Back in 2016 when we first started the British TV site, Facebook traffic was incredibly easy to come by. I did a few quick “like” campaigns to get followers, and even with just 10,000 followers, I could count on a single Facebook post for at least 500-1000 clicks over to the site.
Before too long, we, like everyone else, began to notice that even as our follower count grew and engagement stayed high, organic traffic from Facebook was decreasingly steadily and sharply. It made those like campaigns feel like a total bait and switch.
For quite a while after that, we focused on building a group instead, settling for sub-par results from the page. It was still an extremely part-time project anyway, so after the initial annoyance wore off, we stopped thinking about it.
Fast forward to 2019…
In 2019, we decided to get a little more serious about the site, including our efforts on Facebook. In roughly five months, we took our Facebook organic traffic from roughly 2300/month to almost 25,000/month.
We had a sharp decline in November when we were scrambling to get a print magazine out, but we pulled it back together and got back on the upward trend later.
As of today (March 25th), we're looking at roughly 30,000 Facebook organic visits for the month so far. Assuming we don't see any major drops, it's likely we'll finish the month somewhere between 35-40k organic Facebook visitors.
Unfortunately, recent world events have caused a temporary but significant drop in advertising RPM – but it's balanced out by an increase in affiliate link and product purchases.
For those 40k visitors, we'd expect to see somewhere in the neighborhood of $1200-1500 in combined ad and affiliate revenue.
That doesn't include the $700 or so in sales that have come from Facebook so far this month, or the additional email opt-ins that will continue to generate revenue in the future.
Not bad for “free” traffic!
How We Increased our Facebook Traffic by 10x (Without Ads)
First off, I want to be very clear about one thing. The 10x increase we saw in traffic was not the result of a single post going viral.
Instead, it was the steady implementation of a strategy that continues to work for us today.
It's true that some days do better than others, and we do see little spikes – but now, we're getting a fairly steady stream of traffic all month long.
1 | We got organized
Instead of just putting out a message about posts when they go live, then randomly re-posting them when it seemed like a good idea to do so, we created a spreadsheet to track every single slightly evergreen post, along with the dates they get posted to Facebook.
That way, we don't post one post 30 times and another one…once.
2 | We repeated ourselves
If you follow many large blogs, you'll notice comments complaining about repeat posts. As something of a power user myself, I hate when pages re-use old posts over and over…but guess what? It works.
So far, we've not had a single complaint, but that may be because we're not quite as aggressive about it as some sites.
3 | We made better featured images
In the past, I rarely made featured images for posts. Many of our posts are lists or trend pieces about a variety of British TV shows, so I would just grab an image from one of the more popular shows in the post and then use it for the featured image.
If I used a Peaky Blinders photo on a post about 100+ British TV shows on Netflix, nearly all of the comments would be about Peaky Blinders. People who didn't like Peaky Blinders would skip right past the post, causing engagement and click-through to suffer.
People look at pictures
So if you get lazy about your featured image, your stats are going to suffer. Now, we make a dedicated featured image for any post that isn't JUST about one show. They're nothing special or super hard to create, but they let people know what they're going to get if they click through.
SO much better than just posting an image from a single show! We use Canva to create these images.
4 | We adjusted our content strategy
Anybody who knows much about blogging will know that different content strategies work for different traffic sources and social media platforms. Google loves long, beefy posts full of juicy keywords. Social media sites love clickbait and pretty pictures but they don't care much about length.
Because I want to make the most money possible with the smallest number of posts (for any site, not just this one), I tend to gravitate towards topics that tick several boxes at once:
- Related to a keyword or set of keywords with great search volume
- Useful and click/share-worthy
- On well-loved topics
While the first two should be pretty clear, the last one may not be quite as clear. In any audience, you'll find there are certain topics, shows, brands, etc. that are near universally loved.
In British TV, certain actors and shows do exceptionally well whenever I post about them. Midsomer Murders, Downton Abbey, Doc Martin, Keeping Up Appearances, Olivia Colman, David Tennant – all of those topics are pretty much guaranteed huge clicks and shares from the people who follow us.
On the other hand, if I post about British soaps, trashy reality shows, or obscure vintage comedies, I know the post is going to flop. Our audience is primarily North American and older, and they (mostly) watch British TV for mysteries, period dramas, and a general escape from the trashy shows they try to avoid on American TV.
Traditionally, I would post about those hot topics whenever I could find a good keyword to target. It's a great strategy for maximizing traffic based on a given level of effort, but I wanted more meat to toss in the social media grinder.
By giving up on length and keywords for SOME posts, we were able to do a number of short posts that were great for clicks and improving engagement. Some do okay with search engines, but most don't – and that's okay.
As long as we don't spend too much time on them, or we make sure they're evergreen (posts we can share over and over for months or years to come), they're worth the effort.
In addition to Facebook, many of the posts do well with our email list and Pinterest followers.
5 | We posted more often
For far too long, I tried to be super considerate of our followers and their Facebook feeds. Unfortunately, that doesn't get you anywhere with Facebook.
While I don't ever anticipate posting 20+ times each day like some pages, we do try to make sure we get at least an average of 1-2 posts daily.
When Facebook traffic is lackluster, it's easy to get lazy about this – but don't. Just keep it coming. Over time, you'll get better at posting what your audience wants to see, and that consistency will pay off big.
Growing Your Facebook Traffic Isn't Rocket Science
Nothing we've posted here is super secret or ridiculously challenging. It's slow, steady effort with a bit of strategy – and you can repeat it for virtually any niche.