How to Build Traffic for your Site – Hints and Tips!
I’m not entirely sure why May from ‘Ladies in Blogging‘ thought I was qualified to talk on building traffic for your site, but last night I did just that, by leading an informal discussion on how to build traffic for the Ladies in Blogging group. I haven’t been writing London Unattached for that long. In fact, for less than two years. So my ideas are really a list of things that have helped me build traffic, so that I now have well over 40,000 unique visitors a month (and over 120,000 page views). And also some things that I got wrong!
I believe the basic foundation for building traffic to any site – be it a blog, a product website or a forum – is to build decent content. Writing about things that people are interested in might seem like common sense, but it’s something that doesn’t always happen. And I’ve been as guilty as anyone else of doing this. The best analogy I can think of is the way our parents used to invite friends around to see holiday snaps
OK. Taking tongue out of cheek for the rest of this post. Lets assume we all have something interesting to say on our sites. How do we start to build traffic?
Present your content so it is search engine friendly
If you are posting on a blog, the post should have a URL and a heading that reflects what people who might be interested in what you are writing will type into google to look for it.
Here’s an example of what I mean. This is my listing for chocolate rum banana muffins on google. I’m really pleased with that position, because I figure if someone is thinking of making muffins with chocolate rum and bananas, they might find my post. You can see the title of the post and the URL that I’ve used both have all four keywords and that I’ve repeated those words in the description too.Or this one, for Tonkotsu Ramen Bar in Soho:Now, where it all goes wrong sometimes for me is that I lose focus. Do I want my blog to be a review site for vacuum cleaners? No not really!!! So, perhaps this one wasn’t so clever even though the SEO result is good.If you are a wordpress user like me, then add in Yoast’s fabulous SEO plug in’ WordPress SEO’. It will nudge you to get it right – though it won’t stop you from accepting and reviewing the wrong things! It will also guide you with things like getting the content to reflect the phrase you are trying to be found for.
Network with site owners, bloggers and others interested in your content
This part is very important. There’s a strong community element within the blogging world. People SHARE other blog posts that interest them. And, those who share your passion are more likely to share your content. The best example for me at the moment is the 5:2 Diet. I belong to 4 facebook groups. I share my recipes on a joint pinterest board with two other bloggers who are also doing the diet and we all refer to each other in our posts. Even if you are not blogging in a niche area, there are other ways to share – by joining the link-ups, the memes and challenges that other bloggers post. Keen photographers share photo themes, recipe bloggers share baking challenges and fashion bloggers share their best fashion concepts.
And, make sure you comment on blogs you like – it’s good to give and receive feedback (especially when it’s not spam!) and you’ll often find people will come back to your blog and take a look around.
Within the food blogging community there’s even a Diary!
Use Social Media when Building Site Traffic
It’s up to you how much you use social media to share your ideas. Twitter and Triberr together make a powerful tool to communicate a short link back to your posts to a wide audience. A facebook page can help to build a loyal readership who may be too busy to check YOUR blog every day but quite happy to see something in their facebook feed to prompt them to go back and check out what you have just posted. Stumble-upon is a simple ‘discovery’ tool that works particularly well if you have a blog with a lot of pictures (e.g. a travel blog). Pinterest similarly provides a visual link back to your blog and is very popular with recipe collectors and crafters because of the unique way of structuring your pinboards into interests.
Use Analytics and Google Trends to Build Site Traffic
Install Analytics on your site. Look to see what people are looking for and where they come from. Build on that where you can and where it suits your site strategy (e.g. post more on a forum that sends you great traffic, add your restaurant reviews to a directory like Urban Spoon if you find it works for you).
And then use Google Trend. It’s a fascinating tool that allows you to identify current search trends but more significantly to understand niche trends and explore them further – like this chart showing the rise and fall of three popular diets in the UK. You can use Google trends to look at anything you find is popular on your own site, explore how the trend is working and perhaps look at other similar trends you might want to write about. So here, I’ve picked up two other diets I’ve seen covered in the UK press and online and I am comparing all three. Google trends also lets you look at seasonality. You can see when searches for Christmas start (no, it’s not March!!).
I hope this information is useful . I’m always interested to hear of other ways of building traffic for your site (legitimately). So please comment if you have any ideas. And in the meanwhile, if you haven’t read it already, please take a look at my post on Plagiarism.