Top 10 Ways to Increase Visitors to your Blog

I am going to share with you the many secrets which I have used to not only direct traffic but keep traffic visiting my blog.
For me getting back into web development after many years on hiatus was a sobering experience.  Gone were the days of easy traffic due to the fact that the competition has increased by a number so great I can’t even wrap my head around it.  A lot of the competition are in the form of spam blogs which take popular content from other blogs and republish it as their own by changing just a few words.  The market is diluted in most cases and trying to make a living running a single website is near impossible unless you have a very specific and unique niche.

For me, taking on the “Nerd World” of computers, video games, RPGs, and Sci-Fi TV shows was brutal.  My niche is ultra diluted with massive amounts of blogs just trying to drive content with poorly written stories and on the other side the big guns with their massive audiences garnered through backing by powerful tycoons.  Because of this I have had to learn the hard way how to get a blog up and off the ground.  I have dedicated the past few months of my life almost entirely to NERD TREK, barely getting any sleep and still I struggle.  I have come a LONG way from where I started though, and I will spill the secrets on how I did this and how you too can become successful at blogging.  Well, let’s get straight to it, shall we?

Tip #1: Before you drive traffic

Before you drive traffic to your blog you want to make sure everything is perfect.  Give your friends your URL to the new blog and don’t tell them anything about it- not even the name.  Just ask them to do you a favor and visit the blog and then email or call you with feedback.  I guarantee they will have a LOT to say.  Don’t ignore them, your friends are giving you very valuable advice and you should log it all away until you collect all the feedback.  You don’t have to act on every suggestion, but if you say “Yeah, I did notice that but thought it would be OK… and it’s a lot of coding to change…” CHANGE IT!  Change it now before thousands of people stumble upon a weird glitch or unslightly error in code that makes your blog appear less than professional.  You want everything to be perfect before you launch, this includes content.  Take your friends advice and run with it, improve anything and everything.  You will never stop improving.  I still spend about 20 hours a week just tweaking things on my blog to make them better.  Just don’t change your header or anything that makes your blog familiar after becoming established.  You want people to recognize your header, your favicon, and your image.

Tip #2: Content is King

You must write killer articles to spearhead your unknowing victims and keep them visiting your blog in the future.  Make sure you provide content you would want to read.  I try and grab things that make me excited like a new video game, movie, or computer news and give my take on that.  I keep is personal and know that some people may agree and some may disagree.  Regardless of which it is they will still read the article if they are passionate about it and are actually more likely to comment if on the radical side of either spectrum.  If you ever saw the movie “Private Parts” they said that half of Howard Sterns audience listens because they like him and the other half listens because they hate him.  The most common answer when asked why they listened was “I wanted to see what he’ll say next.”  That was both the pro and con sides!  That alone shows you that no matter where you stand on your articles you’ll benefit more from taking a stand than just sitting there quoting other material you found on the internet.  My most viewed articles are the ones where I get passionate and personal.  I’ve been told my friends and co-workers that those posts are by far their favorite.  Don’t be afraid to let the content flow and let it flow often, a blog can quickly become sterile.  If I don’t post for 2-3 days I lose dozens of email subscribers and my visits take a HUGE plummet.

Tip #3: Social Networking is in, USE IT!

Sites like Facebook and Twitter are not just for keeping up on what your friends are doing, they are for meeting new friends and connecting with people passionate about the same things you are.  This is called NETWORKING!  This is something larger businesses do to a degree, but you have something going for you that they don’t- you’re small time and personal.  You’re probably running your blog alone or with a handful of friends.  You can take the time to get to know new people on Facebook and Twitter and refer them to your articles.  Honestly, some of the people I met on Facebook have already influenced me or were long time heroes of mine.  Most of the staff from TSR and Wizards of the Coast who worked on various versions of Dungeons and Dragons are now my friends and I highly enjoy reading their posts on Facebook and enjoying their pictures.  They too are sometimes interested in my articles and even Monte Cook commented and shared one of my blog posts regarding the upcoming Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim game!  When I started on Facebook I had around 50 friends of which were personal friends who wanted to support NERD TREK.  Then I started branching out and adding friends at Wizards through my friend’s connections (he was a cartographer and illustrator there- 3 time ENnie Award winner as well).  The list grew and then people started adding me.  Before I knew it I was at 600 friends!  When I would share a new post of my blog on Facebook I would reach out to 600 people!  If only 10% checked out the post that’s 60 hits!  Not bad!  Today my friends number around 800 and new people ask to be added everyday.  If you want to be a friend just search for NERD TREK on Facebook and there we are!  🙂  Twitter is equally as easy and one of the biggest secrets there is a program called TWEET ADDER.  At first I was quite skeptical and thought it might be a scam, but this program really works and helps you reach out to a similar audience in your niche.  I’ll explain more about how that works if someone would like, just ask me on the NERD TREK FORUM and we’ll continue the conversation there. I’ll provide a link to the Tweet Adder website so you can check it out for yourself. If you decide to purchase please let them know that NERD TREK referred you and we will both obtain a price break.

