Tips for driving more traffic to your engineering blog

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Tips for driving more traffic to your engineering blog

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Over the last two decades, blogging has transformed from being a somewhat hobbyist pursuit to a fully-fledged sector of the internet that is affording top-name bloggers a real income and, in many cases, fame.  

If you can strike upon an idea for a blog and generate sufficiently compelling and unique content, there’s no reason why you, too, couldn’t attract a following and build repeat visitor numbers – particularly if you go for a niche engineering subject and post regularly. 

Whether you’re just starting with your first engineering blog or already have a site and have been blogging for years, below are some tips used by the pros to attract more visitors, increase your following and – perhaps – make some money from your blog. 

The importance of choosing a niche likely to attract interest

These days, if you look hard enough, you’ll find there’s a blog site for almost any conceivable subject. However, by focusing on a topic that you’re interested in and that you already know, you’ll be far more likely to be able to write with authority and enthusiasm – in turn increasing the likelihood of repeat visitors. So, for example, if you specialize in nuclear engineering, you could focus on emerging trends in the sector to help you stay one step ahead of rival sites and pull in more traffic. 

Your engineering blog – first steps when starting out

When it comes to publishing and running an engineering blog, the first thing you’ll want to do is try to identify subjects of interest – ideally those that haven’t already been covered by rival blog sites. Also, while there’s no need to narrow the overall focus of your site, it would be a good idea to organize the hierarchy of your menu structure so you can clearly identify and isolate different subjects. 

So, for example, if you were writing about the best online masters degree in lean manufacturing, you might be best to put this type of content under an umbrella bracket of ‘engineering qualifications’. Likewise, if you were giving tips on how to break into the industry and gain your first job, this could perhaps be contained in an ‘employment advice’ sector.

By breaking your content down into manageable chunks, you’ll make it easier for your visitors to quickly find the content they’re looking for – plus, it’ll work wonders for your overall Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  

Steps you should follow if you already have an engineering blog

Unless you’re a seasoned and experienced professional writer/web admin, the chances are high that you’ll have done as most newbie bloggers and taken a somewhat haphazard approach to your content. Very often, virgin bloggers start with just one or two articles and then, six months later, suddenly realize they have a wealth of content that has very little structure. 

If you’ve been writing articles for a while and already have a library of content, you should take some time out to think about how to organize your work into a logical, hierarchical format. As noted above, this would involve thinking about the content of the piece and then sorting all similar articles into titled folders. Even if you just do this with pen and paper in the early stages, the process will at least help you start building a more navigable website that’s much easier to understand and use for your visitors. 

The value of Google Analytics and other reporting platforms

You may think you know what your most compelling content is but, without a statistics reporting platform (like Google Analytics), you’ll remain largely in the dark as to your best-performing subjects and articles. 

Reporting platforms let you take an overhead view of your content to see what’s performing well on your site. Indeed, more detailed reporting systems like Google Analytics will even let you see which articles are working in web searches under specific keywords and phrases and are driving the greatest footfall to your pages. 

Prioritize your best, most popular content

One of the greatest advantages of reporting systems is they let you understand how your target audience is using your site and responding to your articles. You should use this invaluable information to prioritize your content so that the most compelling and engaging articles and features are placed prominently on your home page – plus also appear high on your navigation map.

Likewise, these popular articles should be grouped by topic and given a heading in your navigation (you can think of this almost like putting similar files into a folder). 

The Google effect

Google is the world’s most popular search engine and is estimated to account for around 92% of all search-engine-generated traffic – meaning, if your blog site isn’t ranked high on the platform, you will likely be losing out on considerable potential traffic. When marketers and web dev professionals speak about SEO, really, they mean Google. With the platform’s established dominance, there’s very little point in talking about any other search engines.

As search engines like Google have evolved and increased in their sophistication and complexity, so the major players have also developed toward using complex algorithms to help decipher and prioritize content – after all, Google’s popularity relies on its ability to help its users find what they’re looking for quickly. To aid in this process of finding and cataloging the best content, Google has started using incredibly complex Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems – tech so advanced that it’s able to ‘read’ and ‘understand’ content almost like a human. 

For this reason (among many others), you should make prioritizing your content into a structured hierarchy top of your to-do list. While Google’s main concern is to understand what your site is about, the engine will also rate your blog’s user-friendliness as well as its User Interface and, in particular, how easy it is for users to access information. 

To give a real example of this methodology at work, if you run a general engineering blog (i.e., one that attempts to cover all bases), you could look at splitting your content along these lines:

  • Civil engineering – with sub-content
  • Electrical/electronic engineering – with sub-content
  • Chemical engineering – with sub-content
  • Etc into other engineering sectors

In this way, you’ll give Google (and your users) an easy path to follow to quickly access the content they’re looking for. 

The importance of quality content

In January 1996, a certain Bill Gates penned an almost prescient essay entitled, ‘Content is King’ – yet, despite his writings now being over 25 years old, Gates’ underlying message remains truer today than ever. 

In his article, Gates argues that the future of the internet – and the most popular websites – would rely on on-site owners producing quality material. In a world where there are now more web pages than there are people, offering good content is the only way you’ll differentiate your site from the millions of others out there and attract/keep visitors. 

However, good quality content isn’t just limited to earning the loyalty of your visitors – it will also a go long way to propelling you up the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), in turn making you far more likely to be found and developing into entirely new markets. 

As mentioned above, Google now employs autonomous AI bots and algorithms, reading your content almost like a human. Indeed, these systems are so advanced that they’re even capable of picking up the tone, style, and grammatical accuracy in your texts – plus, it’s widely believed they can even cross-reference statistics and data for accuracy. Clearly, with such in-depth scrutiny, it’s in your best interests to craft the best, most polished, well-written, and accurate text you can. 

How inward links can help promote your site

When Sergey Brin and Larry Page founded Google on September 4th, 1998, one of their key aims was to build the most accurate and reliable search engine in the world – and one of the base criteria in evaluating the quality of a site was its number of inward links.

The original Page Rank (PR) algorithm worked on the presumption that the value and quality of a site could be graded by the number (and quality) of sites that were willing to link to it. While Google has refined and progressed this ranking system over the subsequent years, PR still forms a significant part of the engine’s rating system – so it’s well worth spending time trying to find ways to get links from other sites. 

To give a better real-world (if slightly simplistic) idea of how Page Rank works, you could maybe think of it like this:

Imagine meeting a friend in a bar that you’d known for years and inherently trust. Your friend then points to another person across the bar (someone you don’t know) and says, “He’s a really great, super-intelligent guy – you’ll get on great.”

Almost by default, you already have a favorable impression of someone you haven’t even met – based purely on the recommendation of your friend (who you do know and do trust). Page Rank works in a very similar way. 

Getting inward links to your site from other pages of quality can often seem a challenge, but there are a few tricks you could try:

  • Approach other sites and offer reciprocal links
  • Guest-write for other sites and blogs, including a link to your site
  • Pay for naked links on directories (not normally advisable as they hold zero context and are often low-ranked)
  • Sign up to free directories (again, not normally advisable as they too will probably have a low ranking)

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