Blog Tip of the Day

5 ways to drive more traffic to your blog

When I first started blogging over four years ago, I experienced something that 99% of all bloggers go through. I’d put tons of work into my posts, only to have no one ever read them. Even if you absolutely love the content you’re creating on your blog, let’s be honest: blogging’s a lot more fun when you have a community of people you can share your ideas with, and you’re not just talking to yourself. In other words, no matter what our reasons are for blogging — be it as a hobby, as a profession, or anything else — we ALL want to grow our traffic. And as we learned from the last Blog Tip of the Day, traffic = pageviews.

A little sidenote confession before we continue on to the good stuff. I fretted a bit when putting this post together. I worried that people would think that these tips felt soulless, that to use them would mean that you’re just in this for the pageviews. But the reality is, many bloggers are interested in growing their site so they can work with brands, or perhaps launch a business off of it, or a myriad of other reasons. So if these help you reach any of your goals in a way that’s authentic to you and your blog, I say cheers! And ultimately, I thought you guys wouldn’t mind these tips too much, because no matter who you are or why you post, no blogger in the history of the world has ever said, “MAN, I want FEWER pageviews! I wish people would stop looking at my great content that I spend so much time on!” Right? Right!

Alright, so, since initially starting to blog, I’ve learned that there are a couple easy ways to increase traffic. Here they are:

(Psst! You can get lots more blog related tips and resources over at The B Bar!)

1. Use Link Within or nRelate

Many of you know about Link Within, a fantastic service that is responsible for those “You Might Also Like…” widgets at the end of posts. However, lots of bloggers are unfamiliar with nRelate, which is my personal favorite. What I like about nRelate is that you can restrict what posts show up as related. So, for example, you can tell the widget to only data mine posts from a certain time period, or from certain categories, etc. This is especially helpful if you’ve been blogging for a while and perhaps your focus changed (me!). I didn’t necessarily want posts from 2008 showing up in those search results, when it was highly unlikely they had anything to do with the types of posts I do now. Link Within or nRelate. Both great options to increase pageviews AND lower your bounce rate

2. Only publish post summaries in RSS services like Google Reader

You may want to consider limiting how much of each post is published in a feed service, such as Google Reader. Think about it like this: if all the individuals who subscribe to your blog through a service like this can read the entire post without ever having to visit your site…are you losing a lot of traffic? This is something I realized a little while back, and in all honesty, it was initially a tough decision for me to switch over to summaries. I mean, I like to read blogs in Reader, and yes, having the entire post there is much more convenient. And, I worried I’d piss of my subscribers. But I won’t lie — Google Reader is now consistently a top traffic referrer for me, and I know the same is true for many other bloggers who do this! If you’ve also put lots of time and money into prettifying your site, it’s a shame that people won’t see it everyday, don’t you think?

Here’s another thing to consider: if you’re hosting any kind of sponsorship program, are the advertisers who are paying to reach your audience losing out on all the subscribers who consume your content via an RSS feed, and never visit your site? It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong or that you should go out and change this setting immediately. It’s just something to think about.

If you want to change this setting: Blogger users | WordPress users (this works for both .com and .org)

3. Get rid of an e-mail subscription option

This one is sort of in the same vein as only publishing summaries. You can take it or leave it, but here’s my own experience, for whatever that’s worth! When I first was starting out, having an option on my sidebar for people to subscribe and receive my new blog posts via email was a great way to gauge how people were responding to my content. Obviously, an uptick in email subscribers was a good thing — it meant people were enjoying my posts, which was so exciting! However, eventually, this had a downside. If readers were getting all my content in their Inbox, they had no reason to ever click through and come visit my site, unless they wanted to comment. Hmm. So, I ultimately took this option off my sidebar, though the original subscriber list is still intact!

I realize these previous two are a little controversial, and I’ve heard arguments in favor of each. My advice? Do what feels right for you!

