Whether you’re on a mission to change the world, you’re out making a name for yourself, or you’re just earning a little money on the side, the chances are that you’d like to boost traffic to your blog. After all, the more eyes on your content, the further your gift of words to the world goes, the brighter your star shines, and the more advertising dollars roll in. However, even if you’re new to the game, you’ve probably realized that it’s a crowded space and the competition for readers is fierce.
If your blog traffic is lackluster and you’re just not growing as fast as you’d like, or (gasp) your readership is declining, your problem is either with the tech or the content. On the technology side of things, you may have a dated design that’s keeping viewers from finding or staying on your site. Maybe your careful SEO just isn’t getting picked up, or load times are so slow that all those mobile viewers are giving up and bailing out. However, if content’s your issue, you may want to take a hard look at how you’re providing value to readers.
Whether your content is serious or silly, the following tips can help you enhance the reading experience so that visitors to your site keep coming back for more.
Break it down
There’s a reason why the “listicle” is a perennial favorite. Reading dense chunks of text can be a real chore for your audience. Use space, bullets, numbering, or pullout boxes to bring emphasis to key points and make your message easy to scan for readers who are crunched for time.
While not all content is ideal for a list format, there are lots of options to make the format of your blog posts better for your readers. Break up text with photos, graphics, or video, and use subheadings, weight or color, and pullout quote boxes to emphasize key ideas.
GIF it up
GIFs – graphic elements with looping motion and (usually) a humorous element – bring energy and fun to your blog. They can strengthen a point by adding another dimension of meaning or reinforcing the text, and can create a sense of connection by drawing on audience-specific memes, fandoms, and interests.
However, use with caution: too many can slow page load times, clutter the page, or alienate readers who don’t understand or relate to the graphic. They’re also opaque for SEO purposes, so make a point of tagging with descriptive text for readers using assistive technologies, and make sure that you spell out key terms in regular text for search engines.
Stock photo madness
While GIFs are great, all that movement and the bigger file sizes can start to take over. Use stock photos alongside or instead of motion graphics to break up text, emphasize points, or enhance connection. Pro tip: cute animal photos are the eternal crowd pleaser. They can break tension in serious discussions, enliven tutorials, and take things to the next level in fun and fluffy blogs.
As with GIFs, make the most of stock photos in your blog by adding descriptive text that accommodates vision impaired users and machines, compress images for faster load times, and keep enough on-point text to support your SEO goals.
People connect with other people. Bring a sense of the personal to your blog with anecdotes and opinions based on your own experience, friends’ stories, or even a blog-specific persona as needed. Wit, wisdom, pathos, and confessions elicit reader sympathy or reactions, which are good for traffic, drive post sharing, and boost comment section activity.
Go outside the lines
Your blog may be known for fashion or food, politics or business, or any number of specialist subjects. Change up the content, renew reader interest, and reach a new audience by bringing in a new angle or interest as a one-off or series. Pairing your core blog category with fresh ideas or areas is a great way to experiment with different traffic streams and find a secondary market or pivot point. Current events and trends are one option. Collaborations with other bloggers are another. Come up with a strategy and experiment while tracking your traffic and audience interactions to pinpoint the most successful direction for your blog.
Everyone gets a little burnt out or worn down eventually, but don’t give up on growing your blog too soon. Try the above tips to improve blog traffic and help your readers connect with your content better and enjoy their time with you.