Tuesday, April 15, 2014

4 Tips that Can Make a Difference in Your Blog Traffic This Week

In a departure from my normal crochet-focused blog posts, I want to address an issue that affects all bloggers. Whether you are crochet blogger, craft blogger, food blogger, DIY blogger, business blogger, travel blogger or one of any of the other kazillions of kinds of bloggers, you have something in common with the rest of the Blogosphere: the desire to increase your traffic.

We all want people to visit and read our blogs.
Increasing your blog traffic (and, as a result, your business) is simple. Note that I said "simple", not "easy". Certain steps and procedures, when followed religiously, will help you create and maintain a blog that readers enjoy visiting again and again.

I doubt if any of us started blogging just to talk to ourselves. Blogging is about being heard, sharing information and connecting with like-minded people. No matter what your blogging goals are, you can increase your traffic and see results starting this week.

Get More People Reading and Visiting Your Blog This Week

1. Follow the Golden Rule

If you're going to use only one of my tips for increasing your blog traffic, this would be the one. Often the advice is given to be "reciprocal" within the blogging community. In other words, "I'll follow you, if you follow me." I don't believe this tactic is effective. At first, you might get a little more traffic, but it will quickly taper off. Bloggers who use this method to increase their traffic eventually move on to other blogs they're newly following, or they stop checking in altogether because it gets too overwhelming to keep up with a laundry list of blogs. Consequently, your blog traffic numbers return to what they were, leaving you back at Square One.

Build a loyal base of followers that yields steady growth by following the Golden Rule. What is the Golden Rule? Simply put: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If you want more comments on your blog, start commenting on other people's blogs. If you want people to share your blog posts via social media, share theirs. If you want readers to visit faithfully, give them something worthwhile to read.

Remember, when it comes to blogging (and pretty much everything else in life), you get what you give.



2. Join Communities and Be an Active Member

If you move into a new neighborhood, the best way to meet the neighbors and become a part of the community is to get out of the house and be active. The same concept is true for blogging. Spend time away from your blog, being an active part of a related community. Google+ is an excellent venue for finding communities related to your blog topic. Join a few of these communities and participate by contributing photos, ideas and your latest blog posts. Don't post and run...remember, you get what you give. Comment on others' posts, visit others' blogs and leave comments, and share to your circles. Set a time limit on how long you want to do this (I spend two to three 10-minute chunks of time each day). Your efforts to increase blog traffic will require work, but they shouldn't be stressful and overwhelming.

3. Put in the Time

Nothing in life is free, baby, and the same is true in the blog world. If you're a hobby blogger who derives great satisfaction from seeing your words in print and having a few family members and friends read them, you don't necessarily need to invest large quantities of time in your blog. And there's nothing wrong with being a hobby blogger....you should do what brings you joy. But if you're using your blog to promote or build your business, you'll need to put in some time on a consistent basis.

Each week I invest about 20 hours in my blog and in blog-related tasks (such as promoting posts with social media, attending link parties, commenting on others' blogs and being active in my chosen communities). A blog that's intended to build your presence or promote your business should be viewed as an extension of the business. It takes time to do all the things that need to be done to have a quality blog and a growing community. Again, you get what you give. Give of your time if you want to increase traffic.

Trust me, your efforts will pay off! With my current time investment of 20 hours per week, I've increased my blog traffic by 200% in two months. Spend more time, as you can, on your blog or blogging tasks. If you don't have enough time available, look throughout your day for time that's lost to TV, Facebook or other time-wasters.

4. Attend (and Possibly Host) Link Parties

First of all, if you're concerned that link parties aren't okay, read this post of mine so you can feel better about participating in or hosting them. Once you've laid your concerns to rest, start looking for link parties that include your blog topic. Communities are a great source for finding link parties or blog hops. Spend a week or two being involved and following the rules, such as checking out other participants' blogs and leaving comments. A little experience will help you understand whether or not you want to host linkups, too, or just participate.

The key here, and with an other tip you apply, is to participate fully. Visit other people's blogs and comment. Most of the time, they'll visit your blog and comment, even if only to say "thank you". The ripple effect will come into play because, as you connect with others, that connection will lead more people to you.


What Qualifies Me to Give This Advice?

Your blog traffic numbers will grow in proportion with the amount of effort you put forth. But who am I to tell you this? Yes, I give a lot of thought to blog traffic and put forth a lot of effort on my blog, but there's more to it than that. Aside from being a professional writer for the past 17 years and the author of a motivational business-building book , I've also coached others and helped clients build their businesses through writing and social media marketing management.

For years, I've spent time honing the strategies that work while weeding out the ones that don't. I'd like to pass those on to fellow bloggers because I believe there's enough traffic to go around. No catch.

I'd love to hear from you about your blog traffic, what your goals are, where your trouble spots are and the results you see from trying any of these tactics. Sometimes a small tweak in what you're already doing can make a big difference. Start by knowing what your blogging goals are so you can create a focused strategy to meet them.

25 comments:

  1. Hi Mary
    Thankyou for your valuable points.
    After starting my blog it's only recently that I started to think why I am not able to increase traffic to my blog. I asked someone and he asked me ' why should I' he said his first visit will be if my blog is visible, second my blog interesting subject of his 3rd my blog have some thing he can learn and use
    4Th how I can retain my visitors and make them members
    I searched Google and found my blog on 25 th page. I started to blog on not just my painting but on crochet too
    Started putting down how I do it and added tutorials. I joined Google plus communities and started interacting and lo my traffic to my blog doubled. I haven't check on Google search again but I am sure I have improved
    Your other points are well noted and for sure I will follow them thankyou
    Nanda
    nandadeviy.blogspot.in

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Nanda! It sounds like you're on the right track. Valuable, useful content is important to attracting and keeping followers. Keep up the good work!

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  2. Hi Mary, my traffic increased when I joined G+ from less than 20 followers in January 2014 to about 200 followers now. I consider my self a slowish type of blogger with maybe one to two blog posts per week. I decided to try a google search on myself after reading what Nanda said above me (hi Nanda) I used these words to search #crochet design blogs". Congratulations to you Mary you're on page 1, I am on page 7 which I think is quite good. I have a rule for myself when 'blog hopping' ... if I have read the whole post .... I always comment.
    Now blog hopping, I probably find 2-3 new blogs a week, some I decide to follow other's I may not. I have recently started joining in Link parties, which I think are a great social adventure and sometimes you come across a real gem.
    I am happy with my blog at the moment, I have tweaked it to be user friendly with easy search and translate. I use labels so people can find all posts that interest them. I try to keep my blog page pleasing to look at and I have made my G+ page and my blog banner identical so people can navigate between both.
    Gosh I am rattling on a bit, but in summary, as you so clearly said, you get out what you put in :-)

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    1. Linda, you've been very thorough in your approach, and I'm sure it's paying off. It's exciting to see our efforts rewarded! Thanks for sharing the methods you've used to grow your blog following. :)

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    2. Mary, I popped back here to see the reply, I don't know why I don't get an email to show you have replied ... there are still things that confuse me about the blogger platform. As you know my blog is connected to the G+ platform which I have pretty much sussed out. Do you know why I don't get emails from your replies? You're the only blogger commenting blog that I don't get an email from. Just wondering this point :-)

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    3. Linda, that's troublesome, and I have no answer. I only know that most replies will come to your Google-related or blog-related email address. I have considered connecting comments to Google+ but am not sure if that encourages more comments or less. I know when I first started, I was a bit taken aback by Google+ comments because they were no longer just between me and the blogger. Now, I see them as an effective marketing tool. But I'm not sure how others view them. It might be a worthwhile topic to bring up for discussion. Thank you, Linda!

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  3. I've always enjoyed reading blogs, but haven't really 'followed' any until recently. I've finally taken the plunge myself and started a blog, after years of talking about it. I quickly realized blogging is a romantic notion, lol, there is actually work put into it, besides writing posts of course.

    Congrats on your successes Nanda and Linda!

    I came to this blog looking for crochet ideas, I'm glad that you have this post, it's great for beginners like me!!

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    1. Thanks Rosalind, I'm popping over to read your blog now :-)

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    2. Rosalind, welcome! I hope you were able to find some crochet ideas here. Yes, blogging is a lot more work than it appears to be. I think the key is that we all have to decide what we want to get out of it, so we know what to put into it. :)

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  4. I started my blog (I now have 2) really for myself but I started to get followers and I really enjoyed that.
    According to blogger I have 41 followers, according to blog lovin I have 13.
    I do get some visit my page but I only get a couple of comments.

    I don't know whether it's just that it's not interesting or what but it would be nice to get a few more commenting.

    I'm only a hobby blogger, I don't create patterns at the moment and I'm not very blog savvy, so like I don't really understand the link a long. You can only join if you have patterns to share?

    Mind you, I only just got back into getting a link to work on my blog. I'd forgotten how to do and had to google the process in the end, lol!!

    :)

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    1. Hi Kim, you don't have to have patterns to share your projects at my link parties or most any other link party. Just a photo on your blog, or on Instagram or Pinterest to add into the link widget.

      Also, I'd love it if you guys left your blog URLs in your comments. It makes it much easier to find you! :)

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    2. How do I do that Mary? Is it just a case of copy and paste?

