘fresh’ content in order to generate good search results and traffic to your site.

However, I’d caution against interpreting this as an instruction to only produce new posts.

With my own content, I’ve found it much more useful to focus on quality over quantity — and rather than blogging every day just for the sake of it, I prefer to invest my time in keeping my existing content as strong (and as in-depth) as possible.

I do this by continuously reviewing older posts and enhancing them with the most up-to-date information available.

Not only does this send the ‘freshness’ signals to Google that the search engine’s algorithms approve of, but it typically increases the length of posts and helps provide the ‘long-form’ content which tend to perform better in search results.

That said, there is definitely value in creating new posts periodically — the more content on your site, the more keywords you can rank for, but only if the content is strong.

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5. Accompany your blog with strong images

It’s REALLY important to use good images in any blog posts you publish.

There are four main reasons for this.

First, it helps readers get a sense of what you are writing about (this is particularly important if you are exploring difficult concepts – visual aids can really help simplify matters).

Second, the main picture accompanying your post will usually show up whenever your visitors share one of your posts on social media — if it’s a dull picture, it’s far less likely to generate clickthroughs to your site.

Royalty-free image sites like Unsplash can help you source good images for your blog posts.
Royalty-free image sites like Unsplash can help you source good images for your blog posts.

Third, as with text, images can be optimised to help your content appear in search results. By adding suitable keywords to a picture’s ‘alternative text‘, file name and caption, you can help search engines gain a better understanding of what your post is about (and by extension, help your post appear in relevant search results).

And finally, good images help to make your content look authoritative. If you use a beautiful piece of photography instead of a dodgy piece of clip art to accompany a blog post, it is far more likely to be taken seriously — or read in the first place — by people who come across it.

Two important things to remember about blog post images

When adding images to your blog posts…

  • Keep an eye on file size — large picture files can increase page load time, which can in turn affect how search engines treat your content in search (quick-loading pages are given priority over longer ones by search engines).
  • Only use images that you have the rights to — if you don’t have a license for an image, you can end up getting fined hundreds of dollars for breaching copyright (thankfully there are lots of great royalty free stock photo sites, like Pexels and Unsplash, that can help you avoid this problem).

6. Optimize your blog posts for search engines

There are a series of technical steps — known as ‘on-page SEO’ that you should take to give your blog posts the best chance of performing well in search.

You should always:

  • create blog post titles which reflect your keyword research, and accurately describe what you are writing about

  • include keywords in each post’s URL that reflect the content

  • use keyword-rich headings (H1, H2, H3 etc.) to break up content

  • use keyword rich alt text and file names for your images.

(For a few more tips on this area, and some more in depth information on the above, you might like to check out our post on how to make your content visible in Google search results.)

There are also a few ‘technical SEO’ steps you can take. Google prefers content that loads really quickly — a few things that can help in this area include:

  • ensuring all image files are as small as possible (without being pixelated)

  • avoiding use of unnecessary scripts on the page

  • using a CSS stylesheet rather than loads of inline CSS

  • registering your site with Google Search Console

Important: optimize your blog posts for ‘real’ readers too!

It’s easy to focus on all the things you can do to make a search algorithm like your blog posts — and easy to forget that it’s actually humans that you’re trying to impress!

There are a few things you can do to make your blog post more appealing to ‘real’ readers:

  • Avoid jargon or complex language — in most cases, it’s best to assume that the people reading one of your posts are relatively new to the topic, so create and structure your content accordingly.
  • Use relatively large, easy-to-read fonts on your blog.
  • Ensure your blog uses a ‘responsive’ design — i.e., one that displays your content appropriately for the device it’s being viewed on (mobile, tablet, laptop etc.).
  • Make sure your blog loads fast — a slow-loading post put people off reading it.

7. Capture email addresses

Once you’ve attracted a visitor to your blog, you should always do your best to capture their email address.

This allows you to notify visitors via e-newsletter of new blog posts, which can result in more traffic and shares.

To do this, you need to ensure that there is a data capture form on your blog post, not just on a ‘sign up to our mailing list’ page on your site. You can do this using a sidebar, pop-up box or a simple text call-to-action to encourage people to join your mailing list.* 

When creating this sign-up form, remember to spell out the benefits of joining the list — the value that your a site visitor will get out of becoming a subscriber.

For example, rather than using a boring ‘join our mailing list’ call to action, highlight the sort of resources a subscriber can expect to receive, the skills they’ll learn etc.

Capturing email addresses on a blog using a pop-up form
Capturing email addresses on a blog – a very important tactic you can use to increase blog traffic.

If you use an email marketing tool (like GetResponse, AWeber, Mailchimp or Mad Mimi) you can use your RSS feed to power your e-newsletters, meaning that every time you add a new blog post your subscribers will automatically receive an e-newsletter with a notification about the new content.

