In this post, I will reveal all of the wonderful things I managed to do to increase my website traffic by 132% in the last 12 months. Guys and dolls, If I can do this for my website, so can you!
Growing your website traffic can be a difficult task, and especially when you’re just starting out.
For the first few years of starting Magnet4Blogging Media, I struggled to get more than 20 to 30 visits per day.
I did everything by the book. I tried every tactic, I made sure my content was SEO ready, and I even dabbled in a little PPC here and there. And, for the most part, some of what I did worked and some didn’t.
Getting results from your marketing efforts takes time as you probably know.
However, around the middle part of last year, 2017, I decided that I was going to give marketing and promoting my website, and my blog content, a bit of a break from the old routine.
When I say ‘old routine’, I mean generally stop using the old trusty tried-and-tested methods of digital marketing.
Instead, I wanted to see if I could increase my website traffic without spending more money on advertising or doing much in the way of marketing and promotion.
I also wanted to see if it was possible to grow my blog traffic without dedicating hours to tons of new content.
Take a look at the screen capture below of a single month of traffic comparing this year against last year.
Prett impressive, right?
So, how did I increase my traffic without advertising or doing much marketing? Let’s take a look.
#1. Full website design/layout audit
Since January 2017, Magnet4Blogging Media has gone through two web design changes.
I was originally using a custom Genesis child theme for my website, until a few months ago, I decided to change it with a stripped down and customized version of the Business Pro child theme.
You can learn more about this child theme here.
Anyhow, I began making use of several useful conversion tools to help me figure out what my visitors were doing on my site before making any new changes.
You can check out the full list of design conversion tools I used here.
When I finally say down to modify the design and layout of my website, I was able to remove some of the needless features including stripping some of the unnecessary CSS in the child theme I wanted to use.
For mobile devices, I completely disabled the footer, sidebar sections from displaying making my blog content the focus point.
The result? A lighter, faster loading website intentionally designed to showcase my products, services, and blog content better.
#2. Full blog content/SEO audit
My blog content and SEO auditing have been an ongoing process for a while now.
I started auditing my content way back at the tail end of 2016 and even though I finished in the middle part of last year, I decided to go through the entire content once again and I’m 90% complete with it.
Check out this post to learn how to audit your blog content.
For this site, I simply made a list of all the blog posts that were failing to get any new readers and interaction.
I then decided whether I would improve some of these posts by completely rewriting them, which takes some time doing, or, just to delete them completely from my blog.
I actually went from having around 300 posts at the start of 2017 to around 190 posts at the start of this year.
So, less content but more traffic? Yes absolutely!
I still have a few posts that still need auditing, improving or even deleting, but for the most part, I’m pretty much done.
The result? I now have a blog with more useful and relevant content that is more aligned with my business. I’m trying to keep to the main topics of of ‘blogging’, ‘WordPress and web design’, ‘digital marketing’, and ‘entrepreneurship’.
I am also adding a new category for ‘Vlogging and Video Marketing’.
#3. Optimized blog post images
Although this was simple enough for me to do, it did take me quite a bit of time to audit and improve my blog post images.
A lot of the images on Magnet4Blogging were in the wrong format anyway, so here’s what I did to improve them.
- I downloaded all the photos from my blog, then converted them to JPEG before using TinyPNG to optimize them (reduce file size).
- The graphics and icons I downloaded from my blog, then converted them to PNG before using TinyPNG to optimize them.
Read this post I wrote on how to optimize your website images for SEO and faster loading.
#4. Migrated bulky images to Amazon S3
For the majority of my blog post images, I moved these outside of my blog. So in other words, I had them hosted somewhere else.
I simply created an account with Amazon S3 where I could host the largest images for the most high-traffic content on my blog. See image below.
The smaller posts with fewer images that were less popular I just left alone.
The result of doing the above two things? Page size/speed loading times were improved dramatically for many of my most popular posts.
#5. Paid less attention to on-page SEO for new content
Believe it or not, I’ve never been obsessed with optimizing my content for search engines. In fact, I pay very little attention to SEO generally.
When I’m writing a post on Magnet4Blogging’s blog, I generally keep my focus keyword in mind but I never obsess over getting every single part of my keyword optimization spot on.
What I’ve always tried to do is write my blog posts and make them sound as natural as I possibly can when someone is reading it.
The result? Amazingly, better search engine rankings and increased traffic from Google, more importantly, better conversion rates.
#6. Reduced number of plugins and scripts installed
Plugins, scripts, code snippets all installed and embedded in websites can reduce website loading time and hamper performance.
After I was done with updating my child theme, I simply removed all the unnecessary PHP scripts, additional HTML and CSS snippets that I didn’t need.
I also reduced my plugins count from 36 to 28, however, there are still around 5 or more plugins I would like to completely remove before the end of this year.
I try and stick to premium plugins where I can, again, because of the consistent support and updates you get with premium tools.
#7. Migrated my website from HTTP to HTTPS
Back in November of last year, I migrated my website from HTTP to HTTPS as it was soon becoming a requirement with Google (Chrome).
Now, this could be completely coincidental, however, since doing this for Magnet4Blogging, my traffic started to increase dramatically in the weeks that followed.
If you’ve not yet migrated to HTTPS for your WordPress site, check out this post to learn how.
#8. Upgraded my web hosting plan
The final thing I decided to do in late January of this year was to upgrade my current web host plan with SiteGround.
I had been on the GrowBig shared hosting plan since 2015 and my next stop was to upgrade to GoGeek.
Upgrading plans has provided my website with more tools and options, but more importantly, more resources to play with, in addition, fewer accounts on the server.
The result? Faster loading of my website, even better search engine rankings and increased organic traffic and improved conversions.
Conversions and traffic
Now here’s the important part that you need to read very carefully.
I know that increasing website traffic is just the start. If anything, growing your traffic is NOT as important as increasing your conversion rates.
If you’re getting 300 visits per day to your website but your conversion rate sucks, you have a problem.
Check out this post I wrote titled More Website Traffic VS Better Conversion Rates for top tips on finding the perfect balance.
Additionally, take a look at my free website conversion optimization email and video course here.
So, there you have it.
These were just a few of the things I was able to do to grow my website traffic during 2017 and 2018 with very little marketing and advertising.
Yes, of course, I continued to share posts on my social media channels, as well as use some video and my current email list.
However, I have done zero guest blogging, I’ve hardly done any blog commenting, and, asides from boosting posts on Facebook to promote new content now and again, I’ve paid zero for advertising my website.
Sometimes, you don’t have to try and come up with new marketing ideas or write new content to grow your website traffic. You just need to take a step back and look at your website as it is and figure out how you can improve what you already have to get more traffic, readers, engagement, and even new customers.
Best of luck.