5. Social Bookmarking Sites
Del.icio.us, Spurl, Furl, TechMeme, Tailrank, Reddit, Digg, Netscape, etc. all are great for building traffic. I’ve found that Del.icio.us, Tailrank and Techmeme are my favorites, but the others are close behind. I don’t necessarily enjoy getting Dugg because 1-commenters are often just there to Pee in my comments and 2-they are so unlikely to come back that they just cost me money in bandwidth (vs. no advertising return) and heartache when my site folds.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a frequent Digg-er myself, but I almost NEVER subscribe to a site that I find through Digg. I don’t think I’m alone (and my site stats suggest that I’m right here). Sites like Marktd bring me much more traffic. Two articles I wrote last week are still on their categories’ front page (mobile and social) with only a handful of marktds and are continuing to give me traffic.
4. Network, Network, Network
Commenting on blogs is great, but just dropping links on a blog comment form won’t cut it. Who are the A list bloggers in your field? Have you ever sent them an email telling them when a post you’ve written is something they’d be interested in? If not, you are missing out on a great link and a great opportunity for exposure (if they like/hate what you wrote). Also, most of them watch their incoming links like a hawk. If you link to them they’ll know it and they’ll often link or comment back (giving your blog just a little more credibility in the eyes of your readers).
That said though, I think I get more traffic from smaller blogs than I do from larger blogs. One link here and there from a Technorati Top 100 blogger is worth alot, but 30 links from smaller bloggers (up and coming bloggers, I like to say) is much more effective in building traffic that stays.
Also, by networking with other bloggers through blogger’s forums, niche blog boosts, carnivals and the like give you the opportunity to reach each others traffic. Once you’re getting read and linked to on a regular basis because you have good content and great friends, you’re halfway there to consistently strong organic traffic.
3. Offsite Articles
Much like social bookmarking sites bring back targeted traffic to your site, places like TopTenSources (hat tip to Hsien Hsien), 43Things, AssociatedContent and Minti build a targeted following of users and anything quality that you place in front of them offers you the chance at mega-traffic. Now, most of what you write is going to create traffic that seeps in, not pours in, but when building traffic, a whole lotta that is much better than one or two sources that are really large.
And, then there’s the day that you’re ‘featured’ on the home page and traffic WILL pour in then.
Getting on page one of Google for your topic is difficult at best and next to impossible for many in very wide, very popular topical niches (how can you possibly rank #1 for SEO when the competition is so tight?). However, for many the playing field is more level and the opportunity to shine via search is certainly there.
While I am a fan of site submission and article submission, I don’t rely heavily upon either for SEO performance (and I cleanly rank well for all of my sites, just ask if you want to see my track record of SEO’d sites). Using SEO-friendly urls is a common technique I use (though I can’t change easily on this blog, I do use them for clients).
Also, making sure the keywords that describe my topic are always used in my image alt text, in my link title text, in my title tags, post titles, categories, etc. has been a very (and I do mean very) successful technique for me. Add that to the fact that the name of this blog and most others that I buy are keywords of mine and my sites rank well within the SERPs within a few months, even though most of them are still sitting at PR 4.
SEO is a science for some who, using black magic, can work wonders on your SERP results. However, for my blogging needs, it’s mostly common sense. I write alot about what I want to rank highly for and I update my site frequently.
Of course, don’t forget that there are many other search engines out there in addition to Google. Make sure to Technorati tag all your posts to increase your Technorati traffic. Search for your blog in smaller search engines and if you find you aren’t there make sure to submit your site to them.
1. Focus on the reader’s interest
All the expertise in the world is useless if it’s given out to the wrong audience. Can you imagine how people who came to hear Bob Villa speak would feel if they ended up instead with Matt Cutt‘s SEO talk? Know your audience and speak directly to what they want.
Techies, SEOs and online junkies like numbered lists, hence I tend to write alot of them. However, when I write on parenting I make sure to include alot of downloadable pdfs, coloring sheets and craft projects. In building traffic for my gaming blog I created a gaming vidcast, and it’s brought lots of traffic back to the gaming blog.
One note on this is that it seems all people are interested in schedules, so if you have a blogging schedule, be sure to post it often. I wrote a blogging schedule back August of 2005 and an updated blogging schedule in May of 2006 and both still bring me traffic (search for ‘blogging schedule’ on Google).
Figure out what they really, really want and give it to them. Of course, it’s easier if you are passionate on the subject yourself. If that’s the case you are your own focus group.
*And, if you liked this, please bookmark it at your favorite bookmarking site.