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Optimize Your Posts
If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it even make a sound?
Or, if a blogger publishes a post and no one’s following it, did they even make a post?
Oddly enough, the answer to both questions is both yes AND no.
Sure, you’re going to get a ton of your traffic from social media. I’ll get to that in Part Two. Sign up for the You Can Do It Too Newsletter to get first word of when I post!) But if your post aren’t prepared to help your traffic grow, all you’re going to have are people clicking into your blog posts, and clicking right out.
How can you tell?
Take this page in Google Analytics:
Yes, this is from my personal Google Analytics page for QuestFor47.com.
This screen shot was taken a few months ago, at about 6 a.m. It shows how much traffic I got from midnight to that time. You’d think, five users, five sessions isn’t bad for a brand new website that I wasn’t publicizing very much on social media, right?
When I can see from this traffic is that people are clicking onto my website, and clicking right off. You can tell that from the way my Bounce Rate is at 100% and my session duration is at a big honking ZERO.
Now, this could be for a lot of reasons, and I have my hunches. I also know it means I have to go back and tweak things on my page to ensure that I’m keeping people around longer. Remember what I said in 8 Keys To A Successful Side Hustle? This is all a learning experience.
Traffic is something that takes time to grow. It’s not going to happen overnight. And if you’re just starting out, you probably don’t want it to. Don’t want to have zillions of page views right from the start? Why the heck not?
Optimize Your Posts: Have An Opt-In Incentive
Because you need to make sure you have your systems in place in order to take advantage of your traffic. And that means making sure that you have a valuable opt-in available to get new readers onto your email list. If you don’t have that, you won’t be able to build the foundation of your traffic.
What is an opt-in incentive? It’s something related to your content that you offer to your viewers, FOR FREE! For QuestFor47.com, my primary opt-in incentive is my free, 5-day email course, Content Explosion, which helps side hustlers plan 12 months of blog content in just one day.
Have your opt-in incentive available strategically on your website, and make sure you have it available in all your blog posts and pages. You don’t want a reader to get to that one page where it ISN’T and risk losing not just a raving fan, but also a future customer.
Optimize Your Posts: Have A Clear Call To Action In All Of Your Posts
Another great way to grow your traffic is to encourage engagement on your posts.
That means posting a clear call to action that’s related to your post. Ask a question and solicit answers in the comments section of your post. Or encourage your readers to click a link to a product that you are selling, or to an affiliate product you’re publicizing. Maybe it’s telling them to click on over to Facebook and like your website’s associated Facebook page (follow mine, because I go live every weeknight in a series called 10 Minutes Before Dinner).
Whatever it is, make sure it’s clear and encourages engagement.
And remember, the only way to really foster that engagement is to respond to each and every comment that pops up. Yes, every single one. You never know what kind of dialogue can come up in your comments section, what kind of value your reader can bring you and your side hustle. Sometimes that value is even more than just exchanging dollars for product.
Optimize Your Posts: Quality Over Quantity
This is probably the most important tip I’ll have for you, so pay attention!
More content does not mean QUALITY content.
Growing your traffic does not mean pushing yourself to put content up a million times per week.
Quality content is the best of what you want for your website. If the quest for producing quality content means you only post one long-form piece every week, then so be it. Maybe you only post every other week, that’s great too. As long as it’s quality and it offers value to your readership.
Keep that in mind when you’re preparing your posts, or a series of posts based around a similar theme. You want it to showcase the best of what you know.
Optimize Your Posts: Consistency
Consistency is critical to growing your traffic.
Your readers don’t want to find a new website, subscribe to it, only to not get notice of a new post for six months. In the day and age of the internet, they WILL forget about you and why they subscribed in the first place. Do you know what that means? It means that when you do email them, they’ll probably unsubscribe.
As I said above, that doesn’t mean posting every single day if it’s not going to provide value. You just need to be consistent. It could be twice a week, it could be once a week, it could be twice a month. You can play around with it, see what works best for you and your life. No one’s going to fault when you’re just starting out, if you take time to figure out what works. Everything about blogging and side hustling is an experiment.
