You want to grow your blog faster…
… But try as you might – your analytics are still looking like a ghost town.
Here’s the good news:
In this post, you will learn 9 unconventional tactics you can use to accelerate your blog’s growth.
These aren’t vague tips like “post your content on social media” or any of that junk – these are specific and actionable.
And I’ve included advice to help you implement each of these tactics – Just so you don’t end up with that “oh, ok – now what?” type feeling.
Let’s dive right in:
1. Scrap generic opt-in forms and use category targeted opt-in forms
By now, I’m sure you’re aware of how effective email marketing can be – the ROI beats any other marketing channels.
So, if you want to accelerate the growth of your blog, you need to be building an email list.
Here’s the problem:
Building your email list is hard work.
Now, you can add site-wide opt-in forms and get some good results but what if you could improve your email sign ups by 300-400%?
Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it’s not – I did this for the marketing agency I used to work for.
Here’s what I did:
I streamlined the blog’s categories to make them more focused and I ensured every post was assigned to a category in WordPress.
Then, I created a freebie (or lead magnet) for each of those categories.
I used a WordPress plugin called Thrive Leads to create targeted opt-in forms for each of those categories.
For example, I’d have in-content forms, after post forms, sidebar opt-ins, and popovers – if a visitor was reading a post in the email marketing category, they’d see forms tailored that category, and it’s accompanying lead magnet.
Here’s why this works:
Relevance matters. And when someone is reading your blog, they’re far more likely to join your email list if your offer is relevant to what they’re reading at the time.
Just don’t forget the important part – the content you create will have a significant impact on your email sign up rates. The better your content and the stronger your offer, the more mileage you’ll get out of this tactic.
2. Use conversion-focused landing pages to promote your lead magnet
A landing page can have a few different meanings.
The type of landing page I’m talking about here has one goal – to convert.
In this case, the conversion goal will be to join your email list.
You’ll find no nav menus or any other distractions, and they’re typically focused around a specific audience persona.
Here’s an example of one I’m developing:
Why are landing pages such a big deal?
Well, the conversions of opt-in forms on most blogs are extremely low. For example, most sidebar opt-in forms tend to convert at less than 1%.
Compare that against landing pages which can convert at well over 20% (and that’s a low estimate).
For example, quick landing pages I’ve built in the past have converted at over 30% before running any split tests or putting much effort into optimization.
How can you build your own landing pages?
If you use WordPress, you can use a plugin like Thrive Architect. It’s particularly well suited because of it’s marketing focused landing page templates (organised into sets).
Alternatively, there are some email marketing services such as ConvertKit that come with the functionality built-in.
How can you drive traffic to your landing pages?
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Add a link to your landing page within your author bio (this is great for guest blogging on sites with a large audience)
- Create unique Pinterest images and share them to as many group boards as you can.
- Add CTA’s on your blog
- Share them on Twitter and pin the tweet to your profile
- Link to a landing page from your website URL on social networks (ideal for Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook)
- Use paid traffic platforms such as Facebook Ads (just be sure to have a proper sales funnel in place to ensure you get an ROI on your investment)
There are plenty of other ways to do this but these ideas will be enough to get you started.
3. Use viral quizzes to drive serious social media traffic
Chances are you’ve taken part in some quizzes already – likely from a post you on Facebook.
These can be educational in nature, or a little bit silly, like “What sort of penguin are you?”
The great thing about viral quizzes is that they don’t take much time or effort to create, yet they provide a huge pay-off.
And you don’t need a huge audience to make them work.
For example, a good friend of mine launched a blog about classic cars. He created a few fun quizzes and shared them around on Facebook.
Within 2 months he’d scaled his monthly traffic to over 5,000 visitors from Facebook alone.
Not bad right?!
Here’s the good news:
For WordPress bloggers, you’ll find plenty of viral quiz & survey plugins that you can use.
If you don’t use WordPress, you can use a quiz platform like Interact to get started.
4. Run a content audit on your blog and improve underperforming content
Chances are that you have some blog posts on your site that aren’t doing anything for you in terms of traffic.
Maybe they were published a long time ago and they’re starting to age. Traffic from Google may have dropped off and traffic is steadily declining.
Or, there may be some technical issues that are holding those articles back.
Either way, it’s important to audit your content every once in a while.
There are a few things you’ll need to do:
- Check your analytics to see which posts are experiencing a decline in traffic
- Run a site audit with a tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs to uncover technical issues
I particularly like SEMrush for running content audits because they have an SEO-focused site auditor and a separate content audit tool.
For example, within a few clicks, I’ve already got the tool pulling in all my posts & pages & collating data for me to go through:
Doing this sort of thing manually, dipping and diving into spreadsheets can be extremely time-consuming.
Now, it’s worth noting that there are a few different ways to handle underperforming content:
- Update/expand and repromote – Some blog posts just need a bit of extra TLC. A quick update, maybe some extra tips, and you could reclaim some of the traffic you’ve lost from Google. Always repromote it.
- Rewrite from scratch and repromote – If the content is extremely out of date then I’ll consider a complete rewrite. This will sometimes result in the biggest ranking improvements. Like before, always repromote it.
