The reason Increasing your Page Views isn't Increasing your Blog Income (plus 6 Growth Strategies to change that)
Bloggers are obsessed with numbers. It's all about numbers - numbers of social media followers, numbers of blog post shares, numbers of comments, numbers of page views, numbers of unique visitors, numbers of email subscribers....
But here's the deal - if your blog is your business there's one number that you need to be monitoring more than any other. And that's your bottom line. Your profit. How much money you're making. And if you're not getting the right page views, the right social media followers or the right email subscribers you're not going to improve that bottom line any time soon!
The blogging world is also full of advice. Things you should to be doing. How often you should be doing them. The exact way to become a 6-figure blogger. Or get published on Huffington Post. Or triple your email subscribers in a month. Which are all epic enough aspirations. If they're going to help you achieve your blogging goals.
Later this week you're going to be able to get your hands on your guide to getting real and creating your #reallife action plan so before you do that I'm going to show why you need to take a good hard look at all those numbers and what they actually mean to your blog.
Before you get started, download your free (no email required!) Blog Page View Analysis. Discover what your stats are really saying about the quality of your traffic and create an action plan to improve! (<< click that link, or the image below, to download the worksheet)
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Not all Numbers are Created Equally
The Popular = Successful Myth
Numbers make you feel good about your efforts. Seeing your comments, page views, subscribers and social media followers grow makes you feel like you're doing ok at this blogging thing. That you're doing things the 'right way'. Because big numbers mean popularity don't they. And being a popular blogger means you're successful. Right?
Not necessarily. Unless of course your blogging aims are simply to get loads of people reading and commenting on your blog. I'm betting that's not the ultimate aim for your blog though. I'm betting you want your blog readers to convert to customers and clients. And to get blog readers that convert to customers and clients you need to be marketing to the right blog readers.
Don't sacrifice the quality of your page views for the sake of just growing your audience.
The Questions you need to Answer before Increasing your Page Views
One of the most common questions I see from new bloggers is "How can I get more page views?"
Which is of course a perfectly valid question. No page views = no business!
But page views are useless on their own! Simply asking, "How can I get more page views?" is not going to help you. Don't get me wrong, ask the question in a Facebook group and you'll likely get lots and lots of helpful suggestions but you don't have the time to do all those different things! Just because it was a great strategy for other people doesn't mean it's the best one for you.
Which is why you need to be ask, "How do I get more page views from people that want my product / service, are willing to pay what I charge, will be interested in my blog content, will relate to my approach to business and luuurve the type of content that I am sh*t hot at creating?"
And before you can find the answer to that question, before you can start planning your success strategy, you need to know what makes your products / services extra special, who your target market is, how your most impressive skills can be put to their best use in marketing your blog, what your brand story is and what you want your blog visitors to do when they get to your party. You need to know where your blog is NOW before you can move onwards and upwards.
To get your hands on a library of resources and weekly actionable Badass Biz Lessons to help you answer those questions (and more!) Join us in The Badass BusinessMum's Club (<< click that link, or the image below to join!)
Why you need Genuine Blog Readers
Your Analytics will tell you what you actually need to know
Your blog analytics will tell you which blog posts are most popular, how many page views your blog is getting, where the traffic is coming from and which pages are getting most visits.
But if you're working on increasing your page views without targeting your ideal audience the data from your analytics isn't going to be any use to you whatsoever. If your audience aren't interested in converting to paying customers, there's no point in knowing what it is they're interested in!
You will be able to plan your content for Maximum Impact
When you know your blog analytics are telling you the results of your target blog readers you know which content is most popular with your ideal audience. You can tell where they're spending most time, which links they're clicking on and what sort of content they like. This information will in turn be able to tell you which blog headlines attract their attention, which images they're attracted to and which content upgrades encourage them to subscribe.
And when you know all that information, you can repeat what works and make changes to what isn't working.
You will be able to recommend Products / Services that your Audience actually want
Not only will you know which content your audience adores, you'll also be able to sell your products to people that are genuinely going to love them, find them useful and come back for more.
You will be able to recommend affiliates and do sponsored product reviews that your reader's will be interested in and will actually want to buy. And when you can do that you'll build a valuable reputation as someone who knows their stuff and isn't going to spam their audience with irrelevant rubbish!
