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I have noticed that one of the questions that come up most frequently in our Facebook Group Blogging for New Bloggers is how to drive traffic to and increase page views for a new blog.
In my first few months blogging, I wrote a post detailing the strategies that we put in place at the time. A lot has changed for our blog since then and I’m happy to see how much has grown and evolved.
However, the strategies and actionable tips at the core of that post are still valuable. So, with the view to helping new bloggers boost their traffic, I thought of revisiting it.
I basically left as it was because I think the value of the post lies in the fact that it was written from the perspective and the experience of a new blogger. For that reason, I didn’t update the stats or added stuff related to what we’re doing now.
I have only made the following few small changes:
- The post now reflects the fact that we no longer use Squarespace (we migrated to self-hosted WordPress in the meantime and you can read here why.)
- I initially used to hide pinnable pictures in my post via a code. That seemed like a great idea when I was a newbie but now that I know better I recognise it was pure BS, and I don’t recommend you do that. So, the post has been updated with what we do now (spoiler: we use Social Warfare for the purpose of hiding a pinnable picture within the post correctly)
- At the time, I had prepared a SEO checklist. Over time, it has evolved in a guide to easy SEO strategies for new bloggers. So, I updated the post to reflect that.
But except for these small changes, I left everything in its original version.
So, here you have it: my post of when I was a new blogger just starting out.
You can read it now or you can always pin it for later.PIN IT FOR LATER
Do you know you risk fines up to EUR 20 Million if your blog isn’t GDPR compliant? Better act fast! Take my course to make your blog GDPR compliant in a matter of hours.
Table of Contents
How I went from ~ 1K a month to ~ 2K page views a day in my third month of blogging
In our first month of blogging, we had around 1K page views, in our second month we had 10K. Our traffic has continued to grow exponentially. We’re now in our third month of blogging averaging 1800 page views a day. Our Pinterest monthly views have also gone up to over 114K.
I thought of sharing what has worked for us so far.
So, let’s dive into some actionable tips to skyrocket your page views in a very short amount of time!
You might think I’m stating the obvious here, but you have no idea how many blogs I have come across that don’t have a clear branding or a Pin it button.
So, let’s start with a few quick and easy tips that will definitely make your blog more professional, recognisable and most importantly, easy to find and share.
Pick a palette or a colour scheme and stick to it. Choose two or three fonts and make them yours. Use the same palette and fonts across all platforms (your blog logo and overall design, Facebook page, other social media profiles, pins, images, etc.). But your branding shouldn’t be limited to the overall design; it should be also clear from the general vibe of your website and your unique writing style. So, let your personality shine through!
Upload a favicon. A favicon is that little icon (usually your blog logo or part of it) that appears next to the page title in a browser tab.
It will take you two seconds but will make your blog look more professional and carefully perfected in every detail. Again, your favicon must be in line with your overall branding.
If you’re on a free platform and don’t have your domain, but you take blogging seriously and are even thinking of monetising your blog, get your own domain
now yesterday! And unless you can’t really do otherwise, get a domain with the .com suffix.
Make your blog easy to find. This should be a given, but I’m shocked at how many blogs don’t come up in a Google search of their domain/name. It has happened to me quite a few times that I have come across a very interesting blog, memorised the name with the view of going back to it later, only to realise the next day this blog was nowhere to be found in Google. And yes, it’s true that I could have looked for the link where I first saw the blog, bookmarked it, pinned it or whatever, but seriously, do you want your readers to go through hoops to be able to find your blog or make it as easy as possible for them?
Personally, I have taken the time to make sure my blog would show up as the first result for any Google search of my domain/name and any variation of it.
At the time of setting up this website, the niche of my blog was dating and relationships. I have named my blog after this lovebug for the romantic implications, and my dog Tiny (a big American Staffy for the record) for sentimental reasons. Now, being Italian, little did I know at the time that in English tinylovebug is a cute expression some parents use to refer to their little babies.
