It doesn’t matter if you’re a new blogger or have been blogging for several years: growing your blog traffic can be difficult.
The internet is competitive. Plus, algorithms change all the time, influencing how bloggers use search engines and social media platforms to grow their audiences
As long as you have a gameplan, there’s no reason why you can’t scale your blog into a profitable online business. After all, people have been blogging for more than two decades at this point, and a lot of the fundamentals are figured out.
How to Increase Blog Traffic for Free
While it might surprise you, many methods to get more blog traffic are completely free — they don't cost money, but they require time.
And, as a new blogger, you should focus on the free fundamentals anyway since this is also how you build a foundation for long-term success. Plus if you personally put in the efforts now, you'll have an easier time outsourcing this later.
When you have put in the work to develop a system that works for your blog you can train someone else on the system when the time comes.
1. Pick a Niche
One trick to increase your website traffic is to pick a blog niche if you’re a new blogger or narrow your focus if you already have a website.
Many lifestyle blogs fail because they blog about everything. As a reader, this often gives little reason to bookmark a blog and come back since you don’t relate to most of the posts. As a multi-niche blogger, it also means you’re competing against several niches at once.
If you think your website is struggling because it lacks direction, it’s time to niche-down. Review your existing content to see what topic gets the most traffic and engagement from readers, and consider writing more content for that topic.
You don’t have to scrap your other content, but picking a niche helps provide direction and build recurring readers moving forwards.
2. Incorporate On-Page SEO
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is one of the most powerful skills you can learn as a blogger.
SEO helps your content rank highly on search engines. This leads to more organic website traffic, which is both free and incredibly engaged.
Now, SEO can be complicated. In fact, Google uses over 200 ranking factors to decide how content ranks. If you get into the weeds of all of this, SEO can seem intimidating.
However, one effective way to grow your blog traffic is to write content that targets specific “rankable” keywords.
I go over how to identify these keywords in my Hit Publish course. But one tactic many people use is to look for keywords with low competition.
One tool to find low-competition keywords is Google’s Keyword Planner:
In this example, I searched for “things to do in Florida” as my keyword, which could be the start of my new travel blog. Keyword Planner then shows a list of related keywords, their monthly search volume, and competition score.
I’ve also written an on-page SEO checklist you can follow, which includes:
- Proper URL, meta description, and title formatting
- How to use headings
- Including keywords in your articles
- Image SEO
3. Write Longer Content
Have you ever wondered how long your article should be?
As it turns out, data overwhelming suggests that long content is superior. Articles around the 2,000 to 3,000 word mark generally get more backlinks and organic traffic than shorter articles.
This is largely because longer content can include more valuable information to help readers. In turn, search engines and readers find this content more authoritative than 300 word blurbs that are missing information.
Shorter articles can do better on social media, and ultimately, you need to write an appropriate amount of content; filling an article with fluff to hit a word count isn’t a winning strategy.
Related: What is the Perfect Article Length?
4. Combine Evergreen and Trending Topics
Generally, there are two types of content you can write:
- Evergreen: This is content that is consistently searched for.
- Trending: This is content that’s seasonal or relates to current events in your niche.
If you want to increase your blog traffic, it’s important to understand these two content types and to leverage both of them when it makes sense.
As a new blogger, spend most of your time writing evergreen content. Over time, this builds a foundation of year-round traffic you can rely on.
As your blog grows, you can mix in trending topics and share them on social media to get fast, free website traffic. Google Trends is one tool you can use to chase trending topics. BuzzSumo also has content research tools and a 30-day free trial you can take advantage of to find popular content in your niche.
Ultimately, a balance of content types helps keep your blog traffic moving in the right direction.
5. Answer User Intent and Add Value
User intent is what Google thinks readers want when they search for something.
Here’s an example: someone visits Google and searches “is DoorDash worth it?”
Google then displays a list of search results that look like this:
As you can see, Google has determined the user intent for this question relates to driving for DoorDash to make money, not ordering food as a customer.
You need to consider user intent when creating posts and focusing on specific keywords around this intent.
Ideally, your posts should answer a user’s questions as closely as possible and add real value to their life. If you don’t accomplish this, Google has no reason to rank your post and people won’t stay on your page for long if they find it.
In this example, if you wrote a post about if DoorDash is worth ordering from as a customer, it’s less likely you’ll rank since this isn’t what most readers are asking.
If you’re ever unsure if your post is on the right track, spy on the top ranking posts for that keyword to see what those posts are doing.
You can also use the “People Also Ask” box to find other commonly asked questions you can cover in your upcoming posts.
Related: Trouble Ranking? Here's the Part of SEO You're Missing
6. Leverage Guest Posts
Another way to increase blog traffic for free is to take advantage of guest posting opportunities.
As a blogger, you have two options:
- Accept guest posts from other bloggers in your niche
- Publish posts on other blogs within your niche
Both methods have advantages which ultimately help boost your traffic.
Accepting guest posts is a free way to generate content. If you’re struggling to find time to blog, a monthly guest post can help fill your content gap and keep readers engaged.
In contrast, publishing on other blogs helps your website get more backlinks, which is a ranking factor for Google. Plus, readers of the blog you guest post on will also trickle over to your blog.
Guest posting is how Buffer, a social media software company, grew to over 100,000 customers in nine months and thousands of website readers.
The bottom line is guest posting works. The only downside is it takes time!
7. Use Email Marketing
Did you know that email marketing returns $38 for every $1 spent on average?
That’s a pretty ridiculous return on investment. It also explains why one of the most profitable and effective ways to drive more blog traffic is through email marketing.
The good news is that getting started with email marketing isn’t expensive.
