Thursday, December 12, 2013

How to Drive Traffic to Your Blog and Build a Loyal Readership

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Building a strong blog following and attracting a respectable amount of traffic to your blog on a regular basis takes time, patience and hard work. Some of the strategies that can help your blog succeed include creating quality content, search engine optimization (SEO), networking, frequent updates, sharing and paid advertisements. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can drive traffic to your blog and attract readers who will keep coming back.

Create Good Content

Good content is the cornerstone of any successful blog. Quality content attracts readers and keeps them coming back.
High-quality blog content is unique, shareable, useful, fresh and up-to-date or evergreen. A good blog contains content on a variety of topics and also in a variety of formats. Blogging is about more than simply writing posts; it’s also about using images, videos and infographics —visual content is a powerful tool for engaging readers.

Update Often

The more often you update your blog, the more value it will have to search engines and the higher it will appear in the rankings. Most of your prospective readers are going to come from search engine traffic, so you want to rank as high as you can. Frequent updating also keeps your readership engaged; if you stop posting for too long, readers may assume you’ve stopped posting altogether and stop coming back to look for new content. Worse, eventually they may even forget about your blog.

Network, Network, Network

The blogosphere is full of bloggers who are willing to help you boost your page views. Find and read other blogs in your field and leave thoughtful, insightful and polite comments. Some bloggers may want to learn more about you and will likely find your blog. If they like it, they may share links to your blog with their followers on social media, adding you to their blog rolls and leaving comments of their own. You should reciprocate — or take the initiative and start sharing links to the blogs you enjoy reading.

If it’s relevant to your blog, don’t be afraid to mention local businesses or influential people in your field. Whenever you mention someone in a post, share it with that person (assuming your mention is positive). They may thank you by sharing the link with their followers.

You should also interact with your readers. Reply to comments, answer emails and tweets, and accept friend requests. Not only is this action polite, but it encourages your readers to stick around and share your blog posts with others.

Take Advantage of Email

People use email to communicate every day, especially to stay connected with their favorite blogs. Give your readers the option of using an email subscription to get your blog posts delivered straight to their inboxes — but don’t stop there.

Create and send out a regular email newsletter detailing everything that’s happened on your blog over the past week or month. Make sure you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act by asking your readers to specifically subscribe to this list and offering them the chance to opt out at any time. Spread the word about your blog by adding a link to your personal and professional email signatures.

Share Everywhere

Sharing your blog posts on social media is a great way to drive traffic. Use Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Pinterest and other social media sites to share your posts with a wider audience.

Practice SEO

Since most of your blog traffic is going to come from search engines, a working knowledge of SEO is essential to making your blog a success. Use searchable headlines and subheadings, link to reputable sources and make providing value to the reader a priority. Don’t pack in too many keywords, though. SEO is constantly evolving, and your content’s quality is far more important than keyword saturation.

Advertise

Paid advertisements are a cost-effective way to get new readers, especially readers who may never have otherwisefound your blog. If you’re looking to drive traffic to a new blog quickly, advertisements are the way to go. Pay-per-click advertising lets you control your budget while attaining the audience your blog deserves.

Driving traffic to a new blog and establishing a solid readership takes hard work, social media savvy and, most of all, patience. But with some time and effort, you’ll soon see your blog flourish.

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