Is your blog traffic depressingly low? It’s a big club and we’re all members in our early days… and sometimes the early days extend into quite a long time!
I’ve been in your shoes. To be honest I still am somewhat, though my blog traffic is definitely beginning to pick up… but it’s taken a long while. Actually it feels like an eternity.
So I totally understand what you’re feeling if you’re plugging away at your blog and not getting even the tiniest fraction of traffic the uber-bloggers suggest is possible.
Like me, you’ve probably read a bunch of posts with titles like:
- How I Got 50,000 Page Views in My 3rd Month Blogging.
- Grow Your Blog Traffic to Insane Levels in Less than 3 Months.
- Zero Traffic to Hero Traffic with this Secret Blogging Formula.
What do they all have in common?
They all smell of bullshit… and if something smells like that, it’s because that’s what it is!
Growing blog traffic is an insanely frustrating activity. It doesn’t happen fast, like some bloggers hint at, and it requires a huge amount of resilience and persistence, simply because for a very long period it feels like the only person reading your posts is you.
Why Is Your Blog Traffic So Low?
If you’re completely perplexed by / frustrated with your blog because of the paltry traffic you’re getting, and you can’t put your finger on exactly why, here are a few possibilities to consider.
I’ll discuss each one and then offer up a solution where possible.
1. Your Niche is Too Niche
It makes sense to “niche down” when you start a blog, but can you be too niche?
There’s no such thing as a niche that’s too small if the people care enough.Seth Godin
My understanding of what Seth is saying is that highly motivated customers in small niches can provide the foundations for a profitable business. You don’t necessarily need high-volumes of customers if the ones you have create enough business to sustain you. This may also be true for blog visitors depending upon how you’re monetizing.
However, I also understand that tiny niches will generally not lead to an explosion of blog traffic. Search queries will be finite (at least more finite than larger niches) even if you become the dominant search result for every search within that niche. This may be fine if you can monetize low traffic well… but that’s not the reason you’re reading this post right now.
The truth is the more niche your blog becomes, the less traffic there will likely be available to it.
2. Your Niche is Too Broad
Conversely, you may be at the other end of the continuum and operate in a niche that is simply not niche enough.
We can’t be all things to all people… unless we have massive resources at our disposal. Making a sufficient splash in broad niches likely requires a team of people to grow your blog content in all directions to cover your needs and likely involves investment in advertising.
If you’re a “lone wolf” blogger” operating in a broad niche, try to focus on one area and work to become known as THE expert in it before extending into other areas.
3. You’re Not Writing About Things People are Searching For
Do you know what search terms people are looking for? How do you know if there are enough people interested in what you want to write about? Do you carry out keyword research?
To ensure you’re producing high quality content, you have to write your blog posts for people… however it’s important to know what people want to read. That’s why keyword research is crucial.
There are tools to research keywords used by those who might be interested in the topics you write about. Effective keyword research can help to shape the posts you write and give them a better shot at increasing your blog traffic.
The truth is, if your blog posts don’t appear in search results for the searches your target readers use, they won’t find your blog in search engines.
I won’t be glib about this, because there are an awful lot of factors that contribute to your posts appearing high in search results. However, if you don’t optimize your posts for specific search terms that real people use, you make it much more difficult for your posts to rank for them.
If you’re on a budget, use the following free tools to gather information about keywords relevant to your niche and then build a content strategy around them:
- Google Keyword Planner (you’ll need a Google Adwords account for this).
- Google Search Console (see the keywords driving blog traffic and where you appear for them in Google search – this can help you to optimize your posts to appear higher in results).
- Bing Keywords Planner (likewise, you’ll need a Bing Webmaster Tools account)
- Google Trends
4. Search Engines Can’t Send Your Blog Traffic If They Don’t Know About You
You’ll find it difficult to grow your blog traffic if the search engines don’t know about it. Have your blog posts been indexed by search engines? What happens if you search for your blog in Google and Bing?
