I have been operating myself a handful of blogs and websites now for a few years, and I’ve noticed a pattern in my traffic growth. From my perspective, the pattern is one of a big jump higher, followed by a plateau for a few months, then another leg up, followed by a plateau and so forth. During the plateau period, I search for the catalyst for the next leg up. This catalyst might be one big thing or a combination of things, but I think the most important thing is to remain patient and continue working. Let me tell you how I recently got another leg up in my traffic.
My strategy involved a few components:
- Multiple channels of content growth - My blog, 20smoney.com is primarily a financial blog in which I discuss financial topics like personal finance and investing, but I also have a blogging channel that is in the context of income & finance (a slightly different angle from most blogging blogs).
- A site design overhaul which focused on segmenting & targeting visitors by offering relevant content based on what kind of content they’re viewing.
- Persistence, patience and hard work
With these components mentioned, I will now go into detail into the various strategy components.
Multiple Channels Of Content
I’ve continued to focus on a few areas of content. While it’s good to be specific and to have a targeted niche, I decided I wanted a few niches while all within one main context. My context is finance, and the various niches in my blog are online income, investing and other money management discussions.
The purpose here is two fold. First, I wish to draw in a number of visitors who have different interests, and second, I’m looking to cross promote the areas of the site. An example of cross promoting areas of the site is let’s say a visitor lands on my blog who is interested in learning how to manage their money better and improve their financial situation. By visiting my site, they also stumble into an area that discusses generating online income in order to diversify income and improve his or her overall financial situation. Their main focus is finding financial freedom, and they found a new way (generating income streams) to improve their financial situation because of the multiple areas on my site.
The multiple channels of content have definitely helped secure the next leg up in traffic, as many personal finance oriented visitors have become dedicated readers now as they look to explore areas of generating income through the web.
Site Design Overhaul
Most of us have gone through a site design overhaul, so this is not a revolutionary concept. My purpose here, however, was not to merely improve the look, but to improve the functionality and have a direct impact on traffic. First, I moved toward a cleaner design. This wasn’t too difficult as there are zillions of great WordPress themes out there.
Second, I focused on a theme that showcased a number of sub-areas to my site – if you view my site, you will see a header bar midway down the page that shows five main areas.
Lastly, by directing visitors into one of the five areas, I then spent a great deal of time customizing the content and available options for each of the five areas. A visitor in area #1 will see a completely different set of articles and content options than someone in area #2-5. It’s all about targeting the visitor with relevant content. What I’m talking about is much more than just similar posts in similar categories. I’m talking about really developing a customized sidebar for each area of your site. The more custom, the more targeted, the better. If you’re interested, I go into more detail on targeting & segmenting on my Next Level Blogging series.
The results here have been absolutely fantastic. Immediately, my page views per visit statistic jumped as can be seen in the below graphic. By keeping visitors on the site longer, my traffic grows, and the site grabs the visitors better which assists in converting a first-time visitor into a subscriber or return traffic.
While the above chart might not look huge, realize that increasing my page views per visit from approx 2.75 to 4.0 is basically a 31% increase in traffic. If you’re currently getting 20,000 hits per month, a 31% increase would take you up to 26,000+. Not a bad increase for a few simple changes.
Persistence, Patience & Hard Work
This might be the most important part of this article. The reality is that sometimes it just takes being patient. I basically had flat traffic from January 2010 until June 2010. I continued to work each day on the blog day in and day out. I knew eventually things would come together and result in the next leg up in traffic (which in turn meant the next leg up in income).
As I’ve outlined here, my strategy for finding the next leg up in traffic was a combination of a few things. Put a plan together, and then work hard at it. Eventually you will see the fruits of your labors.