Blogging Basics – Part 6 {Grow your traffic}

Hi! Thanks for stopping by and welcome to part 6 of my  Blogging Basics series!

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…you’re an absolute Blogging Newbie
…you just started blogging and you feel like you could need some helpful tips and tricks
…you have been blogging for a while but somehow feel like you might have missed out some vital steps
…you have been blogging for years but somehow you have trouble getting people to read your blog and subscribe

Last time we talked TIME MANAGEMENT. Today is all about how to increase your blog’s traffic.

blogging basics part 6

HOW TO GROW YOUR TRAFFIC

Sooner or later bloggers want to grow their traffic. Growing your blog’s traffic means getting more people to visit you site. By increasing your traffic, the ultimate aim is to get a bigger permanent readership. Here are some tips that are helpful if you’re unfamiliar with how increasing your traffic works.

(Since the post is quite comprehensive I used subheadings this time.)

 

Spreading your link (in a good way).

I don’t know if there’s the right way to leave links to your site, but you should keep some things in mind in order to avoid backfiring. Leaving a link to your blog or website is a very simple and sometimes very effective way to get people to come to your site. But mindlessly spreading links in a very impolite manner can have counter-productive effects.

#1 Comment, but don’t be spam.

Commenting on other blogs and website is a very nice way to spread some love and your blog’s link but, as mentioned before, you have to be fair and polite. You don’t want to end up in the trash or spam folder of other people’s websites. Although you might get some clicks by mindlessly leaving hundreds of links, this will probably not make people like your blog (which is what we want, don’t we?)

To understand this better, here are some examples illustrating how to and how to NOT leave a link.

Comment A: “Come visit my blog : “URL”.”

Comment B: “Awesome giveaway at “URL”.”

or

Comment C: “What a cute idea. I bet it took ages to make this! Just found your blog at XYZ and love it! Have a look at mine if you’d like: “URL”.”

Comment D: “Great job. Love this idea. – Sarah from “URL”.”

Imagine you’re the one getting these comments. What do you think? Would you like to get comments like A and B? Would you be likely to follow the link?
Think about what you’d like to read in your comments. Comments should be related to the specific post you’re commenting on, they should be nice and friendly and your link should be left in the most unobtrusive way possible.

Don’t be afraid of leaving links to your site, but do this in a fair and polite manner!

#2 Link up (or host link parties).

A second easy way to spread your link is by linking up your awesome posts.
There are thousands of link parties out there where people can share their newest crafts, recipes, DIYs and with a bit of luck get featured. If you have no clue what link parties are, go and google it. Many blog have a link party directory with links to the parties they go to.

When you’ve found your favorite link parties, always make sure you follow their party rules. Every party is different. Some allow multiple links, others want you to link back. Just make sure you’ve read the rules. If you don’t follow their rules, your link might be deleted or not get featured.

You can always start to host your own party, as well. This way (once your party is established in the blogger world) you’ll get a lot of traffic. Be aware that this is a huge time commitment that can be quite overwhelming for newbies. Keep in mind that part of the traffic might just be people coming to “link and run” without having a look around on your blog. If you’re new to the blogger world I would strongly recommend waiting with hosting your own party. Instead, link up your own great posts on other people’s parties and watch the while party thing for a while, before hosting your own.

 

Visit others to grow your own traffic.

Yes, that’s right. To grow your traffic you need to grow traffic of others. You need to spend most of the time on other people’s blogs, instead of watching your own site stats (which isn’t very helpful and nothing but depressing in the beginning).

#3 Start blogger friendships!

Follow the blogs you love, leave them some really nice comments and show them some love. Follow new blogs, as well. Always remember they’re probably going through the same thing as you are. Sooner or later blogger friendships will be built up. Blogger friendships can be very helpful and are a very nice way to encourage each other in doing what we love. There are things like blogger meetings (if you live close or are visiting the area), guest posts or hosting a party together.

#4 Comment, comment, comment.

To get some love, you need to spread some love. Comment! When you really like a post, let them know you do. Often they will pay you a visit, as well. I often visit the blogs of people who comment on my posts and leave them a comment myself. It’s just a nice thing to do and you discover so many really good blogs you wouldn’t have otherwise.

