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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).
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