Of all topics, this is one of the perennials. People want more traffic, more attention, more awareness to their blog. It’s fair. We work hard on our blogs. We want more attention and traffic. If your business depends on volume, this is especially important (for instance, if you’re using ads). Getting traffic is a tricky business, and it requires a lot of experimentation. I’ll tell you what’s worked for me, so far, and I’ll tell you what you might try. Maybe others will educate us both in the comments on their best methods.
Great Titles Help
The first few seconds of someone’s attention are the hardest to pass. If you have a lame blog post title, no one’s going to want to read the post. For whatever reason, we react to “how to,” we react to “7 great,” we react to all kinds of things. Not sure where to look? I stole this advice from Brian Clark years ago: go to the grocery store, buy some ladies’ magazines like Cosmopolitan, and learn how THEY write headlines on the front page.
Graphics Don’t Hurt
This entire series (and most of my blog posts) use graphics to catch your eye. It’s an easy way to get one’s attention. Screen captures help. Video helps. There are tons of ways to get people into a receptive space with your material, and graphics are just the easiest one.
Now that we’ve got a decent title, decent graphics, let’s be quick about your content.
Brevity Is the Game
Keep your posts brief (unless you want tons and tons of bookmarks). People don’t have all day to read. If you can keep your posts between 250-500 words, that’s in alignment with most people’s attention spans. Hey, you’re welcome to write whatever length you want. You asked me how to grow traffic to your blog. I can only give you results that I’ve tested. When I write a super long piece, I get much less involvement with it.
Share Your Blog
I’ve written about making shareability a priority. If you don’t have easy-to-share buttons on your blog, you’re missing the easiest way for people to see your stuff on Facebook, on LinkedIn, on Twitter, and all the other sites where it would matter. Sharing out is a great way to make some more traffic happen. I also automatically push my posts into Facebook with their notes feature. I have an automated post into twitter via @broganmedia, but don’t do this same effect on my primary @chrisbrogan account.
Subscriptions or No?
In my case, subscriptions to my blog matter. I want people to subscribe, because I don’t necessarily survive on ad revenue. If you’re trying to monetize via ad revenue, and if your ads are in the header and the sidebar, a subscription really won’t help you get more traffic. If for whatever reason you want people to come to your website directly instead of via your RSS feed, you might want to obfuscate where you put your subscription information.
If you’re like me, you ask for the subscription all the time. In fact, I’ll ask now. You’re not yet subscribed? Enter your email (I respect your privacy):
Over in the Third Tribe, we talk about guest posts (affiliate link to a guide) quite often as a great traffic-builder to your blog. Find someone who has a very similar kind of blog topic to yours (not sure where to start? Check out Alltop), and offer a guest blog post. Oh, and then actually follow through. I have heard recently from my friends who accept guest posts that often, people ask for something, get approval, and then don’t take an action. That doesn’t sound like a good plan. Just FYI.
This is one of those points where people disagree. I blog daily. Truth be told, I’m up to 2x a day most days. Why? Because the more I blog, the more people subscribe. I learned it from some of the larger blogger sites out there.
Lots of people justify once a week, or once every two weeks. That’s fine. But if you want to grow traffic to your blog, that’s a very long slow crawl towards that growth. That said, no matter which frequency you’ve chosen, stick to it. The moment you drop off the map, people who haven’t yet subscribed to you lose sight and move on.
Market Your Blog
You can always market your blog the good old fashioned way. I’ve had people hand me business cards at events that had a compelling question or interesting graphic, and then a URL to their blog. More often than not, I’ll at least check out the post. You might make postcards and bring them to the places where your prospective readers might congregate. For instance, if you write a restaurant blog, why not have a business card tray by the mints? Make an offer, just like you do with any other kind of marketing.
Often times, we sit around inside the fishbowl of social media and hope people from outside will find us. Here’s a hint, hero: the people you need are out there wondering what they can do to learn more about the thing you’re talking about. Go get ’em, tiger.
How Do You Grow Traffic To Your Blog?
I’m a big fan of the basics: write about what they need, make sure they see that you wrote about it, make it easy to carry on the relationship, make it easy for them to promote you to others.
Seems like a simple formula, and yet, we go through all kinds of hoops to come up with trickier methods. Try this one first. What do you say?