Website design and hosting, SEO and Digital Content Marketing
Starting a blog these days has become easy with platforms like WordPress. However once it is up and running, the next big challenge you have is to bring more traffic to your blog or website.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a marketing guru to promote your blog. You can easily increase your blog traffic to get more visitors by using some proven best practices.
In this article, we will share some of the easiest and tested tips to increase your blog traffic like an expert marketer.
Unlike other articles on growing blog traffic, we are only going to share tips that we have personally used to increase our website traffic to millions of pageviews every month.
We also have done our best to make this the most comprehensive website traffic guide, so you can have a holistic blog traffic strategy for your business.
Ready? Let’s get started.
Before you start creating content for your blog, it’s important to spend a little time understanding your target audience and what they are looking for.
You can quickly build an audience framework by answering the following questions:
Answering these questions will help you get a clearer picture of your target audience.
You can also expand on this by adding further personalized questions such as:
These audience profiles are also known as buyer personas in the eCommerce industry. If you run an online store, then we highly recommend that you check out this detailed guide on how to create a buyer persona with examples and templates.
Keyword research is a technique used by content creators and SEO experts. It helps you discover specific words and sentences that users type in Google and other search engines to find the content they are looking for.
Normally, beginners just rely on their best guesses when creating content. As you can imagine, this strategy is a hit or miss.
If you use the “best-guess” strategy, then a lot of your articles will likely not do well in search engines. Simply because no one’s looking for the keywords you have used, or there is just too much competition for those keywords.
By doing proper keyword research, you will unlock the following benefits:
Now the question is how do you actually do keyword research? Luckily, it is not as difficult as you would think.
There are a lot of free and paid tools that can help you do proper keyword research.
All you would have to do is enter a keyword, a competitors blog/website URL, or your own URL to find out more keyword ideas.
We have created a detailed guide on how to do keyword research for your WordPress blog with step by step instructions.
Once you have done the keyword research, you’ll likely come up with tons of blog post ideas.
Sometimes, the large list of keywords can overwhelm beginners to a point where they simply give up.
To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, we recommend creating an editorial calendar (a game plan). Remember, no large blog was built in a day.
It takes time and consistent effort to create a successful blog.
Creating an editorial calendar will help you create and stick to the plan.
These tools come with a powerful set of features that will help you stay on top of your game.
The goal is to organize, create a bird’s eye view of your strategy, and be more productive.
Here are some more tips on managing your editorial workflow more efficiently.
Here are some more tips on managing an editorial calendar for your blog.
The most important thing that users and search engines look for is good quality content.
For a blog, a quality piece of content is usually a comprehensive article on a specific topic that covers all the details. This makes it extremely helpful for users.
These comprehensive articles are known as “pillar articles”. Other experts may refer to them as flagship content or cornerstone articles.
Basically, these are your most important articles. You need choose the most promising keyword and then provide as much information as you could in one long-form article.
You should create as many pillar articles as possible to cover all the important keywords in your industry.
Following are some tips that you should keep in mind when creating pillar content:
We will cover more tips later in this article that will help you create high-quality pillar articles to get more traffic from search engines.
As we mentioned earlier, search engines and users love longer and comprehensive articles that provide all the information they need.
Now the problem is that humans have a short attention span.
A slight difficulty in reading or understanding will put off your users, and they will leave without looking at all the useful information that you offered.
To solve this problem before it happens, you need to make all your content easy to read.
A good place to start would be to present your article in bite-size sentences using a friendly tone and lots of visuals.
Following are just some basic tips to make your content more readable and user-friendly.
SEO is a set of best practices that help you make your website more search engine friendly. You don’t need to be an ‘SEO Guru’ to improve your website.
Contrary to popular belief, anyone can do SEO for their own websites without hiring an expert. There are plenty of SEO tools and plugins, free advice, and step by step tutorials available that you can use.
We recommend using Yoast SEO plugin for all WordPress websites. It is the most comprehensive SEO and website optimization tool. The free version includes all the SEO features that you will need on your website.
You can learn all you need to know about SEO, in our complete WordPress SEO guide for beginners. It includes step by step instructions, and it is the exact same SEO setup that we use on our own websites.
When users find your content in search results or RSS feeds, the first thing they see is your article headline.
