12 Tips – How to Get More Traffic to Your Blog

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I get a kick out of everyone who stresses over their stats and checks them many times throughout the day – if not the hour. I often forget to check my stats. Better stats still scare me. I liken it to being on a stage while an audience watches and listens. Will they get up and walk out? Will they laugh at the humor moments? Will they enjoy themselves? Will they throw tomatoes?Image

Even on days when my post might be a stinker, I’m grateful for the people who come by and push the Like button. A comment is icing on the cake, and because I know how both make me feel, I try to be supportive of the blogs I follow and comment when I can without saying something too stupid (and oh, yeah, I have done that). I even click many of the links on blog posts. I’ve found some interesting people and things on the other side of those clicks.

I noticed a few minutes ago that the next comment to my blog will be the 600th comment. Here are a few more of my stats:

  • My total views doubled from July to August.
  • The highest number of views I’ve had on any one day was 74. That’s fine with me (see paragraph one again).
  • I have 153 followers. My husband was surprised I had that many. Me, too.
  • The dog Muttley was #2 on my list of most hits through search engines, with “horse poo” being in the top ten.
  • I’ve never been, and I never want to be Freshly Pressed. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say never, but not for a long time, that’s for sure.

So, why have I had the recent urge to search for ways to get better stats?

Because having people visit my blog, if only for a moment or two, puts my name and Susan Hunter’s Imagename out there. And someone who likes pink or mysteries might stay around a little longer to see what we’re about.

By the time I was done wading through articles and blogs, I actually had a lot of information about getting more blog visitors. Some of it was technical and pertained more to a business than a personal blog. A lot of it was what most people already know – visit other blogs, leave comments and likes, respond to comments on your own blog, add graphics, shorter is better than longer … but the following are some additional suggestions. I’m not attributing them to any one person or article, because they are fairly generic, and I encountered them in multiple places. Some of the information came from the gurus right here at WordPress.

#1 – Your blog should express what you’re most passionate about. I definitely see this on many blogs, but if someone had said this to me before I started blogging, I probably wouldn’t have even tried. I’m supposed to be, and am mostly, chronicling my writing journey, which is not yet a passion as much as it is a wonderment.

#2 – Are you blogging to help people, be a resource, and make a difference? Or to make you famous? Well, let’s be honest.  I’m not doing much here to help people. I’m definitely not a resource. And nothing I write will make a difference in the world. I’m sort of leaning to the famous side – you know, the book thing. Everyone says if that’s the case, then you should quit now. So, if you don’t see me after today, I took their advice and packed it in.

#3 – Post only one post per week.

#4 – Post Often.  Obviously, there was a mix of advice as to how often to post. Some say multiple times per day, others say writing and posting too often leads to weak writing, but the majority thought posting often would lead to the best results – every day or every other day would keep the search engines happy, too.

#5 – Analyze your blog’s competition.  What?! We are in competition with each other? I had no idea, and I refuse to play along.

#5 – Don’t blog about your pet, your boyfriend, husband, or your kids. I’m already turning people away. I probably had 1,000 followers and they are dropping like flies. My husband and our dead dogs come up often. My kid is not yet off the hook, and I don’t agree with this. There are loads of blogs with families at the heart of them, and frankly, I like them.

#6 – People want you to talk about them, not you. -and- Write in the second person.  I generally want to visit my favorite blogs to see what each person is up to. I like it when they talk about what they’re doing or accomplishing. And what’s with writing in the second person? You. Your. Yours. I always thought second person was best used for e-mail, presentations, and professional writing. I can see this on a more information driven blog than a personal blog.

#7 – Tell stories. -and- Write about a never-ending parade of different topics so you don’t bore your readers.  I’ve got that covered – sort of. Book stuff, stories, bits of information. There are different topics simply because I have no idea where I’m going here.

#8 – Guest post on other blogs. Crikey, this is good advice, and for most of you, it would work, but I have enough trouble finding something to say here without getting on someone else’s stage, too.

#9 – Use numbers in your title to indicate lists, and the words “how to.” These are highly searched key Imagewords, and we are a list-making society, as well as a people who want to know how to do things. Got that covered today!

#10 – Conduct Keyword Research While Writing Your Posts.  I think there is a lot to be said for keyword search. I simply haven’t taken the time to put enough thought to it yet. But using keywords in your title and in your post will definitely bring more hits, and hopefully, more readers to your blog. There are entire sites devoted to keywords. Working a high-ranking keyword or two into every post can be extremely beneficial. I came across an article from a blogger who had passed the million hit mark. He swears by keyword search – even writing entire articles about random topics just so he could include high-value keywords.

#11 – Turn your articles and blog posts into PDFs, then submit your PDFs to document sharing sites like Scribd.  “Scribd is the world’s largest online library, making it easy to share and discover entertaining, informative and original written content across the web and mobile devices.” This is perfect for bloggers who share great information, but there are also books, recipes, and other interesting writing here. Hold your cursor over the word “explore” at the top to see the numerous categories. And there are some awesome Geek types on the About page.

#12 – Start using Pinterest to post pictures from your blog.  I did this as soon as I found the tip. It takes a little time, but you’ll want to go to the actual blog post to grab your image to pin. That way, each picture will link back to the post where it was used. Ideally, you should label your picture with a bit of information about the blog post. I may do that later. I knew I was putting goofy pictures out there last night. There are usually lovely pictures flowing across the Pinterest landscape, and I dropped goofiness on it. I didn’t care; I did it anyway. My Pinterest page. My whopping two followers haven’t ditched me yet.Image

This was a long one today, but I hope it was helpful.