Because of this, in the first few weeks, my blog was relegated to page 14 in Google after an endless list of websites about babies, Etsy shops and even a German blog with the same name. And if I hadn’t done something, I bet it would still be this way.
But now, instead, when you search for Tinylovebug or any of its variations, my blog is always the first result!
So, how do you do this? First, you need to get a basic understanding of how the Google algorithm works.
You need to know that in order to compile the massive index of billions of pages, Google sends around some “spiders” that crawl the web to discover new and updated pages to be added to the Google index. This crawling process works through backlinks. And a brand-new blog has very few backlinks – if any, so it may take ages to Google to find and index your new blog. Hence, you’re better off taking the matter into your own hands and let Google know about your brand-new website.
It’s like in real life. If you get invited to a party where you don’t know anyone, you can sit in a corner and hope for someone to notice you and come over to talk to you, or you can go and introduce yourself to a group of people and start making friends.
Now, there is nothing wrong in being shy in real life, and if you prefer to sit in the corner at the party, that’s totally fine. But you cannot – and I repeat, YOU CANNOT – be shy with Google. Go and introduce yourself to Google ASAP.
How? You just sign up for Google Webmaster Tools and Search Console. It’s totally free and won’t take long to set up everything. Once you’re in, fetch the information about your website and your sitemap to Google, and it will start indexing your pages. Then rinse and repeat for each version of your site, regardless of which one is your primary or favourite. For instance, I have fetched information and submitted a sitemap for https://www.tinylovebug.com (primary), http://www.tinylovebug.com, https://tinylovebug.com and http://tinylovebug.com.
If that wasn’t good enough, Google Search Console comes with an added bonus. It won’t only tell you which pages have been indexed and whether there are errors you will need to fix in order for a page to be indexed, it also shows what queries your pages show up for in a Google search and the number of clicks and impressions for each page.
I will just add that the first time you fetch and send your sitemap, it will take Google a few days to update its index. So, don’t worry if you don’t see your website showing in Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) straight away. But the wait is only for the first time. If later on you make some substantial changes to your blog and would like to re-fetch and send a new sitemap to Google, the update will be processed within a few hours. I told you making friends with Google would get you special treatment!
As I like to dream big, my next step will be to get Google to display a search result grid for my blog, like it does, for example, for Neil Patel.
However, that’s really up to Google, and I suspect it takes a long time to get there and probably requires a huge number of page views to your site. Regardless of the sitemap you submit, Google wants to make sure users get the best and most relevant results for their search. I mean, of course, you can try your best with SEO and a sitemap that would make sense, but ultimately it’s up to the algorithm to decide in the best interest of Google users which way your website should appear in SERPs and what are the most relevant pages to display in the grid (if applicable).
But you know, I’m not in a rush. If even Forbes doesn’t have it, I can live without it a little longer. One step at the time.
Update 21 October 2017: We made it, we made it! ahah!
Speed and mobile optimisation
Your work doesn’t end with making sure people can find your website, you also need to ensure that when they click on your website it loads quickly. In this day and age, no one wants to stare at a blank page for longer than 1 second.
The trick to increase the speed of your website is to compress all images and upload only pictures that are less than 500 KB, but seriously, the smaller the better! I know it sounds obvious, but this was one of my rookie mistakes. Most of my photos were (and some still are as I never seem to find the time to go back and replace them) well over 2 MB, no joke!!!
Also, limit your plugins to those that are truly necessary, and try to place them below the fold (that part of a page that can’t be seen unless you scroll down).
Finally, make sure your blog is optimised for mobile devices. Content that looks great on a desktop doesn’t necessarily translate well on a mobile. And if your visitors need to swipe, zoom or squint at an illegible font, sure as hell they will leave immediately. Welcome bounce rate of 97%. Ouch!
While it’s true that nowadays every man and their dog has share buttons on their site, I have still come across a fair bit of blogs that don’t have a button to share on Pinterest or StumbleUpon. If you don’t have those, you’re missing out big time!
