A question that I get asked quite a lot is “How do I get more traffic to my blog?” Now, I’m not social media expert/rock star/ ninja/monkey but I reckon that I’ve learned a thing or two over the last while and since I’m mostly a nice guy, I’ll share. Something that really irks me are “experts” dishing out posts with titles like “10 Ways Guaranteed to Get You More Traffic.” I figure that the only guarantee of traffic is by taking out a stop street in the city centre. With everything else you’re just sorta hoping it works.
With this in mind, I’ve decided to title this segment as follows:
Six Things You Should Probably Do That Might Eventually Get Your Blog A Little Traffic
I think it’s pretty catchy 😉
1. Create Good Quality Content (You’ve gotta have the good sh*t)
There’s a saying that goes “Content is King” and I happen to agree 100% with this old platitude. The thing is, so do lots of people. For every person who bitches about the fact that the internet is populated with useless junk there are 5 more creating great, readable and valuable content. It used to be true that if you created good content, you would get traffic because the good stuff was few and far between. With self publication now easier than ever there are more people creating more content about more topics. This means that while the adage still holds true, it is no longer the be all and end all of your blogging strategy. Creating good content is now the bare minimum requirement for getting a bit of traffic to your blog. If you don’t think you’re posting the good stuff, you should probably stop here and go think about ways to do just that.
Seth Godin, who is probably the smartest bald person I know of, has a great list of things you can do to get more traffic to your blog, many of which have to do with the type of content you’re putting out. You should read it.
2. Make Sure Your Audience Can Find Your Content (Don’t Hide Your Stash Homie)
When I started blogging one of the things I struggled with the most was trying to figure out how to get Google to find me. Wearing brightly coloured clothing didn’t work. Neither did typing the title of my blog post 500 times in the alt text. Instead, what I found was that if I invested a little time to find out the basics about SEO and blog layout, slowly the Big G started sending some love my way. Search Engine Optimization ,or SEO, was at one time also held to be the be all and end all of blog traffic strategies (like Content is King) , but it too now has a lower emphasis value and should be part of your strategy, not the whole thing.And here’s the real thing about SEO – the basics are just common sense. Take some time to understand it and you can adapt your writing style to get the most out of it. If you’re looking for somewhere to learn the ropes, try the Quirk eMarketing Text Book. It’s easy to read, was written by a funny red head and it’s free. What more do you need?
3. But first, pick an audience (Whisky drinkers stick together)
Picture the scene – a guy walks in to a bar and starts talking to absolutely everyone in the room. He’s talking to everyone about the same thing, but only a few of the people are listening. The rest are wondering whether or not the pool cue will shatter if it meets up with his head. If you want to successfully and consistently get the attention of an audience you need to decide what you’re going to write about. Most of the time, being niche is better and easier to do. You know what you’re talking about and the type of person you’re (probably) talking to. Now, I’m not saying that you should be boring or only write about West Indian cactus plants, but try not to be too sporadic. If I’m used to finding a certain type of content on a blog, I keep going back there with the expectation that I’ll find more of the same. The beer guys stick with the beer guys and the whisky guys all hang out together. Make sense?
4. Consistency is crucial (Keep On Keepin’ On)
This is the one that I have the most trouble with. In order to maintain a semi decent readership, you need to be constantly creating good stuff. If someone finds something good and clean and fresh every time they visit you, chances are they’ll keep coming back to look for more. Good content, look most good things, is addictive. If it’s the same old stale content, they’ll probably just move on to someone else who IS consistently writing good content. My buddy Dave introduced me to the concept of the attention economy and the 5 second rule – in today’s time, the new scarce resource is not money, but rather attention and on average you have about 5 seconds (or less) to grab that attention once someone lands on your blog. But, like I said – if you’re style is stale, you can kiss that reader good bye. Keep it fresh, homie.
5. Find a like minded community and attract readers from there (Sneak in to the club and take someone home).
Building a community is hard work. It takes time, patience and skill. And if you’re still asking the traffic question, chances are that like me you’re not ready to build your own community yet. Instead, it’s easier to find and become active in an existing community where your audience hangs out. Think about it – you find club where the members are already in to what you’re writing about, so it will be easier to get the readers there than from some other random group of people. Don’t sell weed to crack heads, it just won’t work. Once you’re more comfortable with your skills, the first prize is of course to build your on community that will sustain itself and introduce new readers to your content on your behalf. For a great example of a self made and sustained community, check out Imod.
6. Offer something of value (try before you buy)
We’ve all seen the magazine’s packed with free stuff on the cover.. In fact, we’ve all bought the magazine’s packed with free stuff. The reason we do is because people like to get free stuff. So if you’re writing about music, go find some musicians and
break twist their arms in to letting you offer your readers a free sample of their music. Your valuable item could also be your intellectual property – create white papers and offer them as downloads from your blog. Design some cool wallpapers and make them available in your gallery, create some wicked WordPress or Blogger themes. The thing is, creativity is a renewable resource, so you’re not giving something finite away. You can create more wallpapers and write more white papers. Only next time there will be more people to talk to 😉
One thing to remember is that your opinion and expertise are both valuable commodities. If you make it available, peeps will become dependent on it and will keep coming back to get high on your supply. So, if you’re not an expert on something yet, you’d better start working on that. The more you put out, the more you get back.
Now like I said, I’m not promising that these steps will bring you lots of traffic or any at all. What I do now is this – if you’re not doing the basic you don’t have a snow ball’s chance of getting any traffic at all, so you may as well start somewhere.
Till next time, keep on blogging.