This post originally appeared on my other blog, Crazy Little Projects. I love blogging so much that I decided to start a blog all about blogging, so I am moving this post over here. Blogging for me has been absolutely one of the most fun and fulfilling things that I have done in my life. If you have thought of starting a blog but don’t know where to go or how to do it, try my free blog ebook: Blog It! If you already have a blog up and running, I bet you ask yourself-“How can I increase my page views?” It’s a very relevant question in the blog world. In the 3 years that I have been blogging I have had a lot of success with my page views. Currently I average between about 1-3 million page views a month (it fluctuates throughout the year). It’s a constant challenge to keep those page views climbing, but I’ve got some simple tips to help you increase your page views today!
10 Simple Tips to Increase Page Views on Your Blog:
These are not shared in any particular order. I don’t believe there is one thing that is the most important or the magical tip to seeing an increase in your blog traffic. These are all small steps and tips that you can implement and over time and as a collective group, they will hopefully cause you to see an increase in your blog’s page views.
I said these were in no particular order, but I guess I lied just a little bit. I put photography first because I think it is the first thing you need to think about when blogging. If you don’t have pretty pictures, people are MUCH less interested in what you are giving them. You need to do everything you can to take pretty pictures for your blog-whether it’s craft, DIY, fashion, food, or pretty much anything else. The images are what will sell your blog.
Let me show you a few examples. And just know that it is a little embarrassing to show you these because this is my own work and some of it is BAD!
It’s not awful, but it for sure isn’t great. You can see the bag, but the lighting isn’t stellar and there is no styling and the “white” background is grayish. (I have been meaning to redo this project for at least a year!) It would be much better styled in a setting that it is typically found in with some styling around it like the things that might go in it like keys, phone, planner.
Here is a photo of a somewhat similar project. The lighting on this one is bright and clear and it is well styled. The whites are white and everything is bright and clean:
For comparison, the first project-the mini messenger bag-has been pinned 10,000 times since I put that tutorial up 3 years ago. The second project-the organizer-has been pinned 26,000 times in the 6 months since I put it up! Those pins lead directly to traffic, so you can see how crucial a pretty picture really can be!
All of that being said, let me make it clear that I do not consider myself a photography expert at all! Photography is my #1 struggle in blogging. But it’s something that I have worked at and improved at and you can too. It’s a process.
Here are some photography tips:
- ALWAYS use natural lighting. Don’t take your pictures at night, don’t take them when you have to supplement indoor lighting. Just always use natural light. There is no substitute. Your pictures will be brighter, clearer and more eye catching and the colors will not be distorted. Natural light means the sun.
- Using the natural lighting can be tricky though-you aren’t going to want direct lighting that casts a shadow. I pull a table next to a big window that gets lots of sun but I place the table near where the light is hitting (as close as I can get it) but not in the direct light. Or you can use something to filter the direct light.
- Use something to bounce the light. This is as simple as a piece of white poster board. I have one that is folded in the middle so that I can prop it up behind or next to my photo. I only recently started doing this and I am amazed at the difference it makes in my pictures. This helps reduce shadows and brightens the whole picture. I am not placing it in the picture usually, just near the picture and it reduces shadows and makes everything brighter.
- Edit your pictures!! Most of my pictures don’t look amazing right when I take them. I spend a little time brightening, clarifying, cropping, and making them better. Here’s a tutorial to help you edit your pictures better.
- Practice, practice, practice. I have noticed that I am not the only one who has struggled with photography and improved as time has passed. Most bloggers are this way I think. Just keep trying.
- Pay attention to what others are doing that is working. When you need ideas for how to shoot a project, have a look around the internet at what others have done that works. I am not saying to copy them, just look and get some ideas of how to compose your photo, colors that work well, etc., then go for it.
- Take a lot of pictures. You might need a lot before you find one that works.
- I highly recommend this book: Tasty Food Photography for anyone and everyone-even if what you are photographing isn’t food. It has fantastic photography tips that will make an amazing difference in your photos and ultimately lead to more traffic. I promise, this book is worth the $29 you will pay for it. You will make it back because your photography will be so much better. Get it now!
2. Blog Design:
This one goes hand in hand with photography. We are a visual people. We like pretty things-things that are nice to look at. So when someone comes to visit your blog, they are going to judge it based on how it looks. You can have great projects, but if your blog is cluttered, unorganized or not eye catching, you will likely not capture readers and get them to come back.
Take a look around at some of your favorite blogs to see what they are doing that works well. I think if you pay attention to some nice looking blogs you will notice that they are very bright (often a white or light background) and are very clean.