* Be careful with pop-ups (or ‘interstitials’ as Google likes to call them). They can dramatically increase the number of leads you generate, but they can also have a negative impact on search traffic, particularly if over-used on mobile versions of your site. Learn more about Google’s approach to pop-ups here.


8. Encourage social sharing

Actively encourage your readers to share your blog posts — be explicit with your requests for people to post your content on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.

If they follow these encouragements, not only should you see a rise in traffic to your posts, but you may also be sending subtle ‘signals’ to search engines regarding the popularity and quality of your posts (the jury is out on whether social sharing has a direct impact on search results, but there does seem to be a correlation of sorts).

Using a tool like Sumo or Addthis – which allow you to add a truckload of clever social sharing icons to various parts of your website, as well as data capture forms — can help in this regard.

Using tools like Sumo or Addthis to add social sharing features to your blog posts can help increase traffic to them.
Using tools like Sumo or Addthis to add social sharing features to your blog posts can help increase traffic to them.

Does the platform matter?

A lot of people wonder if blogging is best done on a particular platform.

Well, there is absolutely nothing to stop you running a successful blog on popular website / online store builders like Shopify, Squarespace, BigCommerce or Wix— and following the tips in this post can help you increase traffic to (and sales from) sites built on those platforms.

However, if you want to create a full-blown publication, or blog professionally, then there’s a lot to be said for using self-hosted WordPress.

WordPress started life as a blogging tool and provides a host of blogging features that you won’t typically find on hosted website building solutions (for example, content versioning, SEO tools and advanced categorisation options).


9. Encourage comments and user engagement

Encourage people to add their own views at the bottom of your posts. There are three reasons why this is beneficial:

  1. It creates more keyword-rich content on your website

    (content that can be indexed, and ranked highly, by Google).
  2. It can help encourage return visits to your blog, as discussions take hold in your comments section

    .
  3. Some SEO experts believe that Google treats blog posts which generate a lot of community discussion preferentially to those without any comments — possibly because it increases ‘dwell time’ on the post.


At the very simplest level, there are two key ingredients to ensuring a blog post ranks in search:

First, your post has to contain quality content.

Second, it has to have a lot of backlinks — links from other sites — pointing to it.

We’ve covered the ‘quality content’ bit earlier: you basically need to focus on producing long-form posts which cover the topic you’re writing about clearly, and in considerable depth. Always aim to satisfy a reader’s query; to solve their problem.

Getting backlinks is often a much harder task, as it involves reaching out to other bloggers / website owners, and asking them to include a link to your content on their posts — it’s sort of like an online PR campaign of sorts.

This sort of outreach is a time consuming affair, but it’s important, and if you take a thorough approach to it, it can prove very fruitful.

Another option with regard to backlink generation is to hire an agency to do this on your behalf — but you have to be careful here, as hiring an agency or consultant who then goes onto place (or worse, buy) links on low-quality sites can actually do more harm than good.

When building links,

  • focus on websites that have a good reputation (you can use the ‘domain authority scores’ provided by SEO tools like Ahrefs or Semrush to find out which ones do or don’t).

  • always ensure that the links you’re building make sense in context (for example, if you’re building a link to a site about shoes, don’t build links on posts about ice cream).

You’ll find a really helpful list of link building suggestions over on the Backlinko website. Or sign up to our mailing list using the form below to get our latest SEO tips.

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Any questions on how to increase blog traffic?

We hope you’ve enjoyed our tips on how to increase blog traffic! If you have any questions about the topic, we’d love to hear them — just leave your query in the comments below (we read all comments and try to respond to all of them).

And if you enjoyed this post, do feel free to share it, either on social media or by creating a link to it on your own website or blog 🙂


Related reading on SEO / blogging

You may find some of these other posts about traffic generation and blogging helpful:

Comments (17)

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Chris, I am just getting started with adding blog posts to my website. I found your article very newbie-friendly and incredibly practical. Thank you!

I see three hurdles I need to overcome: first, the learning curve in regards to inputting keywords into the various places you mentioned; secondly, setting up a means of obtaining readers’ emails; and thirdly, developing the new habits of practising your ten points. The discipline I can handle; it’s the tech side that seems daunting. Are there services available for the tech aspects?

Thanks! Tim

Thanks for the kind words Tim! So a good SEO / marketing agency should be able to set up and manage the technical aspects of keyword research and email data capture.

But it is possible to do it yourself too – a lot of these tools are designed with small businesses in mind.

