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5 ways to Increase your Blog Traffic

This post has been submitted by Neil Patel. Neil is co-founder and CTO of ACS) and writes regularly on social media issues through the company’s blog, Pronet Advertising.

Traffic, traffic, traffic! We all want more traffic but sometimes it can be hard to sift through all the things you can do and figure out the best way to increase your traffic. For starters, here are five proven things you can do that will increase your traffic.

1. Hit the GYM

A great source of traffic is search engines, so why not leverage them to their fullest before worrying about anything else. Getting your website placed high within search results is determined by three main things: code, links, and content. Because you are a blogger, content isn’t the biggest problem however the other two might be. By following these simple steps, you can increase your rankings and increase your search traffic.

2. Don’t be shy

There is always something hot in the blogosphere, just keep an eye out for what’s hot and make sure to join in on the conversation. This can boost traffic and links almost immediately. Sites like Techmeme feed off of what’s hot in the blogosphere and are a great place to put on your watchlist for the latest hot topics. One great example of this is the 5 rules of social media optimization. This article was taken by a handful of other bloggers and ended up becoming the 16 rules of social media optimization. This did not only create tons of links for the original article, but it also created tons of links for all the other bloggers who added to it.
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What Does it Mean to Optimize a Blog Post?

This post has been submitted by Aaron Wall – the author of the comprehensive Search Engine Optimization e-book SEO Book. He blogs at seobook.com

With so many people writing online today, just appealing to the robots is a surefire way to never gain market-share. Keyword research is important for creating targeted content, but focusing on things like keyword density leads to dense sounding content. And nobody wants to read that!

Even if your content exactly matches a search query, Google is not going to trust it much unless other people trust it first, which leads to a chicken vs egg scenario.

Until you get subscribers, build market attention, and people regularly link at your writing, then it is important to put people well ahead of search engines. When writing your headlines make sure they are clear and compelling, but place human emotional response ahead of trying to match as many keyword phrases as possible.

If you are new don’t be afraid to ask for help with marketing. Write comments on popular blogs, participate in discussion forums, buy AdSense ads on related blogs, interview someone who is popular or blog about them. Eventually people will notice. We are all selfish. We are each the most relevant thing in our lives.

Read more of Aaron’s work at his SEO Book Blog.

How to Leverage the Traffic of an A-List Blog

This Guest Post was written by Wendy Piersall from eMoms at Home.

When I look back over the last 11 months of how my own blog has grown, it’s safe to say that the person who has had the most influence in my traffic and growth has been Darren. Getting to meet him at Elite Retreat was incredibly cool, and at dinner one night we chatted about his Group Writing Projects. I mentioned that they had made a massive impact on creating long-term readers, links, and was the key to several very strong partnerships I have made along the way (especially when I first started out). The conversation got me thinking about all of the ways I have leveraged the audience of this site to grow my own blog.

Big blogs wouldn’t be big if they didn’t have a big audience – and on ProBlogger, Darren has created massive opportunities for you to share his fame, traffic and exposure.

Group Writing Projects are the easiest and best way to tap Darren’s audience. Here are my tips for getting the most out of these week-long traffic festivals:

  • Get your entry in the first day
  • Spend more time on your headline than you do on your post
  • Make a splash by submitting your best work
  • Keep your post on the short side, preferably under 600 words
  • Make it easily scan-able with subheads and bullets
  • Spend 30 minutes or so each day visiting other submissions, and be sure to comment
  • Actively link to the posts that are most relevant to your own blog
  • Stay active in the project the entire week

You don’t need to wait for a Group Writing Project to start tapping each others’ resources. Other ways to leverage the ProBlogger audience are:

  • Visit the bloggers that leave comments here, and consider introducing yourself to them
  • Link to each other frequently – Darren’s readers are a goldmine of knowledge!
  • Join Darren’s MyBlogLog Community, and use his widget to find others in your niche (I ALWAYS click the mom avatars!!)
  • Comment on his readers’ blogs, letting them know you found them through ProBlogger
  • Answer each others’ questions in the comments on this site
  • Praise each other in the comments on this site (I assure you, that will get you noticed!!)
  • Subscribe to the blogs Darren links to and leverage their traffic in the same way

Blogging is one of the few marketing mediums on the planet in which it’s not only ok to try and steal readers, it actually helps everyone when you do. Darren has a vested interest in your success – and has created a community on this site that can help you as much as he can directly. Leverage it to your advantage and watch everything grow.

