This article covers how I reached 140,753 pageviews within exactly 12 months since relaunching my website on November 17th, 2013.
First, let’s get an overview of the blog traffic statistics for this website after exactly 12 months:
Website Statistics: 12 Months Since Relaunch
- Organic: 58,235, Referral: 41,932, Direct: 38,994, Other: 1,592
- New Visitors: 91.8% vs. Returning Visitors: 8.2%
- Total Time on Site: ~92 days [2194 hours, 8 minutes and 56 seconds]
- Unique Pageviews: 118,609
- Total Pageviews: 140,753
- Most Popular Day: Tuesday
- Unique Visitors: 78,033
- Total Visitors: 93,778
- Most Visited Day: 10th May, 2014 [1,486 Sessions]
How Did I Generate This Blog Traffic?
There was no SEO campaign. No advertising campaign. No serious social media campaign. Just solid foundations and some basic promotional strategies.
Here’s a quick run-through of how I’ve used content marketing to generate blog traffic over the past 12 months…
Plan To Succeed
It’s near impossible to write and publish content that produces results without planning – Tweet this!
You have to know what problems your potential customers have and what content can not only help solve those problems, but also position the sale of your products or services.
You have to understand what keywords and keyword phrases should be used in creating your articles, so that the right content can be found by the right people.
You content writing cycle should include:
✓ Researching suitable topics
✓ Researching suitable keywords
✓ Matching keywords to topics
✓ Sourcing images
✓ Sourcing other media (Infographics, Video, SlideShare etc.)
✓ Writing first drafts
✓ Optimising articles for search engines
✓ Rewriting headings to improve click-rates
✓ Adding other data (tags, meta description, social sharing links etc.)
It can take a long time to rank for keywords or phrases that are highly competitive. I started by creating content with small-medium levels of traffic, but with low competition.
This made it relatively quick and easy to organically rank for those keywords. There was a low risk of getting swamped by sites with big budgets who are in a dog fight for the competitive keywords with the biggest search volumes.
Content, no matter how strong, is useless if it’s not seen by the right people – Tweet this!
In order to make sure the compelling content you spent so much time and effort creating gets read by your potential customers, you need to create a promotional framework.
I broke down my promotional activities into four broader areas of activity:
- Measurement and Analysis
1. Content Distribution
You need to understand where your buyer personas already exists online. That is, where your ideal reader or customer already participates.
And you should go straight to them – don’t expect them to come to you.
I knew that marketing professionals, business owners and entrepreneurs were active across a variety of different social media platforms, online communities and industry forums, so I used specific domains in these spaces to promote my content.
You have to be aware of the etiquette for each of these domains. You can’t simply post the same message across the whole web because not only will you be labelled a spammer, different audiences respond differently to the chosen format of messages.
For instance, Twitter uses only 140 characters and so it’s good etiquette and appropriate to share links after messages to point to external sources for more information.
Promoting your article in the comments section of other industry websites and blogs usually goes down badly if you’re including links. It’s common practice for spammers to add links to their comments so commenting systems usually flag this activity.
2. Social Listening
Everything online moves at an extremely fast pace. This includes your audiences, your industry and more importantly, it should include you.
In order to maintain a level understanding of what your audience wants to read about and what concerns they have, as well as what’s new or trending in your industry or niche, you need to listen. And listen well.
I used Hootsuite to create searches and ensure I kept listening to my audience and my spaces. I also listened for triggers around my own website, articles and personal brand so that I could talk to people talking about me. You can watch my Hootsuite Video Tutorial here.
I discussed the importance of social listening in this post here. If you should take away one thing from my article, it should be that listening is often more important than talking.
The rise of social media turned the internet marketing industry on its head. Now, there is a much bigger emphasis on relationship building, community management and customer service.
Engaging online is a widely overlooked practice to increase your blog traffic. Reaching out to people discussing the same topics as you have written content about is a natural way to promote your content. You can’t simply expect people to find your links in their busy social media streams.
