Increasing Traffic to Your Blog – Part 2
In a previous post, I looked at how to increase traffic from an SEO point of view: Increasing traffic through search engines. However, this is only one aspect of creating a successful blog, if we are focused only on search engines we may struggle to develop the blog in other ways.
Growing your blog organically doesn’t mean using lots of horse manure (apologies for feeble play on words). Organic growth comes through attracting a regular and loyal readership. This is visitors who come to see your latest posts, because they expect good quality content. In many ways, this kind of traffic is preferable to a search engine visitor. Visitors from a search engine often leave quite soon, because it is not what they were looking for. Regular readers, however, are coming because (hopefully) they like your content.
Ways to Attract a loyal readership
1. Good content.
The most important thing is that the content has to be good enough. If your blog is informative or interesting people will keep coming back. If the content is poor or recycled, there is not much you will be able to do.
2. Focus on a certain Niche.
If you blog on everything under the sun, you will lose readers. People don’t want to have to wade through several articles on cycling gear ratios if you blog is about writing and seo. Regular readers will expect a certain type of post, if they start getting different topics they are likely to unsubscribe.
3. Interact with your Readers.
One of the main attractions of a blog is that it enables a two way communication. Successful blogs are ones that engage with their readership, rather than just blogs that talk to readers. This means, if people leave comments, take time to respond; this is especially important if it is their first comment. In this regard, I should do this more often. John, for example, is a top commenter on blogs. I admire his enthusiasm for leaving comments, and responding to others.
4. Encourage comments.
Some blog posts instinctively encourage comments. At the end of a blog post, invite readers to leave their suggestions. This makes readers feel part of the blog. When people take the time to make a comment, it shows that they have a real interest in the blog. Here, John, made a feature of comments. Things like this are a good way to encourage participation.
5. Invite Questions.
On my economics blog I invite readers to ask questions on Economics. I get ideas for articles and unique content. I also get the opportunity to interact with readers. If I have time it could be a very useful resource for visitors, this is the thing that will attract repeat visitors.
6. Develop a Brand.
Don’t underestimate the importance of developing a brand for your blog. A good title and tagline are important. The tagline should be a summary of what the blog does. It is important to develop a Unique Selling Point. (apologies for business speak – perhaps a better phrase would be develop a clear unique, image for your blog.)
7. Make your Blog Attractive.
In SEO speak we hear phrases like “content is king”, and search engines don’t look at design. This is true, but humans do look at design. After 5 seconds, we have often made a judgement on a webpage, mostly be visual design alone. Design doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be clear and be appropriate for the theme of the blog.
8. Don’t overclutter with Ads.
Related to the last point is the judicial use of Adsense and advertising. If there are too many ads on a site, people tend to be more critical (perhaps unconsciously) Especially in the beginning, it is important not to overdo ads. Once you are established it is easier to put ads on your site. Note also: adding more ads, may not actually increase revenue. Summary Readers will accept ads, but don’t get carried away.
9. Be regular in posting.
If you have a regular posting schedule, people will be more likely to come back. If you are going to be away for a few weeks, it is definitely a good idea to write a short note. – People will at least know to try later. e.g. Sumangali.
It is worth noting that one of the top reasons at Problogger for unsubscribing from RSS feeds was “too frequent posting”; so be careful about overposting. Especially if leads to a decline in quality.
Be regular in posting, but the optimum frequency will, to a large extent, depend on the particular blogs.
10. Share your Passion.
Blog on something that you enjoy; make sure you can offer something unique.
11. Develop relationships with like minded bloggers.
It is definitely worth developing relationships with bloggers who you admire and enjoy reading. Good relationships can help both your blogs grow.
12. Make RSS feeds easy to subscribe to.
RSS is the best way to maintain a regular readership, make sure the RSS button is visible. You may also like to maintain an email list as well.
If you have advice on growing your blog organically feel free to leave a link or comment.