Sure, if they really like your content, some visitors could go the extra mile and save it from their own pin button or add the URL of your post manually on StumbleUpon, but again, why would you want to make it harder for them?
At the same time, don’t go overboard! I have seen some blogs with over 30 share buttons including the Yum button for posts on the topic of quantum physics or dog training. Seriously? Do you need that? I don’t think so!
Just pick a few platforms that you think are more likely to drive traffic to your website depending on your niche, and leave the rest out. Up to you, but I would definitely recommend including Pinterest, and to a less extent StumbleUpon.
If you do add the Pin it button, make sure you have a pinnable picture in your post. To see what I mean click the pin button below this post and a pinnable picture will show up (you don’t need to go through with it and actually pin it if you don’t want to, but it would be nice if you did ahah!).
I like the idea of hiding the pinnable picture within the post, as the size, colour and shape of the perfect image for your blog post and for Pinterest rarely match. So while for the first few weeks I was trying to upload pictures that would be okay for both (with laughable poor results for both the post and the pin – you can have a look at my first posts and pins to see my failed attempts), I now upload a horizontal image for the post and hide a pinnable vertical picture within the post.
You can do this with the Social Warfare plugin. In addition to many other benefits, Social Warfare lets you upload a custom Pinterest image together with a custom description so that when someone clicks the pin button, the exact image and description will show up.
This plugin is only available for WordPress so bloggers who are on other platforms use a little workaround (which I don’t recommend).
Some blogging sites recommend to upload the pinnable picture to a free image hosting site like imgBB of tinypic and then get the html code for your picture to use on your website.
You get the code, check that the alt tag is okay (if not, change it to one of your choice for SEO purposes), and then use the following code on your blog to add the hidden picture to your post:
<div style=”display:none”> copied&pasted here the html code from imgBB </a></div>
(for this code to work, keep the ” in the code and don’t leave any space after > and “, or before < and “)
This method wasn’t ideal for a number of reasons
- The free image hosting site could hypothetically crash or shut down at any time and all our images could be at risk.
- This method doesn’t prevent other pictures from showing up when someone clicks on your Pin it button.
- Big cons: it’s terrible SEO and Google won’t like it!!! Putting your keyword rich Pinterest description in the alt text would be keyword stuffing at its worst and that’s a big SEO no-no!
So, if you are blogging on a platform different than why we’ve migrated from Squarespace to WordPress here.there is only a solution: migrate to . No kidding, it’s the best decision you will ever make and you can read
So, if you can, I highly recommend getting the Social Warfare plugin. It only shows the picture that you have chosen, you can add a custom description, it’s affordable (only $29 a year) and it also comes with many benefits for other social networks, such as allowing you to decide exactly which image, title and description would appear when your post is shared on Facebook or Google+, or letting you pre-write a custom tweet when your post is shared on Twitter.
This is what Social Warfare lets us do:
Prioritise your strategies
That’s a piece of advice that is uncommon and probably unpopular, but hey, it has worked for me so I will share it with you.
If you, like me, have started your blog from scratch with no technical knowledge and no help from a professional web developer or web designer, you know darn well how overwhelming launching your blog can be. You need to work on your blog’s design, write content, create images, learn tons of new information and processes, figure out which plugins to add, create social media profiles for your blogs, opt-in forms, freebies, newsletter, promote your posts and freebies, network, and the list goes on.
On the top of this, you’re probably working full time, have a partner, family and friends you want to spend some quality time with, and chores and errands to run. Juggling everything is extenuating. That’s an understatement, and as Tinylovebug is a joint effort (Marina, Emma and I), I can’t imagine what it would be for someone flying solo with their new blog!
When you’re still learning the basics, trying to do everything at once is not sustainable and may set you up for failure.
Instead, what I think is a winning strategy in the long term is to assess all platforms and tools available, pick a few that you think would be the most strategic and effective for your blog, and focus on building and growing those first. Once you master those, move on to the next one, and so forth.
And that’s what I have done. I have chosen only a few platforms and focused on them.
