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Gini Dietrich

Increase Blog Traffic with These 12 Ideas

By: Gini Dietrich | June 12, 2013 | 
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Increase Blog TrafficA couple of days ago, I was lamenting to my friend Abbie Fink that Spin Sucks grew only 29 percent in 2012.

She rolled her eyes at me as I was finishing my statement. “Only 29 percent,” she said.

OK, OK. I see her point, but we grew more than 1,000 percent in 2009, 292 percent in 2010, and 194 percent in 2011.

So you can see why I am a little stressed about it…and why Lindsay Bell spends time in every staff meeting brainstorming with us new ideas to increase blog traffic, sponsorship dollars, Google+ authority, and overall revenue.

Because we have it very top-of-mind, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how to take the content side of our business to the next level.

When What You Use No Longer Works

The thing we struggle with, of course, is what we did to get us here no longer works. So now we have to be creative and innovative and a bunch of other “ive” words that work here.

Sure, there are some things that still work: Comment on other blogs, write for humans and optimize for robots, build community, write guest blog posts, speak at conferences, answer questions, go to networking events, leverage YouTube, and use traditional media.

But it turns out that’s no longer enough.

So what do you do if the things you’ve always done no longer work, but the industry isn’t talking about anything new?

Increase Blog Traffic

Following is a list of 12 things we’re going to try to increase blog traffic so we can exceed our other less ego-driven goals..

As we do, I’ll report back on the pros and cons of each, how we tested, and what was the most successful.

  1. Create a video series. I don’t know if this will be the he said/she said series Sean McGinnis and I have been talking about doing for years, if it will be a series of video instruction, or both. But we’re going to expand the Facebook question of the week (which we still do so stop by and ask a question!) and better use YouTube to help expand our networks.
  2. Write case studies. Sherrilynne Starkie asked me for some case studies the other day and I was embarrassed to tell her we’ve never formally written any down. If they’re not used as examples in a blog post, we don’t have them official. Yes, I know. It’s a priority.
  3. Write more guest posts. I was in a groove where I was writing one a week for a couple of years and got burned out with the Marketing in the Round promotion last year. I want to get back in that groove, but also involve my team more in becoming brand ambassadors. So if anyone would like a guest post from us, let us know!
  4. Write longer form content. I’m talking about the how-to guides, the beginner’s guides, and maybe taking my own advice and write the gospel according to us (though Lindsay reminds me I am writing Spin Sucks, the book, which serves that purpose).
  5. Start an affiliate program. I’m not sure how I feel about this one, but I think it’s worth exploring options for continuing to provide free content to you, but earn money on all our hard work. We’re testing sponsorships so this may be a natural next step.
  6. Network with new groups. There are some crowds where the blog is already very well known…but there are also some groups who have never heard of us (as if!). We’ll target one new group for the second half of 2013 to network with in order to continue growing this side of the business.
  7. Use owned images for content. Like we talked about yesterday, we’ll begin creating our own images to help our content stand out among all the visuals already present on the interwebz.
  8. Participate in Q&A sites. This is one we completely ignore … and there is some great opportunity. Not just on LinkedIn, but on Quora, Yahoo, and others. We’ll find the sites where people ask questions about marketing communications and begin to build our influence and authority there.
  9. Test pop-ups. Not pop-ups for more subscriptions (though that would be nice and maybe we’ll test it eventually), but to encourage people to share our content as they read. The social share buttons are already on the content, of course, but this may encourage additional sharing, which Google loves.
  10. Survey our readers. We do this on the client side by continuously asking how we’re doing and what else we can be doing for them, but we’ve never asked you what else you’d like. Expect to be asked soon.
  11. Create a podcast series. Of course, we have Inside PR and that won’t change, but we want a Spin Sucks branded podcast. Well, Lindsay wants us to have one so I just smile and nod.
  12. Host an event. So many of you have asked when we’re going to have a Spin Sucks event…mostly so you can all meet one another in person. We’re not yet convinced it’s the right thing to do or that it will be profitable, but we are considering it.

Of course, we can’t do all of this in the next six months, so we’ll tackle one thing at a time and blog about the experience.

What else would you add?

I drew/wrote the image on an Admiral’s Club napkin in the Austin airport. 

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

142 comments
SavvyCopywriter
SavvyCopywriter

I think an affiliate program could work as long as you only endorse products you truly trust and believe would add value to your community. That is a win-win. If you're up front about it being an affiliate program, people generally don't mind supporting your efforts to earn an extra dollar by providing something that would help them over time. It becomes less of a sales piece and more of a "Hey, I found this great product and loved it so much I joined forces with them to help deliver it to you" kind of a thing. 

On another note, I would love a guest post from the Spin Sucks team, so feel free to add TheSavvyCopywriter.com to your list of possibilities :) 

JoeCardillo
JoeCardillo

Say, Idea #13 could be - "Write a blog post with 12 ideas for increasing blog traffic" 

;)

photo chris
photo chris

Gini, I don't think there's anything wrong with an affiliate program so long as it's stated as such (as if you'd do anything else!) and you continue to add good things to your community. I actually would find it helpful. 

