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I hit a big milestone on my old travel blog, Where’s Sharon, a few years ago – I hit…
Regular readers will know that this did not come easy. I have worked hard on this blog. I have not, however, worked directly on increasing page views as such. My focus has been firmly on monetisation since June 2014 and that’s across ALL of my sites.
One of the benefits of a solid monetisation strategy and starting a blog from a solid foundation is that page views that should increase on their own.
Early in my blogging journey, I published an article about the strategy I used to increase page views from 0 to 12,000 in 3 months. This was in response to a discussion in a blogging group about how such quick growth was not possible. It quickly became one of my most popular articles.
This article will address how I took that site to the next level – from 12,000 to 100,000 in another 18 months – although I think that if I knew then what I know now, I could have made that jump within 6 months.
15 months later, I made it all the way to 500,000 page views.
Updated Feb 2017 and Nov 2019: I originally wrote this article when I hit 100,000 page views. I updated this article from 100,000 to 500,000 page views when I hit this milestone in 2017 and again in late 2019 to include the extra knowledge I have after building up many other blogs. However, the advice is exactly the same as it was when I hit 100,000
You will learn...
- My secret weapon for increasing page views
- How to increase traffic to your blog: Marketing plans
- What are my marketing plans to increase blog traffic?
- How do I chose which marketing plan for which blog post?
- What are some of the pitfalls which may prevent success?
- Final thoughts
Even though this article is specifically about my old travel blog, the tips here apply across all blogs and sites and niches that have content the owners wish to market (and if you don’t wish to market them, why produce the content?).
I have built successful sites in many niches including travel, lifestyle, working online and parenting. The principles are the same. Regardless of your niche, these guidelines that I’m sharing again today will help you with how to increase blog traffic.
1. My secret weapon for increasing page views
You can see how my site grew from October 2013 when I relaunched my site in WordPress and went from an online journal with 0 page views to a far more professional travel blog.
And yes. The basic strategies that I employed in 2013-2014 are still working for me today. That’s because they were and still are solid and effective strategies that, to this day, increase traffic to my blogs.
I can take you through the different stages of what I did then and do now. I can explain what effect it had, etc, but I think the most interesting things to talk about is how I took the site from those beginning stages – where I left off in my 12,000 page views article – and took it to over 100,000 with continuous growth, even when I was not working on this site at all.
This is a strategy that I employ on all my sites. Regardless of the niche.
My big secret…
Have a marketing plan for every single blog post
This may seem obvious, and if you already do this, yay! You are on to a good thing.
However, I’m willing to bet the majority of bloggers out there do not.
Every time I hear the mostly pointless advice of it all being about writing quality content, I just want to barf.
What does it matter how quality your content is if no one reads it?
I am not saying you shouldn’t write quality content, of course, you should. You should also be doing a lot more than that and you should have a plan of how to get traffic to your blog before you even start writing.
You should always know for each post who the audience is for that post (your target audience) and how you will get readers to your blog post.
I didn’t always do this. I managed to get to over 20,000 page views without thinking about it much at all. However, I would not have made it to my current level without it.
2. How to increase traffic to your blog: Marketing plans
- After the initial promotion on social media, who do you want to see this post?
- What is the best way to ensure this audience will see this post?
- How will you make it happen?
You do not have to write down your responses or have a written plan. You just need to make smart decisions based on these questions.
If you do your best to ensure that the right people will see your post on an ongoing basis then you will always have traffic on your blog.
Not only this, but your traffic will increase overall as you add new content. Instead of seeing little bursts when you add a new post, you should just see a continuous upward trend. Increasing blog traffic in this way is a sustainable, long-term plan that will deliver growth to your site.
3. What are my marketing plans to increase blog traffic?
It is very very very very rare that I write any post any more for any site without a purpose. I don’t have the time. The purpose involves money to some degree or sponsored travel in the cases where we want an experience we can’t afford.
