Last year, 2013, was a very good year for us. We more than tripled our blog traffic. It started slow. Really it did. When we started blogging in 2011; I always dreamed of reaching higher. I set my goals and when I achieved them; I moved my goal line. And just kept reaching.
Later in 2012, I got serious about blogging and focused even more. I experienced a large blog traffic increase and I was hooked. Along the way I’ve learned some great ways to increase blog traffic that has gotten me to where I am today. No gimmicks. No schemes. No shady under the table practices. And no money out of pocket to “buy” your way to success. Just honest to goodness, hard work and a little luck.
At the end of 2012 I had, what I thought at the time, pretty sweet traffic of 192,725 page views for the full year. Most of that came from the last few months of the year. So what happened? I learned the importance of networking, and found my niche. I implemented good SEO techniques (don’t worry, we have a great post coming soon on how to do it). I got a new site design to make it more aesthetically appealing and easier to navigate. And I discovered which social mediums were the best for my blog. With some amazing readers (yes, I’m talking about you) who shared our posts on their favorite social sites, some truly amazing bloggers who did the same, and focusing more on quality content; I was able to reach even higher in 2013!
3 Steps to increase blog traffic
We ended last year with an impressive 697,594 page views for the year. Talk about a big jump right? And I am thrilled! Beyond the moon thrilled. I met my goals multiple times this last year. And I just keep moving that goal line higher and higher. So I will continue to strive to do better and better. But numbers aren’t everything. To really understand how to dramatically increase your blog traffic you have to know what is bringing in the traffic!
1. Find your niche of quality content. Take a look at Google Analytics. Here you will find the top posts for the year. See what is getting the most traffic. See what topics you are covering that people like reading the most. Then take this information and use it! For me our top 10 posts of 2013 include:
- Bye Bye Binky; Top Ten tips to eliminate the Pacifier -79,458
- How to Freeze Peaches without Sugar – 48,053
- Italian Baked Chicken Recipe made from Frozen Chicken– 22,664
- Camping Checklist – 19,198
- Superbowl Food Ideas -12,830
- Cream Cheese and Salsa Crock Pot Chicken recipe – 11,822
- Bath Salts Recipe: Homemade bath salt soak with essential oils – 10,446
- Elizabeth Arden Prevage Lash Review -9,530
- Common Cold Remedies – 9,180
- Roasted Pumpkin Seeds recipe – 9,074
So from this, it is easy for me to see that my readers love when I write about homemaking, parenting and recipes! Looking farther down my top posts, I find a lot of our Craft articles as well. So that means for 2014 I will be focusing a lot more on these types of articles.
2. Understand where your traffic comes from. Knowing the topic isn’t the only key to dramatically increasing your blog traffic. You also need to understand where your traffic is coming from so you can capitalize on it. Also so you know where you can improve. Again in Google Analytics, our top 10 traffic sources include:
- Pinterest +mobile-182,166
- Google Organic search- 137,966
- Direct Traffic- 129,870
- Stumbleupon – 36,319
- Facebook + Mobile – 11,276
- Yahoo organic – 5,021
- Bing organic – 4,443
- Online-sweepstakes – 3,543
- Feedburner/email – 1,895
- Twitter – 1,886
From this I can see most of my traffic comes from Pinterest, organic searches, stumbleupon and those who already know of my site (direct traffic) and type in the direct link. This actually makes me rather happy. I have worked all year long working on our natural SEO for each post. In 2012 we hardly ranked at all in google searches and now it is one of our top referring sites. Another blog goal accomplished!
This also helps me realize that I have some work to do in a few areas as well. Such as focusing more on Stumbleupon. I know it has the capability to do even better. I also need to focus on Twitter. At this point with all Facebook has done to hide our posts from our fans and trying to force us to pay to show our fans our articles…I’m about to call it quits with Facebook. I will continue to be active and interact with our fans there. We love them. But I’m done trying to play Facebook’s games. I will be spending more of my time on sites that actually help our blog traffic increase. Including Google + as that gives a major boost to our organic traffic.
3.Finally, once you are armed with all this goodness; the next plan is to take action. You now know what types of posts perform well for your site. So plan more articles in those niches! You know what traffic sources are doing well; so you can play to them. Meaning I know my site does well with Pinterest. So I will continue to ensure all of my posts have a quality Pinterest image that can be pinned by our readers. I also know that what I have been doing with our SEO is working; so I will continue to do those practices. I also know where I can improve. The final step is to make your new resolutions!
This year our blog goals include:
- Increasing traffic yet again. Increase UNIQUE visitors by 1,000 a month by the middle of the year. Then re-evaluate progress. If the goal is met then set a new goal. If not; then re-evaluation further and draft up a new game plan to reach the goal.
- Improve photos. We just upgraded our camera to a DSLR with 2 lenses. I am in the process of studying online, learning more photography tips, and training. I’m hoping to even find a community class to take. With improved photos, this should improve our site’s quality even more. Because really when you seen an amazing photo, don’t you want to see what it’s all about? And an image is always worth 1000 words.
- Work Smarter not harder. This means finding a better balance between life and blogging. I can’t be spending all my time blogging. I’d run out of life experiences to blog about. So my goal is to find a better balance that keeps my traffic up, yet allots me more time to create the amazing recipes, crafts, and parenting moments that were the big hits of last year.