But once you find a schedule, stick to it. Put it in your calendar, carve out time to get your posts written and prepped, and do the work.
Don’t forget to add Google Analytics to you website. That is the number one traffic analytics platform out there. You will see how consistent posting and a consistent presence on your social media accounts WILL lead to a positive growth in the number of users and sessions on your website. It’s all about building upon the platform that you set. And remember: the more posts you have, the more likely someone is going to stick around and see what else you’ve written.
Optimize Your Posts: Introduce A Series
A series can be anything, depending on your niche. It’s a great way to keep readers on your website once you get them there. Say you’re doing a four-part series on why NaNoWriMo is a great event for writers to participate in every November. Make it clear that the first post is a ‘Part One’, because if your reader likes that post, they’ll definitely come back for the next. And the next. And the next.
That’s how you keep your readers.
And when you’re posting your part twos and part threes and part fours, don’t forget to link the series back to one another. When you’ve posted part two, go ahead and update your part one with links to it, so your reader can move seamlessly from one post to the next. Rinse and repeat until you’re done and all your posts are linked together.
And the best way to keep them coming back to your series? Make sure you include that call to action to get them to sign up for the email list. It can be as simple as saying, “Want to be the first to read Part Two? Make sure you’ve signed up for the email list by clicking here.”
P.S., This post is a series too. Check back next week, when I post Part Two.
Optimize Your Posts: Include Images
Have you written a post about how important Siteground is to hosting your money-making side hustle, like the one I wrote here?
Did you notice how I included images in that post? I did that, because people like to be walked from step to step to step when learning something new, and many people like to have visual aids in order to speed up the process. Not to mention, posting a picture that’s a screenshot of you opening up a tab and pointing your mouse at one of the software options is much easier to understand than a very wordy step-by-step, click here, and then click here, and then click here.
Images provide a ton of depth to your content and really helps your audience understand the message you’re trying to give them.
Optimize Your Posts: Link Between Your Posts
This is one of the most important parts of blogging. I even talked about it in Start Your Side Hustle In 5 Easy Steps. Whatever niche you’re in, you are providing a guide to your readership. And to guide them best, you need to show them how your content relates to one another.
The process is a called a lot of things, but I just call it Interlinking. You see it everywhere. You even see it all over my website. In my August 2018 Income Report, I even linked to every single post I put up on the month of August. Why? Because it’s a great way to show first-time readers who come to my site via that page what else they can find. And for repeat readers, maybe it reminds them that when they first came around, they thought about reading one of those posts and now they have an easy way to get back to it.
The trick to interlinking is that it encourages readers to click around from page to page. It makes it almost stupidly easy for a new reader to find their new favorite post. It may sound repetitive, but the longer someone stays on your website, the more likely they will subscribe to your list, and eventually buy your product.
Coming Up Next:
Part Two – How To Grow Your Traffic
Once you’ve optimized your posts to keep your readers on your website, you need to spread the word that you HAVE a website.
So don’t forget to sign up for the You Can Do It Too Newsletter by clicking here so you can get first word of when I post Part Two. Not only that, but the You Can Do It Too Newsletter comes with a TON of amazing behind the scenes content not to be found in any blog post. You’ll also get insider access to upcoming projects and actionable tips to take your side hustle to the next level.
What are your favorite ways to optimize your posts to grow blog traffic? Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments!
Start Your Side Hustle Today
Have a lot to talk about, but don’t have the website to guide your readers to? Now is the perfect time to get started.
Now is the perfect time to take my free email course, where I teach you how to plan a year’s worth of blog content in just one day. This training takes away all the mystery behind figuring out what you’re going to write from week to week and helps you plan the ultimate in blogging content that your audience will absolutely love.
Don’t forget to get hosting (plus a free domain) for as little as $3.95/month through Siteground. You can read why I choose Siteground to host my websites in my post, 6 Reasons I Host My Side Hustle On Siteground (And You Should Too).
