Ryan Hanley

author, speaker, marketing geek

The One Change I Made to Increase My Blog Traffic 37.5% in Two Weeks

business blogging

FYI… this post is geared towards helping small business and insurance peeps with their business blog.  So to all my insurance consumer readers no hard feelings if you’re not into this one…  Check out The Murray Group I’ve been publishing more of my strictly insurance content there.  Much love…

For all the hardcore blogging ninjas (barf) reading this, a 37.5% increase in blog traffic may not seem like a huge jump.  I know there are hundreds, if not thousands of blog posts you can Google that claim to be able to help you achieve 100%, 200%, even 500% increases in blog traffic…

But for me (and many of you I’m sure), a professional that mostly writes about my insurance business and the insurance industry (and small business sales and marketing a little) a 37.5% jump in traffic is exciting and fun and is the type of event I feel is worth sharing with you.

OK, with the preamble out of the way let’s get back to increasing your business blog traffic – The reason I feel my 37.5% increase in blog traffic is worth sharing is because I can point to one very specific change (which is applicable to any business industry not just insurance) in the way I produce new posts that is directly responsible for the traffic increase.

Below is a snapshot of my Google Analytics chart over the last two years (these are unique visitors not pageviews).  If it’s not blatantly obvious the two big red arrows are the increase that I will be referring to throughout this post.  Kinda cool right?  Makes me feel like all the time I spend writing isn’t for naught…

Traffic Means Nothing

I know what you’re saying right now, “Ryan, traffic means nothing.  Counting traffic numbers is for egomaniacs…”   Then I chuckle to myself a little in agreement because you are both right and you used the word “egomaniacs” which is kinda funny in a casual conversation…

Yes, counting traffic is definitely for the birds.  What truly matters is engagement, subscriptions, and conversions.  Because of this one change and some other things I have learned from these people, 11 Blog Feeds That Will Change the Way You Market Your Business, engagement, subscriptions, and conversions have been up as well.

But you have to build it before they will come…  Today we are talking about building.  We have to get more eyes to your blog first because no matter how great your value proposition is it takes a lot of eyes to get one click.  (If you want to learn more faster Hire Me to Speak to Your Group or Business).

The One Change I Made

Here is where we get to the Meat and Potatoes of this discussion.  The one change I made is simply this:

I stopped producing content and started creating content!

“Aaaaahhhhhhh! Ryan, what the hell does that mean?!”

That was very Ethereal Blog Speak and I know your pragmatic, reality-driven business mind is spinning.  But I promise my advice to follow is very actionable… So let’s get to it.

So we can have productive conversation let’s start by outlining what I mean by Producing Content and Creating Content:

  • Producing Content – When I say producing content I mean Writing to Write, I mean posting blog articles because you’re supposed to, I mean looking at Insurance Information Institute, ripping some coverage language and adding something about your agency and posting to your blog.  Content that is produced is the crap content we all start out writing because we have no clue what we’re doing…  It’s content for content’s sake.

When I wrote the Future of Social Media piece I did so because I see the potential for what I feel to be a horrible ideology rapidly spread throughout the independent insurance agency system.  I wanted to stem the epidemic in the only way I can, create a discussion.

You’re an insurance agent, why would you write about such thing?

First, if wrote about the difference between Replacement Cost and Actual Cash Value every week I’d want to kill myself.

Second, and more importantly the way independent agency competitors present themselves directly effects the perception of profession and subsequently my ability to deliver value to potential clients.  That is a big deal to me.  When a professional gives really crappy service the affected customer doesn’t just apply a negitive perception to that individual, they apply the perception to the entire profession as a whole.

Have a bad experience with a lawyer… “Lawyers are all arrogant crooks.”

An account over bills you… “Every accountant steals billable hours from you.”

Now you come in and try to help one of these scorn customers and the majority of your time is spent dispelling the customers fears about your profession instead of the important work you are trying to perform.

I’ve gotten off topic here, (if interested in learning more please read the Future of Social Media article above), so let’s put the train back on the tracks.

Creating Content

I created the Future of Social Media article with the goal of rallying independent insurance agents around the idea of Deliver Value First.  What I hoped to gain out of the article and the reason I created the content was to draw liked minded insurance and small business professionals into my community (Subscribe to my newsletter).

The Future of Social Media article is original content with original ideas expressed in my unique way.  You have to come to My Blog to find that content.   If you are interested in my thoughts on the Future of Social Media in the Insurance Industry you have to come right here… To RyanHanley.com.

That is sexy… That is creating content.  That is content with a purpose.

If someone wants to know “X”, whatever it is you write about, they have to come to your web presence.  The difference between Replacement Cost and Actual Cash Value has been written 500 times.  Your potential customer can find the answer to Replacement Cost versus Actual Cash Value anywhere.

If you waste all your blogging time writing posts that can be found in hundreds, if not thousands, of locations online then you are just producing content… and wasting your time.

5 Things You Need to Get Over About Creating Content

Get over the “I’m not a writer” thing.  I’m not a writer either I’m an insurance agent.  If you can form even moderately coherent sentences and you know how to type on a keyboard you can create blog posts.  The way this post is written is exactly how I talk.  Do a really strong, confident, sexy male voice-over while you’re reading this… That’s me.

Get over having to post something every day or every week or even every other week.  If you only post once a month, that is perfectly fine, as long as the content is unique, delivers value, and drives action from the readers.

Get over typos… They happen.  Your blog is not the Wall Street Journal.

Get over the “I want my blog to look professional” thing.  You want your blog to look professional and your customers want a valuable resource they can reference to help them become a more informed consumers… Who’s “Want” is more important?