You can use special search queries to check whether or not your blog is indexed in both Google and Bing. These special queries are called search operators… and one of them (the site: operator) tells you which of your pages are indexed.
Here’s what to do to check which of your blog pages Google and Bing know about… visit Google and Bing and search for the following:
(Obviously substitute yourdomain.com with your domain!)
This will return every one of your pages and posts presently in the Google and Bing indexes. If your posts do not appear, you’ll need to submit them. Here’s how to do it
You can submit any post you don’t see in the indexes and they should get picked up within a day or two.
5. Domain Age and Blog Traffic
Have you only recently registered your domain?
Some search engine marketing experts believe that “young” domains do not get the same treatment as “aged” domains, because of something known as the Google Sandbox.
It’s alleged that Google puts new domains into a sandbox in an effort to prevent spam sites from ranking high in search results out of the gate. The theory suggest that domains in the sandbox will not rank high in search results regardless of how good the content is or how well it’s optimized.
In my experience, new domains do struggle to rank, which may or may not be related to a sandbox effect. It may be simply that they don’t have the content volume or number of inbound links that aged domains have and so cannot compete in the search results.
The solution is to maintain commitment, add a substantial number of posts to your blog often and promote your blog for at least a year. Most experts advise that blog traffic tends to increase from 6 months onwards, depending upon how much content you have and how much you promote it.
6. Lack of Content
Perhaps your blog traffic is low because you don’t have much content on your blog for people to get excited about?
I’m not saying that it’s impossible to drive a huge number of visitors to your blog with only a few posts… but in general it’s definitely more difficult to do for those new to the blogging / online marketing world.
Content is the lifeblood of any blog so it’s important to build up a substantial content portfolio. Every blog post you publish gives you more opportunities to appear in search results and a resulting potential for new people to find your blog. If your blog posts offer useful solutions to these visitors they might come back to read more in the future.
Remember, blog traffic growth is not just about winning new visitors… it’s also about encouraging those who have visited before to return.
A healthy balance of returning visitors plus building connections with new ones is the way to grow your blog traffic month on month, year on year.
7. Lack of Quality Content
I’ve mentioned this already, but high quality content is an absolute must. You simply cannot hope to compete in a very crowded niche (hint: most are!) unless you provide well-written, authoritatively researched articles for your visitors.
Not only this, but search engines demand quality too… Google even explicitly tells us this in content quality guidelines.
All your content should demonstrate:
The better the quality of your content, the more likely it is that people will share it, link to it or discuss it… and the more search engines will take notice.
The more search engines take notice of you, the more blog traffic you’ll start to see.
8. You’re Not Promoting Your Content
Blogging is hard work… there’s no doubt about it. But I’m not going to whine about that to you because you already know this.
Not only do you have to spend a considerable amount of time researching keywords, planning post content and writing but you also have to promote what you publish. This is a BIG job in itself.
After you’ve pressed the publish button, what next? How do people find your post?
Well first it has to be indexed, so create Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools account (see above), and submit your posts to the search engine indexes.
Next you can use social media: Tweet about it, make pins to promote it on Pinterest and share it on Facebook. Why not ask your friends to share it in social media too? If you don’t ask, you don’t get, right?
The most powerful way to promote your content for organic blog traffic growth is to build links to it from domains with high authority (there’s that word again).
Check out this comprehensive article by RankXL on how to use outreach to build quality backlinks to your blog posts. It takes effort, but it’s worth it.
Find out more about internal links and external links.
9. You Don’t Know About SEO
Are your blog posts search engine friendly? Have you optimized your posts for search engines and people?
Does you’re blog load quickly? Page load speed is an important SEO signal since it indicates the quality of experience visitors are likely to have. Test your page load speed with the Google PageSpeed Insights tool: it’s free and it will give you a bunch of ideas about how to streamline your page load to make it faster.
Next, is your content optimized to target keywords? Sometimes a few tweaks to your post content can help to bump it up in the search results pages and noticeably increase your blog traffic. Maybe you haven’t targeted a keyword (see above) and optimized your post content around it.
