When you first started out building your website or blog, perhaps you believed it would be easy to find readers and customers.
But little did you know it would take months to build traffic through conventional writing…and now you may find yourself like many others, wondering, just “how do I get more traffic to my website?”
The steps in this article are one simple way to gradually increase traffic, without any exaggerated promises of “doubling traffic” and so on.
Regular blogging helps
Generally, if you keep blogging weekly your traffic will increase steadily month by month. At first it will be a trickle in your Google Analytics, but as you write more and more, you should see your rankings increasing as well – but it will take time to see significant traffic increases.
To speed things up just a little, this article will look at keyword research as a way to leverage low competition keywords and well composed article titles to attract more readers to your site. We will also take a look at leaving a few blog comments to lead back to our new website.
Overall, we hope this article will make you a better website owner or blogger!
- Generally, weekly blogging. Regular, engaging writing on your blog will grow your readership and consequently your site traffic will increase.
- It takes a long time to grow traffic. Even with SEO optimization and link building, it can be very difficult to grow traffic significantly. Taking a short cut to get more traffic fast can have extreme consequence later on.
- No promises. Even with the best of instructions and all the right effort, it can be hard to replicate traffic increases in a given field.
Step #1 – Find Good Long Tail Keywords
Search engine optimization is still a practice not to be neglected. Google search rewards most websites that optimize for a particular search phrase with more traffic than ones that don’t.
For this reason, we recommend going to your favorite keyword research platform – whether that’s software like Long Tail Pro, or a browser based platform like SEMRush – and researching as many keywords as possible.
Look for keywords with a very low competition quotient or percentage.
For example, for our recent video game website, we found keywords with .01 to .05 (1% – 5%) percent competition and good volumes, 100+ searches. This means it would be relatively easy to have our new site show up on page 1 or 2 for the term. If you target a highly competitive subject, it may be extremely difficult to get the needed traffic to grow your online business.
- Keywords still matter. Use good keyword research platforms to find long tail keyword opportunities.
- Keywords with low competition. Choose kw’s with very low competition percentages.
- Use synonyms and relevant terms. Optimize for search phrases, and LSI terms. This will help your articles to rank.
- Warning. If you skip this step, you may not be able to produce good results with this tutorial.
Step #2 – Identify & Answer Core Needs
Many keywords you find will indicate the need of the searcher. See if you can uncover what that is by looking at the sites that are supposed to answer that query.
Sometimes the visitor doesn’t know what they are looking for, as indicated by searches like “What are good hockey gloves?”; this is an opportunity to do research on good hockey gloves and form a list-article as an answer to that query.
What about a query like, “Best canon camera 2015”; what sort of article could you write to answer this question?
Perhaps, a review of the latest canon camera model compared to last year’s offerings by the brand. What do skateboarders need to enjoy an afternoon at the park? Perhaps a query is a person seeking inspiration, encouragement, a firm push. It can be a deep, or a shallow need.
- Do competing sites answer the searcher’s question? If not, it’s time to provide a good article!
- What is the need behind a search? Use this information and find a focus to the need.
- Core needs are not always expressed by keywords. Some search phrases have an underlying need that hasn’t been accurately addressed.
If you can find out what that is among your audience of searchers, the more effectively you can structure an article title and the content around the solution you provide.
This may result in more people clicking on your site – because you know what they are looking for and know how to guide them to the answer they need. Lastly, the article contains enough depth that readers don’t bounce away immediately.
Step #3 – Engaging Presentation
Sometimes the presentation of the information is as important as the words on the page. It’s important not to overlook design, visuals and presentation of the information.
How do you answer a core need? Should you do a how to article? An in-depth guide? A list article? Is the site design helping readers or distracting them?
At this stage, you need to know what format is suitable to your audience. Perhaps a more casual conversational style article is best suited to this highly complex technical subject. Or, a more technically detailed, visual approach is best suited to answer this or that query. Do what serves your searcher best.
