As any overambitious person would know, our list of new years resolutions/goals is always filled with an unachievable number of impressive tasks.
We just can’t help it. We’re the type of people who get excited about doing absolutely everything, only to realise later on that such a crazy list is unrealistic.
So when I sat down to put together my 2016 goals list, I decided to be more reasonable. If I analysed what has worked for me over the past year, I could use this as a base for my new goals.
One item on my list is increasing my pageviews on A Globe Well Travelled, so I looked back on my blog stats from the past year to discover what my best moves had been in regards to growth.
I thought that you, my lovely readers, might also find this info useful, so here are 3 tricks I used to triple my blog traffic in 2015.
1. Use Pinterest more
As my number one referrer, I know how valuable Pinterest can be for anyone trying to get their blog noticed.
I started using Pinterest about 4 years ago when I opened my Etsy shop and used it to promote my products. Then when I started this blog in 2014, I opened a new account and began pinning my travel photos and images for my blog posts.
My biggest referrers from the past 12 months
The results have been phenomenal. Without Pinterest, I’d get half as many pageviews as I’m getting now.
Using Pinterest every day sounds intimidating, but in actual fact, Pinterest requires much less time than other social media platforms – I only spend about 10 minutes per day on it.
The key steps I’ve made to make Pinterest work for me are:
- Creating long portrait images with bold writing for my posts
- Pinning those images and photos to group boards
- Writing intriguing and clickable descriptions for my Pins
- Using Tailwind to schedule my Pins
It might take a while for your presence to get noticed on Pinterest, but once it does, you’ll see what a huge difference it can make to your traffic.
2. stop avoiding SEO
Ahh, SEO. Three letters that bring fear and intimidation into the hearts of bloggers everywhere.
I never really understood SEO (and lets face it, I still don’t) but using some simple SEO tools has allowed me to benefit from it without actually needing to know it inside out.
My basic understanding is that there are ways you can tweak your blog posts to increase the chances of being found in search engines.
How many times have you searched something like ‘Things to do in New York’ or ‘Flights to Sydney’ in Google? Plenty, right? By improving the SEO of your posts, they’ll be more likely to show up when people search these things.
Yoast SEO for this post
I installed the free Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress and attempted to get nearly every one of my posts into the ‘green’ category. Since I’ve been doing this, the traffic I’ve received from search engines has quadrupled. Yep, it’s 4X higher than it was a year ago!
Once you’ve installed the plugin, use it to enter one simple focus keyword/phrase for your post. It should be something that people will search for in Google but is fairly unique to your post. For example, the keyword/phrase I have used for this post is ‘triple your blog traffic’. It’s in the post title, and it’s something that other people might do an online search for.
Once you’ve chosen a keyword/phrase, you can then insert it into the meta description and into the text of your post a few times. If you click on the page analysis tab, it will tell you what other things you can do to optimise your SEO.
Like Pinterest, it might take a while for SEO results to start showing up in your stats, but it can make a massive difference in the long run.
3. use RELATED POSTS
I spent a lot of time getting related posts right. First, I did hours of internet searching until I found a WordPress plugin for related posts that I actually liked. It wasn’t even fancy, just some text links to some of my other posts that had similar keywords. I never really knew whether it worked or not.
One day, the plugin failed and I decided to get rid of it. My pageviews didn’t really change, so I presumed that it hadn’t been making a difference anyway.
Then last month, I had one of those weird moments where you remember something you’d heard in the past and it gives you a new idea.
I’d seen Derek Sivers (one of the most awesome entrepreneurs of all time and founder of CD Baby) speak at a conference in Portland last July, and he mentioned that his competitors were stumped about how good his related music suggestions were for customers on his website.
Derek explained that he simply chose the music suggestions manually instead of making a computer decide what people should listen to. His music knowledge was so great that he was able to suggest new music for his customers according to what they’d previously purchased, and he’d be spot on most of the time.
My new related posts format
I decided to apply this theory to my posts. Maybe the way I’d been going about it was all wrong – instead of making some computer code do the post suggestions for me, I could manually choose other posts that I thought would be relevant to the people that are reading them.
So I went through my top 5 posts and added 2 images and links to my personally selected related posts, using the rows function in the Shortcodes Ultimate WordPress plugin to make the posts appear side by side.
And whaddya know, it worked! New visitors to my site were clicking on the related posts, and my pageviews increased by about a third. Since then, I’ve also added related posts to some of my older posts, mostly the ones that receive the most traffic from Pinterest.
As it turns out, looking back at my past year was a seriously great idea. This information is going to make it easier to plan my future posts and social media marketing. I hope you’ve found this info valuable for your own 2016 blogging goals!
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