A response to Wednesday's post about this blog's stats got me thinking about how blog promotion strategies differ from mainstream web site promotion, and how the very nature of blogs means you have to adjust your thinking to build traffic and encourage repeat visits.
Blogs differ from mainstream web sites in several key ways. These offer both advantages and challenges in terms of traffic generation. This post will act as a landing page from which to explore this topic. I will be building links below as I develop each of these ideas, so please check back often.
Attracting Site Visitors
- Monitor your site stats closely, especially for the keywords visitors are searching on.
- Push content out proactively with RSS feeds and ping services. This ability to summon search engines to come crawl you gives blogs a huge advantage.
- Get listed in the key blog directories. There are more of these every day, and listings are almost always free.
- Consider blog traffic exchanges, which generate traffic to your blog based on the time you spend surfing other people's blogs.
- Get blog-rolled. Getting links from other people's blog rolls is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your site and increase your search ranking.
- Get stumbled upon, dugg, furled, and listed in every link popularity and social bookmarking site you can find — there's nothing better than a recommendation from fellow surfers
- Use keywords strategically, to get your posts found in both conventional and blog search engines.
- Tag content so people can find you by focusing on their area of interest.
Keeping Site Visitors
It's one thing to entice people to your site. It's another thing entirely to get them to stick around, let alone keep 'em coming back for more. This is especially true when visitors land randomly on a page through traffic exchange sites and stay only long enough to earn credits. The likelihood of these visitors finding content relevant to their needs is low. Visitors arriving through search engines stay longer, and explore the site, because they have located a document that meets their needs. Here are some ways to engage your less focused visitors:
- Write well and write about what visitors are interested in.
- Add graphics or photos to draw people into your copy. (I need to take my own advice!)
- Cross-link posts strategically to aid navigation (this is critical).
- Put permanent links to your most popular posts in your sidebar.
- Post new content frequently.
- Make it easy for people to subscribe to your feed.
- Keep the design clean and the site fast-loading.
I will be fleshing these ideas out in several posts over the coming days, so please check back, or sign up for our feed to be sure not to miss anything. And if there are strategies that have worked for you, please take a moment to share them through this blog's comments feature.