I have been freelance writing for over 10 years now and I have written for quite a few blogs. I've compiled my own list of ways to increase traffic to your blog combining all of the methods and successes I have seen with my clients. Use one of them or use all of them. The more you implement, the greater your chances are you'll increase your blog's traffic.
No one wants to guess when you will post another blog. Post on a regular basis (such as twice a week, once a week, once a month -- you get the point). When people know to come back for more, they will. If you blog randomly, people might not return. Also, the more you post, the more you can be indexed with the search engines -- and what blog doesn't need that?
Always respond to comments people leave on your blog. It shows that you are a real, responsive person that cares. Second, comment on other blogs linking back to your own blog. I comment on at least five blogs a day. But, I'm genuine. Please don't write fluff comments just for links. Really read what these people are posting and show some respect. I can't tell you how obnoxious it is to spend a great deal of time on an awesome post only to see spammers linking up in your comment section. So, be kind and read a post, write a genuine comment, and enjoy the traffic increasing opportunity the right way.
3. Add Tags, Labels, Categories
In Blogger, for example, you have "Labels". These make it easier for visitors to find posts in a particular category, but also help search engines. It literally takes a second to add a tag, label or category. So don't skip it.
4. Submit Awesome Posts to Bookmarking Sites
Don't submit every post. Sometimes you just have a filler post that isn't really share worthy. But, when you write an in-depth post or something really unique, submit it to bookmarking sites like: StumbleUpon, Reddit or Digg.
5. Use Keywords, But Don't Go Crazy
Keywords shouldn't be your main focus. Instead you should focus on content first, keywords second. Keywords aren't as important to search engines anymore and honestly I rarely use them myself. Search engines are slowly transitioning to more relevant, natural searches. So if you are going to use keywords, use ones that people are likely to enter into a search bar -- no robotic speak. If you do use keywords, go light on the density, such as 3% max.
6. Use Guest Blogging
I'm going to tread lightly here, because when you throw out the idea of guest blogging, people jump on it and assume it is their save-all for increasing traffic to their blog. Well, it's not. According to a recent post by SearchEngineWatch.com, guest blogging isn't a solid SEO tactic and it won't increase your rank. But, it is a good way to help build your credibility, authority and increase your traffic. Don't focus only on guest posting. You should have a quality blog on your own website before you start worrying about what you're posting on other sites.
The internet is full of been there, done that material. Let's face it; you can only write the same thing so many ways and make it awesome. If you want to increase traffic to your blog, you need to stand out. Even if you are writing something that has been done before, make it your own. Offer valuable insight that only you can bring to the table. For example, I used to be a wedding cake decorator and while the topic of creating a wedding budget was done 1,000 times over, I still added my own industry insight and experience to make it 100% UNIQUE. Do that yourself. Think back on your own experiences with a topic. What inside information do you have to add? There's always something.
If your information is fresh and interesting to read, it will be shared on social media -- and that increases traffic.
Which brings me to my next point...
Too many bloggers avoid social media. I don't know why they have a virtual agoraphobic disorder, because social media is the fastest way to increase traffic to your blog. When something is shared on social media it can go viral in a matter of seconds. Literally. It takes just one person to share a link to your latest blog post, another to click, share or like and you're in. I highly suggest at least getting on Facebook and Twitter to start.
Pinterest is also a great way to get traffic. I cannot tell you how much traffic I get from Pinterest -- it's a lot. Make sure every post you write has a pin-worthy pic. Then pin it. But, please for the love of Pinterest, do not be a pin spammer. I absolutely despise seeing pins that are splattered all over Pinterest multiple times into categories or boards they aren't relevant just so someone can increase their blog's traffic. It's unprofessional and I personally will never click or share those links -- even if they're awesome. This type of behavior will also start forcing Pinterest to change the rules and it might be hard for the rest of us reputable bloggers to pin anything. So please, show some respect while pinning and pin responsibly.
If you do go with the social media route, sign up for HootSuite.com. You can link up all of your social media pages and profiles -- including Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Then you can share your post across all networks without signing into each one individually. They also have analytics so you can track your progress.
9. Use Images
People like things to look at. A wall of text is well, boring. Use images in your posts and share one of those images on Instagram.com. Instagram is always updating their feed of images and images can be potentially seen by over 100 milion monthly users. So if you're not using it, that's a big chunk of the population you're not enticing over to your blog.
You don't have to pay for images either. There are plenty of free images out there. First, you could always take your own. But if you don't have time there are other ways to get free images. I suggest:
- MorgueFile.com - My favorite
- Google Image Search - Just change to Advanced Search and look for those labeled for reuse
I will admit, these things are annoying, but they do work. Hashtags in your social media posts help filter and index your posts. But, you need to use trending hashtags to increase the likelihood they'll be seen. I use Hashtags.org to see how a particular tag is trending before I use it. Social Media Today has a great post on how to use hashtags.
You have 10 implementable tips in your hands to increase traffic to your blog. It's up to you if you use them or not. If you want to make a living writing blogs, you'll need all 10 of these because without traffic, you're a broke blogger.
If you have tips to increase traffic, we would all love for you to share. Please feel free to comment with your own tips. No spam or selling your services please. This is a place for free, real advice.