Whenever I sit down to write about blogging, I have to be physically restrained from getting up and banging my head against the wall. It’s just not my thing. But, I get asked about increasing website traffic frequently enough that it appears that enough of you want to rifle through my mostly vacant brain cavity for blogging tips. Now you can see just how little I know about the blogging phenomenon.

(I do know that almost all of the articles about how to increase website traffic aren’t written by bloggers, which seems like bullshit)

1) Good content is probably the most important thing to running a successful blog. The blogging world used to have like 5 blogs in it, but now every time Dooce goes on Oprah, 6 million people decide that they’re going to make a million dollars by being a blogger like Dooce. To stand out from the rest of the people who start to blog (and then abandon it when they realize it actually IS work), you must have good quality content to keep your readers coming back.

It’s the simple law of supply and demand. Be an interesting blogger and stop being afraid of being yourself. The world is full of boring beige blogs or worse, blogs that are trying to be just like someone else. Be authentic. Be yourself.

2) SEO (as we learned in the pulling a John C. Mayer experiment), for personal blogs, may not be as effective as it is for business blogs. If I stuffed a post full of “vodka,” for example, and got to #1 on Google Search, everyone who finds my blog is going to be mighty annoyed that I am not selling vodka.

Plus, stuffing your blog full of keywords makes your stories read stilted and awkward. Right John C. Mayer?

I don’t use SEO on my blog. I know other bloggers do. I don’t.

3) Make friends. Comment. Connect with other people. Friends will be your loyal readers.

4) Offer your readers as many ways as possible as to subscribe to and read your blog.

  • Get a Twitter account to hook up with your blog and use it to tweet as well as occasionally announcing when you’ve written a new post. If you only post links, many people won’t follow you because they will think you are a spam account.
  • If you’re not afraid of hooking your blog up with your Facebook profile, syndicate your feed through Facebook.
  • Post a clearly visible RSS button at the top of your blog so that people can easily subscribe to your blog.

5) Be wary of constant self-promotion as a means of driving readers to your blog. It’s one thing to post your links on Facebook and Twitter, but it’s another thing to constantly barrage your readers with requests to promote you. Once in awhile, asking for some promotion is a good thing, because often people don’t think of advertising this awesome blog that they read. But I caution you that you will quickly lose readers if you are constantly emailing your readers asking for links, re-tweets (a Twitter thing), and promotion.

I had someone I didn’t even know on Twitter say something to the effect of, “Wow, didn’t realize you were a big deal on Twitter. Can you promote my blog?”

I’m sure that kind of thing works sometimes, but I find it tacky. I’ll help out my Pranksters, sure, but come the fuck on.

6) Keep an up-to-date blogroll*. Everyone likes to be on a blogroll, and I know it’s probably SO 2006, but I still use blogrolls to find new blogs.

7) Submit posts to StumbleUpon, Digg, Technorati, and any of the other bookmarking sites that I don’t know about because I am lazy and often forget to do this. I need to do this more.

8) The Internet loooooves The Dramaz. You’ll get some more traffic when you have drama. But, like the SEO stuff, when the drama dies down, the traffic does, too.

*which reminds me that I need to update mine. If you have a blog that is NOT on my blogroll because I am a lazy sack of poo, send an email to aunt.becky.sucks@gmail.com with BLOGROLL in the subject line. Please, email me about it, don’t leave the information in a comment, or I may become even more confused than normal and my head might explode.

—————–

So, Pranksters, what do you know about blogging that I’ve left off of my pathetically small list?

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

91 Responses to How To Increase Traffic To Your Website (or, the post I am ashamed to write)

  • Just Jenn says:

    Bravo!! Finally someone who knows what they are talking about! Most of the stories wrote about bloggers are written by wanna be bloggers. They put in what they *think* will work. Keep an eye out for my email!! LOL!
    ???

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      You noticed that too! That drives me INSANE! Like, uh, wait, I want to learn about blogging from…you? Because I’m pretty sure you’re a robot or an SEO company.

      Also, thank you.

      *blushes*

  • Betty M says:

    I know nothing about driving traffic but I know the things that stop me going back to a blog (unless I really really love someone) – music and posts which make you click to get the whole post. And TOO MANY CAPS and !!!!!!!!

