Over the years, my career as a blogger has really evolved. Here at IFB, I've taken more an editorial strategy role since the IFB team has grown. One of my daily activities is to focus on is how to bring more traffic in to the site through planning. Yes, you heard me planning! Luckily, we have great writers like Taylor, Ashe and Amanda… In the last few months, we've doubled IFB's traffic, then tripled it. It took a lot of focus, and we did it! And here's how…
1. Use Your Editorial Calendar
Who knows when the Editorial Calendar was invented, but it's probably been an integral part of publishing from the very beginning. When it comes to blogging, you don't need to make a big deal about your editorial calendar, but it makes a huge difference when you do something. Even if it's on a post-it. Here at IFB, we generally plan or Editorial Calendars a week or two in advance, in a spreadsheet. This allows for creating a content rhythm, and mixing things up when it starts to look a little stale or repetitive. Editorial Calendars also help you stay inspired and keep you motivated!
2. Content Marketing
Everything I've learned about content marketing was from CopyBlogger. There's so much to learn! I can say that the little we've applied to IFB has had a profound effect on the traffic. Borrow your post title strategies from magazines and newspapers (no more esoteric fashion puns!). Look at the types of posts you click on and analyze why. Reward readers by giving them something they need, what is your reader looking for?
3. Send Sticky Newsletters
Time and time again, the IFB newsletter has been our largest traffic driver. Since the beginning, I've personally sought to create a newsletter that would be useful. Email marketing is not dead, personally, I love the newsletter emails from Mashable, LinkedIn, Gilt, WhoWhatWear and Refinery29…as well as IFB. Look at the newsletters you love, analyze them and see how you can appropriate those principles to the newsletter promoting your blog. It'll do wonders!
4. Host an Event, Either Online or In Real Life
The IFB Conference is coming up next week. Now it's sixth season, it's possible to say, that after every confernece the community grows. Organizing conferences is a lot more work than I would suggest anyone do, however, there are other events you can plan to promote your blog. You can pitch your idea to a brand to cover the expenses (or even get paid for some events), and it would be a great way to connect with your readers. Heck, I even hosted a garage sale in my apartment lobby and it was a great way to meet my readers and make connections.
5. Experiment, Monitor, and Drop What Doesn't Work
I'll try just about anything, once. With blogging, there is just about a million and one things out there that promise traffic growth. A “million,” said with Dr. Evil voice. The truth is, different people have success with different things. A newsletter might not work for you. Twitter might be your game, or these days, Pinterest. Stumble Upon might be your holy grail one month and the next it's all about Facebook. The traffic gods might seem fickle, but it helps to see what works by looking at the numbers that come in your analytics. That way you can see what is working, and have more information around why it works. Do your list posts work better than your outfit posts? Did that DIY post bring in enough traffic to justify the labor and, well, ok that DIY post was fun. Anyway you get the point. Looking at the numbers helps you make informed desicions about how to plan your time, how to experiment and how to know your traffic is really growing.
6. Set Clear Goals for What You Want to Achieve
If you start of by saying, “I just want MORE traffic.” chances are you'll have difficulties structuring your strategy, you'll also have a hard time knowing when you're really getting to what you want. Set your ultimate goal, which could be anything like 3,000k a month to 3 million a month or more if that's where you're heading. Then break it down into achievable steps. Three million visits a month might sound crazy, but bloggers are doing it, if you set your goal to three million from three thousand in one month, that may not work. But setting a goal of three thousand, to four thousand in one month is achievable, and you can outline what you are going to do to get there. My favorite way is to write our goals down on our white board. Seeing the goals and the outline of how we're going to make it happen makes it easier to take steps and to recognize when it actually happens.
Of course there is a lot more we do behind the scenes, but basically this is where we start. How do you grow your traffic? What has worked the best for you?