7 Easy Things You Can Do Right Now to Get More Blog Traffic

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This article is excerpted from Chuck’s book, Create Your Writer Platform.

GIVEAWAY: Chuck is giving away a copy of his book, Create Your Writer Platform, to a random commenter. Comment within two weeks to enter! (Must live in US or Canada to win.) (Update: Williesha won!)

So you’ve been blogging for a while, you post on a regular schedule for a budding readership, and you’re sharing valuable content. Now what?

Once you have an established blog with consistent posts, it’s time to examine how to get maximum impact from your site. Make the most of the eyeballs that land on your blog to draw attention to your work. After all, the goal of blogging is to showcase your writing abilities and other services, right?

Here are seven easy ways to make sure each of your posts gets as much exposure as possible.

1. Don’t let readers get away easily

Have links at the end of each post for related reading. If someone is reading your latest post called “How to Price Your Watercolor Paintings,” they obviously have some interest in the subject matter, so guide them to related content on your site to collect more page views.

At the end of each post, point out and link to past posts on similar subject matter. The goal is to have a visitor bounce from post to post, ping-ponging around your site. The longer they stay and look around, the more they get to your know you, your ideas, your thoughts and your brand.

Remember that it’s very tough to attract new readers. When one stops by, entice them to stay as long as possible.

2. Go back and optimize old posts

When you’re several months in and are starting to get the hang of what works for your blog, you’re going to notice how messy and poor your old posts are. When you have blogging downtime, look through past posts and improve them.

If there’s no image, add one. If there are no links at the end, include some. If you think a column could be even better with a simple sidebar, add it. There’s a good chance that your current posts have a newer, more visually pleasing format. Make sure to alter older posts to match this improved layout.

3. While you’re at it, straight up recycle old posts

It’s likely that some of your early blog writing is excellent, but virtually no eyes saw it because your site had little traffic. So feel free to recycle and reuse that content.

One option is to repost the content at the top of your blog again. I’ve done this several times and called it a new series named “Blast From the Past.” You could also tweak an older column into a guest post for another site.

Quick note from Chuck: I am now taking on clients as a freelance editor. If your query or synopsis or manuscript needs a look from a professional, please consider my editing services. Thanks!

4. Make your most popular posts easy to access

If it’s possible and you have some impressive posts to share, think about listing your “greatest hits” down the side of your blog. That way, any new visitors can easily move through your best content and quickly see you’re an expert with great information.

5. Invite quality guest content

Why do you have to be the only one writing for your blog? Other writers who don’t have a blog of their own are looking for places to share their thoughts. Accept their quality posts with pleasure. It’s free content! You get to run it with hardly any work on your part, rather than composing another column of your own from scratch.

Try to find a few recurring guest contributors who can consistently provide you with quality columns to run. The more content you have on the site, whether by you or others, the more you’ll turn up in Google search results and draw people to you.

6. Speaking of Google, do yourself a huge favor and learn about SEO

Go to Google right now and search for something — anything. Google will display the top 10 search results on the first page. But do you ever wonder why Google displays these 10 first rather than any of the thousands or millions of other results?

The reason is called SEO: search engine optimization. Search engines such as Google are looking for different things when they report search results back to you. SEO is a vast topic, and plenty of it can get technical if you really want to dig deep, but here are three quick tips to getting more page views through search engines:

a) Make sure you have a clear, straightforward headline rather than something generic or a pun. If your post is all about how to change a tire, simply call it “How to Change a Tire.” After all, isn’t that exactly what people will search for when they need help? If you title your post with a pun (“Tired Days Are Here Again!”), it’s no surprise that people won’t find it in a search. Consider which of these following two titles will get more hits: “Meet Mollie the Agent,” or “Literary Agent Interview: Mollie Glick of Foundry Literary.” Obviously the second one is a better choice because it contains more key terms people will use in their searches.

b) Use keywords in your title, subheads and text. If people want to attend a writing event, imagine what they will search for when using Google: “writing conference,” “writing event,” “writing retreat,” “writer’s conference,” etc. The terms are all similar yet slightly different, so try to use as many as you can in your text. That way, Google will see you’re using a variety of relevant terms and process that your post is likely of value, moving it up in the results.

c) Add images to your post. While they make a post look more pleasing to the eye, they also help with SEO.  For example, in a post on how to change a tire, titling the images How-to-Change-a-tire.jpg and Changing-a-tire-fast.jpg, adds more elements and words for Google to scan when it incorporates you into its results.