Pin It For Later!
Great info. I really need to go back and link blogposts and really clean up stuff. It seems it never ends. Good thing I enjoy it… most of the time.
Yeah, it really is never-ending, but linking new blog posts into old ones will be a great boost because the older ones have the benefit of sticking around longer for SEO purposes, and you can use that to leverage traffic to the new ones!
Thank you for all the great recommendations. These really work! I am personally trying to incorporate all of them in my blog. And it does work. And of course, first and foremost, QUALITY of the content! This is for sure the main key!
Yes! Having quality content is SO important! You got this!
It has been hard for me to be consistent, but that just means I have work to do! I need to sit down and make a plan – and stick to it! Great tips here.
It’s SO key! If you need a consistency boost for your blog content, my free-five day email course, Content Explosion, will walk you through planning out your content calendar for the next 12 months, freeing you up to focus on what really matters. You can join here: http://bit.ly/5DayContentExplosion
Great insights and best practices! This is going to be so helpful for me since I’m just starting out! Thank you so much!
Happy to share! Having a strong foundation when you’re just starting out will do so much to help you down the line! If you want to talk about your business and your vision for it, feel free to schedule a free, 30-minute Zoom call with me and we’ll get you on the right track: https://calendly.com/questfor47/sidehustlevision
This is really great information! I don’t always respond to comments, and I still haven’t created an opt-in incentive. Thank you for the reminder. Good stuff!
Engaging with your audience and getting them on your email list are the best ways to grow your audience! Remember, it’s all about providing value!
Thank you for all the great recommendations. I’m new to blogging so I love learning as much as I can.
Happy to share what I know! If you want to talk about the foundations of blogging, schedule a free, 30-minute Zoom call with me. We’ll go over your vision for your blog and how to take it from where it is to where you want it to be! https://calendly.com/questfor47/sidehustlevision
Great, and very helpful, tips! I’ll be taking these into consideration as I continue to work on my posts!
Happy to share! Keep up the good work, and remember that consistency is key!
Great information Kathryn. I believe our content is good (not biased am I?) – but we struggle with engaging our subscribers read and interact with our posts – most of our traffic seems to come from our blogging friends… it’s frustrating at times. I’m definitely keeping this tips in mind for our blog strategies. Thanks for sharing your experience – it’s very helpful to a new blogger!
I totally know where you’re coming from, and I totally understand that frustration. To get word about your blog out there further, I would recommend leveraging Pinterest. It’s one of the most powerful search platforms out there and will really help you grow your platform. And engage with your list on a personal level. Instead of just popping up every time you have a new post, really go deep into what you have to offer them, and also offer them things that you don’t share to your blog or your social platforms. For an example, check out the latest edition of my You Can Do It Too Newsletter, which I send out to my community every Thursday: https://ckarchive.com/b/e5uph7hn57n8
This is great info! I’m still kind of all over the place with everything but getting better every day!
All progress toward your goal is epic progress! You’ve got this!
Great post I liked the idea of a call to action one of the best things I did was taking off my sign up form as soon as someone logs into my page it help my bounce rate
That’s awesome! I still recommend having an opt-in to get people onto your list, so you can start growing it. Providing value in an authentic way related to your niche will be huge! You’ve got this!
Lol I have been there. My issue is SM marketing. It kills your bounce rate even though you gain a lot more traffic.
Yeah, I try not to get overly worried about bounce rates. I think it’s really important to focus on engagement, whether that’s sharing your content or signing on to your email list. It’s a balance. If there is a sudden spike, then there’s definitely something to look into, but I don’t think bounce rate is a be all end all.
Great post! I’m working on building my traffic so i will implement a couple of these strategies
Happy to share! You got this!
Great information about optimization. Thanks for sharing!
Happy to share!
These are great tips! I love the quality over quantity. I feel like that’s the motto of my life lately!
Exactly! If high quality means a lower monthly post-rate, then it’s okay! Just be consistent!
So much great information that I need. Pinned this page to go over again and again. Thanks!