  • Joanna says:

    Hmmm, how about adding “chill the fuck out about it?” to this list? I know it would drive me bat shit crazy pants to be constantly worrying about driving traffic to my blog. I write what I write about what I make and do, and I have a little group of friends who read it. Yes, I get happy when someone new follows and/or comments, but it doesn’t make my life. Yes, I’d be thrilled if I could make money off of blogging, but I’m a realist. I wish more bloggers were realistic about that part of it. I also wish more people blogged for the sake of it, not to cash in.

  • Gypsygrrl says:

    dude, I am sooo writing this from my cell phone!!! that is all. love you, my BBFF. xoxo

  • Kate says:

    Only thing I know of is medical drama. When my son was tanking hardcore, I had TONS of hits to my blog. Lurkers love a trainwreck ~ look at how many hits mckmama gets! Once things get better, though, people leave (just like you said). I personally think that is a sick commentary on humanity that people are most interested when things are really hideous for someone else, but maybe that’s just me. It is one of the reasons I made the blog about my family private, though; I don’t really want my child’s medical issues to be a spectator sport for lurkers, ya know?

    Oops, sorry, getting off-topic. Um… well, since I don’t have a big blog following, I can’t say I know jack-squat about driving traffic anywhere, but I think the tips you gave are good ones. For whatever that is worth! :)

  • I think you got it all. Maybe attend conferences, that helped out some for me in the traffic department. But that’s not something you can do everyday.

    I need to do the Digg thing more often. I always forget.

    Your posts about blogging are always so informative. Thanks you bunches!!

  • a says:

    I drive traffic to my blog by spending more time reading others’ work and commenting than by doing anything else. I don’t actually worry about traffic, but I love comments because it opens a discussion.

    Anyway, my point is this: if you want people to visit because of your writing skills, share the wealth elsewhere. I’ve had people mention that they liked my comment on some other blog, and that’s why they came to mine. Too bad I’m far more witty in the comment section…

  • Rebecca says:

    I once wrote about panties giving me a wedgie and how I wouldn’t wear a thong because they give me the same feeling…..and how thongs that you wear on your feet should be called flippies or flip flops….not THONGS because people wear thongs to cover their bottoms…..anyway, that post got about 50 clicks within the first 30 minutes. Which most of my posts only have about 50 combined clicks. It’s all about panties. Wearing panties, wearing thongs, panties too tight…etc. . .

  • Miss Grace says:

    You should write a post explaining Stumble because I’m like…a fairly veteran Blogging Lady Person, and I still don’t get it.

  • There’s Aunt Becky the lifesaver again. Being new – like this week, 2 posts done, kinda obsessive at this point, new – to the blogging thing, I am oozing with questions so thank you ever so much. First round is on me in Vegas.

  • ColinP says:

    I was randomly added to a post through wordpress once, got me 34 hits. Most ever! Sadly I don’t think anyone stayed to read.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      No, most people who find me through “vodka” don’t stay. Prolly because well, I don’t actually talk about vodka.

      • katrina says:

        I found you by accident because you mentioned “Bright Eyes” (about the snooty student in your philosophy class)…and Bright Eyes is a band i like a lot (don’t groan…) Anyway, i was so jazzed to find you aunt becky because you are a fuckin gifted writer and you make me laugh and cry and feel…..I haven’t commented much, because frankly, i’m pretty boring.

  • Dr. Cynicism says:

    Nice tips Aunt Becky; thanks for the perspective from a real blogger. I totally get your point about reading traffic-related articles from people that don’t blog. It’s like learning to swim from a person who can’t – you hope they drown :-)

  • Barb says:

    Great advice. I second that comment about more info on Stumble. I’ve had a couple of people say that they stumbled on my blog and I’m not signed up with that service. Maybe they just tripped over my blog…makes sense, lots of toys on the floor around here.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      I’ll give a thing on Stumble and Watermarking next week! That’s WAY better than blogging tips. I hate writing blogging tips because I feel so douchy. Like John C. Mayer!

  • Wombat Central
    Twitter: wombatcentral
    says:

    I think you always have good tips. Because you’re Aunt Becky, dammit. In my old blog, I once posted a pic of John C. Mayer parading around on a boat in a green Borat thong. Most. Hits. Ever. (true story) Also? My eyes still haven’t recovered.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      NO WAY! I wonder how many of my John C. Mayer hits are just from Pranksters coming from Google. I wish I could figure that out.

      And *always* at the top of my search terms?

      “most boring things.”

      I swear, I’ve never been prouder.

      • mel says:

        go set up Google Analytics and you will know exactly where your hits were referred from, and which search engines sent how many people your way… how long they stayed (or if they just bounced right back out in less than 10 seconds!)

  • linlah says:

    I know how to push buttons and string some words together and read Aunt Becky. That’s more than I’ll ever need.

  • Jerseygirl89 says:

    I love you, Aunt Becky.

  • Tom G. says:

    I had no idea that people were so uptight about the traffic on their blog. I just started blogging because I thought it would be a good way to meet girls. So far I’ve managed to attract my wife and Mom. (Hi Mom! Thanks for reading! Love you!)

  • steph gas says:

    i like to see where my traffic comes from. like, what part of the world. i think it’s cool. but other than that, i don’t really give a stuff about traffic. i don’t write a blog for you people, i write it for me. because i’m a narcissistic bitch.

    no, not really. because i have lots of shit to say, and no one to say it to but my three cats. so i blog.

    and i have to say, the best way to increase traffic, if that’s what you want, is to reach out in the blogging community. find other blogs you like and post on them. get giddy when bloggers you love comment on your blog. develop at least one blog-crush and tell the focus of your crush about it.

    sorry, aunt motherfucking becky. you could be my blog-crush, but you’re married and shit.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      Uh, I’m dating you, Steph, so I think we’re definitely all good. And yes, the only way I know to increase traffic FOR REALS is to comment and make FRIENDS.

      • steph gas says:

        oh, thank gods. i’m glad we finally defined our relationship. i was starting to worry that i wanted more than you were willing to give. i just need to be up front with you, though, and tell you that crushes are okay, but i’m not sure about you seeing other people. i’m the jealous type.

        i have made soooo many interwebz friends since i started blogging. the more you put into it – not just your writing and your blog, but the socialization and the friendships – the more you get out of it. i’ve only been blogging a couple of months, but i feel so connected to the community it’s almost lame.

  • I’m really relieved to hear someone say – yeah I don’t bother with SEO. It seems like such a chore and I’d rather play on Twitter or read other blogs. And really if someone happens to search make your own ketchup and find me are they really going to care what I have to say. They don’t know who I am.

  • I’m really relieved to hear someone say – yeah I don’t bother with SEO. It seems like such a chore and I’d rather play on Twitter or read other blogs. And really if someone happens to search make your own ketchup and find me are they really going to care what I have to say. They don’t know who I am.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      I think SEO is more useful if you’re trying to sell something. I mean, what is gained by stuffing your post full of search terms if you’re writing about your life? I don’t see the point, honestly.

      I do it on Band Back Together, because I’m trying to reach people who may be in need of some help. But here? Not so much.

  • Just Jenn says:

    And just so you know, I don’t comment often. Only when I have something great to say, but I do read you daily!

  • Yuliya says:

    Aunt Becky you are “full of the awesome” (see what I did there that shit is copyrighted, yo)

  • I’ve come to realize that I’m an acquired taste and will never be everyone’s. I send out e-mails when I post and post the link on FB and Twitter and that’s about it. I do answer all my comments and interacting with those who’ve left them is the best part.

    I’ve never been the most popular kid on the block and I’m too old to start worrying about it now. It’s just nice to have a place to speak to the things that matter most to me and know that at least a couple of people cared enough to read and respond.

  • TheNextMartha says:

    The only rule I have to blogging is try to do the least amount of it as possible. Also, if someone thinks your good enough to guest post for them you probably should. Unless they suck. Then screw them, I’ve got my own blog to take care of.

  • TheNextMartha says:

    Oh, and what the fuck is SEO on a blog?

  • Jen says:

    Drama! I’ll show you drama. i have more drama that can fit in a bestseller, but I would probably be committed if I posted it all. Maybe I should just hit up a screenwriter? hmm. who am I kidding? no ones cares what comes out of my mouth.

  • Kelly says:

    You are so silly. Don’t be ashamed to write this post. You are great, and you know what you are doing, because you’ve been doing it. (Ha, you do IT.) If you needed advice that was regarding what I do now (boring) or did (ahhhh, diamonds!) I could give it to you…just like after several years of blogging you can give advice on blogging.

    So quit feeling weird and douchy…

  • Keyona says:

    I’ve been blogging for a while and notice that if you take a short break you lose all your followers. I just remind myself why I started blogging (memories of my kids) and stick to it. If I get comments that’s all the better.