7. Use numbers, subheads and bullet points

Yes, you want your post to have great writing and provide value. But how you present said good material matters, too. People will have a greater impulsive desire to read your writing if you make it visually pleasing and present information in bite-sized, easy-to-process chunks.

A quick, obvious tip is to use numbers. Everyone loves posts with numbers, such as “The 10 Best Quarterbacks of All Time” or “44 Crazy Facts About Disneyland.” If your post doesn’t have numbers, break up the text using subheads and bullet points to give people different places that they can jump to around the column. If your post is just one big block of text, then a reader who becomes disinterested will have no choice but to leave your site.

Let us know in the comments: How do you help more readers see your blog posts?

Don’t forget to comment to be in the running for Chuck’s book giveaway! You could win a free copy of his latest book, Create Your Writer Platform(Update: Williesha won!)

Other TWL Guest Posts by Chuck Sambuchino:

  1. How Successful Authors Use Social Media to Sell More Books
  2. The One Big Reason Some Blogs Succeed, While Others Crash and Burn
  3. When Can You Call Yourself A Writer?
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Chuck Sambuchino is a staffer at Writer’s Digest Books, best-selling humor book author, and freelance query/synopsis editor. He is the editor of the Guide to Literary Agents and the au... .

Writer's Digest | @chucksambuchino

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Comments

  1. Great tips!

    Regarding images and SEO…

    Don’t forget to optimize the ALT Text (70 characters) — start with a call to action. For example, if you’re writing a post about How to Change a Tire, your ALT Text could be something like, Learn How to Change a Tire from CK Automotive.

    The same applies to the Meta Description — start with a call to action (Learn, Discover, Find Out, etc.). You may consider including your company name in the description (Learn how to change a tire from CK Automotive…). You may want to stay under 150 characters. However, I know some bloggers/writers who write Meta Descriptions over 150 characters, but under 250 characters.

  2. Great information! I am very new to blogging and am trying to learn as much as possible to increase my audience. Informational posts such as this one are a huge help! Thanks for sharing!!!

  3. I like the notion of polishing up old posts.

    How do you feel about posts being undated, in general? I’ve seen blogs where there are no dates on the posts at all. Does that approach keep the content more fresh?

    • Samantha says:

      Kathryn, my preference is to date posts as they appear. If I later re-post an article, I state “Originally posted on…”, with some text or lead in explaining why it is relevant now, or needs repeating. If it strikes a chord with the reader, they can search back and see what was going on at the time, and possibly glean MORE information they need. And I definitely like Chuck’s suggestion to clean up and refresh your old articles. I certainly need to work on that!!

    • Good question, Kathryn! I’d love to hear other readers’ thoughts on whether undated posts feel fresher or seem strange.

      Heather
      TWL Assistant Editor

      • Great post, Chuck! I have been blogging for several months now, and this post is particularly relevant for me, because I feel like I haven’t yet gained the readership that I would like to have.

        As to your question, Heather, I often wonder, on blogs without dated posts, whether any of the information has been updated recently, or if it’s even still relevant at all. I’d rather see a date of two months ago (or two years!) than no date at all, because at least I know when it was new and relevant.

        Just my two cents. YMMV.

  4. Will *Definitely* refresh/update old posts. Awesome idea!

    I am in several blogging groups, where I share my posts. Since I only post monthly (or up to twice a month) it’s not spammy for them.

  5. Kayla L says:

    Great ideas! I’m always glad to find worthwhile content that really helps me get my blog where it needs to be. I think it’s important to be updating and optimizing at all times, keeping up with the technology and ideas of the day, and these tips will certainly keep me on the ball!

  6. After reading this, I went back in time to my first few blog posts. WOWZA, they need help. Thanks for these great tips!

  7. This was very helpful. Thank you!

  8. Mariecor says:

    Wonderful article — just pinned it onto Pinterest! And also started following @ChuckSambuchino on Twitter! Thanks!

  9. As always … excellent strategies. Thanks. It’s good to know the early posts sent to “Mom only” can be reposted.

    • For sure, Deb — though since your goal is to optimize them and bring them up to the same level as your newer posts, you might want to consider how else you could add value. For example, if the post shares your perspective from within a struggle, perhaps you could add a section explaining how you feel having managed to overcome the challenge. Best of luck!

