5 Factors That Can Ruin Your Blog’s Traffic

by Jake Magleby

Blog TrafficSite traffic is the gold of the Internet. Without it, no matter how great your blog’s content or design, your site will sit unappreciated and unseen. Don’t let your hard work go to waste. Whether you are a new blogger or a veteran webmaster, you can learn the keys to driving great traffic to your website. Here are several factors that can ruin your blog’s traffic, and how you can turn it around.

1.  Ineffective Post Titles

The titles of your posts are critical to getting people to read your content. Your title is the hook that draws the reader in and gets them to click your link. If your title is vague, general, irrelevant, or boring, you will lose traffic—even if the content itself is amazing. This is why it is so important to take time to craft an effective and catchy title. Don’t spend all your time writing a high-quality post only to create a lazy title at the last minute.

The best titles are specific, unique, urgent, arouse curiosity, and provide value to the reader. A good rule of thumb is: If the reader has to see the content to understand the title, the title is ineffective. You should also be wary of using clever or cute titles. Though they are fun, they are often hard to optimize and are less specific and informative. Since your titles will be seen in the search results and feed readers, you need to make them grab your reader right away, without getting bogged down in vague, clever quips.

2. Un-optimized Pages

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a booming industry today— and it is no surprise why. Websites that have effectively optimized their pages for search see significant increases in their search rankings and traffic. Even if you have the best content or a great web design, few people will see or appreciate it if you haven’t taken steps to optimize your site.

A few ways to do this include:

  • Use keywords in your post titles, links, and content.
  • Fill out ALT tags, header tags, and meta-descriptions in the HTML.
  • Link to other posts/pages on your blog. •Link to other bloggers to invite them to the conversation.
  • Provide calls to action at the end of every post.
  • Connect your pages to your social networks.

Whether you make these changes yourself or hire a professional from an SEO firm, there are many ways to optimize your site. These are some of the simplest and surest methods of improving traffic and rising in the SERP rankings.

3. Clunky URLs

Long, cumbersome URLs make it difficult for visitors to search your content and harder for spiders to index your posts. Rather than leaving your post’s address as a long string of numbers, optimize the URL. You can do this by including specific keywords and condensing your post titles.

For example, for a post like this one you might list the address as your hyphenated title: http://www.yourblogname.com/5-factors-that-ruin-blog-traffic. You can also include tracking digits at the end, the date of publication, or simply a few relevant keywords, like “blog-traffic-factors.” By paring down your URLs into recognizable addresses, you improve your chances of being found on the SERPs and make it easier for Google and other search engines to index your pages—thereby boosting your traffic.

4. Inconsistent Content

Publishing infrequently or irregularly is a sure way to ruin your traffic and kill your blog. Posting consistently to your blog (i.e. more than once a month) provides fresh content for visitors to consume and gives the search engine spiders more material to crawl and index—boosting your traffic and your rankings online.

When you fail to blog regularly, your posts have a harder time gaining traction and you will eventually lose any traffic you may have acquired over time. Though you don’t have to publish content daily, or even weekly, you should strive to regularly produce content at least every other week. Consistency keeps the spiders crawling your site, and gives your visitors a predictable schedule that they can rely on for new content.

5. Slow Page Loading Time

People don’t want to wait for information; so the longer your page takes to load, the less likely your visitors will hang around to see it. After several seconds, users will simply navigate off your site to find the solution to their query elsewhere. Therefore, it is critical that your site’s pages load in a timely manner. Not only will this improve user experience, but it will also improve your rankings in the SERPs. With a blog that caters to user experience and Google’s recommendations, your traffic will be healthier than ever.

Several elements can slow down your pages:

  • Flash and JavaScript
  • Oversized images
  • Externally hosted files
  • Too many widgets

If your blog is guilty of any of these things, take time to go through and resolve the issues. By simply reducing the number of widgets, Flash, and JavaScript on your pages, modifying images for the web, and hosting files locally, you can cut your pages’ loading times significantly.

Getting people to your site doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. Pay attention to your SEO efforts, cut back on the loading time, publish consistently, and take time to craft effective post titles, and URLs; do this and your next biggest worry will be avoiding a traffic jam!

Author Byline:

Jake Magleby has written extensively about effective marketing, sales, and financing strategies to help small business owners succeed in the fast-paced and ever-changing business world. For more information on search engine optimization tips and services, visit Clickcom

Comments

  1. Great post, Jake. I have a question: As it’s important that headings are compelling, do you always include a keyword?

    • Jake Magleby says:

      Hi Andrew,
      Sorry for the delayed reply. It is a great habit to include keywords within the HTML for all your header tags. This helps search engine bots categorize your content and identify relevant searches.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. WOW. Great article, and sobering. I am an old codger, (55) and I enjoy blogging. My low-traffic has been embarrassing. All of these factors are immensely helpful, but also over my head. Gathering some funds together to hire a professional (SEO) is probably the way to go … But there are some things that I can jump on right away: title stragegies and changing my long urls. I would say my content is fair, but inconsistent, an not concise. Thank you again for giving me some invaluable help for my blog development. T

    • Jake Magleby says:

      Thanks, T! Glad some of these tips could help. It is true that building traffic can be overwhelming; but getting a head start yourself is a great way to generate results and hopefully get your site on the right track. And if you find you’re still lagging behind the competition, getting a consultation from a professional can help you identify areas for improvement.

      Thanks for reading! Good luck implementing these strategies–I’d love to hear how they turn out.

      Jake

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