Increasing your blog traffic – A how to guide from ‘Crunchy’ herself

I was inspired to write about how to increase your blog traffic after reading a friend’s recent post about navigating social media sites. Since I’m not that schooled in social media sites yet, but I do have experience with growing my traffic through other avenues over the years, I wanted to pass on what has worked for me.

bloggingWithout further ado, here are the Crunchy Domestic Goddess’s tips for attracting more readers to your site. (Edited to add that from the time I initially posted this, I’ve since thought of three more things and added tips 6-8.)

  1. Comment, comment, comment - Seriously. To attract new readers you must first share the love by leaving comments on other blog. It’s fine to lurk sometimes, especially when you just don’t have the time to leave a comment (we’ve all been there), but the thing about commenting is that it lets the other blogger know you’ve been to their blog and that you want to contribute to what they are blogging about. It helpful if the blogs you leave comments on are similar in nature to your own or that you at least share something in common, as like tends to attracts like. They will soon notice that they have a new reader (who leaves them comments – bonus points for you!) and will mosey on over to your blog to see what you are all about, and in many cases, return the comment love. I believe this, by far, is the most important thing to do to attract people to your blog. I try to return comment love when someone comments on my posts, or shoot them an email response, but it doesn’t always happen. Regardless of if it happens every time, it is a goal of mine and I do sincerely appreciate your comments. :)
  2. Twitter – A new discovery and obsession of mine. From Wikipedia: Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send “updates” (or “tweets”; text-based posts, up to 140 characters long) to the Twitter website, via short message service, instant messaging, or a third-party application such as Twitterrific. One of the thing I like about Twitter (other than the ability to mass spam your address book of course) is that you can see who your “followers” have in their lists and then start following them, and your list continues to grow and grow, exposing you to new blogs and potentially exposing them to yours. It’s instant feedback and interaction and just plain fun!
  3. Blog carnivals – A blog carnival is when several people all post about a similar topic on the same day and often link back to other participants in the carnival or the host of the carnival posts the links to all participants. These are a lot of fun and a great way to meet bloggers with similar interests as you. A few of my favorites are Best Shot Monday, Wordless Wednesday, the Motherwear Carnival of Breastfeeding and now Haiku Friday. Some others I’ve seen are Works for me Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, and Make It From Scratch. I’m on the lookout for a good environmental/green carnival too. Anyone have any suggestions?
  4. Giveaways – Consider participating in the Bloggy Giveaways that Shannon from Rocks in my Dryer hosts every few months. It’s a great way to attract a lot of people to your blog in a short amount of time. Chances are some of them will like what they see on your blog and return.
    I also like to periodically hold my own giveaways generally by way of reviewing a product and then offering it or something similar up in a giveaway. Sometimes I ask that people link back to my blog which helps increase my traffic and boosts my Technorati Authority and Google Page Rank. Other times I make it optional. Check your Google page rank or learn more about claiming your blog and finding your authority on Technorati.
  5. Social networking/media sites – Social networking sites are another good way to get your blog “out there” and, again, meet more bloggers. :) Some that I like are BlogHer, Maya’s Mom, and Cre8Buzz, and there are many others out there to choose from.
    Then there are sites like Digg, del.icio.us, Reddit, StumbleUpon, sk*rt, Slashdot and others. The premise here is someone submits a post that they like, then others on those sites can vote for it, increasing it’s popularity. If your post gets enough votes, it could end up on the front page of the site, sending your traffic through the roof and, ironically, often crashing your blog (known as the “Digg or Slashdot effect”)! I haven’t ventured into these sites much yet myself, though I did have hubby Jody help me put the sk*rt button at the bottom of my posts. I have, however, seen my traffic grow as a result of a cool blogger posting one of my blog posts on Stumble Upon. She stumbled Julian’s birth story and my traffic took a big jump for a few days.
  6. Signature – Add a link to your blog in your signature on any message boards you may post on. This gets links to your blog “out there” and will invariably attract people curious to see what you are all about. While I don’t do this on all of the message boards I post on, I do do it on a few. Note: if you don’t want certain people knowing about your blog, then it’s best not to post it wherever you interact with them online.
  7. Post regularly – I think people are more likely to return to a blog if they know it’s going to have new content at least a few times a week. (I’m amending this to clarify that quality matters over quantity. Thank you, Dawn and Jenni for mentioning that. Though I still believe it’s important to post regularly.) On the flip side, I do think you can overdo it. The temptation to post everything all at once can be great, especially when you have a lot of things you want to blog about, but I think it’s best to space out posts to roughly one per day. Personally in the past I’ve been turned off by blogs that update several times a day (which is what I’m doing today – LOL). It just gets too hard to keep up with them then.
  8. Link to others – If another blogger wrote about something that inspired your post, link back to them. Everybody appreciates a little linky love.

Whew! So there you have it. If you really want to grow your blog I believe you must put forth some effort other than just writing amazing posts. It takes time and energy, but you will soon reap the benefits of your labor, and meet some great people along the way!

Happy blogging! :)

Oh, and if you’d like to share things that have worked for you, I encourage you to add them in the comments. Thanks. :)

*Cartoon from Base10

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