      Heather
      TWL Assistant Editor

  10. Thank you for these practical tips, Chuck! Several are things I know I need to do. Such a need for balance in this writing-blogging-social media gig. Thanks for the encouragement to keep at it!

  11. Thanks for the simple, straightforward post. My blog has been in limbo for a few months. You’ve inspired me to get back in the swing and get serious about generating traffic.

  12. Good advice here. I have begun to redraft older posts just this week, so was happy to see it listed here.
    Thank you

  13. I had a good blog traffic until I renamed my blog and changed its web address. I didn’t think it would affect the number of views that much! Something to consider when you have a lot of posts people might be linking to. I like the idea of revamping old posts. This might help get my blog back on track.

  14. Chuck,

    This is a great post! We spend a great deal of time on our posts, so it’s great to be reminded (or shown) how to improve our visibility. Your strategies can all be implemented pretty easily and I’ll be sure to put them into practice and share with my audience.

    Thank you!
    Justine

  15. These are great ideas, Chuck. I love how easy you made this. I will definitely be optimizing and reusing old content once my blog gets. Great SEO tips, too!

  16. Shakespeare said brevity was the soul of wit, and I’m beginning to think he was on to something. Short, easily digestible chunks of information are essential! But as a long-winded person, I find this a tricky mandate to execute. I suppose that many writers instinctively equate a longer piece with a higher value and a shorter piece with lesser value … IE, if it’s long and it took me a long time to write, it must be of higher quality than that little one-off essay I wrote before breakfast yesterday and sent into the blogosphere without so much as a second thought. I am consistently surprised by which of my posts garner the most conversation and attention, but it’s becoming clear that my long, babbling opuses stand far less a chance of going viral. How sad! How fascinating! Maybe we writers need to put on our “reader” hats more often when we are considering how to hold the interest of our audience. Less art, more craft! Shakespeare would be proud.

  17. Great post! I liked the tip about naming your image to match the article. Ways I drive traffic are:

    1. I promote old blogs through my social media
    2. Create blog posts as a series. ie. My self-publishing journey. Gets people to tune in for the next post.

  18. Thanks for the great information. My blog is new, so I will have to keep these tips in mind. Definitely going in the Reference folder for future reading, too.

  19. I’ve been re-reading this post every few days; taking your points a little at a time & making improvements & tweaks. There’s so much information here, and all of it is really useful! Thanks!

  20. My critique group just revamped our group blog. http://www.7evildwarves.com this post couldn’t have come at a better time for us. Thanks Chuck.

  21. Great useful tips! I like the idea of recycling early posts that maybe no eyes saw. Off to consider which ones now.

  22. Thanks for this great post! I love the suggestions. I’ve been blogging sporadically for awhile, but really want to get down to business. My traffic is pretty good on some posts while nil on others. These suggestions will help a lot.

  23. This post gives me several things to think about: I have been embedding links in my posts as words or phrases – do you think placing them at the end is easier for readers to use?

    I am also curious about another phenomenon I see: I’ve read advice that says you should follow someone else’s blog to get followers – and I’ve seen “about” pages with long strings of comments that says “thanks for following my blog”. But I wonder if any such followers actually read/care about the blog (?) It seems hokey to me.

    Thanks for the advice.

    • I think embedding the links is a good practice, Kate.

      I’m a bit confused by your second question, though — do you mean the idea of following anyone who follows your blog?

      Heather
      TWL Assistant Editor

  24. Lanice James says:

    Greetings,
    Great article. I will be bookmarking this post for when I launch my blog soon.
    Thanks

  25. Whoa! you mean I can “optimize” and re-use old posts? I never thought about that. Hmmmm. I love that idea. Thank you.

  26. I’m a romance author, so trying to lure readers in “how-to” posts isn’t going to work, but I do try to have new content every day, and I invite other authors to provide content five days out of a given week. It makes my work easier, but also encourages all our readers to discover new authors. I’ll think about that SEO tip and try to figure out better headers for my own posts that will make my blogs more discoverable. Thanks!

  27. Brilliant! I’ve been toying with the idea of blogging. These are wonderful tips to help me start up in the right way. Can’t wait to get my hands on your latest book. I’m sure your insight will prove invaluable. Thanks for sharing!

