Today, we’re talking about the things that might be keeping people from visiting your blog. Fixing these common new-blogger mistakes can increase your blog traffic BIG time!
Blogging completely changed my life and allowed me to make a full-time income working from home (and doing something I love!) Believe it or not, you can start a money-making blog for as low s $2.95 a month! (Less than the price of one fancy cup of coffee!)
Below, I have included discounted pricing that I personally negotiated with Bluehost so you can start a blog for the lowest price possible. (Bonus: You’ll also receive a free domain name when you sign up for a year’s hosting with Bluehost). This post includes links to products and services that I love and use, to help you grow your blog too (disclosure policy available here). Click here to start your blog with Bluehost for the special super-low offer just for my readers.
10 Things That Keep People from Visiting Your Blog
One of the top questions I see from new bloggers is: why aren’t people visiting my blog?
Blogging is a little bit luck, a little bit talent, and a LOT of hard work. But you can make things easier on yourself by avoiding some of the things that might actually be driving readers away instead of drawing them in.
I wish I had known some of these things in the early days! That’s why I’m sharing what I’ve learned through trial and error in building a 6-figure blog – so you don’t have to make these mistakes too!
1. A website name they can’t remember
A surefire way to make it harder for people to find your website (or come back a second time) is by using a name that’s tough to remember.
These are some things that can make your URL (website address) more challenging for potential visitors to find:
- Nicknames or unusual spellings of common words — Ask yourself first: it might sound cute to you, but will everyone else “get it?”
- Adding dashes — This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but any unnecessary punctuation increases the odds of user error/misspellings.
- Long URLS that come with free blogging platforms (see below).
On a free blogging service, your website URL will be long and cumbersome, which is why I recommend purchasing your own domain name and professional hosting plan right off the bat. Example: http://www.yourblognamehere.wordpress.com — yikes! Not only does it look less professional, but it will be harder for readers to remember.
Initially, I didn’t know the difference and I created my blog on a free blogging platform. I ended up having to switch everything over just a few months later. Switching from free to self-hosted requires some decent web knowledge or paying someone to do it for you to avoid site outages or losing any of your hard work.
The Basic plans on Bluehost are only a few dollars per month — a tiny start-up cost if you think about it and well worth it. (Seriously, what other legit business can you start with such a small budget?) You’ll end up paying someone $100+ to switch you over later if you start on a free site, so might as well get started on your own domain.
I’ve worked with Bluehost for years, so they set up an exclusive pricing plan just for my readers. If you sign up through my link you’ll pay LESS than their regularly-listed plans PLUS get a free domain name. (See why I love them so much?!)
UPDATE 10th July 2020: Bluehost recently discounted their Prime Plan to just $5.45/month (I’ve never seen it priced that low before!) The Prime Plan offers SO many features that are usually extra, like daily site backups and domain privacy protection. I definitely recommend snagging this steal of a deal before it’s gone! Click here to learn more about the Prime Plan and the blog hosting features you can’t afford to skip.
5 Quick Tips:
Read this next: Find out more about why I don’t recommend starting on a free blogging platform plus the four other things I wish I’d known before starting a blog HERE.
2. No blog post images at all
I’m always surprised when I visit a website and there are no images in a post. (It happens more often than you might think!)
Here are a few reasons that you can’t skip images:
- Images and photos entice people to visit your site. For example, Pinterest is a visual search engine, so if you don’t have photos, you’re missing out on this potential traffic source. What will you share on social media if there are no images attached to your blog post?
- Photos add value to your content. Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words! Sure you can describe a recipe, but a photo shows readers what that finished dish looks like, and is definitely more enticing.
- Images can help improve SEO (search engine optimization). Google loves images when they add value to your post (see above). A post with images usually performs better in search than those without any at all.
Bottom line: you need images and photos on your website!
3. Ugly images
So you’ve got at least one photo on each blog post — that’s definitely a step in the right direction! Now you’ve got to evaluate whether or not they truly add value to your site. Do your images draw in potential readers? Do they illustrate the point you want to make, clarify a step-by-step tutorial, make a recipe jump off the screen?
One of my passions is creating Pinterest images, as well as coaching other bloggers how to create effective Pinterest and social media-ready images for their own blogs.
This is the question I always ask myself before uploading an image to my website: would I click on this?
Sometimes the honest answer is “no” and it’s back to the drawing board! (Ouch!)
An image that doesn’t grab attention won’t get clicks.
Images that are crisp, clear, and professional-looking get get FAR more clicks than those that aren’t.
So you’ve got to put your pride aside and get real with yourself and the work you’re putting out there.
How do I know?
I’ve studied pins for the past two years and I’ve created a simple system that worked to triple my Pinterest followers in the first three months alone! It’s also kept my traffic growing even as algorithms make it tougher for bloggers to get noticed.
Here’s an example from my own website so you can see what I mean:
The image on the left is my original social media image for the post. The image on the right was my updated image, using the tricks and techniques I perfected in my studies. The image on the right (new image) went viral almost instantly. Images matter!
