These days, it seems that everyone has a blog. And those that don’t probably know someone that does. There are millions of blogs on the internet.
The recent surge in popularity can be attributed to a few things:
Simplicity – The average person (with no experience) can now put up their own page(s) (their very own “voice to the world”) in a matter of minutes. In some cases, it won’t cost you a dime.
Financial – Armed with just a computer and some creativity, a blogger can make a decent amount of money with their site. Heck, technology has advanced to the point where you don’t even need any special computer skills. However, keep in mind that you won’t see much profit unless you have some basic writing skills, a little luck, and a good work ethic. Money is a huge motivator for some as they start seeing a little revenue from their ads and realize that the earning potential is real.
Whatever your motivation, you should realize that most blogs on the internet today have been deserted by their owners. The life-span of a blog is short for many reasons. Some owners lose interest, others are discouraged by the trickle of traffic they get, and others are disappointed at the amount of work versus revenue in order to make a few dollars. It’s a fact that most sit there in cyberspace with little more than a page or two of content.
As a beginner, this can be bad in the sense that the odds are against you developing a successful site – or good, in that there is far less competition than meets the eye.
Whether you’re starting a blog for financial or personal reasons, here are ten ways to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to get visitors to your site – and keep them there:
1. Try to write every day. There is one thing that all the top blogs have in common: The content is updated at least once a day; sometimes several times a day. Search engines absolutely love fresh, consistent, original content. Feed it to them and they could reward you by pushing up your position in the SERPs (Search engine results page). This is one of the simplest ways to get a higher ranking and, hence, more traffic.
2. Create quality content. Write to the best of your ability and always check it over a few times. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should at least be free of obvious spelling and grammatical errors. This is more for the benefit of your readers. People won’t come back to a poorly written blog because they can’t take it seriously.
3. Use a quality design. Use a popular blogging platform such as WordPress or Google’s Blogger. They come with many professional designs, are full-featured, and usually do quite well, from an SEO standpoint, right out of the box. Your site must be appealing to your visitors – in most cases, you have only seconds to catch their attention before they hit the back button.
4. Build a community. Try to get your readers more involved with your blog. Encourage comments and try to get a few guest posters. Eventually, you may even want to develop a forum if things go well.
5. Become more active. Start interacting with your readers. If they take the time to comment or ask a question, be sure to respond back promptly. This dialogue makes them feel welcome and shows a human side to your site. This will also add content – and as they say, the more the better.
6. Create a little controversy. Break away from the pack, and give a different view on a hot topic. Distinguish yourself amongst those who dare to give a different opinion. You would be surprised at the traffic you can get from a little controversy. You might even find that you are getting direct links from sites that would not otherwise link to yours. Just tread carefully here. You need to have some discretion when it comes to certain topics (don’t overdo it). Constantly measure your reader’s reactions and conduct yourself accordingly. Oh, and be prepared for some strong opposition, depending on the subject.
7. Build your inbound links. Search engines know how many other sites link to yours. The more links you have coming in, the higher your ranking. Also, links from well established, authority sites will have much more weight than smaller sites – it’s all about quality. If this sounds like one big popularity contest, then you’re right!
Submit your site URL to as many free directories as possible. Write articles (with a link at the bottom to your site) and submit them to the big article directories. Write some content on Myspace, Facebook, Hubpages, and Squidoo – all with a link back to your site. Find other blogs in your niche and comment on their posts with a link back to your site. Bookmark your pages using Digg, Stumbleupon, and others. Use discretion here and don’t spam. Spamming could result in your account being deleted from these social networking sites and your blog being blacklisted by the search engines.
8. SEO. Search engine optimization simply means optimizing your site for the search engines. The goal is to rank higher in the SERP’s for your main keywords. Make it easy for them to read your content and navigate from page to page. Get a good book on SEO, or visit one of the webmaster forums and be prepared to read a lot.
9. Do some keyword research. Find low-competition keywords related to your blog theme. Low competition means words or phrases that are searched for, but have fewer websites with that exact word. In this way, you are not in direct competition with well established, authority sites for the most popular niches. Once you have your keywords you should use them as titles for your articles, include them in the TITLE, DESCRIPTION, and KEYWORDS Meta tags, and as anchor text on other websites that are linking to you. Also, try to include your keywords in the content you write. A 1-2 percent keyword density for a particular word or phrase is what you want. Don’t overdo it or your page could be penalized by the search engines. Above all, never sacrifice quality and user readability for the sake of getting your keyword density up.
Google has recently come out with some major algorithm changes that will penalize you if you are overzealous with your anchor text on incoming links (make sure your main keyword occurs less than 20% or so) and if you are over doing your onpage optimization (article keyword density and meta tags). In other words, you have to appear as though you are not doing any seo at all – I know, times they are a-changing!
10. Watch your stats. Test – Analyze – