Anyone who has started a blog knows how hard it can be to get traffic. Writing for weeks, months, or years, and only having a trickle of traffic can be exceptionally disheartening and demotivating.
There are a number of reasons your blog could be getting no traffic, but finding out which ones you need to fix can be half the battle.
Let’s take a look at all of the reasons your blog is not getting any traffic…
1. Your blog is just getting started
You simply can’t start a blog, and expect lot’s of readers the next week. In fact, you shouldn’t expect many readers the next month, or the month after that, unless one of your first posts goes viral on social media (which is unlikely!).
A brand new blog doesn’t get much (if any) organic search traffic.
It also won’t get much referral traffic as there is unlikely to be any links to your website.
There may be a little social traffic if you start sharing your posts on your social channels or relevant forums, but this will likely be a few visitors a day, and could just be your friends and family.
You need to be patient before you judge your blog. If you’re not, you may give up to early.
Check out the traffic curve on the blog above. If this was your blog, and you gave up in September or October, you would have missed the growth that came in November and December!
For the first four months of this blog there was barely any traffic. The owner of this particular blog was consistently posting content, so if your own growth may take longer than seen above.
2. You’re not posting consistently enough
When you publish a new post, you have something to share on social media, other blogs, and forums related to your topic, which is nearly guaranteed to bring in at least a little bit of traffic.
It also gives you one more page which can rank in Google for more keywords, which will pay off in organic traffic over the coming months and years.
Every post builds on the past post in terms of incremental organic traffic. More posts simply means more traffic. If you post regularly and consistently you will be rewarded…as long as you don’t give up after 3 months of seeing no results (see point #1 above!)
3. Your content is low quality
Yikes! This one might be a tough one to admit for some people. But let’s face it, if your content isn’t great, then you shouldn’t really be expecting any traffic.
Unless you are writing about a super specialized topic, there is likely already hundreds (if not thousands) of other blog posts on the internet about exactly what you are writing about.
For your blog to stand out among the crown, you need better content than already exists online. If you have a post that is struggling to bring you traffic, then do a quick Google search for the exact topic of your post. Read all the other results that appear on page one of the Google results, and ask yourself “Is my content better than what these other websites are offering?”.
If not, then you need to improve your content.
300 word articles aren’t going to rank well when everyone else is providing 2000 word guides.
An article with no photos, diagrams, links to other interesting pages, videos, infographics etc is not going to outrank (and therefore get more traffic) than a large in-depth article with all the bells and whistles.
In fact don’t just take my word for it. Brian Dean from Backlinko analyzed 1 million search results and found that the average word count of a Google first page result is 1,890 words.
There have also been other studies which show that longer form content ranks better, and has other benefits such as increased social sharing.
Noah Kogan from Okdork analyzed 100 million articles and found that articles of between 3,000 and 10,000 words got the most shares, and that bloggers should ideally aim for 2000+ words per article.
4. You have a major technical issue
There aren’t many major issues that could prevent a site ranking in Google, however be sure to check that your site isn’t set to noindex. If it is, Google will be told not to list your website in their search engine result pages, and you’ll get no organic traffic at all.
5. You have many minor SEO issues
One minor SEO issue shouldn’t affect your site in a noticeable way, but a number of issues all working together can have a noticeable affect on a websites search ranking, and prevent your site getting as much traffic as it potentially could.
Some of the smaller SEO issues could include::
- Poorly written page titles or descriptions
- Images without alt tags
- Writing about topics no one is interested in (see: Keyword Research)
- Slow page load speed
- Spammy backlinks from low quality sites affecting your domain name
- Poor use of page headings (H1, H2 tags etc)
The quickest and easiest way to check your entire website for dozens of these smaller issues is to use whats called a site auditor. Site auditors usually cost about $99 per month, and are mainly used by medium to large businesses. Tools like Right Hand Man are made for bloggers and small businesses, and are much more affordable.
If you have a week or so to learn what to look for manually, then read our SEO checklist article to get off on the right foot.
6. You’re blog headlines are terrible
Your headlines are what lure people to read the article. The same article with different headlines can get completely different results.
Check out the two headlines below. Both create curiosity, but the first headline lures the reader in just that little but more than the second headline.
Blogging: Expectations VS Reality or What I learnt While Blogging
You can use tools like Hubspots Headline Generator to create more enticing headlines for your blog. Try to entice your readers to click on your blog post, whether it is posted on social media, another blogger website, or in the search engine result pages.
I believe the best way to entice a user to create curiosity in your headline. Tease the user that you will reveal something they need to know…otherwise they’ll be out of the loop. Constant Contact has a great blog post on the three core factors that trigger curiosity.
Outbrain is a company which shared sponsored content under genuine news articles, and their entire business is based around displaying a catchy headline, and an accompanying image, to generate as many clicks for their clients as possible. They have done plenty of reasearch into headlines and posted a number of articles on this topic. Two worth a read are The Art of the Headline and 9 Headline Tips to Help You Connect With Your Target Audience.
The best seven tips are…
- Use numbered lists (7 Ways to Lose Weight this Summer)
- Ask a question (Do you need to lose weigh? These 7 Great tips could help!)