Happy to share!
Excellent tips! I really need to work on my email list with some kind of opt-in.
Having an email opt-in will be great to help you grow your platform. I know a lot of people have more than one, but to start off, just focus on one great, value-adding freebie that really fits with your niche. Once you have that up and running and converting, then you can focus on adding to your library of resources!
As always, great content and suggestions. This blogging journey is definitely a step by step process. The ultimate rewards are worth all the work.
Exactly! It’s all about the value that you provide to your audience. It’s all about the long game here!
Still working on my lead magnet…but I will get there!
You got this!
Lots of great info here – I’d say the key is to Optiimize :).
It’s SO important!
This is so helpful, thank you! As a blogger myself, I find some of these points easier than others. It’s encouraging to read posts like this one to be reminded to try all the different ways I can optimize my posts.
Blogging isn’t always easy, but the rewards are so great! Happy to share what I know! Start with what you can and then expand into the things that are trickier. You got this!
These are such important reminders. My goal for this year I need to work more on the photo portion of my blog posts.
Photos are a great way to add value to your content! People love seeing pictures!
Hmm, love the idea of doing a series of blog posts…I just may steal that!
Happy to share! Series’ are fantastic!
This is such wonderful information!! Thank you for this. Definitely what I needed to read before the week starts.
Happy to share! You got this!
Wow, this is great info. I definitely need reminding–quality over quantity! It’s so easy to pressure myself into trying to post EVERY DAY, when like you said that’s really not going to help unless the content is baller. Thanks!
Exactly! If you need to reconsider your posting schedule, then do it! People make these changes all the time! You got this!
Sounds like an opt-in and e-mail list is my next step. Good thing I like writing. Thanks for the tips!
Yes, your email list is the ultimate foundation of your side hustle! In order to have consistent growth, you’ll need it! Start with one opt-in and get it great and converting well. You don’t have to have an entire resource library to start. You got this!
Great info! I definitely need to create an opt in for my site.
Yes, an opt-in is critical to the growth of your email list! Start with one awesome thing that adds value to your blog content, get it up and running and converting. You don’t have to pressure yourself into creating a ton of opt-ins to start! Keep it simple!
Great information! There is a lot to do, but once you get in the practice of each step it becomes less overwhelming. Thanks so much for another really helpful post! 🙂
Happy to share! Really getting into a productive routine is crucial for success!
Oooh, these are all great tips. I really need to work on my email list and newsletter.
Happy to share! Growing and nurturing your email list with valuable content is going to be SO key to your hustle! You got this!
Love the tips! I have been trying so hard to consistently post on Tuesdays and Saturdays and its been working really well. I try to write it all out then spend time optimizing photos, linking back to other posts, etc. My traffic is finally growing pretty consistently and I’m proud! But too often I’m coming across other bloggers who post everyday and I can barely understand the point of their post. Quality is SO important!!
Thats so awesome! Keep it up! Remember to focus on you and what you’re doing, and through that your audience will continue to grow!
It’s all good info. The business end of blogging is tough for me… really tough… and I have a long to do list in this arena… one day and one item at a time…
It can be challenging, especially when you’re starting out. Just remember, when you look at your task list, to think about what will make the biggest impact if you prioritize it right now. If your daily to-do list is longer than, say, 5 things, it’s too long, and all you’re going to do is overwhelm yourself. Keep it simple and everything else will work itself out! You got this!
Great info!!! I’ve done a series and people do like to follow them. I also agree that quality over quantity is key. I am a stickler for making sure that the quality of my post is as top notch as it can be, though probably to a fault. LOL. However, I am trying to be more consistent with publication and linking.
Getting consistent is super key, because when people get used to you posting on a certain date or certain frequency, you’re more likely to stick in their head. And don’t stress too much about the perfection side of things. Provide value and you can always go back and fix the little things that you notice later! You got this!
Great Info! I’m still working on being more consistent. I love the idea of doing a series!
A series is a fantastic way to boost your consistency! You got this!