Let’s look at a couple of my favorite, professional looking blogs:
Notice that at The 36th Avenue that we have a nice white background with accents of color around the side. All of the colors tie together nicely, there is a clean and concise menu across the top. It’s pleasant to look at and well organized:
Here’s another look. Eighteen25 also has a white center part of the blog, a clean logo, easy to find social media and a nice smattering of color. Again, easy to navigate menu and non cluttered.
On my own blog I have tried to do similar things. I keep the bulk of it a nice white with an easy to navigate menu bar, a search box easily accessible, social media and subscribe button clear and prominent and I try to keep a clean look:
Make sure that you are using fonts that are very clean and easy to read, that your blog is bright and inviting and that you have a well organized blog. This might mean hiring a blog designer. This can be well worth it because a nice looking blog is going to be something that draws people in and ultimately brings you more traffic. I used Designer Blogs to design mine.
3. Get Organized:
It might sound funny to tell you that being organized will bring you more traffic, but this is actually probably one of the biggest ways to drive more traffic.
Keep an editorial calendar and have an idea of what you are doing and when you are posting. Set yourself a posting schedule and stick to it. I was posting 3 times a week on my Crazy Little Projects blog-Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until recently when I switched to twice a week-Tuesdays and Thursdays. It hasn’t impacted my traffic to make that switch or even to cut back on the number of posts I create. But having set posting days and consistently posting on them not only gives my readers an idea of what to expect, but keeps me going and planning and posting rather than missing days or weeks-which in turn means I have a good solid blog and a good amount of content.
Also, this allows you to plan ahead with your posts. If I want to post about Teacher Appreciation and have some project ideas, knowing that most people will be searching for these around the end of April and early May, I need to be creating and posting my content ideally about 3 weeks before that. This gives it time to gain traction on Pinterest and search engines. If I wait till the week of Teacher Appreciation to start posting, I may have missed the boat. (That’s not to say that I don’t sometimes end up posting late, but it’s best practice to plan ahead and post early.) For the bigger holidays like Christmas I post even earlier-up to 2 months before.
I try to be planned out at least a month in advance. I just put my ideas in there on posting dates and then also include things like guest posts or newsletter dates or any other important dates or deadlines.
Just because I put something in there doesn’t mean it is set in stone. I frequently go in and rearrange things as my needs and timeline change, but this gets me started. This means that I have ideas and that I am not scrambling to come up with ideas at the last minute.
Try this! I promise-it helps SO much!
4. Give Them Something:
Oh-what do I mean by that? This is such a big one! Make it necessary for them to come to your blog. Give them something that they want to come to you for that they can’t get anywhere else. This might be a tutorial, a recipe, a free printable, unique ideas, tips, or anything else. But it needs to be something that they really want/need and that they are going to come to you to get.
Sure, it’s a decently cute desk and I like how it turned out. (To be clear I am NOT impressed with my photography or styling of this post.) But what does a post like this do for anyone? If I was a DIY blogger or a home decor blogger and had ideas about how to decorate, tips on how to refinish, or some useful reason for them to come see this post, that would be worth posting. But just a picture of a project I worked on? Not something that is going to drive a lot of traffic. And it didn’t.
This is also applicable when working with sponsors. If a sponsor wants me to do a post using their product, I try to find a way to make that post valuable to my readers. I am going to work a free printable into it or a recipe or something along those lines. Something that I know my readers are going to love and that will drive traffic.
When you plan your posts, think this through. What are you giving your readers? What incentive are you giving them for coming to your blog? Make sure that is a large focus of everything you do.
And pay attention to what is working! If I take a close look at my stats I can tell what kind of posts are successful-for me it is sewing and roundups, among other things, and I try to do more things like that. Give them what they want and give them something that will keep them coming back!
When you are starting out in blogging, you’ve got to do anything you can to get exposure! There are so many ways to do this. Each of them can seem fairly small. They may not drive a ton of traffic immediately, but all of the little ways that you gain exposure start to add up and gain you loyal followers and then they pin and share your things and it snowballs into more. Here are a bunch of ways to gain exposure:
- Submissions: There are a bunch of sites that you can submit your content to. Then if they feature your content, you will see traffic coming through that. For example, CraftGawker is a site that features all kinds of crafts. The key to this site is that your pictures need to be really pretty in order to be accepted. But when they do, you can see some good traffic. In fact, CraftGawker was one of my top sources of traffic early on. There are many more of these sites-a full series of gawker sites for food, dwellings, fashion, etc., Craft Gossip, Looksi Square, and many more. Just do some google searching to find more places to submit based on your niche.