For getting all the blogs you follow organized I can recommend Bloglovin’. You can follow your favorite blogs, organize them in groups and get all the updates in a neatly arranged news feed. It helps you keep track of the blogs you like and makes it easy to comment on all the new awesome posts that show up.

#5 Getting comments.

There are a few things to keep in mind in order to make it easier for people to comment on your blog.

Firstly, NO CAPTCHAS. NEVER. We all hate captchas and sometimes they’re so hard to decipher that it’s impossible to leave a comment. Get rid of captchas. Better use a good anti-spam plugin and moderate all comments before they get published!

Secondly, not everyone has OpenID, a Google or whatsoever account. Make sure you provide a  “comment Anonymous” or  comment with “Name & URL” option. Most people don’t have an OpenID or do not want to log into an account to comment. They won’t be able to leave a comment even if they want. And what’s wrong with commenting anonymously? As mentioned, moderate you comments or get an anti-spam plug-in to avoid spam in your comments, but make sure that people who want to leave nice comments are able to do so. The best thing is to have a very simple Name&Email commenting format where people have the option to leave an URL if they want to.

#6 Reply to comments!

Show some appreciation. Always try to reply to comments or visit your reader’s blogs and leave them a comment there. Your appreciation will be appreciated, don’t forget that.

 

Be Google-friendly.

Make Google your friend by using meaningful keywords all over your blog. When you use keywords, your content is more likely to show in Google search. This is very basic SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). If I have the time I might be writing about SEO some other time.

#7 Name your pictures.

Always take the time to name your pictures. Don’t just save and upload them as IMG1234.jpg. That’s not helpful for Google at all. A picture labelled “petticoat tutorial” is more likely to pop up on Google image search! If there’s a description option, enter a short description. This will also show in image search and is a very helpful tool for Google to find relevant keywords.

I also add a “by thisblogisnotforyou.com” to the picture name. A lot of people are lazy when pinning and sharing pictures and just keep the original name. When the name or description of the picture is something like “Petticoat tutorial by thisblogisnotforyou.com”, people seeing the picture immediately know where to find the original post.

#8 Use Google-friendly keywords.

The same rule applies to headings and tags! Use meaningful keywords in your headings and when you add tags to a post. When crawling your blog Google finds these and your blog is more likely to show up when someone googles these keywords.

I used to have pretty keyword-free headlines like book titles or movie quotes. This is not helpful for SEO, trust me. Always keep it simple and clear.

#9 Don’t change permalinks to your posts once they’re published.

This is a common mistake. Always check before publishing your post if you’re ok with the permalink (the link URL to this specific post). Sometimes your blog auto-saves your first drafted headline as the name of your permalink. When you don’t like it, change it before publishing. Once the post is published keep your hands off the permalink. By changing it you risk people who shared or saved the old link to end up on an error page. You’ll lose a lot of traffic when that happens, especially when it’s a link that got shared a lot.

It’s also counter-productive for your SEO. Google counts invalid URL of your blog as “hits” (negative entries) in its index. (You don’t want that).

 

Getting a permanent readership: Following and sharing options.

With growing your traffic your aim is not only to get as many people as possible to read your blog, but also to get a permanent readership and subscribers. Here are some things to keep in mind.

#10 Offer a variety of following options

To get a permanent readership you need to offer choices! Everyone has their own preference for how to subscribe. You might not be able to provide every option possible, but you should definitely offer the most common ones. Not everyone wants to have everything you write about to end up in their email inbox and if you offer email subscription as the only option they might decide not to follow your blog.

RSS feed and email subscription are the most basic and common options that every blog should offer. I also offer Bloglovin’ and Pinterest. If your blog has a Facebook or Twitter account, add these to your following options.

Always place the options on top of page, prominently, so that people don’t have to search for them.

Never ever subscribe visitors for something without his consent. Every once in a while I get newsletter and emails from blogs I commented on or where I linked up a post without having subscribed. Forcing people to get your email newsletter or subscribing them without given consent backfires. People are most likely to mistrust you and not visit again.

Emails you don’t want to get are also often marked as spam. When that happens a lot, your newsletter mail address might get indexed as a spam address and won’t make it to any inbox any more.