I will admit that sometimes the purpose is quite thin – like I find it hard not to write about a destination we loved even if I don’t see it making much money from commissions because not enough people plan to go there. But I acknowledge this and think through whether I can really afford the time on this.
I rarely write more than two articles a week as otherwise, I spend too much time writing instead of marketing. I even think that writing two a week is spending too much time writing and often write less. It is much more productive when monetising to spend the time working out how to increase page views.
I have three ways I market articles. These strategies are not mutually exclusive. Most articles are marketed in at least two of these ways and some have all three. However, every article has a main way that I plan to market it and how I hope it will gain an ongoing audience.
3.1. SEO – Good Solid Keyword Research
Google search traffic is an excellent way to gain an ongoing audience for your articles. Good solid keyword research is my favourite way to increase traffic on blog posts. SEO is, in fact, my number one way to answer the question “How do I get more readers for my blog?”
In addition to good keywords, your site needs to have good authority (think about link building) and quality, long articles.
You can read more about how I find keywords in this article.
I cannot recommend enough being strategic about how you pick keywords. Use my favourite tool in the universe, KeySearch, and pick keywords your articles can rank for.
If you look at my page views above, you can see how my growth was quite small during most of 2014 and then it took off again. In December 2014 is when I started getting smart about using many keywords in articles and my page views really took off after that. This is also why I was confident that my page views would continue to grow. 200,000, I knew would not be far away!
3.2. SEO – Relevancy
If there is one thing that has become apparent in 2019 that Google sees as an important search indicator its relevancy. It is no longer enough that you produce a well-researched article that contains all the keywords to rank in SERPs. Your content AND site need to be relevant in 2019. So that means that your entire article needs to be relevant. Your supporting content (i.e. other posts) need to be relevant. Any inbound links need to be relevant. Any outbound links need to be relevant.
It’s all about authority and not just you proving that you have authority in your niche, but that the rest of the world sees you as authoritative as well.
I wrote an in-depth article on the importance of relevancy especially when you want to increase pageviews – you can read it here.
Want to learn more about SEO?
Join my free SEO Boot Camp – How To Get Crazy Amounts Of Blog Traffic And Watch Your Income Soar.
In this 60 minute training, I’ll teach you all the basics of SEO – like finding and using keywords and how to write the best quality articles to improve your search rankings and get maximum traffic to your blog while making money!
I LOVE Pinterest. It is so different from the other forms of social media like Twitter and Facebook. In fact, I would say it is closer to google search as it is basically a search engine – but one that uses images.
Pinterest is an excellent way to market articles. My most popular pin in Pinterest continues to draw over 4,000 page views a month 19 months after I first published it. Can you imagine that happening in Twitter? It wouldn’t.
Having a smart Pinterest strategy is an excellent way to grow your blog traffic. You can copy my Pinterest strategy here.
3.4. Email subscribers
If you are not putting effort into collecting email subscribers, START RIGHT NOW!!!
If you have attracted people to your site via SEO, Pinterest or other methods then why wouldn’t you want to ensure they keep coming back.
Subscribers are gold. They chose to follow you after all. This article is not about collecting them. You can read my articles about picking an email marketing service and how to increase email subscribers for that.
After you have started collecting your subscribers, set up an autoresponder series.
The majority of bloggers just send out their latest posts and I think this is a mistake. This is because it means that new subscribers will never see that awesome content that you produced in the past that could be just perfect for them.
I send subscribers through an automated series of emails that send out every 1-2 weeks. Regardless of my niche, it sends subscribers to key posts on my websites. This is another great way to keep growing page views on old content and earn affiliate commissions as well.
Not only that but I have found subscribers are far more engaged with a series of emails like this than a newsletter which just discusses what you are writing about now. Whenever bloggers discuss their open rates, mine tend to be far higher than people who send out the traditional newsletter of the latest posts.
I do not find this surprising as:
- I only try to get readers to subscribe who are my ideal audience rather than just targeting everyone or running competitions where people have to sign up to enter. See my strategy here.
