We work writing great content for our blogs and to be honest, it can suck if we don’t get the traffic we deserve (or that we need to earn a decent income!). It feels like a vicious cycle…you can’t get the traffic without doing the work, but it’s tough to justify all the work if you aren’t getting decent traffic. Here are 11 ways you can increase blog traffic and break that cycle.
1. Be Extraordinary
This tip is numero uno for good reason. If you do this, much of the rest will fall into place. Being unique will increase blog traffic long term even if you do little else.
Be extraordinary by:
- Teaching – Teach your readers what they need to know. Convey the information in a way your audience likes.
- Entertain – Inject a bit of humor (if you’re funny – if you’re not, skip it) and don’t be afraid to let a bit of your personality show in your writing. Get the reader’s attention by being genuine.
- Connect with Your Readers – Understand and speak to their problems, concerns and even their dreams and goals.
- Be a Little Controversial – Share your opinion…not everyone has to agree with you, and some people may be loyal readers even if they disagree. No one wants to read a blog that’s always middle of the road on everything.
While the “if you build it, they will come” attitude is not totally realistic, there is some truth to it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be proactive in your efforts to increase blog traffic.
2. RSS Feed
At this point it should be a given, but there are still plenty of blogs without an RSS feed or without it being prominently displayed. If you’re not familiar with the term, an RSS feed allows your readers to be notified automatically when you write a new post. Unless your audience is very tech-savvy, it’s probably best to set up a feed that allows your reader to sign up for updates into their feed reader or email if they prefer. An easy way to set this up is to use a free service like FeedBurner.com.
Make sure your blog is set up to ping the various weblogs. Many blog platforms allow you to set this up easily in your publishing settings. This lets a variety of information/search sites know that you’ve updated your blog without you having to manually notify them.
4. Leave Comments
Make useful comments on popular blogs related to your blog’s topic or that interest your target market. Usually, you can link back to your site when you make a comment on another blog. Don’t spam! Only use the space provided for your link…don’t write ads or fancy signatures AND make sure your comment is relevant and useful to other readers. Not following these rules of etiquette may get your comment deleted.
Many blogs allow you to expand the dialogue and make commentary about their posts on your own blog. When you link to a particular blog post, a link to your own blog post appears in the comments area on their blog. For trackbacks between WordPress blogs, all you need to do is link to a blog post and it’s automatically set up.
BE RESPECTFUL: If you’re going to trackback, say something meaningful. Just summarizing and linking to someone’s post does NOT add to the discussion. Don’t be a magpie, put your own spin on the story.
6. Use Your Email List
You already know that your mailing list is one of your most valuable assets in your business. Utilize this asset to the full – send them to your blog to read the posts you think they will enjoy.
7. Distribute Your Content
A great way to increase blog traffic is to get your content out there to a wider audience. You can distribute your articles, your videos, you can guest post on other blogs… just get some good stuff out there and lead people back to read your blog.
8. Get Affiliates Linking to Your Blog
If your affiliate program allows your affiliates to link to any page on your site, encourage them to link to and write about your various blog posts. They’re likely already talking about you on their blog. Now encourage them to do it more and reward them for it!
Affiliate referrals are ‘cookied’ – when someone follows a link and if that referral eventually buys, they get the commission. The conversions on blog links aren’t likely to be as high as linking directly to your sales page, but it gives your affiliates the opportunity to bring value to their own readers (by linking to your incredible content) and the potential to benefit by increasing their commissions.
9. Social Media
You can use various social media sites (such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace) to increase blog traffic. People you connect with socially are likely to want to read your blog. Make sure you follow proper etiquette and use good common sense. Just because someone is your “friend” on a social media site doesn’t mean you should spam them. Also, set limits with your self so you don’t overdo it and spend too much time with this. There is more profitable WORK to be done to boost your blog. Plus, if you are remarkable, those who use social networks will be doing much of the marketing for you – they’ll talking about you and refer their network to you.
To make things easier, I created a social plugin bundle, which will allow you to share your posts to all major social media pages easily. Check it here.
10. Social Bookmarking
Social bookmarking includes sites like Digg, del.icio.us and Stumble Upon, where you can share links to a variety of content. Some people self-bookmark, but realize this could put your account in jeopardy, so read all the rules first. Others choose to work with others in helping each other bookmark. Being remarkable also encourages people to spread the word on your behalf.
11. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO is mentioned last. While many marketers would put it first, your goal is repeat visitors who become loyal readers and customers. Putting SEO first may hamper this goal. Do SEO on your article or static html pages where first-time or drive-by visitors may visit.
Too much SEO on your blog can be a turnoff. An extraordinary is written with interesting subject lines (rather than boring keyword phrases) and isn’t always on topics that people use a search engine to find. Of course, you can keep SEO in mind as you blog and there are tools and plug-ins available for your blog that can assist you with this. Just remember to write for your reader first, and search engines second.