  • Keyona says:

    I’ve been blogging for a while and notice that if you take a short break you lose all your followers. I just remind myself why I started blogging (memories of my kids) and stick to it. If I get comments that’s all the better.

  • Mrs Woog says:

    Be wary of Jumping The Shark! I have seen some cool bloggers totally change when they they get a decent readership. As soon as you lose sight of why you started your blog in the first place, you are fucked. I write coz I love it and if people like it – great! if not, it will not stop me.

  • Bell says:

    I used to have a rather influential blog in the World of Warcraft gaming community. And then I quit the game and put that blog on hiatus, and just started writing about my life.

    I think trying to rebuild traffic from an entirely new audience is way more frustrating than when I was just figuring it out on my own… I’m glad at least that I knew most of these already.

    Perhaps you should add in participating on group blogs and offering guest posts to well-known blogs who accept/ask for them? Not bombarding relative strangers with requests, but taking advantage of when they’re asked for.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      Very good point. Starting over sucks and is damn near impossible. I’ve done it…uh, a couple of times. People don’t follow you from one site to another very often.

      And reaching out to strangers for guest posts can be kinda awkward. Good call on asking people who might actually want them.

  • You are awesome Aunt Becky. I liked reading this because I rather suck at it. One thing I know was a biggie for me was naming my blog something that if someone Googled the name, I would show up first. There are so many blogs with things like “Stay at home mom” or “my life as a mom” in them that they will get lost.

    You are my hero for this one about Twitter: “If you only post links, many people won’t follow you because they will think you are a spam account.” I get so tired of unfollowing people that all they do is promote their blogs. More specifically their giveaways.

    Which, reminds me of the only other thing I would add (not that I am an expert by ANY means) is if you are only posting reviews or giveaways, you are NOT A BLOGGER. You are a giveaway site. That is my biggest pet peeve. Occasionally ok but if your every post is pitching something your got for free at me, I’m not interested.

  • Flucky Mom says:

    Thank you for the helpful tips. I originally started a blog that has been very well received and well supported by the community I was reaching out to. But recently I started my Flucky Mom blog and it feels like starting from scratch… It’s definitely tough being the new kid again.

    Anyways, you’ve of course covered everything, but if I may add one more “pearl of wisdom” : sometimes you might have a blogger crush on someone and keep commenting on their blog (and following them), but that person will never return the favor. Yeah, sure it hurts, but don’t take it personally. It’s only blogging, right? Wait, i can’t hear you through my tears.

  • April K. says:

    Thanks sooooo much…it’s nice to get info from someone who actually DOES what it is that they’re trying to tell others how to do. You rock!

  • I’m pathetic about blog promotion. I barely have time to post. So I’ll just watch your numbers rise and feel good about that, instead.

    p.s. absolutely love the “shut your whore mouth” t-shirt.
    do you recommend I wear that when I see patients? or is that sending the wrong message?

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  • Lauren says:

    Honestly the best way to get people to visit your blog is to tweet your posts (I get more ACTUAL hits and UNIQUE hits this way) and to leave comments on other people’s blog posts. But leaving a comment just so that someone will comment on yours is totally lame and it’s obvious when someone didn’t actually read your post. Also? SEO on a personal blog is fake and gross (unless you’re proving a point like with John C. Mayer). At BlogHer there was a session on how to drive traffic to your blog and one suggestion was through essentially what you did with the John C. Mayer bit- faking people out and TRICKING them into clicking your link. I’d rather have only one genuine hit to my blog than ten who end up there by mistake.

  • mepsipax says:

    My traffic has tanked lately….uhm lets see why… My content has sucked…check.
    I stopped commenting on other blogs…check.
    My site sucks and hasn’t been updated…check.
    Ugh, this is work. Bastards.

  • Sarah P says:

    I hate being post #70. It’s like getting to the party when everyone is leaving.

  • Great points! I think you write because you can’t stop yourself. Don’t write to see what others think…they will probably tell you what you don’t want to hear!

  • I typically just lurk, but I just wanted to let you know that I awarded you with the versitile blogger award. :)

    You can see it at http://www.onebrownie.com

  • Allen Shay says:

    Great Post. Thanks for being yourself! I’ve never heard the traffic generating techniques from such a perspective. Wonderful!!

    Allen Shay

  • Biatch, I BETTER be on your blogroll already… I am not even going to check.

