To many 70k page views is a drop in the bucket, but to me reaching this milestone was and still is pretty exciting. Because of this joy and excitement I’ve decided to share the steps I took and didn’t take to get the spike in traffic numbers and sustain them as well.
From the inception of TNT we struggled to boost our traffic because of the large amounts of competition in the natural hair community. With the saturated market, and people’s comfort in going to sites they are familiar/comfortable with for information, we were getting 100-200 page views a day. When we would get days where we’d hit 1000 I’d be so grateful and jump for joy. After about 1.5 years our site crashed and we lost everything, and we lost the momentum that we’d picked up. So back in September when we started from 0 I had to do a lot of new strategies to get us back on track.
From September to February we were averaging about 20,000 page views a month and I was posting about 1-2 times a week. It was a mix between celebrity news, hair care, fashion, lifestyle…etc. I started to pay more attention to our analytics and make some specific changes. So instead of explaining in boring paragraph manner. I’ve compiled a list of things we did and didn’t do in order to increase our traffic and sustain it.
Here is a screenshot of our analytics for the month of January 2015
We had 20,696 page views for the month with visitors spending about 1 minute on our page and 80.9 percent leaving immediately after what they came for. Only 19% of our visitors returned. These statistics were a bit daunting for me so I started writing down plans and goals to help improve.
February 2015 Analytics
In February we saw a small bump in page views, increasing to about 4000 more views. Our visitors stayed a bit longer (1.22 minutes) and our bounce rate decreased by 2 percent, with 23% of people returning. So a few of my goals and changes were working.
March 2015 Analytics
Once I saw these analytics, I could tell what was working and what wasn’t. Our page views more than doubled in one month, with people spending slightly more time on the page as well (1.27 minutes). We had a few of our posts go viral/semi viral in March, (My how to grow natural hair fast, and PCOS update were really big that month) which definitely helped in the page view section. What I was thrilled about besides the page views, was that our bounce rate decreased to only 22% of our visitors leaving immediately after they have arrived and about 22.4% of people returning after their first visit. Before I get to my April reveal, here are the steps/explanations of what I started doing differently.
Blogging Tips : 8 Steps To Increasing Traffic
1. Build Your Social Media Accounts: There’s just no getting around the importance of social media in this day and age. As TNT approaches it’s 2nd year in existence we realized that having all platforms is important, but zoning in on the platform that you’ve garnered the most success in is extremely important. While we possess just about every social media platform, we’ve zoned in on Instagram as our strong key player and make sure to promote our latest post with some sort of interactive question. Because the truth of the matter is promoting all of our posts on all of our social media wasn’t working/garnering much interest. It was when we started putting more focus in one particular platform that we started to see more results.
2. Download Google Analytics: This is going to become your best friend in your journey to increase your page views. I used to use Jetpack (a wordpress plugin) and was really annoyed that the page views never matched what I saw on Google Analytics (until I realized I was looking at the wrong thing/numbers) Google Analytics does take some getting used to and needs to be learned/studied but isn’t a time consuming process. Once you’ve figured out the basics, you can set goals, and track just about anything that is happening on your site. With this information we were able to see what are the best times to post, what key words are working/ aren’t working, where our audience is coming from…etc. Do yourself a favor, if you don’t have it go sign up for it. It is quick, easy, and you can keep an analytics app on your phone, or plugin on your dashboard (If you are using WordPress).
3. Proper SEO is key: Download YOAST SEO as a plugin on your site to help you improve the SEO of your site… point blank period! This app will help you with your site map which is important for Google to be able to find your site and show it to others. Once we started making our posts SEO friendly (even old posts we released over a year ago) we started to see a rise in those posts numbers as well. With analytics and SEO you will be able to pick the proper key words for your post, and hit the other SEO nails directly on the head. In doing so we’ve seen a huge spike in our referrals from Google itself just from organic searches. We are even ranked top 5 in one of our key words, which has caused that post to get over 500+ views daily, without any promotion, and this post was created over 6 months ago.
