Do you want to be one of the top money-making blogs in 2021?
There are millions of blogs out there in the blogosphere, but that doesn't mean yours can't be one of the highest performing. Many bloggers are able to make an income from their blogs, and you can too.
This article will show you what it takes to grow your blog traffic and make money blogging. There's quite a bit to cover, so feel free to use the links below to jump around.
- How analyzing your analytics can help you grow your blog
- Why the traffic you attract matters
- How to drive traffic and grow your blog fast
If you're just getting started as a blogger, you may also want to check out this step-by-step guide on setting up a profitable blog.
Now, let's dive in!
Identify Where You're Starting From
Before you can begin growing your blog traffic, you need to analyze how your site is currently performing. This will give you a starting point and help you identify ways to increase traffic to your blog.
Google Analytics is a great way to track website metrics, but it can be a little tricky—especially if you're new to blogging. To start tracking your stats, you have to add code to your site, which is daunting even for experienced bloggers.
Luckily, WordPress users can get around the coding with an analytics plugin.
One of the best options available is ExactMetrics, which connects your Google Analytics account to your blog with the click of a button. There's zero coding required and getting set up takes just a few minutes.
Once you've completed the setup process, you'll have instant access to easy-to-read reports right in your WordPress dashboard.
ExactMetrics makes it easy to set up custom dimensions and identify the type of content and topics your blog readers prefer. Once you know which posts are performing the best, you can use them as a guide for future content.
With ExactMetrics, you can also track the top:
- Outbound links: Identify where traffic goes when leaving your blog
- Referrals: Know where your traffic is coming from
- Posts and Pages: See which articles and pages are getting the most visitors
- Landing and Exit Pages: See which pages attract and repel visitors
- Affiliate Links: Identify which types of products are bringing in the most money
With a clearer picture of how your site is performing, you can take the first steps to grow your blog traffic.
What Kind of Traffic Do You Want to Attract?
It's no secret that you need traffic in order to make money blogging. But, that doesn't mean you should try to get any traffic that you can.
You should be trying to get traffic from engaged users. That type of traffic is more likely to convert to clicks, email list subscribers, affiliate commissions, and sales.
So, how do you attract the right type of blog traffic?
It's a multi-step process.
Step 1: Analyze Your Current Traffic
Your blog analytics can tell you more about the traffic you're currently attracting. Be sure to examine your traffic sources and demographics information to see how they compare to the personas you've created for your ideal audience.
Step 2: Define Your Goals
Every page and blog post on your site should be created with a goal in mind. You basically need to decide what action(s) you want the reader to take when they visit each page or article.
Do you want them to:
- Sign up for your email list?
- Buy a product you're an affiliate for?
- Share your post?
- Get in touch?
Being intentional about the traffic you attract and the prompts you use will make it easier to convert site visitors and grow your blog.
How to Grow Your Blog
Now that you've created a benchmark and compared your current traffic against the traffic you want to attract, you can start implementing strategies to grow your blog.
The 9 tips below will give you an excellent place to start.
01. Narrow Down Your Niche
Starting a successful blog doesn't happen overnight, and it doesn't happen without hard work. It's very unlikely you'll see massive surges of traffic in your first few months of blogging. It can take upwards of 6-12 months before you start seeing consistent traffic from search engines.
That's because Google is trying to figure out what your site is about. Having a dedicated blog niche makes that process easier.
It tells search engines that you're serious about that niche and helps them determine where your content belongs in search results. For example, a blog that has 25 posts on home DIY projects will rank higher than a site that has a mix of home DIY projects, recipes, and fashion articles.
Narrowing down your niche also attracts more consistent readers.
Giving people a reason to return to your blog is important for building a like, know, and trust factor with your audience. The more credibility you have with your audience, the easier it is to make a conversion.
02. Have a Well-Designed Site
Growing your blog is hard to do if you haven't put much effort into the blog itself. Creating a high-quality, well-designed website is essential.