    And I don’t know shit about SEO, I don’t even tag my posts or write googleable post titles. And that is why I only get searches for midget porn and people wondering why their heads hurt.

  • Average Girl says:

    Good checklist, AB, but just wanted to add a thought about Blogrolls. I also like to use them to find new fabulous blogs to read (that’s how I found you) HOWEVER, sometimes when the lists are too long, I’ll just skip them entirely rather then wade through (yes, yours is a little overwhelming, but at least you have them divided into categories). Some bloggers with extensive Blogroll pages will feature two or three “Blogs of the Week” on their home page. I will always click on these, especially if I really like the writing of the blogger who is promoting them.

    Maybe it’s just me (or perhaps Adult onset ADD?) but a shorter list says, “These are my favorites, so you better check them out!”

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      Totally agree with you. I’m not a huge fan of having huge blogrolls, but it breaks my heart to delete people. So I don’t. But then…what do you do? It’s a huge one or none for me.

  • Kristine says:

    The problem with drama being that if your MIL reads and you haven’t told her about everything her @$$hole son has done, um, you’re pretty much writing your own divorce papers if you do…I’m just saying.

  • Katie G says:

    I wish I could go to Vegas with ya. But taking vacation time in December when you work retail is, well, “discouraged”.

  • pattypunker says:

    leaving thought-provoking comments on the great blogs like aunt becky’s will increase your traffic. better still it helps people like me find you. reading blogs is how i get my news, weather, and entertainment. what a wonderful world!

  • Gen says:

    Thanks for this post Aunt Becky. I’m fairly new to the blogging world myself and frankly, confused as hell. SEO gives me nightmares. It was refreshing to hear you basically say, whatever, and then say do all the fun stuff. I think Google is kind of scary. The only searches they have ever brought me are : nice pantys, childbirth scrabble, and john c mayer.

  • txjennk says:

    Thanks for this post. I’m new to the blogging world and while I would love to say that I’m ONLY doing this for the writing. Which is primary. It would be nice if someone other than my brother read it. Of course, I’ve only posted three so…. I definitely see the benefit of getting involved in other blogs and commenting on what others have written and building relationships that way. Then it becomes more about the relationships than the site hits. That can’t be a bad thing.

  • mommyshorts says:

    I’m such a newbie I don’t even know who Dooce is.

    Question: On your RSS feed, do you recommend having full posts or excerpts that lead you back to the site? Obviously I want as much traffic as possible but I don’t know if just having excerpts would hurt my readership. And by readership I mean the the 30 or so people who are all my mom’s friends.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      Full posts, definitely. There is VERY LITTLE that pisses people off more than partial feeds. Why? It’s a ploy for traffic. We all know it. We all want the traffic. I get why. Traffic is hot.

      BUT. When you take away the option of visiting the site, and make us come to you to get your content, you’re also removing a bunch of people who only read content in feed readers.

      Many businesses block blogs.

      Many people don’t want to wait for your blog to load on their iPhone/Blackberry.

      Many people prefer the feed readers, period. They don’t want to sit on dial-up waiting for your 54932 billion pictures to load (not you personally, but you get what I’m saying).

      Basically, you’re alienating a good portion of your readers. And if you’re blogging FOR readers, that’s probably not a very good idea. I know personally a good portion of people who will unsubscribe to partial feeds.

      Does that help?

  • Shruti says:

    Excellent tips, and I agree with Luke above, they can be used for many niches. And yes, content is king, but social media seems to be quite important. I’m just amazed that even something like Pinterest has been used for such traffic generation. You definitely have plenty of resources to use in that area.

  • Dan Hodgins says:

    I find it’s helpful to break down how you spend your time.

    I follow the 95/5/5 rule.

    95% = blog and forum commenting (each comment is tiny little traffic machine)
    5% = writing posts
    5% = guest posting

    Networking via blog and forum commenting is the name of the game for increasing organic traffic to your website in sustainable ways that actually work.

    I try for 100 blog comments in 100 minutes each day.. It’s a good thing I absolutely love copywriting because commenting is a lot of work!

    The good news is I capture my manual labor in a system when I leave comments on other sites and blogs such as MommyWantsVodka. This enables my labor to multiply itself over time.

    Here are more ideas about increasing organic traffic to your website:

    http://www.danhodgins.com/super-specific-tactics-for-increasing-organic-traffic-80-20

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