Edit: Sorry everyone – somehow I turned comments off of this post! I’ve turned them back on now. *sheepish grin* -Wendy

How a Trackback after a Comment Can Start a Relationship

The following post has been contributed by Liz Strauss from Successful Blog.

I was working today, answering comments and writing a post, when in came a trackback from a blog I didn’t know.

It immediately got my attention.

I went over to see who was talking. Of course, I knew the name of the blogger. He had just been on my post and written two comments. I could remember what they said, but I really didn’t know him. I had been planning to visit his blog later, but you know that later sometimes just doesn’t make it.

With a trackback – something about answering Liz’s compelling question — that blogger made sure I went to see him. His trackback had captured my full attention. What question? What was his answer? I had to find out. I wanted to solve the puzzle. I was at the point in my day when I needed some fun.

That’s the power of a well done trackback. It’s an intriguing invitation to visit, and I knew the place I was visiting was a blog where they knew me because the trackback called me Liz. Trackbacks are a great to begin a relationship, especially if you’ve left a comment first. Here’s why:

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How to Promote a Blog

If there’s a question that I get asked more than any other it’s about how to promote a blog.

Here’s some of the most popular posts that I’ve written on the topic of promoting blogs:

How To Drive Traffic to Your Blog – The Advice of a 12 Year Old

DavidpressRemember 12 year old blogger David Wilkinson from Techzi? David and I have kept in touch with one another since I posted about him last and recently I asked him to consider writing a guest post here at ProBlogger. I thought a 12 year old’s perspective on how to get traffic to your blog might be worth hearing. Here’s his post.

When Darren Rowse comes up to you, and asks you to write a post for ProBlogger.net, it’s not something you can really say ‘no’ to. Not that you’d want to of course, but more the fact that it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. Why should I write, of all people though? Well Darren wanted to hear the methods that I as a young person use to drive traffic to my blog, without spending any money.

Learning the basics

First you need to grasp and understand that the Internet is a big place. Several billion web-pages, and often with very little time available to the end-user, they’ll use several techniques to find what they’re looking for.

SEO

Search? Standard engines like Google, Yahoo and Live are the most popular nowadays, and optimizing your site to be found easily, can be easy and hard based on many factors.

My best advice for someone starting out would be to start by building quality content for somebody to see, then progressing to “The Three Cs”. This way, you’ll get noticed by genuinely interested people, who’ll actively want to play a part in your site’s development, by giving you quality feedback on ways to improve, design and usability.

If you have a blog or a website that’s been going for several weeks, perhaps a month or two, and you’ve done “The Three Cs”, or at least some of them, would be to start focusing on building on your existing content, with fresh, interesting, relevant and unique content. Note I say ‘relevant’ and ‘unique’. This is important. There are so many splogs out there now-a-days, that people can quickly distinguish whether an article has been written by somebody or not, at least the majority of the time. Relevance too, like I said, is a key factor. If you have a very personal blog, then one day write something completely off-topic about a new type of golf club that comes out, people will start to wonder if you and your blog actually have an aim or a purpose, which is yet another vital thing to consider.

If you’re somebody with a very mature blog, that is several months or more old, you can now focus on the technical side of things, which is mainly down to the spiders. If you’ve been blogging this long, then if you’re not on your own domain, or hosting, I recommend it, as it allows for greater flexibility, design and SEO. Search engine optimization? Yep! A Google Sitemap can be stuck on your server for the Google-Bot and metatags can be added, which let you pre-define information about your page automatically, such as the author, a description, keywords and feed information. This also makes usability easier for feed-ready browsers like Firefox and Internet Explorer 7. Tacky pre-set designs become a thing of the past too, and upgrading to WordPress can be a smart move, as the developer community there will help you along the way with every aspect of your blog, from the writing itself, to the advanced functionality like widgets that are available, and the themes that are freely downloadable to customize your blog’s look. Of course you could always give design a go yourself as I did at Techzi.net – though admittedly I enlisted the help of two professional designers as well.So, what are these ‘C’s that I’ve been talking to you so much about anyway? Read on to find out…

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23 Ideas for Finding New Readers for Your Blog

Over the weekend I ran an ‘open mike’ discussion which asked the question of How do you find Readers for Your Blog?

