Building a successful blog can be extremely difficult. There’s just so much competition out there. In a month, over 80 million blog posts are published on the WordPress platform alone, not to mention Tumblr, Joomla, Blogger, etc. Every time you publish a blog post, you are competing with these millions of posts.
It takes more than just writing good stuff (although that’s part of it). The only way to get more traffic to your blog is if you follow a strategy that beats other posts on social media and search engines, and converts maximum traffic into leads.
So what can you do to stand out from these competitors and ensure your posts get the most traffic? And how can you convert maximum traffic into subscribers and leads? I’ve got three steps that are proven successful when it comes to growth hacking a blog.
Writing Posts That Increase Blog Traffic
The amount of traffic a blog gets will be highly reliant on the quality of the blog posts. In addition, the key to creating blog posts that stand out from the millions of others published daily is to follow a different writing strategy than traditional blogs use.
The writing strategy most dedicated blogs follow is to publish short posts around 500 words, several times a week. Many recommend publishing them three to five times a week. But I recommend bloggers eliminate this strategy and focus on quality first, rather than quantity.
Instead of writing and publishing several blog posts every week, switch it up to one longer post and see if you get a better response. For example, if you publish four, 500-word posts a week, switch to posting only one long, 2,000-word post. If you have the time and resources, publish 2,000+ word posts several times a week, but each post should be of high quality. The point is that quality should trump quantity. And in most cases, longer posts tend to include the detail a piece needs to fully flesh out a topic.
Studies have shown that longer posts get more blog traffic from search engines and social media.
Posts that are around an average of 1,890 words appear in the first page of Google.
And those that are over 3,000 words get the highest shares. This helps posts get more traffic.
But don’t just write a long blog post for the sake of getting more blog traffic. Every inch of it should be filled with quality content. Just rambling along with irrelevant filler words will ruin the quality of the post and fewer people will link to it or share it. All the hard work you put in will go to waste.
Here are a few tips for writing quality long content:
Give detailed and actionable advice: When offering tips in your post, be as actionable as possible by including case studies and examples of others doing it right. Adding statistics also helps, as they make your posts more credible.
Add images: Use images to complement your text. These can be in the form of screenshots, graphs and stock images.
Think about your audience: Always keep your audience in mind while writing the post. They need to find your post useful. If you add too much boring filler content, you will immediately realize it.
Hire an editor: If you are finding it hard to stay succinct, you can hire an editor to give you a hand.
Choosing a meaty topic to write on can also make it easy to write a long article with negligible filler words.
Writing posts this long is something Neil does on a consistent basis. Here is another post on “How to Start a Blog,” which is thousands of words long as well. Neil is able to write long posts of the highest quality because he writes about topics where there is a lot to cover.
Following this strategy can be time consuming, but it helps Neil standout from the competition. There aren’t many bloggers who constantly churn out posts that are several thousands of words long.
How to Get Traffic to Your Blog With Backlinks and Shares
More Backlinks = Higher Google Position
People won’t automatically start linking to your posts or share them just because they are longer. You need a promotion strategy in place to at least give them that initial push. Building links and getting shares should be part of this promotion strategy.
Here are a few things you can do to get more backlinks and shares:
Reach Out to Influencers:
If you want to learn how to get traffic to your blog, the most straightforward method to get backlinks and shares is to directly reach out to influencers and ask them to link to your post or share it.
You can find the right influencers to contact by using Buzzsumo. All you need to do is search keywords relevant to the post you are promoting and Buzzsumo will display a list of posts on that topic that got the most shares.
You can then click on “View Sharers” to see who has shared the posts. “View Backlinks” will show you the blogs that have linked to them.
Next, begin contacting these influencers and inform them about your post and ask if they would be interested in linking to it and/or sharing it.
You can contact these people directly through social media or email. I find email to be more effective, as you can write more detailed and personable messages. Most of these influencers will have websites where they will display email addresses or contact forms to reach them through.
Start your email by letting the person know that you like the content they share and the posts they publish. You can be more authentic by reading a few of their posts and offering very specific praise. After that, you can let them know about the post you published and politely ask them for a share or link.
If you don’t find an email address, you can contact them directly via social media.
People will be more likely to link to your content or share it if they know you and like your work. The above blog traffic strategy of directly reaching out to them and asking them to share will work better if the influencers already know you, since they are likely constantly bombarded with similar requests from others. This means if you want to get top bloggers to share your work and link to your posts, you need to be constantly building relations with them.
The easiest way to start a good relationship with any blogger is to write a guest post. A company that has had immense success with guest posts is Buffer. Leo Widrich, co-founder of Buffer, wrote 150 guest posts in nine months, which helped the company gain 100,000 users. When people try out guest blogging, they often only think of backlinks, instead of looking at the bigger picture of building relationships with bloggers.
Building these genuine relationships will lead to more shares and backlinks, which can be valuable to your business and help you get traffic to your blog.
You can find blogs to guest post on in any niche by doing a simple Google search that includes the niche you want to guest post on, followed by the word “guest post.”
For example, if you wanted to guest post on the topic of interior design, you should look up the phrase “interior design guest post.” This will show you results of contributor guidelines pages of interior design blogs that accept guest posts, and posts from guest authors on blogs. Read the contributor guidelines of the blogs and email the owner or editor.