While important, I'm not just talking about the theme. A high-performing website starts with the domain name.
Your domain name is the very first impression your blog will make, and it needs to be a good one. Opting for a self-hosted site is the best decision you can make because it gives you a professional and concise domain name.
Look at it this way:
If you're searching online for a dentist, which website would you click on?
www.youcanthandlethetooth.com or www.youcanthandlethetooth.wixsite.com
The first one, right?
If you're not willing to invest in your blog, how can you expect others to take you seriously? If you want to make money blogging, a self-hosted site is the way to go.
Once you've picked a domain name and purchased hosting through a web host like SiteGround, you can focus on the design.
When designing a WordPress site, you have two options:
- Purchase a pre-designed theme
- Design your site from scratch
If you're new to web design, I highly suggest using a pre-designed theme like the one I have from Hello You Designs. Those that are more experienced could use drag-and-drop theme builders like Elementor Pro or Divi to create a custom design.
Whichever option you choose, it's important to make sure your theme:
- is SEO friendly
- can be crawled by search engines
- is mobile responsive
- is flexible
- comes with good customer support
Be sure to update your theme every few years, as well. New features and releases from WordPress can impact how a theme performs and affects user experience. Updating your theme and doing a quick design iteration can help improve performance.
03. Develop a Keyword Strategy
Writing for the web is a lot different than the writing many of us did in school. Creating website and blog content that performs well means adopting best practices for search engine optimization (SEO). One of the most important SEO strategies to have in place is keywords.
What are keywords and why do they matter?
Keywords are words or phrases that tell a reader and search engines what your content is about. Most blog posts can be boiled down to a few key topics, which are your keywords. Using keywords is important because it helps people find your content.
Analyzing your top competitors can also help you identify keywords for your niche. Here's how:
- Do a quick Google search for blogs in your niche
- Enter the domains of blogs listed on the first page of results into Ubersuggest
- Keep track of the keywords each site uses in a spreadsheet
- Make a note of the site's domain authority
- Write optimized content that beats out blogs with a similar domain authority
Once you start ranking for keywords in your niche, you'll have an easier time ranking for more competitive keywords.
04. Fix Any Technical Issues
User experience is critical, regardless of your niche. If there are a lot of technical issues that affect the performance of your blog, it can drive traffic away.
Two of the biggest issues that impact user experience are broken links and slow load times.
- Fix Broken Links: Using Google Analytics or ExactMetrics can help you identify any broken links on your site. Then you can use a plugin to redirect them to a different, yet relevant, page.
- Improve Site Speed: A slow site means many visitors will bail before the page ever has a chance to load. Perform a speed test regularly so you can make adjustments as needed. Large images can also have a significant impact on site speed, so it's important to compress them using a free tool like TinyPNG before uploading. You can also install a plugin like Smush to compress them even more once they've been uploaded.
These small changes are pretty easy to do and can go a long way in helping you grow your blog. Adding them to your monthly task list will help you stay on top of them and keep your blog running in optimal shape.
05. Create High-Quality Content
When it comes to blogging, content is king. To be more specific, high-quality content is king.
Running a successful blogging business requires prioritizing quality content that provides your readers with value. Readers can tell when you don't put much effort into your content, and it can be a big turn-off.
Don't just write a blog post to churn out content. Each post should have a purpose and end goal in mind.
When planning content, make sure to ask yourself what you want readers to get out of the article and what they should do when they've finished reading it.
Grammar and spelling errors can impact the quality of your blog posts, too. Even the best writers can benefit from investing in a tool like Grammarly. It checks for grammar, spelling, and syntax issues so you can put your best foot forward with error-free content.
All in all, it's important to produce content that aligns with your niche, is well-written, and optimized for SEO. Creating a blog post checklist to ensure every article passes the quality control test is really helpful for this.
06. Create a Promotional Strategy
Getting eyes on your blog posts can take some work. Having a marketing strategy in play can help.
Promoting your blog posts on social media is a great way to bring attention to your articles. Once you've published a new article, share it on your blog's social media platforms. Facebook and Twitter are probably the most universal for directing traffic back to your site, while Instagram tends to work best for more visual elements.
Bloggers also have a lot of success using Pinterest. Creating optimized pins and pinning consistently can help you drive traffic and grow your blog.
Whatever platform you use, keep in mind that, social media is a two-way street. Be sure to engage with your followers and other bloggers. Leave comments, share articles, and stay up-to-date with what's happening with your audience and niche.
07. Utilize Your Email List
It allows you to communicate directly with your target audience and increases the likelihood your content will be seen. An email list also makes it easier to increase conversions (aka, make more money) because it's composed of people who like, know, and trust you.
Best of all, you can use your email list to get new ideas for blog posts, opt-in freebies, and more. After all, who better to ask for feedback than the people who loved your content so much, they gave up the goods (their email address) so you could contact them directly?
Make an effort to convert site visitors to email subscribers by:
- Placing subscription boxes in prime real estate on your site
- Creating opt-in freebies in exchange for joining your list
- Adding sign-up forms to blog posts
- Using pop-ups with exit-intent technology
Even if your list is on the smaller side, it's important to send emails consistently to keep subscribers engage. Send them a weekly or bi-monthly email detailing sharing any new blog posts, opt-ins or guides, or tips.
08. Be Consistent And Authentic
Consistency is key for keeping readers engaged. If you're not posting regularly, they have no reason to keep coming back to your site. Planning content in advance and sticking to a publishing schedule can help you stay on-track and consistent.
Authenticity is also critical to how well your blog performs. Being honest and transparent in your work builds the trust factor you need to run a successful blog.
People can tell when you're being fake, which often happens when you try to promote anything and everything in the hopes of making a buck. Be selective and give honest feedback about the products and services you recommend to your readers.
On that same note, don't try to be like everyone else. Your uniqueness is going to help grow your blog, not hurt it.
If you're so busy trying to mimic what other people are doing, you're going to experience the effects of imposter syndrome and burn out quickly.
09. Write Guest Posts for Relevant Sites
Guest posting is an awesome way to grow your blog and improve your search rankings. Writing high-quality content for a website in your niche showcases your expertise, exposes you to a new audience, and drives traffic back to your blog.
Best of all, guest posting helps you build backlinks and boost your domain authority—both of which are great for your SEO strategy.
Finding guest post opportunities can be a bit tricky. Some sites will clearly state if they accept guest posts while others may not. Either way, you're likely going to need to fill out a form or send them an email pitch.
When pitching your ideas for a guest post, be sure to:
- Do Your Research: Look through past blog posts to ensure you're pitching a new idea. If you want to cover a similar topic, be sure to outline how your post will give a fresh take.
- Include a Sample: Most bloggers and website owners will want to get a feel for the quality of your work and writing style before committing to a guest post. It's also helpful to share your blog URL so they can check out your site.
- Pitch Actual Topics: Don't just ask if you can write a guest post for someone's blog. Pitch 2-3 topic ideas, even if it's just the headline. Doing so eliminates some of the back-and-forth so you can get the ball rolling faster.
If your pitch is accepted, be sure to follow the guidelines they give you regarding writing style, images, links, etc.
Want to guest post on The Quiet Type? Click here for a list of topics and how to pitch your idea.
Keep Experimenting With Ways to Grow Your Blog
Holy moly, are you still with me? If so, congrats! You made it to the end of this very long, very helpful list of ways to grow your blog.
I know this article has covered a lot, but I want to leave you with this:
Don't just implement one or two of these tips to increase your blog traffic. You have to be willing to keep experimenting to find strategies that work.
That means staying on top of your analytics and performing side-by-side comparisons of how your site performs before and after trying a new strategy. Then, if necessary, you can make tweaks according to what you see there.
With some patience, testing, and hard work, your blog is sure to start generating more traffic this year.
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