- Link Parties: Many bloggers run something on their blogs called link parties. This is a chance once a week to submit your projects to their sites and possibly be featured on their site. This can be huge if their blogs are large and have lots of traffic. Even on small blogs this can be a good way to gain exposure when you are new. A couple of link parties worth checking out are The Party Bunch and Link Party Palooza, but there are tons. Again, just run a google search to find more.
- Guest Posting: Writing a guest post means that you create a post and share it on someone else’s blog. Many bloggers are open to having other bloggers do a guest post for a day. When you do this it gives you a chance to show your stuff in front of their readers and possibly gain traffic and followers that way. If you have a blog that you would like to guest post for, maybe have a look around and see if they look like they accept guest posts and then send an email and propose an idea to that blogger for a post. Give them your best stuff-you want this to be good! Typically you can post that post on your blog a few weeks later, so it’s win win for everyone involved.
- Contributing: Being a contributor is similar to guest posting, but it’s on a longer term basis. Many large blogs accept contributors who post once a month or so for them. You then form an ongoing relationship with that blogger and that blogger is likely to help promote you. This can gain you a lot of exposure. Every blogger runs their team differently, so do some searching, apply for ones that sound good to you and give it a go! (Many bloggers are looking for contributors around the end of the year to kick things off for the year ahead.)
- Link to Yourself: Make sure that you are giving yourself the exposure you deserve as well! Have a favorite posts section on your sidebar and promote your best stuff there. Have a spot at the bottom of each post that says “You Might Also Like:” and shows off some of your other stuff. Suck them in and keep them surfing around your blog. This can help you gain more traffic as well as loyal followers because if they like what they see they are likely to come back.
A roundup is a post where you search the internet to find a group of things that your readers will love and post them all in one place. For example, last August I did a post on 25 Things to Sew in Under 10 Minutes. I gathered a bunch of projects that are quick to sew, posted one picture of each and a link to that site and then created a nice pinnable graphic to go with it.
This post has been hands down my most popular post EVER! It’s almost always my number one post for the day and has been pinned 340,000 times when I wrote this post! But the nice thing about a post like this is that people on Pinterest aren’t just going to pin it and move on and forget about it. They are going to click on it to see what these projects are. That is the secret to roundups.
My top ten posts each day are almost always roundups. I have plenty of tutorials and recipes and printables that get solid traffic too, but the roundups are by far the most popular for driving traffic.
Be careful though. You don’t want to do too many roundups. You still need to have good content on your site that will keep your readers coming back and loving you for your work, but throwing in some applicable roundups now and then can be HUGE for your traffic!
7. Email List:
I feel like the people on my email list are my most valuable readers. I gain a lot of traffic from Pinterest, search engines and other social media, but the readers who are subscribed to my email list are the ones who are going to get an email every single time I publish a post. They may not always click and come see the project, but they see my emails, they have my blog’s name in front of them at least 2 times a week, they are going to remember who I am. This is why I love my loyal email subscribers. (You too can be a loyal subscriber. See that subscribe box up top?)
Make sure that you have an easy to find subscription sign up on your site. I have it in the top right corner of my blog and I also have a pop up that I have set to pop up and suggest subscribing every 14 days when they visit. When I added this pop up to my site I gained TONS of new subscribers and continue to do so each day.
Here’s a peek at my emails:
Also, make sure that you have a reliable email service. You can use a free service like FeedBurner or you can pay for something like MailChimp. I use MailChimp because it allows me more power over how I format my emails and maintain my list. It also allows me to create and send out newsletters whenever I would like (I try to do these twice monthly). MailChimp also helps analyze the best time of day to send out my emails.
Networking with other bloggers is an amazingly powerful way to grow your blog. In fact, when I started out blogging I emailed about 10 great bloggers and asked for their #1 tip for good blogging and almost all of them said this. Get to know other bloggers, support each other, work together, learn from each other and share each other’s stuff.
How do you do this? How do you find other bloggers to network with?
My number one recommendation for this is to find blog conferences that you can attend. You will meet so many other bloggers this way and you will get to know them on a personal level.
You can also form Facebook groups or work through email to work with other bloggers. I belong to several Facebook groups where a group of bloggers can come to ask questions, share ideas, or ask for support on specific posts. Some are large groups and some are small. My most effective group consists of about 20 bloggers and we have been working together for a couple of years. We vary in size and genre, but we work together well and support each other. Each week we do a pinning thread and pin each other’s stuff.
Reach out to other bloggers and be ready lift and support each other.
