Wednesday, November 21, 2007

20 Ways to Improve Traffic to your Blog: A Beginner's Guide

These days, the question isn't whether you blog, it's where, or even how many blogs you're running.

Blogs are personal journals posted on Internet, which by definition are frequently updated. They can be hosted by dedicated blog hosting services. Most allow readers to leave comments.

Everybody has his or her own reasons for blogging. The phenomenon started as some people running naive "online journals" and has become a media force.

Now blogs are everywhere and that begs a question: how to attract surfer traffic. It's hard to stand out in the flood. Even in niche areas, such as cats or gadgets, it's hard to produce content that will rise above the rest and attract special attention. There are literally millions of posts, video clips and pictures out there in cyberspace, and in a flood like that of information and just wittering on, how do you bring people to read your offering?

There are ways, dear reader, there are ways. Here are 20 tips, some of which may seem obvious, yet it never ceases to amaze how people - including the coolest of the online community - miss the obvious.

But the No. 1 point I reserve for this prelude: content. Think of this as an uber-tip: only blog about things you understand. It's true that porn and Web 2.0 are hot subjects, but if you don't know a thing about either area, your content won't be relevant. And now for the tips.

  1. Create accounts with digg, StumbleUpon and del.icio.us, and promote your best posts. Don't overdo it and push each pearl of wisdom you produce or you'll just arouse antagonism. True, I am not much of a fan of digg's - but it has its uses.

  2. Tell your friends. Don't just assume that they'll find their way to your blog. Ask them to disseminate the link among their friends.

  3. Be active in an online community. If you have something interesting to say about somebody else's blog, just do it, adding a link to your blog. But don't post comments just to post your link. That's obnoxious and doesn't do great things for your image.

  4. Exchange links with other bloggers. Link to them and have them link to you.

  5. Make sure your blog is correctly seen via the major browsers. If it looks weird or doesn't work in Firefox, for example, you lose potential traffic.

  6. Use spell-check, for heaven's sake. Never mind the aesthetics: if you spell a key word wrong, you can't be found on Google.

  7. Pick and tag appropriate keywords in your blog's main page and in your posts.

  8. If another blogger in your sphere of interest posts something interesting, link to it and add your comments. Track-backs can bring traffic. (A track-back is a way for Web writers to obtain notification when somebody links to one of their documents).

  9. Make it pretty. If your blog is pale and dull, if it doesn't have attractive media effects, people won't have a good time reading it. Also, make sure that the fonts you choose are readable, not too small, not too light, and not challenging. Yet don't overdo things. A blog sporting 200 flashing banners, dozens of pop-ups and giant bright pink text will just annoy readers and send them surfing elsewhere.

  10. Create profiles in online social networks. Link all your profiles to your blog. Facebook for instance has several applications that allow you to publish posts on profiles.

  11. Create a widget from your blog. Meaning, a graphical user interface component with which the user interacts. Try to disseminate it.

  12. Don't overdo it with ads. Google's Adsense is nice, in that it brings each surfer "contextual" ads, but if 80 percent of the text in your blog is promotional material, you are bringing no value to readers and they won't come.

  13. Install a traffic analyzer (like Statcounter) on your site to study the trends and patterns of your surfers. You learn a lot that way.

  14. If you are an expert on a particular subject, try your hand at addressing surfer questions on sites such as Yahoo Answers, and note your blog as a source of information.

  15. Make sure you have RSS and that the link to it stands out on your blog.

  16. Write concisely, but not too briefly. A reasonable post is generally no more than 300 to 400 words. Once you've reached 800, you've reached the limit of the average surfer's tolerance and any more than that reaches the point of nuisance.

  17. Be diligent about responding to comments that other readers post on your blog. Answer e-mails. Contact with readers is important. They will come back. Ignore them and they won't.

  18. Try to write every day, but don't carpet-bomb with posts.
  19. Write lists. It may be getting old, but the fact is, it works. People click on titles such as "20 tips on improving traffic to your blog".

  20. Last but not least, don't force it. If you have nothing meaningful to write, say or comment, don't write at all.



4 comments:

Doodles said...

OK I googled how to improve traffic to my blog and you came up in the first ten. BUT the make sures and the do this is great but wouldn't you wanna explain HOW TO such as the RSS statement. Folks just getting started are clueless. But thanks for getting it going.

George said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Miriam

http://www.craigslistguide.info

Jamie said...

Thanks for the tips. A few of them I already knew, a handful were really obvious ones I should be doing, and some I just never thought of using. So thanks for the info! I'm sure it will help my site out.

Samurai I.T Guy said...

Good post!