- Comparison tables. An embedded table with some decorative CSS coding.
- Animated presentations. A simple powerpoint presentation with animated transitions.
- Static graphics. A visually impressive infographic comparing data and conclusions.
- Purposeful design: Design that supports function, not function that serves design.
A table would suit a product comparison article. An infographic would work well on a web page about students graduating at a particular university. When choosing a theme for your WordPress site, if writing is the most important thing on your page, then make sure the font size is 14pt or so, and the line height is around 160%. If it’s sharing infographics, make sure the share buttons are clearly identifiable and use the ones people will actually use, Facebook likes, retweet, Tumblr.
The design shouldn’t overwhelm, rather drawing the eyes to the one or two elements that they need to see: a navigation menu, the article itself with a graphic, for example.
You can find a few readability guidelines here.
Step #4 – Write an Excellent Article
There is no substitute for good, clear writing – and if your visitor is engaged by your writing style, then this increases the chances they will return to read more another day.
Though clear writing takes much effort, it can be made simpler for you by using a good outline and an article template. You can get a templating plugin for WordPress to create a consistent format for all your new articles.
The below elements are in no particular order, but all can benefit your work in increasing blog traffic:
- Reputable sources
- Clear structure
- Engaging title
- Good writing
- Content length
A. Reputable Sources
An excellent article (for SEO) cites reputable sources.
While citing Wikipedia and the news may be familiar to you, it is not always reliable. Avoid republishing falsehoods and citing sources that are advertisements in disguise. Instead, you can use sources like journal publications (given funding can be tracked), other well-cited websites, or even library books you checked out recently. Sources that receive high praise and fame may not be suitable – after all the information should be truthful, first and foremost.
B. Clear Structure
An excellent article contains strong headlines that identify the subtopics, and the conclusion. These “signposts” act as a journey, although headlines and subtopic headings can differ depending on article type.
For example, a list article naming a few bloggers you enjoy may be sorted by theme, culture or type of contribution, giving your article more interest.
Stories and articles that have good plot structure are easier to digest and enjoy. Even if you are creative with structuring your article, be sure it answers the core need of the visitor.
- Review this article’s structure. Notice how this article uses headings, subheadings and other asides to draw the reader’s attention.
- Take more time to organize your article under headings. Work your hardest to make your article orderly, delay publishing and review your work to make corrections.
C. Engaging Title
Although many online readers will skim, skip and bounce, you can capture their attention with a well-phrased, engaging title.
Titles that begin with a number are familiar and popular, as are “How to…” titles. Make an effort to avoid cliche and be original so that your readers are rewarded with useful information when they click on your link. The title for this article is 12 Steps to Increasing Your Blog Traffic – practical, and familiar in that it uses a number and the word “steps” to imply a tutorial.
BONUS A few other ways to capture the attention of your readers longer:
- Use tabbed lists. Lists allow the reader to briefly grasp at the scope of the article, as well as to pick out what they need and go, for example, a link to a freebie.
- Screen captures. Showing a reader something is sometimes better than writing about it. Draw a line neatly to the item you want to show them on your screen.
- Bolded text. Font decorations reinforce and draw attention. Make sure to use it for key sections where there is a lot of writing, and one key point you hope to pass along.
D. Good Writing
What if you can’t write a good, clear article? Perhaps someone else can. Content sites like Hirewriters.com and Textbroker.com offer a wide range of talent: from the moderately skilled to professional writers. Submit your job request and see what they can come up with, but remember to be specific and clear in your request for an article. After you have your article, review it.
Then consider it: does the title really interest you? If not, reword it. Also, did the article actually answer the question posed by the title?
- Original writing.
- Good spelling and grammar.
- The article title should draw interest. If you article title is weak, unfocused or lacking relevancy – keep trying or suspend working on it in favor of another option.
- Answer the core need adequately. The core need of your audience should be answered adequately, or at the least, suggest better sources of information.
