If you have been a blogger for 2 to 10 years and you continue to find it difficult to gain traction in your niche, then I may have a few reasons why you struggle to increase blog traffic.
You see there are many bloggers who continue to create blog posts month after month, year after year with tiny improvements.
They are led to believe that this is normal, and that blogging should be this hard. They choose to continue on this path with a long-term flicker of hope.
The truth is that many bloggers struggle on some very minor things that they don’t even realise that they are ‘doing wrong’.
After reading and commenting on over 100 blogs in the last 6 months I have come to realise that maybe they just don’t know, and someone needs to make them aware.
In this post, I am going to outline a few simple tweaks that are pretty obvious to some and not to others.
These tweaks are what makes the difference between a professional blogger who has experienced rapid growth in a matter of months compared to the 5-year blogger who still struggles to increase blog traffic.
Disclaimer: please note that this post may contain affiliate links which means that if you buy one of my recommended products I get paid a commission for sharing the link at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products that I have tried myself and have experienced success.
1. Blog Layout to Increase Website Traffic
This may not have occurred to you yet, but have you spent time assessing the layout of the paragraphs on your blog?
In this particular case when I talk about blog layout, I am referring to the giving your reader the best experience possible.
In a recent study by HubSpot it was found that 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts as opposed to reading them.
This means that if your layout is not conducive to skimmers you will miss out on 43% of the traffic that you should have received on your blog.
Potential readers will click the back button which then affects your bounce rate. This then has a knock-on effect on your ranking in the search engine results page (SERP).
Here is an example of a chunky paragraph which tends to turn away a lot of readers and increase your bounce rates.
The ideal paragraph should be made up of smaller two-line sentences that make it easier for your reader to consume.
2. Font Size + Line Spacing
This may come as a surprise to you, but the size of your font combined with the spaces between each line has a positive or negative effect on the reader.
The ideal font size should be 14 and spaces between the lines should be between 1.4 and 1.6.
A combination of the perfect paragraph layout together with the font size and spaces between lines gives the reader the momentum to read more quickly.
In the long run, if the topic is interesting the reader then engages with the text more readily which means less skimming.
So far you can see that there is this domino effect that happens when a reader engages with your blog post.
Great layout + font > increased session per user > reduced bounce rate > higher ranking > more traffic
3. Repeating Titles Several Times
As I mentioned previously at the start of this post, I have visited over 100 blogs to draw these observations.
I was really surprised to see bloggers repeating the same title twice and sometimes up to 8 times.
If you have been doing this and your blog is underperforming, you need to stop and take notice.
The title of your blog post is what appears in the H1 tags. These H1 tags indicate to the search engine what that post is about.
It is impossible to have 8 posts on one blog ranking for the same title in the SERPs. You are only doing your blog a disservice by repeating the same titles.
4. Challenges with Images
When it comes to image use there are a wide variety of challenges that bloggers face when they use images.
The first one is not enhancing the images that they use for search engine optimisation (SEO).
What I mean by this is not naming the images with the keywords that you want to rank for in the SERPs.
Another one I observed is placing images that are too large alongside the text. It is important to remember that images should complement the text.
Some even go as far as to not even include any images at all. If you are wondering why you need images, remember that they help the reader relate to and consume your content.
By far the most important is creating images that are social media friendly which makes it easy for the reader to share it with their friends/tribe.
5. Lack of Social Sharing Options
So many times, I find a great post that I would like to share and there isn’t a single way to share it.
I would literally spend 2-5 minutes scrolling up and down looking for social sharing buttons or icons.
If you want your blog to grow, then you really need to give people the opportunity to help you spread
It is understandable if you never realised it previously so take this post as a wakeup call.
If you are using WordPress.org as your blogging
Social Warfare offers really great options in both the free and paid versions as well as Social Pug. If you are a food blogger then WP Tasty is the plugin for you to use.
If you don’t want your content to be shared, then that will be a strange one and maybe blogging is not for you.
6. SSL Certificate Missing
In case you are not aware of it since July 2018 Google has been marking sites as not secure when they don’t have an SSL certificate installed.
I am constantly at a loss as to why so many bloggers choose not to take advantage of the free SSL certificates offered by most web hosting companies.
If you are using WordPress.org as your blogging
Most web hosting companies offer you the ability to get a free SSL certificate via the Let’s Encrypt program.