4. Post breaks, post breaks, post breaks (and page breaks, too!).

I can’t stress this one enough. Not only because it gives you easy extra pageviews, but because visually, if you can break up long pieces of content, it will help your blog IMMENSELY. This is true for both text AND photos. I personally think that in an ideal world, a new reader could land on your site, do two big scrolls of the click-wheel on their mouse, see 2-3 of your posts, and get a good idea of the type of content you’re publishing. What you don’t want is for someone to have to scroll…and scroll…and scroll…just to get to the end of a single long post. Similarly, consider limiting how many posts appear on your main homepage. Most blogs feature anywhere from 3-5 posts on the front page. If people can keep scrolling down and read 20 of your latest posts, they’ll never have to click anything else on your site to see what else you’ve been up to recently!

Post breaks for: Blogger users | WordPress users   Page breaks for: Blogger users | WordPress users

5. Build out your navigation menu

Navigation menus, like the one you see at the top of this blog and on many others, are a great way to tell readers more about who you are, what you do, what you like, etc. You can feature an About page, or tell people about your freelance business. Many people feature links to their favorite blogs in a blog roll, or press features on their own blog. Molly and Sally from A Piece of Toast keep an archive of all the gorgeous headers they create each month. Grace features a fantastic visual guide to all her DIYs. Mackenzie links over to her 101 in 1001 days posts, which are a series of bucket list type items she’s crossing off. The options are pretty endless! Not only are these menus a great way to share more about who you are and what your blog is about, they’re a simple, effective way to (again!) keep people on your site. Keeping people on your site = higher pageviews and a lower bounce rate. All good things!

There’s a six thing here, but it’s kind of a tricky one. In all honesty, the sixth item isn’t so much easy as it is easier said than done. And that’s having fantastic content. All the shortcuts and tricks in the world won’t help you long term if you don’t continue to develop your blog and provide engaging content that’s valuable to readers. Once you have this in place, these five things will just help you keep readers who love your work and what you’re doing!

Have you tried any of the above? What works for you as far as driving traffic to your blog?

Be sure to check out my online shop, The B Bar, for lots of other great resources and tips that you can download!

67 comments

  1. DCTdesigns said: replied:

    Thanks for the tips. Very helpful for me.

    My blog is on wordpress.com. For the life of me I have not been able to figure out how to enable linked within.

    I can’t determine if it is technological inexperience or wordpress doesn’t allow it.

    Any advice?

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  2. Cathy said: replied:

    Fantastic tips girl!! Thank you so much! I’ve been in the process of customizing my navigation bar and although tough, it’s worth learning :)

    Cathy Trails

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  3. I just love you! Thanks for the tips Victoria. I read every word and get so much out of these posts.

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  4. Dana McDowell said: replied:

    I’m so excited to try these out!!! You are the best, Victoria!

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  5. Mandy Pellegrin said: replied:

    These seem like really great tips that I’ll definitely have to give a try. Thanks for sharing!

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  6. Giulia said: replied:

    This is great. The one big exception on the long post without break and HUGE success is Young House Love – those posts go on forever and they get so many readers/comments.

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  7. I’m embarrassed to admit that your post made me realize I haven’t had LinkWithin since my redesign, oh, 18 months ago. Off to research nRelate and add one or the other now!

    Thanks for mentioning my 101 in 1001 too. I love getting to know more about my favorite bloggers (especially when I stumble upon their blogs for the first time!) and nothing bugs me more than a blog without an about page and some basic info about who they are and why they what they do.

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  8. julia said: replied:

    thanks so much for these tips victoria! i just switched my blogger rss to summaries only.

    i both agree and disagree with #4 … i really hate when the post break is too short and i have to click to read the full post (or to see the rest of the pics), every time. but i also dislike having to scroll through an immensely long post to just get to the next one – either of these will likely just make me frustrated and leave the site altogether!

    thanks again!

    xo julesinflats.blogspot.com

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  9. Lisa // Elembee said: replied:

    Great tips! Have you had any feedback since you switched to post summaries in RSS? I’m fine with blogs that use them now, but when I was working a desk job and reading mostly on my phone, I would only continue subscribing to a blog with post summaries if I really loved it — for blogs I read casually, it just wasn’t worth it to have to click over. I recently started breaking up my posts with a lead image (SO much cleaner!), so I’ve considered doing something similar for my RSS feed, but I worry I would lose the casual readers. Thoughts?

