I’ve been working on a series of articles for the New Blogger. I’ve discussed how to Avoid My Blog Mistakes, Critical Steps for Starting a New (WordPress) Blog, Essential Free Tools, Must Have WordPress Plugins, and Whether to Design or Theme Your New Blog. Now I bring you the 5 (Not So) Easy Steps to Increase Blog Traffic!
So now what? You’ve made sure to do everything by the book, you have a great looking blog, you are writing killer content that you just KNOW people are going to love, and you suddenly realize…
I have NO VISITORS
Well, I have the very solution to increase blog traffic so keep reading!
(And yes it is easier than it seems – don’t let the title fool you!)
Oh, before we begin? I would bookmark this and come back to it later. I apologize for the size but I wanted to provide to you a LOT of information.
The “Magic” Formula
I’ve come up with my own “magic” formula to increase blog traffic:
Great Content + Good Site Optimization + Networking + Time + Luck = Traffic.
I wont guarantee that you will ever see huge amounts of traffic to your site. Why not? Well because I’m going to be honest and not try and sell you the “magic pill” that is the end all be all of GET A TON OF TRAFFIC FOLLOWING THESE METHODS RIGHT NOW!! .. is just plain bullshit. (sorry there is no better word out there for it)
1. Create Killer Content For Both the Reader and Search Engines
Titles that Grab Peoples Attention!
You have seen the titles of my articles. I’m sure some seem pretty silly. Using words like “Must Have”, “Critical” or “Killer” in them. Why do I do this? It draws attention to your article! But its a fine line between creating something that will draw a potential visitors attention to completely missing the mark.
You also need to make sure your title is relevant to the subject matter you are writing about! AND you need to make sure you are using the keywords in your title!
Sounds complicated? At first sure. But as you write more – and cheat by looking at those with similiar content… you will get the hang of it. Plus I’ll give you some additional tools to help you with this down in the SEO part of the article – so Keep Reading!
These are the snippets that show up when you do a Google Search to help you decide if the information is worth reading. This is where your inner “Carnival Barker” has to shine! You have 156 characters to get it right – so I suggest writing it down then tweaking it a few times until it looks and sounds right. Make sure it is relevant to your topic – but make sure to try and entice the people to click on the article. Again.. this takes practice – and try not to go over board!
Of course it is all down to “Content is King”. I am so sick of hearing this! It might be because to me you the reader is King, and I am but your humble Court Jester trying to entertain you. And I do that with the Content of course… But I guess “Content is the Court Jester” just doesn’t sound right?
Anyways… Content is very important obviously otherwise you will get a visitor to come to your site, hate what you’ve written and then *poof* never see them again. So having well written, grammatically correct, entertaining content, in your own unique presentation is important!
And it is important to have your article tweaked for SEO as well! You can skip down to the SEO section of the article to find out what I’m talking about.
Remember though – write for your readers first, SEO second, and yourself last.
No you don’t need to be Picasso, or Rembrandt – but you do need to have images that are interesting. Nothing will make me *yawn* faster than seeing a stock photo I just saw on the other 500 scraped blogs out on the internet. Try and be creative with your imagery (without breaking copyright).
Ok… so your asking WHY! I just spent all this time writing my next Pulitzer Prize Article on <insert topic here>!
Well, imagery like the feather plume on a peacock is what draws attention to a potential visitor. If you have an interesting picture(s) you will grab their attention and they will at least briefly peruse your article.
Besides its what makes Pinterest so popular. OK, I’m getting ahead of myself.
People aren’t going to find you unless you find them first. Below are some of the methods I use as a new blogger to work on getting found and drive additional traffic to this site.
These are sites where you can get your blog listed in their directories. What makes them great is for networking with other bloggers and to get your blog exposed with your peers! Plus some offer RSS Syndication services – which means every time you post an article it will be automatically uploaded to the BN site but to your Twitter and Facebook as well!
- Blog Engage - Brian the owner of Blog Engage is probably one of the hardest working people on the net. He always appears like Bat Man whenever you have a question, or a re-tweet, or publish an article… He is just THERE. Blog Engage is one of the first services I signed up for and I would highly recommend signing up there too. Plus they are hosting giveaways and you could win a chance for it’s premium service or cash!
- Bloggers - This is probably the most active site I have joined. Plus it is really easy to use and it seems there is always someone adding you as a friend or voting for you (although this isn’t a guarantee mind you). I was recently chosen by the editors to be on their front page… which helped a ton with getting my blog exposed!
- Triberr - I’m still learning the ropes here but if you can get in – this is another very active site to network with other active bloggers.
It is a must with the recent Panda updates by Google to have a Social Network presence now. If you want to build your Page Rank with Google and improve your listings in it’s search engine – you will need to get started with this now. But the good news is that you don’t have to spend all day working on this.
The rules of thumb I follow are:
- Make sure you are using Social Networks that are relevant to your Blog.
- Make sure to follow those who are following you!
- Stay active and share not only your content – but those of others.
- Be Nice! This is one of the few times where the saying “Nice guys (or gals) finish last.” isn’t true!
I could write an entire article on just Social Networking alone but these are the ones I am active and use on a daily basis (these will be linked to my account so be sure to follow!):
- Google + – This is the big one now. It is important to have Google + on your side since Google has integrated everything it will add some “jucie” to your blog posts if implemented correctly.
- Twitter - Although this is starting to turn into “MySpace” it is a valuable tool to not only network with other bloggers but to get additional readers to your site.
- Facebook - Since almost the entire population of the world who has a computer or smartphone has a Facebook account? You’d be crazy not use Facebook. You will need to decide if you want to create a Group/Fan page or use your personal account though.
- Pinterest - Even I use Pinterest. Even though I am out of the demographics niche (being dominated by women) I am still fairly successful with drawing some traffic from there.
- Digg - Ok, Digg is the tough one. It has taken a lot of time to cultivate Followers on there. And no I haven’t reaped the benefit of having an account on there. But who knows – one day maybe an article I post gets “Digg’d” and my traffic will go through the roof. It could happen :-) Plus its a great resource for information and possible topics for articles for your own blog!
Email lists are still vital to a working blog. Don’t let people fool you into thinking otherwise! Providing a signup through either a free service such as FeedBurner or using a pay service such as aWeber is a must now days. I use MailChimp as a middle of the road solution as I can go piecemeal if I need to.
Why do you need an Email list? Because you will get repeat traffic back to your site once they sign up! Also you get to offer them goods and services as your blog grows and changes! And if you are trying to sell a product or service? Then it would be ludicrous if you don’t start utilizing this now!
I admit I don’t do a very good job currently. But I have ideas that I will put into action!
Another tool that you need to take advantage of is building up your Back Links! Back Links are references from other websites and blogs that refer back to your website. Google’s search LOVES a good Back Link profile. Avoid the temptation by trying to do it the quick way using Back Link networks or paying for them from some fly by night company. If you do you could have your site de-indexed by Google!
Believe it or not though Back Links are not that hard to get. If you signed up to the services above? You received a back link or more to your site already! Another reason for Back Links? You can get referral traffic from the sites as well!
Some other ways to get Back Links to your Site:
Forums – Although I personally don’t really think this is a great technique it is still viable. My thinking goes – if you are an active member of a forum? Then sure pop a link in the signature field letting people know where your site is. Otherwise there are better places to go.
Other Blogs – Especially if they are CommentLuv enabled blogs! These can be great resources for getting back links. My only thing is this though. DO NOT just leave a quick “Hello! Thanks for the Article!” and run off. To me this is just poor taste (and I will delete your comment on here if you do it!) You should leave a comment that pertains to the topic and make it relevant! Oh.. and if you receive an answer or reply from the author? Do your best to get back and thank them or continue the conversation!
Web Sites – Big or Small – If they offer a way to comment even if they are setup as a no follow** site it is still great to have your link residing on their site somewhere. You should try and get a comment wherever you can that is relevant and matches closely to your niche!
I’m sure there are other ways to get back links and I’ve only touched the basics here. If you can get back links from *.edu addresses, submit to other site list directories, and if your a local business then you can add your site to local site listings as well. All it takes is a little imagination. The important things I try and follow are to be honest, work on it a little every day, and it’ll be built up fairly quickly.
