In this post, we’ll cover common sources of traffic for food, craft, and lifestyle bloggers. We’ll discuss what each source is and how you can anticipate the traffic source affecting your traffic over time.
A good cook relies on a diverse number of ingredients, tools, and techniques in his or her pantry to prepare healthy, delicious meals. Likewise, crafters don’t rely solely on glitter (though glitter is certainly an undeniable source of joy for most artists), and fashionistas don’t rely exclusively on one article of clothing. Even glamourpusses who swear by a capsule wardrobe have more than a single article of clothing.
Yet, too often, bloggers are willing to hang all of their hopes on one traffic source. Maybe they spend all of their time beefing up keywords to enhance their SEO, or they neglect keywords in order to focus on equipping each post with all the necessary Rich Pin functionality to aid discoverability on Pinterest.
Relying solely on one source of traffic can be catastrophic if that source fails. Bloggers who rely exclusively on SEO often see drops in traffic when algorithms are changed. Those who rely exclusively on a particular social platform are likewise affected by changes beyond their control. That makes it all the more critical that you learn to navigate several traffic sources to build sustainability.
In this post, we’ll cover common sources of traffic for food, craft, and lifestyle bloggers. We’ll discuss what each source is and how you can anticipate the traffic source affecting your traffic over time. We’ll also take a look at how these traffic sources have performed over time for our sister site, Pinch of Yum. Let’s jump in!
- Organic Search Traffic
- Pinterest Traffic
- Social Media Traffic
- Email List Traffic
- Content-Sharing Website Traffic
Organic Search Traffic
Organic search traffic and good SEO (search engine optimization) is elemental to most any blog’s success, and it’s not nearly as complicated as it’s made out to be. In fact, you can go back to your middle school lessons on writing theme papers as guidance. If your topic is vegan curry, your blog post should focus on vegan curry and vegan curry-related words and phrases.
SEO isn’t just about keywords and phrases though. It’s also about algorithms that gauge the general trustworthiness of one site versus another. One of the key characteristics of a trustworthy site is diverse traffic sources. That’s right. A successful SEO strategy depends on diversifying your traffic sources because Google’s PageRank favors sites that bring traffic from various sources.
Reliable over the Long-Term
While SEO is clearly critical to the success of a website, the benefits won’t be immediately measurable. It takes time for a blog to gain credibility with people and with search bots. An effective SEO strategy can be a solid and very reliable source of traffic over the long-term, but it’s going to take consistent effort over time to see the rewards of your labor.
On Pinch of Yum, traffic from organic search was only ~7% of traffic in 2011. In 2019, though, organic search traffic makes up nearly half (47%) of all traffic on Pinch of Yum.
Don’t forget that Google isn’t the only search engine people use. While you’re diversifying, diversify your knowledge of various search engines, their users, and their algorithms.
Speaking of other search engines, Pinterest is one of the most widely used search platforms on the internet. Connecting with Pinners will require most of the same tactics as connecting with searchers on Google or Bing. Your Pin descriptions should be as finely tuned to your keyword strategy as your blog content to enhance discoverability. Similar to how alt text for images is important for SEO and accessibility, the Pinterest description helps grow your traffic on this very visual search engine. And with Tasty Pins, you can easily add a Pinterest description to any existing and new images in your post!
Reliable over the Long-Term
Like SEO, growing your Pinterest traffic requires consistent efforts and long-term planning. However, if you put in the time and effort now, you could see returns within six months. Unlike Facebook posts and Tweets, Pins have a long shelf life. According to Hootsuite statistics, it takes a pin 3.5 months to get 50 percent of its engagement, which means that any given Pin can live for seven months as compared to a Tweet’s seven minutes of fame.
On Pinch of Yum, Pinterest traffic has also grown steadily over time, from 11% in 2011 to ~20% here in 2019.
Interested in learning more about Pinterest marketing? Read our Pinterest marketing guide here.
