Thursday, May 1, 2008

Building Blog Traffic - Best Practices

Our own blog is a case in point, maintaining and building readership is an important and tough job. In 2006 and early 2007 nearly 40% of all of our website visitors were reading our Web-World Watch blog (our only blog at the time). Then our business grew dramatically and we had some personnel related issues and our own blog got pushed to the bottom of our priority list. We lost major readership and blog traffic by the end of 2007 due to infrequent posting.

Since January 2008, we have been focused on building back what we lost and I have to tell you, it is a tough road to hoe. Here are some of the lessons that we have learned in the process that you may find helpful in regard to building your own blog traffic.

1. Don't get hung up on Feedburner subscriber stats. Stats here only reflect your blog readership using RSS news feeds which is still only a 7% reflection on the real marketplace. Yes, keep an eye on RSS subscribers, but know that the majority of your traffic will come from readers using browsers so make sure you have website analytics installed to track this larger portion of your readership.

2. Stick with it, to build traffic you really need to post 5 days a week. Yes, I know this is a real grind, but you've got to have content for people to read to want to follow and subscribe to your blog.

3. Don't get disappointed by the lack of comments. People are reading, I know this from experience, but rarely will they leave a comment unless you really hit a nerve, strike a chord, or have a controversial topic.

4. Make sure your content is good. This is crucial, you cannot build readers if you have drivel or derivative posts.

5. Leave comments on other blogs that you are following pointing to your blog. You may not get search engine benefits due to "no follow" tags, but you may point readers to your site. The other benefit is that you will connect with others in your field and keep tabs on what is happening in your industry and you may actually learn something new.

6. Embrace new things on your blog. Add widgets, test applications, use all these tools to not only keep your blog up-to-date, but give you fodder for new posts and new ways to engage readers.

7. Watch your stats and cater to your audience. If you don't watch your stats, you won't know what your readers consider important. I have learned that my readers like best practice blog posts and that out of my three blogs, this one Blog-World Watch is my most popular, and so this is the blog I invest the most time in, and use to publish my most interesting posts. Do you know what your blog readers want? Watch your stats to see what posts generated the most traffic and build on your success. What you find may totally surprise you, but use that information as a building block for building blog traffic.

If you have your own best practice approach for building blog traffic, leave a comment (really do it this time as I really want to know). Leave a link, and I'll make sure to visit your blog, possibly subscribe to follow it, and write about it one of my future posts. Good blogging everyone!

No comments: