How do you go about improving your web hits? Frustration with low outreach is one of the main reasons people stop blogging. But you can streamline your blog and improve what you already have without just adding more content.
I’m currently averaging around 2,500 hits per month. That might be low for some while for others it might be about what you get in a year.
You can’t predict what posts might go viral, but there are some things you can do to improve your visibility.
Trim the Fat
It may sound reasonable to assume your visibility increases with more posts but that’s not necessarily the case. Do you really need to keep posts with such titles as “Who Will Succeed Peter Capaldi as The Doctor?” and “Merry Christmas 2020!” in 2022?
These articles are dead weight and could (according to some analysts) drag your reach down. Getting rid of posts that nobody reads is one good tactic to trimming that fat.
Place Internal Links
If you write on a common theme, you can keep your visitor on your site (and improve your blog hits) by linking to similar blog posts. Most people go about this the wrong way (I haven’t put actual links in, but imagine the bold bits below are links):
Although my blog is not about climbing, I’m a keen climber. I talk about this issue a lot. Here, here and here are some recent posts.
What you should do instead is put the links in the text organically:
Although my blog is not about climbing, I’m a keen climber. I embarrassed myself the first time I went bouldering. But I eventually met some great new climbing friends and now we have a competitive local climbing team!
Side note: Internal linking is great, but it creates one massive headache – dead links. when you delete out of date posts. Blog posts that link to posts that are no longer there are essentially punished by search engines.
Add High Quality External Links
This is a tricky one because you don’t want your reader(s) to leave your site. But the internet wants to keep them here and so you are rewarded for external links. Always set the link to open in new tab. This is easy to do in WordPress, achievable with the click of a virtual button. If you’re coding your own site, I think there’s a simple tag to achieve this. Don’t overuse them though. I think 1-2 per 300 words is about right.
Improve Posts With the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test
This is far less of an algorithm based tactic as it is about common sense. What is the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test? Simply, it analyses how easy to read a piece of text is. The basic principles of the Flesch Readability Test are:
- Short and punchy sentences (no more than 20 words)
- Don’t use complex, difficult or obscure words when a simple one will do unless the content warrants it
- Active voice
- Good use of subheadings
- Images to break up dense sections of text
- Short paragraphs
Think back to the early days of the internet – long, dense reams of text with few (if any) images. Bandwidth was precious; therefore, posting videos and images was counterproductive to a lot of websites.
That is not the case now, of course. Images and videos break up the text. Did you know that the optimum length of a piece of text is 300 words? That doesn’t mean your post should be 300 words, it means that each section (general text between images, videos and headers) should be no longer than 300 words.
One common mistake most people make is to post short blog posts regularly. They think that having a lot of content is a sure fire way of getting the blog noticed. But in the world of infinite blog posts where everybody has something to say, it is not quantity that gets you noticed – it’s the quality.
There has long been a strong suspicion that long-form blog posts fare better than short-form because they provide more value.
When I look through my own high-ranking posts, I find the best performing are those over 1200 words. I don’t blog with posts of that length very often, perhaps once or twice per month. I much more commonly post (as I do with my clients) in the 300-500 range. However, longer stuff consistently performs well.
Some things to think about!