Every blogger wants to increase blog traffic
For self-published authors, every blog visitor is a potential book buyer, so it is imperative to continue to take actions to increase blog traffic.
While there are many possible measures that involve a lot of site re-building and applying sophisticated SEO methods, there are some very easy ways to increase blog traffic.
These five methods work, and the best part is that you don’t have to spend a lot of time to apply them. All you need to do is understand what Google and Bing are looking for when they scan your blog.
Simply put, they are both looking for recency and valuable content but are not that keen on useless links and, well, for a better word, fluff. By this, I mean links, widgets and gadgets that do nothing by way of informing your blog visitors.
Let’s start by making five changes to your blog to make it more attractive, not only to search engines but more importantly, to readers.
1. Spring clean your blog sidebar
Look at your blog sidebar and decide which widgets you really need. A good rule is that if they don’t have the aim of keeping a reader on your site, or don’t make money, ditch them.
Image links to your books make money, and related posts potentially keep a reader on your site, but what does a list of external blog links do?
Answer. One click on your blogroll and your blog reader has disappeared to another blog!
Another reason to ditch sidebar widgets is that they are bandwidth hungry and slow your site down. Google and Bing like fast sites, so the more widgets you have the slower your site will be.
You can use GTmetrix to check your site speed for free. If your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you need to do some urgent blog spring cleaning.
2. Update your old blog posts
This is so easy, yet such an effective way to increase blog traffic.
Again, Google and Bing give huge, yes HUGE preference to new, fresh and updated content.
But what is not understood by many bloggers is that by making just a few edits or improvements to an old blog post, and then re-publishing, it will be recognised by search engines as updated, and therefore, fresh content.
Another idea is to change the image you have on your old post.
You can even change the publishing date in your blog settings before you re-publish to give your old post from 2010 more recency.
What you MUST NOT change, however, is your post title. If it is already indexed by Google and Bing, by changing your title, and therefore your URL, you will lose your existing search listing and ranking.
3. Add internal links to your blog posts
From point 2 – when you update an old post, add one or two internal links like this to your newer posts on a similar topic.
Internal links not only work brilliantly in keeping readers on your site, they are also mapping points for search engines and add more ranking weight to your indexed pages.
4. Use original images on your blog posts
It took me some time to realise the value of original images as a means to increase blog traffic, but after making the change, my search ranking and page views have increased by about 40%.
Okay, you can’t run around taking photos all day for one blog post, but you can use a free image creation service. I use Canva to create my blog images now and find it quick, easy and very effective in producing high-quality original images.
I am gradually updating my old post images with Canva, but if you take a look at my recent posts, you will see the new images that only took me a few minutes each to create.
Again, search engines give much higher preference to original images, so by copying (or stealing) images from Google Images, your site will suffer in terms of indexing and page ranking.
While I’m on images, don’t forget to use your image properties and add a title, which should be different from your post title, and also add an alt title.
Both of these are great tools for Google Image search and will help a little in gaining more visitors.
5. Identify your keywords, and use them
You are probably already using great keywords, but perhaps you don’t know how to identify or use them.
Generally, keywords are either adjective-noun or imperative verb-adjective-noun.
Prepositions, auxiliaries, pronouns and alike are not keywords. For example, a blog title such as, I want to tell you how to buy cheap shoes, contains three keywords. They are, buy cheap shoes.
If you have a blog post with a title, I just wrote a book about Caribbean pirates; then Caribbean pirates are the only two keywords.
Once you identify your keywords, all you need to do is use them, (exactly) four or five times in your blog post. Your keywords must be in your blog post title, in the first sentence, or paragraph at least, and then spread evenly through the text.
Keywords tell search engines exactly what your blog post is about by repeating them a few times, and makes it easier to index and rank.
If you read through this article again, you will notice that my keywords are, increase blog traffic, so you should be able to check how many times I have used the exact phrase.
Once you have cleaned out your sidebar, the last four tips I have listed take very little time to implement, and can be used on an ongoing basis for your new blog posts or to give new life to your existing posts and increase blog traffic.
The extra few minutes spent on improving an old post, or making sure a new post is highly indexable can only help in attracting new readers to your blog.