You've started a blog, but now what? If you're wondering how to get traffic to your new blog, you've come to the right place. We are going to talk about the building blocks needed for your blog to get traffic. These building blocks are imperative: you can't build a house with wood and no nails. Likewise, you can't build a high-traffic blog with great images but crap content, or great content and no images.
How to Get Traffic to a New Blog
The main purpose of this post is to help new bloggers establish procedures and habits that will set them up for long term success. There's no such thing as fast traffic, unless it's paid (great way to get your blog blacklisted from Google) or a post goes viral (usually via Pinterest or Facebook).
You can use these tips to increase your chance of posts going viral, but that's not what we are counting on here. We are counting on solid content, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and amazing images (I get mine for free from unsplash). This post will walk you through step by step how to accomplish all of the things you need to set your new blog up for massive traffic.
Content is King
I heard this phrase – content is King – way back in, oh I don't know, maybe 2009 or so. At that moment, I knew I was going to be great at blogging. Content creation is my favorite thing in the world! I'd love to write content and not have to worry about images, video, social media, etc.
Content is my passion. Because of this, I have had higher traffic than some other bloggers who have been blogging the same amount of time. Even though I didn't know jack about SEO, even though I didn't do video when everyone was saying to do video, I hit 500K pageviews (and more!) every month with just one of my blogs.
Which Topics Are Best for Blog Traffic?
The topic(s) you're passionate about are going to be the best topics for hella blog traffic. There is a niche for everything!
What you write about is almost as important as how you write it. Use Grammarly for proofreading before you publish ANY blog post.
If you're passionate about a topic, you'll be able to write longer, more thorough posts with less effort. For example, I have half a dozen blogs. One is a lifestyle/mommy blog that I'm not really that passionate about. It takes me twice as long to write a 500 word post for that blog as it does to write a 2,000 word post for this blog. Blogging and teaching about hustling are my passions, so it is easier to write about. It's a more effective use of my time and I make more money because of that.
How to SEO Blog Posts
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is an important part of any traffic plan – especially for new blogs.
SEO Best Practices
- Keyword rich headline/title.
- Stay on niche, writing about topics in clusters.
- Interlink your related posts.
- Link out to high-authority sites.
- 1000+ words.
- Alt text in images.
- Categories and Tags
- Featured Image
How to Write the Best Headlines
The best headlines are the ones that get clicked! Your headline, also called a blog post title or heading, should include your keyword phrase (preferably towards the beginning of the title), and should be intriguing enough to get someone to click through.
Let's use this post as an example: How to Get Traffic to a New Blog.
I could have named it 17 Tips for Better Blog Traffic, or 8 Ways to Improve Your Blog Traffic, or a number of other things. However, my target audience with this post is those who have just started a new blog. I looked on Keysearch and the difficulty for this topic is pretty high, so I just named the post what I felt like naming it LOL. That is not how you're going to do things. 😉 We have an SEO course coming soon. Hang tight.
By adding keywords like this, you're optimizing your posts for people who will be searching for this exact topic.
Topic Clusters for SEO
Whether you call them clusters or silos, the easiest way to optimize your site for search engines is to write about a specific topic or topics and only those topic(s). Stay on niche! I have built successful “lifestyle” blogs covering half a dozen topics or so, but it took me ten times longer than it should have to make my first six figures because I was all over the place. Let's talk about an example of writing in clusters.
If you have a blog about dogs, here are some post ideas:
- Best Dog Collars for Large Dogs
- How to Teach Your Dog Basic Commands
- 7 Tips for Teaching Your Dog to Swim
You wouldn't write a blog post about cats on your blog about dogs, right? It's pretty obvious that cats wouldn't fit your niche. It's the same with any other niche. If you're writing about recipes, you wouldn't add in posts about potty training your dog. Stay on topic and you will make more money!
Looking for blog post ideas? We have 1000+ blog post ideas to use.
