10 Ways to Boost your Blogs Success (especially if you’re a beginner)
If you're a beginner blogger who's stuck in a rut, then this might be the best blog post you've ever read. Arrogance aside, I've written hundreds of blog posts before and I personally know the struggle of typing thousands of words with less than a total thousands monthly visitors.
It's frustrating! Well, I'm going to give you some simple (and advanced) tips to jumpstart and supercharge the success of your blog.
Follow these tips to increase your chances of owning and growing a successful blog in less than 6 months!
1) Post more often
The worst thing a blogger can do is stop posting. Did you know 80% of people who set up a blog only post 1 article. Some of them don't even publish it.
Many people ask the infamous question "How often should I publish a blog post?". Well, the answer is you should publish as often as possible, as long as your content is quality and to the best of your ability.
Brian Dean from Backlinko achieved over 1,000,000 yearly visitors with only 32 blog posts. This is absolutely astounding, but let's imagine if he doubled those blog posts.
That doesn't mean you can do it too. In fact, you can greatly increase your chances of raching 1,000,000 visitors by posting more often. Neil Patel thinks that how often you post should be decided by your reason of posting. He states finding your business goals with content marketing are the most important deciding factors of how often to post.
If you're growing a new blog like I am (and have done so many times in the past) it's best practice to post 2-3 quality blog posts per week. Another major factor is word count, which is something I'll explain in the next step.
3 blog posts per week puts you at over 150 articles at the end of a year. This is about the amount of content it would take to go from a "niche" to an "authority" website. I've written an article on how to find a great blogging niche if you're curious.
I find it completely achievable to aim for 3 quality blog posts per week, which average to around 7000 total words. Anyone can sit down for an hour and write 1000 words per week, along with some research and formatting.
Bottom line: The more blog posts you write, the more lines you'll have in the water to score organic traffic. The key is writing quality content as often as possible.
2) Write more words
According to a study by Neil Patel (can't you tell I love him?), the more words an article contains... the more likely it is to be shared.
In my own personal experience, I've noticed all of my top-ranking articles have at least 2,000 words. I've also noticed if I go back to old posts and add ~500 words, the article ranks higher within the next week.
Back in the day, Google used to love content that was short. As long as it had backlinks pointing to it, and was keyword dense, you could rank almost any article with at least 250 words on the first page.
Now, Google is smarter. They take into account things like dwell time, bounce rate, the quality of the backlinks AND love long-form content. In fact, it's almost a requirement to write at least 1000 words to rank for a keyword now-a-days.
Adding more words to your post can be as easy as just adding some examples. Another way to add more words to your blog post is to find questions that readers would ask after reading your post... and then answering them. For example; if a reader finished this article and asks "Well, how can I start a blog", I would either write a 500-section answering his question, or link him to another post... or BOTH!
Don't focus on your word count, but focus on the quality. By adding more quality, answering more questions, or making your point more clear... you should also add more words.
3) Increase the Curiosity-Factor of Headline
The title of your article shouldn't only be SEO friendly (which means making it accurately), it should also be human-friendly. By this I mean to create a headline that really pulls a reader to click on it.
You want someone searching for your page to see the headline and literally stop their scrolling. Check out the difference between these four headlines:
- Get more traffic
- How to get more traffic to your blog
- 8 ways to get more traffic to your blog
- 8 secret keys to increasing traffic to your blog (They work within 3 days)
Which one would you click on? I would click on the last one, and knowing a little bit about psychology, I'd guess you would too.
Here are some simple ways to increase the click-through rates of your headlines:
- Use numbers
- Use emotion-driven words
- Polarize the title
- Be Unique
- Be Specific
- Get the meat in before 65 characters
- Don't force the keyword
Use numbers. Our brain is wired to love lists, so use this to your advantage. Including numbers should also increase your dwell time because nobody wants to leave in the middle of reading a list (unless your content really sucks).
Use emotion-driven words. People buy with emotion, and they justify with logic. If they're searching for answer, their emotions will compel them to click quicker than their logic. "How to make a girl hopelessly fall in love with you" will most likely do better than "Make a girl like to you" simply because the pull of being in love has a more emotional attachment than being attractive.
Polarize the title. If you can add a "hate" or "love" factor to polarize your audience, you'll most likely get more clicks from both parties. For example, instead of "How to increase traffic to your blog", try "Things I hate about most blogging gurus".
Be Unique. Nobody wants to click on your link when it has almost the exact same title as 4 other search results. Be unique and try to stand out! This is one of the most important rules of copywriting: people love novel and strange things. In other words, the more you can stand out, usually the higher chance of your link getting a click.
Be Specifc. One simple way of doing this is to include dates. For example, if your guide to making money online only works in March of 2018, then add "(March 2018 version)" to the title. I suggest changing it each month to ensure it continues working!
Get the meat in before 65 characters. Google usually cuts off your title after the 65th character, so a title like "How to really increase the quality of your blog (even if you haven't ever blogged before) [April 2018 version]" will not show the entire title.
