How do you get people to read the articles on your website? How do you get them to read your latest blog posts? Building an audience and getting people to visit your site and read the content is hard! However, the following techniques will help to bring traffic to your website or blog. (Part 2 of a 7-part course.)
How to you attract visitors? Firstly, by creating great posts that people want to read and secondly, by promoting them. Promotion is useful, but great content is the most important factor. There are many techniques for attracting visitors to a website and some will work for a time and site traffic will increase, but to keep visitors on your site and to keep them coming back for more, you need to create the best posts you can.
In this section of the 7-day course to build website traffic we will see what you need to do to create impressive posts that attract and keep visitors on your site.
Before you begin writing
If you read some people’s blog posts they seem to waffle on about all sorts of things, in fact, anything that comes into their heads. What they did at the weekend, what they ate for breakfast, their current mood, and so on. When you get to the end of the post, you might wonder what it was about or what you learnt. Sometimes it is hard to say whether you actually learnt anything.
Posts do not have to teach something of course, but when they do, they can attract a lot of visitors from people wanting to learn.
Before you begin a blog post or article:
- You should have a specific aim. Write this down in one short sentence. “The aim of this post is to…“
- What is the purpose of the the post and why are you writing it? “I am writing this because…“
The aim of a post could be to teach people to create an Origami swan. You may be writing it because Origami is a calming way to relax after a stressful day at work. Make sure your aims come across in your article.
Solve a problem
People have problems and they use the internet to find solutions. If you can solve a problem then people will come to your site for the answers. Even if your post idea is not specifically about a problem, you can make it a problem or at least include the solution to a problem. Type variations of problems and topics into Google and see what it suggests like this:
Let’s say you have a food site and you are writing about how to cook turkey. Think of the problems people might have and solve them, for example, include a heading or paragraph: “Is your roast turkey too dry? Try this to make it moist.” People actually Google things like “roast turkey too dry” and if you have the answer, people will come to your site to read it. Look at these suggestions:
Another example: Type into Google “apple pie crust” and it suggests “apple pie crust not browning.” People are using Google to search for answers to common everyday problems, so including problems and solutions in your posts is a good way to increase traffic from Google.
Show how to do something
People love to learn how to do things, such as bake the perfect apple pie, renovate an old chair, grow juicy tomatoes, paint a watercolor landscape, and so on. How-to articles draw people to your website or blog and make great topics. Type how do I or how to into Google and see what it suggests.
- Write blog posts that teach people how to do stuff
- Create step by step guides that show what people need to do
- Break tasks down into small steps
- Don’t assume everyone knows what you do
That last point is an important one and just because we can do something, have a skill, or have some knowledge, we assume that everyone else has. What is obvious to you may not be obvious to others.
People’s knowledge and skills range from novice to expert. Explaining even the simplest thing will help some people, such as those at the novice end of the range, so don’t assume a topic is too simple to write about. Of course, you can write expert tips, but don’t forget novices just starting out.
Write comprehensive content
What is the perfect length for a post? There is no shortage of articles pointing out that the longer they are the better they do and that you need to write X thousand words for every post. It is actually more complicated than simple numbers. Don’t think you have to write 3,000+ words for every article because you don’t. Aim to write comprehensive content and cover the subject thoroughly.
You don’t need a 3,000 article about baking an apple pie. It just isn’t that complicated and it is not what people are looking for. They want a brief description, a list of ingredients and then a step-by-step preparation and cooking guide. This could be a perfect post in under 1,000 words.
Vary the post length with the topic. For example, if you are writing an article about motorcycle maintenance then you would probably need a very large article to cover every task you need to do in sufficient detail. It’s the opposite of a short post about baking an apple pie.
Make the article comprehensive and cover everything, but don’t get hung up about hitting a certain number of words. It varies with the subject.
Include photos and illustrations
Photos and artwork serve two purposes, they can show some things more clearly than a text explanation. Try describing a praying mantis, and elephant, the inside of the space shuttle. One photo is better than a thousand words as the saying goes.
Photos break up the text and give the eyes something else to look at. large blocks of text are off putting, so break them up with images.
- A post should have a specific aim. Write it down in one sentence
- Solve a problem. Posts that solve problems can get traffic from Google and Bing
- Show how to do something. People want to know how to do stuff. Start a post title with ‘How to…’
- Teach people something. Many people search the web for things they need to learn about, from baking a pie to programming a computer
- Create comprehensive content. Longer posts do better than short ones not because they contain more words, but because they cover a subject thoroughly
- Include interesting and useful photos and illustrations in the post