Free Tools That Will Drive Traffic to Your Blog
Whether you’re a blogger or content writer, getting the snowball of organic traffic rolling can seem like an impossible task, especially if you don’t already have a massive following on social media. If you’re like me, you love writing but aren’t so great at search engine optimization. You need easy-to-use tools you can incorporate into your writing system that are effective and won’t suck up all of your valuable content creation time. If that's you, you've come to the right place. These tools will help you increase your organic traffic without draining all your time and energy.
Before we get started, here are some key definitions so you can get the most out of this article:
"Search Engine Optimization"
Or “SEO” is the process by which you increase your website’s ranking from search engines. It refers specifically to unpaid views.
Links from other websites or social media sites that lead back to your web pages.
Words or phrases that people type into search engines.
Traffic to your web pages from sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit etc.
How Important is Organic Traffic Anyway?
Organic traffic is the most effective long-term strategy for getting your website noticed and the best part is that it doesn’t cost a thing!
Check out these statistics from SEO Tribunal:
- Nearly 80% of users ignore paid ads in search results.
- Organic SEO is about 5.66 times better than paid search ads.
- Of the links clicked on after a search is made, 70% are actually organic.
As you can see, organic traffic is a powerful force in getting your content in front of viewers! The tools in this article will help you generate more organic traffic to your articles and improve your rank on Google.
But first, having an effective system for when you sit down to write will waste less of your time, and help you incorporate these tools effectively. If you don't already have a writing system, you can use mine as an example:
My Writing System:
1. I Create a List of Topics That I Want to Write About
This is an important step because sitting down at the computer without a clear idea of what you want to accomplish takes all the fun out of writing. I keep a running note on my phone and add ideas as they come to me. (Usually at 2 AM.)
2. I Choose a Topic From This List
This list may include things that I've googled without finding a satisfactory answer to, or whatever I'm interested in at the time. It also includes ideas based on my specific areas of expertise. I believe it's important to pick something you're currently passionate about so you are motivated to complete your article or blog post.
3. I Do Some Keyword Research
I make sure that my title and keywords are things people are actually searching for. I also make sure that my topic is not something so niche that I'm the only person who's curious about it. (One of the tools that you will read about below will help you do this quickly and effectively!)
4. I Do a Lot of Content Research
I believe that it's very important to do thorough research before attempting to write. Doing beforehand makes it much easier for me to write my piece, and I find it takes a lot less time.
5. I Write My Article
I look at the top two or three hits on Google and see what they have to offer. Whatever I write must be of a higher quality than their article or offer something that their article doesn't. I try to write between 800-1200 words per article. If what I write doesn't have enough substance to it, I might even combine two of my best ideas into one article.
6. I Start Getting My Article Some Traffic
Once I've published my article, it's time to start getting traffic to it. Once a week (usually Friday afternoons since this is a high traffic time) I post one of my favorite articles to Facebook. I also share my articles on Pinterest. (One of the tools that you'll find below will help you generate a significant amount of Pinterest traffic quickly and easily.)
Now that we've got some foundational knowledge of important SEO terms and established how you can have an effective writing system, here are my favorite free tools for driving traffic to my articles:
1. Uber Suggest
Uber Suggest is my favorite tool for keyword research because it is so easy to use and it helps me select topics and keywords that will get me organic traffic. When I first started writing regularly, I attempted to use Google Adsense but couldn't seem to get the hang of it and found that I was wasting a lot of time trying. Fortunately, Neil Patel's Uber Suggest is much simpler, though it still offers a wealth of information.
How It Works:
Let's say you want to write an article about latte art. Simply type your prospective keywords into the search bar. You'll see results like this come up:
On the left side of the screen, you'll see that 290 related keywords have come up. Above those keywords, you'll see the following data:
- Volume: The number of people searching for this keyword each month.
- Cost Per Click: The value of this keyword if you wanted to pay Google to show your work as an ad.
- Paid Difficulty: The estimated number of people paying for their articles to come up in search results. Higher numbers mean this keyword is more competitive.
- SEO Difficulty: How competitive this keyword is in organic searches.
The two pieces of data that I pay the most attention to on this side of the screen are Volume and SEO Difficulty. Volume gives you an idea of how much traffic you could potentially get from these keywords and SEO Difficulty shows you how much competition you'll have in fighting for those views. Ideally, you want to select keywords that have high search volume and lower rates of competition.
On the right side of your screen, you'll see five more pieces of data that will show you who the big fish are in this particular pond of subject matter:
- Google SERP: The top 100 webpages that show up when you search this keyword in Google in order.
- Estimated Monthly Visits: The number of views that web page gets per month.
- Links: The number of backlinks that web page has coming in from other webpages.
- Domain Score: The score given by Google based on how trustworthy and useful this site is.
- Social Share: The number of times this web page has been shared on sites like Facebook and Pinterest.
While again, that is a lot of information, the two things I focus on are Google SERP and Estimated Monthly Visits. Google SERP tells me who exactly I'm competing with so I can scope out their web pages, and the number of estimated monthly visits gives me an even clearer picture of exactly how much potential traffic I can get from this keyword.
How To Get the Most Out of Uber Suggest:
Before you begin writing your article or blog post, do some research on this site to ensure that you're spending your valuable time where it will be most effective. Play around with a few different keyword ideas to see which one will get you the most traffic. Uber Suggest also offers more tools besides just the keyword tool, so spend some time checking those out too.
When you're ready to begin writing your article or blog post, I suggest using Grammarly to check your spelling and grammar. Google (and most importantly, people) look for correct grammar and spelling when deciding who to give their time to. Poor grammar and spelling will drive away traffic and hurt your rank within Google.
This is where Grammarly can help you! I don't know about you, but when I start reading an article or blog post, and I immediately stumble upon spelling or grammar errors, I quickly click out of that article and move on to the next. Subconsciously I assume that if someone doesn't know the difference between "their," "there" and "they're" they probably aren't the authority I will trust on whatever I'm topic searching for.
While Microsoft Word, Google Docs and all the other big word processors do this, Grammarly does it better. If you download the application so Grammarly can also check your work on whatever platform you are using. The accuracy and versatility of Grammarly make it an excellent tool for those writing on platforms like WordPress, Wix, Text Broker or Hubpages.
If I click that green button on the bottom right corner, I'll immediately be taken to this page:
Here, I can quickly and easily identify any errors or misspellings that my word processor may have missed!
How To Get the Most Out of Grammarly:
Download the Grammarly app so you can double check your work on a variety of platforms (including emails!) and avoid publishing your work with easy-to-fix errors! Even the free version of Grammarly can help you become a better writer and be certain of your accuracy every time you go to use a hyphen or semicolon. Copy and paste all of your work from the word document directly to the Grammarly app so you can correct any errors you may have missed.
If you don't have time, equipment or inclination to take your own, Pixabay has over a million royalty-free photographs that you can use! Professional looking photos also help you market your article or blog post on social media sites. The same way you pick up or touch items in a store that are beautiful, or have an interesting looking texture, colorful, related images encourage people to click on your work instead of someone else's. Part of what makes an article or blog post fun to read (besides relevant and engaging content, of course!) is beautiful photographs.
Let's say, for example, you are writing about latte art. Type that into Pixabay's search bar and you'll immediately find hundreds of gorgeous, professional looking photos related to your topic:
How To Get the Most Out of Pixabay:
Pixabay offers free downloads without requiring you to attribute your photograph choices within your blog or article, so it's fairly straight forward! However, adding captions and alt text can be beneficial for SEO, so go ahead and caption your images if you can.
When you're ready to start sharing your article on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc., it's important to have a graphic with a title that will encourage people to click on your article. Canva can help you create a beautiful, social media friendly image that will encourage referral traffic! I like to create a pinnable image for the bottom of my post and a square image for the top with words across the center so it can be shared on Facebook or Twitter and doesn't show up with half my title missing. Having high-quality backlinks to your article on a variety of sites will help you get that snowball of traffic rolling.
Canva offers a wide variety of templates in the precise dimensions required for sites like Instagram and Pinterest that only require you to insert your own photo and text. This makes Canva an incredibly convenient tool for those who are not particularly graphic design savvy.
If you're more confident in your graphic design skills, you can even create your own designs from scratch:
How To Get the Most Out of Canva:
- Experiment with a few designs to see what you like. Sometimes my fourth or fifth design is the one I end up loving. I save all my previous designs and if I feel something I've written hasn't gotten very much traffic, I switch the images in my post and often find my traffic going up again.
- See what the major players are doing and learn from them. Look at social media images for topics similar to yours that are getting lots of traffic. Don't try and copy exactly what sites like Buzzfeed and Bustle are doing, but look at the colors they choose and what type of layouts get a lot of attention and then play with those variables.
5. Pin Groupie
Did you know Pinterest is one of the best sites for getting traffic to your articles?
Check out these statistics from Blue Corona:
- Millennial use of Pinterest has increased more than any other social network—even Snapchat.
- 87% of Pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest, and 93% of Pinners have used it to plan a future purchase.
- 5% of all referral traffic to websites comes from Pinterest.
- Every day, nearly 2 million people save product-rich Pins.
If you sell a product or get paid by people viewing your articles or blog posts, Pinterest is clearly the place to share your work! But what if you don't have a huge following on Pinterest that will see your pin? This is where Pin Groupie comes in. If you've written a stellar article and created a gorgeous, social media friendly set of images to go with it, the next step is finding relevant boards to share your pinnable images on.
Again, let's say your topic is latte art. Simply go to Pin Groupie's website and type that in:
You'll be directed to a list of group Pinterest boards that are accepting new pinners. Simply follow the instructions in the "How To Join" section and apply to be added as a pinner. Once you are added, you can start pinning your article and have instant access to all the traffic that Pinterest board already has. Sometimes a Pinterest board's subscriber's can be in the thousands! It doesn't get easier than that when it comes to getting your article or blog post in front of literally thousands of eyes!
How To Get the Most Out of Pin Groupie:
- Read the description. Then read it again! The last thing you want to do is start pinning your articles to unrelated Pinterest Boards. This will get you blocked very quickly because it looks spammy. Also, follow the instructions and only pin as often as they allow. Some group boards may even require you to pin one image from the group board to one of your Pinterest boards for every pin you upload. Whatever the instructions are, be sure to be respectful.
- Request to be added to a variety of group boards. You will find some group boards with thousands of subscribers and hundreds of pinners and some with hundreds of subscribers and just a few pinners. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. The former will get your pin buried faster and deeper into the group board, even though it exposes your pin to thousands of viewers. The latter will keep your work closer to the top of the board for a longer period of time but also has fewer viewers. Play around and see what works for you.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.