Social Media Traffic
The traffic boost you experience from social media promises to be short-lived, according to most statistics. The lifespan of a Facebook post is a mere five hours. Instagram posts reach their full impact within twelve hours, and a Tweet lives a paltry 28 minutes before fading into obscurity.
While social media posts may not have the longevity of a Pinterest post, they’re still a valuable source of traffic. When you share a post that captures the imagination of users on a social platform, the boost in traffic can be astronomical. With a good marketing funnel, many of those visitors could become subscribers. Even if they don’t, that boost tells social media algorithms that you’re serving up content that people are hungry for.
An added bonus of social media platforms is that they provide immediate data on what content is resonating with your audience. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are a useful source of information when you’re deciding what direction to take future posts.
Potentially astronomical short-term returns
In the first year of Pinch of Yum’s existence, some of the biggest traffic spikes came from posts gaining traction on social media. These spikes are exciting, but they don’t last long.
If you develop your social media savvy and create engaging content to share from your blog, social media can be a powerful driver of traffic. You’ll see immediate and gratifying returns on your efforts. However, as algorithms change, the effectiveness of your social media shares may fluctuate. It may also be necessary to spend money to get your social media posts in front of eyes as most of these platforms are favoring paid ads over organic now.
Social media can also be time-consuming, taking away time you spend enhancing your personal property at your website. We recommend picking one or two platforms that are popular among the people you’re trying to reach, and then invest intentional effort into those platforms. Carefully measure each post’s returns to figure out what will garner the most interest and drive the most traffic and then repeat.
Email List Traffic
Your email list is the only source of traffic that you own, and it’s important to grow your list. You can capture new emails by offering special treats on your website or social media sites. Popular lead magnets include content upgrades, bonus content, and exclusive notifications about special offerings.
Your email list consists of people who have chosen to be connected with you. They are already a traffic source, and you want to keep them that way. While it’s a good idea to have a regularly-scheduled email that people can look forward to, you don’t want to generate content just to fill a void. Use your emails to address problems that your subscribers have had, to answer their questions, or to share some of your favorite content from other publishers.
Reliable but Requires Growth
Your email list subscribers promise a reliable source of traffic. All you have to do is send out that regular reminder that you’re still cooking up great content, and those subscribers are going to show up for it. However, growing your email list will require effort and ingenuity as well. Your email list is an important source of blog visitors, but like all pathways to your blog, your email list requires regular maintenance and upkeep to keep the traffic flowing.
Content-Sharing Website Traffic
Content-sharing websites can provide a valuable source of new traffic. It’s a great way for new bloggers to be seen, and you may also get valuable input on how you can improve your food or product photography even if you don’t make it onto the feeds right away. Some examples are Foodgawker, TasteSpotting, and Finding Vegan for recipe bloggers; Craftgawker for craft bloggers; and Stylegawker and Lookbook for fashion bloggers.
Unreliable short-term returns
Food-sharing sites can have lots of followers, which makes them a good source of new traffic. However, your photos will be in competition with a lot of other bloggers, and the turnover can be pretty quick. In other words, it’s not a bad idea to include food-sharing websites in your toolbox, especially the zero effort sharing sites like Yummly, but they probably won’t become a primary traffic source.
However, the little traffic spikes can be really encouraging to bloggers with little traffic and can really help get fresh eyes on your content. So, these content-sharing sites can be really helpful for motivation early on.
On Pinch of Yum, food sharing sites made up nearly half the traffic (44%) in 2011. However, in 2019, food sharing sites contributed just 0.05%. Additionally, the sheer volume of traffic coming from these sites diminished drastically. The Pinch of Yum team still posts recipes there, but they just aren’t as popular as they used to be. Another good reason to work at diversifying traffic sources!
Diversification is Key
As you saw with the examples above, some traffic sources are good today, gone tomorrow, while others don’t give you much return on your investment until months or years down the road.
Diversifying where your traffic comes from can help you see immediate, short-term results, while also keeping the long road in mind.
How are you diversifying your blog’s traffic? What’s been your experience with the strategies included in this post? Tell us in the comments section.