Are you struggling to get consistent, genuine, organic traffic to your Christian blog? The truth about blog traffic is that it isn't as simple as just writing a post, publishing it, and waiting for people to come read it. Successful blogging takes a lot of effort and having a strategy in place for reaching your target audience. This post will lay out some key things to keep in mind that will help improve your organic reach and increase your page views.
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The Truth About Blog Traffic
The truth about blog traffic is that it may take some time for your site and content to get picked up in search engines. But that doesn't mean you can start seeing some genuine traffic right away. There are some simple things that you can work on that will significantly increase the traffic to your site, as well as keep them there longer and reading more of your posts.
Have you clearly defined WHO your blog content is written for? Having a clearly defined Avatar (target audience) is the first step in getting traffic to your site. When you know exactly who you are wanting to reach with your ministry, you will be able to write content they need and are searching for in search engine queries.
Having a clearly defined target audience also helps build your SEO profile. Without a clearly defined target audience, your content won't always follow a pattern that the search engine crawlers can track to determine your overall blog content. This is important in order for your site (and posts) to start showing up in search results.
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SEO is paramount
Once you've fully defined WHO your blog is for, the next step is to set your blog up for search engine optimization. This includes a combination of entering certain keywords in your blog's administrative page meta descriptions, doing SEO keyword research for individual blog posts, and submitting your website's sitemap to Google for indexing. SEO is the key to your blog and the content you write getting found in search queries.
Many bloggers rely solely on social sharing to hopefully send traffic to their sites. While this may lead a few people to read your content, the overall goal is to have people searching for the content of your posts and them finding you through organic methods. That is the basis of SEO and how it works and is the key to getting consistent, organic traffic for years to come.
How to Optimize Your Site For Increased Traffic
While SEO is the key to getting consistent, organic traffic to your blog, there are some additional ways to increase traffic and increase the time visitors stay on your site. You worked hard writing your content and are hoping to share God's message with others so it is crucial that you set up your site for maximum success when it comes to keeping your visitors there and reading more of it. The following are some simple ways to better optimize your site for user experience so they'll want to stay and click around to find more content to read.
Your blog layout won't get more people TO your site, but it can encourage them to stay longer. How your site is laid out matters! Think about when you travel or visit new places. You most likely stay on the beaten path and don't take the side streets because you assume nothing is there. But if you happened to see a side street with a sign saying there were some really great stores or other places of interest, you'd probably go take a peak, right?
Visitors to your website follow that same concept. They come to your blog via a link to a particular post. Then what? Do you have plenty of street signs directing them to more great content on your site that they should go check out? Make sure your visitors have the best possible experience while on your site.
- Easy site navigation – Does your site navigation make it as easy as possible for readers to find more content? At a minimum, you should have a link called “blog” or have individual links for the main categories of your content (preferred method).
- Page load time – Have you ever gone through a drive-thru that just took forever? If the line isn't moving quick enough, many potential customers will simply get out of line and drive elsewhere for their meal. If a visitor lands on your site and the images and content don't load quickly, they will just click away and find content elsewhere! Make sure you are using an image file compression plugin if you are adding a lot of image files. These can significantly slow down your site. You can test your site speed at Pingdom Tools and it will give you a report on things that might be slowing it down.
- Too many ads – This is one of my biggest pet-peeves when I visit websites! Many new bloggers way overdo it with ads and, as a result, visitors most likely don't stay and/or just don't click around because the ads make it confusing. The truth is that until your site begins generating a LOT of traffic (organically), you aren't going to earn much from the ads. Bloggers who boast of making tons of money from AdSense are most likely participating in blogger threads and not getting genuine clicks. Instead of worrying about Ads, focus more on quality content and SEO, which will bring the right visitors who will then be more inclined to click on your affiliate links.
- Too many popups – This is another irritation that can cause visitors to quickly exit your site! If you have a popup subscribe form, make sure it doesn't pop up immediately when they get to your page. They just got there and don't even know if they like you yet! You can set popup forms to come at later intervals. Other popups that often annoy me as a site visitor are the ones for Pinterest and Instagram follows. I, personally, prefer having them as a sidebar widget because, again, if they pop up right away, the visitor will most likely just close it and not follow. Later on, however, once they've seen what your site has to offer, the widget would still be there on the sidebar for them to click on.
Always make a habit to regularly visit your site as a visitor (not from your admin login) and take a stroll. See how your visitors are experiencing your site. You can also ask a friend to visit your site and give feedback on these areas.
Increase Page Views
Page views refer to the number of pages on your site that a user visits during a visit to your site. This is a super important number that you should keep an eye on because it can indicate that you aren't providing the best user experience. Your goal should be that visitors don't just read the post that got them to your site. You want them to click through to read more content while they are visiting.
- Links to more content in the sidebar – Your sidebar is prime real estate for keeping people on your site longer. Instead of filling it up with banner ads that no one is clicking on, add a Recent Posts widget that shows the titles of the posts. Add clickable images that lead to other content such as resource pages, key posts that your visitors should know about, etc.
- Internal links – This is one that is often overlooked but is probably the #1 way to increase the time visitors stay on your site! You should be linking to other related posts in every single post that you publish! Be sure to use anchor text within a sentence and use the link naturally in that sentence. This will prompt the reader to go read another post on your site. See the image below that shows how to properly link to other posts in a paragraph.
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Resource pages are an excellent way to both drive traffic to your site and to give your readers more content to read when they arrive via other post links. A resource page can be anything that your readers could benefit from, including a Recommended Reading list. By creating pinnable images for them, you can increase your traffic from Pinterest (more below on that!). For readers already on your site, you can create clickable images on your sidebar that lead to the resource page, as well as include a link in the navigation menu and/or simply mentioning the Resource page in other posts. Kingdom Bloggers has a great list of Resources for Christian women that constantly drive new traffic to our site!
Pinterest won't keep visitors on your site longer but it surely will drive huge amounts of organic traffic to your site! Even if you are still trying to figure out all the SEO stuff, you can get a LOT of traffic from Pinterest almost from Day One. In order for it to work for you, however, you must have it fully optimized for success.
Just to show you the power of Pinterest for Christian bloggers, take a look at the blogging stats below from Kingdom Bloggers. Our site is fairly new (less than 3 months as of the writing of this post). This graph shows the referral traffic (where visitors originated from) for the first 3 months of the blog being live. You can see from the mountains on the graph when the traffic picked up, which was really only in the latter part of that time frame. We had over 7000 sessions that were referred from Pinterest!
Optimize Your Site For Maximum User Experience
So, as you can see, the truth about blog traffic is that you need to invest some time and effort into the inner workings of your site first. Once that is done, you can use Pinterest to start generating significant organic traffic while you work on SEO. Once your visitors do get to your site, you can definitely keep them there longer by optimizing your site navigation and give them plenty of links to click on to find more content. Just remember, all the “technical stuff” aside, you still need to focus on writing quality content that appeals to your target audience to keep them engaged and coming back.
For more Christian blogging tips, be sure to get signed up for our newsletter below. We'll send you helpful blogging tips every Monday so you can start reaching more people for Christ through your Christian blog ministry! Also, if you aren't already, be sure to follow us on Pinterest where you'll find more helpful Christian blogging tips, as well as more content from our amazing Christian writers from around the globe!
Be sure to read more of our Blogging Truths Series below!
- The Truth About the Yoast Plugin
- The Truth About Blogging Stats
- Endless Blog Post Ideas for Your Christian Blog
- The Sneaky Jesus Approach to Christian Blogging