An SSL certificate is important because it helps you with your rankings and builds trust between you and your audience.
7. Wrong Permalink Structure for SEO
When I first started blogging over 10 years ago one of the first things, I learned is to set up my blog properly with the correct permalink structure.
If you have no idea what I am talking about then here is a vivid example.
As you can see in the back end of your WordPress blog you have the ability to decide which one of these common settings to choose as the structure of your URLs.
It is common knowledge that in order to rank better in the SERPs that you use the one indicated in the image above. Yourdomainname.com/postname is the best option.
As you can see the other options either gives your post a specific date or just a number which makes it difficult to maintain great rankings in the SERPs.
8. Optimising Your Post Name URL
On the same topic of post names there are still many bloggers that choose some very long names for their post URLs.
If you just got lost altogether here is a great example of what I mean. Let’s say your blog post is about best dog vacations in Michigan.
However, your actual title is ’7 Best Dog Vacation Spots In Michigan During Summer Months’ then your blog post URL should be as short as possible.
It is important that the URL actually contains the keyword that you want to rank for in the first place.
So, yourdomainname.com/7-best-dog-vacation-spots-in-michigan-during-summer will look more like this; yourdomainname.com/best-dog-vacation-spots-michigan.
Believe it or not, it will help your post rank better in the search results with the shorter more succinct version.
9. Hobby or Business
If you want to become a full-time blogger then you need to put in the hours needed to get the rewards.
Even if you don’t have a lot of time available there are several ways in which you can work smart to achieve more results on your blog.
Starting a blog with the long-term goal of generating an income should involve just as much work and strategy as starting any other kind of business.
Growing your blog to 100,000 page views a month does involve a few key things:
- Publishing fresh content regularly
- Gaining exposure from SEO
- Obtaining exposure from a following on social media
- Guest posting
- Appearing on podcasts
If you are only doing 1-4 you will still get to your goal of 100,000 page views eventually.
However, if you are only doing the first item once a month you will find it difficult to increase blog traffic.
As usual, there are exceptions to every rule because if you are already a celebrity in your own right you may only need to post once a year.
Treat your blog like a business and it will perform for you.
10. Lack of Quality Content
This may sound surprising, but I remember doing this over 10 years ago. The minimum word count back then was 300 to 350 words to rank in Google.
In fact, I think you could get away with 150 words 10 years ago. If you are writing a blog post just to get to the minimum word count you need to evaluate your motives.
I can tell you that I did it as well because I disliked writing so much. Now, I just cannot stop writing, I love it to bits.
If my blog post is less than 2,000 words, I feel like I am not giving my reader sufficient value. The reason why I write in the first place is for my audience.
My goal should not be writing for the search engines only. It should be focused on giving value to my audience.
Yes, some readers complain when they see a blog post that is 2,000 words long because they just want to read something short and sweet.
Imagine having a conversation with someone and stopping short because you have reached your limit in terms of the amount of words that you can say.
I know it sounds ridiculous but the same applies when writing a blog post. You are building rapport with your audience so enjoy it.
11. Collaborate To Increase Blog Traffic
It is nearly impossible to build a successful blog without collaborating with other bloggers.
The larger your network the higher your chances of success to increase blog traffic.
A superb example of this is Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. In order to get the word out about your brand-new blog post you need to collaborate.
Building lasting relationships is one of the keys to having a high performing blog. It has been said so many times in the past.
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself” Henry Ford. I love this quote as it only has 12 words and it packs a huge punch.
George Shinn goes on to say, “There is no such thing as a self-made man. You will reach your goals only with the help of others”.
There are tons of tribes on TailwindApp, loads of group boards on Pinterest, a huge number of Facebook groups that will help you achieve blogging success.
Are you unfamiliar with Pinterest? Grab these Pinterest SEO tips that will help you significantly increase your results.
Put an end to your blog’s underperformance by spending some time to increase blog traffic with these small tweaks.
To be honest, I know that I can easily add five (5) more items to this list but I will leave it there for now as these small changes can bring significant results.
Here are 9 more tips to help you grow your blog traffic in the next 12 months on autopilot.
If you want to become a full-time blogger you may want to consider switching from Blogger, WordPress.com and Wix over to a self-hosted platform like WordPress.org.
Over to you, what has been your experience so far when it comes to blogging? What has worked for you? What are your struggles so far?
Please leave your feedback in the comments and I will be happy to address any further questions or concerns.
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