Hello TBP Family! It’s been a while since I chimed in on this platform, but I’m really excited to share some inside secrets of how I tripled my food blog’s traffic, in just 12 months. First of all, I can’t believe that FFF will be 5 years old this November. It still seems like just yesterday I went out on a whim and started a blog with the intention of sharing my college foodie journey.
I wanted to start off by sharing my stats for May of 2014 and May of 2015. Below you will see a screen capture of Google Analytics comparing the two. There is a red circle around 3 days because I had a little blip with a plugin that disabled my GA for that period of time. In just 1 year I went from around 180k page views to 573k page views (x 3.18).
It’s impossible for me to credit one single thing to this growth because there are a handful of strategies I’ve been implementing over the past year or so that have really made a difference in my readership. But here are a few game changers that helped me to triple my traffic in 12 months!
SEO definitely isn’t my expertise. That’s why I have my other half, who’s really helped me understand the benefit of optimizing my website for SEO. It takes just a few minutes to do for a new post and its DEFINITELY worth it. Davida has written an entire blog post here on TBP explaining SEO Optimization. Instead of redoing her entire post, I’m just going to highlight some of the things that have really made a difference for traffic growth.
- Yoast Plugin
- SEO-friendly titles
- Alt Tags
- Easy Recipe Plugin- SEO-friendly Recipe Plugin
A year ago I was doing none of the above. None of my blog posts contained proper keywords or titles, the images weren’t optimized, and I wasn’t using an SEO plugin. RED FLAG RED FLAG. Slowly but surely I started optimizing all new posts for SEO and going back and redoing old posts. The hard thing about SEO optimization is that you can’t really see a direct line back to your implementations as your site grows. There is nothing that says “this blog post was see by 50% more people because you used your Yoast plugin.” Traffic improvements happen gradually, but slow and steady wins the race.
Again, read THIS POST to learn more about the things I mentioned above!
Social Strategy = Increased Referrals
Social media can be really overwhelming (understatement). There are hundreds of platforms and sometimes it’s difficult to understand where to focus your energy when it comes to driving traffic back to your website. How often do I post? Where do I post? What do I post? These are all REALLY good questions and important ones for the success of every blog.
1 to 2 years ago, I didn’t really have a social media strategy and was trying to post on as many channels as possible: Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram, Ello. Ain’t no body got time for that. First of all, I wasn’t using any scheduling tools and like I said, had no strategy. Keyword = strategy. I decided I needed to take a step back and figure out which social media platforms were going to give me the biggest bang for my buck, which had the best scheduling tools, and which benefitted my brand even if it didn’t drive traffic back to my site. Insert:
- Snapchat (new in the past 2 months)
I decided that Google+, Ello, and Twitter (YES, TWITTER) weren’t really worth my time and effort. Google+ seems to be phasing out, Ello never really caught on, and Twitter just doesn’t drive traffic back to my site and isn’t visual enough for the content I’m producing.
Now that I chose 4 platforms to really focus on, I decided I needed a solid strategy with a backbone of consistency. Keyword – consistency. I could probably write an entire post for each of these 4 social channels and the strategy I’ve implemented, but instead I’ll give you a brief overview of how often I post on each channel.
Pinterest ~ 50 pins per day: I focus on new content, old relevant content, holidays (~3 weeks in advanced), and high-quality content from other sites. I’d say that around 30 pins are my own and 10 pins are from other blogs. Pinterest is a great way to generate traffic to relevant content from years ago. If you work this into your social strategy, it will also allow you to take a step back from creating so much new content because the power of Pinterest is crazy (at least for a food blog). ***New to TBP? Check out a post we wrote a few weeks ago called “Tips for Becoming a Pinterest Pro for Bloggers.”
Facebook ~ 5 posts per day: Usually 4 of the posts are my own and 1 is pulled in from somewhere else. I really try and focus on the season and what’s trending. I also post a happy mix of text, text + links, and text + links + images. Oh! And if I see one of my posts is getting a great reach, I throw $5 behind it and boost it with paid facebook ads. I’ve consistently been doing this about once a week since January.
