Being popular on the internet is similar to being popular on the schoolyard playground. Some kids play their cards well, right from the start, while others struggle a little to make friends. Others might be liked by the whole school right away, while another kid gets bullied all day. But what decides who gets to be popular and who is unpopular? We all want to play our cards right and gain as much popularity on the internet as possible, but we tend to mess up along the way. Beginners make mistakes, even professionals make them. It’s a human thing to do.
You probably care a lot about your website, update it with content and you don’t just treat it like a stack of code. It’s your baby. If you actually care about your audience and work to provide them with content that helps them, then you’re all set, right? Wrong! If you’re not getting enough traffic on your website, even after pouring plenty of energy and resources into it, then you’re probably doing something wrong.
What are you doing wrong? Well, probably plenty of things. But luckily, there are straightforward solutions for them, if you’re able to point them out as you look at your website’s overall setup. You can really mess up a lot that drives users away and even the less judgmental search engine robots too.
If you don’t know why your website acts like a public fart sometimes and why it doesn’t seem to attract users, then you’re in a good place for finding out.
Here, we outline the fundamentals you have to get right and have probably got wrong if you see that your traffic stream is fluctuating too much or is non-existent.
So, without further ado, let’s get straight down to it!
You Practice Bad SEO
Optimizing your website is a difficult game, since you don’t know the exact rules and the machine we know as a search engine has many moving and changing parts. Everyone in the world is trying to guess the trillion dollar question, how does Google rank websites?
Because search engine algorithms change so fast, it’s easy to fall into the trap of using a “best SEO practice” that isn’t working anymore. A lot of professional programmers think that they understand search engines well, but they are often mistaken. They do good on-page SEO, which helps search engine robots by a great deal, but there are plenty of other ranking factors, most of which you’ll see again as separate sections below.
Things such as your website’s loading speed, the user interface design, the time your users spend on your site, the quality of your content, the quality and resolution of your images, internal navigation, content organization, all factor into your overall ranking.
It takes a lot of work and some intelligent design to get all of these down and you’re probably doing plenty of them wrong if you’re not getting enough traffic.
Another major factor that might be problematic and has to be attended to is your backlink profile. If you’re getting low quality links from low quality websites, you can’t expect to get a higher ranking.
If you haven’t done any formal link building, than you should definitely look into the subject and implement the best practices.
One of these starts by blog commenting. Find top blogs in your niche and ask them if they would let you write a guest post. They will let you do so most of the time, which will earn you a quality back link or two.
As for the rest of the factors mentioned, they all have to be handled individually.
Your Posts Aren’t Keyword Focused
You’ll have a very hard time getting organic traffic to your posts, if they’re not built around actual search terms.
Keyword research comes before any post or any action you take towards pushing out content. Take the time to identify all the keywords that are relevant to your target audience. After that, use Google’s keyword tool to find the ones that have about a 1,000 monthly searches for them.
Always include your target keywords in your headlines and in the first 100 words of your post. They should also be included a few times within the body of the content (one or two), depending on how long the post is.
The Competition For Your Keywords is Too High
The race on the internet is getting faster and more demanding with each year that passes. More people are letting their ideas loose and want to carve a piece of the pie for themselves.
Aiming for keywords that have too high competition is a common mistake and it can really kick your traffic in the balls. The higher competition a particular keyword has, the less chance you have for driving organic traffic to your website. Which is why it’s important to do thorough keyword research for your website before working on any other task.
For example, if you have a website in the fitness niche and write a post about getting a six pack fast, it’s only logical to name it “How To Get a Six Pack Fast”. That is the most common search phrase people would use and it is also the one with the highest competition.
There are only 10 places in the first page of Google, where websites are ranked, based on various ranking factors. Google seeks to provide users with the best possible content, from the websites it finds most trustworthy. Since there are plenty of websites writing thousands of posts like this, with this title, your chances of getting there will drastically drop if you only optimize for this overused keyword.
But if this is what most people are searching for and it is so hard to optimize for these keywords, then what should you do?
You can still get massive amounts of traffic if you only refine that tittle a little bit. Not everyone would ask a question the same way and there are a lot of ways to work with this. For example, we can change the post title to something more specific, like “Get Six Pack Abs In a Month”.
This way, you become a big fish in a small pond instead of being a small fish in a big pond, so you’re much likely to get people visiting you that are actually looking for the content you’ve published.
Using long tail keywords is usually the better route to take when you’re creating a post or an entire website.
You’ve Used Black Hat SEO Practices
Who wouldn’t want to use a magic wand that will grant them a higher ranking, once it is waved? What is Black Hat SEO?
Just Plain Bad Content
Not many smart things to say here. It’s not a shocker that bad content performs badly. If you write low quality content with minimal or no informative value, than people won’t read it through. If people don’t find your content interesting, they won’t be sharing it or reading it for that matter.
But people aren’t the only ones that make distinction between high quality and low quality content. Search engines are capable of making such a distinction too.
Content that is low quality is very unlikely to perform well in search engines and to be shared on social media channels. So it’s very important that you kick it up a notch, if you think that your content has been lacking.
