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10 Ways to Grow Your Blog’s Traffic

Posted on the 05 October 2011 by Ncrimaldi @MsCareerGirl
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Today is the third post in a series of 5 posts about blogging: why to start, how to start, how to get readers, how to build community and how to monetize your blog.

A lot of you are terrified that no one will ever read your blog.  Believe me, someone will read it BUT only if they your blog exists! Today I’ll give you 10 ways to grow your blog’s traffic.  Following these tips from the beginning is the best way to ensure your blog’s readership will continue to grow.

1. Guest Post on other Blogs.

The BEST way to get people to your site is to get in front of new (and relevant) audiences.  You can easily do this by writing entertaining and informative guest posts for other bloggers.  A lot of people I’ve talked to with large blog followings say they got to where they are thanks to guest posting.  For example, check out my friend Matt Cheuvront’s blog tour.  Impressive, right!?

Make a focused effort of reaching out to a few bloggers per week when they were new on the scene.  If you’re emailing a more established/high traffic blog, I suggest having your post already written.  Make it as easy for the blogger as possible!  Put a link to your blog in your bio at the end of each guest post so people can visit your site.  A lot of bloggers are happy to publish guest writers because it diversifies their content and perspective.  In many cases, they’re just happy not to have to write a post themselves for a day!

2. Make sure you have a large, clearly-defined, easy-to-find RSS button.

That obnoxiously huge orange button pictured in this post is what I’m talking about.  With so many people reading blogs on the go via their smartphones, tablets and readers, you must make it as easy as possible for people to access your content.  Personally, I rarely go into a browswer and type in a blog’s URL. Rather, I go to my Google Reader and read all my favorite blogs’ newest posts from one screen. Lots of people do this- don’t miss out.  If I can’t subscribe to a blog’s content, I usually leave the site immediately.

Are any of you wondering what the heck RSS is?  It stands for “Really Simple Syndication.”  The easiest comparison is to think about your Facebook feed.  RSS constantly puts all the newest updates in one place for easy access.  Even if you don’t personally use RSS buttons, you’d be surprised at how many people do.  This is a must have!

How do I get an RSS button on my site? You’ll need to “burn a feed” first.  Do that by going to feedburner.com.  This (oddly silent) 1 minute video will show you just how to burn a feed.

Once you’ve followed all the instructions in this video and have copied the code for the big orange icon, you’ll need to add it to your site which is super easy! All you have to do is login to your WordPress “Dashboard” (the back end of your site) and then:

  • Go to the “Appearance” menu on the lower left side of the screen and click “Widgets”
  • Drag the box that says “text” into the right hand side of your screen
  • Click on the box that says text
  • Then paste that code in there and click save
  • Refresh your site and you should have an RSS button!

3. Include the link to your blog in your personal email signature.

I use WiseStamp.com for my email signature.  It let’s you add social media buttons that link to your accounts, links and looks very professional and customized.  Wise Stamp attaches to your browser so it is best if you are frequently on the same computer.  You can set it up so that your custom signature goes into every email automatically, otherwise you can just click the stamp icon in the upper right hand of your browser.

4. Comment on other Blogs.

I love nothing more than a blog post that attracts lots of comments, opinions and maybe even a healthy little debate.  The comments section of a post is almost as entertaining as the content itself.  Give your opinion, give genuine compliments and participate in the chatter.  People often read and click through on comments out of curiousity.  Make sure to include your web address when you put your information in to comment.  Remember, blog posts are permanent so your comments will last as people google the article over and over again, your link is there to stay.

5.  Join Twitter

Need I say more? If you want to become a blogger, you NEED to get on Twitter too.  Twitter is the best way to meet new bloggers, find guest posting opportunities, share your posts, ask technical questions, get free press and even make new friends.  The blogging community is SUPER nice and supportive.  When I started blogging I was always asking my Twitter community questions about how to do different things with WordPress and they always helped!  Anytime I needed a graphic designer, web designer, intern, etc. the Twitter community was always quick to respond and provide as well. Ok, but what do I say on Twitter? Great Tweeters do 3 things:
  1. They are 100% themselves and show their personality in their tweets
  2. They  share valuable information that positions them as an expert in their field/blog topic
  3. They engage in a lot of 2-way conversation
If you’re new to Twitter I suggest using search.twitter.com to put in topics, phrases and keywords that relate to your blog. It will pull up all the tweets that relate to your search (just like Google). Then follow relevant people (most will follow you back) and just jump in on the conversation by responding, posing questions, RT’ing valuable tweets etc.  Also use Twitter Lists to find relevant targeted people to follow.

6.  Share Your Posts with your Social Networks (if appropriate)

Some of you will choose not to publicize your blog to your social networks due to compliance issues at your day job.  If your articles are entertaining and informative though, people will want to read them.  You’d be surprised how much traffic you can get from sharing a post on Facebook and Twitter.  Beware of what types of articles you share with your LinkedIn network as that should be a professional-only environment!

7. Read Seth Godin’s article on “How to get Traffic to your Blog”

Seth is considered a marketing guru, a thought leader and is a success story beyond the norm when it comes to modern marketing.  This article gives 56 points that mostly pertain to the types of articles you could write on your blog to earn traffic. It’s in list format so don’t worry, it’s a quick but very valuable read.

8. Submit your blog to directories like Alltop.com and Technorati.com

It’s debatable how much traffic you’ll get from these types of sites, but it doesn’t hurt to be listed in a blog directory so that more people can find you.  Submitting your blog only takes seconds!

9. Make it easy for people to share your posts by adding the “Sexy Bookmarks” plugin to your site.

Sexy Bookmarks adds social media buttons to every post and makes it super easy for people to “like” it on facebook, tweet the article and bookmark your article on sites like Stumbleupon, Digg, Delicious & Reddit.  Anytime you’re sharing content with a network, you have the power of scalability and the tiny minute chance that your article could “go viral” as more people share it with one another.

How do I add plugins?  It’s easier than you’d think.  It requires you to download the plugin and activate it.  There are hundreds of great instructional YouTube videos out there.  Whatever you do, don’t fear this task so much that you don’t do it!  Social media buttons will be a huge factor in growing your blog’s traffic!

10. Write Strategically.

There are 2 big reasons people read blogs: to solve a problem or to be entertained.  Think about what people might be Googling in order to find your site then incorporate those phrases into your posts or write posts that revolve around answering those Google searches.

Here are some different types of articles you can create that will give people reasons to come to your site:

  • Break a news story or write about a hot topic in the news
  • Give your opinion- controversy often drives traffic big time
  • Interview a blogger, author or industry-rockstar
  • Write about the season, big events going on & holidays
  • Create a list of your favorite blogs (the other bloggers will appreciate the links and may even link back to you which is huge!)
  • Teach someone how to do something
  • “Top 10 Reasons Why…”
  • “5 ways to…”
  • Hold a contest
  • Review other sites
  • Review books
  • Post videos (of you and/or of others)
  • Put lots of pictures in your posts
Want to learn more about turning your idea into a profitable blog or small business?  Consider taking our WordPress Setup Camp or joining a Ladies Launch Pad Incubator. Both classes are taught via Skype and in-person (Chicago).

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