Instagram ~ 4 posts per day: About 90% of my instagram posts are photos I’ve taken directly from my blog. I’ve found that DSLR images do much better on my feed than iPhone photos. I post around 3 recipes per day and I try and get 1 fitness video up per day that I take during my workout.
Snapchat ~ 5 posts per day: Snapchat is very behind the scenes of FFF. It’s WAYYY less formal and more about my life (so less food, more fitness, everyday stuff). I snap anywhere from 0 to 15 times per day. It just depends on what I’m doing.
Social media needs to be a priority in order to boost your page views. I make sure to use scheduling tools to make sure all new and old posts are scheduled out so that I don’t forget or freak out about them during the day! Big shoutout to Linley, the newest member of team Fit Foodie who has really helped me grow and consistently post to FFF every day as my community manager.
Remember, the secret to social media is strategy + consistency.
Mobile Friendly Theme
I’m sure you’ve heard that Google recently changed their algorithm to ding websites that aren’t mobile friendly. Looking back at my analytics from 2014 to 2015, you can see a MAJOR change in HOW readers are viewing my content.
In 2013 there was around a 1:1 ratio of mobile to desktop, where in 2015, there was a 2:1 ratio of mobile to desktop.
What does this tell you? Your site BETTER be mobile friendly aka your content should be easily read and SHARABLE on phones and tablets. You see what I did there? Mobile SHARING is extremely important. Why? The more your content is shared, the more likely your content is going to be seen.
In January of 2015, I implemented a new ad network – Adthrive, which also came with a new mobile theme that not only optimized my site for the best mobile experience there is, but also for displaying mobile ads.
Win, win if you ask me! What I like about my mobile theme, is that there is a continual scroll between posts. That means, the user does not have to click a hyperlink and reload the page in order to go to the next post. They, can just keep scrolling. More page views for me and easier to use for them! I’ll take it!
Content Strategy & Round-Ups
I thinks this topic is the most obvious, but I just wanted to reiterate that the better your content (the better your photos), the more page views you will get. I’ve been blogging for almost 5 years, so I’ve had a lot of time to practice! I can definitely tell that the better looking my recipe/workout images, the more they get shared and ultimately viewed.
Last year at this time is when I was just starting to get on some sort of content calendar. I decided I was going to post 3 recipes per week with a random workout/life post thrown in there if I had time. This did me so much good! #1 – it helped me set and reach my goals. #2 – it helped keep content consistent on my blog. #3 – it kept me sane. About 3 months ago I decided to pull back to 2ish recipes per week to see if anything in my numbers would change and the only thing that happened is that they went up! I truly believe that you do not need to post more than 2 to 3 recipes per month in order to have a really successful blog. Quality trumps quantity and if you make sure to have a solid social strategy, there is no need to over-saturate, especially if you have 5 years of blogging behind you.
At the beginning of 2015, I decided to start doing round-ups so that I could highlight some of FFF’s best recipes and some of my favorite blogger’s recipes. Round-ups have done AMAZING things for my traffic because I’m able to incorporate highly searchable terms like “peanut flour recipes” into the titles. If someone wanted to search for peanut flour recipes on Google and Pinterest, they would type it: peanut flour recipes. Hence the reason why the titles of my roundups are so literal. This is a great way to get search terms directly in the titles of your post.
I also designed myself a pretty template for my round-ups and stuck to them. That’s harder to do than it looks, but I’m really happy I stuck to it. You can definitely tell which collage images on Pinterest come from Fit Foodie Finds just by the fonts and layout that I use in my graphic.
Round-up posts are some of my top posts so far in 2015 that drive traffic to FFF. Most of the traffic comes from Pinterest because they’re a great size for viewing and repinning. Another reason why they get a boost of views is because the bloggers that I promote in my round-up posts share the post with their communities. It’s a no brainer!
In 2014 my top 3 posts were:
My top 3 posts so far in 2015 are:
Crazy to see that round-up posts have taken over in such a short amount of time! They’ve definitely been a game changer for my traffic.
As always, if you have any questions at all, please use the comment section below so that other’s can see question/answers and chime in too!