21 Ways to Increase Your Blog Traffic
What do I do? No one’s reading my blog. Understand that, no matter of how good a blogger you are, there are always ways to improve what you’re doing particularly where driving blog traffic and blog comments are concerned. Bear in mind that you can’t just chase traffic for its own sake. As Mack Collier advises, think in terms of what’s the next action you want your readers to take? It’s not just about getting visitors but rather getting the “right” visitors for your goals. Also, in the social media ecosystem, many people just lurk, meaning they visit your blog but take no further action
Why no one reads your blog
Here’s blog help in the form of twenty-one blog challenges and fixes to remedy them.
- Your writing s**ks! There are a lot of reasons that readers may have difficulty reading your content. You may not speak English as a first language, your posts are full of local slang, your prose is heavily sprinkled with abbreviations, or you can’t spell. FIX: One improvement is to get a strong editor. This is particularly helpful for group or company blogs where writing may not be everyone’s strong suit. Read top bloggers like Copyblogger, Problogger and Men With Pens to sharpen your style. Alternatively, read some of the “How to Write” classics.
- Enough about me, let me tell you more about me. Your blog is inwardly focused on your life. While this may be acceptable for high profile stars, it doesn’t work for most blogs. FIX: Use your experience to highlight universal truths and teachable moments.
- Has no WII-FM (aka: What’s In It For Me) for your readers. Similar to being inwardly focused, your blog doesn’t address your readers’ needs. FIX: Ask readers what they’re looking for on your blog. Do this with your comment section, an emailing to prospects, or a survey on your blog.
- Have Christmas in July disorder. Your posts are behind the times with current events. It’s one thing to try to catch a current trend but be careful you’re not talking about how to trim Christmas trees on December 26th. FIX: Set up an editorial calendar to ensure that your content is timely.
- Follow the leader. Are you a copycat? Are you just re-using someone else’s thoughts on a topic? Blogs require original thinking. While writing about a popular topic is okay, it’s not acceptable to edit or use another writer or blogger’s content as your own. Quote other bloggers with attribution and a link.FIX: Close your computer and books before you write a post. Think about what’s special about your post and how does it relate to your audiences’ needs. It can be helpful to get a blog buddy to help brainstorm.
- Waiting for inspiration. While you’re not waiting for a visit from the inspiration fairy, your blog languishes without current content. With infrequent updates, readers won’t visit because there’s no new content. FIX: Blank-Page-Syndrome is curable. Here and here are treasure troves of blog post ideas. Chris Brogan talks about the discipline to write daily. It really helps!
- Sell, Sell, Sell. Does your blog exist solely to promote your products and/or services? If so, it can be a real turnoff for readers. Bear-in-mind that there’s a big difference between providing useful information about your products and a one-way promotion vehicle. Stacks and Stacks’ Clutter Control Freak blog does a good job of giving readers a heaping dose of practical information while Woot with its Deal of the Day approach combines promotion and information in a friendly way. FIX: Change your goal from product push to customer engagement and support. Think: How can I help my customers? [Here’s a good visual on communications and how social media fits in.]
- Lost me at the headline. Your headlines are boring! Remember with limited time, you must entice visitors to keep reading. Give them a strong reason. (Of course, you need to deliver the goods once you get their attention!) FIX: Check out these resources here and here. Don’t get discouraged. Headlines may require testing and trial and error. Use your analytics as a guide.
- Can’t read your content. Bloggers underestimate the importance of blog design including typography. Select large-enough-to-read font sizes and easy-on-the-eyes colors. The older your readers, the more important this is. Hot pink or lime green designs can cause readers to close your blog. FIX: Get feedback on your choice of type, etc. Ask questions like: “Is the typeface legible?” and “Are the colors compatible?”
- For robots only! Is your blog’s content stuffed with keywords and phrases solely to build search rankings? It must be human-friendly too or no one will read it. FIX: Develop posts that address readers’ needs and use language that makes sense to your readers, not just machines.
- Not written in a human voice. By their nature, blogs should retain their human voice. They shouldn’t sound like sanitized corporate or marketing speak. FIX: As a writer let a part of yourself enter your blogging. Think about your blog’s voice.
- Any day now your blog will load. This is particularly true for sites with lots of advertising that takes forever to load. FIX: Make sure that every aspect of your site is optimized and that you have sufficient bandwidth to support it.
- Nothing to attract my attention. Blog posts need more than just text or readers’ eyes will gloss over. FIX: Use online photographs to catch readers’ eye and break up endless text. Photographs and drawing need to be relevant to the blog post and they need to have the appropriate copyright license.
- Contains endless text. Online readers tend to scan information. They’re often reading on a mobile device and looking for facts. FIX: Use sub-headlines and bullet points to help readers get through your material quickly.
- No one’s home! The telltale signs of an empty blog are the lack of blogger interaction. This appears in the comments section where readers leave their comments but there’s no response. As a blogger, you need to reciprocate to show that you appreciate your readers’ time and effort. The classic exception is Seth’s blog. FIX: Respond to comments. If necessary, ask friends to leave some meaty comments and respond to them with additional information. “Thank you” is not sufficient. Here’s some advice for attracting blog comments.
- Don’t bug me! Your blog makes me register or view an obtrusive ad before I get to the meat of your content. While I appreciate the need to monetize your great content, blocking readers doesn’t win them over. FIX: Make your blog open so anyone can read it. If your content is worth paying for, consider using another format. Engage your readers in your blog post or at the end with a call-to-action to get them to register or do something else.
- Can’t find you. Your blog has poor SEO or is buried deep in your website’s navigation. FIX: Get some help with optimizing your blog for search. Check out these SEO resources: here, here and here.
- Didn’t get the invitation. You don’t let your audience know that there’s new material on your blog. FIX: Use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other relevant social media platforms to let readers know about new posts. Leverage other forms of communication such as your website and email. This is particularly important for bloggers who don’t blog every day.
- You don’t play with us! Being a part of the social media community is important for your blog. It lets readers see another side of your personality and brand. FIX: Regularly connect with people on a variety of social media platforms and expand your social media tribe.
- You don’t share your love. Part of blogging’s unwritten rules are to give readers more information in the form of links to relevant content by linking out to other websites and blogs. While some bloggers may be reticent to link out to others, they don’t realize that it helps build their stature as an expert. FIX: Be generous linking out to others. Where appropriate, include links to appropriate sources.
- Help–I found you once but I can’t find you again. Your blog’s URL is totally unmemorable, has nothing to do with the topic, or is just a jumble of letters. FIX: Get a URL that’s related to your blog. Here’s more information about blog domains.
To increase your blog’s traffic and engagement, use this checklist to assess where you can make improvements.
What are you doing that’s made a big difference in your blog? Are there any other elements that you can add to this list? Please include your comments in the comment section below to add to the conversation.
For more help with your blog marketing, check out 111 Ways to Get Your Marketing on Track.
Photo credit: Dark Botzy via Flickr