3 Reasons Your Blog is Not Getting Traffic

Blog traffic is the key to online success. No matter how good your blog is, if you don’t have traffic, then nobody benefits from what you have to offer – including you.

So here are three reasons your blog is not getting enough traffic:

1. Trying to Monetize Before You Have Traffic

Cash - TrafficPeople are willing to pay you after they get to know you and trust you. If your goal is to get people to buy your information, you are actually trying to get them to buy into you. If I want to learn something about making money online for example, there are thousands of people trying to sell something on that topic. How do I decide who to give my money to? I have to read about them, read their content, maybe read something they are giving away. And if what they have to say makes sense, and I like and trust them, then I will buy their book, or hire them to coach me, etc. What I don’t do is do a Google search, find a webpage from some online guru and then buy a $97/ month coaching program or a $147 course.

Even most offline companies understand this concept. When I go to Costco or Sam’s Club, they have samples of certain foods. They are giving away food so you can get a sense of the quality and flavor and now you trust that the product will taste good. Lots of small food companies (doughnut shops, food court restaurants, etc.) give away small amounts of their food so they can gain your trust and literally give you a taste of what they have to offer.

The thing to keep in mind is that the online world has a lot in common with the offline world, because we are still talking about people. Andpeople are the same online or off. There are differences: different price points, different expectations, and so forth. But they are still the same.

In the online world there are so many things for free that it is almost expected. So offer something for free. But online you can’t just offer a small piece of a doughnut. People want the whole doughnut. Maybe they want a whole box of doughnuts! Andare they more likely to tell their friends about the doughnut shop with the small one-bite samples or the one giving away a box of doughnuts? In our world “telling their friends” is the equivalent of Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, Google+, Facebook, email, etc.

Ultimately we want to make money – and not because of greed. For example, if I can make more money online, then I can spend more time creating products and writing articles, etc. If I can’t make any money online, then I will need to spend my time doing something else. So making money validates what you do online, and provides incentive and opportunity to do more of it and make even more money. Ultimately, you are helping more people. But if you can’t make any money, then you can’t spend more time online and you will help fewer people. That is not good for anyone.

We have three physical books that we sell and currently one e-workbook. As you can see in my Month 2 income report we have sold a few books, but not much. While most of our income is from our offline business, I am only tracking the online income. Most of our money comes from Amazon but a lot of the sales come from clicking on the link on our site. I would prefer they buy the book from my site, but ultimately, I want people to get the information – so at least they get it.My biggest regret is that I did not focus more on giving away some high quality content that people just absolutely want so they are willing to sign up for my newsletter. This would have built more trust – and allowed more people to sample our quality content.

2. You are Writing More Than You Promote

List - The Money ProfessorsI really enjoy producing content. I can talk, write or record videos all day long. I will start a podcast this summer and if all goes well I will also add a YouTube channel. I am planning several courses this summer on personal finance and starting, managing, and monetizing a blog. These are aggressive goals, but I enjoy this stuff. However, I must be careful to not spend all of my time creating great content. I need to spend no more than 20% of my time on content. The other 80% needs to be spent on promoting if I want to get more traffic.

When I was a kid everybody always talked about “building the better mouse trap.” If that is what everyone is focusing on – building the better mousetrap – then no wonders so many businesses fail! Who cares if you have the better mousetrap? You need to create a quality mousetrap that gets the job done as promised. But mostly, you need to market your quality mousetrap! The best marketed mousetrap will outsell the best made mousetrap every day of the week. Why? Because people have to know about your mousetrap before they can buy it!

So how do you promote your blog or online site?

  1. Social media – Build your following on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. How? Well that goes way beyond this article, but there are strategies and they all take time. Tweet about your posts, tweet about other people’s posts, etc. It takes a lot of sharing and following to get people to share your stuff and follow you.
  2. Guest posting – How many sites have you guest posted on? When you guest post, you are gaining exposure to the audience on that site. How do you decide if the material is better on your site or the guest site? Well, you get what you pay for, so-to-speak. You should only guest post your best stuff. The higher the quality of the post, the better you will look, the more clicks you will gain back to your site, and the happier the blog host will be. And if they don’t have a huge following? You won’t get a lot of traffic from the post, but use it for practice. Chances are the really large blogs might want to how many other guest posts you have written.
  3. Commenting on other people’s blogs – We love engagement. So does Google. Nothing make a blogger feel better than when people comment on their post – and continue to engage back and forth (unless you are complaining). You should be regularly commenting on other blogs within your niche and maybe one or two outside of your niche as well. Not only do you start to get recognized, but you are building relationships with these other bloggers – and blogging is all about relationships.