I reached out and engaged via email, comments sections on similar articles and directly in social media using advanced searches, to promote my content and build or strengthen relationships.
The value of engagement in social spaces is amplified because it’s activity in a public domain where the whole world can watch.
If you join a Twitter conversation, then everyone who see’s your tweet is aware of your contribution, not just the person or group of people you’re engaging with. Similarly, your comments on related blog posts can be seen by everyone reading – chances are they will have an interest in your post if it’s complementary.
4. Measurement And Analysis
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – everything that consumes investment should be measured. If you don’t measure your efforts, you won’t know what’s working and what isn’t.
From a marketing point of view, you should be split testing as many resources as possible. Your landing pages, emails, article headings, even your blog design, should all be continuously gathering data that will allow you to understand what improvements can be made.
The quicker you manage to identify weaknesses and strengths, the quicker you will be able to better serve your audience.
It’s in my nature to be meticulous with data and I am constantly making adjustments to all aspects of my marketing funnels. I even changed my whole website design a few months after relaunching my blog because the combination of heat maps and data analysis showed that it wasn’t efficient at converting traffic.
That being said, you need to understand what you’re measuring and how different metrics impact your goals.
Too often, businesses like to see growth in vanity metrics – numbers that don’t affect the bottom line or success of a campaign – such as number of Facebook “Likes” or number of Twitter followers.
If vanity metrics like these have zero impact on your blog goals, then don’t measure them or waste any of your precious time trying to grow them.
Identify what measurements can be attributed to your goals and then keep track of them, all the time. Google Analytics is the industry standard for measuring website activity – if you haven’t set up any useful dashboards then have a read of my article here.
What Changes Would I Make Next Time?
With the amount of time and effort I put into managing this website, I was happy with the results it produced. Everyone, including myself, should always want more and look for ways to improve over the next period.
So if I could go back 12 months in time and make adjustments, there are some things I would definitely do differently to improve the amount of blog traffic I generated. Here’s what I would have done differently…
More engagement – You can never engage enough with your audiences. If you think you’re overpowering people, then reach out further or diversify into other online communities or spaces.
More engagement would have meant more blog traffic and establishing more relationships. It would have meant more time, which is always a constraining factor, but it would have been worth it to “bank” a wider network of engaged peers and readers.
More split testing – Without over-complicating the data analysis side of things, there are some things I didn’t measure, test and refine enough.
I could have tested different article images and headings to improve click-through rates and virality – one method of achieving this would be to use Google Adwords or Facebook Ads to test the images and headings first for performance, then choose the winners for selection in my articles.
Run webinars – I run webinars every two weeks in my marketing coaching membership but I have never conducted any public-facing. I know its a great strategy for increasing email optins, but I also think it would be a good method for generating blog traffic.
Execute more at 7/10 – I have recently been trying to adapt my mindset to a 7 out of 10 model – soon as I think something is 7 out of 10, then execute and move on. I spend far too much time trying to perfect minor things that drain a lot of time that could be better spent elsewhere.
More content – As long as the quality doesn’t suffer, then more content would undoubtedly improve blog traffic. Content is an asset that when leveraged properly, can create significant business results – Tweet this!!
Over To You…
Hopefully, the lessons I learned since relaunching my digital marketing blog will help you improve your blog traffic.
Of course, blog traffic is only the first element in the marketing funnel and it doesn’t all translate to leads and sales. Once your funnel and marketing resources are optimised though, scaling blog traffic and getting more people into the top of your funnel will result in more people moving through and converting into paid customers.
No website can succeed without traffic, but traffic just represents spectators. To turn spectators into business customers, you need to be capturing and converting.
Are you using blogging to generate website traffic and to attract your ideal audience?
Are you capturing and converting a proportion of your blog traffic into paid customers?
How well is your blog performing?
Image credits: Anton Tang