Hi Roni, I’m new to blogging. Whats the most important thing that I need to be doing to get readers?
What a great question! I’m not sure I have all the answers but I can share how I built my traffic to what it is today.
Being Active in your Community
Honestly, when I first stated blogging my goal wasn’t to get a ton of readers. I didn’t have aspirations of becoming a pro-blogger. I didn’t even think of it as a money making venture. My goals were a bit more self serving. I wanted a blog to help me lose weight and possibly meet a few friends with similar goals.
At the time (almost 4 years ago) I was very active on the Weight Watchers message boards. I contributed to a lot of discussions and enjoyed the conversations I was having with other ‘losers’. I had my link in my signature and profile, so every reply I wrote was a link back to my site. A majority of my early traffic came from those links. When you are actively contributing in that kind of environment people will "check you out" so to say. They are curious who you are and what you are all about.
I also commented on a lot of blogs I was reading. Never frivolous comments just to post my link, but again contributing to the conversation. Most bloggers (myself included) at least make an effort to check out the blogs of commenters. Not to mention other commenters are interested in who you are as well, especially when you’re comment is thoughtful or provocative.
Join Communities/Catalogs in Your Niche
This is similar to being active but slightly different. Finding communities, groups, lists or catalogs you can join has multiple benefits. First, signing up for these types of sites gives you exposure to people who are interested in the same topics as you. Second, it gives you more incoming links which is invaluable to search engine placement. You can get into specific groups like FatFighterBlogs and BlogToLose (if you are a weight loss blogger, of course) or go more broad like Blog Catalog or Top of Blogs. Most catalog have categories where you can properly place your site..
Post Often or at Least Consistently
There are a few blogs I visit and revisit only to see they haven’t updated their content yet. That’s not a good thing. I’m not saying you have to post multiple times a day or even daily but find your blogging rhythm and stick with it. Make a commitment to your blog. A stagnant blog won’t get as much attention as an active one. It’s that simple.
Submitting Your Site
One of the biggest boosts of traffics I received was when MSN linked to me in a weight loss success story. Honestly, I didn’t even remember filling out their entry form until it was posted months later. I realize not everyone has a weight loss blog but there are many opportunities to self promote yourself and your blog. You need to research and find the opportunities in your niche.
Holding contests are a great way to spread the word about your site and gain readership. Especially requiring readers to post about and link to the contest on their blogs. You may also get picked up on contest sites/blogs that advertise online giveaways.
One word of warning though… too many contests may have a counteractive approach. You may get more readers but those readers are only there for the contests, not necessarily interested in your content. Which may be OK if all your care about numbers but most bloggers I know want to be read and respected in their niche. Building traffic is nice but I’d rather have 100 interested readers then 1000 only wondering what they can get out of me for free. Just a thought.
Just Keep Doing What You Do!
I firmly believe the biggest determining factor in blog success (if you are defining success as having a lot of readers) is longevity. You will attract new readers just by being you and over time the number will grow and grow. Albeit not as fast as you may like but it will happen. Stay true to your voice, make the commitment to your blogs, be as active in your community as you can and keep doing what you do. The blog should be more for you then anyone else. It sounds counterproductive I know, but if you write for yourself and it’s helping you, chances are it’s helpful to others.
I hope that helps Maranda! For more reading on the subject check out these posts on building site traffic.
- Seth Godin’s How to get traffic for your blog
- 4 Must Do Techniques to Drive Traffic
- 21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic
- The 10 Best Ways To Increase Blog Traffic
Does anyone else have any tips they’d like to share? How do you get your traffic?