Last Updated on 5th February 2020 by Sophie Nadeau
In the beginning, increasing your blog traffic can seem like a Sisyphean task: it can feel as if no amount of effort you spend creating pins, learning about SEO, and all the rest will ever be enough. However, growing your blog audience and traffic is totally possible if you do it the right way. Here’s a quick step by step 12 point guide on how to increase your blog traffic…
Take your blog seriously
When I first started my blog, I didn’t tell anyone but my mum! As a result, no one even knew the website existed and so no one knew to go and read it. I think I maybe had 3 readers in that first week! Looking back, that’s probably a good thing because bullet points aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing blog layout.
However, the easiest way to get readers for your blog is to tell people you already know and get them to read it. Share your blog on your existing social channels and tell everyone in your social circles that you’ve launched your new site. And if you want to up your professional game that bit more? Go old school and create business cards.
Don’t compromise quality for a few extra dollars!
Although your ultimate goal may be to make money from your travel blog, you should never compromise your integrity (or quality) in exchange for a small sum of money. Before starting your blog, it’s worth detailing the boundaries you’ll set for your business and brand.
This can be anything from which businesses you would not want to work with, what kind of compensation you believe your work is worth (Social Blue Book is a great place to start!), to the nitty-gritty behind the scenes. For me, this includes never selling do-follow links on my blog. There are no exceptions to this rule!
Taking your blog seriously also means investing in it. In the beginning, I wanted to spend as little money as possible. This was a mistake, Instead, investing in things like a theme, plugins, and a good host and hosting will make all the difference for your user experience. For me, this also meant purchasing a camera to suit all my photography needs. I currently use the Sony A7iii with the 24-70 mm lens.
Have quality writing!
If there’s one tip I could give you that might help grow your blog traffic more than any other, it would be to focus on well written content. After all, no matter how good your ideas or imagery is, if something is too hard to read, then readers will inevitably click away, and thus losing you valuable traffic! Here are some top travel writing tips, as told by a full-time travel writer!
Post on a regular basis
The number one tip I could give for increasing your blog traffic is to post on a regular basis. Now, obviously, posting at least once a day is pretty much impossible in the beginning when you’re not used to creating blog content. Instead, aim to post at least three times a week or your new found readers may start to forget about you!
Plus, the more you write, the more your writing ability should improve! There will be a period where no one is reading your blog and you’re going to have to motivate yourself to write anyway. Here are my very best tips for how to carry on writing when no one is reading your blog.
Stop watching TV. Instead, read other blogs, other material and well, everything!
If you speak to anyone who writes seriously, they’ll tell you that they never stop reading. They read other people’s work in their field, they read fiction, they read non-fiction, they read anything and everything that they can get their hands on.
I personally recommend purchasing Lonely Planet’s guide, ‘How to be a Travel Writer‘ for some tips, tricks, and introductory writing techniques. Encompassing interviews by other bloggers, the book includes how to pitch yourself, SEO strategies, and the like.
Stephen King –aka one of the World’s best horror writer– said to become good writers, people should stop watching TV and instead read as much as possible as TV is “poisonous to creativity”. Plus, if you’re studying/ working and writing a blog seriously simultaneously, then it’s unlikely that you’ll have much time to catch up on your favourite shows!
Keep a notebook with you at all times…
… or, at the very least, your phone! I always get ideas for new blog posts at the most inconvenient times, in the shower, walking the dog- you get the idea! Make sure to keep a notebook (or your phone notes) on you all the time so that you can write down all of your best ideas.
When wandering around a town or attraction I know I’ll be writing about later on my blog, I note down notes as I go along, and even often plan the post in situ, so as to reduce writing time at a later date. If you’re taking a press trip, then bringing along a notebook as opposed to an electronic device can look more professional.
Improve your blog layout
I’ll be honest with you here: go for a ‘premium theme’ straight from the start. The WordPress free themes are good, but they’re not great. And we’re looking to build something great here, right? Investing in a premium theme for your blog will ensure that the coding is lightweight and make your site speed load time a lot faster.
Theme Forest and Etsy are both great places to start shopping for a theme. Seen a blog layout you like and want it for yourself? If the website is built on WordPress and doesn’t have too much customisation, then you can check whatwpthemeisthat.com
Improve your site speed
In the first three months of this blog, I had a couple of hundred visitors a month. Now, I can get that many in a day. In the beginning, more traffic bounced and I lost plenty of potential return readers through having such slow site speed. I wanted to save money by paying less for hosting but it ended up in a lose-lose situation.
Be honest with yourself, when was the last time you waited 30 seconds for a page load? With competition for pretty much any ‘niche’ fierce, then it’s obviously going to be a no! If you’re just starting out then you might consider setting up hosting with Siteground.
Today, I use Performance Foundry. And while it costs quite a bit more than other hosting providers, they look after my site on a daily basis and are always on hand to implement small changes. I also email on a regular basis with small questions and am often answered in a prompt manner.
Guest Post & Network everywhere…
The easiest way to get your name out there is by finding your ideal audience. What this often means is guest posting or finding a regular contributor slot within another blog in your niche. Not quite sure what your blogging niche is yet?
Try not to worry too much! Instead, post about the things you’re interested in and this selection of hobbies will naturally form a niche. When it comes to networking, attend conferences and reach out to other bloggers in your niche. If you’re a female lifestyle blogger, then feel free to join my blogging group!
Learn to utilise Pinterest Effectively
In the beginning, I used Pinterest all wrong. You see, the problem was that I looked at it like just another social media platform. However, Pinterest is much more than that. It’s actually a search engine, where having clear images, bold text, and SEO optimised text. To create pins, I use Canva.
Don’t be afraid of SEO!
This is something that most bloggers shy away from in the beginning. However, once I began implementing various SEO techniques to my blog, my traffic soon began to grow. Now, I receive tens of thousands of readers from search engines each month. I now offer consulting services for Pinterest & SEO. For more information, email me [firstname.lastname@example.org].
Stop using Instagram to promote your blog!
This one may seem counterintuitive, but using Instagram to promote your blog is a horrible idea. Don’t get me wrong, it’s easily my favourite social media network, but it’s also not the place to look for blog readers. Instagram is the place where you can define your Instagram niche, build your brand and add some personality to your online persona.
Not only is promoting your blog through Instagram a lot of work, but there is only one hyperlink per profile. Now again, be honest with yourself, when was the last time you clicked on the link of someone’s bio when they told you to? I thought so…
Have a monetisation plan
Though there’s truth to the fact that you need to carve a niche and focus on what you’re passionate about, if your ultimate goal is to grow a passive income (though it’s fine if your goal is for blogging to be a creative outlet), then you’ll need to come up with an income plan from day one.
What this means includes implementing affiliate links (such as ShareASale, Booking.com, Amazon, etc), cultivating contacts for press trips and sponsored posts, and growing your traffic so as to add ads at a later date. For more information, check out this post on how to become a full-time blogger.
Start learning to brush off criticism
The way I see it, your blog can’t be everything to everyone. And that’s okay!