Get over the ROI of social media.  If you need to justify everything you do and everything you write on your blog or in social media with return on investment you will never be successful.  Give up now and start a cold calling campaign.  Then you can tell your boss that for every 50 calls three people didn’t tell you to go jump off bridge… Then despite having wasted a ton of time you’ll have solid ROI numbers.  I’m not saying that their aren’t counting numbers associated with your blog, (I increased my traffic by 37.5% in two weeks), but in general it is extremely hard to attach a specific action with a specific result.  (If you don’t like that answer read Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard amazon link).

The Rub

I increased my blog’s traffic 37.5% in two weeks because I decided to start Creating Content with a purpose.  I made a list of topics that I felt were of interest to my readers and then I started creating original content in my own unique voice that addressed those topics of interest.

This is a simple, non-tech change you can make to blog today, to your very next blog post that I promise will drive more traffic to your site.  We’ll address what to do with that traffic in future blog posts… For now let’s just get more great content on your site and more eyeballs reading that great content.

Thank you and good luck,

I am Ryan Hanley and this is Content Warfare.

About Ryan Hanley

I help make sales easy through content marketing. My work as a marketing strategist, keynote speaker, and Amazon bestseller author will help your business establish authority, attract an audience and grow revenue. Hire me to speak at your next event or grab a copy of my new book, Content Warfare.

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  • Lee

    Hi Ryan thanks for the creative content. I think I am getting it . Instead of just producing your post you go into the whole theme a bit deeper and do more research so as to create a much better I formative in depth post.

    Great. Tip thanks lee

  • http://aeronmiller.com/ergohuman-me7erg-eurotech-high-back-mesh-executive-chair/ Sudarto

    I want to make content, not produce the content. I will remember what you wrote about posting to get more traffics. I see what you mean with your statement. I love reading your article over and over, then take action related this topic. Thank you very much.

  • http://peopleperhour.com Anne Georgiou

    The difference, for me, between producing and creating content is the amount of time and thought you put into the article, or simple the passion for what you write. And think of this, if you don’t even care about what you write, why should your reader? It’s very important to put your passion and consideration into your post. That’s what makes the difference between producing and creating.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      I could not have said it better… Passion is infectious and done properly can be transferred through a computer screen.


      Ryan H.

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  • Veeh Cirra

    This is so true. When I write from the heart and with a target person in mind. I find myself producing better results. You have a great blog Ryan glad I found it.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2011/11/29/how-small-business-can-leverage-social-media-to-fight-back-against-their-big-business-competitors/ Ryan Hanley


    Thank you so much for your kind words… As a blogger everything you do should be about Audience.  If you didn’t have an Audience your blog wouldn’t be a blog it would be a Diary…

    When you speak to people in your True Honest Voice I think they respond in a True Honest Way… I’m glad you found my blog too!

    Ryan H.

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  • Brent Carnduff

    Great article Ryan! I have to admit that I still fall in more of the “producing content” category rather than creating it, but hope to get there. Keep it up – very enjoyable read. I’ll be back for more.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2011/11/29/how-small-business-can-leverage-social-media-to-fight-back-against-their-big-business-competitors/ Ryan Hanley

      Thanks Brent… I think in certain industries its OK to “produce” some content as long as you also have “created” content as well.  Produced content can be very searchable if you do it right…  But there needs to be a mix.

      I look forward to connecting more!

  • Anonymous

    Great stuff ryan the really big thing is to create real value and actually care about what your writing.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2011/11/29/how-small-business-can-leverage-social-media-to-fight-back-against-their-big-business-competitors/ Ryan Hanley

      True that… Thanks for for feedback!!

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  • http://twitter.com/insurancesaver Joe Erle

    I agree that original content increases the chance people are going to find you and your blog valuable.  In addition, your real voice comes out more and you sound more sincere when you are talking about something you care about instead of just some coverage definitions.  

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2011/11/29/how-small-business-can-leverage-social-media-to-fight-back-against-their-big-business-competitors/ Ryan Hanley


      I completely agree.  Now I don’t want people to think that having Coverage-Type posts aren’t important… They are.  But it can’t be the only thing you produce.  That is where the power is… In the mix!


      • http://twitter.com/insurancesaver Joe Erle

        Good point Ryan.  You definitely mix it up and keep things interesting.  Thanks for the great content.  

  • http://www.webwisedom.com/ Mike Wise

    Ryan, excellent thoughts and strategies. Another rub is the added time it takes to create something original (of course dependent upon how creative one is and how quickly they can translate ideas into documentation, whether writing, podcasts or vidcasts.) I’d be interested in how you and/or your readers would characterize the time investment associated with ‘creating’ v. ‘producing’. I’ve got an interesting take on that if you’re interested.


    • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2011/11/29/how-small-business-can-leverage-social-media-to-fight-back-against-their-big-business-competitors/ Ryan Hanley


      I would love to here your take…

      Mine is pretty simple… The time gained by Producing content is Lose in lack of Results.  In comparison the extra time needed to create content is made up in the Engagement, Subscriptions and Conversions you receive.


      • http://www.webwisedom.com/ Mike Wise

        Yep, I was going to say the exact same thing. The time essentially ‘wasted’ by ‘producing’ content is replaced by more productive time ‘creating’ content. Yes, done well, it will likely take more time depending on the creator’s skill level. But it should pay off in the long run, as you suggest. Not to say that ‘content curation’ doesn’t have a place. But I think your point is to develop your own voice, be a recognized expert in your own right, and remember that sometimes, less is more.

        I’d be interested in the thoughts of other readers. Remember, lurking is lame – add value after taking the time to read something. (Btw, Commenting also a good way to help ‘find your voice’.)

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