Don't force the Keyword. As SWEOR mentioned in their article about increasing CTRs of your search engine rankings, forcing a keyword can be a priority if you're focusing on SEO, but if blinds you to alternative titles that could work even better. Usually, titles are for humans, and you should focus your SEO efforts on the content and URL.
How to track click-through rates on Webmaster Tools
Did you know you can actually track your keyword click-through rates using advanced Google technology? No, really!
Take a look at my results from a blog of mine:
You can even sort by page - giving you an idea of what titles work and what suck. In my experience, if you use the guidelines I've mentioned above, you'll always see better click-through rates. If you're looking for ways to increase your blogging success, tracking your keywords and their click-through rates will definitely help and give you inspiration.
Another cool trick you can do with Google Webmaster Tools is to find all the keywords someone found your page with. Maybe your readers aren't finding your content the way you think they are.
4) Only start guest posting after you have 30 blog posts
So many bloggers and SEO consultants recommend new writers to create guest-posts for other, more established blogs. Their thinking is... unless you have backlinks from other high-quality sources, your blog won't ever rank.
This is horribly false, and I don't even recommend writing guest posts until you have at least 30 pages of your own content. Why?
You can't grow your blog if you're always writing for someone else.
Some bloggers even preach "Don't ever guest post" because every word writing for someone else is one less word from your own blog. I do disagree with this... Guest blogging has it's place.
The truth is, when you create enough quality content on your own website, you'll become an authority. With the authority status, you have much more leverage reaching out to other blogs and asking to create content for them.
Owning a YouTube channel with 1,500,000 subscribers makes it really easy to ask for a guest post or create a collaboration video.
5) Load your pages faster
I recommend using GTMetrix to test your site speed. You can look at the waterfall data to find out what takes the longest. Look at mine:
Sometimes its a plugin. Sometimes its your web host. Sometimes its just the massive amount of images on a page.
For example, if you look back up to mine, the longest loading part is simply my web host returning data about my domain name. The only way to improve that is to get better hosting; usually by paying more.
Anything under 2.5 seconds for a fully-functional page with content is really good. If you're under 5 seconds, there are most likely some quick fixes to make it load quicker. If your page takes more than 5 seconds to load... you might want to make it a priority to fix your site speed (because Google will lower your rankings).
6) A better, more clear theme
Ever been on a blog where you can't even find the navigation? Your readers have an emotional attachment to your blog and if it's super messy, they won't want to come back. Would you even be proud of owning this blog?
Also, distracting images all over the website can reduce user dwell time. Take a look at this theme and see if you can find the main content:
Granted, that is a homepage, but if it contained a message - it was hard to find!
Note on themes: I recommend picking a theme in the first 3 days of starting your blog... and then not touching your theme for the next 6 months. Why?
Because I had a friend who spent more time setting up and perfecting his theme than actually creating content. That's okay and all, but if you want to grow your blog's traffic... putting out quality content matters more.
If you want to use my theme, check out FocusBlog from ThriveThemes.
7) Create your own photos
Everyone uses Google photos. They do a basic search for "best blog designs", scroll down a bit and then copy/paste that image.
Not only is it probably illegal, it's also in bad taste. Copying images from other creators ruins your reputation, lowers the value of your content, and usually doesn't help the reader to the best of your ability.
Ricky and Jim from IncomeSchool report that they always use their own images and it greatly increases the trust from their readers.
Pat from SmartPassiveIncome actually has a great blog post teaching how to find perfect images for your posts. Some basic tips are:
- IF you use Google Images, sort by usage rights
- Sign up to a stock photo membership site
- Use your phone to take images
- Use your computer's screenshot feature
- Hire someone on Upwork to do any of the above for you
Quality images matter, and they make a huge difference on the value of your brand.
8) Add videos to pages to increase time on page
Adding videos is a simple trick to increase the total dwell time, but also increases reader trust and satisfaction.
Just go to Youtube.com, search for your keyword and see if any videos would be helpful and relevant to your page. If they are, embed them so your reader can watch them on your page.
Check this out:
If not, consider creating a video for your page. I plan on creating videos for almost all of my blog posts after I hit the 100-page mark. It's just another thing that will increase my trust and authority: high-quality custom videos.
Plus, creating your own videos on Youtube unlocks a whole new avenue of traffic and you can sign up to receive ad revenue.
9) Do a quick WordPress permalinks fix
This one is quick, and will save you a lot of trouble when you start growing.
The default wordpress permalink structure is something like this: https://doublecommadreams.com/?p=123
Which is ugly and doesn't tell Google (or your reader) what your content is about...
So fix it by doing this:
1) Go to your wordpress dashboard.
2) Then go to Settings --> Permalinks.
3) Change it from "plain" to "post name". (Don't make fun of my circling... it was done on a laptop trackpad!)
10) Don't give up
According to IncomeSchool and their experiences starting and growing over 6 niche websites... it takes up to 35 weeks to actually rank for a keyword.
This doesn't account if your domain is still in Google Sandbox, but 35 weeks is around 9 months before you get feedback on your content. That's a long time!
With this in mind, you need to really understand that it could take up to a year before your blog starts to gain traction, but if you can consistently blog for a year, you're in the top 5% of all bloggers.