*Discloser: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through one of my links, at no cost to you.
If you’ve got a fairly new blog and you’ve just gotten your first trickles of traffic, you’re probably wondering: how can I increase my organic traffic to my blog?
It’s definitely best to start a blog as lean as possible. So, throwing a bunch of money at ads to increase your traffic usually isn’t the first thing you want to be doing.
Well, I remember those early blogging days all too well, since I’ve just been there myself a few short years ago.
I remember how hard it was in the beginning to keep publishing content to crickets. I kept asking myself: will this ever grow? Maybe blogging just won’t work for me, maybe it’s just something that works for a few lucky ones…
Lucky enough, patience paid off and after a while and I got my first few visitors. Once the first came, I was hooked! Now I had proof that blogging is actually legit and works for me just like it did for others.
So, from here on I managed to grow my organic traffic by 683% within one year! And the best thing is that this was absolutely for free. The only investment I had to make was my time.
So, this article is a case study about how I grew my website traffic on my other niche website. I’ll show you the exact steps I’ve taken, so you can do the same thing!
Trust me, if I can do it, you can do it too!
1. Publish at least 30 articles to start with
Okay, so the first thing you need to do is to make it a goal to write at least 30 articles. That’s how I started. I watched a ton of Income School’s videos and they always said you should publish at least 30 articles to get started.
So, that’s what I did. I thought: okay, I’ll just give it a try, publish 30 articles and then decide if I want to continue with it or not.
If you’re currently sitting at less than 30 articles and already get traffic, that’s amazing! Just keep writing until you’re at least at 30. That’s a good number to look at your results, see what worked and what didn’t and tweak it where necessary.
2. Choose a fast and mobile-friendly theme
Now, I highly recommend you have a self-hosted website on WordPress.org. If you’re working with that you need to choose a theme (unless you’re a website developer).
When choosing a theme, it’s very important that you choose a fast and mobile-friendly one. The page loading speed is a ranking factor and for my website, about 80% of my visitors are on mobile and it will probably even increase over time.
I’m using Income School’s Acabado theme which I highly recommend if you only have a blog and don’t want any fancy customization. (It didn’t work for Habitsinprogress, as I needed to be able to customize certain pages.)
But if you’re really only publishing articles, Acabado is awesome. It’s fast, optimized for mobile and looks awesome right out of the box.
3. Focus on the topics that get traffic
Once you’ve written your first 30 articles it might take some time until you get your first traffic. I think I finished those articles after about 4 or 5 months (yes, I was slow, and it took me forever to finish one blog post. If you struggle with that too, make sure to check out this article to learn how to write blog posts faster). But I only got my first few visitors about 3 months later.
Once you got them, make sure to check out Search Console on a regular basis. This is where you can see what kind of topics and keywords got you the traffic. Once you know that, you can try to write more about this topic and use similar keywords. This will help you get clear on your niche.
4. Write the way you speak
My writing in the beginning was super stiff. That was part of the reason why it always took me so long to finish a blog post. I just wanted it all to be polished and perfect.
Unfortunately, that has quite the opposite effect.
Blogs are a rather informal kind of medium. No one wants to read a thesis on a blog. People want to get easy-to-consume content that’s written in a way they would put it themselves.
This is why it’s important to write the way you speak.
Actually super easy, right?
5. Only use long tail keywords
When you’re just getting started, your website doesn’t have any authority. This means you won’t stand a chance to outrank any bigger website.
So, instead you need to focus on longtail keywords that the big fish don’t care about because the search volume isn’t huge.
But the search volume isn’t super relevant for one specific keyword anyway. Sure, you might only get 10 visitors for a particular keyword per month. But the articles that rank best for me rank for hundreds of different keywords!
So, go after the long ones first. Short tail keywords will automatically follow.
6. Use the KGR method to find low hanging fruit
Along with Income School’s methods, I also used Doug Cunnington’s KGR method and found it highly effective.
This method means to go after the low hanging fruit. So, you’re not only going after long tail keywords but you’re also looking for a certain ratio, where the search volume is higher than the “allintitle” results.
The ratio has to be less than 0.25 for the “allintitle” results divided by the monthly search volume, while the latter has to be less than 250. I’ve used Keywords Everywhere to find the monthly search volume.
Here’s how it works in more detail:
7. Use Google autocomplete
In order to find keywords with any search volume at all, it’s best to get started with Google autocomplete.
Start typing your keyword in the Google search bar. You’ll then get a bunch of suggestions for how to complete your query.
If that happens, it means other people have searched for it before. So, even if you get zero search volume from other tools, this is enough for you to know that there is at least some seach volume.
8. Use Ubersuggest and Ahrefs to find keywords
These are 2 awesome tools to find keywords. And they’re especially useful if you have no idea what to write about.
I use Ubersuggest for every article I’m writing to get an idea of how competitive the keyword is. Keep in mind that the numbers aren’t super accurate, but more like an estimate.
So, what I generally look for is that the SEO difficulty is simply in the green. If the score is over 30, it might be too competitive for a new blog. So, it’s better to start with scores under 10.
But what is also great about it is that you get other keyword ideas that you can then also implement into your article.