- Use negative words (4 Things you should Never do on a Diet)
- Target your audience (New parents: Here is How to Lose Weight)
- Include brand names (Tim’s Gym Cracked the Muscle Myth)
- Keep it concise. Around 40 – 80 characters is ideal
- Keep it clear & simple
7. Your Page Titles & Descriptions aren’t enticing
Your page titles and meta descriptions are what appear in the Google result pages, and are all you have to lure people to click through to your website.
You need to use these titles & descriptions to lure as many people as you can.
Check out the two below for an example of two accounting firms and how their titles & descriptions entice you to click on there website.
NexGen has a title which doesn’t say much about the business, and a meta description which is confusing (why are they talking about home renovations?!).
Generate Accounting states clearly what they do, where they are based, and name drops that they are a gold partner with leading accounting software firm Xero.
Clearly, one of these websites is going to attract more visitors.
8. You’re writing about something no one wants to read
I’ll admit, I’ve nearly fallen into this trap a few times. If you are writing a blog because you like to write (and you don’t care about getting readers, or earning an income), then by all means write about what ever you want.
But if you want traffic, and others to read your blog, and potentially create a part-time or full-time job out of blogging, then you need to write about something people want to read.
Depending on your topic, you also need to write about something people are searching for.
Let’s give two examples.
If you are writing product reviews for camping gear, chances are most of your traffic will come from Google. In a perfect world, people will search for “Best tent to take camping in Australia”, your site will be listed, and you will get a visitor to your blog. People might search for this 500 times a month, and over a year you might get a few hundred (or thousand, depending where you rank) readers. Pump out 50 of these articles and you’ll soon be getting at least 1000 users to your blog each month.
Now if you had a blog about product reviews for door handles, and you specialized in wooden door handles available online from eco-friendly suppliers, you can probably expect more along the lines of one visitor a month.
Obviously this is just two examples, and it’s a balancing act.
- If you choose a topic too broad (eg global travel) you’ll be up against giant websites such as Trip Advisor, and you’ll never outrank them.
- If you go to narrow (eg travel to Fielding, New Zealand) then you’ll only capture a handful of people each month, but it would be easier to rank and get organic traffic.
This trick is to use Keyword Research to determine the number of searches each search term gets each month, then determining whether you think you can outrank the websites currently listed in Google.
9. You’re not promoting your blog post enough
When you first start a blog no one is paying attention to what you write. Even if you wrote the best blog post in the world, no one would see it (until you started getting organic search traffic, but this can take a little time).
So what’s the solution?
Once you create your content, you need to spend time promoting it! We don’t mean spend 15 minutes either, spend a good few hours sharing (not spamming) your content on relevant websites.
- Reach out to other bloggers, and see if they are interested in sharing your post, or including a link to it in one of their existing posts.
- Share you post on relevant social media sites such as Quora, Reddit, Facebook, Pinterest and Linkedin.
- Add social sharing buttons to your website, to get your readers to do your sharing for you (Note: your blog has to be exceptional for a user to share it with their own network).
- If you are building a mailing list, make sure you send weekly or monthly round-ups of all your latest posts to your list to lure past readers back to your blog.
10. You’re not building an email list
For many blogs their email list is their number one source of traffic, and sending a newsletter can be surprisingly cheap!
What do you do once you have a mailing list?
You can send monthly updates with your latest blog posts, and reach out for feedback on future topics you plan to write about.
You can also send offers to your list, if you’ve found something that will be of interest for them. When you list grows large enough, you may be able to sell advertising space in your newsletters for a little extra income.
Below is a newsletter I get from New Zealand based website Moneyhub.co.nz.
It’s not a website I visit every week, or even every month. But because they now send me a regular email, they can lure me back to the website much more frequently which helps them to drive ad revenue.
Look how simple the email is too! It is just a list of what articles have been added or updated since their last newsletter, and will take the site owner no more than an hour to pull together.
For eCommerce stores growing a mailing list should always be in the top three marketing priorities, as past visitors to your website and the most likely people to make purchases in the future.
11. You’re not putting in enough effort
Ouch! But it may be true.
If you believe that anyone can write a blog, work on it for an hour a week, and get a large amount of traffic, then you may need a bit of a reality check.
You need a well optimized website, with no SEO issues, which contains well-written high quality content, distributed across as many other relevant sites as possible.
It’s pretty much a full time job in the early days! Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you need to commit at least a few hours a week, and you need to do it consistently for a number of months.
12. You’re underestimating the work required
Oh snap! This point related closely to the above one about not putting in enough effort.
You may think you are putting in plenty of effort, but are you really? How do you know how much effort is “enough”?
Have a think over the points below, then you be the judge.
- Some bloggers state they put in 20 hours per blog post. How much time do you spend per blog post?
- In the early days you could spend just as much time promoting a blog post as you do writing it.
- Reaching out to other bloggers and influencers for links back to your website is a numbers game. You can’t email 5 people and expect a good response. You need to consider emailing 50 to 200 people, and you may get 2 or 3 links back to your blog post if you are lucky and your content is amazing.
It is a common misconception that you can write low quality blog posts, and simply start getting traffic within days.
In reality you need to write outstanding content, promote that content, and be patient. You need to work harder than you think you’d need to!
Once you publish your article, your job isn’t over. You are only halfway!
If you have a blog that is not getting traffic, work through all the points above to get back on the right track. Ensure you are not doing any of these mistakes, keep at it, and you will soon see traffic trickling to your website.
If you have any tips on what to do when your blog is getting no traffic tell us in the comment below!