7 Proven Strategies to Increase Your Blog’s Traffic by 206%
Written by Neil Patel on September 30, 2014
According to Hubspot, companies that blog have 97% more inbound links. But you already know blogging is valuable, which is why you already have one.
But if no one visits your blog, how are you going to generate those links, or even more traffic, or sales?
If you want reliable and qualified traffic, but don’t know where to begin, this post is going to be your best resource. Read it religiously and act on the nuggets. Some of the strategies you know already, but I’m going to approach them from an entirely unique angle.
Specifically, you’ll learn 7 proven strategies I used to triple my blog’s traffic. Here’s what I’m going to teach you:
Kindle Select 90-Day Traffic Plan
How to create viral content
How to create evergreen list posts
Long-tail keyword domination
Email traffic generation
Twisted guest blogging
Restructure your posts
Download this traffic strategy cheat sheetthat you can use today to improve your blog’s traffic.
Traffic Strategy #1: Kindle Select 90-Day Traffic Plan
Did you know that self-published books now represent 31% of e-book sales in the Amazon Kindle Store?
You used to need thousands of dollars and a contract with a large publishing house to get published. That’s changed. Anyone with an idea worth sharing can be a published author within a week and, more importantly, drive a lot of traffic to their blog.
I won’t discuss Kindle publishing in detail here (read Copyblogger’s excellent guide instead), but I will show you how to drive targeted traffic and reach thousands of people for free when you publish via Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).
Here’s how it works, when you publish your Kindle book, you can enroll your book into the “Kindle Direct Publishing Select Program”. That makes your book exclusive to the Kindle Store for 90 days and includes it in the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, where thousands of targeted readers can borrow it for free. You can even run a free promotion for a paid ebook for 5 of those 90 days.
There are two simple ways to use your Kindle book to drive traffic to your blog or landing page:
Link directly to your website inside the book
Use a free giveaway
Lets first go over how you can get traffic by linking directly to your site.
The screenshot above shows how you can link directly to your blog or website inside your book before you enroll it in Kindle Direct Publishing Program. This strategy alone sends up to 200 extra visitors to your site within 30 days. Chris Guthrie peaked at #119 in the Kindle Store when he got about 2000 free downloads. With the right call to action a top 100 ranked ebook can send you anywhere from 300 to 3700 visitors a month.
But linking directly to your website isn’t enough to make you stand out. To get even more traffic, use your ebook as a traffic magnet by including a free giveaway… which gets us into our second method of leveraging KDP.
Steve Scott has published more than a dozen Kindle ebooks and has built a huge list of targeted subscribers. His technique? Giving a freebie to book buyers. When they buy, they see a “free gift” message, with two links to the author’s landing page. This is a simple and hugely effective technique.
But that’s not all. Use Amazon’s “Look Inside” and “Download a Sample” features to give readers a free report. Add a call to action on page 4 of your ebook (the last page in the preview) and link this back to your landing page or blog. Every 30 previews send about 10 visitors to your blog .
If your book is free, expect 1000+ visitors to your blog in about 7 days or close to 6500 visitors per month. Free downloads make your ebook rank higher and attract the attention of your target audience. Chris Guthrie’s book “How to Make Money as an Amazon Affiliate” got 3,500 free downloads in 48 hours, and climbed to #1 in its category.
Traffic Strategy #2: How to Create Viral Content
Everyone wants to create viral content, but most people fail. That’s because they don’t pay attention to the sites that successfully create viral posts, day in, day out. If they did, they would learn three secrets of viral content creation.
The first secret, which isn’t really a secret, is to write great headlines. 8 out of 10 people will click to read your content if you get it right.
The second is to get the length right. Viral content publisher Buzzsumo found that its most shared posts ranged from 3,000-10,000 words.
And the third is to have a killer idea that is sure to go viral. Here’s how you do that:
Understand your audience
Use Buzzsumo to generate content ideas
Use Ubersuggest to generate content ideas
Generate ideas from useful comments
Step #1: Understand your audience
What does your audience want? I sometimes use Quora to figure out what my audience is passionate about. All I do is type my primary keyword into the search box and hit enter to get a list of people’s most pressing questions and concerns.
