Don’t worry, my site hasn’t been hacked 🙂 Some time ago a reader asked me how to promote a kink blog because he had a site he was trying to get off the ground. I took a couple of days to think about that because I’ve never deliberately “promoted” my blog but I certainly get more views now than when I started, and of course promptly forgot all about that poor reader’s question. For, uh, months. Sorry reader!
So now that I’ve finally remembered, I figure I can get a blog post out of this. There have got to be at least a couple people out there who would like a little more traffic on their blogs, right?
First of all, I get an average of 300 views a day, so let’s not pretend I’m an expert 🙂 If I were to put ads on my blog (which I’m way too much of a control freak to ever do), that would probably make me around zero dollars.
With that disclaimer out of the way, there are some things I’ve done that I think helped and some things I don’t do that I bet would help if I could be bothered to do them.
My biggest tip is to have something to say. Without that nothing you do will ever get you much traffic. Whether you like my blog or not (and honestly if you don’t like it why are you here? Go do something fun, there’s an entire internet out there!), you can’t say I don’t have opinions. Don’t start a blog because you feel like you should or because all the cool kids are doing it, or because you want that sweet sweet ad revenue (not only is that kinda douchey, but ads pay really badly these days), do it because you like writing and have something to say.
As for getting more traffic:
Comment on other people’s blogs! If you enjoy their blog, it’s entirely possible their readers will like your blog too. Leaving interesting comments (seriously, don’t comment for the sake of commenting, people can tell when you’re effectively selling something) really will make at least some people click on your name and see what you have to say on your own blog. Plus it builds your reputation – the more interesting comments someone sees from you, the more likely they are to eventually click that link and see what’s going on at your blog, and the more interesting comments the blog owner gets, the more likely they are to say yes if you ask if you can write them a guest post.
Post regularly! Do you go back to blogs that haven’t published a new post in months? No? Then why should your readers? This part is wild speculation, but I think people are more likely to get attached to reading your blog if you show them you can be trusted to keep at it. Also, the more you post, the more chances you have for one of your posts to get noticed by a more popular blogger or shared around a lot on [insert social media site here], which will really drive up your traffic at least for a little while and probably gain you some new regular readers too.
Part of posting regularly is picking a schedule you can stick with. I’m a slow writer, that’s why I only post once a week. If you can do more without burning out, great! I believe that’s a good way to get more views – the more posts, the more chances for one of them to be really popular, and the more incentive people have to come back regularly. But if you can’t post three times a week without hating the sight of your site, dial it back.
Comment on discussion sites! I do this one very intermittently, and don’t have any stats to back it up, but it seems reasonable that leaving interesting comments / starting interesting discussions on a site like fetlife/reddit/etc would lead to more people checking out your profile (or clicking on a link in your signature if you’re organized like that 🙂 ) and finding their way to your blog.
Automatically announce new posts on social media! I’ll give myself half marks for this one, I have wordpress set up to post to my twitter and tumblr when a post goes up, but I basically never remember to post a link on Fetlife.
Have multiple ways for people to get updates! Some people like RSS (no it’s not dead), some prefer email updates, some like seeing updates in their twitter or tumblr or facebook or whatever else feed. Jetpack has subscribe by email and RSS feed widgets (for both posts and comments), all you have to do is connect the Jetpack plugin and drag those widgets into your sidebar.
As for things that are probably a good idea that I don’t do for varying reasons:
Have an active twitter/tumblr/insert social site media here! And by active I absolutely do not mean relentlessly shilling for your blog, I mean posting like a regular human being and interacting with other people like a person and not some sort of terrible robot that exists only to nag people to read your blog. I hardly ever post anything on twitter so I’m failing pretty hard on that one.
Link to your posts more than once on social media! Not everyone is online at the same time of day, more people are going to see your tweet or whatever if you post it a couple times at different times of day, or even a few times over the course of a few days. Your feed has to be pretty active for this to work, though. If it’s not then your twitter is a) boring, which drives readers away, and b) looks like nothing but ads for your blog, which also drives readers away.
Participate in things like elust and blog challenges! These can drive a lot more traffic to your blog if you get featured, and tagging your posts on social media with the challenge hashtag can help people find your blog too.
Guest post on other people’s blogs! Just writing for mine is quite enough work for me, but if you have it in you to write more posts (or the other blogger doesn’t mind you publishing the same post on both blogs) then you can probably persuade some of their readers to come read you too.
Get interviewed / guest host on podcasts! I love podcasts but I’m pretty awkward about talking with people I don’t know well (writing is a lot easier for me, which I’m sure comes as a huge shock), plus I don’t have access to a decent microphone and am way too picky about good quality audio to let anyone publish a recording of me done on a shitty builtin laptop mic, so podcasting isn’t for me. If it’s for you, it’s one more way to get yourself in front of people who might not have ever heard of you otherwise.
That’s all I’ve got. Readers, do you have any other tips?