Like many new bloggers, I have joined Facebook groups. I do find they’re an invaluable resource, and I’m immensely grateful to the community of fellow bloggers for their support to Tinylovebug. However, I tend to participate in promo or follow for follow threads sparingly.
To me, the real value of Facebook groups lies in the opportunity to network, make a connection with like-minded bloggers in the same niche, and benefit from the tips and advice they generously share. Most of these bloggers are a true inspiration to me.
Otherwise, despite the mainstream belief that social media like Twitter or Facebook are the most powerful tool to drive traffic to your blog, I have not invested much energy in social media as yet. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we have a profile on quite a few social media platforms, and Emma is even creating and posting only original memes for our Instagram account. But I’m yet to utilise the platforms to their full potential, and on some, we have posted 0 or very little content.
I’m not suggesting you do the same. If you feel social media is the best tool to promote your blog strategically, by all means, start with that. Actually, my following is pretty much non-existent at this stage, so I’d better up my game.
But, I’m a firm believer in the value of organic traffic. I think that the quality of the traffic you drive to your blog is way more important than its quantity. Therefore, all my efforts of these first two months went into search engine optimisation (SEO) and Marina has implemented a strong strategy for Pinterest (which has its own inbuilt search engine).
The reason I have picked these two channels over other platforms to start with is twofold:
- Firstly, SEO and Pinterest both take quite a long time to show results. So, I wanted to start as soon as possible without wasting any precious time.
- Secondly, and most importantly, they’re more in line with the direction I want this blog to take by allowing me to target an organic audience that is truly interested in our content.
SEO – Optimise your content for search engines
If you’re after organic traffic like myself, I think it’s extremely important to optimise your content for search engines.
If you are on WordPress.org, you should absolutely add the Yoast SEO plugin which assists with optimising your content. Although the free version does have some limitations by only allowing to input one keyword or one long-tail keyword instead of multiple keywords, I still think it is a must for any self-hosted WordPress blog.
If you’re on Squarespace, Blogger, WordPress.com, Weebly, Wix or any other free platform, work on your SEO anyway. It took me a while to figure out how to do that on Squarespace without a plugin but I have finally cracked the code!
You can see my very first post here. That’s a complete SEO disaster! It really shows how I had no clue what I was doing.
These are more recent posts and are optimised for search engines. And despite being more recent, they actually have much more traction due to better use of keywords, alt tags and meta description. We all know SEO takes a long time, but since I have been using consistently the techniques in this post and those in my guide Easy SEO Strategies for New Bloggers, my SEO efforts are starting to pay off!
So, regardless of which platform you’re on, if you can’t have the Yoast SEO plugin or if you have it but you’re still not sure what you’re doing, you must grab these Easy SEO Strategies for New Bloggers + Printable checklist to help with on-page SEO and rank higher in Google.
It will save you so much time in making your posts SEO friendly is ridiculous! If you’re after organic traffic, this checklist is a must have!
Increase your page views by using Pinterest to your benefit
Most of our efforts went into implementing a strong and effective Pinterest strategy. We made a business profile, worked on its branding and activated rich pins. We started pinning a lot more by scheduling pins via Tailwind. Since we started using Tailwind, our Pinterest monthly views skyrocketed to 114.4K with an increase by + 339%. Not too shabby! So, I definitely recommend using Tailwind. They have a free trial, and they don’t even ask for your credit card details, so you can try it for yourself. I’m 100% sure you will love it!
Why am I 100% sure you will love it? Because Tailwind helps boost your traffic in so many different ways! In a nutshell, its best features are:
1. Scheduling pins: Tailwind lets you add all the pins you like at one time and it then publishes them for you at different times.
2. Smart schedule: Tailwind calculates the best time to pin.
3. Where to find content to re-pin: Pinning with Tailwind is easy and you can find content all over the web.
4. How to pin: Tailwind makes pinning easy and fast.
5. How to assess results: Tailwind offers analytics that are easy to understand and let you always know how your Pinterest strategy is going.
