Everyone wants to find that magic formula for driving more people to their blog or website. Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Increasing visits to your blog takes a bit of hard work. The good news is we have tapped into some of the most successful bloggers around to bring you information to help you succeed in your online business. Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to join thousands of experienced and budding bloggers at BlogHer’s annual blogging conference in Los Angeles. There was no shortage of outstanding, beneficial information, from so many inspirational publishers – we have content lined up for weeks to share more about what we learned. We’ll talk about SEO, social media strategies, producing content for the digital attention span, and much more.
To kick things off, however, we’ve pulled together the top ten themes we heard over and over, in hopes of providing you the nugget (or few!) you need to become more successful publishers yourselves.
1) Know Your Audience
First things first - get acquainted with your audience. Other blogging tips are useless if you've yet to develop a relationship of trust with your audience. It doesn’t matter if you have one or 1 million followers – if you don’t know who they are and why they’re there, you won’t be able to form that bond.
2) Know Your Data
Get to know your analytics – really get to know them. The only way to optimize is to know what you can track, and it’s all in the data. What do people like, and not like? Where are your visitors coming from? What converts and what just gets comments? What matters to you - and what your audience wants - will change from campaign to campaign. That's why tracking data is necessary.
3) Engagement Trumps Traffic
Gaining traffic is tough, especially early on when a blogger is largely unknown. While there are various ways to do this, BlogHer speakers stressed that having an engaged audience was better than having lots of traffic. This goes back to the fist point: knowing your audience, and giving them what they want. Yvonne Condes and Sarah Auerswald of MomsLA talked about how they were able to line up better partnership opportunities because although they were smaller than their competitors, their audience converted so much better than others’.
4) Leverage Social Media to Attract and Build Your Audience
This one might seem obvious, but not everyone takes the time to do this, and do it well. All speakers agreed that social has had a huge impact on their audience growth and engagement, and all agreed that it will only continue to get bigger. We’ll share more channel-specific tips later on in this series, but in the meantime, get out there and get posting!
5) Mix Timely and Evergreen Content
Tap into the news of the day and create a piece of evergreen content that ties in. This will give your content a longer shelf life and allow you to share it again later when the topic resurfaces in a different way. An easy example would be around celebrity selfies – use a trending hashtag to point people back to your “Tips and Tools for Taking Great Selfies” post.
6) Refresh Old Content and Share it Again
Traffic to a blog post drops dramatically within a week of posting. Updating high-performance blog posts is one easy method for getting more mileage out of your content and maintaining credibility as things change in your industry. Add new photos, new affiliate links, links to other relevant content on your blog, and take advantage of what’s working well.
7) Create Content "Clusters"
Writing a series of posts on one topic is a unique strategy many bloggers don't take advantage of. Clusters can encourage visitors to explore your blog more than they otherwise would. You can then cross-promote posts, and keep people on your site longer, building that relationship of trust. It’s also a good way to extend the shelf-life of a high performing piece of content. Did people like that selfie tips post? Do a few more – tips for selfies in low lighting, taking adventure selfies… you get the idea.
8) Change Your Medium and Keep the Content Flowing
Again, this is where your analytics come in. Selfie posts still killing it? Try a YouTube version! Lauren Lumsden, former director of video programming at Cosmopolitan.com (now at TheScene.com), talked about how they turned a trending blog post featuring shirtless men into a series of videos of the same. This can keep a popular subject trending, as you create more opportunities for engagement and harness more viewers.
9) Optimize for Your Audience
Test everything! Split testing (aka A/B testing) was highlighted as a method for determining which versions of content are better-received by your audience, and an easy way to make sure you’re giving them what they want.
10) More is More
While you may sometimes feel as though your posting is getting redundant, think again. Social channels are busy environments, and no follower sees everything you publish. Only a portion of your followers will see any given post, so don't be afraid to re-share content – daily, weekly, monthly. It will only increase your chances that your whole audience sees your new work.
This is just a sneak peek of the ideas explored during the BlogHer16 conference - we've got much more to come! Stay tuned for dozens more nuggets of wisdom from Experts Among Us, and be sure to check out BlogHer.com for more writing tips and inspiration.