I compiled everything I learned into an easy to follow, self-paced course called Pins that Produce. Here I share ALL of my secrets for designing Pinterest images that stand out from the crowd and GET CLICKS.
4. No social media presence
One of my early mistakes was skipping out on making a Facebook business page. When I finally realized that is was a necessity, I was playing catch-up!
Another risk you take in not creating social media accounts for your blog/business right away is that someone else will use that name. Sometimes it is an innocent mistake, in other instances it is purposeful (yes, this happens!)
Social media is a crucial way to increase blog traffic, so don’t wait!
As soon as you secure your blog’s domain name, secure your social media pages too with that same name. The four essential networks to be on are: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Other networks can be a plus, but those are the four that brands look at for their sponsored campaigns and they are the most useful for reaching the largest number of potential readers.
5. Inactive or inconsistent on social media
Maybe you already created your social media accounts, but you’re not using them on a regular basis.
Most social media algorithms seem to prefer consistent posting, so if you’re going days (or weeks) between posts, you’re making it more difficult for those posts to be seen.
Every single successful blogger that I know uses a consistent posting schedule for their social media accounts (the time/frequency depends on the specific network).
Scheduling tools are helpful for keeping up your rhythm when you’re not able to get on your computer, and to keep from overwhelming yourself.
Tailwind (for Pinterest) is the one scheduling tool that I pay for (SO worth it!) However, for Facebook I use their native scheduler (free) and Twitter I used TweetDeck (free).
Related: See all of the blogging tools I recommend here (as well as the ones you can skip!)
6. Not optimized for SEO
This is something I was guilty of as a new blogger! I didn’t know that there were things I needed to do to make my posts more visible to Google. So obviously I got very little search traffic in the beginning.
If an SEO course isn’t in the budget, there are still plenty of things you can do to increase your search engine presence.
First, I always recommend the free Yoast SEO plugin to new bloggers. This free tool provides a checklist as you’re creating each blog post, offering tips to improve SEO and readability. While Yoast is not the end-all-be-all, it is easy to use and an excellent place to start.
Next, read up on SEO best practices from trusted blogging resources — some of the information out there might vary, but you will notice that there are certain key principles that are widely agreed upon and accepted. Start with these basic steps before branching out into trickier concepts.
Finally, I like to visit websites that I know are already successful and see how they layout their content. This often gives me ideas and strategies that are working for others as well as confirms some of my independent SEO research.
7. No newsletter
Social media algorithms change ALL the time. Social media platforms come and go (remember Vine?)
However, a newsletter (mailing list) is YOUR unique audience and no one can take that away from you.
If you don’t have a newsletter, you’re missing out on potential blog traffic and building a community of loyal readers! These newsletter subscribers are often your biggest supporters — they look forward to your new content and are more likely to purchase your products, special offers, etc. They are a warm audience (as opposed to the “cold” audience of first-time readers that pop-in from social media).
I use ConvertKit for my newsletter because it has a ton of features and better open rates than other services I’ve tried in the past. Believe it or not, my open rate doubled immediately after I switched to ConvertKit – with no other major changes! (The reason being that ConvertKit is a more trusted sender than some other services, which are more likely to end up in spam folders).
However, there are free options that are useful in the early days when you’re business is on a tight budget. For example, MailChimp is free until you hit 2000 subscribers.
8. Using profanity
This is my personal preference, but excessive profanity in a blog post (and any profanity in a blog post title) is a BIG turn-off.
I’ll put it this way: cursing isn’t likely to gain you extra readers because they think you’re cooler, however, cursing IS likely to lose readers because they’re offended.
Another reason to avoid profanity on your website is that it may alienate potential sponsors, causing you to lose out on paid brand work down the road.
When in doubt, don’t curse.
9. Your blog reads like a diary
Don’t take this the wrong way, but most people don’t care about your day-to-day life. Not because they’re mean, but because they’re more worried about what’s going on in their own life!
People read blogs to discover new ideas, find solutions to their problems, or feel better about themselves.
However, a large percentage of new blogs are written in diary-style, so they don’t accomplish any of those three things!
The key to creating a successful blog post that people want to read and share is offering them what they are looking for, and weaving your own personal experience in to make it an authentic, personal piece.
A disturbing trend I’ve seen is newer blogs stealing ideas from others, hoping to cash in quickly on a viral idea (without doing any of the hard work that goes into creating that idea).
It’s ok if you think of an idea, then realize that someone else has already written about it. That’s pretty much inevitable with the scope of the internet. The key is offering your own unique spin that sets your post apart from the others.
Case in point: there are probably a million chocolate chip cookie recipes on the internet. But perhaps you use a special ingredient that’s made your recipe famous with friends and family.
What is not ok: uploading someone else’s photos as your own or “republishing” their post on your site without explicit permission (I see this a LOT with recipes and crafts).
Always err on the side of caution — plagiarism and stealing content (photos, fonts, memes, etc.) can get you socked with a cease and desist letter, or even sued. Not worth it!
The biggest strength of your blog is that it is like no other — don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need to be just like someone else to be successful.
More of my Favorite Blogging Resources to Increase Website Traffic: