How to Increase Blog Traffic — in 10 Simple Steps

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Increase blog traffic graphic (image of a bar chart symbolising an improvement in traffic to a blog).

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

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


Why blog?

Question mark

Well, there are three main reasons.

First, blogging can be a LOT of fun.

It’s a creative activity that allows you to express yourself and, done well, share your views with a large audience.

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

And third, blogging has the potential to significantly 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 that a lot of people are interested in, you can end up with a very large amount of traffic on your website.

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

But how do you go about creating a successful blog? As you might expect, the first step involves finding a good writer.


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

Writer icon – finding a good writer is key to the success of a blog.

At the heart of getting your blog noticed — and driving lots of traffic to it — is writing superb content.

And that content is going to be all the more ‘superb’ if the person writing it is both knowledgeable and passionate about what they are writing about.

Blog posts that are written from the heart – and not by a content farm or AI bot – 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.

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

But 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.

This in turns helps you or your writer form a rapport with readers, who may as a result be more inclined as a result to come back to your blog regularly — or share its content more willingly.

Once you’ve found your writer and a tone of voice, it’s time to think about what to write about.

Let’s take a look at that.


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

Keyword research for blogging (graphic).

It’s really easy to sit down and write blog posts which cover, in considerable depth, topics that nobody is remotely 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 words and phrases that nobody ever searches for.

Keyword research is your friend here: it can help you generate good blog post ideas and ensure that there is a sizeable target audience for your content.

By using keyword research tools — like Semrush or Ahrefs — you can discover the number of monthly searches for various keywords — and find out how difficult it is to rank for particular phrases.

Keyword research resources

To help you find the best target 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.

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

The trick with keyword research 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.

The video below shows you how this is typically done.

Ahrefs keyword research video — quick tips from Style Factory

Free Webmaster Tools from Ahrefs | Full Ahrefs review | Subscribe on YouTube

Once you’ve done your keyword research, you should ensure that your keywords feature in all the right places in your post.

This means adding them to your post’s

  • title
  • meta description
  • headers
  • alt text
  • body copy.

More on all these in just a moment, but first let’s take a look at something that’s usually quite important to successful blog posts: length.


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

Long form content infographic

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

Size matters!

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 therefore more likely to crop up in results for ‘long tail’ keyword searches (search queries involving combinations of several words).

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.

But…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. Although long-form content often outranks ‘thin’ posts, there is no ‘ideal’ length for a blog post.


4. Keep your content fresh by updating existing blog posts

Image of a blog being updated

If you do any research into blogging and search engine optimization, 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 invest a lot of 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. This is particularly important when it comes to product reviews, but even ‘evergreen content’ (posts containing facts that don’t change often, if at all) can benefit from being spruced up from time to time.

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 that often performs 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 theoretically rank for.

But again, only if the content is strong!

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5. Accompany your blog with great images

Polaroid picture for a blog

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 often show up whenever your visitors share one of your posts on social media — and if this is a dull picture, it’s 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 optimized 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 (which in turn can help your post appear more often 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 cheap-looking piece of clip art in a blog post, that post is far more likely to be taken seriously — or read in the first place — by people who stumble 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, but be original if you can, especially if reviewing products on your blog. Google is on record as saying it prefers original images to widely-used ones in that context.

Tip: web-based graphic design tools like Canva can help you produce quality infographics for your blog, and also give you access to royalty-free photo libraries.


6. Optimize your blog posts for search engines

SEO graphic

There are a series of technical steps — collectively 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 that 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, H4 etc.) to break up content

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

For a few more tips on this area, you might like to check out our post on how to make your content visible in Google search results, or watch the video below.

Increasing site visibility: a video guide

Ahrefs vs Semrush | Free SEO toolkit | Subscribe on YouTube

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

  • registering your site with Google Search Console and Microsoft Bing
  • ensuring all image files are as small as possible (without being too pixelated)

  • avoiding use of unnecessary scripts on the page

  • getting your site to conform to Google’s new ‘Core Web Vitals‘ standards

    on speed and stability.

