Thursday, April 3, 2014

6 Tips to Boost Blog Traffic

These six tips will help improve traffic to and within your blog. The tips include suggestions for enhancing navigation around your site, finding and choosing images, and a great suggestion for adding more e-mail subscribers.

Improve Navigation Around Your Blog

Most people who read one of your blog posts, never see the home page. Typically, they'll come to read an article they found in a Google search, saw on a social media post, or clicked in an e-mail forwarded by a friend.

Navigation refers to how visitors find articles on your blog. If you've written a lot of blog posts, most visitors will never see them.

Here are two ways to promote articles once people visit your blog:

1) Index or Category pages

These are pages you add to your blog that include lists of related articles. You should be able to group most of your posts into five or so major categories. These categories can be listed along the top of your blog as tabs. Tabs labeled as "About" and "More Articles" are not very enticing to most readers. Be more specific. On the top of this blog, my tabs include: Self Promotion for Writers, For Bitter Singles, Erotic Humor, Travel Humor, Trip Around the World.

When you click on, say, the Trip Around the World tab, you arrive at an Index or Category page that lists articles about my trip around the world.

Note: This Index page is not particularly pretty, but it lets readers know what kinds of other content I have. (click on the image below to enlarge it)

Clicking the Trip Around the World tab brings visitors to an Index page 
listing articles on travel articles.

You can also create Index pages that are not linked to a tab -- just create these pages as regular blog posts and include links to related articles. In the example below, if you click on the Travel Humor tab, you come to a list of funny travel articles. Within that list, you can click on "Revelstoke" and see a list of stories about my trip to Revelstoke, Canada.

2) Include listings of related articles at the end of every blog post. 

This is the writer's version of "if you liked this article, you may like these other articles." Go to the end of this blog post for an example.


Pick Good Art

You need a nice image, photo, or graphic at the top of every blog post! Why?
- Blog articles will look more professional
- When you post a link to your blog on social media, it will look more appealing. (There's research claiming readers are more likely to click on links accompanied by a photo.)
- Images are available for free.


3) Find free, legal images on Creative Commons

4) Crop and edit those images using a free, easy-to-use tool like Irfanview

5) Chose rectangular images -- they will look better when you post to Facebook or Twitter. More than you want to know about social media and rectangular images.

If the top art in your blog is a square, linking to it in Facebook will produce a small image (top example of microphones) Using a rectangular image will often produce a Facebook post with a larger image. (bottom example with Facebook image)

Note: if you're blog post consists of a video or audio clip, be sure to add a piece of art to the top of the post -- youtube thumbnails don't always appear when you post blog links on social media sites.

Add More Subscribers

6) Embed e-mail sign up/subscribe boxes in every post

I used to get two to three people signing up for my blog when I had the subscribe box in the upper right hand corner of my blog page.

Most visitors ignore information, such as the subscribe box (red arrow), in the outer columns of the page.

When I started inserting the sign-up box directly into each blog post, my sign-ups jumped to 20 per month. (For an example, see the sign up box at the end of this post. If you haven't already signed up, please do!)

  More Articles on Blogging

- 18 Months of Social Media: One Writer's Progress Report

- Building your blog: My recent presentation on blogging and a list of resources

- Blogging for Writers: Tips, Tools, and Tricks (old but still relevant)

Art Atribution: Street lights image by Indolences (Indolences) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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