- Remove and redirect to the next most relevant post – When a blog post gets no traffic, has no backlinks, and needs significant updates, you may want to consider removing it and redirecting it to another blog post (the most relevant one). There are some cases where I’ll keep a post like this, such as when it’s still useful for my audience, or I’m planning to work on traffic generation in the future.
5. Leverage the power of rich snippets to drive more search traffic to your blog
Rich snippets are additional data points that you often find in Google search results.
These data points will come in various forms. Some of the popular ones being review stars and recipe information.
The result of this extra information is that it helps your content stand out more than the content from other sites. This can result in more clicks.
Here’s an example (the first has rich snippets):
And you can use these rich snippets for a lot more than just reviews and recipes. Here are a few extra uses:
- Local businesses
Rich snippets can be added using Schema – a type of structured data.
Once you’ve added any Schema code to your website, be sure to use Google’s data testing tool to ensure it’s been added correctly.
6. Use guest blogging (strategically)
While guest blogging is nothing new, it’s worth mentioning because it can still be effective when done strategically.
While this tactic is great for brand awareness and exposure, driving traffic to your blog from guest posts can be incredibly difficult.
You can fix this by approaching larger sites, particularly those that have a highly engaged audience.
Then, you’ll need craft a rockstar-level piece of content.
Here are a few examples:
- The inspirational post – Posts that inspire and tug on people’s heart strings can go a long way but they’re not easy. If you have an inspirational story to tell, this option is for you.
- The group interview – When you involve more people in the content creation process, you’ll naturally get more shares & traffic. And group interviews are a great way to do this.
- The crowd-sourced + repurposed infographic – When you take a group interview and repurpose it into an infographic that you host on a site with a much bigger audience, what do you get? A heck of a lot of shares & traffic! One time I tried this and my content reached an extra 30,000+ people.
- The pillar post – It’s difficult to justify the time to create a seriously in-depth piece of content, but it can pay off if you promote your landing page in your author bio, and have a solid sales funnel in place.
Like many marketing tactics, and life in general – your mileage will depend on the time and effort you invest.
If you want to learn more, Sendible has a step-by-step guide to help you get started with guest blogging.
7. Grab extra Pinterest traffic with tailored imagery
Pinterest has the potential to be a traffic generation powerhouse.
The only problem is you need imagery that resonates with those who use Pinterest.
Typically, we’re talking about eye-catching vertical images that include a catchy title.
Here are a few examples from one of my group boards:
While these images can provide inspiration for your own images, it’s worth running a search for some of the topics you’d want to rank for in Pinterest (think of it like a search engine).
And take a look at the image styles everyone is using.
Best practice would be to follow the styles that others are using, but you’ll want to experiment with this because if everyone is creating similar images – none of them will stand out.
And there’s where you’ll likely find your biggest opportunity.
Once you’ve figured out a particular style of image that works, turn it into a template and use it for the rest of your images.
You can take this to the next level by using a WordPress social media plugin like Social Snap – this allows you to set a unique Pinterest image that people will be able to share when they use your pin button.
8. Use content repurposing to get more mileage out of everything you publish
Do you ever get the feeling that you’re on some sort of content creation hamster wheel that you can’t escape?
I know the feeling well – you’re not alone.
The reality is that you can get more mileage out of every single blog post you publish by repurposing it into different content types.
This can include:
- Slideshare presentations
The great thing about repurposing your content is that it will help you reach an entirely new audience. For example, video opens you up to YouTube which has it’s own built-in audience.
And more often than not, these are easy tasks to outsource if you have some budget to play with.
Recently, I hired a designer on PeoplePerHour to turn one of my blog posts into an infographic.
As part of the work, they collated the text for me and here’s a snippet of the end result:
You can save yourself a bit of cash by designing the infographic yourself and you don’t need to be a designer.
Image design tools like Venngage have loads of templates you can use to get started.
9. Invest in the promotion of your content
There’s a common misconception that free traffic generation tactics exist.
It’s a myth. There are no free ways to drive traffic to your blog because you will always pay with something. Usually with your time – and your time is precious.
One of the easiest ways to promote your content is to use paid platforms and considering how much effort it takes to get that so-called “free traffic” – it often works out cheaper.
Here are a few platforms you can use:
- Quuu Promote – Get your articles shared by a lot of other bloggers in your niche.
- Facebook Ads – You can boost your Facebook posts or run Facebook Ads, just be careful because ads typically default to a high lifetime cost, so be sure to set campaign limits.
- Outbrain – Get your articles featured in the related articles sections of huge websites.
- Taboola – Similar to Outbrain but it has access to a different pool of websites.
And as I’ve mentioned for a few other tactics in this post, if you’re going to be investing money in a tactic, try to have something in place to help you recoup your ad spend.
This could include a sales funnel that promotes a course, or information product or affiliate links, for example.
Wrapping it up
We’ve talked through a bunch of different tactics to help your blog grow faster.
Some will help you build your email list and others will help you get more traffic to your content.
Implement as many of these ideas as you can and you’ll increase your traffic. Just don’t forget about encouraging people to engage with your content, so you can make the most of everything you publish.
About the author:
Adam Connell is a content strategist with a background in SEO and email marketing. He used to manage the content marketing efforts of international brands. Now he teaches bloggers how to get noticed at BloggingWizard.com.