One of the ways by which you can evaluate your blog growth is by the number of visitors you are getting (Use Google Analytics to keep track of your blog visits). But, just the visits are not enough to measure the growth, as the traffic has to be targeted.
Therefore, to increase the targeted traffic to my blog, I have burned the midnight oil in past 48 days.
There are various ways by which one can drive traffic to their blog, and I’m a firm believer of growth hacking. With growth hacking, one can use existing content and start getting more traffic to their blog.
Many of you might be aware of the fact that my blog was hit by Google Panda algorithm in 2011, and this was the time when I realized the importance of SEO. I spent months on learning SEO and practicing it to recover from Google Panda (For new readers, you can read all about my recovery process over here). Panda recovery was a big relief as for once I almost lost faith and thought my blogging career is over.
During my process of learning about SEO, I realized that Search Engine is nothing but a set of codes/algorithm, and we just need to make sure that our WordPress blog meets their requirement.
One of the biggest misconceptions with search engine optimization is that one need to do some shady techniques to rank higher in the search engine.
But, the fact is SEO is first about readers and a bit of technical tweaking to make it search engine friendly. No website can be ranking higher for long without quality content and which is not giving great user-experience.
In the case-study, I will share exactly what all I did which helped me to increase my traffic by 28% in just 48 days.
I’m sure there will be a lot to learn for you as well, and my suggestion would be to take action right away and not just to read whatever is written.
If you can’t take action now, you should rather bookmark this article now, and come back later when you are ready to take action.
Case-Study: What All I did to increase my Blog traffic in 48 days
How it all started:
Well, I was sailing on a smooth boat, and I was least worried about increasing traffic. My focus was to constantly produce new content to keep regular readers engaged, and it was not a bad approach, but I was kind of ignoring the importance of those readers who were coming from search engine and landing on old posts.
While writing new articles, it’s also important to work on your old blog posts and improve them.
You should read this detailed guide on why you should edit your blog posts and how to recycle old blog posts for traffic and exposure.
Anyhow a few weeks back, I got to know about LinkPatrol plugin that I reviewed and installed it on my blog to fix my old links. You can read more about LinkPatrol plugin here. With that, I started auditing all my posts, and that gave me a completely new perspective about the conversions.
I also managed to earn an extra $1200+. If you are interested in knowing how this plugin helped me to make money, you should check out this detailed video guide over here.
Let’s look at the steps I took which helped me to improve the traffic drastically, and it’s been improving since then.
Moving Non-relevant article to other blogs:
If you are new reader of ShoutMeLoud, you should start with reading this personal story of my blogging journey, and you would know that ShoutMeLoud was started as a tech blog and later on it found the niche as you know of today.
I had almost 50+ quality technical posts written in around 2010-2012, and I had to get rid of them. They were not low-quality content, but they were not adding value to my current niche of the blog.
What I did was; I moved all the posts from ShoutMeLoud (SML) to ShoutMeTech ( SMT- My Tech Blog) and here is the process that I followed:
- I made the list of all the tech posts that I wanted to move from ShoutMeLoud to ShoutMeTech.
- I checked the post in Google search for any duplication. Since many lame newbies copy content from this blog to theirs, I filed DMCA complaint against them and got rid of all the duplicate content. This was a necessary step, else If I would have directly posted the content on ShoutMeTech; it would have been treated as a duplicate content.
- Now moving posts from ShoutMeLoud to ShoutMetech was a task and manually moving images was time-consuming. I found this useful plugin call Archive remote images, which automatically saves images. After copying the content from ShoutMeLoud to ShoutMeTech, I deleted the content from ShoutMeLoud and added a request from Google Webmaster tool to remove it from Web-index.
- Once the post was gone from the search index, I published the post on ShoutMetech and added a 301 redirection from SML post to SMT.