There were quite a few responses to the question – some of which went a little unnoticed as they were moderated until I got home. So I thought I’d summarize some of the main themes that arose in the discussion with a few quotes from those who left comments.

For the full series of comments see the post – but here are the main themes listed in no particular order except that they are vaguely the order that people submitted them in (keep in mind that these ideas come from readers – not all of them will be for everyone):

1. Comment on Related Blogsraising4boys writes – “Commenting on related blogs is probably the most effective strategy early on in the process. And responding to comments when people leave them on your blog (this encourages them to keep coming back).” And from Brody – “I visit other blogs in my niche, add them to my feed and participate in the discussion on their blogs via the comments. Writing interesting comments often gets people to click through to see your site.”

2. Join Forumselprezidente writes – “I’ve found that one very quick way to infuse readers to a new blog is to be active in discussion forums related to your blog topic. Locate posts that ask for help with something you are familiar with and share your experience.”

3. Write Effective Post TitlesAziz writes – “Simple and to the point. The title should create an instant urge to read the entire post… But of course it should be related to the topic of your blog”

4. InterviewsOllie writes – “One example being to interview fellow bloggers who are in the same niche as me. This has gone down well, and has been great for both myself and the interviewee as traffic flows between us.”

5. PersistDan Norman writes – “Persistence is key. After starting up a new blog last month and letting go of another this month, I notice that traffic (quality traffic) doesn’t happen over night. On my last site, I think it took 6 months before ASK.com found me.”

6. Connect with Local BloggersRob O writes – “The other thing I’ve been doing just recently is connecting up with other bloggers in my city and the neighboring towns. We’ve got something of a link exchange going and a nice side-effect to this is that I/we have discovered that there are quite a few more bloggers and/or website authors in the area than ever expected.”

7. Give Away Free StuffPeterandrej writes – “I’ve had some success with giving away free stuff, like free templates for WordPress. It doesn’t give me lot of new readers, because my blog is written in Norwegian, but the templates give lots and lots of new links to the blog, giving it a much better pagerank in Google, which in turn should mean more readers from search-engines.”

8. Be OpinionatedTrent writes – “Be opinionated, but encourage opposing viewpoints in the comments. Opinionated makes you interesting – encouraging other perspectives makes you essential.”

9. Ask Questions of Other BloggersTrent also writes – “Ask questions of other moderately successful bloggers and try to network. If you shoot too high, you’ll often get blown off because these people have so much stuff to read and deal with.”

10. Use TrackbacksMaki writes – “Sending highly creative and penetrating trackbacks about a blogger’s original post.”

11. AdvertiseMike Panic writes – “Buy advertising space on related websites.”

12. Educate Readers about RSS - Mike Panic writes – “With the most recent blog I launched I created a page in WordPress called Feeds which not only has the RSS icon on it but a description of what a “feed” is and what are some of the most common ways to subscribe and use feeds, mostly pulled from a CC article.”

13. Offline Promotion - Mike Panic writes – “Talk to friends, family and coworkers about them… you’d be surprised how much the traditional way of “networking” really does work…. also Business cards, depending which blog I’ll post on a community board at a grocery store.

14. Search Engine OptimizationMichelle writes – “Properly optimizing my blog has been a big boost to my readership. Once I figured out how to play around with SEO I started getting a regular 25-35% of my hits from Google.”

15. Quality Content (mentioned by many) – ilker writes – “Posting only quality content.. obviously! Better posts are discussed more, increasing both the number of comments and references in other blogs.”

