Of course you want to get more traffic. I mean, why else maintain a blog, right? The big question is, however, how do you do that? There is so much information out there regarding that second question. Everybody and your internet phobic uncle Jimmy have a theory about how you should optimize your content.
So what actually works?
That is what we’re going to look at today – the strategies, unlike many of the content marketing myths out there, will actually going to lead to content that people want to read.
I really shouldn’t have to say it. You need to have an analytical program installed. I personally think Google Analytics is the one to go by, but there are other alternatives. This program (And it’s friends) will give you a huge amount of data about how people are using your site. Now, a lot of people will focus on how many people are actually coming to their site. That’s interesting, but not really what you should mainly be focusing on.
Instead you want to look at such things as:
What are they reading? What isn’t getting any traffic? Where are they bouncing away from (i.e. only looking at one page on your site before heading off) and what has them spending a long time on your site?
From here you can then find the content that generates the greatest interest and that which does not. Then you give them more content that covers the former and less content that covers the latter. Do that and you’re already a long way towards optimizing your content.
Stick to your niche
Like so many people you might be tempted to write about everything for everybody. The problem with that strategy is that you’ll probably end up writing for nobody. Why? Well, for several reasons.
- If you’re a generalist then people will not have you connected with a concept in their minds. If you’re a specialist, however, then it’s much easier to have your name become equated with a specific niche. In the latter situation, if they need any information about your topic, then you’ll go to your site. And that’s return traffic, that is.
- To create loyalty you’ve got to keep pinging your fans with the stuff they want to read. If every time they visit your site there is something else that grips their attention, then sooner or later going to your site will become part of their routine. This can only happen, however, if you write about what they’re interested in. If you’re writing about everything, that’s much less likely to happen.
So at least when you’re starting out, stick to your niche. Then, later on when you’ve got a bit of a following, you can branch out and possible try tackling a few more topics that interest you, as then you’ve already established that big equals sign in their minds.
Work on your readability
You know how you flick from page to page, reading a little bit here and a little bit there but rarely finishing an article? That’s how the majority of people use the internet. So you’ve got to play to that. You’ve got to make sure that your content is easy to read. Fortunately, that’s easier today than it ever was.
There are now plenty of tools that can make your content more readable. For example, you can use readability-score.com to look at how readable your content is. They’ll give you a huge amount of information.
The tool I swear by, however, is the Hemingway app. This app will tell you where you’ve got long sentences, where you’re using the passive voice and more. In this way you can take the time to make your text easier to read and in the progress significantly raise the chance that people will actually end up engaged.
Have a great headline
So many people add headlines as an afterthought. That’s a huge mistake. The headline (and sometimes the picture) is all that people will generally get to see and therefore if you want to steer traffic to your site, you have to make sure that it actually works.
Here too there are plenty of tools available. For example, you’ve got coschedule’s headline analyzer. Just plug the headline you’re thinking about using in there and it will give you back information about how effective it is. Then you can spend some time tweaking and changing until you’ve got something that really rocks.
Without the right headlines people aren’t going to click on your links. And when they don’t do that, it doesn’t matter how good and optimized the rest of your content is, as they’re simply not going to be reading it.
Make your content sharable
When you do have a good bit of content, you want to make sure that it actually gets as much readership as possible. One of the best ways to do that is to make sure there are sharing buttons on each article. These will make it more likely that your content gets places.
What is more, they will also serve as an additional way for you do establish the value of your content, with the more people who share your content meaning that is more suited to the audience you’re targeting.
The last element that you’ve absolutely got to put into your story to optimize them for your audience is time. Content creation is a process of give and take. You give your audience the content and then you take away the lessons that they provide.
Slowly and certainly you’ll get a better understanding and learn how to better tweak your stories, your headlines and your content to provide your audience with what they want.
That won’t happen one, two, three. It’s a matter of giving it time and gaining the experience. For that reason, don’t expect your content to take off the moment you start. It will only happen after a long period of investing your effort and expanding your understanding.