6. Tailwind Tribes: Tailwind Tribes are community boards created within Tailwind. In other words, they’re a great place to share your pins for others to re-pin, and where to find high traffic content for you to re-pin. Tailwind Tribes are currently FREE to use and you don’t need to subscribe to Tailwind to use them. You can join our Facebook Group and you will find an invitation to our Tribes in a pinned post. The invitation also comes with a $ 15 credit should you sign up for Tailwind in the future!
If you would like to learn more about all its awesome features and benefits, you may want to read Tailwind for Pinterest and Its Best Features: Should You Use It?
You shouldn’t underestimate the power of Pinterest as a promotional tool for your blog.
Many of my visitors come from Pinterest (you can read our easy Pinterest strategies to boost your traffic here), and that’s actually good not only for the quantity of traffic per se but also because visitors coming through Pinterest are truly interested in your content, and therefore more likely to engage with it and stick around for more.
By the way, all those “direct” in the above screenshots are not my mum logging in from different devices. I’m saying that not because she wouldn’t (she would) but because she is not fluent in English and she can’t be bothered using Google translate.
Apparently, the category “direct” in Google analytics is not accurate. Some of them are obviously direct, but this category also encompasses any visitors for whom Google analytics can’t identify the source (think of incognito pages, some emails, WhatsApp, some mobile browsers, etc.). If I had to guess, I would say a large number of these direct come from Pinterest as it’s one of the main sources of my traffic.
Bonus tip: guest blogging
As I said, this blog is a joint effort. I do think that different perspectives can add value to any blog in any niche. If you don’t want to commit to a long-term collaboration, you could allow guest posts to be published on your site.
Unlike having permanent contributors, this option comes with an extra bonus!
We all know that guest posting for major sites can give you a spike in your page views, but not many people realise that allowing blog posts on your own blog can equally increase the traffic to your blog too.
I mean, if it’s true what they say that for a post to be successful, the content matters to a certain extent, but its success depends in large part on how much time you invest in promoting it, when you have a guest post, both you and your guest will be promoting it, and therefore the chances to increase your page views have automatically doubled!
Guest posting (both “inbound” and “outbound”) will surely be one of the strategies I would like to experiment within the near future.
Finally, if you want to know more about how to increase the traffic to your blog exponentially, I suggest purchasing the e-book The She Approach to Boosting Your Blog Traffic.
It’s an e-book that I would recommend to any blogger, regardless of their level, because it’s quite affordable but its value transcend its price enormously. It really is an incredibly valuable resource, jam-packed with actionable tips.
You can get your copy here for only US$ 25, and start skyrocketing your traffic today!
In the meantime, though, I’m curious to hear whether your page views have increased over time and what strategies you’re using to drive traffic to your blog. Let me know in the comments below!
And if you have written a post on a strategy that has worked for you, feel free to add the link to your post in the comments, and I will pin it in some of our boards.
But before you go, remember to get your FREE SEO guide + printable on-page SEO checklist and let your organic traffic begin!
I really do want you to have it, so once you fill out this form, check your spam folder or promotion tab. It has made my blogging life so much easier, and I want the same for you.
If you’re after more tips, come and join our private Facebook Group Blogging for New Bloggers.
Our Facebook Group is a supportive community where like-minded bloggers grow together by sharing tips, establishing a real connection, fostering collaboration and promoting their blogs and social media accounts through daily promo threads. The Group is geared towards new bloggers but established bloggers are more than welcome to join too!
After joining the Facebook Group you will also find an invitation to join our Pinterest Group Boards and Tailwind Tribes.
Alright, that was my post in my third month of blogging.
Over time, we have tested some other strategies and some less used platforms are among the social referral sources that are driving the most traffic to our blog.
I recommend exploring other platforms that could bring massive traffic to your blog depending on your niche (e.g. Bloglovin’, LinkedIn, Quora, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Medium, SteemIt, Warriorforum).
And if you haven’t already, sign up for my free 5 email course!
How are you driving traffic to your new blog? What platforms are you using? Let me know in the comment!