Four Actions You Can Take Now to Dramatically Increase Your Blog Traffic

In the last 30 days, I have seen my blog traffic jump by 81.3%. I have seen steady growth since I converted from TypePad to self-hosted WordPress two years ago (up 338.6%). But the last 30 days represented the largest single jump in my traffic ever.

My January 2011 Google Analytic Stats

Source: Google Analytics

I want to share why I believe this has happened, so that you can apply what I have learned to your own blog. Hopefully, you will experience similar results.

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First of all, this traffic increase wasn’t the result of a single post that just happened to catch fire. Nor was it the result of a large site linking to me. Rather, it was the result of several specific changes I made to my blog.

Even here, I don’t think it was a single change, but rather all of them working together that accounted for the impact on traffic. The good news is that these are all things you can replicate.

First, the facts—directly from Google Analytics. (By the way, if you don’t have this installed on your blog, do that first. It’s easy, free, and essential if you are serious about growing your traffic.)

  • Absolute unique visitors went from 71,885 last month to 130,320 this month (a 81.3% increase).
  • Pageviews went from 173,794 to 284,192 (a 63.5% increase).

Now, what did I do to make this happen?

I had already installed Standard Theme back in October. This had an immediate, positive impact on my traffic. This was due primarily to faster page load times and better Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Other bloggers I know have had similar results from this premium theme.

However, in the week between Christmas and New Years, while on vacation, I asked myself, What actions can I take to significantly grow my blog traffic? I came up with a list of four:

  1. Increase my blogging frequency. I have always known that there is a correlation between frequency and growth in traffic, but I proved it to myself empirically this past month. For most of last year, I posted three times a week. I decided I would post five times a week this year, Monday through Friday.
  2. Write shorter posts, shorter paragraphs, and shorter sentences. I owe this insight to CopyBlogger’s post, “Shorter Is Better.” I determined that I would keep my posts between 500-600 words. I would include no more than 3-4 sentences per paragraph. I would avoid compound sentences wherever possible.
  3. Improve my SEO metadata. I started using ScribeSEO. This WordPress plugin analyses your posts and gives you a score, based on how Google will rank it. Best of all, it tells you how to tweak your metadata to improve your score. It’s expensive, but I think worth every penny.
  4. Become more engaged in comments. I changed my commenting system from native WordPress to Disqus. This is the system that most of the larger sites I visit use. I believe it is the easiest, most elegant commenting plugin available. It also allows me to reply to comments via email, which makes it super-easy for me to engage with my readers.

Encouraged by these results, I plan to continue with my strategy. However, I now have a list of three new actions I plan to take next month. I’ll report on those in another post.

Question: What specific actions can you take this next month to increase your blog traffic? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Want to launch your own blog or upgrade to self-hosted WordPress? Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

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  • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

    I’ve noticed that you are always engaged in your readers’ comments, Michael. This is something I got from you; if someone comments on my post, I always comment back. I’ll bet that, since commenting on your site has been increasing exponentially over the last few months, it’s harder to do that. Or do you have to be more selective now?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, it doesn’t exactly scale. I think of it as a dinner party. As the host, I don’t have to comment on everyone else’s comments. That would just be weird in real life. All I have to do is be present in the conversation and comment when I have something of value to add. Great question!

  • Raghunath Pillai

    I believe keyword research and commenting would make a lot of difference too. An area I kind of ignored. Now it is time I concentrate on that. 

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  • http://researchnetwork.com/ christain

    With such essential skills you are sure to become a good academic article writer; you will definitely make the most of remarkable academic writing jobs that come your way. And what is really incredible about these is that; you can work in-house anywhere in UK and get paid to do what you like doing and in what your specialty lies

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  • Anonymous

    Superb posting i love to read it at the time when people need it as guider i like to see it
    Please share more about the work experience… finding work experience

  • Personal Wealth

    I’ve been blogging full time for about 1 year now. I
    can tell you firsthand that the biggest problem most bloggers face
    (myself included) is publishing quality, relevant content on a
    consistent basis. No matter what your publishing schedule, it can be a
    real challenge to blog regularly and keep your readers engaged.
    Personal Finance

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep, this is the single biggest challenge most bloggers face, including me.

  • http://ideageek.it/server-emule server emule

    I’m a bit confused. Do you schedule your post to automatically post itself at 4 am? Or do you manually post it? 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      In WordPress, you can set the date and time you want it to appear. So, I simply set it for the date and 4:00 a.m. The post automatically appears on that date at that time.

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  • Ian McLovin

    Yes, you’re right. Bloggers should aim to avoid tl;dr (Too Long, Didn’t Read) posts. Interest is just a click away, so why not get them involved in the discussion? That works every time. People want to be heard and Bloggers want to get noticed. That is what Blog Traffic is all about.
     Ian McLovin

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  • http://MacedoniaFilms.com/ Dan Baker

    We’re in the process of re-imagining what it looks like to be a filmmaker in 2012, blogging and building a platform is going to be a big part of that. Thanks for all this wonderful information, you’re pointing the way forward!

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  • http://twitter.com/sevenroots20 Sevenroots 2.0

    For about two weeks, I find my blog traffic a little bit increased t0o. The strategu is almost same too, I use a better theme (hybrid in this case) start to write more post with simpler English. And the last is by blogwalking anywhere.
    Thanks for sharing this tips Mr. Michael :)

  • http://darlenekelley.wordpress.com/ Darlene

    Thanks for the blogging tips. I am gradually making some changes to my blog as I learn and get tips like these. My biggest challenge right now is deciding on content and focusing long enough to write clearly without using too many words.

