Recovering From The Great Traffic Drought of 2016

I’ve been hearing a common theme from a few of my blogging friends over the past couple of months. There has been a major decline in pageviews, and none of us are quite sure why. I don’t think that the bigger bloggers are dealing with this. It’s likely that those getting thousands and thousands of pageviews a day would barely notice. However, for those of us with much less, a huge drop in pageviews is noticed right away. I’ve been dealing with it for over a year. At first I attributed the problem to my wedding and not writing, promoting, tweeting, etc. as much last year as I did the year before. But, there seems to be something else going on. It’s almost like there was a referrer that was sending a nice amount of traffic to my site that just got cut off. I may never find out exactly what happened, but I need to do what I can to get that traffic back. As I try to do this, I’ve decided to share what I’m going through with you. I feel like maybe it will keep me accountable. Here are a few things that I know I need to do better.

recovering-from-the-great-traffic-drought-of-2016

Writing Consistently

This is a no brainer. Of course writing consistently is one way to bring in more traffic. I’ve been doing pretty good this month. Publishing this post makes 13 posts published this month. That is not a lot by any means, but it is an average of 3 times a week, which is pretty consistent. I plan to increase that frequency over the next couple of months as the holiday approaches. Page views usually rise in the Fall and Winter anyway for several reasons. It is chilly outside, so more people are staying in and playing with their computers. People are thinking about Christmas shopping, and online shopping so researching product reviews. And, a lot of bloggers do giveaways and gift guides during the holidays, so this leads to more views. It is totally normal for pageviews and unique visitors to rise during this time. However, we want the rise to stick around after the holidays, right? Writing consistently can help that. Also, writing useful content that will make it into web searches gives those posts more lasting power.

 

Finding the Right Topics

Obviously I know my niche. But, do I know what people want to read? Not necessarily. I am going to look more into keyword research, find out what is hot on the web right now, and see which posts I have written in the past that are still bringing in the most traffic. By learning this, I see which subjects I should write more about… because they work!

 

More Internal Linking and Self-Promotion

This is something else that I’m trying to get better about. When writing a new post, think about an older post that you may have written on the same topic. If it makes sense to link to it, do it. You can also create a pretty graphic for it, and stick it at the bottom of a relevant post.

 

Use Social Media to My Advantage

Even if you don’t have a lot of time to create new content, you can leverage the content that you already have by using social media. This is especially true for bloggers and businesses. But it’s difficult to know exactly where and what to post, and even just remembering to post at all. Not fully utilizing social media, especially leading up to the holidays is a mistake, because you could be losing a lot of potential hits and therefore, business. So… I will be doing this on overdrive!

As you create new content, weave in some shares of your older, but relevant content so that it does not go stale. See my post 12 Tips to Bring New Life to Old Blog Posts, for some great tips on how to bring your older posts up to the 21st century to make them new again.

 

Finding the Right Times

One of the most important aspects of a social media post is timing. Every site has varying popularity between countries, and therefore, have different peak times. So to have as many people see your post as possible, you need to know when people will be online. This sounds complicated, but it’s fairly simple. With a few quick searches, or by checking the analytics of each platform, you can find out the peak times.

You may also want to work out your demographics so that your posts reach the right people at the right times. You can do this with online tools as well, and then use that information to decide which sites you plan to post to. The Facebook Boost tool is good for this.

 

Planning Ahead

It’s far better to plan ahead than to come up with your posts on the day. I’m still working on this one! Having a clear plan helps to keep all of your content relevant, as well as opening up the option to run full-scale campaigns. In most cases, the longer you plan ahead, the better. Use something like Evernote, or make a simple spreadsheet to plan an editorial calendar of social content. Create some posts that promote your existing content, but mix in some other content that shares tips, photos, posts from other bloggers, or product posts that include affiliate links… you might as well make a few bucks while increasing traffic! You do not want to completely annoy your followers with nothing but self-promotion.

 

Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

Once you have your peak times, and you know what you’re going to post, you can make a schedule, plan your content, and create easy to read infographics or graphics to go along with each social post. As for scheduling, there are plenty of great services that do this for you. Services like Buffer, Hootsuite, and others let you plan posts far out in the future, so if you plan enough ahead, you can setup your schedule and let the social media handle itself! My goal for November is to schedule social posts for every single day! Yes, this is a HUGE goal. It will be the first time I have ever done it!

 

Backing Up My Content for Future Use

My blog gets backed up. God forbid my host ever bites that dust for good, but if it does, I will have my content. But what about social posts? Some services make it easy to grab an archive of your posts. Some don’t. During my wedding, I used IFTTT to save all of the posts with the hashtag #KrisandTMacWedding to my Dropbox. It worked, but it was a bit messy. However, if you are using Instagram, you can use a third party tool like Instaport to grab all of your Instagram posts and save them right to your hard drive. This is a great way to keep them handy to use again in the future. Content is always reusable with a few tweaks! So save yourself double work. Keep track of what you post, and save it if possible. If social posts do well this year, you can save them, tweak them, and reuse them at the same time next year.

 

These are just the beginning thoughts of what I am working on. As mentioned, Fall is usually a busy time in the blogger world, so this is the perfect time to implement some steps to permanently bring in more views. I’m determined! If you are dealing with the same thing, good luck! And stay tuned for more as I get specific and talk about the tools and exactly what I’m doing to try to fix my issues.

Kris McDonald is Chicago mom to 2 sets of twins, photography nut, gadget addict, travel addict, and tech blogger who has worked in IT for over 16 years. Kris figured out a while ago that she was destined to be really busy (hence the 2 sets of twins), and she has found peace with that. Read More