Are you spending hours writing brilliant blog posts, only to be faced with a mere bump in your traffic on Google Analytics the next day? If you never want that to happen again, this post is for you.
Let’s define a beginner blogger as someone who’s posts usually get less than 100 views in the first day. Obviously anyone with a big following (e.g. email subscribers or Facebook likers), finds it easy to get hundreds or thousands of views for every post they write, even if it’s just their shopping list. Not only that, but they will get dozens of comments and likes for their mediocre ramblings!
But beginner bloggers (and I still include myself in that category) can’t get away with that. If I want to get big traffic to my posts, I follow these 5 rules:
- A Hot Topic – Since you are not (yet) a power-blogger you cannot just write whatever you feel like and hope that hundreds of strangers will care. You might have a lot of good points to make about baking or skin care or management consulting, but you run the risk of being drowned out by the heavyweights who already writing about these topics. Here are three tried-and-true ways to get people’s attention for your post – 1. relate it to a hot news item (e.g. Bin Laden’s Babka Recipe); 2. drop the name of a celebrity (Madonna’s Babka Recipe); or 3. relate it to an upcoming event that everyone is thinking about (Lag Ba’Omer Babka Recipe????). As long as there is some connection between Bin Laden and babka in your article, you’re good to go.
- An Intriguing Headline – The main factor that will determine whether anyone will read begin to your post is the headline. So don’t blow this sink-or-swim opportunity to get their attention. If you have a hot topic, writing a good headline is easier. I think a good headline should be intriguing, it should raise a question in a person’s mind that is interesting enough that they really want to find out the answer, i.e. read your post. Just think, if I had called this blog post: “Great ideas to get more views for your blog posts,” would it stand out from the crowd?
- An Eye-Catching Image – Everyone enjoys seeing a picture among text. It really adds quality to your blog. But the real need for an image is that if you want your post to be shared on Facebook, an eye-catching image will attract more people to click on it. Of course, if you are writing about a hot topic, eye-catching images are usually easy to find.
- A Like Button – Speaking of Facebook, you should be using a plugin to put a “like” button at the end of every post (and a tweet button too). Whenever, anyone finishes an article, they have this split second of indecision where they are not sure what to do next. If your post was worth reading (and especially if it was related to a hot topic), they will often click that “Like” button – and that means more traffic for your blog post. You can also actively encourage people to click “like,” but only do this is you really think your post is the kind of thing people will share.
- A 5-minute Social Media Campaign – You can’t expect anyone to read your post if no one knows that it exists. Assuming that you don’t have many Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn followers or a significant number of email subscribers of your own, there are still ways that you can let people know via social media. For example, you can post on a relevant popular Facebook page or group (this is where your headline and image will play a big role). You can also use any relevant online group or list as a place to promote your posts, just don’t be the nudnik who does it too often. If you are writing about a hot topic, you will find it pretty easy to attract visitors this way.
It seems that all of these points boil down to one main factor: a hot topic. I’m not saying that you should only write about hot topics, but you should write them on a regular basis as a way to attract that initial traffic that you can convert into loyal subscribers and likers. I’ve used this formula a few times now and it always works for me.
Here’s an example: I am currently working to build up the new blog on my translation site and so two weeks ago I decided that I would write a post about the Royal Wedding. What does the Royal Wedding have to do with translating old Yiddish letters? Gornisht! But I was determined to make the most of this molten hot topic by writing a post about it for the blog. This is the post that I came up with: “Will and Kate Plan Jewish Dance for Royal Wedding.”
The result: I got a very healthy spike of traffic for this little post (close to 400 views in a few days). And it was all thanks to the Royal Wedding hype and nothing to do with the brilliance of my post, though the post must have been somewhat entertaining because no less than 45 people decided to hit the “like” button at the end of the post. More importantly, this post got us 12 new likers for the website’s Facebook page and 1 great new customer so far.
But what about SEO? you may ask. Since hot topics cool off pretty quick, the long-term SEO value of these kinds of posts is not great. Nevertheless while the topic is yet smoldering you can get a lot of search engine traffic. (Due to the rumor that Prince William would break a glass, my post got good search engine traffic, even though it is not optimized.) However, you should still also be writing posts that target keywords with long-term SEO value – after all, SEO is what will keep my sites working on autopilot even when I’m off listening to Lipa Schmeltzer perform on a kosher cruise to Alaska.
But until I fulfill that lofty dream of mine, the hot-topic posts are what get my sites noticed today.
Try it yourself for your next post.