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  10. Thanks for the shout-out. I know you and I talk about this stuff constantly.. I can fully agree with you and attest that all of these things really help!!

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  11. Kate {Modette} said: replied:

    I love all these tips! Bookmarking now so I can refer to this post! Thank you for sharing! :) x

    Kate {Modette}
    http://modetteblog.com

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  12. Carolyn said: replied:

    I’m embarassed to say this, but a lot of these are things I have thought about but have been feeling too lost or intimidated to work on! I can’t thank you enough to laying this all out in one place (and also for your previous post on media kits – I legitimately pinned it so I would never lose it: http://pinterest.com/truthisnatural/reading-list/). They’re beyond helpful for a newbie like me!

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  13. Lotts and Lotts said: replied:

    I love love love these tips and have been thinking alot recently about my reasons for blogging. I would love to get more readers so will definitely try some of these tips out. Thanks as always.

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  14. Christin said: replied:

    LOVE this post! And I love how Grace breaks out her DIYs.

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  15. Theresa said: replied:

    Thank you for these tips, Victoria! They were super helpful. It’s generous of you to share what has worked and hasn’t worked for you on your blogging journey. As always, this post fits squarely into the engaging-content-that’s-valuable-to-readers category.

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  16. Ana Carneiro said: replied:

    Great post! Really helpful!

    Ana
    My Own Project

    Please vote for my photos in this competition! It means a lot to me! Thanks!
    VOTE IN MY PHOTOS

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  17. OMG… these are seriously the best tips that I have come across in a long time!!! I had never thought about breaking up my posts… I wondered why some bloggers did it and not others! It makes so much sense now!!! Thank you for sharing these tips!

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  18. Andi said: replied:

    Such great advice! I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on tips to drive traffic. Cant wait to try these out!

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  19. jacquelyn |lark&linen said: replied:

    I thought I had this whole blogging thing down patt and then you show up and teach me a whole new world of things to mull over! Great tips. Thanks miss!

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  20. Phoebe said: replied:

    I’m not going to lie, I hate it when blogs aren’t readable in my Google Reader, but I understand why you do it. Nevertheless, I still bookmark your blog and manually click on it every day (I took it out of Google Reader a long time ago b/c it was driving me nuts, haha) after work BECAUSE I like your content!

    It’s true…good content trumps all.

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  21. alyson said: replied:

    Excellent tips! I’ve considered providing just a summary in my Google Reader because I’m noticing more followers, more social media fans, etc yet not seeing significant increases in visitors. There must be a correlation so I’m going to try it. Also trying to break pages more; something I noticed you doing a while back that seemed like a smart idea. :) Thanks for these ideas!!

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  22. Becca said: replied:

    Wow! Great tips….all of which I had no idea about. Thanks Victoria!

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  23. Amy said: replied:

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge Victoria! I’m off to make a few changes to my blog :)

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  24. Gaby [The Vault Files] said: replied:

    These are amazing tips, they make sense so much! But I have to be honest, I’m one of those readers that doesn’t like post breaks and summaries, they kind of frustrate me, and usually when I read a blog that has them I leave the posts unread until the end of the week or so and then just click to the site and see it all. Also, and this is just feedback (just my opinion of course), as a visual person, if I don’t see the image part of the post right away, my interest in reading further decreases. So, for me is a little bit hard to put these two in practice, mainly because I imagine my readers to be like me, which of course is doesn’t have to be like that, is just a tough decision to make.
    Thanks so much for sharing these ;)

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  25. bestofbklyn said: replied:

    You are killing it with the helpful blogging tips, Victoria! Just installed nRelate and will be working on a media kit soon, thanks to your last tutorial! Thank you so much!

    2 Aug 2012 | Reply
  26. Chedva said: replied:

    Such a great post! I have Link Within and I’m not in love with it… Thanks for the recommendation for nRelate.

    3 Aug 2012 | Reply
  27. Kirstin Marie said: replied:

    This is such a great post. I never thought to adjust my blog post feed, it makes complete sense! Thanks for these tips. Link Within is one of my personal favorites. :)

    3 Aug 2012 | Reply
  28. [...] article from Victoria of vMac & Cheese will probably be appreciated by any and every blogger. Awesomely practical [...]