Interlinking posts is an integral part of optimizing your posts for search engines. When you link to other posts on your blog, you also lower your bounce rate, keeping readers on your blog for a longer period of time.
Say I want to link to my post, how to name your blog. I'd highlight the anchor text (“how to name your blog”) and click the link button (next to the “I”).
Then, copy your link into the box. Hit the arrow down button, and click the toggle that says “open in new tab”. Then, click the enter arrow (the one that is pointing left towards the URL).
If you need to make a link no-follow (for affiliate links), you'll need to edit in the HTML side of the WordPress editor. Click “Edit as HTML”.
Once you're in the HTML side, change the highlighted area to make it say “nofollow”. Don't change anything else, simply replace the text inside the quotes with nofollow. Then, click the 3 dots at the top left and choose “Edit Visually” to go back to editing in the visual side.
Pro tip: You should link to at least one or two of your other blog posts in every post you write.
How to Find High Authority Sites to Link To
Another easy SEO tip is to link to high-authority domains to increase your niche authority. You can check a website's domain authority by using Small SEO Tools (it's free).
Enter the URL and you'll get a result showing the domain authority, page authority, and more. The higher the domain authority number, the better.
If you're writing about anxiety, link to a site like Healthline (domain authority 89). Healthline is well known and trusted in the mental health community and can add authority to your blog post. Don't link to spammy sites, as this can hurt your chance of ranking on the front page of Google.
Best Word Count for Blog Posts
I always tell people my blog posts are 1,000 words at a bare minimum. Some bloggers don't agree with this practice, and that's okay. If you don't like writing, coming up with 1,000 words is going to be tough at first! Writing 1,000 words does not mean writing fluff just to reach a certain word count.
The reason I like 1,000+ word posts is because they're thorough. Chances are, there are several subheadings used, they're easy to scan, and they answer questions I had about the topic when I landed on the blog post.
If you're having a difficult time coming up with 1,000 words for a blog post, head to Google and search for your keyword phrase. Answer any questions you see in the boxes below the top search result. If you open one question, even more will pop up.
Use these questions as subheadings – either using the question itself (“What is the best running app for beginngers?”) or by using it as a title (“Best Running App for Beginners”). Answering questions shows people you're an authority in your niche.
How to Add Alt Text to Images
Alternate text, also called alt text, is a text description that is added to the HTML tag for an image. If your image cannot be displayed for some reason, the alt text is shown instead. You can also see the alt text when you mouse over the image.
Also, if a person with visual impairments is using a screen reader on your site, they will be read your alt tag to get a better understanding of what's in your post. If your image is named “IMG923423.jpg” that isn't helpful at all. Naming it “best platform for blogging” will let them know it's a screenshot of what you are (hopefully) going to describe underneath the image.
If you're using Gutenberg (which you should be!), this is how you add alt text.
Your permalink, or your entire URL, needs to reflect your keyword phrase. Whatever your blog post title is, your reader should be able to tell by looking at the permalink.
Permalinks are easy to set up. In your WordPress dashboard, look in the lefthand column and click “Settings”. Then, click “Permalinks”. You'll see settings that look like the image above. My personal preference is to use the post name option.
Another option is to use the Numeric setting, but change the numbers to the post name as you write each post. “Archives” would be replaced with the category your post is in, and that's good for SEO. I prefer the shortest blog links possible, so I use post names only. You can see this on every blog I own. I like to keep them uniform. 🙂
I know some bloggers who keep the dates in their posts, but I've never done that because my posts are evergreen and nobody needs to know when they were written. If I see a post that was written in 2016, I'm going to think it's less relevant in 2019. So much changes from year to year, it's better to keep your posts updated as things change – but nobody will know the post is new and updated if the permalink says it's from 2012.
Note: Do NOT change your permalinks if you already have dates in them, unless you have Yoast Premium, which will correct all the redirects.
Best Practices for Categories and Tags
How to Set Your Featured Image in Gutenberg
The featured image in your blog post is the one that will be shared via social media. Thankfully, setting your featured image in Gutenberg is super easy!
