WordPress blogs are just like any other website, in that they need traffic to be a success. In this guide I will comprehensively cover a range of traffic sources for your WordPress blog. I will also look at some onsite optimisations that will help make your WordPress blog more attractive to search engines like Google…a major source of traffic.
> WordPress Onsite Factors
> Obviously great content will help. If your site provides useful content that others will find useful, or enjoy reading then things are going to be easier. So, in the long run, a site with quality content is going to get more traffic, so that is the first consideration.
The first consideration with setup is your permalink structure. Search engines like Google like to see keywords in the URL, so you should change your permalink structure to:
/%postname%/ – This way the title of your post will be in your URL. If you have been using the default permalink structure for an existing blog it’s not a good idea to change it though, as it will devalue any links that are already aiming at your posts.
The main onsite considerations with plugins are a site map plugin, and a metadata editor plugin.
> With over 6 million downloads, the Google XML sitemaps plugin is your best choice. Basically it generates a sitemap for you, and automatically updates it when you make new posts. You then should submit this sitemap to Google web master tools, and the sitemap will make it easier for Google to spider your content.
Meta data is content that helps categorise each page on your site. i.e. Meta keywords, meta description. By default WordPress doesn’t do a great job with these, so you will want to download one. With over 9 million downloads at the time of writing this, the All In One SEO Pack is a good option for this.
> You want a theme that is attractive and unique, so your site looks professional. It’s a good idea that your theme isn’t too heavy on images, or it may be slow to load, which will annoy your visitors. Most wordpress themes are fine in terms of SEO, however, it’s a good idea to select a theme that doesn’t have a heap of outgoing links built into the footer. Also, when adding widgets, add a recent posts widget somewhere. This gives a link to your recent articles on all of your pages. This will help new articles get indexed by google faster.
Social media and Subscription options
A very good source of traffic is social media, which I will go into more below, but as far as your site goes, you want to have options for your visitors to share your content on their favourite social media site, i.e. Facebook, twitter, Goolge Plus. You also want to make it easier for your visitors to subscribe via RSS and email. Most themes come with an RSS feed button.
Link to your own pages
Google considers every link you give as a personal recommendation of content. So it’s a good idea to link to sites that you like, and enjoy. If you are writing about a topic you have already blogged about in the past, it’s also a good idea to link to that blog post too.
Use H tags
H tags or heading tags tell search engine what your content is about. So it’s a good idea to use H tags in your posts for sub headings. Headings will also naturally include relevant keywords relating to the article, and google will give more weight to keywords included in H tags.
> Name your images and photos
> When you add photos or images to your posts, it’s always a good idea to add a name to the image in the form of alternative text, or alt text. Alt text is good for search engine traffic as it will tell search engines what the image is. This might bring some traffic from google images. It is also a good idea as it helps with accessibility, i.e. people who are visually impaired and using screen readers.
Analytics to track your traffic
Now you have your site all setup and ready to roll, you are going to want to track your visitors. This will help your to learn what you are doing well, and what sources are bringing you the most traffic. The best tool for this job is Google Analytics, which is a free service provided by google. It will allow you to see what keywords are bringing you traffic from search engines, what websites are sending you traffic, how long visitors stay on your site, what pages get visited the most, what browser your users are using and what countries they come from. It is essential to have some form of traffic tracking installed on your wordpres blog.
Sites like Facebook and Twitter get a lot of visitors, and are a great source of traffic. As mentioned above, it’s a great idea to make sure your content is easily sharable on these networks. If you want to get traffic from these sources it’s best to setup accounts and actually use them yourself.
Setting up a Twitter account and publishing links to sites and resources that relates to your topic is a good method for this. You can build up a following by adding other users who tweet about the same sort of content. Encourage them by retweeting their good tweets, and you should gain some friends. Obviously to use this as a source of traffic for your WordPress blog you are going to want to tweet about your new posts and other content from time to time.
With Facebook it’s a good idea to setup a page for your blog. You need a Facebook account, but most people have one of these. A page is a profile on Facebook that you can setup dedicated to a specific topic, in this case your blog. You can post links to your content, and other useful resources related to your blog, also, this is a great way to connect with your regular readers. It’s a good idea to add a Facebook widget to your blog, so people who visit your blog can see you have a presence on Facebook…they may choose to “like” your page, which essentially gives you another subscriber.
Here is a list of 10 super popular Social media site to explore:
Google, Yahoo and Bing can be a major source of traffic to your WordPress blog. If you followed all the advice in the first part of this article, you should be pretty set in terms of onsite factors. As far as offsite factors go the major one is building links. If your site content is of a high standard and you are socially interacting with others in your niche, and with people on social networks, this should occur naturally to some degree. However, you can build some links yourself. For example you could reach out to another blogger and offer to write them a guest post, then include a link back your site. You could submit your blog to major directories, like dmoz.org, and botw.org. You could ask if any of your blogger friends want to exchange links in each other’s blog roll, if you have one. You could submit content and articles to article directories and Web 2.0 sites like Squidoo and Hub pages. Links from other sites related to yours will help you gain traffic from search engines, as well as the direct traffic that bring.
> A big part of the conversations that occur on the internet occur on forums. If you are active in forums, you can add a link to your site in your signature which will bring you traffic. If you people are talking about a topic which you blog about you could drop your link into the conversation. Be sure to make sure that this is only done where your site is relevant, you don’t want to be seen as a spammer.
Other blogs can be a great source of traffic. You can comment on their popular posts, which may bring visitors your way, and you can also offer guest posts, which will bring not only direct traffic from the blog but also, will help you with search engines.
Video sites like Youtube get a lot of traffic. If you have video content relating to your blog, such as tutorials or reviews, adding these to youtube, and linking back to your site in the description can be a very good source of traffic. There are some other videos sites listed below. If sites don’t allow linking back to your site, you can watermark videos with your blog address.
Depending on what your wordpress blog is about it may be worth exploring offline promotion as a means of getting traffic. Add your blogs URL to your business card, or to signage if it is business related, or put a flyer up on community pin boards if it is a community related topic.
Hopefully this WordPress traffic guide has given you some starting points to get traffic rolling into your wordpress site. Thanks for reading all the way down