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?