On the right side of your Editor in WordPress, you will see “Document” and “Block” up at the top. Click “Document”. Towards the bottom, you should see a dashed box that says “Set featured image”.
Click “Upload”, choose your image, and before setting the featured image, fill in your alt text and title boxes with your keyword phrase or blog post title.
Call to Action and Opt-Ins
Every blog post should have a clear, concise call to action. If you have too many things going on in your post, your readers won't know what you want them to do. If they don't know what to do, they will just exit the page. Don't tell them to go buy a unicorn floatie, and then tell them to download your checklist about growing herbs, and then tell them to share the post about kittens. Have one goal for each post, and make sure your content leads them directly to that goal.
Generally speaking, your goal should be to grow your email list. Be sure to collect emails in every single post. It's not enough to simply place an opt-in form at the bottom of your post. Give your readers a reason to join.
The purpose of most of my posts is to get new readers to join my email list. To do this, I offer content upgrades, also called opt-ins. My goal is to have a free download in every post. Whether it's a checklist or an ebook, or a free course, I always want to keep my readers engaged. My worst fear is to have someone land on a post and never come back to my blog! I don't want that. I want loyal readers who will use my advice to make lots of money.
Checklist for Every Post Before Hitting “Publish”
Go through these downloadable sheets before hitting publish on each blog post. At first, you may use this checklist every time. As time goes on, you'll be able to cover everything without using it. 🙂
How to Use Social Media for Blog Traffic
The goal is to make SEO one of your largest traffic sources overall, but it's going to take 6 months or more (in most cases) to see decent numbers from Google. Who has 6 months to wait for traffic?! Not me! So in the meantime, let's set up social media and start getting traffic that way.
How to Increase Pinterest Traffic
Pinterest can be your best and fastest source of traffic with a new blog, in most situations. There may be some obscure topic that doesn't do well on Pinterest, but out of all of the blogs I've owned and worked on, Pinterest has always been one of the 3 traffic sources.
How to Get Facebook Traffic
Ah, Facebook. Fan pages can translate to huge traffic, but so can Facebook groups. I choose to focus on groups because I like the personal interaction and loyalty they create. I started a group for my low carb blog and it had more than 500 members within 2 weeks! The group gets more interaction than my fan pages with thousands of followers.
Don't count fan pages out, as they can be great, but groups take less work in my opinion and I prefer them if I only have time to do one or the other.
link to in depth facebook group post
How to Use Other Social Media for Traffic
I don't have much experience with social media outside of Pinterest and Facebook, with the exception of reddit.
Reddit has gotten me tens of thousands of pageviews, but for all the wrong reasons LOL. Sometimes my parenting posts get shared there and people lose their mind over us not talking at the dinner table, or me feeding my kids 20 calorie noodles, and the trolls come in droves to tell me how they want me to die.
One of my low calorie recipe posts got 25,000+ pageviews from reddit. The comments were pretty rough, but I just laughed my way all the way to the bank. 25,000 pageviews is a few hundred bucks, at minimum. Yes, please come tell me how horrible of a person I am, while paying my bills.
You can use reddit and other forums for blog traffic, but there's an art to it. I recommend focusing on Pinterest and growing your Facebook group before worrying about the rest.
Are all links working? Use the Preview mode to make sure all of your links are working and opening in new tabs.
How to Monetize Every Blog Post
Include a link from Shareasale or Amazon in every post, but don't just add them as an after thought. When outlining your blog post, make sure there is at least one subheading that leads your readers to an affiliate link. Whether you're talking about how amazing your InstantPot is, or the best potty training pads for dogs, write a paragraph or two with affiliate link(s) included.
link to in depth post about monetizing/affiliate marketing
What's Next? Take action!
Here is a free downloadable checklist outlining exactly what you need to do with each blog post. Below is a pinnable image (please pin it to help other new bloggers!). Click HERE to be taken to the page where you can download it as a PDF to your computer or Google Drive.