I re-launched my blog recently. After taking a two-year hiatus, I nearly killed all the traffic to my blog. Really, it had dwindled down to 1/10th the amount of traffic. Everyone said things are different now, but I had no idea just how different things had been since the last I had really truly maintained my personal blog.
There are good things today and there are difficult things today that make building traffic an entirely new skill. I'm here to tell you what I've observed over the past few months in order to get your traffic up and running. Granted, my traffic is still not what it used to be, but knowing what works, I'm on my way back… only different.
Use the “conversation test”
How do you know if people will care about your post topic? Test it out by having a conversation with your friends. One of my best and notable posts since my return was, “My Husband Hates Leopard Print.” That post came out of having several (separate) conversations with friends about how every time we wore leopard print our significant others would object. Upon not finding anything about this in the blogosphere, I decided to make those conversations a post.
Be quick with topical posts
The biggest traffic generator for my blog since my return was a topical post on a soppy Mother's Day commercial. I took the devil's advocate side because I really do believe that I've had harder jobs than being a mom. (though none as rewarding). Using my next point, I was able to take advantage of the conversations already happening about the topic because I was able to turn around the post very quickly.
Use hashtags (but not too many)
One of the things that's different now is how people use hastags in social media to discover content on specific topics. If you're posting something topical, or even an #OOTD (outfit of the day) might help a little (although my outfit posts have not been the most successful compared to my other posts). But be careful not to use too many hashtags that you can't even find the caption.
Headlines still matter
I've been a BIG advocate for creating great headlines. While I've changed some of my tactics, or they've evolved… whatever. Headlines DO matter. You want to create something snappy, funny, or straight to the point. Most of all, they need something catchy. Play around as much as you can with your headlines. Also, don't get too comfortable, because people adapt and they always want something new.
Deliver rich, but concise content
I like to be personal, and to tell little anecdotes with my posts, but one thing is for sure, my audience will not read 300 words waiting for me to get to the point. Get right to the point, and the posts have to have some kind of information that people care about. *see the first point about conversations.
Leverage your existing networks
If there is a post you want to push out, don't be afraid to leverage your friends, people who you think might be interested. They might be more apt to share (especially if you ask them) if you get in touch with them. One of the biggest things that helped my blogs when I stared was telling my friends about my blog. The people you know personally will be your best advocates, so don't be afraid to give them the scoop on what you're working on!
Don't settle for ordinary posts
Always be on the lookout for extraordinary content. If everyone is doing a particular kind of post… say DIY Cut Off Denim Shorts. Don't just do a DIY Denim Cut Off Short. You don't have to entirely reinvent the wheel, but you should find a new way to make it sound exciting. Is there a trendy embellishment? Like polkadots?
Post helpful things that people really care about
At the end of the day, people will only come back if you post things that they care about. Your job as a content creator is to figure out what it is that people love. Experiment, try new ways of finding things that no one has, or saying things in a way that no one can say them. Bring something not only new to the table, but something that people can relate to. That is pretty much the only thing you need to do to build an audience.