Written By Shane
So you’ve got a great blog with great content — only no one knows it yet. Not a problem, because getting visitors to great content is one of the easiest things you’ll ever do. Here’s how to get visitors to your blog.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR NETWORK
If you’ve been actively getting out and meeting your neighbors, you’ve built up a pretty good network of blogging and website-owning friends. Drop them an email to let them know about your new blog and ask them if they’ll let their readers know about it, too. (And don’t forget to give it a little link love on any sites that you control, too!)
If you’re an active blog reader (and if you’re a blog writer, you ought to also be a blog reader), you’ve probably seen guest bloggers on several of the blogs that you read. Well, scoring just one post on a popular blog can give your own blog a great jumpstart. It’s one of the best ways to get visitors to your blog. Check out Darren’s post on Why Guest Bloggers are Great for a Blog for more info and links to his full series on guest blogging, and check out Blogger LinkUp for opportunities.
COMMENT ON OTHER BLOGS
Commenting on other blogs is a great way to get noticed, both by the blogger and by people reading the comments. You’ll get a special benefit from those who maintain a Top Commentators list, too. Make sure your comments add value to the discussion, though. Nobody likes to wade through a lot of “That’s right!” or “I agree” comments. (The strategy could backfire in a huge way if you try to get visitors to your blog by spamming other blogs.)
Also, the sooner you comment on a post that later becomes very popular, the more visibility (and clickthroughs) you’ll end up getting. You’ll probably develop an eye pretty quickly for which posts are going to end up being really popular.
GIVE OUT THE LINK LOVE
In every post you write, be sure to give out as much link love as possible. Most avid bloggers watch their sites like a hawk and will notice right away if someone has linked to them, quite often leading to a beautiful friendship. Create posts specifically to review, expound, critique or disagree with things other bloggers have written (always respectfully so), and be aware of other opportunities to link out in every post you write. Don’t get so hung up on getting visitors to your blog that you try to get them from going anywhere else once they find you.
PROMOTE YOUR BLOG’S URL
Keep an eye out for different ways to make people aware of your blog’s URL. The most obvious way is to be active in forums and include your blog in your signature, but you can also include it on letterhead, in your email signature, and lots of other places. Be creative.
Blog carnivals are great for driving traffic to your blog. Participants in each Change of Shift, for example, all see a significant burst of traffic to their blogs in the days after each edition. Check out Blog Carnival for a huge list of carnivals on all sorts of topics.
And to really give your traffic a boost, actually host a blog carnival. A word of warning, though: for some carnivals, hosting can be a ton of work. Make sure you don’t take on more than you can handle. Talk to some of the previous hosts to get an idea of how much time it took them, and make sure you participate several times to get a feel for the carnival itself.
If you have an opportunity to go to an interesting conference or other gathering that others can’t get to, blog live from there and include plenty of pictures. If you’re one of the few doing, it or if you do a particularly good job, you’ll find lots of bloggers recommending that their readers check out your coverage.
DON’T IGNORE SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
Making sure your blog is optimized for search engines is a very smart thing to do. It may not make much difference in the short-term, but it will pay huge dividends the larger and older your blog gets. Look for a dedicated post about this soon.
In the meantime, though, you want to be intentional about your SEO without overdoing it. Gimmicks like John Chow’s would totally turn readers off on most blogs (but it fits his perfectly).
INTERVIEW A POPULAR BLOGGER
As I wrote in Can I Interview You for My Blog?, approaching someone for an interview is a great way to get your site noticed. Interview a popular blogger in your niche or, maybe better yet, interview a not-yet-popular blogger who should be. You can always say you gave them their big break
CREATE A THEME
The majority of bloggers don’t design the themes for their blog. Thus, the demand for themes is very high. If you can create a good theme that other bloggers start to use, you’ll start to see the links to your site reallystart to pile up. (And, granted, this one may not qualify as “easy” for most of us.)
JOIN A BLOG NETWORK
A blog network is simply a collection of blogs that help drive traffic to one another. Large, established networks might not let new blogs in, but many do hold open application periods every so often. You can also approach networks that look like a good fit for your blog or even start your own — getting visitors to your blog and helping others to do the same!
All of these tips assume that you’ve already got great content — which is easily the number one way to get visitors to your blog. If you don’t have great content, you’re just wasting your time. The visitors will leave just as quickly as the came, and you’ve quite likely lost a chance to get them back. If you do have great content, though, you may not have to do anything else. People will talk and link and promote you themselves without you having to lift a finger. It’s not quite “If you build it, they will come,” but it’s close.
So focus first on posting stuff worth reading before you start trying to get people to read it. You won’t be disappointed!
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