  28. Thank You, much needed info. I’ve been thinking about blogging.

  29. These are some great tips. I happened across this post while looking for ways to improve my own blog. Thanks for sharing!

  30. Very helpful article. I had read that having images is important. I never thought to name the images with key words. Great tip, thank you.

  31. Thanks so much for inspiring me to perk up my older posts. I plan to drag out the guest posts I did for a virtual book tour last year and post them on my blog. Makes an easy post so I can enjoy more fun during this great summer.

  32. Thanks for great tips on blogging WELL. However, as a true neophyte (never blogged or set up a website), technical tips or resources for such would be greatly appreciated.

  33. Raymond Mason` says:

    Great blog. I have always loved to write, my problem is motivation. A friend of mine where I work has had several books published by Liquid Silver, I keep asking her to give me some of her motivation.

  34. Thank you for great tips. I hadn’t thought of titling my images to improve SEO. Plus all the others!

  35. Good article. One thing it doesn’t touch on is frequency. To generate a regular following, I’m assuming quality of content is more important than frequency of posts. But have you found a cadence that works? Once a day, once a week . . .

    • Good question, Ben! That might be something best left up to each individual, depending on their niche and their audience. Some bloggers love putting out lots of short posts, sometimes a few each day, while others publish massive posts weekly or even less frequently. If you’re in a niche like finance or travel, where short-lived promotions pop up often, you might consider the former, and if you’re posting updates on your novel’s progress, you might publish less often.

      Finding a balance that works for you and your readers will take some trial and error, but it’s all part of the fun!

      Best of luck,
      Heather
      TWL Assistant Editor

  36. Great ideas! I’ve been wanting to start my own website (for YEARS) and these ideas will help!

  37. Steve Hooley says:

    Great post. Some very good ideas I had not heard before. As a beginner, this is very helpful. I plan to read your other posts. Jodie Renner, over at The Kill Zone, told me about your post. Thanks!

  38. Anne Davison says:

    Thanks so much for all the information. While it’s all important, I especially like:

    #1. Guiding new readers, who have landed on our blogs, to other posts of interest is a great way to welcome them~~it’s an invitation to stay awhile. When I land on a blog that grabs my attention, I love bouncing around!

    and #2. Thank you, for this one! I tend to be a perfectionist, and this takes the pressure off to have everything just right (from the beginning). It makes sense that our blogs will get better over time; so yes, we can go back and bring the old posts up to date to match our new & improved vision.

    I’m in the group of readers here who are getting ready to launch a blog. While we all continue to educate ourselves on the how-to(s), let’s remember that all our little ducklings will only line up in a row, when we just “go.” Good luck to us all & thanks to Chuck for helping us get there.

  39. Loretta Carlson says:

    Thank you, thank you. I am sorry to say I have not been blogging for a while. I have never blogged. But I am just setting up a website and plan to include a blog. Your helpful, encouraging suggestions came at just the right time to keep me moving forward. I especially like the ideas for headlines and key words. Did I say thank you?

  40. Great ideas… I sometimes forget to use good titles for posts.

  41. Very good post. If you haven’t read Create Your Writer’s Platform, it’s chock full of excellent advice like this…

  42. Inviting guest posts would add a new dimension to this blog and encourage readers to share their persepctive as well. Thanks for the 7 Tips, Chuck.

  43. Excellent tips. I had gotten away from the numbered posts, but they are always quite popular. Thanks for the reminder. Also, the SEO information was very useful. Great article.

  44. I’ve just started blogging about my writing and your tips will definitely change my style. After 30+ years of writing creative fiction as a professional Realtor, I am finding that being a writer is equally complex. I will be watching your entries now and learning all I can to improve my chances of one day being published. Thank you so much for all your great advice. SEO is different from what I learned as a Realtor, but the key word part seems to remain similar. Now if I can just figure out my platform! :)

  45. Fantastic post! I’m working to put every tip to use somehow on my blogs.

    Quick question: Chuck mentions including images in posts. I’d like to be able to do that, but I’m leery about copyright issues, and I’m not a photographer. (Besides, really, what are you going to post a picture of if you’re writing about writing? A pencil?) Where can I find pictures to add to my blog posts? Is there a trade program somewhere where I use someone’s photos and give them byline credit, and they credit my blog on their site to get me traffic? How do I byline the photos to keep everybody happy in terms of copyright issues? Do I need to ask permission for every photo I might ever use?