9. Social Media:
Make use of social media as much as you can! There are so many forms of social media and so many ways to use it. Find which ones you most enjoy and which ones are most effective for you and put them to work!
First of all, make sure that you have social media icons prominently displayed on your site. If readers can’t find these then they won’t follow you!
At the top of each post I have those icons allowing people to easily like it on Facebook, plus one it on Google Plus, Tweet it and Pin it. I can’t tell you how many times I have been to a site and wanted to pin the project and can’t find a pin it button! You are just wasting your opportunity for good traffic and pins if you don’t have it right there. I prefer it at the top of a post because it’s easier to find and use.
You of course will want to do a post on social media about each of your blog posts. Each social media avenue is different and may require different work from you to have a successful experience. Here’s some thoughts on each:
- Facebook: It’s hard to get traffic and interaction on Facebook these days, but it can be done. Successful Facebookers share frequently and share content that their readers will love. They mix some of their own stuff in there too, but they share popular, viral type things or things that are applicable to their audience. Any interaction you can get on Facebook-especially click throughs-is going to bring your more views on your post.
- Instagram: This one’s all about the pictures. And like I said earlier in this post, people like pretty pictures. So if you want to be successful on Instagram, you need to be posting pictures that your followers will love. This might mean posting things only in your niche or it might be that your readers love to see your real life stuff too. Feel your readers out a little and figure out what they like. The tricky thing with Instagram is that you can’t post a clickable link in your post. But you can in your profile. I typically change out my link there each time I am sharing a new post. This way the link in my profile takes them directly to a post.
- Google Plus: This one is particularly good for search engines. Be sure to post each of your blog posts on Google Plus and be sure to use applicable key words in your description because Google will pick up on this and use it.
- Pinterest: This is by far my #1 traffic driver, so we will take some time to talk about this fully in the next section of this post.
- There are other social media site that you can use like Stumble Upon, You Tube, etc. Find which ones work for you and put them to work!
Make sure to use searchable hashtags in your social media posting. These can bring new readers and traffic as well. #dontusehashtagslikethis but do use hashtags like #teacherappreciation or #recipes because people might search for those and find you that way.
This one deserves a section all of its own because it is so powerful. Right now Pinterest easily drives the bulk of my traffic every single day. You are going to want to get very familiar and friendly with Pinterest.
Start off by creating a nice Pinterest profile and boards for yourself. Make sure that you have plenty of board and topics that your readers will love. Use bright colored, pretty pictures as your board covers and use descriptive words to describe what the board is about. Then start pinning! The more I pin nice stuff, the more followers I seem to gain. Just make sure that it is good stuff, not spammy and that you do it at a reasonable rate.
Pin your own stuff to all applicable boards. I don’t just pin my own stuff once. I will pin it to my board Favorites from Crazy Little Projects first and then from there I will pin it to other boards that it applies to, including group boards. I don’t do this immediately, I space it out-you certainly don’t want to be spammy.
Make sure you join some group boards. If you find them on Pinterest you can request to join them or you can form some with friends. These boards often have more followers and will gain your more repins.
Use long pictures. These take up more space on Pinterest and are more likely to be seen. A vertical picture draws a lot more attention than a horizontal one. A collage picture (like for a roundup) draws even more:
Be descriptive in your text beneath it and you can even put text on the images if you like.
Pin at peak pinning times-weekends and evenings are always the most popular times to gain repins.
11. Bonus Tip-Engage Your Readers!
I taught a class last year at a blog conference about SkyRocketing Your Page Views with 3 other bloggers. All of the above tips are so applicable, but this last tip was a game changer for me and it was my part of the class we taught.
Engage your readers and get them coming back for more! You want them to know you, remember you and not just show up at your site because they found a cool project on Pinterest and then never come back. But how do you do this?
You need to find a way to draw them in. For me this started out with my Learn to Sew Series. I ran that series for 6-7 weeks back in 2013 when my blog was about 1o months old and it put me on the map! I gained loyal followers at that time. They had to come back each Monday for a new lesson and then they had homework to do each week and could come back to enter a giveaway. I believe that those readers came to know me and my blog well and it brought me literally thousands of new followers over that short time.
So I encourage you to find ways to bring your readers in and keep them coming back. Make a name for yourself and make them want to come back for more. Make them feel like they are part of something greater-part of a community, not just a mere blog reader. I can’t tell you what this looks like for your particular blog, but I can tell you that if you can find a way to do this you will have struck gold!
There you have it! 10 tips to gaining more traffic on your blog. I hope this helps. Best of luck to you! For tons more blogging tips, subscribe to my newsletter at the top of this page.
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