How to Drive Traffic to Your Blog Posts
Are you looking for effective ways to drive traffic to your blog and website?
You can promote your blog posts and articles using social media, but exactly how to make the most widespread impact and drive traffic is something that I think most advice lists fail to explain.
Of course you can share your blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and other platforms–that’s obvious. How and exactly what you share, however, can make a big difference in how much traffic your content will generate. Manually sharing a single text post isn’t going to drive much, if any, traffic to your website. Your posts need to stand out, they need to be visually appealing, and they need to use language that makes people curious enough that they’ll click to read more.
It’s essential that every post that you share on social media is accompanied by an enticing custom visual and engaging language that makes people want to learn more. Here are some specific tips to set up your blog promotions:
Configure Your Website to Support Social Cards
Wouldn’t your blog posts be more interesting if they were accompanied with a great visual every time? We use the Yoast plugin for WordPress to support our blog posts. This plugin links your specified image to be automatically picked up when you share your url.
Some social media platforms pick up images automatically anyways, but not all of them. Twitter in particular needs to recognize a Twitter card in order for the link to pick up the image every time you share your url. By configuring the plugin, you can ensure that your link is always accompanied by an image, title, and supporting text every single time.
Click here for more information about configuring Twitter Cards.
Choose a Strategic Title for Each Social Card
Instead of using just a blank image, use a custom image that includes text. Custom visuals that include a title are more engaging when shared on social media. A clear, bold title on the image will stand out much more than the accompanying text. Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are exclusively visual, so your title is very important.
While many bloggers choose to put their exact title on their image, we like to write an alternate title to put on most of our social cards. That’s because when it picks up the social card, the original title will already appear underneath the image, making the text redundant. Plus, an alternate title gives you an extra opportunity to entice a reader.
Text-only Title: How to Leverage Evergreen Content for more Successful Marketing
On the Image: Start Using Evergreen Content Now
Text-only Title: 10 Ways to Find More Customers on Social Media
On the Image: How to Get More Customers on Social Media
The social card will show the image and then the title and either the first paragraph or a description that you configure underneath the title. This gives you multiple ways to attract your readers, helping to increase the likelihood of a click.
Create Visual Social Cards in a Variety of Sizes
The Yoast plugin allows you to upload images sized for Facebook and Twitter. The image sized for Facebook will also work for most of the other platforms like LinkedIn and Google+. Twitter’s specific sizes are smaller. For your image to look right, you’ll want to make sure you’ve created it in the right size.
It’s also important to make other custom sizes for Instagram (square) and Pinterest (vertical rectangle). The sizes are as follows:
- Facebook 1200 x 630
- Twitter 506 x 253
- Instagram 1080 x 1080
- Pinterest 735 x adjusted height (when expanded)
Note About Instagram Promotion:
At the time of writing this article, hyperlinks on Instagram are still not permitted within a post. You’ll want to schedule the image with an enticing title and then share description telling followers to visit your blog to read the most recent article, or include a simplified url in writing.
We always try to make our slugs short and easy to remember. The slug for the blog post 10 Ways to Find More Customers on Social Media is barkersocial.com/customers and the slug for How to Leverage Evergreen Content for more Successful Marketing is barkersocial.com/evergreen-content.
On Instagram, for the Customers post, we would share the image and then include accompanying text, like this:
Note About Pinterest Promotion:
Pinterest is all about creating a visual hook for the public that will make them want to pin your image and also click through to read more on your website. If your pin promises something interesting—visually beautiful or stimulating, or with the promise of information or entertainment—then they’ll become interested enough to pin your content, and hopefully also click through to visit your website.
Write Multiple “Hooks” to Promote Each Blog Post
It’s not enough to share a blog post once. You’ve gone to the trouble of writing an insightful, content-driven article so you’ll want to make sure that you share that blog post multiple times. You’ll also want to make sure that you approach your presentation of the content in a variety of ways so that each time it will be positioned in a new way that could appeal to new readers. We write between 6 – 24 hooks for every blog post that we write.
For our article about attracting more customers, we came up with a variety of hooks that we share regularly to hook new readers:
- Make Better Use of Hashtags to Attract New Customers http://bit.ly/2hDsApm #customers #socialmedia (98 characters)
- Target and Tweak your Ads to Reach the Right Customers http://bit.ly/2hDsApm #customers #socialmedia (100 characters)
- Set a Boosted Advertising Budget to Reach New Audiences http://bit.ly/2hDsApm #customers #socialmedia (101 characters)
- Get Blogging to Create Value for your Potential Customers http://bit.ly/2hDsApm #customers #socialmedia (103 characters)
- Social Media Tip: Use Custom Visuals to Grow your Business http://bit.ly/2hDsApm #customers #socialmedia (104 characters)
- How can you turn followers into first-time and repeat customers? http://bit.ly/2hDsApm #customers #socialmedia (110 characters)
- Learn to Understand your Analytics to Ensure Your Efforts are Working http://bit.ly/2hDsApm #customers #socialmedia (115 characters)
- Your target customers are on social media, but how can you find them? http://bit.ly/2hDsApm #customers #socialmedia (115 characters)
- Use hashtags that people actually look for to grow your customer base. http://bit.ly/2hDsApm #customers #socialmedia (117 characters)
- Stay true to your brand, but also don’t be afraid to have a little fun. http://bit.ly/2hDsApm #customers #socialmedia (117 characters)
- Here are some tips that can help to grow your business using social media. http://bit.ly/2hDsApm #customers #socialmedia (120 characters)
- Do you want more customers? Of course! Here are some practical tips that work: http://bit.ly/2hDsApm #customers #socialmedia (125 characters)
- Improve your Copywriting to Convert Browsers into the Customers you’re Looking For http://bit.ly/2hDsApm #customers #socialmedia (128 characters)
- In 2016, social media networks boasted 2.3 billion users and these numbers are expected to grow. http://bit.ly/2hDsApm #customers (129 characters)
- Don’t expect to just sell sell sell on social media with the result that people will buy buy buy. http://bit.ly/2hDsApm #customers (131 characters)
- Over-selling on social platforms is alienating and will drive away more customers than it attracts. http://bit.ly/2hDsApm #customers (133 characters)
- How can you use social media attract and convert more customers to build your business? http://bit.ly/2hDsApm #customers #socialmedia (133 characters)
- Remember, when marketing on social media, it’s not about YOU, it’s about your customers. http://bit.ly/2hDsApm #customers #socialmedia (134 characters)
- Put the “Social” in Social Media. Get to know your followers and give them a chance to get to know you. http://bit.ly/2hDsApm #customers (137 characters)
We always shorten our hooks using https://bitly.com/ for a more streamlined and concise reading experience, and so that the url fits better on Twitter. (The exception is on Instagram; since Instagram is still holding out and not offering clickable links, we write out the url. See the note about Instagram promotion, above.)
When creating hooks such as these, we use Excel spreadsheets so that we can track the number of characters of each hook to make sure that they don’t exceed Twitter’s
140 280 character limit*. To count the number of characters in a cell, we use the formula =len(XY) where X is the column letter and Y is the row number.
When you share your blog posts on social with a variety of interesting hooks, you entice your followers to click and read what you have to say.
Be Smart About Hashtags
Use hashtags that people might actually search for, not hashtags that are just creative and unique to you. You want to use hashtags that will attract new readers and followers; that people might actually use the search bar to look for. If it’s not trending or an established, popular hashtag wordstring, don’t get creative about it. The chances of your unique hashtag catching on are very slim, and it won’t help you build your readership.
It’s very beneficial to choose hashtags that people actively search for or that are already trending. Those hashtags are also more likely to be retweeted on Twitter. As a general rule, use fewer hashtags on Twitter (two is the sweet spot) but many on Instagram.
If your content is evergreen, you can share it regularly. What does “evergreen” mean? If your content is not going to expire because it’s not limited to a specific date or one-time event, then it’s probably evergreen and suitable for sharing again. It’s absolutely reasonable to re-use certain kinds of content if the information is still interesting and relevant.
Some content might be seasonal, but still evergreen to that season. For example, winter or holiday posts can be shared annually during specific months.
Whenever your content is not time sensitive, you could share it again strategically to reach a new audience. There’s also nothing wrong with reminding your original readers of the value-add of content. The internet moves quickly and they’ve likely forgotten it.
You can manage your evergreen content by creating a Social Media Library to keep track of what content you’ve shared when, so that you can recycle it at appropriate intervals to drive new visitors back to your website. Click here for information about how to set up your own social media library.
Invest in the Right Places
It might be worthwhile to invest both some money and some time to boost your visibility.
Facebook’s organic reach has plummeted, but even a small budget of $25 can go a long way to increase your content’s visibility. Depending on your blog topic, this could be a worthwhile investment.
When it comes to Twitter however, it’s not money, but time that’s the investment. If you’ve referenced or quoted any sources in your blog post that have a presence on Twitter, taking the time to reach out to and tag those users can go a long way towards capturing attention for your blog post.
You can also take the time to reach out to influencers on social media. Small influencers might be willing to share your content for free if they like what you’re writing, while larger influencers will likely charge something to share your content.
Join blogging groups and communities where people share each other’s content and support one another. This can be a very supportive way to gain some traction on your blog but also to learn from other established bloggers.
There’s no doubt about it: Blogging provides you with great content to share and promote on social media. Every time that you write a new blog post, you give yourself fresh, new ideas to share. Good content gives you a way to hook your existing and potential followers to click topics of interest that will drive them back to your website. By following these specific tips, you can diversify the ways in which you’re communicating your blog topic and attract more readers to visit your blog.
If you need help marketing your blog or would like assistance setting up systems to promote your blog yourself, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be happy to evaluate your current practices and set a course for you to increase traffic and build your online brand.
*NB: As of November 2017, the character count for Twitter has increased to 280 characters.