After creating a blog and pouring your heart into it, seeing it receive only a trickle of clicks can be heartbreaking. Attracting readers to a blog isn’t easy when just about everyone and their mother has one—but don’t give up hope. As the creator of Be My Travel Muse, I’ve learned a lot about increasing blog traffic. These days, my blog has 3 million annual readers. I’m going to give you the secrets to my success so you can learn how to make your blog successful.
What is the 80-20 rule in blogging?
In the early 1900s, economist Vilfredo Pareto noticed that about 20% of a country’s population owned 80% of its land. People have observed the effects of the 80-20 rule (also known as the Pareto Principle) in many different contexts. In terms of blogging, the 80-20 rule suggests that 80% of a blog’s traffic comes from 20% of a blogger’s work. Therefore, the key to increasing blog traffic is figuring out where that traffic comes from, then focusing on those sources.
19 tips for increasing blog traffic
Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or you are learning blogging for beginners, these tried-and-true tips will help you increase blog traffic.
01. Do keyword research
One of the biggest surprises to the bloggers I coach is that search engine optimization (SEO) is the best way to increase blog traffic. Blog SEO is a detailed science (we’ll discuss a few other SEO strategies later), but keyword research is a good place to start. Finding keywords that get good traffic and are relevant to your blog is not only useful for increasing blog traffic, but it’s also useful for figuring out what topics to write about.
Ranking for high-volume keywords is nearly impossible for younger sites, so targeting long-tail keywords—which are longer and more focused—is a better strategy for a newly made website. Although an article that ranks for a popular search term will get loads of traffic, it’s much easier to get an article to rank for something much more specific and it can still get a good amount of attention.
Whereas the keyword “Indonesia volcano” gets an average of 14,000 searches per month, “Kawah Ijen volcano” only had a few hundred when I wrote about it in 2013. Because it was one of the first posts of mine to rank well, it drove a decent amount of traffic to the rest of my blog.
How does one find long-tail keywords? Tools such as SEMrush, WordStream, Long Tail Pro and Ahrefs are vital for keyword research and other SEO strategies. These tools take some getting used to, so start with free tools before committing to expensive subscriptions.
02. Find your niche
Narrowing your focus is key for increasing blog traffic, especially in a saturated market. When I started Be My Travel Muse, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to compete with generalized travel publications like Afar, so I focused on solo travel for women as my website type. Focusing on this content niche not only helped me increase my blog traffic, but it also helped me connect to my readers on a deeper level.
To find your niche, take a look at your existing blog posts and look for a commonality. If you haven’t started a blog yet, brainstorm a few dozen story ideas and find the common thread holding them together. Make sure the topic is broad enough that you can write about it for years to come.
03. Include good imagery
One of the most important things I ever did for my travel blog was learn how to take great photography. They inspire people, make the blog more aesthetically pleasing and emphasize the writing. Don’t just take my word for it—plenty of research shows that imagery improves reading comprehension, increases reading retention and evokes emotions. Therefore, your posts are going to be much more impactful if you include images.
Including imagery in blog posts is also useful for SEO. Many of the Be My Travel Muse photos rank for high-volume keywords. For example, this photo is on the first page of the “big island Hawaii” images search results page (SERP) which gets 45,000 monthly searches.
If your image stands out, people might click on it and make their way to your website. You can even use infographics to earn backlinks from high-traffic sites. Free tools from Canva, Figma and Adobe Express are useful for people who are new to graphic design.
04. Write quality headlines
The best blog titles are the ones you can’t help but click on. You’re going to draw the reader in by promising with your headline that your blog post is going to solve their problem, answer their question, or help them in some way. That’s why they’re searching in the first place.
Before writing your headline, take a look at what else is out there and see how you can improve upon it. If someone else is offering five tips, can you offer 10? Take a look at who is ranking for number one and try to discern what about their headline is so attractive.
My article Where to Travel Alone for the First Time: 19 of the Best Countries ranks on the first page for 115 keywords. Without a doubt, the title has something to do with its success. It not only stands out on the SERPs, but it also tells readers exactly what they can expect from the post.
How do you know if your headlights are working? Google Search Console can tell you your click-through rate. Be sure to check regularly, and change up the headline if it’s not working. In addition to comparing your headlines to the top-ranked articles, a headline analyzer could give you a sense of what they’re missing.
Social headlines are a whole different animal. Do you remember the days of listicles where number six would “blow your mind”? You saw it so much because it worked. Again, we want people to be so intrigued that they cannot help but click on it. Since your social headline might be appealing to people who are not already searching for that term, you might try something like, is this the best place to travel solo? Pique curiosity as much as possible, or post something that will get people talking. If you can get them to click, read and comment, you’ve won.
