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An online journal can be an excellent self-promotion tool. Of course, the tricky part is getting people to read it. Sadly, unless you’re already famous, chances are, hardly anyone knows you even have a blog, and those that do probably aren’t sitting at their computers waiting for you to post your next entry.

So how do you increase your blog’s traffic?

Here are some of the straightforward, easy to copy, things I did which helped me increase my own monthly visitor-count from less than 300 in April this year to over 1,000 by the end of July.


#1 DECIDE WHAT YOUR BLOG’S ABOUT

Mine is primarily a writer’s journal, but whichever subject you choose, it should interest you and potential readers.


#2 ESTABLISH A ROUTINE

Spread your entries out evenly. However often you plan to post (I recommend 4-6 times per week), try to stick to it.


#3 PLAN AHEAD

Not every post has to be a finely tuned masterpiece, but I’ve found that putting a little thought and effort into an entry makes a big difference to visitor numbers. I also keep a folder full of ideas for future topics. Most of them never get used, but it means I never feel the pressure of having nothing to blog about.


#4 KEEP TRACK OF YOUR VISITOR NUMBERS

Comments tell you that at least some people read your blog, but they're not an accurate indication of how many. For example, my Friday ‘pics of the week’ posts generate about 10% of my journal’s traffic, but very few comments.


A hit counter gives you more precise information. You need to know if your readership is growing and how many direct visitors individual journal entries get, so that you can change your approach and/or content if needed.


Personally, I use Sitemeter, which gives me information about the number of visitors my blog gets by day; week; month and year, which pages they enter (and leave) by, how many pages they click on etc. There are other hit counters, like Statcounter. Most have a free version available for download.


#5 INVITE DISCUSSION

Asking for folks’ opinions transformed my journal from a soapbox to a sort of chatroom, which is a lot more fun. It not only helped me get to know my online friends better, it helped them get to know each other. I love the fact that some of my mutual online friends first met on my blog.


#6 READ AND COMMENT ON OTHER PEOPLE’S JOURNALS

Live Journal is full of wonderful people. You can find them on your friends’ friends lists, or in the many relevant LJ communities. Browse through the latest entries there. If you see something interesting, make a comment. Chances are that person will be glad you did. If they respond, add them to your friends list, they’ll most likely add you right back. That’s how I started, I’m sure most others did too, but be sincere.


#7 REDIRECT FOLKS TO YOUR JOURNAL

Post a prominent link to your blog from your website, and from that of any writing group or relevant online community if you can. If you post something that you feel others may find useful, let those communities know, but be careful. People notice if the only time you stop by is when you’re pimping your work or your blog.


#8 HAVE FUN

Enjoy yourself. If you’re not enjoying your blog, how can you expect others to?

Next week, we'll look at some of the things that can have a negative impact on your journal. In the meantime. How about you?


Have you ever tried any of the above? Did it make a difference?


In what other ways have you tried to increase your blog traffic?



Site Meter


Comments

( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
bogwitch64
Nov. 16th, 2009 05:37 pm (UTC)
I've gotten about five or six friends added to my flist because of your blog. It might even be more at this point. :)

I've also used the 'get the readers involved' by asking them a question, because I saw you do it on your blog. My most-commented upon entries tend to be those in which I ask for input.
jongibbs
Nov. 16th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
I wish I could claim to have thought of that posing a question thing myself, but I'm sure I read it somewhere. Isn't it funny how the most effective 'technique' for getting feedback is just asking for it?

Thanks for sharing :)
(no subject) - asakiyume - Nov. 16th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
cathschaffstump
Nov. 16th, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC)
One of the things that has gotten me a lot of traffic are writing reviews and writing up research. I think my highest hit page is the review I did for the magazine Swill, and a lot of people visited when I was doing Scandinavian folklore.

I do a very scaled down version of linking to others post (compared to you!) when you guys have something unique to say, and I think that gets me some readers too.

Catherine
jongibbs
Nov. 16th, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC)
Good links are good karma too, I think.

Nice icon, by the way :)
karen_w_newton
Nov. 16th, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
Advice from the master! The only other point I would make it to expound on your "post a link" suggestion. Any time you post a comment on someone else's blog, website, or on a news story, be sure the way you post results it in creating a link to your blog. This should be feasible whether the blog is on LJ, Blogger, or pretty much anything. I often see in my stats that the "came from" link was from comments I made on other sites.
jongibbs
Nov. 16th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
'...Advice from the master!...'
Yeah, right. Somehow I don't think Neil Gaiman and his peers are worried that I'm hogging all the traffic - at least, not yet :)

That link thing's a good idea, though I use it sparingly on Yahoo groups etc. that I frequent.

Thanks for the input (and the kind words) :)
asakiyume
Nov. 16th, 2009 06:12 pm (UTC)
Something you do, and something that, for instance, sartorias does, is courteously respond to all comments.

That's not a style that all bloggers want to adopt, and I respect that, but I do feel a flutter of appreciation when the blogger responds to the comment. (More so on discussion-oriented blogs, less so in cases where the comment I've left is just a "beautiful!" (for a photo) or "congratulations!" (for a sale) which are hard to respond to.)
jongibbs
Nov. 16th, 2009 07:51 pm (UTC)
Funny you should mention that, because not responding to comments is on next week's list of things that have a negative impact on a journal.

Even a 'Thank you' after someone leaves a congratulations makes a difference, I think.

peadarog
Nov. 16th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
#5 is what always works best for me when I use it.
jongibbs
Nov. 16th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
It's much more fun when two or more people are in a conversation, don't you think - though I suppose there are times when that's not the case :)
(no subject) - peadarog - Nov. 17th, 2009 07:58 am (UTC) - Expand
temporus
Nov. 16th, 2009 08:03 pm (UTC)
I get more hits on my map stuff than I do for ALL of my writing and other posts combined. Specifically this review of the latest version of Campaign Cartographer: http://temporus.livejournal.com/13060.html The next closest single topic that's had the most hits: my mushroom photos. Those drew large numbers of people checking them out. Seems as if those are two rather popular topics. Which reminds me, I should be doing more mapping and taking photos of random wild mushrooms.
jongibbs
Nov. 16th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
Lol, sounds like you've got a prompt for your next novel, The Mushroom Mapper :)

How's your shoulder, now?
(no subject) - temporus - Nov. 16th, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Nov. 16th, 2009 09:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
autumnsea
Nov. 16th, 2009 10:35 pm (UTC)
I don't promote my journal. I think I see it more my sanctity than a promotional place, you know. I have people come over from poetry communities who have read my work and enjoyed it and have added me and that's nice. But these days, I tend to keep my friends list rather small/intimate ... I'm not comfortable with big numbers of strangers.
jongibbs
Nov. 16th, 2009 10:49 pm (UTC)
My old gran used to have a saying about strangers:

"Nosey buggers, always smiling at you and wishing you a 'Good morning'. If I wanted them as friends, they wouldn't be strangers in the first place!"

Hey, I didn't say it was relevant, I just said she had a saying ;)

People should use their journal in whatever way they see fit.

My thinking behind this series of posts is that I've learned a lot about writing from LJ folks way more qualified and eloquent than me, but there's not so much advice available on the writerly self-promotion front.

Passing on what I've learned about it so far is my way of 'paying it forward' :)




Edited at 2009-11-16 10:49 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - autumnsea - Nov. 17th, 2009 02:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
Nov. 17th, 2009 12:29 pm (UTC)
I find that folder of future topics really helpful. I try to spend a few minutes on it every week, sometimes I add new ideas, other times I flesh out some of the ones already there. Often times, all I need to do is tweak the notes I've got a little.

As for comments, have you considered changing the way you ask the question? "How about you, fish-face?" does seem a little combatative ;)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - jongibbs - Nov. 17th, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
lavericknine
Nov. 17th, 2009 05:04 am (UTC)
These are great tips. Thanks for posting them. When I get into serious blogging I'll definitely try it.

I think the planning part is the hardest for me. Heh
jongibbs
Nov. 17th, 2009 12:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it :)
justin_pilon
Nov. 17th, 2009 08:41 am (UTC)
Keeping a routine, that step always kills me. I admire the endurance of some bloggers! I try to keep it to once a week at least though.
jongibbs
Nov. 17th, 2009 12:33 pm (UTC)
When it comes to a routine, I think blogging's like writing. You either make the time ot do it when you've got the time. I wouldn't say either approach is wrong, but they do generate different results.
dynastic_queen
Nov. 17th, 2009 11:30 am (UTC)
I've done all but #4, mainly because I feel I probably need a Hit Counters 4 Dummies course, and I didn't know if it was allowed with only a Plus account. But I've always wanted a way to keep up with visitor counts...

So thanks for the Sitemeter info. I will attempt to put it to use. :)
jongibbs
Nov. 17th, 2009 12:36 pm (UTC)
I can't recall having any problems setting it up. If you go with Sitemeter and get stuck, let me know and I'll walk you through the procedure.

If I can be of any help at all, you're in worse trouble than you thought ;)
dynastic_queen
Nov. 17th, 2009 11:31 am (UTC)
Oh, and with Mama and Daddy's health challenges lately, I haven't been able to be consistent for a while. But I am working on it.
jongibbs
Nov. 17th, 2009 12:42 pm (UTC)
Family trumps blog every time as far as I'm concerned.
clarionj
Nov. 17th, 2009 01:50 pm (UTC)
While I've no suggestions to add to this--I haven't been trying to increase my blog traffic; I've really tried to keep it small--I think it's excellent advice that I will take if/when I decide to use the blog for my writing. Thanks for all your research and experience-tested tips! What you offer up here does work; I've seen it work for others :)
jongibbs
Nov. 17th, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading :)
ext_223148
Jan. 28th, 2010 02:25 pm (UTC)
Hey Jon,

Finally made it over her from the Writer's Coffeehouse. Your post here makes sense. Thanks for the info on site meter. Personally I think stats are the most important thing when trying to figure out what you're doing on the Internet. Without this information it's very hard to know which of your efforts are having an effect.

Keep up the great work!

Sue Lange

jongibbs
Jan. 28th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Sue :)

I've found it incredibly useful to know the entry (and exit) point for my visitors. It shows me which posts people are stopping in for, as opposed to a general visitor count, which is nowhere near as helpful.

( 33 comments — Leave a comment )

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there


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