Y’all, I’ve been pondering the mystery of “blog traffic.” For those of us new to the “blogosphere,” finding ways to bring traffic to our sites is always a conundrum. For the first three months I was writing, I felt like I was talking to myself. I do that all the time, so it was nothing new.
My Big Bubba occasionally read my posts, and a few girlfriends looked at them. Some of the librarians who hired me saw my blog (because I put my blog address in my signature on my e-mails). My husband had to read it before I posted, because he is my “editor.” But, nobody ever gave me any “feedback. Non-bloggers don’t comment, because a) they don’t know they can, and b) we don’t often make it possible for them to do so in the beginning stages. I just kept writing on my Blogger site hoping that someone would click “next” and find me and that maybe someone would talk to me.
Helloooo! That doesn’t happen.
So, I’m trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle and determine how one finds an “audience.” I’m learning a few things, but most of it is still beyond me. So, if any of you have ideas you want to share, feel free to jump right in here. Of course, if you really know how to do this, you haven’t read this far, have you?
The most important thing, of course, is to put content that someone besides your mother will perhaps want to read. Yes, you are writing for yourself, but if you want an audience you are also writing for them. Look at your posts and ask yourself, “If this were about someone I didn’t know, would I take the time to read?” That’s always hard to know. I understand that well. My interests are so varied and weird, I never have a clue what people will want to see. In a case like that, I just do my best to write well on the topic that comes into my head.
Then you might consider discovering memes. Now, I assure you I don’t care for the ones that ask doofus questions like, “What color shirt are you wearing? When was the last time you got a hug? etc.” Frankly, nobody cares. But, Thursday Thirteen and Wordless Wednesday are what got the first bursts of traffic for me. Little bursts, but when your visitor count is a flat line, anything is welcome. There are other memes out there, but I haven’t gone in search of them. I don’t want to participate in a meme every day. I’m blogging because I want to write. Does someone else want to name a meme that they think is worth mentioning?
If you want to have a “successful” attempt at a meme like TT or WW, post something that lets your character shine through. If you can do that, people might read another post and get hooked. I discovered that last Thursday, with a ridiculous post about bacon. I was overcome with a case of “the sillies” and just went with it.
Then, I noticed in my stats that I was getting a lot of hits from something called “Stumble Upon.” In fact, I got over 100 visits from that link the first day. It seems that someone read that post, thought it was funny (actually, they listed it as “bizarre,” but I don’t think loving bacon is so strange…is it?), and listed me on the Stumble Upon site. I’d never heard of this before. But, Leanne added Stumble Upon links to my site when she re-did it so that now any of my posts can easily be nominated. I want to investigate Stumble Upon some more. Does anyone know anything they want to share?
When you participate in a meme, get out there and visit other participants. But, don’t just post your link, shoot off a mindless comment, and move to the next. If you see a post you like, investigate the blogger a little more. Read their profile or a post from their archives. You may have found an on-line kindred spirit. When you find those blogs you like, start giving a little Link Love. Everything that you “give” comes back to you, tenfold. I promise it’s true.
But, memes and linking are simplistic ways of increasing traffic. I see that there are more sophisticated ways to dramatically increase traffic, but I don’t understand them all yet. Other bloggers do, and they share it. For example, Scribbit generously posted about Technorati and the use of Technorati tags. Since following her advice, there has been a greater increase in my traffic. I’m not sure I understand much about Technorati, but I’ve started trying to add my blog links to my Technorati “favorites.” I’m working on trying to figure it all out. If you want to write a post explaining how to use it, I’ll be delighted to link to it.
When she was re-doing my blog, Leanne told me I needed a Feedburner RSS feed. I told her I didn’t speak geek. She tried to tell me that some people have their favorite internet sites on feed, so they can read it on their e-mail without clicking to the site(which I still haven’t figured out, but it’s on my “list to ponder” for the week). She pointed out that my RSS feed wasn’t even linked to me. I hadn’t signed up for it, and it was on my site automatically…but not pointed to my site. Anybody that signed up was reading someone else’s feed! Duh. So, that’s repaired, and you can read my feed if you want.
I thought I would set up my own feed this morning. My friend, Jen, had posted that there were too many blogs to read and no time. I agree, so I thought having my favorites “fed” to me would be good. But, some of my favorite Blogger blogs don’t make their RSS obvious, if they have it. You should have that RSS feed button smack dab in the middle of your sidebar, so that those of us with A.D.D. can find it easily. If you need help, I bet that Annie, over at Blog U or CeeCi at Geeky Streak will be happy to tell you what to do. Those ladies can figure out anything.
Finally, I’m going to get on my soapbox again and remark about your “comments” section. I have a list of blogs that I like to visit every day or every other day. This week, I marked a couple of them off my list(even though I like them), because they don’t allow me to sign in with my Word Press url and comment. I told you before about those comment boxes. If you want people to keep coming back, you have to make it easy for them to join your own little blog community.
So, I’ve rattled on long enough. Let’s open this up for comments. If you have written a post about increasing traffic (or if you want to write one), please comment and leave a link to it. I’ll amend this post and link you on the front page. If you just want to tell me what works (or what doesn’t), then go ahead and put your two cents worth into the pot. I’m waiting with ‘bated breath (or “baited” breath). [UPDATE:] Leanne has just posted a comment with information that rocks!
[UPDATE @:} Thanks for all for the comments. Thomma Lyn, I appreciate the info on the different blogrolls you have joined. It’s hard to figure out what is worth the effort sometimes.