- My autoresponders are about more general topics than many of my most recent posts. I make this part of my strategy for EACH of my sites. This REALLY works for me so I replicate the strategy across each different niche.
You are not going to find an email marketing service with a free autoresponder series. This will cost although it is minimal when you are starting out.
I recommend GetResponse unless you have a complex sales funnel – which is when my current solution ActiveCampaign really fits the bill. Read my full comparison of ActiveCampaign vs MailChimp vs Aweber vs GetResponse vs Mad Mimi here and make up your own mind.
3.5 Segmentation and Focus on Emails to Improve Blog Traffic
The wider your niche the more important it is to focus and segment when it comes to marketing to your email base. You will ALWAYS have more success and drive more page views to your blog if you are marketing content to readers who are interested in it, than if you’re just using a scattergun approach to throw lots of content out in email and HOPE someone reads it.
You WILL see great open rates if you segment and focus your email content. You WILL see greater click through rates. And of course, you will, therefore, increase blog pageviews.
4. How do I choose which marketing plan for which blog post?
For each of my sites, this depends on the topic.
For US and Caribbean travel content, Pinterest continues to just knock them out of the park. I find that I used to struggle to rank in Google for keywords for US and Caribbean destinations and the pins for these places just perform so well in Pinterest that I didn’t put as much effort into SEO.
For other destinations, sites and niches I have the opposite approach. If they don’t perform as well in Pinterest and I find it easier to rank in Google so I put a lot MORE effort than usual into keyword research.
For more general, travel planning type articles and for my destination site blog, Dive into Malaysia, I think about what could be most useful to my email subscriber list.
What will work best for you very much depends on your site, your topics and your audience. Work out where is the best place to find your target audience and market your articles there. Identifying where your traffic is coming from for a particular post or category is key. You can use this in working out the most effective way of how to increase traffic to your blog posts.
Just remember that you don’t just want to market them once, you want to ensure that you keep marketing your content to its target audience.
If you don’t have all the answers right now, don’t worry. You probably won’t. It takes time.
What you want to start doing now is planning how you will market your articles even if you don’t know the right answer. You can then learn from what works and doesn’t work and improve your process for next time.
5. What are some of the pitfalls which may prevent success?
My biggest frustration when other bloggers talk to me about how I am “lucky” to be making decent money when they are not is when I see them putting no real thought into how they will market their content.
All bloggers are short of time. If you don’t have the time at the moment to have a marketing plan then cut back on other activities.
For example, write fewer blog posts.
It is much smarter to write fewer blog posts, but do a better job of marketing them, than write many and have no one read them after the first week.
The other big pitfall is sponsored articles and whether that’s a sponsored post or a review, like sponsored travel. The articles that need to be produced from these activities do not always lend themselves to good marketing and is one of many reasons why I would recommend bloggers looking to make their blog into a business be careful about what they take on in this area.
Be sure that ANY activity is really worth your time.
6. Final thoughts on How to Get More Blog Traffic
This was, an amazing milestone to hit. And looking back and using what I learned and what I now use for all articles on all my sites it STILL reminds me that the time and effort put in is well worth it.
I am STILL careful not to chase page views for the sake of page views. And my constant reminder of this is that page views don’t necessarily correlate to my business goals. So when you consider what YOUR business and blog goals are, ask yourself if page views are the goal or whether its actually something else that you’re aiming for.
I hope this article has given you some clarity on how to increase blog traffic for free and around how you can take your own blog forward and that you have the key elements of how to get more page views. Be strategic and think about how you can reach your ideal readers and improve blog traffic at the same time! Good luck!
Want some help with getting traffic? Join my FREE SEO Boot Camp by clicking here now.
Read how to make more money from blogging here or other tips for how to gain readers here. You can also read my list of ways to gain more traffic and make more money from your existing posts here.
Want help to meet your blogging goals? Want to share your views on how to get more blog views? Join my FREE Facebook group here.
What marketing strategies do you use for your content?
Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. If you make a purchase after clicking on these links then I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These are all products I use and love and I feel confident will help you as well. Thanks!