A year ago, In February of 2011, I wrote an amazing article titled : “It’s a New Dawn; Protect Your Online Reputation”. It was one of the first blogs I’d written and I was filled with great confidence about the vast value it was going to offer my “online community”. After all, I have awesome services to sell, and I knew people would hungrily sign up for them, and most definately hire me to protect their online reputation. I was targeting a strategic market, offering services at a competitive price and providing interesting content on various platforms. All the stuff the big gun Joe Pulizzi talks about.
After it posted I waited patiently for the floods of comments and discussions and was thrilled to see the three comments left by my ex husband, my daughter and after I taught him how to open a blog and get IN there, my brother.
By May, I had approximately 6 more readers who’d signed on. I could tell because I checked my stats every 2 hours. I was still begging my daughter to “like” it and my friend from Iowa to share it on Facebook, but that’s ok. I’d increased my readership by 100%!
Hello???? Knock knock….Anybody out there?
If you are anything like me, and you are, trust me, unless you’ve invested a ton of money into a media blast, a huge PR campaign and some serious SEO right out of the gate, the road to blog readership is for most of us, a long and somewhat painful one. Some of this cannot be helped –it is just the nature of the blog beast. A blog, like any other form of marketing, takes time and recognition and patience to grow its’ traffic. I would love to say there is a magic bullet train right to a HighTraffic Village, but honestly, there is not, unless again you plan to invest in the above techniques, and even then it is a big risk. If the purpose of your blog is, like most of ours, to
1. build trust and confidence in you as a person and in your services.
2. educate and inform so folks get that you are an “expert” in your field, and
3. to convert this traffic to your blog to traffic to your website, or your store, or your services in whatever format you use, then you must take a breath, and begin somewhere. Over time, and only over time, your presence will grow, folks will start seeing and anticipating your blog, and it will become a much more interesting “content laden” place to be. Your bounce rate will decrease, and if you are lucky and have been providing good content you will convert that traffic to a sale. But ya gotta have patience. And friends. And patience. Did I mention patience?
There are some great tips I will share with you that can increase your traffic exponentially however. Here are 6. I’ve got ooddles more and it was hard to narrow it down but this is a good place to start:
1. Begin with good content. I can’t state this more emphatically. You don’t have to be Hemmingway, or Steve Jobs, but you must add value. There are a lot of bloggers out there and they are all screaming for your audiences attention. Make yours stand out. It doesn’t haveto be a manual, remember you’re wiriting to be read. If you’re not a writer, hire one, and provide the content, or share others, making yours the “resource platform”. That’s just as valuable as your own content…sometimes more. No offense.
2. Share, share, share. Share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, as many social media platforms as you have, and ask that your friends share it as well. I don’t want to overwhelm you, so start slowly if need be. Pick 2 and go from there. Sign up and share it on the social bookmarking sites like Reddit, Stumbled Upon, Digg, Bit.ly, Technorati, Squiddo, Delicious….there are more but these are some of the powerful ones. Take the time to register for these and get it out there. The sites mentioned here all have huge followings and your blog will in turn get huge exposure. Upload it to EZinearticles.com. This is a free article submission site that does PR for you and has really wide reader reach..
3. Comment on others blogs, especially blogs where your target market might be visiting, and especially blogs that get high traffic. It’s easy to check to see what kind of traffic their blog commands by checking their Alexa rating at Alexa.com-with Alexa, the lower the rating, the higher the traffic. Folks generally welcome this and you are now becoming an expert on someone elses site, in front of their audience. Recipricate. Ask if they’d like to guest blog on your site. You’re now adding value with another expert voice. Two other great things about blog commenting – it’s completely free to do and it results in the backlinks that will help your site get noticed in the long term.
4. Make your email signature count. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals or ask that folks share your blog with their friends with the push of the forward button, the Facebook Like button, or the Twitter icon to make it easy for folks to share.
5. I know this is a tough one and that I am a teeny weeny bit hypocrital where this is concerned. But really I’m not -because I’ve stopped the practice of taking the bulk of your email addresses and throwing them into a distribution list for an instant forced readership. Because that’s what it is- forced. I know that it’s scarey and painful and that initially it may only be your daughter and your mother who are reading your well thought out blogs…because you told them to…..but force yourself to get in the practice of allowing folks to voluntarily sign up for your blogs. That means providing an “opt-in” box that they can sign up for. This way your readership will be there because they want to be there, not because you forced them to be there, and the quality of this traffic will be much better than an email list containing your Aunt Tilly and your brother who “DOESN’T BLOG!”….no matter how many times you might try and explain that reading a blog does not constitute blogging. Your well thought out article will also stand a much better chance of not being ……dum dum DUM dum…..deleted.
6. And finally, make it easy for folks to both read your blog and then hopefully go surf around to see all the shiny objects you offer on your website. What? How do you expect traffic to convert to a sale??? This really is fodder for a future blog, but very important tip: make sure there is valuable content on your site that folks will want to click into once they finish reading your blog, and make it easy for them to fill out forms to contact you.
Apply these techniques, even half of these techniques, consistently (very important-aim for once per week), and you will see, as I have, a 100% traffic increase to your blog presence. Start slowly, one technique per week. I have officially released my mother and my daughter from blogging bondage. They are very grateful.