Sean McGinnis
Sean McGinnis

May I add to your list?

I still like the ideas of creating topical anchor pages. You have SO MUCH content, I think users would find it valuable if you curated a list of the top 20-25 posts on a variety of each topic and promoted those with a side bar link to ensure you are driving user and link value to those pages.

If done correctly, those pages would rank for harder to reach topical queries in the search engines and pull users deeper into the site in areas of their interest, reminding them about high quality posts about a topic of interest to them.

The selection could be based purely on traffic metrics, or could be built more along the lines of telling a story or educating on the overall complexity of a topic (or both). A win for the site and users either way.

Latest blog post: Protected: Social Slides

bitofmomsense
bitofmomsense

Love this post. After hearing you speak at Social Capital Conference in Ottawa, and nodding my head the entire time, this shouldn't surprise me. What I especially love is that you don't mention anything about paying for coverage. While that may work in some cases, most of you what you recommend is content driven.  Really like that! 

OneJillian
OneJillian

First: if you host an event, @ginidietrich, you may rest assured that I will be present, come hell or high water (or snow or that biting, ridiculous face-peeling Chicago wind). So that's settled. (also: DO THIS.)

Secondly, I am very interested in seeing a he/she video series. Two viewpoints (now with a variety of differences from male/female to agency/in-house) are very valuable in discussing digital marketing, especially when one has so much content to take in on a daily basis. Pulling in two bits of current advice in one place makes a LOVELY offering for visitors and for new audience discovery.

Third, the last idea I'll call out for you to implement is networking with new groups. I think this will be the hardest of all, but when you succeed, building a presence and authority in a setting/group that isn't seeded with adoring fans like myself, it will shake that shroud that many speakers and authors have in this industry: once you start talking the talk, you forget entirely about walking the walk.

I hope as you go along, it'll ignite the fire for other business to follow suit and start spreading knowledge of best practices even further.

jennimacdonald
jennimacdonald

Gini I agree with all 12 points, 100%. I do have a quick question though, if you don't mind. If your blog didn't have any traffic before you started managing it and it now has a lot of traffic, the percentage of growth is huge but that's expected. Is there another number to look at for the wow factor? Monthly visits?

briansrice
briansrice

Hi Gini

Great suggestions and if you or anyone on your team would like to guest post, you are welcome to do so on Business2Community.com.  Just email us at contribute@business2community.com and I will make sure that you get all setup.

All the best,

Brian


KevinVandever
KevinVandever

This may seem obvious, and you're probably already assuming this, and you would even be correct in assuming this, but you have to be relevant and interesting otherwise most, or all, these tools and ideas won't help. The analogy to my world is when a business unit comes to my department asking for a software solution or tool to automate a specific function. When we sit down to discuss the function, it sometimes turns out that there is no process behind the function. Folks think the tool will bring about the process, and it can, but it may not be the most efficient process for their business, it may the process created by the tool. Go back and create the process, or in your example of increasing blog traffic, make sure the foundation is set, that you have relevant and interesting content, and build from there. Or, I could be completely wrong here. 

Andrea T.H.W.
Andrea T.H.W.

This is something I'm thinking about too. I was having good results from my blog, so much that I could easily aim to get around 1000 visitors a day for the end of 2013. Unfortunately the last Google updates somehow threw everything in the bin. I'm doing nothing wrong from their point of view only that I'm more or less gone from page 1 to page 4 or 5 which means very little traffic and consequently money.


It's surely partly my fault because I'm pretty little social so my content isn't shared a lot but writing in a different language from my mother tongue, having a real life and being mine a one person blog there is only a certain amount of time I can work on it. But I begun doing it, if something doesn't work anymore we must change.


Also it might be, and this it's pretty common for niche websites whatever gurus think about it, that in this period my aimed keywords are not searched enough.


Well, at least I have to be more creative which is always good. :)

Patrick McNease
Patrick McNease

So many ideas. I love the fact that you used a napkin to write down these ideas haha. 

I have one addition. For Number 11 I thought it would be awesome to utilize SoundCloud for your Podcast. Or maybe even uStream. Have you looked into answering fan questions and broadcasting via Google Hangouts?

Thank you @ginidietrich for an excellent article. Guest Posting is fun. I think I will take the whole month off and focus on guest posts.  

jolynndeal
jolynndeal

Your ideas are excellent (and will be tried on my blog).  One thing I can add that I have been doing is using non traditional sharing platforms, like slideshare.  With slideshare, I capture key points (or use the subheadings) of my blog posts (using nice photos or other graphics) and then also embed the presentation into the post.  Slideshare has 50+ million in its audience.  With slideshare, I use a call-to-action that directs viewers to the blog post for more information, so I am able to promote my blog and use creative content.  Another idea we've been considering is using Vine or Vimeo to create a short video about the blog content, and sharing it with a call-to-action back to the blog post.  If people only knew how much time and energy is put into entertaining and engaging them!  As for your pictures.... using your own gives you great flexibility and can save money, especially for new bloggers. I use free platforms like Quozio, Pinstamatic, and Picmonkey to spice up photos I take.  I can't wait to see your feedback on the ideas your team has come up with.

dbvickery
dbvickery

If any of the SpinSucks community wants to guest post, I'm game! I love reading your content, so I'd be happy to see it on my blog any time. The "prompt" is to write a sports analogy that somehow conveys a social media/leadership/"life" lesson.

