It happens to the best of bloggers.
You produce stellar content that’s helpful and easy to read.
You even publish a blog post a week – or more – to prove you’re serious about blogging.
You genuinely care about your audience.
But sometimes, despite doing everything by the book, the traffic’s a dud.
That’s when the questions start – am I good enough to be doing this? Heck, does blogging even work as a legitimate business model? Am I wasting my time?
If that’s you, let me clear the air by quoting Jon Morrow, “Each and every one of us decides who we are. No, you may not be ready to be a popular blogger now, but you can become ready.”
Blogging works. We’ve seen a lot of proof around us for that. The problem is not blogging; it is doing things that don’t yield trust or traffic to your blog.
You see, a decade ago you could crank out a 300-word piece and get more content published, left, right and center. In those days, just having something published meant you could attract huge traffic. Because not many were doing it.
Gradually, the world caught up and more people started putting out better content. Longer, more in depth, more useful content. Bloggers started calling it “epic posts”.
Today, most of the world has caught up with “epic”. It’s no longer a differential point. It’s a given.
The secret to attracting more traffic is doing what others are not doing, or unwilling to do yet.
Add drama to your work
Spice things up by telling a story or starting out with a metaphor. Kevin Duncan of Be a Better Blogger uses this technique like no other. His posts open with engaging anecdotes that establish a connection with his readers right at the beginning.
Pick a topic that attracts traffic
Needless to say, if your topic is dull, you are not going to attract much traffic any time soon. Start with Google Trends, BuzzSumo and Feedly to research what’s in demand. I suggest the “three-circle strategy” to pick a topic/niche when you’re starting out.
Here’s how it works:
Draw three circles on a piece of paper. In the first circle, write down all areas you’re knowledgeable about. In the second, write what interests you. And in the third circle, pick topics from the above two circles that are in demand.
Analyze your headlines before hitting “publish”
Use a headline analyzer like CoSchedule. Once you are done writing the post, copy and paste your draft headline into the free tool. It’s super-quick and effective.
Once you punch in a headline, the tool assigns it a “Headline Score”. It also gives your headline a grade based on the overall structure, grammar and readability. The report dissects your headline into “common words”, “uncommon words”, “emotional words” and “power words”. It tells you your headline “type” (this post is a “list type”) and does a length analysis. Lastly, you get some cool tips to improve your headline, all for free and in under a few minutes.
Come up with the optimum number of posts, then stick to it
What’s the optimum number? Research shows that the more a company blogged per month, the more traffic it attracted.
On the flip side, how much is too much? One of the easiest ways to figure it out is to watch your subscriber activity closely. Are you getting many unsubscribe requests because of “too much posting” like this blogger? His quick case study will help you to find your minimum viable posting.
Start a forum on your website
An active forum will not only serve as a useful community to your readers but also attract new traffic with the help of natural longtail keywords that go into it.
To do a quick search of active and popular forums in your niche, just search for your keyword + forum. Then, all you have to do is create a free account on the best forum(s) and use your brand name as a nickname. You can start contributing as well as studying these forums before you launch your own.
Starting your own forum is easy. For WordPress, you can install the free bbPress plugin. Here is a tutorial to set up bbPress in under minutes.
Connect with bloggers who send you traffic
Monitor Backlinks is a neat tool for SEO and web marketers. It notifies you every time you gain or lose a backlink; every time your competitor gains a high-value backlink and compares ranking with your competitors. If you combine this tool with another one called SerpEmpire you will see the results pretty soon!