6 Blog Growth Strategies that will help your bottom line (if you get them right!)
So now down to the nitty gritty! Here's 6 ways to strategically increase your genuine, valuable page views and build an audience that will covert to subscribers and customers.
Promo threads in Facebook Groups
If you belong to any sort of Facebook blogging group you'll have come across a variety of different promo threads. Varying from 'post your latest blog post', through, 'post your latest blog post and support at least 3 other bloggers', to 'post your latest and share / comment / like every other post that is shared', they can be a great source of traffic or completely useless!
So how do you get valuable page views from them? The main thing - post in groups that are your target market. You may be getting traffic from sharing your Toddler craft activities in your favourite blogging group - but imagine how many more you'll get from a Crafty Mama & Toddler group? The people in the Crafty Mama & Toddler group - all interested in Toddler crafts. People in the blogging group - mostly interested in growing their blogs and getting blogging help and advice. Your target audience are also going to stick around and become regular readers, subscribers and customers.
Make sure your blog post headline is attention grabbing - it's what will encourage people to click when they see the little preview link. Share blog posts that are helpful and/or entertaining. Not 'here's my latest products'. Most of the people looking through the thread don't know who the hell you are - don't sell to them. Introduce them to your wonderful-ness first!
And lastly, steer clear of the threads with rules that you have to like or comment on every single post that is shared. You don't have the time to waste trawling through blog posts commenting in the hope that the blogger has done the same for you. And you really don't want people visiting your blog that are just doing it in the hope of getting a reciprocal page view. A totally pointless page view! That will increase your bounce rate and give you a false idea of which posts are popular.
For more advice on growing your traffic with Facebook groups, have a read of 'How to get traffic to your blog with Facebook groups (+ 13 awesome groups for women bloggers)', over at Design Your Own (lovely) Blog
Twitter chats are fast paced chats, normally lasting for an hour, hosted by (usually) one person. The host will tweet a series of questions and the participants in the chat then respond to the questions. The chat has a hashtag associated with it, which you need to use in all your tweets so the other participants see it.
Twitter chats help grow your audience by allowing you to meet other people in your niche or industry. You can get help and prove your expertise by giving advice to others. Take part in quality chats that are actually about intelligent discussion and not just about tweeting your latest products or services. Find a Twitter chat you can participate in regularly so the other participants get used to seeing your name. Follow people you are genuinely interested in and, if your audience will be interested, re-tweet their content.
Twitter chats are virtual meet ups and genuine relationships can form from them, leading to increased Twitter followers, re-tweets and collaborations with other bloggers.
For more help on getting the most out of Twitter chats, have a look at this post 'How to get the most out of Twitter chats: 5 tips for newbies', at Heart. Love. Always, and in this post Kayla Hollatz shares her favourite Twitter chats: 'Twitter chats for Creativepreneurs'. (And if you know of any good UK chats, pleeeease share in the comments!!!)
Guest posting on someone else's blog puts you and your content in front of someone else's audience. And if they have a big audience, that's a lot of new eyes on you! Most guest post opportunities give you the chance to include a short bio and link to your blog and one or two links to your other content within your guest post. Some blogs will even pay you for guest posting!
There is a big trend for bloggers falling over themselves to get featured on sites like Huffington Post. Obviously Huffington Post has a massive readership (in September of 2015 it saw 86 million unique visitors! - source) so getting featured on the site has the potential for a massive increase in page views and social shares.
But, applying for guest posts is not just about applying to the sites with the most traffic. You need to take into account if the traffic is right for your blog. (Eg; if you blog about pig farming, getting a post featured on Huffington Post isn't likely to bring you an audience that is interested in your subject!). You need to look for guest posting opportunities on blogs that attract your ideal audience (either with the subject matter or the type of person). Choose blogs that have a similar brand aesthetic and talk to their audience in a similar way to you. You want their audience to 'click' with your content and voice so well they just HAVE to visit your blog!
For a guide on pitching a guest post to a major website, take a look at 'How to achieve expert status by getting published on a major website' by Christy O'Shoney on The Nectar Collective Blog.
