I thought I’d write this post because every so often I receive comments about driving traffic to a blog or site.
I’m not so crazy about the term driving traffic, because when you’re stuck in traffic, the only vehicle you can control is your own. On the internet super highway, your blog is your vehicle and you attract visitors with content. You can’t force them to come (and please don’t trick them into coming), but if they happen upon your blog make it worth the trip so they will come back again.
There are many ways to attract traffic to a blog, but you must realize the only thing you can do with internet traffic is attract it in the form of writing quality content and place signs of direction. By signs of direction I mean letting other people know that your blog exists. It’s sort of like placing street signs and billboard ads.
A Few Traffic Attracting Methods
Search Engines: Early on in the freelance writing game, every time I created a site I would go to the major search engines and use their “Submit a site” form and wait for the search engines to find me. Over time I realized that was an unnecessary step because the search engines always found me sooner or later. With Google it was always sooner and the rest of the search engines later.
Submitting RSS Feeds: Back then I always submitted my brand new RSS feeds to RSS directories. The more directories the better, or so I thought. Now I don’t bother with that either. Since many of my sites use WordPress, I have my new entries pinged (not so warm and fuzzy about how it works, but I do it anyway). The ping services I use are:
I don’t remember where I got this lists from, but I use it for each of my blogs. For WordPress bloggers, this list is inserted on the Writing page under the Settings menu option. Scroll down to Update Services and insert the list there. Don’t forget to save your changes.
Article Directories: I shared my opinion on article directories in my last post. I tried them early on in my online writing career but quickly discontinued the practice. Not only did I not like submitting free articles, but in my experience, it wasn’t worth the effort.
Social Networking: I find social networking such as Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Reddit and the like a little too busy for my liking. Some people do extremely well with social networking and if that’s your thing, I encourage you to do what works for you. It just doesn’t work for me (one of my personality quirks).
Forums: This is a great way to let folks know you exist. The trick with forums is finding the right ones. Be careful because some forums are a free for all of negativity and not necessarily a good place to be. On occasion, however, I come across interesting forums when researching information or trying to solve a problem (usually a tech problem). They can be a wealth of information and a place to encourage quality traffic as long as your participation is real and helpful.
Blog Comments: Similar to forums, with the right blog and the right group of people it is a great way of encouraging readers to visit your blog. CommentLuv enabled blogs, give commenters a link back to their latest blog post. I’ve found a wealth of information by clicking on the blog links of my commenters.
Quality Content: In my opinion, this is the best way to attract traffic to your blog. It’s not as quick as some of the methods listed above, but with quality content you’ll get repeat visitors and word of mouth visitors. Those are the best. With quality content, your readers will take care of the backlinking, social networking and forum posts for you.
One from the Vault: While I was writing this post, I decided to do a little search here on NJFM to see if I’ve written on the topic before, and lo and behold I had. So, I’ll quit yakking and link to last year’s post: Blogging, Writing Articles, Social Networking and Traffic