Even though Blog World wrapped up last weekend, I wanted to talk a little about traffic building because it was one of the most discussed topics at the event.
Assuming it’s one of your goals (it doesn’t have to be), the experts had a lot to say about building readership/viewership to websites and blogs. Today I’m going to gloss over the jargon and give you some tips you can implement on your own.
Previously in The Beauty of Blog World…
- The Beauty of Blog World 2009
- The Beauty of Blog World 2009: How to Earn More Money from Your Blog
- The Beauty of Blog World 2009: How to Make Better Videos
Tip #1: Produce desirable content
This one’s the most important tip but also the hardest to define. “Content is King,” the traffic experts say, but what do they really mean? Answer: If you think about it, what draws you to your favorite makeup counters, stores, websites and blogs? In my case, I visit MAC counters because I’m *obsessed* with their makeup; I read Zen Habits because it helps me relax. Ultimately, we visit the places that give us what we want.
As a practical matter, I think it’s harder (although not impossible) to attract readers to personal journal blogs because, let’s face it, our lives usually aren’t as interesting as we think they are. But when we blog with passion about specific topics (keeping in mind that no one owes us their time), we tend to attract people with similar interests.
Tip #2: The power of key words
What words would someone use on Google to find your blog?
Whatever they are, those are some of your key words, and you want to use your key words in as many places as you can — in your domain name (i.e. lipstickeyeshadowandgloss.com, catsinuniform.com), in your URLs (i.e. catsinuniform.com/cat/uniforms/catuniforms.php — the parts between the / slashes), in your post titles (Cat Uniforms Under $10, My 5 Favorite Lipsticks of 2009, Don’t Gloss Over These Lipsticks, etc.), within the text of your posts and also within the text using HTML header tags (h1, h2, h3, h4). The more you use your key words, the more credit your blog will get from Google and the other search engines for searches using those terms.
Tip #3: Links
Not only do links translate into direct traffic to your blog, as they get clicked wherever they appear, but they also contribute to your placement in the search rankings on Google.
This is an oversimplification of a deeply guarded Google secret (has to do with something called PageRank), but, basically, the more links there are from other sites to your blog, the more respect your blog will get from Google. That respect translates into higher placement in the search rankings, which in turn makes your blog easier to find.
From my experience, some of the best ways to get links are by writing guest posts for larger blogs, by commenting on other blogs and by writing press releases (this one resulted in hundreds of links from media sites and aggregators like digg.com).
Sometimes, simply asking a blogger for a link back will work, but larger blogs very often can’t link to everyone who asks. That’s why I prefer to write guest posts instead, which usually result in more traffic than sidebar links do, particularly when there are already dozens or hundreds of other links on a blog.
Tip #4: Write catchy titles
Sometimes, all a prospective visitor sees is a title in an RSS reader or Google, so make your titles count. Catchy titles take longer to write than basic ones do, but why write something like 18 MAC Makeup Tips when 18 MAC to School Makeup Tips works, too?
Tip #5: Post often
At Blog World, Technorati CEO Richard Jalichandra listed some of the things that big blogs have in common. One was frequent posting.
Almost all of the largest blogs tracked by Technorati update at least once per day; some as often as 10-20 times/day. It’s hard to imagine being that prolific, but by posting frequently, blogs feed a steady stream of new content to Google, to RSS readers and to social media sites like Twitter, which equals more traffic.
Tip #6: Embrace social media
The experts all agreed: Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube can be great sources of traffic. People with similar interests may find you by your tweets and follow you back to your blog. If you’re serious about building your audience, start using social media now.
Tip #7: Consider advertising
As far as advertising, most of the speakers at Blog World said they do very little of it, but there were two companies generating some buzz for blog advertising, and those were Stumbleupon and Facebook.
Both ad systems were liked for their ability to show ads to specific geographic regions and groups, so you can choose to have ads for your makeup blog only be seen by women (probably a pretty good idea).
This ends my series on The Beauty of Blog World 2009. I hope you got a little something out of it.
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,