- Actionable items for busy readers. Our audience on the web is usually very busy and stressed. Condense information as best as possible while leaving in relevant details and figures.
- Review your writers’ work!
E. Content Length
As recent as 2014, a trend was uncovered in Google search: longer articles tended to rank much higher. Specifically, articles with a length of 2100 – 3000 words would have a better position in Google search than articles with lower word count in a given article.
As a result of this trend, we recommend publishing 2100 – 3000+ word articles to produce better traffic results.
Step #5 – SEO Optimize
Optimization for visibility and traffic primarily involves keeping pace with frequently changing Google search algorithms. Due to the uncertain nature of Google’s algorithms, it’s best to apply our efforts in three major areas:
- Fast Site Experience. Improving the site experience involves keeping site speed down to 3 seconds or less.
- Low Competition Keywords. Keyword phrases, synonyms and other relevant phrases and names should be used naturally within every new post for increases in traffic, ranking improvements and search engine visibility.
- Regular Value Publishing. The frequency with which your site receives updates is relevant to ranking your site better and consequently reaping traffic increases.
A. Fast Site Experience
Sites need to be fast in our age of rush. For mobile phones, this is especially true as they have limited capabilities.
- Mobile friendly and fast. Make sure your site has a lean, responsive WordPress theme that works on mobile – for readability, browsing, clicking links and so on.
- Easy to navigate site structure, as shown in the image above.
Large images and excess plugins in WordPress may be the most common issues, easily fixed using the WPSmushit image reduction plugin and a mobile friendly plugin that generates a code to redirect users to a mobile site if they’re on tablet or phone.
B. Low Competition Keywords
Relevant in the past 5 years and still relevant as of this article’s publication. We will go into this topic shortly, in much more detail.
Warning: It is harmful to use a keyword repeatedly within your article post. Instead, use synonyms, discuss related subtopics and naturally use the keyword in the title of your article, just once.
C. Regular Value Publishing
Weekly 1,000 word article publications can be a reasonable pace for some. For others, a single 30,000 word guide may be all that is needed for half a year. The content should be accurate, cite-worthy, and linked to other great informative sources.
Now that we have these important points established, we can take a look at how to apply optimization to a single post.
D. SEO Post Publishing Checklist
The below checklist may seem large at first, but it is well worth the added effort. Applying these optimization steps to your blog posts can boost your site traffic.
- Naturally include the low competition keyword in your 55 character article title. Our example keyword with low competition is “Largest Cat Breed”.
- Write a 160 character unique meta description using the low competition keyword partially. For example the keyword “red Ford trucks” would be used like this in the meta description: “Learn about red Ford models: our rental lots have futuristic, heavy duty F-150 full-size pick up trucks.”
- Use tags: Synonyms, relevant phrases, industry abbreviations, as needed.
- Link to your other articles (internal linking)
- Link to other people’s blogs, articles and websites (external linking)
- Use alt tag on at least 1 image and include your keyword or keyword synonyms there
- Create a tab list at least once in each article, like this one
- Use keyword synonyms, partial keywords in combination with other naturally occurring words, persons and subjects. See how creatively the keyword synonyms, partial keywords and relevant language (LSI) can be used:
Thankfully, all this SEO pre-publishing optimization can be made simpler using the free Pre-Publish Post Checklist plugin. This plugin will notify you not to publish until each post is optimized to your liking. Of course, you can add other items to your personal checklist, items like “remind readers to comment if they enjoyed the article.” and “remind readers about your next article on a similar topic” which may help grow return visitor traffic.
Install it on your site today and drop in the first 3-4 to your checklist, so that you can begin applying optimization to your posts.
Your articles will begin populating in Google if you apply the above steps to each new article publication.
Warnings. Steps 1-8 must be done diligently on all of your new posts for the best traffic effect. Use the exact keyword just once in the title, not any more to prevent a penalty.
E. Penalties & Precautions
Apart from a word of warning about keyword stuffing, there is one other precaution for our readers : Google search will likely change. Keeping this in mind, continue publishing useful articles, optimizing them using sound SEO practices, then read up on the changes to Google search as they come out.
