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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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?