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Monday
Jul122010

how to get more blog traffic

One way is to write articles like this...

I have just been scouting around looking at the tips out there to increase traffic and mostly they are uninspiring, on a par with telling writers to make sure their book is listed on amazon. Some crazily suggest posting articles 3-5 times a day. For some reason that reminds me of lunatics locked into a cycle of terminal self abuse...

OK- I've found out the following throughout a year of posting articles:

1) Even if you post nothing, you can expect 2/3 the traffic you get when posting madly.

2) My highest traffic for ages was generated by an innocuous small article I wrote ages ago called 'a cure for horsefly bites'. In the winter this gets no hits. From June on it is number one. It answers a real need. Someone has been bitten. They type in how do I cure this and get directed to me. So, being a slow learner its taken me until now to work out that people react best to material that answers some pressing urgent need. My post, one of my favourites, about tickling, gets no attention (though I am thinking of starting an international tickling society with tickle fests around the globe etc. I digress) because being tickled is not a pressing matter to most of us. So what I advise is: recast your existing posts with titles that suggest it is the answer to a pressing need. Instead of 'some remarks on zips' post 'How to get that stuck zip unstuck'. It's not enough to answer a potential need. You should answer a real urgent one. Doesn't have to be serious though. For many people it is urgent to know which type of apple laptop is best.

3) Get your blog headlines sent out via twitter. Most of my referrals are through twitter.

4) Mention famous people in your headline. One of my posts on Michael Phelps gets lots of hits. How about "Not the Michael Jackson method for cooking saveloys' or 'Three ways to beat Tiger Woods at getting a hole in one.'etc

5) Good quotations by people from history that modern people want to resend to others.

6) Useful advice based on real experience.

7) Anything that sparkles, that has a 'hey gladys' factor. 'hey Gladys' refers to a tabloid test of a story - it means does this story make the reader lean over their garden fence and shout 'hey gladys, listen to this' to their neighbour.

8) Recently I have had a huge response to an article aimed at showing how it's not time we lack but energy. The article was very punchy and highly focused, constantly re-iterating the same thesis in different ways. The opening line hinted at solving that age old problem- 'not enough time'. Later I retitled some articles to make them answers or direct allusions to solving PRESSING needs and problems. This really works.

9) Time is a big factor in growing your readership. A year and a bit on mine is growing by the month even when I post only once a week.

10) Change the layout of you site from time to time. This always increases page views and traffic.

11) By checking what is popular you get closer to the intersection of what you want to do and what people want to read. For example, my posts on Egypt and Japan were very popular when these places were in the news- less so now- but I can't write like that all the time, nor would I want to. But a piece I did called 'this is spiral thinking' is now getting loads of hits because someone discovered it months after it was written- and I love writing this kind of post- so now I have a good indication of where to go- maximising at the intersection of my interests and my readers'.

12) Keep checking your unique hits and page view stats. As long as they are rising your blog is working, however slowly. If they are level then keep doing the above until they start rising. When you build a campfire even if there is no flame as long as the smoke is increasing it WILL burst into flame eventually. Keep the smoke increasing. 

13) Have a sense of narrowing in on what the blog/site is about. This needn't and probably shouldn't be very definite. But over time it's good if you are zoning in on your strengths not weaknesses.

14) Put interesting and irrefutable autobiographical info on wikipedia sites of famous people. Then link the reference directly to a post on your site. For example if your site is about music do a few posts on famous musicians and then post autobiographical info on their wiki entries with links back to you. 

15) For some reason anything to do with saving time always gets big hits...

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