Ubersuggest has a free plan, while Ahrefs is always paid. However, you can get a 7 days for $7 trial which is enough to generate a bunch of keyword lists from your competitors. I did this about 6 months ago and still have keywords to write 2 articles per week. It will probably last me for at least a year.
9. Look at the Search Console to find related keywords
As I’ve mentioned before, Search Console is another great tool to help you increase your organic traffic.
In there, you’ll see what keywords you’re ranking for, you see how much traffic you’re getting from them and what position your article is ranking currently.
That gives you a lot of data to find related keywords that Google thought you were writing about. Sometimes, you’ll rank for keywords that are only loosely related to your primary keywords. These are great ideas to write a separate article about.
Google already associates you with this keyword. So, you’ll be able to rank another article more easily for this topic.
10. Write articles longer than 1500 words
Okay, so this is an important point.
In order to increase your organic traffic to your blog, you need to rank as high as possible in the Google search results.
In order to achieve that, you need to write long articles. It’s extremely difficult to rank an article with less than 1000 words, unless you’ve got a super big website.
So, I always write at least 1500 words per article and I highly recommend you do the same.
11. Publish at least 2 articles per week
Another important point for higher rankings and increased traffic is consistency. As with any kind of content, consistency is always key!
If you’re following the steps outlined in this article, you will eventually get your blog posts to rank. But what often happens is that some blog posts perform super well, while others hardly get any traffic. And sometimes you just can’t make it rank higher.
This is why it’s important to have content published on a regular basis. That increases your odds at having a few good ones, which is really all you need.
Plus, more articles automatically result in more traffic.
So, I publish 2 new articles per week and I think this is an easily sustainable level in the beginning.
12. Add internal links in every blog post
Internal links are another important ranking factor. So, make sure you add those to every blogpost.
Link to other articles if you’re touching on something you’ve discussed in a different blog post. Or, if you haven’t written about anything related, yet, simply add a bunch of articles your visitors can read next at the end.
13. Add external links in every blog post
Along with internal links, you should also add a few external ones. This is especially important if you’re talking about a topic that isn’t common knowledge. It will make you look way more credible if you’re linking to the source of what you’re claiming.
And Google thinks the same, which is why it will help you rank higher.
14. Include lots of pictures and graphics
Another key factor for higher rankings is time on page. You want to make sure your visitors are staying for as long as possible.
And how do you do that? Make it enjoyable!
People love images and graphics. So, make best use of that and break up the article with lots of pictures, screenshots etc.
15. Use Pinterest
What also helped me to increase my traffic quite a bit is to use Pinterest.
I took me quite a while to figure it all out. Taking Pinterest Avalanche definitely helped me a ton. This course is definitely super useful if you’re not the most graphically talented person – like me…
Over time, and with the extra knowledge provided in the course, I finally understood how the platform works. I now get about 10% of my traffic from Pinterest, with minimal extra effort (it takes me about 1.5 hours per week and I could reduce it even more).
16. Add social sharing buttons
If people like what they read, they love sharing it out on social media.
Make best use of that and provide them with the social sharing buttons. This way, they only need to click a button and they’ll get the blog post well-formatted for each platform. I have definitely seen an increase in traffic from social media platforms and I never promote my articles, other than on Pinterest.
So, you definitely want to have those buttons in place in order to increase the organic traffic to your blog or website.
I use Social Warfare which is free and super easy to use.
17. Promote your blog posts on social media
This is something I haven’t really done so far (other than Pinterest) but could give my traffic an extra boost.
Not only will you get more immediate traffic from sharing your articles on social media. But you’ll also create an extra link with every share. More links linking to your blog will increase your authority in Google, which in turn will lead to higher rankings.
So, if you have the time, I highly recommend making use of different social media platforms and promoting your own articles.
18. Build an email list
Building an email list is crucial to monetize your blog in the long run. You own your email list and it’s a great way to communicate with your website visitors. Not only that, you’ll also automatically increase your blog traffic because you can send out your new articles every week.
19. Work with freelance writers
In order to publish more articles – because more articles automatically translate into more visitors – you can also work with freelance writers.
I’m currently working with one freelancer and I found her on Upwork.
There are other platforms as well but I think Upwork is super easy and convenient, so I can highly recommend it.
Optional: Write guest posts
One thing I didn’t do at all so far is to write guest posts.
I followed Income School’s advice in the beginning and they’re big advocates to build big blogs without writing guest posts. They say you’ll automatically get links if you’re just writing good content.
And that was my experience so far as well. Writing a bunch of guest posts can be very time-consuming and you might not really benefit all that much from it. You’ll get the links anyway, just a bit later.
If you want to boost your traffic to your blog right out of the gate, guest posting can be a great way to make it work.
There you have it, these are all the steps, hacks and tools I used to increase my organic traffic to my blog by 683% within one year.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the things you should or could do, just start with number 1 on the list. Work your way down and just know that this whole process takes time. It’s completely normal to take a few months until you have everything in place.
And even after that, you constantly need to test different strategies. Maybe something I’ve mentioned doesn’t work so well in your niche. If that’s the case, you need to have the courage to admit that it doesn’t work and then try something else.
Be patient and keep publishing new articles and you will see success!