Just keep in mind that whatever your headline is, the article better deliver. If someone clicks, make sure you fully answer their question so that they don’t need to leave and go elsewhere. Ideally, you’ll be able to keep them on your site with more interesting headlines and posts.
Need some inspiration? Try Wix’s free title generator.
05. Regularly refresh content
It’s important to make sure that what you write is up-to-date. If one of your most successful posts is about where to find the best street food in Thailand, you need to make sure those vendors are still open. Nothing would be more frustrating to a reader than realizing that the place you suggested no longer exists. This will mean regularly researching and updating your content. Nobody said blogging was a one-and-done job!
06. Get backlinks
Getting strong backlinks from sites of authority can help grow your site. This is one of the top ways that search engines have to discern which sites have authority. When the Washington Post and Business Insider published interviews with me talking about my expertise on solo travel, the resulting articles sent a signal to search engines that I’m the real deal.
How do you get backlinks from top sites like that? Generally, by being the authority and creating a brand that attracts media attention. That takes some time, so I did a lot of guest blogging in the early days of Be My Travel Muse.
How do you get guest posting opportunities? Check sites in your niche for contribution opportunities and apply through those channels. If they don’t, interact with their socials and pitch them an idea that would fill a content gap on their site. The more fleshed out the idea, the more likely they are to say yes.
07. Link internally
Just as links from external sites are important for SEO, internal links within your website are another important ranking factor. For example, if I’m talking about the best places in the world to travel alone, I’ll be sure to link to my best solo travel guides for each country I’ve visited within that post. Since I have individual posts about traveling in the Philippines, I make sure to link to them in longer listicles.
It’s essential that you’re always going back to old content and updating it with links to your fresh content. We always want to make sure everything related is connected, both for the reader and for SEO.
08. Start a newsletter
Email marketing is a great way to increase blog traffic because it gives readers who are already interested the opportunity to stay in your network. These are going to be your most dedicated readers, and you want to make sure that you have a direct line to them.
When setting up an email marketing campaign, it’s important to prioritize quality over quantity. You don’t want to spam your subscribers to the point that they hit the unsubscribe button.
Learn how to get blog subscribers here.
09. Optimize for speed
Studies show that 47% of users expect a page to load in less than three seconds—and that they will leave if it doesn’t. Google knows that, so its algorithm factors speed into its rankings. If your blog isn’t lightning-quick, improving its load times could help to increase traffic.
One of the easiest ways to optimize for speed is to host your blog on a platform such as Wix that has an infrastructure designed for optimal site performance. If you already have a Wix website, you can use the Site Speed dashboard to assess your blog’s performance. In addition to providing a breakdown of all the most important metrics, the dashboard also offers tips for how to optimize your site.
10. Make your blog mobile-friendly
When I first started blogging 10 years ago, nearly 75% of my traffic came from desktop browsers. Now that has completely flipped: About 75% of readers were browsing from their phones in 2022. For that reason, my mobile site is even more important than the desktop version.
If the mobile version of your blog isn’t easy to read, users will leave for one that offers a better experience. Plus, Google ranks search results for mobile users according to the most relevant mobile websites. So, if your blog isn’t mobile-friendly, it might not rank as well as it should.
Wix makes it easy to design a mobile site that is just as attractive and user-friendly as the desktop site. With the Mobile Editor, you can make a website and add mobile-only elements, hide desktop elements and even give it a totally different layout. If you want to keep things simple, the Page Layout Optimizer will automatically reorganize the elements of a page to fit the mobile setting.
11. Optimize posts for readability
Website accessibility isn’t only useful for increasing blog traffic, but it’s also often a legal requirement. About one in six people have disabilities; many of those disabilities affect a person’s ability to browse online.
To make your blog accessible to everyone, it must meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). This international standard requires that every website is:
Perceivable: All users—including those with visual, auditory, or cognitive disabilities—can perceive the content.
Operable: All users (including those with physical or mobility impairments) can navigate and interact with the content.
Understandable: The content is easy to understand, regardless of the user's cognitive ability or language proficiency.
Robust: The website must be compatible with a wide range of assistive technologies and devices.
A good starting point for identifying where your site falls short is to use Wix’s Accessibility Wizard. This AI feature identifies accessibility issues and explains how to resolve them. If you’re not a Wix user, you can try tools like accessiBe or hire an expert who is trained to identify and fix these issues.
12. Make videos
Because videos can make blog posts more engaging and dynamic, they’re great for keeping readers interested. If you post your videos on YouTube or social media sites, they can also drive traffic to your site and even help you monetize your blog.
I’ve found that making videos gives blog readers more insight into my day to day and, therefore, creates a greater sense of intimacy and loyalty. That said, video is a lot of work. A quality video maker can make things easier, but it’ll still take some time to get the hang of it.