A catchy blog post title stands out and gets more clicks. Whereas a plain and boring headline gets ignored, and users are likely to scroll by it.
This makes headlines very important.
You need to learn how to write better titles for your blog posts that capture user attention and get more clicks.
Luckily, blogging experts have been doing research on headlines for a very long time, and you can benefit from their findings.
These are the basic building blocks of an effective headline:
Copywriters use power words to trigger emotional responses. They tell users why the article is valuable or what they will get from clicking on the headline.
Lastly, a good headline includes a call to action for users which is often subtle and sometimes implied.
To learn more, we recommend you to check out these headlines that went viral and what you can learn from them.
You can also use the following free headline analyzer tools to help create better headlines:
Our team regularly uses these three tools to create better blog post titles and headlines.
Now that you have started creating good content, it is important to link to your articles from your existing blog posts. This is called internal linking, and it plays a huge role in SEO.
Here is why internal linking is so important:
We recommend making it a habit to link to your older articles from your new articles.
Because internal links play such an important role in SEO, we have even made it part of our pre-publish checklist for our writers.
A backlink is an incoming links to your content from an external website. Backlinks are one of the most influential signals in Google’s rankings.
Getting backlinks from reputable websites and blogs is very difficult. Not just for beginners, even experienced bloggers struggle with it.
Here are some tips to get quality backlinks to your website:
In step 5, we mentioned that adding images and charts to your articles make it more readable.
Since visual elements are so important, we believe they deserved their own spot on this list.
As human beings, our brain prefers visual elements. We love colors and objects because aesthetics trigger emotional responses in our brains. This makes us more engaged and immersed in our surroundings.
People love looking at infographics because they make information engaging and easy to consume.
Images in your blog posts grab user’s attention and help them focus on not just the visual element but also the text around it.
If you’re just starting out, then it’s important to know that you cannot just use any image you see on the internet. Images are protected by copyright and stealing copyrighted material can have serious consequences.
Ideally, you want to use your own images, graphics, and photographs, but not all bloggers are graphic designers or photographers.
Luckily, there are so many great resources to find royalty free images, and there are even tools that you can use to easily create your own graphics. Here are some helpful resources:
Videos are the most successful form of content on the internet. Users spend more time on blog posts containing videos than just text and images.
Adding videos to your articles in WordPress is super easy. However, you should never upload videos to WordPress because it is not optimized to stream videos.
A video hosted on your WordPress hosting server will take up too many resources, and the user experience would be terrible.
The best way to add videos to your WordPress site is by uploading them to YouTube and then embedding them in your blog posts.
This gives you even more exposure as YouTube itself is the world’s second largest search engine, and a popular social media platform.
There are many ways to easily create video content for your website. Here are few that you can start with:
For video editing, if you are using Mac, then iMovie is perfectly capable of performing basic video edits. Windows users can use free video editing software like Lightworks or Shotcut for basic editing.
User-generated content is basically any content generated on your website as a result of user activity. This includes comments, testimonials, guest posts, user reviews, and more.
User-generated content helps you bring more traffic to your website because it gives users multiple opportunities to participate and get involved.
Users are more likely to return, share, and even purchase from your website when they spend more time on it.
There are many different kinds of user-generated content that you can add. You need to choose what works best for your blog and start from there.
For more ideas, see our guide on how to use user-generated content in WordPress to grow your website.
There are a lot of great WordPress themes available on the market. The problem is that many beginners want to use a theme with all the bells and whistles. These themes are not always the perfect design for your website.
Bad website design stops your users from spending more time on your blog which decreases your pageviews.
Whereas a good design helps them discover more content, explore different sections, and spend more time.
We are often asked by users how to choose the best theme? Our answer is to always to strive for simplicity.
A simple, clean, and functional theme makes a good first impression and offers the best user experience.
If you are looking for some theme recommendations, then check out our expert-pick showcases:
In this era of instant gratification, no one wants to wait for a website to load. If your website is slow, then users will simply leave your website before it even loads.
Search engines like Google also consider website speed and page load time as one of the important ranking factors.
To make sure that your website loads fast, you need to optimize your WordPress performance. This means you need to use caching, avoid unnecessary bloat, and optimize your images.
We have prepared a step by step WordPress performance optimization guidethat will help you speed up your website without hiring a developer.
