I know, I know. This sounds like a sponsored post, doesn’t it? But I assure you, it’s not. I’ve been doing some research on my own about how to boost my own traffic and came across some great advice (most of which is from Traffic Generation Cafe) and I HAD to share some of the easiest and best. And, as per their advice, I’m also including a Slideshare and I hope to boost your traffic!
1. Like Facebook Comments
We’ve all heard the advice about reaching out to other bloggers on their Facebook pages through Linky parties and commenting/sharing their posts, but did you know you can actually get a lot of advice for liking other commenters comments? It’s like this: Jane likes Love at First Book, so I am going to go like Jane’s comment on Love at First Book’s post. Then, Jane wonders who The Book Wheel is, heads over to my page and likes me back. She may never have known about my page had I not liked her comment. (It’s probably best to substitute a site that doesn’t already promote the heck out of you like Love at First Book does for me but I was out of options).
2. Guest Post
This tip makes complete sense when you think about it, but I’m guilty of not having done that. Guest posting can be hard work but the benefits are much greater. Whether you post once a day or 10 times a day, your posts are primarily going out to the people who already follow you. By guest posting, especially on a blog that is in a relevant industry but offers different services than you do, you attract a whole new set of people. So, with my transition to non-fiction, I would do well to post on a fiction site, whereas a fiction reviewer would do well to guest post on a non-fiction site. That way, the readers are still relevant but the niche is a bit different. Oh, and when you do this, be sure to have an amazing signature so that people want to read more of your stuff.
3. Install Facebook Comments on Your Blog
This is another one that makes total sense. If a reader has a comment about your post but isn’t that committed to you, they are probably going to skip commenting altogether because most blogs require some kind of login. This is where installing Facebook comments is helpful. It’s easier for the reader AND it drives more traffic to your Facebook because it’s in their face. There are some super easy plugins for this so there’s no excuse for not doing it!
4. Make a Heat Map
A heat map is basically like an infrared sensor that tells you what parts of your page are the most popular. Some use the color red over the “hotspots” that are clicked the most and some put little dots that range in size based on popularity. Either way, it helps you figure out where and what people are looking at. This is good for two reasons. First, it lets you know where people are looking and you can put what you want to be click on the most in that spot. Second, it lets you figure out what is on your page that you could just take out altogether, such as sidebar widgets. There are a bunch of plugins that do this, too. I’m using this one by Mouse Eye Tracking.
5. Set up Google Alerts for Yourself
This one is really easy to do. Go to Google Alerts and set up a few alerts using your website url, website title, and Name @ Website. These are just a few examples and you can set up anything that you want. This is helpful because you can find out (in real time, if you choose) who is referencing your blog and you can go comment on or promote the post. It helps with building relationships and lets you know what people are saying about you.
You might run into the problem where you don’t have much showing up for your alert, which could be because your site isn’t indexed with Google. Mine wasn’t and I use Google Analytics, so I was a bit surprised. But that’s also fixable (see #6).
6. Create a Sitemap and Submit to Google
This one is a bit harder but also really important. I’ve been using Google Analytics for a while now and I assumed that meant that I was good to go with Google. Turns out I was wrong. Not only was my site not being indexed (that link will give you some help) but my site wasn’t even verified. I fixed this by going to Google Webmaster Tools and following the simple instructions to verify my site. Then, I installed a Google Sitemap plugin that lets you download the sitemap and it automatically updates to your Webmaster tools. If your plugin doesn’t automatically update to Google, you can download the file and upload it directly to Google. So why do you need to do this? Because if Google isn’t indexing your posts then you’re probably not going to show up in search results unless people search for something very specific that pertains to your blog. There’s also a whole bunch of other techy reasons, but really all you need to know is that it’s super important.
7. Don’t Over-Edit a Live Post
This one affects your traffic indirectly, so I’m including in the list because it’s important. We all know that you’re not supposed to spread duplicate content to various sites (although I’m guilty of doing this with book review sites and I’m working on it), but repeatedly editing your already live posts is also bad. Basically, every time you post something on your site it ‘pings’ to Google. So when you edit a live post, it pings again. If you edit the post 5 times in a row, it pings 5 times in a row. If you do this a lot then Google will think you’re spam and bad things will happen. The lesson is this: make sure your post is 100% ready before you make it live.
8. Always Make Outbound Links Open in a New Page
This is something that I already do intuitively so it’s nice to know I was doing it the right way. When you open an outbound link (to another page) and it overrides your site, you’ve just sent that person away indefinitely. By having it open in a new page, you are sharing great content and allowing the reader to remain on your site. They are much more likely to read more posts on your site if they don’t have hit the back button 5 times because they were clicking around on someone else’s page. I speak from experience here – people who don’t have the ‘new page’ setup oftentimes send me away even if I liked their site. I get distracted and move on to the next thing because I, like most people, have a short attention span. Don’t let your good content send people away!
Now that you have these 8 simple tools, you should be able to implement some effective strategies right away. Good luck!