I just got serious about blogging in December of 2007.
I had a blog on Blogger.com for 2 years, but rarely updated it.
Then in November of 2007, I installed Feedburner and discovered I had 430+ subscribers. I was shocked due to the fact I hardly ever blogged.
I didn’t want to lose those subscribers or the traffic, so I decided to challenge myself and see if I could generate an even larger readership.
After switching to WordPress last December, I got more serious about my blog efforts.
I subscribed to Darren Rowse’s blog, ProBlogger.net – a very informative and inspiring blog to newbies and seasoned bloggers alike.
Then I started doing some key things…
1. I am More Selective With My Topics
When I had my Blogger blog, I would often re-write information that was already on my site. I didn’t put much effort into the subject matter of my posts.
Now, I’m much more selective. I try to think more about my audience’s needs and what they would find interesting.
And even if I choose a topic that has been blogged about a lot, I try to add my own spin to make it unique. For example, how many articles have been written about “How to Write Good Content” or something similar?
Too many, right?
Well the reality is, most people don’t write good content and they find it a chore or get writer’s block.
So I blogged about this very issue and addressed it from a new angle in a blog post titled “Is Writing Content a Chore for You?” An email I received inspired much of the content in the post.
2. I Make Use of Some Handy WordPress Plugins
Some people go hogwild on the WP plugins. While there are some really cool ones out there, you don’t want to make your blog so plugin-licious that it’s difficult to navigate and read.
You can have too much of a good thing, but there are a few that really come in handy.
Two plugins I believe made a difference in my traffic and readership have been the SiteMap and Related Post plugins.
The SiteMap plugin is important because it generates and submits your blog’s sitemap (an XML listing of all your posts) to all the major engines. Once you install it, the plugin works its magic automatically.
Some of my posts get found in the search engines only hours after I create them.
The Related Post plugin is useful because it encourages people to read more of my blog. It helps them discover posts they might not have discovered had they not seen the “Related Post” link at the end of a blog entry.
Before installing this plugin, I noticed my most recent posts always received 95% of the traffic. Now, older posts are getting more traffic.
3. Visual Appeal
I doubt my graphics have made a huge difference in my traffic, but every now and then I get an email or comment from someone who says they love my blog images and graphics.
One lady says she can’t wait to see what kind of graphic I’ve created to go with the post.
Some of my graphics include pictures of people and things found on Photos.com (I’m a subscriber because I want to make sure I have rights to use the images on my site.)
Usually I’ll add my own flavor to the images with good ole’ PhotoShop.
However most of the graphics like the one in this post were created by me. Learning PhotoShop has been a great asset to my business.
While the content is what really makes or breaks a blog, a few appealing images and graphics can help round out your blog’s appearance and give it a more professional feel.
4. I Blog More Often
Blogging more often is not always a good thing. If you don’t have anything interesting to say then no point in blogging just for the sake of blogging.
It’s not worth losing your subscriber base so be sure your posts have substance.
When you blog often, the search engine spiders will visit more frequently, and this could help your traffic. Blogging often also keeps your subscribers coming back regularly and keeps you on their radar.
5. I Interlink My Blog With My Main Site
I am fortunate enough to have a site that already receives over 7,000 visitors per day, so of course that’s a huge help. When I create a new post, I look for relevant content on my site and provide a link to that entry.
When I used Blogger, I didn’t cross promote all that much. Now, I’m much more conscious of opportunities to interlink the two. So if you have a website and a blog, keep your eyes open for ways to link the two together.
6. Competitor’s Blogs Keep My Juices Flowin’
First and foremost I want to make it clear that I am not suggesting you copy someone’s content. Not only is it illegal but it’s highly unethical and dishonest.
But there’s nothing wrong with getting ideas from another blogger’s topics.
For example, if you see a blogger has written about the iPod Touch features (a topic that is overdone); rather than just re-wording what they wrote, create your own entry but take a different approach.
Maybe your post could be something like, “10 Reasons the iPod Touch is Better Than the Zune”. You’re writing about the same topic, but you’re taking the content in a new direction.
Not to mention you could capitalize on a new audience – people looking to compare the Zune and the iPod.
I encourage you to take a look at your competitor’s blogs, get ideas and look for ways you can create your own fresh, unique content.
7. I Switched from Blogger to WordPress
I wrote a post about this a while back, but it is worth mentioning again. I really do believe WordPress is a much better platform because of all the plugins and flexibility.
Blogger is probably easier to setup, but WordPress is pretty user-friendly too – especially if you have a Web host that offers CPanel. (I use HostGator and setup this blog in 5 seconds.)
I have much more control over my layout without having to edit the raw code (like you do with Blogger). Plus, WordPress breaks up the template into separate files so it’s easier to figure out what file controls what section of your blog.
Not to mention, WordPress has much better design templates, in my opinion.
And as I said above, additions like the SiteMap Plugin also help get your posts spidered and indexed faster.
8. I Craft My Titles More Carefully
I discovered titles that pose a question or contain a bit of shock value generate the most clicks. My recent entry “Would You Like $57,000 In One Month?” has a little of both.
Usually my newest post wins the “Daily Traffic Award” but this post is 2 weeks old and still beats out my newer posts on some days.
Taking time to develop a good title can make a huge difference. Particularly since more and more people use RSS to keep track of their favorite blogs.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make that title count!
9. I Give Away More Freebies
Who doesn’t love something free, right? Plus, it’s a great way to build loyal fans and viral traffic (because they’ll tell others who tell others and so on.)
But I have to be careful with this one because I want my freebies to have value. I hate it when I see Webmasters giving away items that have been distributed over and over again, or freebies you can find anywhere.
How insulting and unoriginal.
If you want your freebies to go to work for you, take some time to develop something useful and unique.
Here are some of my favorite freebies I’ve offered from my blog…
10. I Share My Personal Success
I wasn’t comfortable doing this at first. I felt I was bragging, but I slowly found it builds credibility. And I noticed other successful people often do the same thing.
If you’re trying to teach people how to do something, it helps to show them how your advice has worked for you.
While I don’t offer specifics about my income, I may display an AdSense check here and there or remind people I am making a living online.
It’s important that my audience knows I am actually walking the walk since I often talk about making money. See my record AdSense video below.
Doing the above things has not only helped double my blog’s traffic in 2 months, and my subscriber count is up by nearly 100 subscribers.
Which of the above strategies can you implement on your blog?
And if you’ve done anything to help boost your blog’s traffic that I haven’t mentioned here, feel free to share.