Seeing no blog traffic is probably the worst thing that can happen to you and your business. Especially building a brand new blog is a challenging process if you don't apply the best SEO strategies for your needs. That's why I want you to learn from a true traffic expert.
Today I invited a real SEO expert for a talk. James Gill is co-founder and CEO of GoSquared - a London based company providing real time traffic analysis services to 40.000+ clients all over the world. James is talking about the methods GoSquared used to build their blog and the massive following they have nowadays.
Let me share the best advice from James upfront with you: If you don't have a blog, get one now and start writing about what you're doing! This is going to be valuable for yourself and for your business in the future. If you're not sure about HOW to get started, shoot me an email and I'll be happy to help you out!
I was really excited before this interview, because I'm using GoSquared on this blog and I truly love their service. The interface is nothing but sleek and easy to use, they deeply integrate Twitter and before using GoSquared I had no chance to see real-time changes in the behavior of my visitors. Now I can just track along which posts are currently viewed, how long people already are on my site and measure lots of other interesting statistics as well.
I'd like to thank James again for sharing some very actionable SEO strategies for beginning entrepreneurs and bloggers! If you apply any of the shared methods, I'm sure you'll see an increase in your blog traffic.
Building Blog Traffic
James says that they started the GoSquared blog by blogging about what they were doing. They blogged about what type of service they were building, what solutions GoSquared would provide and just tried to gave their readers insights about their progress.
What this did is that they created an attitude of expectation. Their target market started to get interested in their service and started to follow their progress on building the product. Therefore they needed to have an exact image of their ideal type of customer and having this knowledge helped them to provide relevant content about their progress.
Blogging about the general building of GoSquared did work for one part of their target market. But as they're providing APIs and target more techy people, the GoSquared blog also contained information about how the team learned new programming languages, how they changed frameworks or introduced new technologies.
Here you can see that you need to get very specific with your content if you want to attract readers to your blog. There's no way general content without any detailed information will benefit your readers and thus you won't see lots of them on your blog.
Please don't make the mistake of publishing content twice a week just because somebody told you to. If you publish a post without any actionable advice, new insight or relevant information for your audience, that post will harm your reputation. Rather focus on creating good content once a month than publishing twice a week just for the sake of publishing.
You should also use your blog as a tool to make yourself and your business transparent. For example, I'm publishing income reports where I share my earnings in passive income. GoSquared blogged about their decision making processes so that their readers had a good understanding of what's going on inside the company.
GoSquared also used to create content as giveaways for their readers. Being a software company they could package certain icons, buttons or images from their software interface and offer that package as a download.
James said that having an actual download gave their readers the feeling of getting a present and thus made a deeper connection between GoSquared and their audience. Since people are able to keep what they downloaded they feel like they received more value from you than just by reading your posts online.
In fact, their graphic packages got featured on numerous posts of top ten icon sets, top ten user interface graphics and similar posts - some of which came from popular magazines and thus lead massive traffic to their blog.
You can adapt this concept by offering your posts as a download, just like I'm doing with this one (for the first time on this blog). I already got comments on my longer posts that I should offer a print solution and this interview lead me to the experiment of packaging my posts in PDF files and offering them as downloads. As I'm doing this for the first time, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this experiment!
It's probably easier to come up with a downloadable package than you think. What about creating some kind of checklists or presentation that is solving a need for your target audience?
The great thing about having these downloadable packages is that you can use them as lead magnets for your mailing list as well. You can use plugins like OptinSkin or Popup Domination to create optically pleasing optin forms that collect email addresses by advertising your giveaway. And every new signed up person will automatically get your giveaway either via redirected page or via email autoresponder. If you have more questions to this, leave a comment or shoot me an email.
GoSquared does heavily rely on Twitter, especially as they started their business. For James it's not just a marketing opportunity but a tool to make sure their customers are happy. Happy customers love to return to your blog to read your content and stay loyal to your business and that's why the social media strategy of GoSquared is so powerful.
And that's exactly how you should treat social media as well.
It's about making connections to new people, building relationships and earning trust. The keyword is "customer success". As online businesses tend to sell products and / or services you should be constantly searching for ways to increase the success of your customers. And where is that easier possible than in social media?
