Are you there, God? It’s me, Christine. Is anyone reading my blog? I must, I must, I must increase my page views. Yup, blogging as an adult is pretty similar to Margaret wanting boobs and even her girlie flowww. Milestones that amount to a dreadful amount of work but transcend you into superwoman status. If you don’t know this bookish reference and have decided that I’m already too much for you, just skim by to learn how to increase blog traffic and start seeing your hard work pay off. As a book blogger, I had to honor my niche first.
Are you blogging off your behind to no avail?
About six months ago, I decided that instead of returning to a public library job with my newly minted MLIS-degree, I would monetize my blog and turn my website into a business. I made that sound so easy. HAHA. Commence silent hysterical tears of joy and stress.
All these slightly younger and hipper millennials were crushing it so why couldn’t I? I did not seriously start taking courses and strategizing, though, until three months ago. In the meantime, I pounded away at content, spent hours perfecting posts, and thumbed through social media as if my phone was an extension of my hand. Follow me. Love me. Buy from me. I realized that while all of these tasks helped support my blog and site, they didn’t necessarily equate to earning income or page views. I needed to increase blog traffic and start earning money if I wanted my business to thrive.
At first, did the 30-100+ page views a day feel hopeless with all this time spent? You bet! Grateful for every single site visitor, I still desired and needed more. Any business blogger hoping to make blogging a career watches stats, incessantly checks affiliate income reports, and prays to the Pinterest gods that a pin will go viral. I watched other bloggers talk about their successes in TEDx Talks, took their online courses, and read hundreds of free blog articles. Why after putting in the hard work was my blog not growing as much as I hoped? How could I increase blog traffic to pay out my passionate efforts? Was I doomed to call this a career?
What I Quickly Realized About Blogging For Business
Then, that RANDOM fateful day, I watched my blog stats increase. I broke 974 daily page views, and I sat dumbfounded. I hit a goal that I set for over a year away—a goal that smaller ‘big time’ bloggers achieve regularly. The next day, I watched again as my views crept over the 750 mark. Of course, I’ve had steady but lesser blog traffic since, but after analyzing stats, I know what I need to work on for future blog posts. Did I mention that I also made a nice chunk of change that same week too? Holy shit. My dreams are coming true.
What had changed?
Over the course of those three months:
- I utilized skills taught from courses, invested in tools to help me succeed, and started targeting the one channel I rocked at: Pinterest.
- Plus, I learned that seasonal content, solid images, and design are BOSS.
- Lastly, I evaluated my consistency and following against what brought me numbers. Neither of those factors mattered as much as my marketing strategy, although I will always advise at least one weekly post.
Why The Number Of Followers Isn’t King…or Queen
Having a large number of followers is great for support and comments, but sometimes your following isn’t king. Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE my regular champions. I would be lost without YOU and everyone else. Numbers matter. I get it. They just do.
BUT, I watch people solicit blog followers on Twitter and Facebook–sometimes with 4x times the WP blog followers of The Uncorked Librarian–and they don’t understand why they don’t have the page views, engagement, and any income. Follows for follows don’t guarantee engagement past the shallow number. Other bloggers of similar status cannot be your only target audience. If you want to blog for business, you need a marketing strategy that push pasts these boundaries. You need sincerely interested readers.
Below are the five tips and tricks that I used as a newbie blogger to nearly break 1,000 page views on one day regardless of my following and how many times I posted each week.
5 Easy Tips To Increase Blog Traffic
1. Self-Hosting Before All Else
I was going to leave self-hosting off this list, but I have been fielding so many questions about self-hosting that I feel like it isn’t a given. These days, it has to be.
If you want to truly monetize, increase blog traffic, optimize your site to show up in Internet searches like Google, and have control over the functionality and gorgeousness of your baby, you need self-hosting.
Say goodbye to the once hobby-friendly and awesome WP .com. Let it go. Let it go. No holding back anymore… Once I switched over to self-hosting, my site instantly started ranking in Google and my blog traffic increased within the week. Plus, I bought a pretty new blog theme that functions on all devices—which again, will help increase blog traffic.
What I recommend: Use SiteGround as your self-host with WP .org as your stomping grounds. WP. org looks exactly like WP .com with a few extras, and you can add in all the plugins you want.
Why do I love SiteGround? Particularly number one: they didn’t lose all of my content into the black Internet abyss when I first transferred over to WP .org. Yup, they transferred everything for me. SiteGround offers 24/7 chat help—which has been AMAZING—and when I crashed my site with a plugin, they were my shot of whiskey with Xanax. Within minutes, they fixed my error with no questions asked. Plus, they start plans at $3.95 a month, which is just what this poor blogger needed at the time. That’s cheaper than a glass of my daily wine. You can read more about my love of SiteGround and how I use them to make money blogging here.
2. Pinterest Marketing
I’m not going to lie, Pinterest is actually going to be my next three tips broken up because I would have never reached past 150 daily page views let alone 900 without the beautiful visual platform. Pinterest is my number one traffic source along with direct visits and Internet searches (SEO).
Pinterest is no longer just the place for rockstar stay at home moms and yuppies wanting to host hipster parties. Everyone is on Pinterest and many are looking for help or to make a purchase. Plus, pinning is downright fun.
A few Pinterest tips to get you started:
- Make sure you have a business account for your blog, and enable rich pins. Rich pins pull more information from your site as well as alt tags. Rich pins also perform better than regular pins. With a business account, you can track analytics to see what pins are thriving.
- Your Pinterest account is an extension of your blog and business. You need to brand appropriately. This means making pretty board covers, keywording your profile, verifying your website, and pinning quality pins from your site as well as others.
