When I started this blog way back in 2013 on Tumblr (anyone remember Tumblr?) I had very little idea about blogging. I had never heard of SEO and I had no idea of the direction that my website was heading. It was very much me just rambling on about our walks and camping trips. Five years, and several incarnations, later my blog has an identity and a purpose and I have learnt so much. Having said that, I am always striving to improve blog traffic and develop my output.
The Helpful Hiker has been though a few different versions over the years
I took some time over the Christmas holidays to do a little spring clean of The Helpful Hiker and make a few tweaks, all in order to improve my blog traffic and smarten it all up. I sometimes feel that I’m in an awkward adolescent stage of blogging. I’m not a newbie anymore, but equally I don’t feel that my blog is growing as quickly as it once was.
Do you feel like your blog is stagnating?
Here are three easy methods to improve blog traffic that I have used recently with significant success.
- Don’t forget about your old posts
I had been meaning to sort out some old posts for ages. I have posts on my blog that are five years old, and were written when I had no understanding of what my blog would turn into. The SEO was also pretty shocking, none had keywords, some had a very low word count, and one post even had no photos! I rewrote them, adding in some more details and images, and adding in keywords where appropriate. On my walking posts I added maps of the routes to make them more user friendly, and also added clear links to other, more recent, related posts.
A photo from one of my very first posts, when I’d never even considered editing my pics and still just used my phone to take photos
As much as I cringed reading my old posts, it was also encouraging to see just how far I’ve come in the last few years.
- Capitalise on your most popular posts
I have one post on my blog that is far and away more popular than any other. It’s not even typical for me, yet somehow this post about outdoor hashtags ranks very highly on google for several keywords and brings me a lot of traffic. I’d love to say otherwise, but it was a complete fluke. On the one hand it’s great because obviously I benefit from the traffic, but on the other hand it skews my stats and also has meant that I have a very high bounce rate.
So how can I use this post to improve blog traffic and turn it to my advantage?
If you have a particularly popular post there are a few things you can do to capitalise on it. Firstly, you could write a sequel or even make it into a series. In my case I have started writing a few more posts about blogging, so I can now direct these readers to other posts that they may be interested in. Also, make sure that your post has lots of internal links, you can also add some affiliate links if relevant. Finally, you could think about producing a printable or ebook, or another product to offer your readers based on your popular post. This is a great way to get more subscribers to your email list.
Another post of mine, My Top 5 Walks in Northamptonshire, has suddenly jumped to the top of google and so has started gaining more readers. I wrote this post in November 2015 and haven’t touched it since, yet as of September this year it became my second most popular post. In order to capture this influx of new readers and improve blog traffic I made one simple change.
Just one change has made a massive difference to my stats
At the bottom of the post I added ten links to other Northamptonshire walks/days out. This has reduced the bounce rate of my whole blog by just under 4.5% in 5 months and this post now has one of my lowest bounce rates. I have started doing this to other posts, so hope to see further improvements to my blog traffic.
- Tweak your less popular posts
In order to improve blog traffic, don’t just focus on your popular posts. Look at your less read articles and those with a high exit rate. Is there anything you can do to improve them? As mentioned above, a few tweaks to make them more readable can work wonders. Ensure you are using effective keywords, and make sure your posts are ticking all the boxes in terms of SEO. I blog on WordPress and I find Yoast is a great plugin for making sure I am optimising my posts correctly. I also often go back and add in some up to date information or, particularly in the case of reviews, I add an epilogue to explain how the product has performed over the longer term.
One of the things that I love about blogging is that things are continually changing. I am always learning new skills and finding better ways to improve blog traffic. If I can give you one tip, it is to get to grips with your analytics and use them to fine tune your posts and move your blog up a level.
I hope this has helped and let me know of any tips you have used on your own blogs with success.