My top traffic tips
One thing I get asked regularly by new bloggers is how I manage to get hits on my site, and comments on my posts.
Now I am by no means a massive blog star (like Ree Drummond or Mia Freeman or Heather Armstrong) but I am very lucky that I do usually get at least a couple of hundred hits on this little bush blog every day. These people come from all corners of the world, from places I would never have dreamed people would be interested in me or my world.
I should say up-front that during my five years as a blogger, I have stumbled along quite a bit, sometimes posting to underwhelming response. But I won’t pretend for a SECOND that I don’t LOVE seeing people reacting to something I have shared – that’s the joy of blogging, that two-way play between blogger and reader.
The following are very general tips, and are definitely coloured by my background and attitudes. Also know that I am not the least bit business-like about blogging and the bottom line is never my motivation.
So with my shortcomings acknowledged, here are my tips on building an audience for a personal blog:
- LOVE your blog – I see mine as my little virtual home , I love it and feel comfortable there and I hope others feel the same way when they arrive at my front page for the first time (or the 100th time). Aim for the sky – so much is free or very low-cost on the internet (fonts,designs etc) so tweak til you are content!
- WRITE when inspired – sometimes hard to do, because life has a way of taking over, but getting that basic bit onto the screen usually only takes ten minutes and the quality of a blog post always reflects your mood – if you are bored or busy, it shows! If you are passionate and inspired it will evoke something similar in your visitors.
- BE the reader you want to visit your site – take the time to leave comments on good posts at other blogs, even if they are just short messages. If there is no facility (like a ‘website’ and ‘recent posts’ option for commenter’s) then also leave a link to a RELEVENT and interesting post of yours – often that blog author will check you out, and their readers might too. But be respectful and don’t use their comments section as a total ad for your blog. You never know WHO might add you to their favourites list, when you develop a blog friendship!
- Know your reader, but don’t be too limiting. Check out other blogs who reflect the kind of area of interest you cover – see what works for them. Don’t copy exactly, but maybe you can adapt an idea that appeals to you (a competition, slide show, whatever).
- USE Social Media wisely – sure, promote your blog posts on Twitter and Facebook, but don’t let that be the ONLY thing you do there. People will stop reading if self-promotion is all you do – save some of that wit and sparkle for the odd entertaining tweet and that great photo you took this morning on Facebook. Many people find blogs via social media but their interest needs to be engaged first. Give them a taste of what you can do…
- Share the linky love. Be happy to share other bloggers links with your contacts – ‘sharing the linky love’ is an essential thing in blogging (in my opinion). If you love someone’s post then share it on other social media – tweet it, Facebook it. I have a whole pages set aside for it – one is ‘bush bloggers’ and I am about to re-do my ‘favourite blogs’ list. I’ve found that others are often happy to return the favour and send some of their traffic your way. Of course, people only stay if they connect with your blog, but getting them there is half the battle.
- RESPOND to comments where possible - either in your comments section, in email reply, on twitter or Facebook, try to acknowledge your readers efforts. The beauty of blogging is the two-way interaction. I don’t always manage it (usually just a time thing) but I do try, especially if someone has made an especially good/funny/insightful comment.
- ASK a question. Sometimes it’s easy to talk AT people, as if you are on television or writing a book. But blogging allows responses – make it easy for people to start their comment by inviting them with a query. You often get a different perspective on your topic and can learn a WHOLE lot about your readers (which is a fabulous thing generally!).
- DON’T get obsessed with comment numbers. I find that my stat-counter (this is mine but there are often inbuilt ones in Blogger and WordPress) tells you more – just seeing people regularly visiting gives me a kick. If they happen to make the effort to comment too, it’s a massive bonus and I appreciate that they clicked onto my site anyway.
- DON’T compare yourself to other bloggers. We are all unique and this is not a competition. Well, it shouldn’t be. I am inspired by many hugely talented people out there but what I do (and what you do) is unique. Enjoy that and share that. It’ll be what makes you successful.
- REMEMBER why you blog. For me, it’s about sharing my world, my images and connecting with people from all walks of life. Comment numbers have never driven what I do, or discourage me from posting something up. If I love it or think it needs saying or sharing, I do it. Sometimes the thing you think will generate the least response, will go off. Otherwise you have gotten something off your chest (and out of your photo card) and documented it for your family. Because the most important reader you have will ALWAYS be you.
So there you go. A little world-wide web wisdom from this bush blogger.
Does this help you?
If you are a blogger, have you tried these tips?
If you are a reader only, what makes you respond the most?
And would you add anything to this list?