- Keyword stuffing. This is where a beginner to SEO may try using lots of exact keywords in their blog posts. Google penalizes sites that do this.
- Old bad link building. This is where a beginner to SEO purchases lots of links to their site, hoping to increase their search engine visibility. This practice leads to penalties.
- Modern bad link building. Public link networks or private link networks or blog networks are a series of sites that are used to artificially inflate rankings of sites for profit. Google penalizes sites associated with such networks – we strongly discourage PBN’s.
Other penalties to be aware of that may badly effect your site’s search visibility
- A slow website may act as a penalty against your site.
- Not having a mobile site version that is responsive to different devices may act as a penalty as well.
- Having too few branded links to your site (mcdonalds.com, mcdonalds, mcd’s).
- Having too many low quality links or no links to your site.
Step #6 – Share on Social Media (FB + TW)
Facebook and Twitter are the two foremost social media we like to use for our websites when they are first built. Other social media is waning or less frequently used, compared to Facebook. For this reason, build a fan page and decorate it – make a few greeting posts, a test post, and set up automated publishing to the page whenever you publish new articles.
- Unique social updates. The latest blog-post notification should be uniquely written, if possible, so that readers can be engaged rather than bored by a mere copy-paste URL and image in the Facebook feed.
- Use good images. Twitter users like images, so use good informative images where possible and link back to your article.
You can also make use of a specialized social media, like Instagram, if your site focuses on cats, food, art and so on. Instagram is versatile, but you’ll find a different audiences on each social platform with some overlap in interests. We have found Facebook audiences are more engaged when you comment on their own fan pages, while Twitter users seem to be far less responsive in our experience.
Our favorites so far are:
Avoid hostile sites. We have found it is best to avoid hostile media sites, even if they do carry weighty amounts of traffic. This includes sites that share viral images and aggregate news.
Step #7 – Maximize tweets using #hashtags
Social media traffic can be helpful to growing organic traffic. If a person from Twitter visits your site as a result of an image you shared, or a blog post that was particularly engaging, they may return again to read other articles.
To understand more fully how to increase your tweet-reach, take a look at the diagram above. The hashtag #SEO is associated with a variety of other hashtags. Using hashtags at the end of our tweet, we can help it appear in those circles of conversation.
For Greatwebsiteplans, in those circles, it may be easier to make a connection with a reader, than say, under a barbecuing hashtag like #bbqsizzle, or no hashtag at all.
The website Hashtagify.me is one of many that lists popular hashtags for a given subject. Just type in your keyword or main subject to get a variety of hashtags suitable to your next tweet. Later on, check your Google Analytics under Social Referral traffic to see just how many people clicked your links through twitter.
Step #8 – Leave a Few Comments
After your first article is up, it’s time to look for link building opportunities. You can consider this a leisure activity, as it requires a bit of reading in your free time.
Without Dropmylink.com it would be fairly difficult to quickly locate dofollow links(a variety of link that passes “link juice” and helps build your site rank).
Thankfully, the site automatically applies different Google queries to locate useful links like these. The work that remains is, evaluating each website it presents to you – for quality and worthiness.
Incidentally, reading articles on other blogs will help you to become knowledgeable in your field.
Here’s a brief overview of the Dropmylink tool, courtesy of Youtube user:
As stated in the above video, .edu and .gov blogs do carry more authority than some other kinds of sites, like hubpages. For best results, a mixture of links is recommended as it will not trigger spam flags in Google.
When you view any of the websites suggested by Dropmylink, consider the tone of the blog:
Does it represent your site well, if a reader were to find a link to yours on there, or is it unprofessional, lacking authority?
A. What to Look For
- Professional and authoritative sites.
- Dofollow links. Use SEOQuake plugin to identify dofollow comment links.
- Commentluv-enabled blogs. When you leave a comment on these blogs, your latest blog post will appear – bringing you additional traffic.