An Influencer in your niche promoting your blog is obviously going to be a massive traffic boost. Influencers have huge social followings and most importantly, they are trusted to be a highly valuable source of information. In other words, if someone considered to an influencer in your niche shares one of your posts, people will automatically assume it's worth reading and that you are the bees knees just because they shared it!
'Big' bloggers are busy (hell, we're all busy!) and they don't have time to be trawling the internet looking for up-and-coming bloggers with awesome content to share (unfortunately!) So you have to attract their attention!
But, before you do, as I've already said with the previous 3 blog growth strategies, you need to be deliberate and targeted about which influencers you are going to reach out to. You want to build a relationship with them, it needs to be a two-way thing, not just you stalking them for a few weeks on social media, then expecting them to share your latest blog post! And that takes time and attention to detail and you need to be genuine about it. So choose someone (or a few someones) you truly admire, for their approach to blogging, for the quality of their content, for their moral standing etc, not just the first person you come across with half a million Twitter followers!
So, how do you attract their attention? Here are a few ideas, then take a read of the blog post below for a REALLY detailed look at relationship building with influencers!
- Share their content on social media (don't forget to tag them!)
- Ask a question / comment on social media
- Include their blog posts in your content (like I've done with this blog post)
- Do a round-up post and include them in it
- Send them an email (perhaps a reply to a newsletter where they've asked for a response)
- Comment on their blog posts
For a very no nonsense guide on getting an influencer's attention, read 'How to get an Influencer's attention without being a suck up', from The Branded Solopreneur
Create Awesome Content
Do you know what I like to see on a blog? Yes, that's right; Content.
It doesn't matter how many page views you get if your content is badly written, badly organised, or there's just not a lot of it because all those people visiting are just going to go 'eurgh' and go and find another blog to look at!
Before you even start getting serious about increasing your traffic - make sure your blog is worth visiting! Make sure it is attractive to look at, that it's obvious what your blog is about, it's easy to find information, your categories are clearly labelled, you have at least 5 - 10 posts on your blog before you even launch and those posts have a clear purpose, are easy to read and free from spelling, grammar and factual mistakes.
To discover more about how to write a purposeful blog post, have a look at my post 'How to create your Brand Vision and Blog Post Strategy' (and get creating your blog post style guide with the free worksheets included in that post!)
Have clear Call to Actions
And last but definitely not least, now you've got your blog readers, you've given them awesome content to read / listen to / look at / watch etc, what do you want them to do now? Because, they're not psychic. You have to create easily recognisable, easily understandable, call to actions (or is it calls to action??)
- If you want your blog post shared - include share buttons and a click-to-tweet
- If you want your audience to buy something, link to the sales page, or a blog post to find out more, or just include a 'buy now' button right there in the blog post
- If you want them to download a super freebie you created, include a picture of it, and a big 'download' button
- If you want them to sign up for something (like the benefit - packed Badass BusinessMum's Club for example) link to the landing page, or embed a sign up form in the blog post
Don't go mental and demand they do everything in every blog post! (That's the online equivalent of buying your shopping and being asked if you want a loyalty card. And one of this week's special discount products. Oh and could you round up your change to donate some money to charity? Aargh, no, I only wanted to buy a bottle of two quid shower gel!! It's all too much.)
My method is to always include a click-to-tweet link - these require one click from you, you don't have to give me anything, one click and it's all done. Short and sweet. And a lot of my blog posts include a small freebie download that is available without your email address. Again, I'm not asking anything of you, just giving you something totally free. And also totally helpful!
My major call to action requires something from you - normally for you to join The Badass BusinessMum's Club and in the future it might be to buy a workbook or course. But I'm not going to ask you to do all of those things all at the same time!
So pick one major desired outcome for each blog post and create a call to action to encourage your readers to oblige, and include a couple of smaller actions that don't require any giving of email addresses or credit card details!
Discover how to create an effective call to action in this blog post from CoSchedule, 'How to write a Call to Action that Will Convert'.
Time to Take Action! Download your Free Blog Page Views Analysis worksheet and create an action plan to improve one of your stats next month (eg; reduce your bounce rate, work out how you can direct your visitors to your sales / services pages or encourage your site visitors to return.) Decide which of the strategies I suggested above best suit you, your audience and your brand and make a plan to Do That Thing!