Most beginners spend too much of their time bringing new users to their website. However, more than 70% of users leaving your website will never return.
The trick to growing your blog traffic is NOT to just get new visitors, but you also need to keep existing visitors coming back.
How do you make sure that users return to your website?
You do that by asking them to subscribe to your blog.
Users can subscribe to your website’s social media profiles. However, most social networks limit your reach, and your users can only see some of your content.
This is why you need to start building your email list.
The best about your email list is that you own it. No one can limit your reach, and you get direct access to your user’s inboxes.
Email marketing is the most cost-efficient and highly effective marketing tool at your disposal.
You are losing potential subscribers each day without an email list.
For more on this topic, please read our article on why building an email list is so important.
Once you have an email list, you can send regular email newsletters to bring more visitors to your blog.
When we stress that you should build an email list, we don’t mean that you should stop building a social media following.
Quite the opposite, in fact, we want you to continue building a social media following on all the important social platforms, and even find new niche platforms that you can explore.
The problem with social media websites is that you have to regularly post content to keep your profiles active and drive traffic to your blog.
If you do that manually, then you’ll soon be spending quite a lot of time on sharing content.
If you’re like most blogs, you probably only publish one article a day, this means for the rest of the day, there is no update from you on social media.
On platforms like Twitter, your Tweet will soon disappear, and your users will probably not even see it.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could automatically share your old content at regular intervals throughout the day?
This will help you get more traffic from social media by increasing your visibility and keeping your profiles more active.
With Buffer, you will have to bulk-upload your updates manually. On the other hand, Revive Old Posts will allow you to automatically share your own old articles.
There are so many social media websites out there, but most of us spend all of our time on few top platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Obviously, you want to focus on them to drive more traffic to your blog.
However, depending on your blog’s topics you may have more success on other social platforms that are less crowded.
For example, if your blog is about building businesses, then you may find more engaged users on LinkedIn.
If you run a lifestyle or fashion blog, then Instagram may be the platform you should focus on.
You can always spend time on Quora to answer user questions which build backlinks and help increase blog traffic.
We recommend that you try spending more time on social networks other than the big two. You may find a more passionate audience and a bigger following there.
Online communities are a great source of traffic mainly because they already have engaged users who are interested in the topics that you are discussing on your blogs.
You can find smaller communities on Reddit, LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, YouTube communities, and more.
Pro Tip: Don’t just start posting links to your articles. This is called spamming and moderators will instantly block you.
You should spend some time building reputation, answering questions, joining discussions, and then only share your website if it is appropriate.
Another way to build a passionate following around your blog is by starting your own online group. You can use free platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn and invite your users to join in.
As your community grows, so will your influence. The active participants in your group will proactively help you promote your blog on their own social media profiles.
After some time, this little community can become a major source of traffic for your blog.
You may have noticed that sometimes years old answers from websites like Stack Exchange, Quora, or TripAdvisor would still outrank more established blogs in search results.
Question and Answer websites are one of the biggest online communities on the internet.
The advantage of answering questions on these platforms is that your answer will remain live for a very long time which means that it can become a regular source of traffic to your blog.
Once again, we will not recommend you to just go there for posting your links. Instead, you should write actual detailed answers with links to your blog posts only if they fit in the context.
Influencers can help you promote your blog and can significantly boost your website traffic.
However, the problem is that most influencers get tons of messages already. Since you are a new blogger, they assume you probably don’t have anything to offer them in return.
So how do you get the attention of an influencer? More importantly, how do you get them to promote your blog?
First, you need to start a conversation with them on social media.
Next, share their content with your own commentary, reply to their threads, leave comments on their blog posts.
Make sure each of your interaction adds value to their discussion.
Influencers love it when users appreciate their efforts. They will notice and remember you. Once you have established a relationship, you can approach them to give you advice.
It sounds like a lot of work, but it helps you build life-long friendships that are mutually profitable.
Human beings are social animals. We like to know about other people’s experiences as social proof and use it to make our own decisions.
You need to use this social proof on your website, on your social media profiles, in your tweets, and in emails to promote your blog.
Now you may be wondering, what if I am just starting out? How do I leverage social proof on my blog?
There are tons of ways to leverage social proof, even on a new blog.