      I'll try it here, lol

      http://wiredtomyworld.blogspot.co.uk/

      :)

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    3. Perfect! That works! I love to visit others' blogs and an URL makes it so much easier to do so. :)

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  5. Hi Mary, this was really informative …I completely agree with the Golden Rule (in all of life, actually). But this was really helpful for someone like me who doesn't have a blog or a shop yet but really, really hopes to someday. I especially like how you expressed how much time per week you devote to it. That was a huge question in my mind since I already have a full time day job (need that paycheck), plus do my husband's contracting business's paperwork and bookkeeping on evenings and weekends. Needless to say, I don't have much leftover time to crochet and bead, let alone start a business of my own yet. Hopefully that will be able to change in the future, but I first want to be sure I am able to devote enough time and effort to it….because that is my true passion! So your blog post here has helped me immensely! Thank you for it. In the meantime, I am enjoying reading your blog and some of the other wonderful blogs that I am discovering through your link parties…keep up the great work!! xo
    Monica

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    1. Thank you, Monica! I've no doubt that, when the time comes, you'll have an awesome blog and business. For now, keep up with your passion and continue educating yourself. You'll have a strong foundation on which to build your business once you start.

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    2. Mary, thank you for your supportive words and encouragement. At first I was down about things not happening as fast as I wanted them to, but then I decided instead to use that energy more productively by doing exactly what you've said here in your reply. I'm building great new friendships and learning more about the technology involved and crafting as much as I can. All good things take time, as they say! :) Thank you again... It means a lot ! You are a wonderful inspiration :) xo

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  6. I really enjoyed reading this post and the insightful comments. Thanks for your advice! I've really enjoyed blogging as a hobby, and I can attest to the truth of the golden rule and the ripple effect. The one area where I struggle is providing exciting opportunities for people to engage and participate, such as community activities, link parties, and contests and such. I don't want to be gimmicky. I know a great blog starts with good, authentic content, and free, friendly communication. But I'd like to provide more value and opportunities to participate.

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    1. Valuable content is important and will help build readership. I feel that link parties are great for building community and giveaways are excellent for introducing people to your blog that wouldn't visit otherwise...yet, once they're there, they enjoy it. Each has it's own purpose. Balance is important, and the bulk should go toward good content. But u encourage you to add a little excitement with an occasional party or giveaway.

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  7. Fantastic post, Mary- a great reminder to 'get back to the basics' and focus on the building blocks rather than just assuming "if you build it, they will come."
    I can 100% say that the trouble spot, that I miss the mark on (constantly.) is one that I had just mentioned to you in a g+ interaction the other day-
    I would like to see more (ANY, really....) comments on the blog!

    My traffic numbers have been pretty decent, especially the last few weeks...
    but as far as comments go- the place is a ghost town.
    I know though, that I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to this subject. because:
    1) My own community-involvement-skills are intermittent at best. I have a terrible habit of having FAR too many browser tabs open. So by the time I finish reading a post, I'm already bouncing on to the next tab that's waiting for my attention, instead of taking the time to post a comment & get interactive.

    &2) I'm incredibly forgetful/unaware of things like What day of the Week it is, which leads me to constantly be missing chances to participate in things like link parties. [& why I'm always so thankful that you allow your Link-a-longs to extend into the following day or two!!]
    Maybe I need to start scheduling reminders/alerts on my phone about what link-ups/events require my undivided online attention each day.

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    1. Rain, I was going to say that you should put reminders in your phone. Works for me. Commenting on other blogs will help you get comments on yours. I recommend visiting two other blogs each day to start. Leave a friendly comment, tell them how you found them and leave your blog URL and invite them to visit.

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  8. These are very good ideas. I don't have a formal business but I would like to work or have a crochet knitting business some day. I will try to visit more blogs. I really don't know how to link to a party or to belong to a community, but I will try to research. Thank you so much for your tips. They are great. I found you at Meredith's blog I think ? And I'm now one of your newest followers. Come visit my blog when you have some time :)

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    1. Welcome, Taciana! It's great to have you here. :) I can help you with communities. If you don't already have a Google+ profile, set one up. Then look for me, Mary Ylisela, on Google+ and add me to one of your circles. From there, I will help you get involved in a community.

      As far as link parties go, I have one every Friday and weekend. Just stop by my blog, and add a link to your blog using the link widget provided. It's all easy, you'll see. Let me know if I can help you with anything else.

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  9. Hi Mary, very good post! A lot of people think that if you build it, they will come. That all you have to do is start your blog and the world will come beating at your door, NOT SO! For over two years I had a website and I only sold ONE item! It was one of the most discouraging experiences of my life as an artist, designer and artisan! But not being a quitter, I decided to start a Blogger blog (after all, it was free, and the other one was hosted, so yes, I lost a lot of money!) Now, after over 2 million visitors, I can tell you one thing: Blogging is HARD WORK! You have to be committed to your blog and do the best you can to build a loyal community around it. And that takes time and effort, there is no easy way around it, no quick formula to substitute it, you have to put in the elbow grease and the time. I wish you all the best of the best!

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  11. I'm new to the world of blogging, and found your advice super helpful! Thanks for all the useful info! Baby steps, I tell myself....Plus the fact that I have everything to gain, nothing to lose :)
    http://the5cees.blogspot.com/

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