Here is a great article on Steamfeed.com that lists 25 ways to promote your blog. Not all are relevant, but you may find a handful of them useful for your niche.

3. Your Headlines are Boring

Mod_KnowHow_79558367_Subscription_Monthly_XXLWhen you are standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, there are probably magazines right there. Read the headlines. Are they boring or exciting? Their headlines are what sell their entire magazines. People are paying $5 for a headline!

To prove that headlines make al the difference in the word, let’s look at two examples. Which sounds better:

  1. The 5 Things Lenders Look at to Approve a Loan
  2. Understand the 5 C’s of Credit
  3. Lenders Make Sure you are Willing and Able to Repay

Notice the first two titles use a number. People can get it. There will be 5 things. The first one has an emotional appeal – approving a loan. The second one sounds a little dull. The third one is kind of boring.

Let’s try one more:

  1. From the NY Times: How Companies Learn Your Secrets
  2. From Forbes: How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did

Which do you think got more clicks? Even though they are basically the same article covering the same material – the headline makes a difference. Forbes got waaaaay more clicks even though they are a smaller publication with fewer followers. Why? Because that second headline is attention grabbing and engaging. Admit it… you probably clicked on it already (that’s why it opens in a new window… I didn’t want to lose you).

You only have a couple of seconds to grab someone’s attention. And we all read the headlines – that’s how we determine which articles we want to read. SoALL headlines get read (or skimmed), but only a small percentage of actual articles. The headline is what gets the clicks. The quality of the article is what gets them to stay – or click on your other articles/posts.

How do you know which headlines work and which do not? Well the big companies spend a lot of money on split testing with maybe 10 headlines. Then they stick with the one that works the best. Most of us don’t have the time or resources to do that. So start with what interests you. I like to use flipboard and scan multiple articles and see which ones attract my attention. Then I look for patterns that seem to work. Of course, I could also be my own target audience in some cases. You may not be your own target audience, so keep that in mind. You can even purchase software such as Headline Creator Pro to help you generate solid headlines that attract attention. Ultimately, your goal is to capture your audience’s attention with headline that motivates them to click on the article itself.

So What Next?

InternetIt’s time to sit down and use a calendar. You can use a printable one or just your Outlook, iCal or Google calendar. Figure out how many hours you can spend each week working on your blog. Now make sure that 80% of your time is spent promoting the content. So if you only have 10 hours per week for your blog, then that gives you 2 hours to write good content and 8 hours to spend promoting it. If you can only write one blog post in 2 hours, then now you know. You will be publishing one blog post per week. If you want to post more, then you have a few options.

  • Make more time to spend on your blog
  • Learn to write quality articles in less time
  • Write another post as a guest post (this counts as marketing) during those remaining hours

The key is that you need to have at least 5 quality posts on your site first. Then start marketing and promoting. If you only have one post, and someone lands on your site, there is nothing else for them to read! Now you have increased your bounce rate and discouraged people from coming back. Your traffic is one and done. You wouldn’t start a store with just one item on a shelf, so make sure you at least have a few other options for your readers as well.

Please follow me, share this content, and sign up for our newsletter… I know that’s three things I am asking of you. At least it’s not homework, which you know we professors like to assign!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, we may receive a commission. For more information see our Disclaimer page. We are fully transparent and don’t hide from the fact that we utilize affiliates… In fact, that is how bloggers make money! If you would like to learn how you can make money blogging, read more about it here.

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Bill Pratt

Bill is an Assistant Professor of Business at Piedmont Virginia Community College. He speaks on topics related to personal finance on college campuses across the country and is the author of multiple books on personal finance. He left the financial industry to focus on helping people become personally and financially successful. He lives in Charlottesville, VA with his wife and their three pets.

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