4. Consistent quantity & quality: This is an important step if you want to make sure your bounce rate stays low, and your Session duration increases. You want people to stay on your site and look around. This not only increases page views, but it also ensures they will return to find more information that they like. I used to write/post 2-3 posts a week max, and sometimes the topic was just the latest celeb trend/drama, or music…etc. I started to realize that our audience interacted more with our hair/fitness posts as well as personal life posts. So I scrapped the celeb/music/movie stuff because it was just draining my time & energy without any great results/return. Besides a shift in quality I also upped my posting to 4-6 posts a week. Thats right… since March I’ve been posting almost every day! Let me tell you it is extremely tiring, time consuming, and draining… but… the more you post the more the google bots/spiders come back to your site and share your content. Also the more I was posting the more opportunity for us to come up in Google searches, as well as more content for our audience to surf through. My favorite sites are the ones I can get lost in, going from post to post without even realizing I’ve spent an hour reading. That is what I wanted TNT to become… so though the posting every day is tiring (and I may decrease down to 3-4 soon) it has worked well in increasing page views! I also noticed way more people signed up for our mailing list with the more posts that came out a week.
5. Pinable Images: This can be hit or miss depending on the post I’ve found but when it is a hit… it is very rewarding! I had my own personal Pinterest that I was just fooling around with for over a year and could never quite get the hang of it. Then I found the God send: CANVA! Canva helped me make pinable images so quickly and easily that I revamped the way I created graphics for the site/posts. In doing so Pinterest became our third ranked referrer (behind Instagram and Facebook) in just a few short weeks. This was bringing in traffic for posts I even forgot about. I still haven’t completely figured out how to do the whole Pinterest group board but I find that the proper title, and hashtag used can reach large amounts of people (and I don’t even have that many Pinterest followers).
6. Join networks: No one knows everything about everything. When you join different networks or groups you get your site infront of more eyes, get help/feedback and different ideas that you didn’t even think about adding to your blogging repertoire. I’ve never had success with Blog linkups but joining networks where I was given different blogging opportunities/sponsorships and the ability to get my site in front of other people has been a huge helpful resource. Networks and groups are two different things so you want to make sure you join your fair share of both. I’m currently in a blogging Facebook group (Bloggers Like Me) that provides a blogging resource book that has been extremely helpful in my blogging journey. Besides the groups assistance I’ve had success with a few networks that provide sponsorship opportunities for me to get my name/brand and blog out there. Famebit (especially for my Youtubers), Glam Media, Cooperatize, and Sverve are a few networks that can help get your name out there to a bigger audience with different brands.
7. Get proper hosting: Ugh… this can be really annoying if not done correctly. After several panic attacks and tears I was able to get it right, and I wished someone had told me of the possible outcomes. When our site crashed in August we had it recreated and GoDaddy was no longer the right home for us. We moved on to Site5 which worked for a few months, but in December they told us we were sucking up too many resources on our shared hosting plan. And at that point we were barely getting 20k page views a month. They moved us into a VPS plan (which I never heard of before) and were charging us an arm and a leg every single month (over 150.00). We couldn’t afford this anymore so we went over to HostGator that offered us a shared hosting plan for much less than what we were paying so we signed up. Our site slowed down ALOT and our bounce rate shot up! The truth is we needed an affordable VPS plan that would have our site moving at a decent speed and would be able to handle an increase in traffic. They transferred our site over for free (twice… from Site5 and from shared to VPS) while only charging us 375.00 for the year! We couldn’t be more happy because our site is moving well, carrying the increase in traffic and we aren’t pouring out money drastically to keep up with hosting. Before you sign up for hosting make sure you tell them the resources you need (which is why Analytics is such a great tool to have) before you shell out the dollars and tears.
8. Linkback to yourself : This was something I consistently forgetting to do and is so simple. By linking your other posts seamlessly (don’t force it) into your new posts, your audience will be more likely to click through. This will ultimately be the key to decreasing your bounce rate, increasing page views, and having your pages/sessions stats increase. Also making sure your links are up and running properly is important (we had a huge issue with 404 pages when our site initially crashed) and had to set up a redirecting Plugin to make sure people were finding the posts that they were looking for.
In following these steps pretty religiously our April analytics look like this:
We had about a 14,000k increase in page views, our bounce rate dropped drastically to 6.84% and time spent on our site increased for the second month in a row (to 1:36 minutes). We’re still averaging about 23% of people returning to the site, but our pages/sessions have increased to almost 3 pages per person that visit (which helps greatly with the bounce rate and the page views). I will continue following these steps, while also adding a few other things to increase the amount of people that return to the site. Hope this helped!
What are some of your blogger tips/tricks you’ve used to increase your page views?
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