For keyword research we generally recommend Ahrefs or Semrush: https://www.stylefactoryproductions.com/blog/ahrefs-vs-semrush

For data capture, Getresponse is a good option: https://www.stylefactoryproductions.com/blog/getresponse-review

All these tools have Youtube channels / resource pages that will help you get started. But if you don’t feel comfortable with a DIY approach, then commissioning a good marketing professional or team is always an option – do your research though and talk to a few people about your needs and how best they can be met.

Hope this helps?

Hi Chris. First of all, thank you very much for this detailed content, really like it! I was curious to receive some feedback from you on something. Do you think it is possible to receive a good and reliable source of traffic coming from tools like Facebook Ads to my blog?

Hey Liline, yes you should be able to do this and this will give you a quick increase in the number of readers. However, this method of driving people to your content can prove expensive, so longer term it’s best to try to create more sustainable source of traffic – and that means carrying out SEO work to get your blog appearing high in organic search results. If you do go down the Facebook ads route, try to ensure that you’ve got a data capture form on the blog post you are driving people to – as that way you can use your paid-for traffic to generate leads, thus giving you some sort of return on the investment.

Thanks, Chris for sharing the important tips. One more thing I want to add is selecting the niche for your blog. Finding the right niche is the most crucial aspect of starting a blog, and sometimes it’s ignored. High-authority websites will beat down your blog if you choose a market with too much competition.

Awesome tips here! I was wondering when linking to other sites, do we HAVE to ask for permission for every site we link it to? What about if they are big websites? For instance, if we are recommending them to look for cheap flights on Google flights, do we need to reach out to that site to ask? Thank you!

Blog: http://www.inspiringpositively.com – would love some love for my blog :’)

Thanks Diana! You don’t need to ask permission to link to other websites from your blog. If you’re building links TO your site though, you’ll need to approach other site owners and ask them to do so. Does that make sense?

Thanks for these useful tips! I am a real noob to managing websites, I had no idea how much was involved! I have been focussing on writing each week so far but need to pay more attention to SEO. I hadn’t given much thought to reviewing existing content but it seems like that is just as important as the new stuff. My blog is https://intentionallivingjournal.com/

Thanks for stopping by Joe – I hope you found the blogging tips helpful, and good luck with your site.

Chris,Question for you. What is your preferred cadence for posts? How often do you think someone ought to be publishing?Cameronhttps://nucks.co

Hi Cameron – apols for the ridiculously long delay in response here! So, my advice would be that quality is always better than quantity. You would be better off trying to post 12 really good posts a year, and building quality backlinks to them, than trying to publish one low-quality post every week. Hope that helps?

Chris,I started a blog about two weeks ago and am looking for ways to increase my traffic. I am already doing a couple of things that you have mentioned. I created a backlink using my Pinterest account. I have created Pinterest boards to match some of the things I have blogged about. I have also been encouraging my friends to follow me. I still have minimal traffic and plan to use your other helpful tips.Thank you,Shannonwww.shenanigans-with-shannon.com

Thanks for the article. This is all something that I need to work on, and I will try my best to get these changes in place. My website is at https://megliovivere.com. One issue that I have currently is not many people sign up to the newsletter. I know that the content is high quality and interesting, I’ve also nailed the SEO side of things – although my keyword research is poor atm – but my visits and hits are not spectacular at this point. I hope that I can improve this. Any tips would be welcomed!

Hi Tony, thanks for reading. As far as increasing sign-ups to your mailing list goes, I’d suggest more prominent calls to action on your site. For example, you could:

add a link at the end of each blog post to your sign up form make use of pop-up forms (on desktop only – you can take an SEO hit if you use them on mobiles) embed sign-up forms in a sidebar on each page of your site.

In terms of increasing the number of site visitors, check out our key SEO tips – https://www.stylefactoryproductions.com/blog/six-simple-ways-to-make-your-site-more-visible-in-google-search-results

Hope this helps!Cheers, Chris

Chris,

I am into residential construction in Bangalore, India. One of our companies is almost done with the website. It will be , www.medhahousing.com

We have also written a few articles which we will put up on our blog once the site is up. I have decided that I will go with Mad Mimi after reading your reviews.

Could you shed some tips on how I can promote my company blog- which will be general posts and project specific. The final outcome of blogging is to speed up sales of my apartments in this project in West Bangalore.

If you are ok with it.. I would like to share them with you to get your valuable advice.

Thanks,

Sourabh Agarwal

Hi Sourabh,

These are the tactics I would use:

Ask friends, colleagues and sympathetic business contacts to feature information about (and more importantly a link to) your blog on their sites.2. See if you can guest blog on other blogs.3. Use your email database to send information about your blog to your contacts.4. You could consider using paid advertisements – for example Google Adwords or services like Outbrain – to publicise specific posts.5. Blog regularly and revisit posts occasionally if they need updating – this helps with organic search results.

I hope this helps!(and I’m sorry about the delay).Chris