As a reader of Ana's blog, I'll assume you are confident about generating traffic to your blog.
However, if your site has goal is to get someone to optin to your emails, boosting your traffic conversions will get you a far bigger increase than boosting traffic.
Consider this scenario:
Your blog is getting 10,000 new unique visitors per month and is converting 1% of them to email opt in (100 signups). This is a common conversion rate for unoptimized blogs.
Pretty easily, without using aggressive techniques, you should be able to boost that to 5% or higher (500 signups).
If you focused on traffic for your low converting blog instead of focusing on the conversion rate, you would need an additional 40,000 monthly new unique visitors to boost your optins to 500.
I can tell you boosting your conversion rate from 1-5% is infinitely easier and cheaper than acquiring 40,000 targeted new visitors.
In fact some tiny little changes can often have a huge impact on your traffic conversion rate.
Here are 10 things you can do right now to get more visitors converting.
Remember to test these to ensure they are working for you. When you implement them, please comment below and tell me how they work for you.
Note some of the screenshots below are from my blog analytics software Informly. Some of this data is available in Google Analytics, some is not. Let's go.
1. Get more traffic from your high converting traffic sources
Stop measuring vanity metrics like traffic volume and start looking specifically at the sources that refer you the highest converting web traffic. This can have a huge impact on your conversions.
Side note: to measure your conversions in Google Analytics, you need to set up Goals.
You can set up individual Goals to track various actions, like transactions with a minimum purchase amount, or the amount of time spent on a screen, or email list signups.
Here are the instructions on how to set up Goals in Google Analytics.
In my case for the last month I had 300 traffic sources, 69 of which referred more than 10 visitors.
The highest converting source converted at 38%; the lowest was of course 0%. In fact almost half of them converted at 0%.
I would take 1 visitor from a site converting at 38% before I'd take 1,000 from a site converting at 0%.
You can read more about finding your best converting traffic sources (or your competitors', if you are just starting out) from Ana's “Mommy, Where Does My Traffic Come From?” free traffic report you can get as a subscriber to her free Bite-Size Traffic Hacks email series.
2. Use landing pages for guest posts
If you are doing guest blogging, rather than sending that traffic back to your site, send them to a landing page instead.
I tested this recently with a guest post that generated 100 visits. I set up a landing page based off this free template and also split tested this with my own design.
As you can see, traffic to the Informly homepage converted at 0%, traffic to my blog (agency talk) and sales page (agencies) converted at just under 10%.
Traffic to the landing pages converted at 30-40%, with the free landing page converting at 46%. I've had this as high as 68% from other sources.
Suffice to say, use landing pages.
3. Embrace the 70 / 30 rule
When you are starting out blogging, your goal is to build a readership that shares your content.
Sharing means exposing your content to new audiences.
If you are starting from scratch like I did 10 months ago, the easiest way to do this is send most of your best content to other blogs. If you don't do this, you will be wasting your time talking to yourself (as I did for many years on my last blog).
My exact strategy when launching Informly was:
Create a few great posts on my own site.
Send 70% of my posts (including my best ones) to other high traffic blogs in my niche (I had guest posts on softwarebyrob.com, problogger.net, thinktraffic.net, firepolemarketing.com, speckyboy.com etc).
Keep 30% of my posts for my own site.
Once I started to build a decent following on my own site (I'm now getting 15,000 monthly visits, 6,000 people on my list, up to 200 tweets for some of my best posts), I switched this back to 30 / 70.
Now when I create epic posts on my own site, they do get shared to new audiences and I get to keep all the traffic for myself. However, without a list and an audience, this isn't possible.
It's the sharing that is key. Even if you do have a lot of eyeballs on your content, if it's the same eyeballs, then it's not going to convert.
An easy way to keep an eye on this is to look at the new vs repeat visits in the audience overview in Analytics. My new visits are 61%.
The higher this number, the more people will convert.
4. Know your most engaged people
If you want more conversions, you have to know who is most engaged and create content that they will love.
You can do this a number of ways:
Install analytics software like Informly (shameless plug) that gives you lists of all of the people converting on your site, who is visiting the site the most, and how to connect with them on social media etc.
Look at those who have converted through your email autoresponder (it will also give you limited information on their habits on your site).
Look at who has read your content and become a customer. Who they are, where they hang out online, what types of sites they like etc.
Pay attention to your email and blog comments and get to know who they are and what they are looking for
Conversions are about relevance, so if you can create content that is more relevant to your audience. They then will share it, they will convert, and they will attract other highly engaged people.
5. Have a content-specific opt-in bribe
Having a bribe or incentive (like an ebook or report) for people to opt in will generally increase your conversions.
However you can increase conversions even further by having a specific opt in bribe for specific posts.
For example look at what Hubspot does – there are some smart folks over there.
This is their option on a page that talks about the downsides of display advertising. It represents a good alternative to display advertising.
This is the opt in that displays on their post that gives 6 opinions from experts on marketing strategies.
See what they did there?
You can do this easily enough by having a default opt in and then for certain posts replace it with a specific opt in for that post.
I have tested this on my own blog and it increased conversions for that post by 40% over a typical post conversion (full disclosure: this wasn't the only thing that was different from a normal post).
6. Test conversion locations
You can boost conversions considerably by testing different conversion locations.
Here are some options and what is working for me. Test for yourself and do what works.