13. Share blog posts in forums
Reddit, Quora, Facebook Groups and other forums offer wonderful opportunities to increase blog traffic. By engaging with the forum community, sharing valuable content and establishing yourself as an authority, you can attract targeted visitors who are more likely to become regular readers of your blog. You can also generate referral traffic and get backlinks.
Keep in mind that you should only share content when it’s relevant to the conversation and if it’s not against the forum rules to do so. You also want to make sure that you’re participating in the same way that others are. Instead of telling them to click a link to get the answer to their question, offer a brief summation of what they need to know, then encourage forum participants who want to learn more to read the relevant blog post.
14. Reformat the content into Twitter threads
Because of its committed user base, Twitter is a great blog distribution platform. Twitter threads are perfect for telling a longer story, providing the analysis you performed, encouraging discussion or even debates, and sharing information.
You don’t have to start from zero to do this—just repurpose one of your blog posts. As in change your blog format and repurpose it. If I spent all of February searching for the best snowshoeing trails in lake Tahoe, I can share information that I didn’t get to include in the piece, then share the different blog posts I wrote about the topic. I could even take a hard stance and try to lure people into a debate on the best places to hike in the area.
15. Attract a following on Instagram
One of my favorite ways to increase blog traffic is to share tips in the caption of an Instagram post. I provide plenty of value here, but leave out a few key things so that people who are truly interested will have to click the link in my bio to learn more.
Instagram Stories can be equally powerful for driving traffic. I find the best way to get clicks is to talk about the topic regularly in Instagram stories, then share the final blog post once people are already excited about and familiar with the topic.
With our snowshoeing trails example, I can share Stories while I am exploring all the different trails so that they’re engaged and interested to learn more when I publish blog posts on the subject. I can also encourage them to provide suggestions. Doing so not only makes my job easier, but it also encourages engagement which is an effective strategy for gaining loyal followers.
Instagram can also help you make money blogging. My Instagram account helps me seal the deal when I’m making partnership deals with travel brands and sponsors. That said, only 5% of my blog traffic comes from Instagram, so I probably wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have the support of my team.
Remember the 80-20 rule: If you find that Instagram takes up a bunch of your time and you’re having more success increasing blog traffic elsewhere, consider deprioritizing it. Focus on the distribution platforms that’ll create the most growth for you.
16. Use Facebook
With over 2.7 billion monthly active users, Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms. For that reason, learning how to promote your blog on Facebook can be a great way to reach a wider audience. Because older demographics are most comfortable on Facebook over other platforms, it’s useful for blogs with an older audience. Its targeting options allow you to reach specific demographics or interests relevant to your blog.
When sharing, I always like to pull out a sentence or two from the post to give potential readers a flavor of what they will find if they click. I find the most successful posts are the ones that encourage discussion or are carousels with beautiful imagery. In any case, I’m always sure to feature a strong cover image for posts I intend to post on Facebook. In my experience, images that feature people perform best.
Keep in mind that every social platform is designed to keep people on that platform, so posting link after link without a strategy isn’t likely to yield results. Choose posts that will encourage discussion and use it as an opportunity to get feedback from your closest circle.
17. Talk to your LinkedIn community
LinkedIn is a professional networking platform that can be particularly effective for promoting blogs with a business or professional focus. It’s an especially useful starting point if you’ve already built a network that’s relevant to the blog.
As with Facebook, you’ll want to be strategic about how and what you share. Is there a blogger you’re connected with who has a successful LinkedIn sharing strategy? Analyze what they’re doing and see if you can build your own strategy off of their great ideas. This goes for any tip already mentioned on this list. As they say, success leaves breadcrumbs.
18. Make TikTok videos
TikTok can be a great platform for promoting visual content and engaging with a younger audience. If your blog's niche is related to fashion, beauty, food or DIY, TikTok may be a good fit for your blog.
TikTok’s viral potential makes it great for brand development. Therefore, it might not drive as much direct traffic as it does encourage people who enjoy your videos to check out your blog. Similarly to Instagram, it’s also a good opportunity to attract partnerships and connect with potential sponsors.
I find that the quickest way to grow on any platform is to show up where your target audience hangs out. Whichever you invest in, think of it as a standalone microblog where you publish original content that complements your blog.
That doesn’t mean you have to rewrite the wheel for each post. If you have something that did well on Instagram, you can probably repurpose it for TikTok and vice versa. If you have a blog topic that is doing well, like “the top place to eat street food in Hanoi,” consider making that a TikTok video.
19. Be so good they can’t ignore you
Finally, the most important tip in this whole list is to be so good they can’t ignore you. The people who are the most successful in this industry are the ones who commit to growing and think outside the box.
The internet doesn’t need more posts regurgitating the same information over and over. It needs your individuality, skill and passion. Have a strong purpose, communicate it with every post you create and put your passion behind it. Keep improving, even when your taste outpaces your abilities. We all start somewhere.