Writing about the best copywriting practices falls outside the scope of this article, but I’ll fit in a few:
- Write in shorter paragraphs and sentences (it’s easier and more fun to read)
- Include plenty of visual content, such as images, infographics and videos
- Use actual data
- Speak directly to your audience in a friendly manner
- Make sure your content is rich in valuable information
It’s also important that you establish a human connection with your audience, not just try to push your products.
Write well-researched, unbiased opinions that provide your readers with up to date, useful information. People and search engines want to see fresh, unique, high quality content, so provide it to them and enjoy the benefits!
Your Headlines Aren’t Attractive Enough
About 80% of people see your headline and about 20% of people will read the rest of your content. It is the first impression you give and it has to be powerful and click worthy. The main goal is to make it provocative and interesting enough, so that the user can’t help but click it.
One of the best ways to find the perfect headlines is very simple. If you have established what your post will be about, start playing with different headlines. Write down 3-5 headlines, with your keywords being in within the first 3 words and choose the best one among them.
You’re Not Using Social Media Channels
Social media platforms are one of the main tools for content discovery that people use. How many articles did you come across today? You might have even found this one through a social media post.
If you’re not leveraging the benefits of massive social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, then you’re missing out on a lot of traffic. Social media signals are important from a SEO perspective as well. Studies show that posts that have a few thousand shares are usually among the top 5 results in the search engine results.
A lot of businesses capitalize these channels and gain plenty of new visitors for their websites. It is free to use them and if you invest some money into ads, then they will perform even better.
On social media sites, you can find just about any demographic under the sun, so you can definitely find your target audience too. Once you have done your research, established who the perfect fan, customer or business partner is, you can build your strategy around it.
Regular posts and paid ads are your main tools here and if you use them wisely, you’ll get plenty of traffic as your ROI.
Your Website Provides a Frustrating User Experience
If your user experience isn’t fluid, fun and engaging, how could you expect anyone to want to spend time on your website? Visitors might come to your website to read some of your content, but if they try to get to the rest and have a hard time, they’ll end up getting frustrated and close the page. So a clear and intuitive navigation system, website structure and a search bar is a must.
Navigation should be seamless and fast and help users get their hands on what they want with the minimal number of steps, without any clutter. If it is responsive and intuitive enough, people will like it.
Your Webpages Load Too Slowly
Your website loading speed is arguably an important search engine ranking factor. But it has much bigger influence on the overall user experience of your website, which is a lot more important.
With more people having high speed internet connection all over the world, they expect a website to load under 3 seconds. If it doesn’t, they will click away and never come back. Nobody has the patience and the time to wait for your crappy webpage to load, so it’s time that you put it into high gear.
Aim for the one second mark and you’ll have no problem with loading speeds anymore.
If your website is indeed slow, it can be due to a number of problems. It is often because you use low quality hosting services, or because your website’s code isn’t optimized. It might also be because there are too large images on your site, or the rest of the content is too large.
The equation is simple. If your website loads faster, you will have a better ranking, which will lead to more traffic!
Your Website Isn’t Optimized For Mobile
With more people having smartphones every year, the amount of web traffic that comes from these devices is simply amazing. Almost half of all the traffic on the web is coming from mobile devices and if your site isn’t optimized for them, you won’t be getting any.
Using a good, responsive web design for your site that works on all screen sizes is one of the most important attributes of any successful website in 2017.
You’re Not Promoting Your Content Enough
It’s one thing that you write your posts and publish them, but people won’t see it, unless they visit your website. Also, how will they visit your website if they don’t see piece of your content first?
Nobody cares about your website and how much work you have put into writing the content on it. This is why you have to spend the same amount of time promoting a piece of content, as the amount it took to write it or make it. Another rule of the thumb is to spend about 80% of your investments on promotion and 20% on creation.
Publish your content on social media, keep bothering other influencers until they share your content for you. Do everything in your power to have it published and shown in the right places, so that you can attract the right people to your website.
You Haven’t Built an Email List
You can and always should send a shout out to everyone on your email list, once you have published a fresh piece of content. It is one of the most effective ways to get traffic and to make a sale, so start using it if you haven’t been doing so.
Email is the most important and best traffic source for your blog. Nothing else could be nearly as good, not even search engines like Google and Bing.
You’re Not Showing Anything New
There’s a reason why we all talk about the same topics in our posts, because it’s what people want to read about and what we’re going to get traffic for. Still, nobody wants to read or see something that they have come across thousands of times before, so what can you do?
First off, eliminate the habit of sitting down and throwing together a post in a few hours. How many posts you keep pushing out doesn’t matter if each and every one of them isn’t fantastic. It is always about quality over quantity, and providing your users with the best content you can possibly push out. But even if you produce something good, how is it better than what another, more trustworthy website has been producing for the past couple of years?
Approach the topic from a different angle, use your own perspective and personality or dig deeper into a particular subtopic that would interest people. There are still plenty of opportunities to show people something new!
There is a lot to get right when you’re trying to make something that people will like. It will definitely take a lot of attention to get as much traffic as you want your site to have and you won’t get everything right the first time. So it’s only normal that you’re struggling a bit. If you look at all of the potential problems we have discussed here, you’ll definitely come across a few that you can fix and end up getting those spikes you want to see in your traffic charts!
I hope that you have enjoyed reading through this article and that we’ve provided you with enough useful information!