I have a cooking blog. What are some practical ways to get traffic to it?
Hi! First of all, I appreciate the concept of your blog. I look at cooking blogs a lot just in the process of looking up recipes for foods I want to try and make. They just show up at the top of the search, so you are definitely in a popular niche. Kind of competitive, but not bad if you work at it and optimize.
Secondly, focusing on organic traffic for your blog is going to help you a lot in the long run. No doubt, it takes some serious effort and time, but once it is done, the rest comes easy.
There are many ways in which you can generate organic traffic to your blog. I will keep my suggestions short and simple and try to keep the examples specific to cooking blogs. Let’s explore those.
Assuming you are aware of the basics of organic traffic, here are nine strategies:
1) Do proper research on keywords before using them in your content. There are many online tools for that. Targeting the right long-tail keywords always helps. Since cooking blogs often use recipes for most of their content, this can work great if you know how to differentiate, since recipes can have one tiny change or alteration, and they become an entirely new topic that entirely different people care about. For instance, you’re probably not going to rank for “French fries recipe” anytime soon, since it’s such a competitive topic. But maybe there’s room for you to rank in “no-fry French fries” or “potato alternatives for French fries” or topics like that.
2) Use high-quality original images on your blog, and use proper names to rename them, use alt text, have descriptions, etc. This helps with SEO. Just don’t make the images too big.
3) Make use of external and internal backlinks. You can link your blog to other blogs in the same niche. Also, you must link the posts on your blog internally with other posts so people end up reading more pages. Backlinking brings quality traffic and improves SEO. It takes time, but if you only do one thing to get traffic (and I wouldn’t, I recommend planting multiple seeds to grow your site’s popularity), make it this.
4) High-quality valuable content. Your site is about content, so content comes first. Make sure every post is great and gives your target audience what they want, plus a little extra. This is where competitive research helps. What are similar blogs to yours doing wrong, or not doing, according to comments and other online feedback? Also, post regularly. Nobody checks in with blogs that hardly ever put out new content, or do so chaotically.
5) Make use of social media websites to share the content. If you are already doing that, experiment and optimize it. Make sure you post regularly. You may also experiment with the timings of the post, such that you come to know at which time your posts get maximum attention. Ultimately, a social media profile is like an extension of your site itself, so you have to give it time to get popular, but it’s worth it.
6) You can build an email list of subscribers for your blog. By sending regular emails to those subscribers, you can get return traffic. I recommend not having just a basic ‘subscribe for updates’ format. Offer something of value as a gift for subscribing, like an e-cookbook you created. People don’t really just subscribe for nothing these days, unless they absolutely adore the blog at first sight, which is rare.
7) You can stay active in online discussion forums relating to your niche. While taking part in discussions, you can share the link of your blog and get traffic. Be cautious in doing that. If you do it too frequently or with no authentic reason to do so, you may be labeled as a spammer and get suspended, banned, etc.
8) Optimize your website for the usage on mobile devices. Most people use the internet more on their phones than on a sit-down desktop computer or laptop. Make sure your site is responsive, meaning that the design elements all look good on phones and tablets.
9) You can submit your sitemap using Google Webmaster Tools, as it enables search engines’ crawler software to quickly check all your content, to list it in the search engine results. I’m getting more familiar with SEO now, so I’ll have more answers related to stuff like that, as soon as I figure things out.
If you want, I can offer you specific suggestions as well after getting a look at your blog. But the above-stated strategies will help you get organic traffic. They’re universally valuable with blog building.
Want to make it really simple? In general, there are three practical ways of getting traffic on a blog that are entirely dependent on you, and not at least partially dependent on websites beyond our control, such as with SEO. They are:
#1 Networking: With this, you can quickly get traffic, and that won’t cost you much. By cost, I mean, time and money. It’ll take work to get people’s attention, make deals with them to get your stuff promoted, etc. In exchange, it’s fast if you commit to it and build up a group of people to network with, and it’s free.
#2 Link Building: With this, you can get quality traffic, and cost remains under control. But it’ll take time. Less if you work at it consistently, but still.
#3 Paid Advertising: With this, you can get quality traffic quickly. Not organic, but still super targeted. But, for that, you need to spend money. Most people need to be making money already with a website before they’re comfortable with regularly buying advertising, which is fine. You can save this option for later once you’re further along.
I have discussed all the above three ways in my article: Hunt Down The Three Little Pigs of Online Traffic.
Please feel free to reply to me if you have any questions.