And guess what even deleting many traffic driving non-relevant articles didn’t affect ShoutMeLoud traffic, instead traffic keep increasing over the time. Notice the graph below:
This entire process took some time, but it was necessary to make all the content of ShoutMeLoud relevant and remove those who doesn’t align with the goals of our blog. If you want to learn more about this ideology of mine, you should read my article on Single-niche Vs. Multi-Niche blog, where I have shared my observations and viewpoints regarding the same. If you are wondering what happened to my traffic on ShoutMetech, check below graph:
Optimizing Posts for Keyword Ranking:
I’m a big fan of SEMRUSH tool as it offers everything you need for my blog such as Trackbacks, Keyword search, Keyword ranking to name a few. This is an ongoing process, and what I do here is, I use SEMRUSH to find all pages that are ranking for a particular keyword in page-2 or more of Google search and optimize them for the particular keyword.
I have shared the complete process earlier here, and you can take a test drive of SEMRUSH for free using this promo link.
Repurposing the content:
This is the most recommended strategy for getting traffic, as you don’t need to work a lot, and you can get more done in less time. What I did is hired freelancers on ODesk to create slides from my existing blog post. I uploaded those slides to Slideshare, and that helped a lot in getting traffic and branding the blog. Here is one example of such slide that I created for my popular post “Twitter tools“:
I’m still in the process of optimizing my slides to drive traffic to my blog, but for the starter, you should read this guide on using Slideshare for driving traffic. I will share my experience and results when I have more data to share with you.
Overall, Slides is a completely new addition to my blog promotion techniques, and it is working. If you are in tight budget, you can start creating slides by yourself which should not take much time. You should read this awesome guide from Outbrain on 23 tools to repurpose the content.
Upgraded ShoutMeLoud theme to responsive and Mobile site:
ShoutMeLoud was running on an outdated version of Thesis theme and in July first week we migrated to the latest version of Genesis WordPress theme.
More over, I also added a mobile specific site that helped me to increase the traffic from the mobile search engine. Nonetheless, moving from Thesis to Genesis improved the overall performance of my site.
Improved loading time of the site:
Upgrading to Genesis theme already improved the loading time of my site by 300%, and I further optimized it to using Cloudflare free CDN. ShoutMeLoud is hosted on HHVM based WordPress hosting on Kinsta, and with this ShoutMeLoud is now loading in less than 2 seconds.
Improved related posts:
Earlier I was using related posts via custom code, and I was not happy with the relevancy of related content shown after the post. Related content works way better, only if the related posts are shown in the series format.
I removed the custom code and added related posts plugin by Zemanta, which let me edit the related posts and select which posts I want to show.
Just to give you an idea, it automatically shows the related content from your blog, and you have the capability to edit the related content and pick content manually for each post.
This work is still in progress, and I’m hoping to notice a significant improvement in the bounce rate of the blog.
Removed broken links and irrelevant links:
This step I would recommend to you to do it immediately as broken links are really bad for overall SEO score of your blog. You can use WordPress plugin call Broken link checker or desktop tool call Integrity to find all broken link on your blog.
Get rid of them right away. Also, if you have allowed guest posting on your blog and links on the posts are irrelevant or redirected to some other site remove them also.
I also made a big change in the guest policy of ShoutMeLoud, and now you can’t guest post for backlinks. Anyone is free to contribute an article related to the niche of the blog that adds value to the community.
Many of you may ask “What’s in for me?” And I have added this in the page itself; your profile will be visible to 400,000+ Shouters that will help in personal branding. Moreover, ShoutMeLoud is all about helping bloggers and entrepreneurs to grow the business, and if you are someone with the same attitude you are welcome to contribute.
Android & iOS app for ShoutMeLoud:
I also developed a dedicated Android app & iOS app for ShoutMeLoud, which you can download right away from Google play store here. This is a recent launch and the effect on traffic will take time, but now our readers have one more way to stay connected to ShoutMeLoud. Moreover, mobile users are growing exponentially, and you need to have a strategy for mobile web as soon as possible. The more you wait, more customers/readers you are going to lose.
These are not notable changes that I have done in the last couple of weeks and traffic has improved for the blog, and I would recommend you to try making these changes to your blog, and it might have an improved traffic effect on your blog.
One thing which I want you to read before you drop a comment is: How not to write meaningless content for utter success, as if you understand this Mantra, your blog will grow faster than you can imagine.