  • Danie Marie

    For one, I need to blog more often. I’ve been quite sporadic due to sickness and such, plus working on my novels, but even if it’s short, I figure short is better than none.

  • Partha Dasgupta

    Dear Mr Hyatt,

    Another great article. Couldn’t help sharing it on FaceBook, so posted the link.

    Wish you’d give a RSS feed. Would be easier to keep up.

    Rgds, Partha

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I have an RSS feed. Upper right-hand side of the blog. Do you see it? Thanks.

  • http://godandmyeverydaylife.wordpress.com/ maryagius

    I’m looking under the Help menu for my WordPress blog but it states that Google Analytics can not be used on Word Press.com blogs.

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  • http://twitter.com/Justtexin24 Justin Johnson

     wow these are so simple and easy to apply I am excited to try them out. Thank you.

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  • http://www.MorrisMatters.com/ Dwayne Morris

    I have Pat Flynn to thanks for these tips: 1) file names of images need to be connected to the content of your post and 2) use relative terms in the URL / Permalink.

    Say Michael…if you had to pick one of these four as the most effective?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I would say #1. I have dialed back on the frequency of my own blog now, but I have also reached critical mass.

  • Jane Bromley

    Dear Michael. What a useful blog- so practical and described simply so that we can all implement the same things. It inspired me to see what I can achieve too. Thank you so much. 

  • http://www.Thinke.org Matt Brown

    This is so helpful Michael. Question – do you know anything about squarespace? Does wordpress simply have better SEO than any other blogging/ website platform?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m sorry, I really don’t know anything about SquareSpace.

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  • Nancy J.

     Thinking I should begin focusing more on my blog instead of my website.

  • Febry Suryanto

    i’m still on the way. I just got 500 PV perday on my blogT.T.. Thanks for sharing Mr. Michael :D Hope i can implement it on my blog:D..
    http://welovedotas.blogspot.com

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  • http://twitter.com/rachidrikitchi rachid

    gtrsgrt

  • Nate

    Thank you for taking the time to explain the changes you made and the results you saw.

  • JVanderSpek

    I changed the heading in my emails to be more like yours. My latest one: Talking with your Kids about Masturbation [A new post]. Seemed to help. overcoming-lust.com

  • Barbara Gustavson

    As I’m a new blogger, this is great insight. I love that you mentioned about writing shorter blogs more frequently. Less is more!

  • Shari

    If one is a writer on substantive topics, how does one keep one’s blog posts short?

    I frequently deal with some complex issues. Are you really saying that I must reduce complexity with a sound bite to be heard?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      It really depends on your audience and your subject category. I was only providing a general rule. There are exceptions.

  • Phil Fragasso

    Is Standard Theme still available? I can’t locate it on WordPress and the link you provided indicates that the company selling it (8BIT) is out of business.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yep, it has been shuttered, unfortunately I am in the process of releasing my own WordPress theme based on my own. You can read about it here.

  • Ben Allison

    Hi Michael! I clicked the link to check out “Standard Theme” and it took me to what seemed to be a web consulting website? Is their anywhere where we could simply buy the standard theme if we like it?

    “I had already installed Standard Theme back in October. This had an immediate, positive impact on my traffic.”

    • http://www.mhmcintyre.us/ Mark McIntyre

      8Bit, the developers of Standard Theme, has gone out of business (as of August 2013) and the theme can no longer be purchased.

      • Ben Allison

        Thanks Mark!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Unfortunately, Standard Theme has been discontinued. This post was written back in 2011. I am about to launch my own theme called, Get Noticed! Theme for WordPress. It is now available, but in a limited release.

  • http://LeanStartPad.com/ Jeff ‘SKI’ Kinsey

    Great insight, but I find myself more engaged and more likely to share since you went to disqus.

  • gail

    This is VERY HELPFUL! Thanks for sharing. Do you have any suggestions for what time of day to publish your daily posts?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I publish mine at 4:00 a.m., so those on the east coast of the U.S. can have them first thing in the morning.n (By the way, I don’t get up at that time. I just schedule them to post at that time.)

  • Frenetta Tate

    Thank you for sharing, Michael! I agree with number 1 wholeheartedly. I have noticed a jump in followers when I increased the frequency of my posts. I just started shortening my paragraphs this week. I’ve known for a while that the titles get the first level interest. Once they like the title, the percentage of them actually reading the blog post is increased. Thank you for the insight. I look forward to the new actions you will post later. I appreciate you!

  • http://www.danielbryan.info/ Daniel Bryan

    I think I need to work on shorter blogs, sentences and paragraphs. It’s easy to go on an on about the things I’m passionate about but I need to narrow things down. I am trying to be consistent on my blogging about three times a week and I think that is about as often as I can go with some quality for now.

  • INDIEgatorMag

    Great information, thank you for sharing Michael!

  • gabregni

    I saw identical amount (from 10 to 20! I more than doubled in visitors. Little steps) outcomes from more frequent publishing. Another thing that has assisted my visitors is being engaged in feedback and conversations on other weblogs.

    NyLotto