ConvertKit is my email service provider of choice since it’s incredibly intuitive, has strong email automation features, and is free for your first 1,000 subscribers. (The free plan doesn't include automation.)
You can also try MailerLite if you want a slightly more affordable option, but both platforms are excellent for beginner bloggers who want to start driving traffic with an email list.
Building a free giveaway like an ebook or list of tips for your niche is one effective way to start collecting email subscribers. ConvertKit and MailerLite also let you place signup boxes on your website.
It takes time to build an engaged email list. There’s never a better time to start than right now!
Related: What You Need to Know Before Starting an Email List (Plus the Best Email Services)
8. Master One Social Media Platform at a Time
A common mistake many bloggers make is trying to be everywhere at once on social media.
At a surface level, this makes sense. The largest publications typically have massive Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest followings, so surely this is how you grow blog traffic?
In reality, we all have limited time. Large publications can afford to hire an independent social media manager, but solo bloggers don’t have this luxury.
If you’re struggling to get blog visitors through social media, it’s time to pick one platform and knock it out of the park. After all, it’s often better to be an expert at one thing than a Jack of all trades, master of none.
Dive into your analytics and find the social media platform that drives the most engagement and focus your efforts there. For many bloggers, this is typically a Facebook group or Pinterest.
However, your audience and data will show you the way.
You don’t have to completely abandon all other platforms, but spend time on what’s working. If you write SEO-rich content and take off on one social media platform, your blog traffic is definitely going to benefit from narrowing your focus.
I use Social Bee and Tailwind to schedule all my social media posts
9. Optimize Your Website Speed
Did you know that page speed is also a ranking factor for Google?
If you think about it, this makes sense. Faster websites are more enjoyable for readers and provide a better overall experience, so Google rewards this.
Some simple tricks you can use to increase your blog’s speed include:
- Installing a lazy-load plugin to optimize how images load
- Switching to a light-weight blog theme from ThemeForest
- Upgrading your hosting to a reliable host like SiteGround
- Install a free WordPress caching plugin like WP Super Cache
- Limiting the number of plugins you use overall
As a rule of thumb, the leaner your website is in terms of plugins and software, the faster it will be.
Grayson Bell has a course on site speed if this is something you struggle with.
10. Repurpose Content
Have you ever transformed your best blog posts into video content?
If you haven’t, you’re missing out. According to Google, 60% of people already prefer online video platforms to live TV. HubSpot also states that 54% of people want to see more video content from marketers.
The fact is that consumer preferences are changing. Video marketing is already a massive opportunity, and this trend will continue moving forwards.
So, if you want to get some free and fast blog traffic, try repurposing your blog posts into videos.
You can do this with:
- Instagram Reels.
- A YouTube channel.
Whatever the case, don’t be afraid to experiment with new mediums and maximize the potential of your best content.
Related: Is Blogging Dead?
11. Post On Reddit
One of the fastest ways to get blog traffic is to land a semi-viral post on a platform like Reddit.
On Reddit, interests are divided into communities, known as subreddits. Some of these subs have millions of followers, and you can find a subreddit for almost any niche.
Every subreddit has its own rules, links or self-promotion from bloggers isn’t always allowed. However, for the ones that allow self-promotion, you’re looking at a traffic goldmine.
For example, r/Thrifty has over 30,000 followers and accepts link posts.
If you blog about frugality or DIY hacks, this is an amazing self-promotion opportunity that’s completely free. You just need a Reddit account and to post valuable content.
12. Help People on Quora
Quora is a free question-and-answer forum where anyone can ask a question or provide their insights for others.
And, while it might surprise you, Quora has over 300 million active users. Like Reddit, Quora also covers almost any niche you can think of.
If you’re an expert in your niche, look for Quora questions that relate to content you’ve published and answer them. At the end of your answer, include a link to an article you wrote that contains even more information.
Don’t spam links, and make sure you give a thorough, valuable answer that isn’t overly self-promotional. If you do this regularly, you’d be amazed at the traffic Quora can push.
SEO expert Neil Patel got nearly 10,000 extra visitors within a month from Quora, and that’s just scratching the surface. If one of your answers gets featured in Quora’s newsletter, you can get even more blog viewers, completely for free.
Reddit and Quora are also great places to get blog post topic ideas.
13. Get Interviewed
Guest posts help obtain backlinks and share your blog with a new audience. However, you don’t have to draw the line at contributing to other blogs.
Interviewing on other platforms like a YouTube channel, podcast, or even local radio or TV stations can result in a massive surge of blog traffic depending on the size of the outlet.
Of course, landing interviews depends on your niche, existing network, and outreach capabilities. If you’re starting from scratch, use Help A Reporter Out, or HARO, to find interview opportunities. HARO connects journalists and experts like yourself, and you can secure interviews with national media outlets and other content creators in your niche for free.
Related: How to Write a Successful HARO Pitch
Bonus: Use Paid Ads
If you want fast blog traffic, it’s hard to beat paid advertising.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Google, and Pinterest are reliable sources of paid traffic. This is true for bloggers and typical ecommerce businesses alike.
My advice is to only spend money on ads if you have a concrete goal; paying for the sake of more website traffic won’t help your bottom line if you can’t monetize that traffic.
Your goal could be more email subscribers, selling a course or product, or making money with affiliate marketing. Whatever the case, ensure you know why you’re spending money on extra traffic and that you have trackable goals in place.
Creating a blog is the easy part. Growing your blog traffic? Now that’s the hard part.
However, if you follow a game plan and don’t stretch yourself too thin, you can grow an online audience over time. It might take getting over the learning curve and some long nights at the keyboard, but the effort is certainly worth it if building a blog is your goal.