Don’t worry if your numbers aren’t as big as other successful blogs, they are still powerful social proof.
People are asking questions all the time on social media websites like Twitter. Set up alerts to monitor keywords on social media and then jump into conversations to answer their questions with a link back to a relevant article on your website.
You can also monitor social media websites for your brand name, links, conversations, and more.
There are plenty of tools that you can use for this. Here are some of the best social media monitoring tools that can make it all easy for you.
After you have started creating content and promoting it, you need to track how well each content is performing. Furthermore, which keywords is it ranking for.
You can do this with a tool called, Google Search Console. It is a free tool provided by Google that helps you see how your website is doing in Google Search. We have a complete Google Search Console guide that will teach you how to use this immensely powerful tool, like a Pro.
Next, you would want to monitor your competitor websites. Google Search Console will not tell you who is ranking higher than you and why.
Now that you have started getting some traffic, you need to know where your users are coming from, and what they do when they are on your website. Without this data, you cannot evaluate your strategy or plan your next moves.
This is where Google Analytics comes in.
It tracks your website visitors and helps you see traffic reports, engagement, and other user activity on your website. For instructions, see our step by step tutorial on how to install Google Analytics in WordPress.
The biggest advantage of using Google Analytics is that you can see what your users are doing when they visit your website. See our article on how to use Google Analytics to track user engagement on your website.
Knowing this data helps you double down on what’s working, and stop doing what’s not.
These tips will help you increase your blog traffic and continue getting more subscribers.
However as your blog grows, you need to learn more ways to grow your business.
WPBeginner is the largest WordPress resource site. We regularly publish tutorials on online marketing and SEO. We have a YouTube Channel as well, where you can learn more about WordPress, growing your blog, and SEO.
OptinMonster Blog is another great resource that you would want to follow. OptinMonster is the best conversion optimization software on the market. Their blog is where they regularly publish articles on how to get more traffic, subscribers, and sales.
We hope these tips helped you increase your blog traffic. You may also want to see our list of most useful tools to help you further grow your blog.
We here at Spearhead Multimedia have been following Syed Balkhi for many years. His tips and traing articles are a great resource for our clients.
Google has introduced a new WordPress plugin which brings insights from Google tools to users’ dashboards.
Site Kit by Google allows users to access information in Search Console, Analytics, AdSense, and PageSpeed Insights from the WordPress admin panel.
“With Site Kit installed, WordPress users can access unified insights and Google product capabilities directly from the WordPress admin panel. Where it is helpful, Site Kit will also provide deep links into Google products for advanced reports and product configuration capabilities.”
Google will release Site Kit to beta testers in early 2019. Those who are interested in the plugin can sign up for the beta version here.
Site Kit doesn’t add any new insights that are not already available in Google’s tools, but it does make them easier to access.
For example, users can navigate to a page on their website and click on the Site Kit button in the admin panel to see stats for that specific page.
The plugin will also notify users when they’ve hit publishing milestones and show combined stats for the most recently published posts.
Google plans to expand Site Kit’s capabilities and integrations in the future based on feedback from beta testers.
SEO has gone through extensive evolutionary changes over the years, and continues to do so every day.
While most traditional marketing tactics (for the most part) still hold true in digital marketing today, SEO changes have quite drastically changed the landscape.
Most, if not all, of these changes have helped improve the web – and search, in particular.
Yet, some people still cling to the “old ways” and try to use outdated SEO practices to improve their brand’s organic search visibility and performance.
Some of the tactics worked a few years ago, but now just aren’t as effective as they used to be.
Yet many novice marketers and/or small business owners are still using these “zombie” SEO techniques (tactics that should be dead, but aren’t for some godforsaken reason).
Not only are they ineffective, but many of the 12 outdated SEO practices below are potentially dangerous to the well-being of your brand, websites, and other digital properties.
There are so many ways webmasters and “marketers” continue to misunderstand keywords’ role in general SEO initiatives, and how they should be used in the day-to-day strategy.
Let’s take a more granular look at specific types of keyword abuse and mismanagement, including irrelevant usage, writing for a specific keyword density, and keyword stuffing.
All too often, novice SEO practitioners try and fit their content and messaging within the confines of their keyword research (and not much else).