I’ve already mentioned link building which is a very important SEO technique… perhaps THE most important one. It’s worth devoting time to building links. N.B. If you’re running a WordPress blog, find out more about how to optimize WordPress for SEO.
10. Your Headlines Don’t Encourage Clicks
Sometimes your posts might appear high in the search results… but just don’t get clicked. If this is the case, you should test your page titles and descriptions. A few changes to these assets can increase your click through rate (CTR), meaning you get more blog traffic without grafting to bump your post higher in the results.
Now I’m not advocating the use of sensational click bait, but compelling post titles and calls to action in your description can yield significant improvements.
Carry out the following steps:
- Find out which of your posts are driving traffic (Google Search Console, Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster Tools can show you this).
- Look for the posts that appear highest in the results.
- Test different title and description combinations to see if you can increase CTR.
- Leave them for a month, then check their search result positions and how much traffic they’ve driven to your blog.
Hopefully you’ll see a positive difference.
Find out more about crafting enticing page titles and meta descriptions.
11. You Don’t Have Many Followers on Social Media
Another one I’ve touched on above. Promoting your posts on your social media accounts is perhaps one of the first methods to promote them in order to drive traffic to your blog.
I generally don’t get a massive traffic hit from sharing my own posts… but I do get visits. Now… I’m not a social media influencer by any stretches right now (I’m working on it!) so that’s probably the main reason why.
But… building up your followers takes time and so blog traffic from your social media activity will not grow substantially overnight.
If you’ve not been active in your social channels, start working on them ASAP. Share useful content and ideas, comment on what other people are posting and start to follow people you’ll likely engage with.
Over time your followers will grow and with it your opportunities to send your blog traffic from them.
12. You’re Not Treating Your Blog as a Business
How often do you work on your blog? Are you obsessed? Are you working everyday in one way or another to build your blog?
If you’re serious about blogging, it’s not something you can work on whenever you feel like it. One of the key methods of growing blog traffic is to commit to it and work consistently over time… even if when feels like you’re not gaining ground.
This is no mean feat.
We have to earn money, do things that give us sustenance outside of work and we have family commitments. Oftentimes there is very little room for blogging outside of what we HAVE to do each day.
I’m not advocating that you make your blog the number one priority in your life but I believe that thinking of it as a business and committing to it as such is vital.
Of course the more time you can spend working on your blog the sooner you’ll see results, but to me it’s the business mindset that’s more important and committing as much time as you can to it without neglecting the other important things in your life.
The biggest mindset shift you can make is thinking of blog traffic growth as a long-term gig… and I mean years instead of months. Most of the uber-bloggers enjoying huge blog traffic volumes have managed to do so because they’ve been working at it for years.
- There’s money in small niches, but if it’s too niche there will be a finite amount of blog traffic available.
- If your niche is too broad, you might find it difficult to rank high in searches.
- If you’re not writing about things people are searching for, people will not find you.
- Your blog must be indexed to appear in search results. If you’re not appearing in results, search engines will be unable to send your blog traffic.
- New domains tend not to get as much traffic love as aged domains… hang in there!
- A substantial portfolio of content creates more opportunities for people to find your blog.
- Search Engine Optimization can help your blog posts appear higher in search results = more traffic to your blog.
- Compelling headlines and meta descriptions for your posts can increase click through rate = more blog traffic.
- The more followers you have in social media, the more you’ll be able to encourage visits to your posts by sharing them.
- See your blog as long-term project and think of it (and treat it) as a business.
That’s it for now.
Have you overcome depressingly low blog traffic? Tell me about it below in the comment area.
Ryan K Biddulph says
Paul, excellent post buddy. Treating your blog like a business is the starting point of genuinely increasing traffic and profits. We need to be both ALL IN commitment wise, and, to think like entrepreneurs. We are entrepreneurs who blog, at the end of the day.