    Assistance welcome — thanks!

  46. I haven’t blogged in a long time – it gradually became too tedious, likely in part because I was unaware of a few of the points brought up by Chuck… *specifically* that business about SEO! Thanks for the inspiration to get up and running again with my blog!

  47. Great article. You have given me some really easy ideas to improve my blog, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they improve the look and feel of it.

    I have a question….when readers comment does that help with optimization?

  48. Bonnie Dawson says:

    I am not a blogger yet, but intend to launch this fall after my rewrite of my memoir. I looked to my daughter who is a digital media editor and oversees blogs in her company for tricks of the trade. She gave me a great book on SEO’s, and a couple of treasures to keep in mind. Her first piece of advice was do not launch until you are really ready to dedicate time and attention and have clearly researched format and set up of your site. Losing traffic if you make a change can be a huge loss. I keep a folder during my revision and rewrite process of starts for future blogs that I will one day elaborate on that are relative to my brand. Yet the best piece of advice she told me was the largest searched item are recipes. If ever you can link your blog to a recipe, seize that day! Fortunately, my second book takes place at a resort I once owned in Montana where I was the chef at the lakefront restaurant. Perfect fit for me.

  49. Great information! I didn’t realize that what I title my picture files on my computer would transfer to a Google search. I recently started going through older posts to clean them up and supply links to them. Obviously, I’m still learning, so thank you for the helpful information.

  50. I love happening upon your words of wisdom!
    I have always been reluctant to rewrite old pieces. However, you’ve now given me “permission” to improve and update old posts.
    This ought to keep me busy all weekend!
    I’ve been adding links to direct traffic around my site, but now I will go back and add links to old posts that point to newer ones.
    Great tips, Chuck!
    Thanks,
    Ellen

  51. Excellent post! Such common sense things we, as bloggers, sometimes forget. Will be printing it and using it as a checklist for the future so I never forget what works.

    Armand Rosamilia

  52. It’s good to know it is not cheating to recycle old blogs! Thanks

  53. Heather, in its Layout section, the Blogger blog platform has an “Add a gadget” small gray mailbox emblem that I have installed to appear with each of my nightly posts in my blog, A 1961-65 Park College Diary. Clicking on it enables a reader to send the post to a friend and provides space to add a message.

  54. Fab article! The writer in me loves the ‘Tired days are here again’ title. Great to be reminded that it may not achieve what you intend. Imagine doing a Google search to get help for chronic fatigue syndrome and you end up learning how to change a tire!

  55. I can see this working for a lot of blogs. I looked at it to see if I could adapt any ideas to my site, but most of these would have little to no effect for me… seeing as my ‘blog’ happens to be a webcomic. SEO has already had little effect (as even searching its title alone has it near the top of the page, SEO really does not have much effect on webcomics unless people are searching for the title specifically), and images are already the focus of it.

  56. Great post. Will be using these tips for sure. Thanks!

  57. Rebecca J. says:

    Thank you so much for posting such excellent advice. I am not new to blogging, but I am new to honing in on the audience trafficing.I am going to look all of these tips over again and do some blog “decorating.” It never hurts to freshen things up a bit and to reuse ‘n recycle our previous works. If I were to win this book, I can guarantee it will be put to good use :) Thanks again!

  58. Christine says:

    Thanks for sharing these. Great tips!

  59. Thank you for the interesting blogging ideas — I hadn’t read any of these before, and they seem simple enough to implement.

    Yvonne

Trackbacks

  1. […] 7 Easy Things You Can Do Right Now to Get More Blog Traffic from The Write Life: So you’ve been blogging for a while, you post on a regular schedule for a budding readership, and you’re sharing valuable content. Now what? Once you have an established blog with consistent posts, it’s time to examine how to get maximum impact from your site. Make the most of the eyeballs that land on your blog to draw attention to your work. After all, the goal of blogging is to showcase your writing abilities and other services, right? Here are seven easy ways to make sure each of your posts gets as much exposure as possible. […]

  2. […] old posts, inviting quality guest content, and strategic formatting as just three of “7 Easy Things You Can Do Right Now to Get More Blog Traffic” for The Write […]

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