16. Blog CarnivalsSlade writes – “submitting posts to Blog Carnivals”

17. MemesLeanne writes – “I’ve picked up a handful of wonderful friends and readers through initiating the “Thursday Thirteen”. Yeah, a meme. Bloggers want to know about bloggers, not just the business aspect of it but the *person* writing the blog. Reading a quick list of “getting to know me” type tidbits gives me instant inside information on whether or not I will become a regular visitor. Some participants have used it solely to gain business, but frankly I think that turns people away. People are interested in people first, and what they do second. It works.”

18. Frequent Posting - baggage writes – “I also try to post frequently. I find that the more I post, the more readers I have. The less comments, but the more readers.”

19. Guest BloggersRandom Good Stuff writes – “I invite other bloggers to guest blog and allow always one link back to their site. I have 3 active guest authors … and in return they link to my site from time to time.”

20. Get Links from Other BlogsJamdo writes – “Getting mentioned on other sites and blogs in the same niche, I think, has been the best way to get a readership who keeps returning to a blog. Make contact with other bloggers in yoru niche via comments, email, AIM, skype, homing pigeons – whatever.”

21. NewslettersAdrian writes – “The Zookoda newsletter provides nice spikes and people tend to forward the newsletter to their friends.”

22. Social NetworksIlya writes – “Submit your story to Digg and reddit and, regardless of whether it makes the front page or not, you get 50-100 free hits. The easiest way to generate quick exposure. Failing that, comment frequently on blogs that you like. With any luck, the blog author will want to find out more about you, follow the link to your blog, and perhaps write a post referencing one of your posts.”

23. Pitch Your PostsMarty Weil writes – “I view other bloggers as a PR pros view journalists working in traditional media. I reach out to bloggers using tactics successfully employed in the world of professional media relations. For instance, I “pitch” specific posts that they might find adds value to topics they are writing about. I also send email introducing them to my blog, but only if there’s a good fit between my blog and theirs. The key is to be very selective in approaching the “media gatekeeper”–just as successful and smart media relations people do.”

How do you find Readers for Your Blog? – Open Mike

I’m heading away for one night as part of our long weekend here in Australia for Australia Day and so thought it might be time for a reader discussion on the topic that everyone seems to be asking me about these days – ‘how do I find readers for my blog?’

Share you own experiences and tips on how you’ve drawn readers to your blog.

What’s worked for you?
What hasn’t worked for you?
What would you recommend for someone just starting out in blogging who has no readers?

Looking forward to reading your responses when I get home tomorrow.

Have a good weekend!

Digg Traffic vs Referral Traffic – Which is Best?

Digital Inspiration has a post on Getting Noticed by A-list bloggers vs Getting on Digg Front Page which makes a few worthwhile observations.

It fits pretty closely to a comment I made last week in an interview with Jeremy when I was asked which social networking site I’d prefer to get traffic from. My response was (and I’m paraphrasing here) that while I don’t mind the rush of traffic of traffic that a site like Digg can bring in that I’d prefer a link from another blogger because it brings a different type of traffic.

Digg Traffic – While Digg brings a rush of traffic – it does so from a site with a very broad focus in terms of topics. It also sends the traffic largely from a link with little context around it and in most cases a link that comes from a largely anonymous person.

Blog Traffic - Traffic from another blogger is different on a number of levels. While it might not come in the same numbers – it will generally come with commentary and context, from a site that usually has some sort of a single focus, from a person who has established some level of trust and/or profile with their readers.

As a result – in most cases the Digg traffic comes and goes quickly and doesn’t usually hang around for dialogue – whereas referrals from other sites is more likely to ‘convert’ either as a longer term viewer, RSS subscriber, newsletter member or comment leaver.

Of course Digg traffic isn’t completely useless – in fact if you harness it you can grow a blog over time. It comes in such high numbers that even if only a very small group stick around it can be worthwhile.

It also brings a round of secondary links – which can be good for SEO and lastly it doesn’t hurt the old ego and can give a rush of motivation to a blogger. The key with Digg traffic however is to work on converting readers into loyal ones.

More reflections on different types of traffic at: