Blogging is certainly popular and it’s tough to get your content to stand out from the crowd. Done with your wallflower days? If you’re wondering how to increase website traffic and win the hearts (and business) of new readers, it’s time to rethink your strategy. Kick up the flavor and spice up your blog with new, original content ideas and better search engine optimization tactics. Here are five tips to help you win a content crown in the online popularity contest.

With more than 440 million (and growing) blogs out there, it’s safe to say blogging is a popular pastime. But smart influencers and businesses know, blogging is more than simply a hobby—it’s a marketing tool. In fact, there’s no better method to increase website traffic than producing informative, intriguing, well-written, and strategic content.

It’s easy to get blogged…er, bogged down in the mentality of more is more when it comes to content. But in truth, it’s not she who blogs the most, who wins the contest at the end of the day. Nope, it’s she who blogs the smartest. Quality wins over quantity every time.

Ask yourself, does your content speak to your reader? Inform them? Solve their problem? Warm their hearts? If it doesn’t, it’s deadweight on your site. Nothing will kill your traffic faster than mediocre, random posts not written for your reader. Every piece of content should answer a question—figure out what your readers are asking, and you’ll win them over in no time flat.

So what does this delicious, spicy, popularity-contest-winning content look like? If you want to increase website traffic, use these five recipes for content success.

1. Interviews and Q&As

Everyone loves a juicy interview. It’s why we tune in to Oprah, Barbara Walters, and nighttime talk shows. There’s something fascinating about an insider’s view on…well, pretty much any topic. But great interviews aren’t limited to musicians, athletes, and Kardashians. An expert interview is a fantastic feature on any blog.

Readers are visiting your site because they want to know more (it goes back to the whole “answer a question” advice, above). Who better to share more information than an expert?! Your company’s CEO, a happy client, or a fellow influencer; these are all the celebrities of your blogosphere.

If Teen Beat taught us anything back in the day, interviews are only as good as the questions. Lead your reader to the answer by showing them you understand their inquiries. Q&A content is an easy-to-read format to draw readers in. FAQ sections and posts responding to common questions are also great ways to increase website traffic (a.k.a. good for SEO) because readers often find their exact query right on your page. Show them you really “get” who they are and tell them what they want to know.

2. Listicles

There’s nothing better for reference than a great list, right? That’s why so many of us are addicted to to-do list apps like Wunderlist, Todoist, and Habitica. Want to see how much people love lists? Search “bullet journal” on Pinterest. There are some serious list-lovers out there.

Listicles, or blog posts in list format, draw in readers and increase website traffic. Lists are great content because they’re often concise, to the point, organized, and easy-to-read. An informative list is usually numbered and includes headers for each item (kind of like this post you’re reading right now, hint, hint).

Of course, when we think of listicle, we all think of Buzzfeed—the Ruler of this content format. Keep content on your site more robust than Buzzfeed content, but you can certainly take a few lessons from this leader. Lists and listicles perform very well on social media. They’re easily shared, skimmed, and understood. Best of all, lists increase website traffic by tempting readers to click through and read the rest of the “top ten tips” they need to know!

3. Photos and Videos

Content, especially optimized content is all about words, right? Well, yes and no. Visual search is definitely an important part of SEO. If you want to increase website traffic, visual appeal matters. Not because your readers are superficial, of course, but if you want to turn their head you’ve got to first catch their eye.

Presentation counts and high-quality photos are critical for most posts. Your products, recipes, and yes, even information needs appetizing packaging. Lackluster visuals only detract from your message. In the content marketing world, you may hear varying statistics and analysis on “dwell time” or the amount of time readers stay on your page and engage with your content. Suffice it to say, it’s short. Like, seconds. If you don’t look good, no one wants to look.

The other piece of visual content is video. You may think, “Dammit Jim, I’m a blogger, not a vlogger.” Yes, fine, but there’s no ignoring the fact video draws readers in. 87% of online marketers use video content and 51% of marketing professionals name video as the content with the best ROI. You don’t need to trade your keyboard for a camera but mixing in a little video content increases website traffic, engages visitors, and gets shares. You’re cute! Your team is cute! Maybe your boss is even (sorta) cute! Stop being so camera-shy, people and add video.

4. Current References

Call it what you will, pop culture, zeitgeist, current events, the news, it affects us every single day. Guess what, the cultural atmosphere affects your readers too. While you may hesitate to include time markers in your content, lest it becomes less evergreen, it’s important to consider what’s going on in the world to avoid sounding tone deaf (and to help your readers know you’re a real, live person).

Take for example the post you wrote for your foodie blog, reviewing your great recent trip to Chipotle…the day after a recent food poisoning scare. Too soon? Well, you could still keep the subject, but consider shifting your discussion to include the trending topic from a hospitality professional’s perspective. Not only does the relevant topic help you seem more aware of current events, but it will likely drive additional traffic to your site (at least temporarily).

Carefully aim for a healthy balance. Keep your content as evergreen and “undated” as possible, but when you see a cultural opportunity open up, don’t fear jumping in. If your most popular post is holiday-themed, then come October parade it out on social media again and even give it a refresh or “buff.” Great content can always get better and relevancy is lightening that can strike more than once.

5. Incorporate Relevant Keywords

Keywords…what are keywords, even? What do keywords do? How do I use keywords? Are keywords like hashtags? (Yes, that’s a real question.) We hear a lot about keywords in the SEO world. Posts need keywords to get “found” on Google, right? But how do you choose the right types of keywords?

A bit of basic keyword research is a great place to start. Before you create content, start with a topic loosely sketched out in your mind. Run a search to see what similar topics people are browsing (check out the suggestions from Google at the bottom of your search page).  Always think of the searcher first. What are they asking? How can you answer their question?

The basics of keywords are really simple. What is this post about? Sum it up in a few words. Include those words and similar words throughout the post. Keep the post focused and to-the-point.

On a broader scale, there’s plenty of help for keywords, SEO, and building your content (Ahem…). We’re happy to share our knowledge and help you build content that will increase website traffic and keep your readers coming back for more.

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Colin_faviconIs it time to make real changes to the content on your blog? Are you totally lost and in need of major help to increase website traffic? Do you have a thousand random questions about everything you just read? No worries, we can’t wait to help you! Contact Posts By Ghost™ or leave a comment below!


Featured image by NeONBRAND; all images licensed for use via Unsplash.

About 

Jen holds a BA in Community Leadership and Non-Profit Business Management from Alverno College. Prior to and while attending college she built her field experience through15 years in office managerial positions. This experience spanned a variety of industries, from a pre-Google-Images dotcom, to managing the offices of a psychiatric practice and a charitable foundation, and for the last five years, a public relations and lobbying firm. Jen consults for a variety of clients, including managing the content of multiple WordPress websites, social networking, billing and compliance for her former and current employers, and doing “lucrative” volunteer gigs for fellow non-profits and events, including WriteCamp Milwaukee.
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