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 totally 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 — a large proportion of the the people reading your blog posts will be entirely new to the topic you’re discussing, so use plain language wherever possible and explain concepts clearly.
  • Use relatively large, easy-to-read fonts on your blog.
  • Ensure that 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.
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7. Capture email addresses

Email address symbol

Once you’ve attracted visitors to your blog, you should always do your best to capture their email addresses.

This allows you to notify visitors via e-newsletter about new blog posts; this can result in significantly more traffic to them, along with more social shares.

How to create a newsletter — video guide

E-newsletter apps with free plans: GetResponse | AWeber

To capture email addresses effectively, you need to ensure that there is a mailing list sign-up form on each 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 amazing 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

Social share button on a blog.

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 your readers 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 lot 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 blogging 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.

Blogging in Shopify
Blogging using a hosted ecommerce solution, Shopify

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 like Wix or Shopify (for example, advanced content versioning, SEO tools and advanced categorization options).


9. Encourage comments and user engagement

Comments icon

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 search engine optimization 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.

However, always make sure you moderate these comments carefully — search engines can frown upon posts containing low-quality or spammy comments or user-generated content.


Backlink

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 decent number of quality backlinks — links from other reputable websites — pointing to it.

We’ve covered the ‘quality content’ bit earlier — you 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 usually a much harder task, because it involves reaching out to lots of bloggers and website owners, asking them to include a link to your content on their posts, or letting you publish a guest blog post.

(It’s 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.

Tip: don’t forget to add internal links

If you have an existing blog post that has a lot of backlinks pointing to it, you can leverage the power of these by creating links on it that point to other posts on your site. Internal links pass some of a page’s ‘link juice’ onto other pieces of content, and can help them climb up the search rankings.

Another option with regard to backlink generation is to hire an agency to do perform link building 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 often 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! Good luck with getting more blog traffic, and if you have any questions about the topic, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

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For a limited time we’re offering our readers some excellent free SEO tools and resources. Sign up now to immediately receive:

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Blogging FAQ

What’s the best blogging platform?

Most modern website builders and ecommerce solutions come with perfectly good blogging tools. However, if your aim is to start blogging professionally, or create a magazine-style publication, self-hosted WordPress is usually a good option.

How do I make money from blogging?

The main ways to generate income from a blog usually involve either affiliate advertising (where you get a commission if one of your readers clicks a link on your page and then buys a product from the website they arrive at) or display advertising (where you show banner adverts on your site, for example Google Adsense ads). Another way to generate income is to build a mailing list via signups on your blog, and sell products to the subscribers on it.

Can I blog for free?

You can blog for free on quite a few platforms — Blogger is probably the best known one. Some paid-for platforms like Wix and WordPress also let you blog for free, with ads displayed alongside your content.

Over to you: 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 🙂

Keyword research resources

We also have some detailed review and comparisons of keyword research tools available:

Comments (20)

Your email address will not be published.

Dear Chris, I want to sincerely thank you for sharing this wisdom with us! Well-crafted and super, super helpful!

Considering your advice above, I’d like to switch to Wordpress now. From your experience, would you recommend using Bluehost or Hostgator? Which one you’d prefer?

Best wishes, Saner

Thanks for the kind words! Before making a definite call on WordPress as your blogging platform I would also encourage you to read a couple of our ‘Wordpress vs’ comparisons:

https://www.stylefactoryproductions.com/blog/squarespace-vs-wordpress

and

https://www.stylefactoryproductions.com/blog/wix-vs-wordpress

As for hosting, I have more experience of other services myself, so I won’t make a personal recommendation here – but the one thing I’d say is that whichever hosting company you choose, ‘managed’ WordPress hosting is always the best option if you’re running a professional / business WordPress site.

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