 

Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to promote your blog!

Ask your friends to tell their friends, post in forums, on other blogs, on facebook, twitter, myspace, anywhere you can!  Don’t be afraid of backlash- there are always complainers and jerks out there and that’s just something you’ll have to live with.  Don’t spam people, but inform people about your blog.  What do you have to offer?  What are your newest articles?  What do you have that the next blog doesn’t?

 

Tip #5: Reply to comments ASAP

If someone posts a comment make sure you have a system setup to notify you on your mobile and respond IMMEDIATELY.  Readers are 10 times more likely to return and tell others if they feel appreciated and respected.  I make it a point to go above and beyond for my readers in hopes that they stick around.  I’m not making much money off my readers, but I want them to come back because this is my blog and I’m proud of it.  Plus if they keep coming back and their friends keep coming back and so on- I will eventually make some money.  The ultimate goal would be to blog from home would it not?  I sure would love that.  I would write and respond all day on all things “nerdy” in a heartbeat!

Tip #6: Create a system which generates Keywords for SEO

SEO means Search Engine Optimization- something you’ll want your website to be ready for.  If you’re running WordPress try programs like SEO Keywords, SEO Searchterms2, and SEO Ultimate.  There are a ton of other programs out there to help you with SEO, and at the very least you should be listing your keywords at the bottom of each post.  Although it looks a little silly, those keywords that are links at the bottom of my posts help drive up my rank on Google which in turn increases my visitors which also helps my status.

Tip #7: Start a Forum

Start a forum so that avid users who constantly comment on your posts have a place to call home.  Although it is very difficult to get people to comment and even harder to have them post in a forum, it is something that is better to setup in advance so that it is available when needed.  Help prepare your forum by creating some topics and posting in them yourself.  Post content that is useful that people often search online for.  Make sure it is in your niche and link it to your blog and your blog to it.

Tip #8: Create an Email List/RSS Feed

The easiest way to do this is to use a WORDPRESS install linked to a simple RSS feed at Feedburner.  It’s free, sent daily, and run by Google so it’s stable.  Users can opt to sign up via email or RSS, whichever they prefer.  Then when your posts go out they reach a wider audience.

Tip #9: Run a Contest

Make sure you research the legalities behind this, but one of the best ways to get extra traffic is to run a contest.  Use some of the revenue generated through ads to buy something- say a Xbox 360 and a game.  Then take some high res pictures of it, spice it up with some colorful text and display a contest on your site that people can sign up for by agreeing to be a part of your email list.  This will increase your visitors, spread your name, and grow your email list which is one of the most important parts of a successful blog.  Even if you lose your website, facebook, twitter, and everything else you can always retain your email list and start over.  If you don’t have an email list you are starting from scratch should you lose anything along the way.

Tip #10: Be honest

By being honest you will create a good trustworthy name.  This is a lot harder to do and takes a lot longer than creating a spam site that generates huge traffic for instant profit, but in the long run is much more successful and reliable.  You will obtain the most loyal fans this way and you’ll sleep better at night knowing you’re doing the best you can.  Everyday I try and remind myself that the best way to write articles is when they come naturally and I am honest and helpful to my readers.  Instead of posting a million useless posts I would rather take my time and give you something worthwhile in hopes that the information helps you.

Thank you for visiting and I hope this information at least helped give you some ideas on ways to increase your web traffic.  If you have any questions or comments please do so below and visit us on Facebook.

 

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About Jonathan G. Nelson

Jonathan G. Nelson is the editor-in-chief and owner of NERD TREK. He is also owner/publisher at AAW Games / AdventureAWeek.com, a tabletop gaming company based in Snoqualmie, WA. Connect with Jonathan via Facebook.