FYI, I have NOTHING on cycling...

I totally agree that LinkedIn is an untapped platform for increasing visibility and thought leadership. As much as I believe in the professionalism of that platform, and the power (especially for B2B relationships), it still seems to be the "redheaded stepchild" when it comes to my time allocation.

bradmarley
bradmarley

Does anyone actually read long-form content on a blog? I love it, but I get the sense a blog is not the right place to put it.

susancellura
susancellura

I'm going to add this to my list of "News Desk" items!

LauraPetrolino
LauraPetrolino

this.is.so.exciting!!!! 

So exciting that I Laura Petrolino am at a loss for additional words to ramble about here in what is normally my comment soliloquy. That right there says alot! 

And any member of the AD team (human, canine or other species) is always welcome to blog, vlog or utilize your new photography and illustration skills on the Flying Pig! 

EdenSpodek
EdenSpodek

@ginidietrich I'm exhausted just reading this list. ;) In all seriousness, I'm looking forward to seeing your results. When my new blog is launched, I'd be honoured to have members from the team contribute guest posts, if you'll deem it worthy of your sage words of wisdom.

clientkudos
clientkudos

Great stuff. I particularly like your second point in this post! 

And great ideas in your latest post on photo composition.

Thanks for the good ideas, Gini.

yvettepistorio
yvettepistorio

Haha, love this statement - "Well, Lindsay wants us to have one so I just smile and nod." - Maybe we should host a casino night...all proceeds go to the Spin Sucks Foundation ;)

biggreenpen
biggreenpen

First of all, lovely image, no doubt taking into account your lessons about using your own image. :-) Second, I think 12 is plenty and can't really think of anything else EXCEPT ......... maybe this is implied within the 12, but maybe some cross pollination with other industries/communities .... something completely out of your usual ..... like pick a pasttime that is considered old fashioned but is becoming "new again" (crochet comes to mind) and engage THAT community in yours. Third, I *heart* the event idea. No idea how to make that happen with everyone being so far flung geographically but I'm getting the feeling there are some creative minds who could apply themselves to that. Fourth, anyone on the SS/AD team is welcome to guest post on my blog. My 3.2343 readers could use an break from my usual outpouring of perspicacity. :-)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Wasn't 2009 the year you started to try beat me? See, that upped your game and now you have me in your rearview mirror, well... ;-)

We all hit slumps. Some slumps are around ideas; some are around traffic; some are just around plain old content.

One thing to maybe consider - this blog has become very active in the amount of content shared. Twice daily posts, weekly updates, weekend updates, the Three Things, etc. Do you think that maybe readers are being burnt out?

I know personally when I reduced content to two weekly posts and a Sunday Share, the audience grew. Subscribers were up, as were visits and length of stay  on site.

Sometimes we just give too much and, while it's great for SEO and building authority, it may not always be what our actual audience wants.

Just a thought. :)

SusanMcLeod
SusanMcLeod

Great advice, Gini!  I have added all to my to-do list! ;)


KateFinley
KateFinley

Oy. This list is both fabulous and exhausting. One step at a time though ... I'm always inspired by your commitment, and the commitment of your team, to constantly be better, braver and brighter for your business, industry and clients. It's amazing. Go, go, gadget Gini!

Word Ninja
Word Ninja

This all sounds exhausting but very smart. I'm sharing your posts on Twitter and invite you to guest post on my blog, but so far my only followers are my dad and my 4th grade English teacher.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

As you get closer to 100% market penetration your growth rate will slow just like yours did. Facebook user growth rate in the US has been low single digits last 2 years.

I like to host casino nights myself.

Great tips Gini!

Latest blog post: The Three Things, Edition 35

lauraclick
lauraclick

Great list, Gini. A lot of this boils down to practicing what you preach (or at least it is for me). I know some of these are on my list - especially the long form content and case studies. I've also wondered about podcasting, but I think that's much farther down the line for me. I'll be interested to see how these work for you guys!

suzemuse
suzemuse

You guys rock. That is all. And you can guest post on my little blog anytime you want. Have your people contact my people. Well, my people is my dog. So have your dogs contact my dog. 

belllindsay
belllindsay

Oh my god I love the image! LOL Practice what you preach and all that! I'm super excited to start (and/or continue one with) much of what you've mentioned here - come on Spin Sucks Crazies - what else can we do and what else do YOU want!?  

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