Sidebar opt-in. I don't currently use one because I tested taking it out and conversions were unchanged. No point having something there that doesn't do anything.
Scroll box opt-in. Once I started using this, my conversions went through the roof.
Homepage feature box. Very good for conversions. I'm not currently using one because my main goal is software signups, but I will introduce one on my blog homepage soon.
Hello bar. They convert well, but I find them intrusive, so I use it only for certain promotions.
Pop up. I find them intrusive, but they can work well. Pippity has some advanced settings that make them more bearable, but I still don't use one.
Post footer. A must for bloggers. Get people when they have shown they love your content (i.e. they've read it) and customise it for each post if you can.
There are others, test what works for you and stick to it.
Listen to this great list building webinar with Shane MeLaugh to learn more about testing your opt-in forms the easy way.
7. Structure your content like a copywriter
As a blogger / content marketer, your job isn't just to write.
Your job is to sell.
So learn from people who know how to sell – copywriters.
Here are some general copywriting strategies that will help to encourage your blog visitors to convert:
- Write better blog post titles. Make them clear, offer benefits, create intrigue, get noticed and include social proof if you can. Awesome example: How We Grew Crazy Egg to 100,000 Users With A $10,000 Marketing Budget.
Make your posts clearly address a problem – one that your readers have. In this post I'm addressing the problem of having visitors, but not enough conversions.
Present excellent content that solves the problem (more later).
Borrow credibility (name drop, use social proof, use real data, research etc, link out to other authority blogs). I've done all of that in this post if you noticed. Did I mention I was on Problogger? G'day, Darren, if you're reading this.
Clear call to take action below the post that also solves the problem, but in a more comprehensive way. For instance, read the post to learn the theory and download this template to implement it (I do that in this post too).
Include testimonials of case studies that relate to the call to action. For example, if my call to action was to get you back to my site, best case I'd include a testimonial about the results that one of my users is getting as the call to action.
Reverse all risk (address their objections and lower friction and risk). Putting a security lock on the opt-in, a message about not sending spam, etc. can increase opt ins. Address any objections to opting in.
That's just one structure that I've adapted from Dane Maxwell's copywriting checklist, just one example of how you can apply copywriting to blogging.
8. Wipe your sidebar clean and have 1 clear goal
So many blogs make this mistake. They just aren't clear enough about what they want.
If you aren't clear, then your readers won't be clear.
Why do landing pages convert so well? Because they remove choice and make it easy and clear to opt in.
The more stuff you have in your sidebar, the more choice people have and the less clarity they have around the goal of the page.
Here is a list of sidebar widgets I've removed from my blog:
Recent posts (not needed, people know they can get recent posts from your homepage)
Popular articles (bad idea, instead have a list of articles that you know to be highly converting or highly shared. Popular articles are usually based on view count or comment count, neither of which is going to boost your conversions)
Banner advertising (it will kill your conversions and you probably make very little from it anyway)
Latest tweets or social media activity (people can go to Twitter if they want your latest tweets)
Navigation (I put mine in a tiny list up the top to get them out of the way)
Opt in (no, I don't have a sidebar option, they don't convert well for me)
Start removing stuff from your sidebar and measure the results.
9. Split test post titles
Copywriters know that the headline is the most important part of the copy.
Same thing with blogging and there's a really easy way to improve your headlines – split test them in your email autoresponder.
Here's an example of the results I got when I last did it.
I sent half of my list an email with the subject ‘1 simple secret to skyrocket the quality of everything you do‘ and the other half the subject ‘How I hack excellence with 1 simple trick‘.
The title that mentioned the word ‘hack‘ got a 12% higher click through rate. So I updated the title of the post to the winning title before I shared it on social media.
The title that appeals to people is more likely to be shared – more shares equals more new eyeballs, which equals more conversions.
This post became one of my top posts this year so far.
10. Benchmark against the best and stop creating good content
The number 1 thing you can do to boost your conversions is create better content.
Most of the time when people are creating content, they create good content.
The problem with creating good content is people already have access to great content, so why would they settle for good?
For example, in the content marketing space, people can get amazing content from Hubspot, KissMetrics, Content Marketing Institute etc.
If I wrote a good post on content, why would someone bother to read it?
I benchmark my content against the best and I make sure it's every bit as good.
Doing my absolute best to create nice graphics that support my posts and a nicely designed site that is on par with something like Hubspot (I fail sometimes, but that is what I aim for)
I create detailed guides like KissMetrics that are 3-4,000 words long and full of specific actionable information. Again, as a solo founder, it's hard to create stuff as good as KissMetrics, but if I can't, there's no point, so I continue to strive for that.
I use SlideShare for summaries of larger posts and try to make them well designed, informative and actionable in their own right – like the Content Marketing Institute does.
The key here is to raise your expectations.
“Good” is not good enough, if your competitors are great.
You can't compete on quantity because you don't have the resources, but you can compete on quality, if you take your time and raise your standards.
And if your content is great, then it will get shared, which will boost conversions.
Test these out and report back
I hope this has been useful – if you have any comments at all, please leave them below.
I'm particularly interested in hearing from you if you have had big jumps in conversions and what has worked well for you.
I'm Dan Norris, the founder of blogging analytics software Informly. I've written a 30 page ebook on all of the strategies I use to create content that converts. This is what one of my readers recently said about me “Dan, your content is epic, you've taken over Neil Patel as the go to man for online marketing for me.”