As I started this post a couple of days ago, my 600th comment came and went. It was from Jennings Wright who is amazing and has written four books – in different genres! Please check out her blog – and consider buying one of her books.

Do You Want to Kill Your Blog Posts?

And now for something completely different. This will be an educational post!

I was doing a simple search for a problem I was having with my WordPress reader. An unrelated link Imageshowed up, but the title was interesting, so I clicked it. If you would like to bypass my babbling altogether, go straightaway here and get the professional’s original version:

12 Things That Will Kill Your Blog Post Every Time by Neil Patel at SEOmoz

Before I share the highlights of the article and my thoughts, you should know that I had to do another search to find out what SEO meant. Search Engine Optimization. Oh, I see. That makes sense. So here we go …

1. Crafting cute, clever or confusing headlines (or really bad ones)

Patel says, “The goal of the headline is to stop readers cold and draw them into your post. You can’t do that if you use cute, clever or confusing headlines.”

Strike one against me. I never craft my title with search engines in mind, but maybe you should if you want people to come to your blog. He goes on to say, “You can stop readers cold, however, if you write headlines that are unique, ultra-specific, useful or urgent.”

2. Never linking to old posts

What?! I didn’t know this was a good idea. In that case, read these posts:

Erotica (Blush) – where I freak out about today’s romance books. I had no idea mainstream romance novels had moved into the porn arena.

Always Check for One in the Chamber – where I tell the tale of the day my husband shot himself. In our house, it’s considered humor.

3. Never linking to other bloggers

I’m getting better at this now that I have some relationships with other bloggers. Here is a link to a blogImage I found 45 seconds ago. I typed the word pizza into the WP search engine, and scrolled through the posted links with pictures. I was stopped by this cute guy and his master making pizza. Stop by and take a look – This Little Italian Cooks. I am now a follower.

4. Forgetting to fill out your page title and description fields

Yeah. Ok. I don’t have a clue. I’ll need to do more research on this. Patel talks about plug-ins and Nutella.

5. Creating clunky URLs

Patel says, “If you want to give your post a fighting chance in the SEO landscape, then you have to include recognizable words in your URL. This means keywords, too.”

Ooh, I never thought about this. And I’ve had a website for sixteen years. I’m a moron.

6. Plagiarizing other bloggers

I’m not guilty of this! But I’ve seen some nasty comments between bloggers when one quotes another without credit. Don’t do that!

I don’t believe I am plagerizing Neil Patel because I’m admitting all of the intelligent stuff in this post belongs to him. Neil Patel. From a post on SEOmoz.

7. Publishing less than one post per month

There are bloggers who I wish would post more often. I enjoy their posts. But even if they only posted once a month, I would still be happy to see them in my Reader. I do understand that the search spiders won’t be kind to you though.

8. Writing big blocks of copy

Patel says, “Writing short paragraphs is a basic blog post writing law. Just like simple words and short sentences. Resort to long blocks of copy and you are stacking the deck against your blog post.” He goes on to point out that people will only stick around and read until they’re bored.

I’ve found this to be true. Sometimes, I read a blog post, and it’s good, and I think I’m at the end, but it goes on and on for as long or longer than what I’ve already read. I’m easily distracted. I sometimes leave.

P.S. – I love Patel. He just gave credence to my use of simple words and short sentences.

9. Zero presence on any social media platforms

In addition to your blog, he recommends Twitter, Facebook, and especially Google+.

Me = FAIL

I have a presence on Twitter and Facebook, but they scare me too much to use them.

10. Never inviting readers to leave comments

I’m hesitant to do this. It feels like begging for comments. I hope I will come across as approachable, and people will feel comfortable to leave comments, yet I appreciate the bloggers who ask a question, because I’m more likely to respond.

ImageFor example, Sarah at Earful of Cider is running a poetry contest about BACON until Monday night at midnight. The prize is a nifty mug. Sarah says, “Lay your bacon poetry on me – bacon haiku, sonnets, limericks, couplets, spectrism, reverse verse, Purple Cows Sows, nursery rhymes, cinquains, whatever.” She is friendly and inviting – and she’s a librarian. Hubby and I both entered her contest. Here is the poem I would not allow hubby to submit:

Slice it, smoke it, fry it up quick.
Make sure it’s done, or it might make you sick.
Splattering grease burn, it looks like a freckle.
An apron protects you, especially your schmekel.

I’ve admitted to Sarah that we are really twelve year olds.

11. Writing about a topic nobody cares about

Been there. Done that. Some days, it’s a crapshoot.

12. Giving up

Patel says some successful blogs didn’t take off until they were two years in, and most people quit by nine months.

Never give up! Never surrender! ~Commander Jason Nesmith

Seriously …

Neil Patel wrote a great article complete with graphics and loads of links to even more information. It’s extremely helpful, especially to a new blogger. There are 130 comments, and some of the information in the comments section is as good as the article itself. So, if you haven’t already done so, hop on over to read Neil Patel’s 12 Things That Will Kill Your Blog Post Every Time.

What do you think will kill a blog post? Should I teach more often? Will you be entering the bacon contest?

(Look at me! Asking questions!)