You've probably heard the term "growth hacking", but may not know how it relates to blogging.

This basically means that every decision you're making with your company is for its growth, strategy or increase in customers.

So, what does this mean when it comes to blogging? A blog growth hacker focuses 100% on how his or her actions and strategies will drive blog growth. This growth includes traffic, links, social media shares and ultimately, sales or conversions.

This post will look at 12 tips to hack your own blog growth 10x this coming year. I will teach you all the tricks where I was able to take my payments blog from nothing to over 500,000 pages views a month in just 16 months. Assuming you consistently implement these strategies - and are completely committed to seeing your blog grow - I can pretty much guarantee you'll be amazed at the results.

1. Choose topics that have already proven popular

Finding new topics to write about isn't easy. Finding new topics that will actually resonate with your audience is even harder. However, I've come up with a strategy that will help you identify topics and titles that have the best chance of succeeding because they've already proven popular. Buzzsumo screenshot

BuzzSumo can help you identify topics that have proven popular on social media

Briefly, my 4-step process is:

For the complete process, I use, see my post A 4-Step Formula For Finding Killer Content Ideas.

2. Become a guest blogger extraordinaire

Guest blogging has been one of the biggest contributors to the growth of my business ventures over the years. It's allowed me to reach far outside my own circle of influence, gaining tons of website traffic, subscribers, and social media followers.

Start by identifying sites in your niche that accept guest posts, and begin building relationships with their owners. Become a known and trusted entity, then inquire about contributing guest posts to their site.

If a particular site proves to be effective in terms of driving traffic, ask about a long-term guest posting arrangement. Generally speaking, this is a far more effective strategy than one-off posts on a wide variety of blogs.

For more on this, check out my post How To Guest Blog Anywhere.

3. Create a killer lead magnet

Getting visitors to your site can be tricky. Once you get them there, you need to be doing everything you can to make sure you can connect with them in the future.

The best way to do this is by creating and promoting a free lead magnet. This is usually a digital product like an eBook, whitepaper or guide that your visitors can download in exchange for signing up for your email list.

Lead magnet screenshotYale Appliances uses free guides to feed their email list

Once they're on your list, you can continue to promote your blog posts and other content, driving traffic to your site indefinitely.

Need help creating your own lead magnet? Check out 9 Different Types Of Lead Magnets You Can Create Using Blogs You Already Have.

4. Take the 2017 approach to keyword research

Keywords don't function exactly like they used to. Targeting one or two keywords in your content is unlikely to drive traffic, especially if you're targeting shorter, 1-2 word phrases.

Don't focus on creating content simply to rank for a few choice keywords. Instead, use your research to find a variety of popular, related keywords that will help you comprehensively flesh out your topic.

In other words, use your keywords to come up with themes and sub-topics for your content.

For a step-by-step strategy for findings these keywords, check out my post The Startup's Guide To Doing Keyword Research Like The Pros.

5. Spend quality time with your analytics

I can't stress enough the importance of regularly consulting your blog analytics. This is the only way you'll know which hacking strategies are working and which are a waste of time. Google Analytics screenshot Three of the most important metrics to pay attention to when it comes to growth hacking are:

Site content:
Inbound links:

Not sure how to effectively monitor these metrics? Check out 7 Great Analytics Tools For Bloggers.

6. Use internal linking to increase page views

Linking to your own content is probably the most effective way to increase page views on your site. Aim to include 2-3 links to relevant blog posts or other content in each piece you write.

Not only is this great for increasing page views and time-on-site, it's excellent for user experience and for distributing link equity throughout your site (i.e., helping more of your content rank highly in the search engines).

For more tips on this, check out The Seven Commandments of Internal Linking That Will Improve Content Marketing SEO.

7. Write more comprehensive copy

The ideal length of your content will depend on the topic you're covering, the audience you're writing for, and where you're going to promote it.

That said, most research suggests that longer is better. There's one simple reason for this: longer content tends to do a better job of comprehensively covering a topic. SERP IQ ideal word count graph

According to serpIQ, high ranking content tends to be longer than lower-ranking content

In general, aim for content that's around 1,100 words+. For evergreen content that you're going to actively build links to, aim for 2,000 words+.

For more guidance on content length, check out How Long Should Each Blog Post Be? A Data-Driven Answer.

8. Set specific goals for your blog

Where do you want your blog to be in 3 months? How about in a year? What are your measures of success, and how will you know when you've reached them?

Identifying your goals is key to blog growth, but that's not enough. One of my favorite quotes is, "A goal without a plan is just a wish". Ask yourself, "Exactly which steps will I follow to reach my 3/6/12 month targets?".

Be specific and realistic to give yourself the greatest chance of success.

For more on this, see The Tim Ferriss Approach To Setting Goals: Rig The Game So You Win

9. Create viral content

Simple, right? If it were easy to create viral content, everyone would be able to do it. That said, there are some steps you can take to increase your chances significantly. Viral content These include

For a complete walkthrough of how I've made content go viral, check out my post 800K Page Views In 24 Hours: A Case Study On How To Make Viral Content.

10. Be committed to social media

Social media is now the biggest referral source for websites - even bigger than Google. This means that regularly promoting your content on social media is key to hacking your blog growth. This will mean:

For more tips on using social media to grow your blog, check out my post 8 Ways To Boost Your Blog Traffic Through Social Media.

11. Actively pursue inbound links

Links are the single most important factor when it comes to getting your blog to rank in Search. If you're committed to the growth of your blog, you need to be actively building high-quality links to your site. Moz ranking factors This will involve writing content that will serve as a linkable resource to journalists and other bloggers. It will mean reaching out to influential bloggers to ask for links. It will mean not just sitting around waiting for your content to naturally accumulate links.

For a complete overview of now to build links to your blog, check out my post The Ultimate Guide To Link Building With Content.

12. Hustle, hustle, hustle

Your success as a blog growth hacker all comes down to this: are you prepared to hustle your way to success? This is both a mindset and way of life.

It will mean continually asking yourself, "Does this contribute to the growth of my blog?". It will mean actively pursuing links and guest blogging opportunities, and continually promoting your content.

Most of all, it will mean setting goals (see #8) and doing whatever it takes to meet them.

For more on this, check out Want To Reach Your Goals? Adopt And Embrace The Hustle Mentality.

Religiously use the 12 tactics above, and I guarantee your blog growth will explode. Any other growth hacks you'd recommend? Share below!