That's why GoSquared measures who mentions their name or any keywords related to their business. They reach out to anyone who's talking about related topics and see whether they can help. They'll do all they can to increase the benefit of their service for their customers and that's what makes them successful on Twitter and on other platforms.
See this company as a good example how you can use social media to grow your business. Yes, it is time consuming to hang out on those sites. Yes, it is challenging to get in touch with strangers and offer them your help. But that's a great way to grow your business - thus you should invest that time.
You can use tools like Buffer, ManageFlitter or Hootsuite to increase your productivity and success - just like I do and GoSquared does too.
What's a good trick is that you can post the same post over a long time - if it's relevant. So if you have a post that's providing information which can be used a few weeks from the release date, just re-post it in social media. Obviously you should tweak the message in the post to not repeat yourself, but you can link to the same content again after a certain period of time.
A good rule of thumb is to tweet 8 - 10 times a day. We're talking about scheduled tweets here - which you can send with Buffer or Hootsuite. If you've released a new post, you can tweet that post three times on that day, with different messages of course. Use different times at the day like morning, afternoon, late evening to ensure that at least one tweet gets seen in the timezones of your target audience.
Don't worry about tweeting too much about the same stuff. People usually get hundreds if not thousands of tweets per day, so what are 8 - 10 tweets in this amount of messages?
Besides using tools to schedule messages you need to make sure that you're interacting with people. Follow the leaders in your niche and actively reach out to them. Try to build a relationship with the influencers in your market and follow their followers to build your audience. If you get them to talk about your content and sing your praises it's definitely a business booster for you.
Also due to the limited amount of time, you need to make tough call on how you prioritize. Make sure to interact with the most influental people and answer their questions if you can't keep track of everyone. This might not be the best way to treat your customers and I'm not saying that you should ignore the others - BUT you need to work in the most efficient way to grow your business.
People want to follow accounts that post valuable content - regardless whether it's your own content, industry news or great articles by other people. So sharing not just your own content but other information is a good way to increase your following in social networks.
After all you need to figure out where your target audience spends the most time. As James says, there is no magic formula to become successful on social media - it's about connecting to your target audience in the most efficient way.
On-Site SEO Optimization
When it comes to on-site optimization, GoSquared is relying on the free YoaST plugin to create keyword oriented posts.
This is something you can easily apply to your own blog as well. First and foremost content should be designed to be helpful for your audience but using YoaST will allow you to structure your content so that it's found by search engines too. There are lots of benefits from getting free traffic coming from search engines, shoot me an email if you want to learn more.
Another point where you can improve your conversion rates and rankings is by making your site load faster. People tend to leave slow sites before they even finished loading and search engines do also prefer fast websites. This is a bit technical but I can help you with this if you're stuck or unsure. Basically you can use plugins to cache your websites, use content distribution networks or load libraries more efficiently - those will make your website faster and thus increase conversion rates.
Cutting down the plugins installed on your site and reducing image sizes also can play a very important role in getting more blog traffic. You see, there's a lot of potential you can unleash by having a bit of technical knowledge - or knowing someone who has 😉
3 Step Process To Get Blog Traffic
James said that there is a three step process you can follow to generate blog traffic - especially when you're running a new blog. So here it is:
- Get a blog and start writing about what you're doing. Use it as a review tool for your business, reflect your decisions and share your knowledge.
- Cover all necessary social media. Find the networks where your target audience is hanging out and that allow you to convey your message.
- Build relationships online like you would in the real world. Be yourself and get in touch with the influencers in your market.
- Smashing Magazine
- GoSquared - real time traffic analysis
- SparkCentral - sntreprise social media management
- Bufferapp - scheduling status updates on social media
- YoaST - free SEO plugin for WordPress
- WP Super Cache - free caching plugin for WordPress
- Use Google Libraries - free plugin to speed up WordPress
- Pingdom - monitoring service
- Image Optim - Mac app for image optimization
- CloudFront - content distribution network
Ok, this was a long transcript of the interview and I didn't even include anything we talked about! So if you don't have a chance to watch the video right now, be sure to bookmark this page to come back later so that you won't miss any of the content.
I hope you enjoyed listening to the interview as much as I did talking to James. If you have any question unanswered or want to share how you're growing your blog, feel free to leave a comment and I'll definitely get back to you!
All the best,