These “marketers” will shape the content and its metadata to represent keywords it’s not properly aligned with, nor the proper intent of the users conducting the searches for the high-volume keywords being targeted.
This causes brands to likely lose the attention of readers before ever having the chance to communicate a real message with them.
If the keywords marketed for don’t align with the content on the page, the disconnect will hinder the success of content even if it’s otherwise of good quality.
Don’t try to mislead users and direct them to content that is misrepresented by high-volume keywords in order for increased visibility.
Google knows what this looks like, and it can truly be defined as an obsolete SEO practice (as well as a “black hat” technique, in many instances).
Writing for a specific “keyword density,” like many keyword-focused marketing tactics, is just missing the mark.
Google no longer depends on keyword density (or the ratio of specific keyword usage to the overall page copy) to determine whether a webpage is an effective source for answering a search query.
It is so much more advanced than simply crawling for keywords; search engines like Google use a multitude of signals to determine search results.
While keywords remain important to the topics and ideas they represent, they are not the lifeline for ranking for high-value search queries.
The quality of content and how the messaging is delivered are the lifeline for that.
This is probably the oldest trick in the book.
SEO is about keywords, right?
So, loading up our webpages with keywords — especially the same high-value keyword we are aggressively targeting throughout the website — is going to help us show up higher in search, thus outranking out competition?
Search engines have, for a long time, known what keyword stuffing is and what kind of text combinations are unnatural. They notice these as attempts to manipulate search results and demote the content as such.
Yes, there may still be valuable content that uses simple keyword stuffing, either intentionally or unintentionally, that is not demoted because of its actual value to users.
Back in the day, webmasters trying to game the system would go as far as putting every keyword variation of a high-value keyword in the website footer or, even more sketchily, make those keywords the same color as the site’s background, effectively hiding them from humans but not the search engine crawlers.
Webmasters have also tried this with links. (Don’t do anything like this.)
Remember, you’re writing for humans, not search engines.
It’s important to understand that writing unnatural is, well, not natural.
And search engines know it.
The belief is: writing for the web means we should repeat a subject by its proper name every time it is mentioned, working in variations and plural/non-plural versions of the word so that “all bases are covered.”
When crawled, the crawlers see the keyword repeated, and in several different versions, thus leading the page to rank well for the keyword variations used (over and over … and over again).
This isn’t going to work anymore.
Search engines are advanced enough to understand repeated keywords, their variations, and the unfavorable experience of generally bad content.
Write for humans, not search engine crawlers or any other robot.
Any attempt to game the system doesn’t usually work out in the world of SEO.
But that doesn’t stop people from trying.
Especially when these tactics offer noticeable improvements to a brand, its website, and/or its associated digital properties.
Sure, article directories worked. And they worked pretty darn good for a long time, too.
Commonly considered one of earliest forms of digital marketing, article syndication was low-hanging fruit to those in the know. And it made sense since the idea was similar to other channels like TV and print that already use syndicated content regularly.
But Google eventually caught on, unleashing its game-changing Panda update in 2011.
Panda chewed up the search landscape, targeting content farms and directories, as well as other websites offering crap content (whether it was simply bad/false, horribly written, makes no sense, or stolen from someone else).
The idea behind article marketing doesn’t make sense in today’s world, where your high-quality content needs to be original and demonstrate expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
Typically done with software, article spinning is the black-hat tactic of trying to recreate quality content using different words, phrases, and organization.
Essentially the end result was a garbled mess of an article that made the same points as the source material.
It’s no surprise this isn’t effective anymore.
While AI is getting better all the time at creating content, anything generated by a machine is still of a lower quality than what a human can produce – something original, helpful, and of substance.
This one is still biting webmasters many years later.
Like most SEO tactics, if it seems shady, you probably shouldn’t do it.
Buying links is no different.
Once upon a time, it was routine practice to quickly pay to get a high volume of links pointing at your site.
Now we now that backlink profiles need to be maintained and optimized just like the websites we oversee, and low-quality domains with far too many backlinks pointing to a website may be dangerous to a website’s health.
Google can easily identify low-quality sites, and it will also identify when those sites are sending an abundance of links out that they shouldn’t be.
Today if you want to legitimately help boost the authority and visibility of your website, you need to earn links, not pay someone to build them manually.
