The goal of any professional blog is to get people to click, read, engage and share -- in that order. Enticing them to do so can vastly increase your business visibility and drive exponential future sales. While there is no substitute for writing quality, human, dynamic content, knowing how to maximize blog traffic can make all the difference between attracting a big crowd online... or just hearing crickets.
I've worked with multiple companies as content marketer, measuring the traffic to their company's blog posts before and after I took over, and here's what I came up with: these 10 tips increased their blog traffic by at least 227 percent. Of course a specific percentage of growth can't be guaranteed, I assure you that instituting these practices into your blogging will help your business, too.
Drop me a line if you need help!
1. It's all in the title.
The title of your blog is THE most important factor in getting your blog opened. Since it's the first thing a potential reader sees, a good title catches the viewers attention, creates some controversy, plays off a common saying, mentions newsworthy keywords or names, hints at conflict, delineates action, and maybe proposes a question that the reader now wants answered. Oh, and it has to be short! Remember that it should fit well within 140 characters (for Twitter, with room for it to be retweeted and the link.)
Be clear, concise, and direct, but also propose a new angle or creative take on a topic in order for your title to get clicked. Remember that people are bombarded with choices, so choose a title that jumps out at them!
2. Add value.
A blog should have a purpose, a main directive. It could be just to entertain (I love "fluff" pieces every once and a while), provide education, tell a story, or to solve a problem. But the information should always add some sort of value to the greater Internet conversation, never just recycling exactly what's been covered before. Keep the reader in mind when writing your blog, addressing an issue, challenge, or universal experience they have. Remember to keep it super simple - blogs that try to do too much or are hard to follow don't get read or shared.
3. Shorten your website URL.
Make sure you have a short URL that's easy to spell and remember! I've made that mistake before with my website URL, NormSchriever.com. The problem was that no one on earth could spell 'Schriever' properly (including me before I've had coffee in the morning.) I suspect I lost a lot of people to Maria Shriver and Justin Beiber's websites when they were really looking for my last name. So I added the domain URL NormWrites.com, which is easy to remembered when I'm reciting it on a radio show, via social media, or yelling it at someone before I've had my coffee.
You can also shorten your long blog link to a shorter URL through TinyUrl.com, Hootsuite, etc. which makes it easier to share and retweet.
Let's do a little test. Are you more likely to read this version...
...Or this one? Use photos with every blog you write, without fail. They catch our eye, anchor our attention as we process what's in the photo (see mind mapping below) and blog links are far more likely to be clicked if they have an engaging photo. The same concept applies for sharing your work on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook to attract an audience. Remember what they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words!
5. Stamp your photos.
Subtly stamp your name, company name, website, etc. in the bottom corner of your photos. No matter where that photo appears it will serve as a mini billboard for you and your company, and help sites like Instagram and Pinterest market for you. There are plenty of cheap or free photo stamping apps that work from your laptop or phone.
6. Give something away.
Offer the readers something for free in your blog, but don't be afraid to surrender control of your content without asking for an email or any other strings attached. People are savvy. If you give people quality content that provides value, they'll reach out to you, spread the word, or come back to order more in the future. If they don't like what you have to offer, then having their email address doesn't do you any good. Give 'em the good stuff and leave 'em wanting more - the first rule of show biz.
7. Write evergreen information.
Sometimes you want to be on the cutting edge of breaking news but don't neglect writing blogs with "evergreen information" that isn't based on current events so it won't become irrelevant quickly. Blogs with evergreen information never become outdated so they can be read, shared, and grow an audience over time without limitation.
8. Post around notable dates.
Timing is everything when writing your business blogs, so keep informed of notable dates, events, and holidays. There are also plenty of whacky days (National Peanut Butter Day) and months to raise support for a cause (Breast Cancer Awareness Month.) Planning a blog around an upcoming holiday or season change (like back to school, spring cleaning, etc.) gives you plenty of time to get it posted and gain exposure with readers as the date approaches. The media also starts looking for these stories on short notice and may pick up your blog.
9. Write content rich in links and key words.
Incorporate plenty of key words into your blog, the same ones a reader might type into a search engine like Google. Mix it up with some quotes from notable people, clickable links to other articles (or blogs you've written) and mentions of famous people, organizations, companies, etc. But don't go overboard until your blog is no longer organic and easily readable -- "Do it, but don't over do it," is the general consensus of social media and SEO experts.
10. Utilize mind mapping.
Mind mapping is a concept that tracks how our eyes and then our brain views, perceives, and processes information, and assigns it context. In the field of blogging, mind mapping will help you incorporates physical cues to keep your audience engaged, like photos, headers, sub headers, bullet points, indents, and even changes in color or font. Remember that a blog of just text is less likely to be read and shared than a blog anchored by a photo and broken into clear, logical sections of information, easy for the brain to follow and process.
I hope that helps! For more good business blogging tips, check out 7 Wave Media!