kunoichi

Kunoichi’s guide to increasing your blog traffic

In Blogging, Information on May 8, 2006 at 8:06 pm

Most bloggers want their blogs to attract as many visitors as possible. As a relatively new blogger (five months now) I realise the need to promote my blog(s) effectively in order to increase traffic to my site. So after some hard research, I have compiled this guide to help other bloggers achieve better statistics


 

Tweak your site usability:

Readers are more likely to read and return to your blog if they find it appealing and easy to use. Make sure your blog is unique: people will not want to read your blog if they can get the same information elsewhere. Ensure your site is not tacky or garish: too many flashing images and bright colours can drive people mad!! After this, try to implement the following into your blog:

  • Categorise your posts. This makes it easier to find articles a reader may be interested in, and also gives a good idea of your blog’s focus and readership. It is difficult and frustrating to trawl through archives!
  • Provide a means of contact. Include an email link or contact form on your site within easy site (such as the sidebar). Also, enable comments, so that people can tell you what they think. It helps your readers to feel part of your community!
  • Link to your profile. Or provide an “About me” page. Readers are more trusting if they “know” a bit about who is writing a blog.
  • Links should say where they go. Simply providing a link that says “here” is misleading and will not often be clicked through.
  • Enable “email this post”. That way, if someone likes your post they can easily pass it on (and generate more traffic to your site!).
  • Provide updates by email. I use Feedblitz to set up subscriptions so that readers may receive site updates by email (see sidebar). This makes it easier for readers to keep up to date with your blog.

For a more detailed article about blog usability, see http://www.useit.com/alertbox/weblogs.html” target=”_blank”>Jakob Nielsen’s Weblog Usability Guide.

Blog Content:

As I mentioned before, one of the most important things about your blog should be it’s unique content. Try to post on a specific subject or theme which you haven’t found published elsewhere. Or if you want to publish an established subject, give your blog a personal twist!
Ensure that your titles are descriptive and refer to the content. For example, I could have used “Look at my latest research project” as an alternative title to this post, but it would not have attracted your attention as well, nor would you have had any idea of the content. Also, good titles help your ranking on search engines, therefore increasing traffic to your blog.
Try to find newsworthy stories which haven’t already been blogged about. That way, your readers may link to your blog as well as the news story.

Get listed on blog search engines

Many blog editors are already configured to ping blog search engines, such as http://www.weblogs.com/” target=”_blank”>weblogs and http://www.pingomatic.com/” target=”_blank”>pingomatic, whenever you publish. Check if this is the case, otherwise you should set this up so that your blog will feature in recently updated logs on these sites.
You should also claim your blog at http://www.technorati.com/” target=”_blank”>Technorati. This is probably the biggest blog search engine, and can become your greatest friend in the blogging world!
Register with Technorati and claim your blog (it’s quite easy!). Then you should select appropriate “tags” for your blog to describe your content, and your blog will appear in Technorati searches. Also, you can tag each of your posts so that the Technorati spiders will know you have new subjects to include. A great tool for this is Oddiophiles”>http://andrewbeacock.blogspot.com/2005/10/oddiophiles-technorati-tags.html”>Oddiophiles Rather Fab Technorati Tags Bookmarklet, which constructs the nescessary code for you on the fly to copy and paste as html. Right click on the link and choose “Add to favorites”, then all you need to do is click on the favorites tab, input your tags seperated by spaces and generate your code!
You should also submit your site to http://daypop.com/” target=”_blank”>Daypop, http://blogdex.net/” target=”_blank”>Blogdex and http://popdex.com/” target=”_blank”>Popdex for more traffic.
You could also try joining ummyeah.comhttp://ummyeah.com”>UmmYeah.com>, a “best sites” directory where you can submit content and vote on other sites. The sites with the most votes are featured on the main page.

Join Blog Rings:


Help others to find your blog and enjoy finding more interesting reads by joining a few blog rings. Here are a few for you to try:

More blog directories are listed at http://www.blogsubmission.com/” target=”_blank”>BlogSubmission!

Set up your blogroll:

Most blogging software has a feature to set up your own links directory or blogroll. If you don’t have one, you can set one up for free at http://blogrolling.com/” target=”_blank”>Blogrolling.com. In this, you should link to the blogs you like to read, or which are somehow similar to your own blog. Most bloggers are pleased to discover that a new site has linked to them, and may often visit your blog or link to you in return.
Many blogs also have a trackback feature, so if you read a post and would like to discuss it further in your own blog, you can e trackback to it. This lets your readers know that you have referenced another post, and also lets the author know you have linked to them. You can find a more detailed explaination at About.com.http://weblogs.about.com/od/weblogs101/f/usetrackback.htm”>About.com.>

Burn your feeds:

Most blogs automatically generate an RSS or XML feed which readers can subscribe to. The general consensus among established bloggers is that it is best to sign up for http://feedburner.com/” target=”_blank”>FeedBurner’s services which you can then implement on your site. That way, readers can access your blog whichever RSS reader they use, and also your feed will be featured in FeedBurner’s database, offering another means of subscription.
As mentioned earlier, you can also provide an email subscription service so that readers can get your feed by email. I use Feedblitz on this site, but Bloglet is also highly recommended.
Lorelle offers a great explaination of how feeds can contribute to your blog in http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2006/04/24/dont-you-know-what-a-feed-is-yet/” target=”_blank”>this article which is well worth a read!

Make your presence felt!

Here are some more ideas to help attract more visitors to your blog:

  • Be an active commenter! Comment on the blogs you read regularly, and also any interesting posts you might read. Well thought comments can brighten any blogger’s day, and if you can, leave a link to your own website.
  • Include a link to your blog in email signatures, bumper stickers, and anywhere else you can. Many readers are attracted by curiousity…
  • Submit articles to directories. If you write informative articles in your blog, consider submitting them to http://del.icio.us/” target=”_blank”>Del.icio.us and http://digg.com/” target=”_blank”>Digg, which are free, searchable article directories.
  • Get your own URL and direct this to your blog. You can buy your own domain name for only a few pounds these days, and it is well worth the investment as a domain name seems more professional (and therefore more readable!) than a sub-domain name.
  • Update regularly! Readers like to find new content, if not daily then at least several times per week. Another advantage of this is that more of your post pages will appear in search engines and blog directories like Technorati. Many blogs have an option to post-date publication, so you could write a few short posts and have them published automatically each day.

Here are some more articles to help you in your quest for increased blog traffic:

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