Three SimpleTricks to Increase Traffic to Your Blog

A ballroom dancing couple. Illustration by Dav...Image via Wikipedia
Are you suffering from a case of "flat traffic"?

There's tons of advice around Internet on how to increase traffic to your site, and for us writers, one of the best and most recent posts on the subject is Scott Berkun's: click here to read. I've also listed some interesting related articles below for your use.

But, wow, so much work!

Isn't there a simpler way to do it? I mean, like fundamental things that you shouldn't miss out on and that really, really work?

I've tried to understand the problem and after looking around Internet for some time, here's what I found. But before identifying possible tricks, let's get our figures straight so we know what we're talking about.

We are NOT talking about the number of "hits"on your site per day. A "hit" is just a person that happens on your blog and decides that's the wrong place to be and leaves immediately, without reading anything beyond the first few words (if that). So you might get 1,000 or 10,000 hits a day, but your number of posts actually read is much, much lower: it can be four or five times as little - it can even be 3 or 4 percent of the total!

This however does tell you something fundamental: a "hit" is a knock on the door.

To get a lot of people knocking on your door, what do you have to do?

TRICK No. 1:  KEYWORDS! Okay, I'll admit it, this is a no brainer. We all know keywords are the name of the game in Google searches and if you look up the traffic sources on your blog stats, you'll most probably find that Twitter or Facebook may well bring you tons of readers, but Google out does them all!

So how does Google find you? Are there tricks beyond picking out the "best", most "sought after", most "used" keywords (and using links to well-traficked sites)?

Or to put it another way, how does Google rank your site and how can you get your ranking improved? Again, there's a ton of advice on this and there are even different page ranking systems (see the useful  authopublisher article below). But for a dumb writer like myself, one of the best sites with the clearest explanations is Ana Hofman's Traffic Generation Café. She is very focused on this subject and super savvy about it. She recently delved into the question of what makes for improved page ranking with Google:

Here’s where the answer to the question of “Why is my site not ranking as highly?” might lie.
It only makes sense that a document that mentions both “ballroom” and “dancing” next to each other will be deemed more relevant than the one that talks about square dancing and simply mentions the word “ballroom” somewhere else on the page.
Similarly, if the entire “ballroom dancing” phrase is mentioned in the title of the page, it will appear to be more relevant to the topic.
In the same way, if the phrase is mentioned several times throughout the page, the page is more likely to be about ballroom dancing than if the phrase appears only once.
Check out this great quote I found at Google’s Librarian Central:
As a rule, Google tries to find pages that are both reputable and relevant.
If two pages appear to have roughly the same amount of information matching a given query, we’ll usually try to pick the page that more trusted websites have chosen to link to.
Still, we’ll often elevate a page with fewer links or lower PageRank if other signals suggest that the page is more relevant.
For example, a web page dedicated entirely to the civil war is often more useful than an article that mentions the civil war in passing, even if the article is part of a reputable site such as Time.com.
What do I take away from all this? Relevance is key. As Ana Hofmann puts it: 

Yes, it might come down to how well you optimize the page itself that will determine whether and how highly it’ll show up in Google search results.
Things like title, tags, description, on-page keywords.
Okay, in my simplified vocabulary, that means I have to make sure that: keywords are in my title, that they turn up in my text and that all corresponding tags are listed!
And of course, that brings us to: 


TRICK no. 2: CONTENT! We all know that our blog has to be useful to the reader. That's why J.A.Konrath's blog is so successful: he is giving priceless, free advice to would-be writers trying to figure out how to self-publish. A huge market, and no wonder he's got 500,000 followers! 


He found a niche and exploited it. 


So you have to find your niche and exploit it.


TRICK no. 3: ENJOY YOUR NICHE! Yes, I bet you didn't expect me to say that! But I mean it. Your content is going to be fun to read, enticing, interesting etc ONLY if you enjoy writing it! Yes, pick something you're familiar with (so you have something interesting to say) but also something you feel passionate about! Otherwise your blog is going to be...well, maybe well-written and all that, but oh, so boring!

So have fun and watch the bored masses rush to you to have a good laugh with you!

Do you have any other good advice ? I'd love to hear it!


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