- Nice blog owners. An accepting blog owner who will not delete your comment, or take offense if you promote your website.
- Good comments. Quality blogs that have comments by others.
B. Avoid Getting Your Comment Deleted
- Read the full blog post.
- Ask yourself, “Can I helpfully contribute to this article?“
- Ask yourself, “Does this blog espouse the qualities of an authoritative site?”
- Comment politely and tactfully, use real name if required (don’t lie).
- Return to read future posts and comment again, if you’re able to connect with the blogger / audience.
- Comment meaningfully. If you just want to get a link to your site, it may get rejected and deleted.
Step #9 – Write a New Article Using Subtopic
Now that you have published an SEO optimized article, left a few comments and shared it to social media – it’s time to repeat the process with all your future articles.
To find your next subject, consider any topics within your first article that need further explanation and would benefit the audience. Sometimes, a more detailed article explaining a simple process can be useful to link to from that main article.
Considering the subject of this article, we believe readers may benefit from links to articles like:
- How to generate hundreds of article title ideas and formulate an attractive title
- How to organize yourself for writing a long blog post
- How to Do Online Research for Your Website
- 5 Simple Tips to Blogging Better and More Frequently
- What Makes a Great Internet Marketing Training Course?
- How to Write a Better Social Media Post on Facebook
- 5 Free Social WordPress Plugins and How They Help
- How to encourage comments and interactions on your new blog
- How to manage a regular blog successfully year after year
After writing one of the above, we may link to 2-3 of the above articles, as deemed relevant. We encourage you to do the same – link to relevant articles internally – when you realize you have published articles that go well together to benefit and educate your audience.
Step #10 – Write Third Article Using Subtopic
Following the same process as for the first and second article, let’s write an in-depth article on another subtopic. After optimizing the title with a keyword and publishing, leave a few comments and share to social media.
Step #11 – Tie All Articles Together
Find phrases that directly relate to the two sub topic articles you’ve published. Link to those articles, just once. These links will be a gentle reminder to your readers that they can learn about several related topics in one place.
If your article is of good length, a guide, for example, it may lead your readers to believe it is worthwhile to return and reread the article. They may even bookmark it if it contains important information to them.
- Interlink from the main article. The main article should have links going to other internal articles.
- Internal promotion of articles. Locate opportunities to build internal links to your other blog posts.
- Internal linking serves an SEO purpose. Google’s algorithms do take account of links within your site, as well as off site, pointing to your site.
This practice may seem time consuming at first, but WordPress has a built in search feature when you select a phrase to convert it into a link.
Simply type in a keyword of the subject or the phrase you’ve selected, click the link button in the WYSIWIG editor. Then you can search for a specific blog post title or even link to a page (as shown above).
Linking to internal pages has become much easier with this feature : we encourage you to use it.
Step #12 – Repeat and Update
Repeat. Now that you have repeatedly published articles using the above mentioned optimization steps, and have learned to identify the best keywords to use for your articles, you are ready to continue publishing. Traffic will grow to your site as a result of keyword optimization, quality article titles, interlinking (both outbound links and between your posts), high quality, lengthy articles with sourced citations and some form of social media sharing.
Continue to review your writing and make updates as needed. Google’s search algorithms do take note of broken links, so you can do a check of your entire site using a free WordPress plugin like Broken Link Checker.
Update or republish with new information. Do make updates to old posts that share outdated information so that readers can make use of the most up to date information on a given subject.
There are many ways to grow traffic to your website, but you can make a greater connection to your busy visitors by optimizing your article titles with low competition keywords and answering their need effectively through a well-structured, lengthy article.
After you’ve published ten or so posts on your website, you may be able to see a slight growth in traffic…
If you do, share your progress with us! We would be happy to feature your application of the above advice as a testimonial.
Keep publishing regularly, vetting your content to reach its intended audience, helping them as best as you are able. Your readers will reward you by continuing to pay attention to your site.