[guest post by Tess Pajaron]
Unless you’re already raking in a constant stream of cash, you’re probably wondering what you can do to increase traffic on your blog and start putting it to work for you. There are many free things that you can do to help increase your viewership and bring a bit of polish to your blog, but it never hurts to check out the paid services either. We’ve put together a selection of free tools that you can use to help take your blog to the next level. Once you’ve taken advantage of these, you might consider investing in your blog with the paid services.
This is the tried and true method of helping you to analyze your website and to see what works- and what doesn’t. With the ability to track your traffic, historical information, and what is currently trending, this free tool is the place to start. Google Analytics is the number one free method of getting your content and web traffic analyzed, to help you figure out where you are thriving and where you are hurting in your market.
CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
Having a great headline is often the first step to getting people to your blog in the first place. The CoSchedule Headline Analyzer is a great tool to use to help you learn to write better headlines. It uses up-to-date market analysis to help you figure out what is currently trending, whether or not your headline has enough emotional appeal to grab reader’s attention, and will even show you what it will look like in search results.
One of the often overlooked issues in blogging is the quality of the writing. You may have fantastic content, but if your writing is awkward, choppy, or difficult to read, your audience may wind up closing the page before they get too far into it. The Hemingway App is a very useful web-based tool that allows you to paste text directly onto the page, where it then analyzes things like reading level, run-on sentences, and use of active/passive voice. You can then edit your work directly on the page until it meets your expectations for the quality and style of writing that you want to bring to your blog.
Used in conjunction with Google Analytics, this web-based program allows you to enter the URL of any website and get a quick report on your content, your SEO, page-loading speed, and other important factors in running a successful blog. Quick Sprout also allows you to view a side-by-side comparison of your top competitors, to show how you stack up, and what you need to do to improve your site to be one of the highest quality.
A floating share bar is a must for any blogger. DiggDigg is just one option here, but it is free, and it allows for the vertical scroll which means it’s on the page the entire time one is reading your blog. Social sharing is the primary way that readership is increased, and the easiest way for people to share your content is to have a share button right in front of them, where they can’t miss it. Making sure that a social media sharing feature is included on every blog post is one of the best ways to help get your work in front of more sets of eyes, who will hopefully continue sharing for you.
One of the best ways to increase your readership is to turn visitors into subscribers! Using a conversion tool like OptinMonster can increase subscribers. While nobody likes pop-ups, they do work, and having a subscribe option pop-up on the screen before they leave is a great way to get people to sign up to receive your future posts. It can also be used as a tool to let you know which of your posts are getting the most subscribers, so that you can promote them and cross-post them for even more exposure!
This is just a sampling of the tools available to help you get your blog off the ground and running smoothly, to help increase your readership and eventually, your revenue. Give a few – or all – of them a shot, and see for yourself how optimizing your blog with free analytics and tools will give you the competitive edge over others. Making the most of what you’ve already written can help, by repurposing some of your best posts, linking to them, and finding new ways to make them relevant. Many of the listed tools can help you do just that, and can help boost your blog’s performance beyond your expectations.
** About the Author: With a background in business administration and management, Tess Pajaron currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. She writes about careers and marketing.