Step #2: Use Buzzsumo to generate content ideas
If you want to engineer a viral post, you need to find out what makes other posts successful. Buzzsumo is a great tool for this. Plug in your primary keyword (I’m using “conversion optimization” in this example) and search.
You can see the number of social media shares for the top posts related to your keyword. The top post in this example has 1,364 tweets and 2,601 shares. Check out the top headlines too. In this example you can see that conversion optimization tutorials are very popular. Use this technique to find the most popular topics in your niche.
Step #3: Use Ubersuggest to generate content ideas
Ubersuggest is a unique keyword suggestion tool that also helps you generate blog post ideas. Type your primary keyword into the homepage search box. For this test, I typed blogging.
Leave the default settings and just click “suggest”. Ubersuggest searches the entire web for related words and phrases.
Here are some examples of Ubersuggest results:
ubersuggest sites that pay
Which phrases appeal to you from the examples above? Your readers will like them too.
Pick a phrase and click the plus sign to see even more phrases – and get more ideas that you can research and write.
ubersuggest paying site dropdown
Step #4: Generate ideas from useful comments
I love to read blog comments. Not only is it great to connect with readers, but I’ve got a lot of useful content ideas from comments over the years. You can too, but you need to find comments from people who really know their stuff.
The best way to find them is to visit authority blogs to find expert advice to include in your posts. For example, check out the commenters on blogs like the Moz blog shown in the example above. Commenters on those sites are usually seasoned entrepreneurs, SEOs and content marketers whose comments provide great ideas.
A good example of a blog that is creating viral content on a consistent basis is Upwrothy. Upworthy has grown rapidly since its launch two years ago, with a whopping 88 million visitors. That’s more than Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, and even Business Insider.
Many of Upworthy’s posts are viral and there are three reasons for their success:
Fewer sharing buttons
A short emotional video
Look at the headline below. Does it make you want to read? Each Upworthy headline makes readers curious enough to click and read more.
You can do this too. Here are some typical headline templates you can use to create magnetic, clickable, shareable headlines. Just fill in the blanks with your primary keyword or goal.
This 3-Minute Video Will Show You How To ______________
How a 5-Minute Video Generated ____________ Visitors In ______ Days
The Only Proven _______________ Technique That Works
10 Weird Tricks To Get More ________________ in Just 15 Days
_____ Ways To Work Less Than 2-hours Daily And Still Earn $_____
Example: if your niche is blogging, you could write:
This 3-Minute Video Will Show You How To Install WordPress
The Only Proven Blogging Strategy That Works
In addition to using curious headlines, Upworthy knows that the more social sharing buttons you have, the lower your conversion rate. Compare the screenshot above with the one below: which would make you click? Upworthy successfully uses limited choices to drive engagement.
share button many up
share button upworthy
Lastly, they tend to include emotional videos, which is an excellent way to motivate readers to get involved with your topic.
Case study: In 2012, Michael Dubin, co-founder of Dollarshaveclub.com, created a video. He knew his audience (men) and delivered his message in an interesting manly way, including a story and a clear way for customers to get a better shave for just $1.
Within 24 hours, that video went viral, generating thousands of paying customers, and adding over 5000 email subscribers to their list. To date, the video has over 16 million views on YouTube.
The lesson? Include video to make your content even more compelling.
Traffic Strategy #3: How to Create Evergreen List Posts
Evergreen list posts are another proven strategy for increasing blog traffic. A Moz case study defines evergreen posts as “content having a continued and sustained success” and shows that evergreen posts can generate traffic years after their original publication.
60 Second Marketer sums up the dos and don’ts of creating evergreen content in this slide:
So how do you decide whether a topic has evergreen potential? There are two ways.
First, ensure there is at least one magazine or publication on the topic/subject you want to write a list post on (this reveals how popular your topic/idea is).
Go to magazines.com and type your primary keyword into the search box. I typed “marketing” and found more than 50 marketing magazines: