Looking to drive more traffic to your blog and deepen engagement with a larger audience? Writing great content is only the first step when it comes to building a successful business blog.  Naturally, you want to attract more visitors to your blog so that they can enter your sales funnel and eventually become customers (at least a portion of them). Boosting blog traffic can be achieved with the six tips listed below.

Understand that none of these are easy, overnight solutions. It will take time and effort to gradually expand your reach. But by committing to the process,  you’ll eventually start to see the snowball effect and it will require less effort for you to attract new visitors and keep old ones engaged.

1. Automate and Personalize Your Social Shares of Posts

This is relatively low-hanging fruit. There are WordPress plugins and features in social media platforms (like Facebook business pages) that will automatically send the link to your newest blog post to your various social media profiles.

But go one step further. Because the automated share will likely just pick up the title of your article and the image, and only publish it once, you also need to handcraft several shares of that article and schedule them throughout the days following the publication of it. Scheduling one update a day will ensure that the maximum number of your social followers see your post.

Bonus Tip: Consider boosting your post through a social media ad, targeting your demographic. This may attract new visitors who wouldn’t otherwise know about your brand and blog.

2. Keep Your Site/Blog as Professional as Possible

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It may seem like a small thing, but even your domain name and email address can make a difference in how much traffic you attract to your site and blog. Having a free domain name like yoursite.wordpress.com makes you seem unprofessional and like you don’t care enough about your brand to invest in an affordable URL. The same goes for your email address. If you use a Gmail or Hotmail account, why would anyone put faith into your business? If you spend the $10 or $20 it costs to get a professional URL, it comes with a professional business email address, so make the most out of this small investment in the future of your business. (And remember, you’ll also want to use a professional email signature with your professional email address).

Bonus Tip: When choosing your domain name, keep it simple and memorable. You don’t want a domain name with hyphens that will be difficult for people to remember, or a tremendously long phrase like GattosCarWashandDetailingServicePhiladelphia.com. Keep it short and sweet.

3. Make SEO a Priority

The easiest way for people to find your blog is through search engines. But in order to be found there, you need to optimize the keywords you use in each post to rank. Focus on one keyword per article, and aim for a keyword density of .5 or so (that’s the number of instances of the keyword divided by the total word count). Yoast SEO is a great WordPress plugin that will keep track of your keyword density and make suggestions to improve your SEO.

Keep your blog centered around one main theme. For example, if you sell marketing services, your blog should deal with marketing-related topics. Wander too far outside of that bubble and search engines will scratch their heads, unable to figure out how to rank you, and you’ll end up lower in search results.

Bonus Tip: Keywords aren’t the only component to good SEO. How fast your pages load is also important both to search engines and humans, so optimize your blog for better SEO by ensuring that pages aren’t weighed down by large graphics or features that take a while to load.

4. Try Guest Blogging

Another way to raise the visibility of your blog is by contributing well-written content to other sites. Content marketing guru Neil Patel endorses this strategy as one of the best ways to connect with your audience.

When you contribute content to other sites that cater to your audience, you first create brand awareness. Then you build trust as you establish your thought leadership on the topics you write about. Then finally you create a path for people who enjoy your content to find their way back to your site or blog.

Bonus Tip: Choose three high-traffic sites and contribute one time a month for six months. Then look at your analytics to see how much traffic these channels sent your blog. If it’s significant, keep it up! If not, find other blogs.

5. Pay Attention to the Craft of Writing

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If you’re not experienced in writing — or, specifically, writing blog posts — you may initially struggle to find topics and styles that resonate with your audience, so be willing to test out a few things.

Ideally, your headlines should be descriptive of what people can find when they read the article. The post should be broken up with subheaders (use H2 for better SEO) to keep people from being overwhelmed with a block of text. Include images to provide visual appeal.

Shorter paragraphs (3-4 sentences) work best to keep people’s attention. As far as the length of the content, there are a lot of opinions out there (everything from short 400-word posts up to crazy long ones of 3,000 words). Test out different lengths as well as different styles (infographics, videos) and then watch analytics to see which attract more readers and social shares.

Bonus Tip: Realize that it doesn’t have to be you that writes all (or any) of the content for your blog, particularly if you struggle with it or don’t feel qualified to. If you have marketing staff, you can assign the blog content to them, or even hire an outside content marketing firm to do the job.

A business blog is an excellent marketing tool and part of a well-rounded marketing strategy. Make sure you have a goal for your blog: are you hoping to attract 10,000 visitors a month? To what end? Do you want them to sign up for your email funnel or buy directly? Knowing what you want to accomplish can guide you to the content you need to create to get results.

6. Direct Traffic through Email Strategy

If you aren’t already distributing a regularly scheduled newsletter that drives traffic to your blog content, then now is the time to start. After all, email is still one of the strongest marketing channels within the digital world. It is a direct, one-on-one line of contact with your clients, customers and prospective leads, and research shows they are paying attention to it. The average office professional spends 2-4 hours a day on email related activities. Sending a newsletter with relevant blog content is a great way to engage your audience and provide them greater value and service. You should also promote your blog through your email signature. A dynamic email signature actually pulls the latest headline from your blog directly into your signature and makes it clickable. See how the signature below invites email recipients to view the “latest content” from the user’s blog. You can create an email signature like this for free using an email signature maker like WiseStamp and use it as a platform to promote your blog with every email you send.

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Written by Susan Guillory for FitSmallBusiness.com