In your email, compliment the blog owner/editor on their work. Read some of their posts and offer valuable feedback to make a solid impression. After that, tell them a bit about yourself and inform them that you want to write for their blog. Also include samples of blog posts on your blog and other blogs.
Start with small blogs first to build up your portfolio and then move onto contacting bigger ones. Soon you will have built a relationship with several bloggers.
Other similar phrases that can help you find guest posts through Google are “interior design guest posting guidelines” and “blogs on interior design that accept guest posts.” Just replace “interior design” with your subject.
Another way to build relationships is by just linking to other sites first. You can take the extra step to inform the bloggers that you liked their work and linked to it. Hopefully they will return the favor and link back to your content in the future.
Note: Don’t link to others with the sole intention of gaining backlinks. Do this because you want to link to their stuff. Don’t get disappointed that someone didn’t link back to you, and make it a habit to only link to content you like.
Interviewing people on your podcast is another effective technique that can help build strong bonds.
Brainstorm scores of other ways to build relationships with influencers. It all begins with helping people out. Take a look at what you have to offer and think of ways you can use your skills to make the lives of influencers better.
Most of us prefer looking at infographics instead of text posts, since 65% of us are visual learners. This is why several businesses are investing in creating infographics. If you create a beautiful infographic and follow a strong promotion strategy, you should be able to gain plenty of backlinks and shares too.
KISSmetrics was able to get 2,512,596 visitors, 41,142 backlinks, 41,359 tweets and 20,859 Facebook likes with just 47 infographics.
I have found that combining long form posts with infographics to be a very effective technique in getting blog posts to perform well. The long form post handles the content part of the SEO and the infographic gets the backlinks. An example is a post I wrote on becoming a social media manager. I wrote a 5,000 word post, but I knew competition would be immense to get it to rank, so I drew an infographic that summarizes the post. It helped me easily build backlinks and got my post to move up the search engine positions.
You can quickly create infographics by using tools like Venngage.
Converting Blog Traffic to Leads
Every stellar blogging strategy has a solid lead capturing method attached. When you convert more of your traffic into subscribers, you have more people to promote your content to, thereby helping you gain even more traffic in the future.
There is already plenty of information on using optin forms like sliders, popups, and landing pages to get more subscribers. So today I am going to cover two techniques you might have not heard of before—quizzes and content upgrades.
Quizzes are a very effective way to get more people to download your lead magnets and to convert to subscribers. In this method, blog visitors are encouraged to take part in a quiz where they are asked a few questions in succession.
At the end of the quiz, the quiz tool automatically analyzes their answers and provides a report they can download for free by offering their email address in exchange.
Conversion rates for these quizzes are extremely high. Brianna Brenner, for example, was able to increase the conversion rate of her blog by 233% by using a quiz. This is because people who take part in quizzes are provided with a very relevant report they need.
A great example of a quiz is the one on Ramit Sethi’s website I Will Teach You to be Rich website. It is situated right at the top. Visit the website and try the quiz for yourself now.
As you go through the quiz you will realize that you are subtly being asked about your financial status, if you are a freelancer or an employee, if you want to start an online business or continue with your job and get a raise, etc.
Once you finish the quiz, you are prompted to download the free report in exchange for your name and email address. This is how you convert the quiz respondents to subscribers.
Another benefit of this quiz is that it helps Ramit Sethi segment his subscribers into different email lists early on in the funnel itself. People who are interested in finding a better job or getting a raise are in one list, while those who are interested in starting an online business are in another. This way Ramit can send more targeted emails to his subscribers, which reduces unsubscriptions and increases conversions.
I recommend trying out the quiz yourself, as it will give you plenty of ideas of questions to ask and lead magnets to give away for the answers.
Use Content Upgrades
A content upgrade is a lead magnet you create exclusively for one blog post. They convert extremely well, as they are highly relevant to the posts that promote them. An example can be seen in this case study from Devesh Kanhal. Here Devesh offered a Rising Early Checklist as a content upgrade for a post on Rising Early and it increased the conversion rate by 785%.
You should definitely give content upgrades a go. Like Devesh, you can start by going through your Google Analytics and creating simple checklists for your top performing posts and offer them as content upgrades on the post itself. You can also give away other content upgrades like videos, email courses, templates, etc. to see which ones perform best.
I give away an email course on how to get clients, along with a pdf version of the post as content upgrades on my aforementioned post on “How to Become a Social Media Manager.” Both see very high conversion rates, because they are so relevant to what people are reading. People who are interested in becoming social media managers also want to learn how to get clients. The post is also over 5,000 words long. Many people would prefer downloading and reading an ebook version later instead of spending time reading it on the blog right away.
To download the content upgrade, people need to click on a button that I have placed in several locations throughout the post. When they click, a popup appears where they can submit their email address to sign up for it.
Try out content upgrades and you will be astonished by the extremely high conversion rates.
Get More Traffic To Your Blog
Follow these steps, and you will growth hack your blog and begin to stand out from the millions of posts published every day. Keep in mind, it’s an ongoing process, but consider this a toolkit that will take your blog out of anonymity and build up a loyal audience at a much faster rate.
Start out by switching to publishing long posts that are over 2,000 words instead of the traditional 500-word posts. After you publish them, spend even more time promoting them for backlinks and shares. Finally, optimize your current lead generation strategy with quizzes and content upgrades to get even more leads.
What other steps are you taking to growth hack your blog? Which of the above techniques have worked best for you? Let me know in the comments below.