- You have to play well in the sandbox. Join Pinterest Communities, ask popular bloggers to join their group boards, and circulate pins from bloggers that you love. Don’t spam, and make sure you know all of the rules for group boards, affiliates, and even Pinterest. You can read more about Pinterest Communities here and what group boards to check out here.
These are a few of my branded Pinterest board covers.
3. Take A Course Or Ten
Feeling overwhelmed already? Or think you know what you were doing but are seeing no results? That was me until I realized that I should probably take the advice from other successful bloggers. Take a free course or invest in one. Either way, it is time and money well spent. I’d love for there to be a graduate program for blogging. Anyone else in?! I love following and learning from bloggers and influencers like Ell Duclos, Hilary Rushford, and Ann Tran.
The course that completely changed my game and that I can thank for my nearly 1,000 daily page views is The Ultimate Guide to Pinterest by Ell (Lauren) Duclos from Boss Girl Bloggers. As her course advertises: Master Pinterest and increase your sales and website traffic. And that it did. Ell is the goddess of Pinterest, I swear, and her blog hits those 25,000+ monthly page views that we all want. You can purchase her course and find a freebie or two here.
My Pinterest account has reached over 850,000 monthly views (of course this waivers up and down in the algorithm) in just a mere few months since Ell’s course. The more followers and views I gain, the more I pin articles from my own blog. This all equates to more blog traffic. And that day I reached 974 blog views?! 747 of those hits came from Pinterest. This book gift guide spread like wild fire.
For All Of The Uncorked Librarian’s Blogging Resources Neatly Card Cataloged, Peruse My Library.
To Learn My Favorite Affiliate Programs To Start Making Money Blogging, Read Here.
4. Scheduling With Tailwind, Especially For Pinterest
I warned you that this post would be Pinterest biased—because it works. All of the above are also my biggest mistakes corrected: not self-hosting, not taking classes, and not utilizing Pinterest marketing. Another mistake: not using a few social media schedulers. We are not superhuman. Tailwind is my lifesaver.
Since Pinterest is one of my major blog marketing targets these days, I am the first to admit that it is A LOT. Pinterest loves consistent daily pinning. I’m talking 35-60 pins a day at all hours of the damn day. Not to mention you have optimal hours where people are pinning your content while you are or should be asleep. You need to be pinning then.
Sounds impossible or exhausting, right? I thought I could manually pin on my own and succeed but I couldn’t. Some bloggers manage, but I like having a life too. The local brewery has a wine glass painting night, and I NEED to be there.
I didn’t want to spend the cash on Tailwind, which costs around $100-$119 a year depending on which deal you snag. Being a cheapo and impoverished blogger, I started with the trial that everyone told me wouldn’t give me the slightest inkling of Tailwind’s power. They were right.
What is this glorious beast? A Pinterest scheduler (or IG if you so choose). Week by week, I schedule at least 35-50 pins a day that circulate at my personal optimal times. Tailwind gives me stats, tells me how every single one of my boards is performing, and allows me to create massive board lists themed for travel and books; with one click, my pin is hitting all 30 boards in seconds. Tailwind’s new smart loop recycles top performing pins and re-recirculates them for me throughout the year. I instantly noticed an increase in Pinterest views and an increase in blog traffic from Tailwind. Did I mention Ell’s course talks all about Tailwind too? Check out Tailwind here.
5. Timely/Seasonal and Attractive Content
Next year, I am going to rock this so much better. Seasonal content is a must. Who knew? Everyone else. Everyone else BUT ME. Ok, maybe I knew a little, but I was behind…lets call it jet lag.
I know not everyone celebrates all of the same holidays or even has the same seasons and weather, but know your audience. My audience freaking loves Halloween. I do too. Get those creepy and scary book lists out 45 days or more in advance. Your audience adores books and shopping? Publish that book gift guide up before Thanksgiving and Black Friday. And ya know what, I am a tool. I missed Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year. Regret. My wallet is filled with regret because there is SO much room where the cash should be.
Know fun days and calendar events and play that shit up—but only if you love it and truly standby those products. Don’t create cheap, crap affiliate-laden posts that lack meaning. Read the damn books you promote, don’t use Amazon summaries–that’s insulting to readers and even non-librarian’s can find that information in TWO SECONDS–and write actual real content.
Besides playing into the trends and seasons, you have to know your audience, community, and readers. Recently, a few bloggers messaged me asking for thoughts on what they were doing wrong. A quick look at their blogs, and I could instantly see that they were writing solely for themselves. If you are a hobby blogger who doesn’t care about page views or generating side income, that writing style is awesome.
But if you want to make money blogging, this isn’t about you. I am so sorry if this is the first time you’ve heard this.
Now, I am not saying not TO BE YOU. Be you. As I wrote in a recent guest post: I believe in keeping my voice—the core of who I am—but to say that I don’t gear content toward specific consumers would be a lie. I will always be a boozy book and travel blogger—that will never change. I love and live for books and travel. And occasionally, I drop an f’ bomb here and there, am long winded, and am probably rated PG only for Pinot Grigio. The rest is creative process mixed with blogging etiquette and rules. Blog writing is defined as trying to find the balance of personal and passionate writing for a niche audience. Successful bloggers are those who know their readers and create community and buy in to, well, you. Once your audience is hooked, you work together to create content.
And Make It Pretty
Lastly, don’t forget to make this content pretty. I don’t mean swirls and girlish fonts, although that might help. You need clear images, branding, and pinnable posts. Your posts need share buttons. I use the plugin Shareaholic. I love products like Lightroom, Photoshop, and Spark for blog pins, photo editing, and my social media channels.
Are You Ready To Increase Blog Traffic?
After trial and error for months, these are the methods that have most helped me increase blog traffic. I hope they help you too, and I would love to know what else works for you. What doesn’t work?
Never hesitate to hit up this uncorked lady of any social media channel with questions.