Be aware of that and never subscribe people without them knowing of it.

#11 Show different sharing buttons.

Having a multitude of options also applies for sharing buttons. For getting more traffic you need to spread your content by having it shared by other people. Offer various sharing options like Facebook, Pinterest, email, Twitter or Google+.

 

Last but not least.

There are many ways to grow your traffic. Not everything works for everyone. Find out what you can do and what you can’t do. Over time you’ll see what works best for you. Don’t expect your traffic to grow over night; it might take weeks, months, years. Be patient. Don’t get discouraged if it takes longer. You’re not blogging for your visitor stats, you’re blogging because it’s fun.

No matter if you decide to follow any of this advice or not, always keep in mind:

Interesting sites will increase their recognition on their own. Content is king and should always be your priority!

Read Part 1 {Get People to Look at you}
Read Part 2 {Layout}
Read Part 3 {Content #1}
Read Part 4 {Content #2}
Read Part 5 {Invest your time wisely}
Read Part 7 {Make your blog legal}

Liked it? Have feedback? Please do tell me!

And stay tuned…Part 7 of my Blogging Basics is coming up next week! The next part will be all about legal stuff! x

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22 thoughts on “Blogging Basics – Part 6 {Grow your traffic}

  1. I keep seeing references to SEO and know I need more information on this topic. Hope you do decide to write about it for the clueless among us!

    1. I’ll try! It’s quite a broad topic, but when I can find the time, I’ll write about some basics! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Thanks for all the great tips, I will start labeling my photos, I’m sure it’s worth the extra time. I have learned a lot over my first 7 months, and the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know! I’m signing up to follow you so I don’t miss anything, Thanks!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jenna! Great, you’ve decided to label your pics. Yeah, learning never stops. There are so many new things about blogging I learn every day. This is why I decided to do this series, it can be so overwhelming for new bloggers to do the first steps and keep up with everything when you’re not sure what to focus on in the beginning!

  3. Great post! I’m always looking for ways to improve my blog and stats 🙂
    I found you today thru Monday Funday Linky Party, where I’m #418. I hope you will stop by my blog and leave a comment, too!
    ~ Megin of VMG206

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Megin! Love your Blog & would love to comment, but there’s no way to comment without OpenID/account 🙁 Haven’t found the time yet to decide which OpenID to get

  4. Thank you for this post. I plan to go back and read the previous ones. I am only 11 months old. Some of this information I learned along the way. I have found that most other bloggers will help out when you are stuck. I am now following you with with Bloglovin’ – one lesson learned :>)

    1. I’m very glad you liked it! Blogger friendships are so important! Encouraging and supporting each other is such a nice thing!

  5. What great ideas you have provided. It is nice to learn from others when you are new to blogging and want to grow your site.
    Thanks so much for the tips.
    Found you through SHOW-Licious Craft Showcase #22.
    Bev
    @http://eclecticredbarn.blogspot.com

    1. Thanks, Beverly! Yeah, I kind of missed the basic “newbie” advice when I started out with my blog, this is why I’m doing this series. Hope you find it helpful!

  6. This is a great series. I pinned this. I just got brave enough to launch publicly. It is so nice that everyone has been helpful – where else do you get that?

    I found a plug-in called WordPress SEO – when you hit on all the correct words a circle turns green, or red or yellow if you do not do it correctly. Just when I think I have followed everything correctly I bump into a problem, but all-in-all it has been helpful.

    Oh, I found you at Beyond The Picket Fence.

  7. Thanks for these tips, they are very helpful. I keep trying to do the right thing by the blog world, but sometimes I think I keep mucking up! My blog is 6 months old but active for only about 3 of those. How do you manage to keep the enthusiasm up when you feel like it’s all for nothing?

    P.S. just followed you

    1. Thanks Kate!! Whenever you feel like you’re having a little blog wear out – take a break! When you feel you’re missing the motivation which you had when you started, sit back think about what annoys you, what you’d like to change. Analyse your blog every once in a while and don’t be afraid of changing things. Sometimes that’s really important for keeping up your motivation. When you always do the same stuff it becomes a routine very quickly. This can be very effective but also pretty boring in the long run. Also, never stop reading other people’s blogs – there so much inspiration out there!

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