My only other piece of advise? Try and build it slowly through time. I’m sure Google will raise the red flag if you suddenly come up with 1000 low-quality back links to your site in a day. This is definitely a case where slow and steady wins the game.
** No Follow – This is an instruction where it tells a Search Engine bot to skip by the link instead of indexing it.
3. Good SEO – Search Engine Optimization
I need to preface this as I am NOT an expert on SEO. All I can do is share my experience on what I’ve done that works and how I did it. Notice I said “Good” Not “Great”, or “Expert”, or “Guaranteed”. But even Good SEO is better than none in my opinion. (Don’t worry though – I’ll be providing references to a BUNCH of resources in an upcoming article – so hang around!)
This is one of those terms where I was lost when I first read it. Meta tags? Tags for my blog post? What do I need to do for SEO? How do I get my site to #1 in Google Search? You can read volumes on SEO from around the web until your head spins and still be right back where you started from – lost. confused. clueless.
The good news? If you are running WordPress? It already has been Optimized for Search Engines! Even Better? If you are using a third party framework such as Thesis by diythemes or Genesis from Studio Press? They will help you out with your SEO even more!
If you are just learning how to use SEO techniques for your site? Start with these basics:
Get This WordPress Plugin!
I highly suggest getting the All-In-One SEO by YOAST for WordPress. It has been a life saver for me to getting placed high in Google’s search engine. And it saves me a ton of time!
These ambiguous words that help you to get to the top of the Search Engines. What should you use? How do you pick them? What is the magic behind them?
Remember I told you to sign up for Google Adwords earlier? It has a tool that allows you to search for keywords related to the subject matter your are writing about. The only issue is what to search for. My suggestion is to think like the person who is going to be searching for your article. Ask yourself the same questions people will be asking who will be reading your article.
To use this article for example. I will need to think like a person new to blogging trying to get visitors. I would ask the following questions:
- How do I get found on the web?
- How do I get traffic to my blog?
- How do I use SEO to get better page rank?
- How to get traffic?
And so on…
This will help me determine the title of the article (which will go through a ton of revisions) as well as tweak the content as needed. It will also help me determine what keywords I need to use in my tags. And if I’ve done everything right? This article will show up on Google’s search on the first page at the very least. (But there are more factors than just SEO to get you to the top!)
I would highly suggest going to Traffic Generation Cafe to learn more about SEO. Ana knows her stuff and has some great articles and insight into this!
You will see that you can put in Keywords broken down into tags in WordPress. This is where you put relevant keywords or short phrases (called longtail keywords) to help search engines and potentials find your site.
My personal rule of thumb is to use about 5-10 keywords or phrases that match the article. The more research you do on these keywords the better the search results I end up getting.
Don’t do keyword “tag stuffing” where you have a bunch of random words that do not match your article even if it can get you listed. It will upset people trying to find information not related to your post and it is just considered bad taste.
This is starting to become old school technology here. But I still use them. Especially in the top of the blog called the Header. These go between the <HEAD></HEAD> portion of your site. They offer references for search engines to quickly read so they know what your site is about. You can read more of their importance here.
4 & 5. Time & Hard Work
It is going to take TIME and HARD WORK to get your site found on the internet.
One thing to remember it is going to take time for your site to grow. As long as you keep doing the above steps on a consistent basis? You will start seeing results.
Whoever said this was easy? Either A) Hates You. or B) Was lying and doesn’t run a Blog of their own. You are going to have to work hard to get traffic to your site. For me it is like that guy spinning plates on a stick… you always gotta work on keeping them spinning. But the more you do it the easier it gets.
The good news is you will get to the point where you find a routine that works so it won’t own your life after a bit (if you stick with it and are consistent!). Even better news is when you start seeing a steady stream of traffic!
So get a ton of coffee, a comfortable chair, and be ready for many a late night in front of a computer (in the beginning) to work on getting your blog found on the internet and get some traffic!
And Good Luck!
Have anything I might have forgotten in this behmoth post? Leave a comment below and let me know!