This photo is of a traffic jam in China that spanned over 60 miles and lasted 9 days.
SIXTY MILES AND NINE DAYS!
As someone who is only mildly interested in technology, when I first started researching all the ins and outs of blogging and driving traffic and SEO and analytics and pingbacks and Technorati postings, it elicited the same response that imagining myself stuck in a Chinese traffic jam did.
So, let me begin by saying that there are officially 8 bazillion ways to drive traffic to your blog, but I am only going to give you some that I find most useful.
Some are easy to understand, and some are much more technically oriented than others and will have you, if you’re anything like me, glazed over and playing with your lip in lieu of actually incorporating them into your blog yourself, but you need to know about them so I’m including them.
Here goes nothin!
How To Create Your Own Chinese Traffic Jam:
At the very tippy top of the list is the most important of all traffic drivers. You have no business blogging, at all, if you don’t make sure to follow this seemingly simple and obvious rule:
PROVIDE AWESOME CONTENT!
It seems like a no-brainer but if you’ve ever nosed around the blogsphere, you understand why I’m putting it in all caps.
Here are some tips on how to write good content:
- Write stuff that’s topical, that people are searching for right now
- Break news if possible, if you hear about something insane and newsworthy, get on it before anyone else does
- Also write stuff that’s got a long shelf life, that people can refer to years after it’s written (and send their friends to read long after it’s written)
- Make your posts easy and fun to read, break up paragraphs, use bullet points, put in pictures and video
- Do interviews with well known, searchable people who will hopefully link to your post from their own, highly-visited blog
- Do something ongoing, give people a reason to keep coming back. For example, if you have a mommy blog and declare September “how to get more sleep month” people will keep returning for your tips.
- Entice them at the end of each post – leave a hanging question or suggest that you’ll go deeper with your next post, share more tips, show a naked picture of grandpa, etc.
- WRITE THINGS THAT ARE USEFUL TO YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
• Be active in forums in your area of expertise and link back to your blog
• Exchange links with other bloggers
• Submit your blog to blog directories (or have your assistant do it). This will provide the ever-hallowed links back to your blog as well as get you exposure. Here’s a great article on 20 good ones to submit to.
• Use Isnare to get your articles circulated in article directories as well as sites that offer up content for newsletter publishers.
• Make sure your blog URL is in the signature of every email you send and on all your business cards and brochures.
• Write short ebooks and allow other bloggers to give them away for free – make sure to put your blog url throughout the information and make sure to make the information GOOD.
• Be a guest writer on other blogs.
• Get an account at Technorati (an internet search engine for searching blogs) and make use of their tags in your posts.
• Submit your RSS feed to feed directories. Again, get that assistant on this. Here are some good ones.
• Bookmark your blog posts at socialposter. This will instantly submit them to multiple social driven sites at once such as digg, reddit, del.ico.us, stumbleupon, etc. so you don’t have to do each one separately.
• How you doing – you still with me? WAKE UP!
When you post a photo, make sure to write a clear description of it in the “alternate text” option (a box for this will appear when you go to insert a picture on your blog). For example, the alt text for the photo in this post should be “China’s nine day, sixty mile traffic jam” rather than “holy crap, kill me now!” It will not only let people who’s browsers are slow know what’s they should be looking at, but it will make your post more searchable.
• Encourage your readers to put your posts on all the social bookmarking sites like digg, technorati, del.ico.us, reddit, etc.
• Invite other people to chime in on a topic and post it on Craigslist, FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, everywhere you can think of. For example, invite mommys to email you with their best tip for getting sleep. Then compile the best ones, post them on your blog and ALERT the mommys whose tips you’re using that you’re using them and ask them to spread the word about the post they’re in.
• Create some sort of hilarious or shocking or otherwise noteworthy video, post it on your blog and Facebook and everywhere you can and try to get it to go viral. Make sure the URL to your blog appears in the video.
• Get the hell out of the house and network – go to seminars and meetings where your target market will be, charm them with your winning personality, talk about your blog and hand them your card.
• Come up with tasty tidbits from each post and put them on FB, Twitter and LinkedIn.
• Use keywords – figure out exactly what your target market is doing google searches for and use those words in your posts as often as possible.
• Try to come up with a good URL that includes a keyword or two. Also, buy the misspellings of your URL and forward them to your blog so if people type in the wrong thing, they can still find you.
• Make the title of your posts obvious and easily searchable rather than merely cute and witty. If you can do all three, you win, but always err on the side of searchable.
• Answer questions at Yahoo Answers to get exposure and leave people totally impressed by how smart you are.
• Get a VA (virtual assistant) and hand off as much of this to them as you can!