When people ask for tips to increase traffic their book blog, I usually recommend a couple basic things that result in direct increases: comment around more on other blogs and utilize Pinterest. I would say these are the biggest ways we’ve increased traffic at Pages Unbound over the past couple years (and I can also see a decrease in traffic when I don’t put as much effort into these things). However, there are also less direct ways one can improve traffic, like working on SEO or posting more frequently. And one of these “minor” ways that a lot of bloggers overlook is by having custom, specific graphics for every blog post.
For a discussion post, a custom graphic means having something that specifically says the title/topic of the post. For a book review, a specific graphic could just be a picture of the book cover; it doesn’t have to be something you ~create~ in Canva or a similar program. The basic idea is that you want a graphic in the post that tells readers exactly what the post is about and that differentiates it from all the other posts on your blog.
Making an original graphic for every post is time-consuming, of course. I myself used to default to generic heading graphics that said things like “Discussion Post” or “Movie Review,” and I only really started doing specific graphics for every post when I made a concerted effort to add our posts to Pinterest, and I needed more original title graphics for that. However, even if you aren’t going to use Pinterest for your blog, unique graphics for every post will help your posts stand out where you DO share them, whether that’s on Facebook or Twitter or just the WordPress reader.
The WordPress reader post preview generally pulls in either one graphic/photo from your blog post, or four, depending on how many are in the post. (See examples below.)
Personally, I am MUCH more likely to be interested and click through to a post if 1) there is a graphic at all and 2) that graphic tells me specifically what the post is about. If I see an orange square that just says “book review,” that does not catch my eye. And it also makes it difficult for me to distinguish between posts from the same blog. I know I’ve seen the orange “book review” heading before, but have I seen it for THIS post? I don’t always remember, and I don’t always keep reading to find out.
Social media, of course, similarly provides scrollers with a preview of the post you are linking to, and I also am more likely to click on a link on Twitter or Facebook if there is some kind of graphic that tells me exactly what the post is about. If I see something that simply says “book review,” it’s hard to see what book the review is for, and I don’t have the cover image to give me a hint as to whether the book is MG, YA, adult, fantasy, nonfiction, etc. I don’t have a lot of free time to devote to reading things I might not be fully interested in, so I usually keep scrolling.
I’m not saying that switching up your graphics and putting a unique one on each post is going to miraculously increase your traffic by 50% or anything, but it’s my personal opinion that this IS a a thing that affects how many people click through your links, whether they see them on social media or on the WordPress reader. Having a unique graphic that says what the post is about can quickly catch readers’ attention and make them less likely to simply scroll on by.
What do you think? Do you find yourself passing on generic graphics more than specific ones?