Internal linking is a characteristic of any good site structure and user experience.
This is typically done with anchor text, an HTML element that allows us to tell users what type of content they can expect if they click on a link.
There are various types of anchor text (branded, naked, exact-match, website/brand name, page title and/or headline, etc.), but some have most certainly become more favorable than others, depending on the usage and situation.
In the past, using exact-match and keyword-rich anchor text were standard SEO best practices.
This goes back to the Golden Rule about producing well-constructed content that is user-friendly and natural.
If you’re optimizing for search engines and not humans, you’re likely going to fail.
Keywords have certainly gone through some drastic changes over the last five to 10 years.
Marketers used to have a plethora of keyword-level data at their fingertips, allowing us to see what works well for our brand and what doesn’t, but also to get a better understanding of idea targeting and user intent.
Much of this went to the wayside with keyword “(not provided)”.
In the years following, tools popped up that tried to replicate keyword data. But to fully recreate it correctly is simply impossible.
And yet, even with that now-stripped keyword data, marketers are required to do keyword research of their own to get an understanding of the industry, the competition, the geographic region, etc.
To do this, many marketers turn to Google’s free Keyword Planner. While the data in there has been subject to some scrutiny over the years, it’s a free Google-owned product that gives us data we previously couldn’t really come by, so many of us continue to use it (myself included).
But it’s important to remember what the data actually represents for keywords.
“Competition” in the Keyword Planner pertains solely to paid competition and traffic, thus it is practically useless to build an organic search strategy around this data.
Some alternatives to this are the Moz Keyword Explorer tool and SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool, both of which are paid tools.
Google Trends is helpful for this type of competitive analysis, too, and it’s free.
This was once a useful tactic to rank well for all the variations of high-value keywords targeted by your brand and its messaging.
The best, most-useful content around these entities should be most visible due to the value it offers users on the topic, not just one variation of the word.
Aside from the fact that this will lead to brutal site self-cannibalization, it makes a website considerably harder to use and navigate since content will be so incredibly similar.
The negative user experience alone is reason enough not to do this. But the added fact that Google knows better than to overlook this practice makes it a no-brainer.
This tactic evolved and eventually helped lead to the inception of many content farms that were targeting traffic solely for their keyword value and visibility.
This was attributed to the “old way” of optimizing a website — for keywords and search engines, rather than users and their intent.
The tactic of targeting exact-match search queries in hopes to rank for those queries solely for the traffic numbers — and not because the search query or its answer actually pertained to the business optimizing for it — became a somewhat popular practice before the full deployment of the Google Knowledge Graph.
Marketers would strive to rank in the top spot for exact-match search queries to trigger a breakout box and an increased click-through rate for their sites.
Having high-value keywords in your URL makes sense. To some extent.
But when it becomes confusing or misleading (i.e., it results in a bad user experience), you have to draw the line.
A main best practice for domains is to keep it consistent with your brand.
Brand names should be short, concise, and somewhat meaningful.
Why wouldn’t you want the same from your domain?
Google would value exact-match domains a long time ago because it made sense to use it as a signal.
The behavioral data now has helped Google make changes like this (and many others) that are common sense, clean-up moves.
Run a good company and offer great products and/or services under the brand name, and Google will do work of making your brand visible when it’s relevant to the people searching for it.
We should never try to manipulate search engine crawlers so that our website is crawled more than others because it believed new content was published or substantial site changes were made.
But, since webmasters did that in the past, the sitemap is used quite differently than what was once intended.
Previously, webmasters could give a priority number to each page of a website listed in the sitemap ranging from 0.0 to 1.0.
Since that was never quite used correctly, crawlers don’t even honor the frequency rating.
Instead, search engines just crawl the content it deems it needs to crawl
Make sure you adhere to XML Sitemap best practices. Sitemaps are an incredibly important element for every website.
Face it. There was a time in our world when crappy content could still rank well.
Oh, how times have changed.
Stolen content, thin content, keyword-stuffed content, non-credible content — there was a time when all of this could get by search engine crawlers and regurgitated back to users as worthy results.
But no more.
We know what it takes to make quality content that is rewarded by search engines because they tell us what’s right and what’s wrong.
If you want to succeed at SEO today, you must do what’s right.