Mostly If you’re like most bloggers, one of your New Year’s resolutions in 2019 was undoubtedly to get more traffic in 2019.
Now, three months into the new year, you’re probably looking at your Google Analytics report and wondering: why is my traffic growth flat?
You’re not the only one. Countless bloggers around the world are asking themselves the same question.
The truth is that increasing traffic in 2019 requires a very different approach than it did in, say, 2015. The state of marketing has changed drastically in the last few years. The tactics that were rock solid in 2015 barely make a dent in your traffic today.
To increase your blog traffic in 2019, you need to adopt newer, more advanced marketing tactics. Use these tips to grow your traffic this year and beyond.
1. Write less but more authoritative content
If you’ve been blogging for a while, you probably live by a single mantra: produce more content, publish it often.
While this adage stood the test of time for eons (or two decades in SEO years), it doesn’t hold much water anymore.
Recall that Google’s original mission statement is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible”. To this effect, it wants to minimize the amount of time a user spends trying to find the right result.
Which is why you see Google serving answers to so many search queries directly on the results page, instead of driving people to another website.
So when someone searches for a query like “design resources”, Google doesn’t want the user to spend minutes jumping from one site to another. Instead, it wants to direct them to a single source that can potentially list all the design resources they might need.
In practice, this means writing fewer but more authoritative articles. Instead of creating 10 similar keyword-focused pieces, write a single article that covers all the 10 keywords in a single article.
In fact, research shows that longer content also ranks better, attracts more backlinks, and drives more shares.
2. Rework your older content
As an experienced blogger, you likely have a vast archive of published content. Some of this content might have been cutting edge five years ago but is outdated today. As a result, you get hardly any traffic to these pages, if at all.
There are three approaches you can take this with older content:
Update it: For content that is doing relatively well (i.e. ranks between pages 2 and 5 for its target keyword), your best bet is to update the content with fresh information. You can add images, pad out content to include new information, embed videos, etc. to make the content more relevant and valuable.
Delete it: Content that is under 300 words in length and doesn’t rank anywhere close to the first 5 pages should be deleted. This content adds little to no value to your site. In fact, it sends a negative signal to Google that your site has poor quality, outdated and “thin” content. This can potentially harm your SEO.
Redirect it: If you have a lot of short and low-quality articles on a single topic, it might be smarter to redirect them all to a longer, detailed article on the same topic. This way, you drive authority to the longer article and give readers a better experience.
For example, we updated one of our older articles on the Workamajig blog with fresh content. Within weeks of doing that, our weekly traffic started going up, eventually reaching nearly 10x as many people as it did earlier.
3. Write content for the right topics
If you wanted to learn how to ride a skateboard, would you rather read an article about it or watch a video?
Most of you will probably go for a video.
Google thinks so too. If you search for “how to ride a skateboard”, you’ll find that the first few results are dominated by videos.
You might spend 50 hours creating a highly detailed article on riding a skateboard, but you’ll never be able to dislodge these videos from the #1 spot.
This is why you must select the topics you create content for carefully. Don’t just choose a topic because it has strong search volume. Rather, think about the following:
User-intent: Is this keyword related to something commercial? If yes, how can I take advantage of it to monetize my blog?
Search-intent: Is this keyword better served with a video? Or would people prefer to read about it?
Depth: Would a reader rather get an answer to this question immediately? Or would they prefer to get a more detailed understanding of the topic through visuals and background research?
Your goal should be to map your content to the keyword-type. Don’t write 10,000 word blog posts for topics that need video results. And don’t create videos for topics that are better served by an image.
4. Automate your marketing
Marketing automation used to be expensive to buy and complicated to run. In fact, 61% of marketers even say that the only reason they don’t use marketing automation more is because it is “difficult”.
But things are changing fast in the marketing automation landscape. Any blogger can run simple automated email marketing campaigns for just a few dollars a month.
These campaigns don’t have to be complicated. At most, you should be able to collect emails and enter subscribers into a “drip” sequence where you send them targeted emails every few days. This will help you in two ways:
It will familiarize readers with your brand, making it easier for you to sell them anything in the future.
It will help you segment your readers into more targeted categories. You can then use these segments to send them better targeted offers.
For instance, if you run a food blog, you might have two kinds of readers:
-Readers who are only interested in your recipes
-Readers who want your suggestions on the right kitchen equipment to buy.
You can easily create an automated email marketing “funnel” where you send subscribers content related to either of the above two topics. Readers who choose topic #1 automatically get funneled into a “recipes” segment. Those who chose topic #2 get sent to a “buying advice” segment.
The best way to collect email addresses in 2019 remains the humble content upgrade. This is a tactic where you offer some downloadable content that “upgrades” the content the reader is currently reading.
This downloadable content doesn’t have to be complex. As long as it adds relevant value to the content they’re reading, most people will be happy to exchange their email addresses for it.
For example, this music blog has a list of websites that accept music submissions. However, the on-page table is difficult to read. So the blog offers a downloadable “upgrade” which is nothing but the list of blogs in an Excel spreadsheet.
This content upgrade is trivially easy to create, yet it lures in readers because it offers the on-page content in a more palatable format.
Over to you
Blogging success in 2019 is harder than ever. There is more content being produced today than ever. If you want to win traffic and readers, you will have to eschew old-school marketing practices.
Ditch the dogma you learned earlier. Instead, adopt one of these four advanced marketing tactics to make 2019 your best traffic year ever.
Jeff Sullivan is a content marketing manager for Workamajig, a leading management system for the world’s top agencies. When not helping agencies scale their growth, he can be found fiddling with his guitar or waiting for surfing season to start.