    3 Aug 2012 |
  29. Louise said: replied:

    Great info on how to drive traffic to your site. One of my friends keeps telling me to try to amp up my subscriber list, cuz it worked for Viper Chill: http://www.viperchill.com/ u ever heard of him? But I’m totally getting yer stance on the subscriber…makes total sense! And you’re not “soulless,” we are all trying to gain more readership, like you say…just trying to be heard. We all have a goal, and info like this, helps us reach that goal even faster. Glad I stumbled on yer blog today…found you through http://www.parscaeli.com. looking fwd to reading more of your posts XO

    3 Aug 2012 | Reply
  30. Kim said: replied:

    great tips, thanks.

    3 Aug 2012 | Reply
  31. caitlin said: replied:

    These tips are amazing, hope you keep them coming!

    3 Aug 2012 | Reply
  32. Love these tips, thanks so much for sharing. I’ve been so conflicted about only putting a summary in my feed, but may just give it a try. But I’ve never thought about the email subscription – interesting!

    3 Aug 2012 | Reply
  33. Jess said: replied:

    Love the tips!

    I have to say that I do prefer reading things in my reader in full, but I also always click thru to see your posts – so I suppose the lesson there is that if someone likes you enough to subscribe, they’re gonna click and see your full post. Right? haha

    Definitely going to implement some of these tips now, thank you for them!

    3 Aug 2012 | Reply
  34. Michelle said: replied:

    These are great tips! I actually just switched over to nrelate from linkwithin for the extra features. The only one that I find a battle is whether or not to do click through on RSS feeds. I read most blogs on Flipboard so I find it very time consuming to click through each post to see everything and usually just skim past them. I might play around with the idea to see how it goes over with my readers! Again thanks for the great tips!

    3 Aug 2012 | Reply
  35. You have no idea how happy these tips make me, now I just have to figure them all out :)

    3 Aug 2012 | Reply
  36. Gretchen said: replied:

    Great advice here! I’ve been wondering how to get those related links at the bottom of posts. Thanks so much!

    4 Aug 2012 | Reply
  37. Purple Paparazzi said: replied:

    Well well well, Victoria strikes again!!! I think when you do these Blog Tip Posts, these are some of the best things for your readers…..I swear we all appreciate them so much, just look at how many comments this post got!!! Please continue to do these, we love these coming from a pro!! Yes, I said Pro….I think you’re a pro!!!

    Amber/Purple Paparazzi

    4 Aug 2012 | Reply
  38. [...] – More Blog Tips. [...]

    6 Aug 2012 |
  39. Lottie said: replied:

    these tips are so helpful and are things i hadn’t really thought about so thanks you a lot :)

    6 Aug 2012 | Reply
  40. thefashionistachic said: replied:

    thanks for the great tips, I plan to visit regularly.

    6 Aug 2012 | Reply
  41. Maria Losch said: replied:

    Thanks for these tips and I’ve done all except the “more tag” which is SUPER helpful!! Changing it up right now and love it!

    7 Aug 2012 | Reply
  42. Christina said: replied:

    Wow! Hadn’t even finished reading this post and I’ve run off and implemented #2 and #4! Thank you for this incredibly helpful post! Note that regarding #3, email subscriptions, according to the WordPress article on “Reading Settings”, the full text versus summary in a feed “also affects what your followers receive in their email subscriptions.” So it seems to me that email subscribers would also have to click through to get the whole post just like RSS subscribers. I know I have several followers who don’t use an RSS reader so I’m happy to keep the email option! Thank you again for providing tips that are useful and easily implemented. So many blogging tips that I come across are vague or abstract, it’s nice to see some straight-forward ones here!

    8 Aug 2012 | Reply
  43. [...] tips to increase page [...]

    8 Aug 2012 |
  44. Katie @ Katie's Bliss said: replied:

    These tips are super helpful! Thank you for sharing!

    katiesbliss.com

    10 Aug 2012 | Reply
  45. Megan said: replied:

    Thank you for sharing all of your blogging tips! I am just getting my blog up and running, so it is great to hear from someone with such an established blog!

    Best,
    Megan

    11 Aug 2012 | Reply
  46. Jordin said: replied:

    Thanks for this post! I have changed a few things up on my blog and I think it is really helping!!

    13 Aug 2012 | Reply
  47. Molly said: replied:

    Truly valuable advice. Thank you so much for sharing Victoria! I’ve already made the changes to my blog you suggested. Obviously it’s worked out for you :)

    16 Aug 2012 | Reply
  48. Michelle said: replied:

    Great tips. Just added linked within to my blog. I am new at this, but you provided some valuable information.

    Thanks,

    Michelle
    http://drmtfurges.blogspot.com

    17 Aug 2012 | Reply
  49. Adriana said: replied:

    I’m so happy I stumbled onto these tips. I always love learning what the Settings on Blogger mean. I am so oblivious to those things & they’re so important! Thanks, you’re a big help.

    4 Sep 2012 | Reply
  50. Michelle {LiveLoudly} said: replied:

    These are great tips! Thanks so much for sharing them. I instantly made some changes to my blog and look forward to seeing how they go over.
    -Michelle {LiveLoudly}

    14 Sep 2012 | Reply
  51. rtkce said: replied:

    Thank you for the tips! So helpful!

    -Erin

    16 Sep 2012 | Reply
  52. Jae said: replied:

    Great tips, still a couple months later. Made some changes, debating others, but at least now I have the reasoning of both sides for them. Thanks!

    17 Oct 2012 | Reply
  53. website design said: replied:

    I am excited for this series, I am always looking for new tips on how to make my blog better! I love reading your blog!

    20 Dec 2012 | Reply
  54. Sylvia said: replied:

    Great tips! Thank you! I just changed the setting of my feed to “summary”, and I’m excited to see if I’ll get any hits from Google Reader! I’m having a hard time imagining my blog with a “Read more”, but sooner or later I’ll probably use it. Now I’ll browse your other blog tips! :)

    10 Jan 2013 | Reply
  55. Shaina A. said: replied:

    Found this article on Pinterest and this was so very helpful! Thanks!

    14 Jan 2013 | Reply
  56. Lindsay said: replied:

    Thanks Victoria! I just found this list on Pinterest and immediately made steps to improving my blog. I couldn’t find a linkwithin for wordpress but did find a similar plug in that I’m going to try out.

    I’m embarrassed to admit that I had no clue what post breaks were for but now I used a few and my front page is much shorter and easier to navigate.

    I recently changed my RSS feed from full to summary and I’m glad I did after reading this post.

    There needs to be more of this kind of content out there! Thanks again.

    16 Jan 2013 | Reply
  57. Claire said: replied:

    I came across your blog via a recent post on Apartment 34, and I’ve been reading through these tips. They’re definitely all things I have to consider. I can see myself coming back to this post again and again for reference. Thanks for sharing!

    25 Jan 2013 | Reply
  58. THANKS girl – i’m trying some of these!!!! – i HOPE they help !!!!!

    1 Mar 2013 | Reply
  59. Adrienne said: replied:

    I am having a terrible time trying to post the “short” feed for blogger. I set it that way, but it’s not working for my blog. Does it not automatically work for past posts?

    Thanks! :)

    20 Mar 2013 | Reply
  60. Meg said: replied:

    Amazing logical/simple advice. Thank you! Hopefully I can entice more readers now :)

    6 Jul 2013 | Reply
  61. […] 5 Easy Ways To Drive More Traffic To Your Blog (Vmac and Cheese) […]

    14 Jan 2014 |
  62. Stephanie said: replied:

    I am super late to the party here, but just wanted to say as a newbie blogger thanks so much for these tips…I had no idea how other bloggers set up their ‘you might like these’ sections and now I have my very own LinkWithin widget! Also the info on page/post breaks was really useful. Thanks again!

    12 Apr 2014 | Reply
  63. Olivia @ Mother May I said: replied:

    How do you change it where the “powered by nRelate” thing is not on there?
    Thank you so much for this post! So helpful!!!! I just implemented every tip!

    25 Jun 2014 | Reply

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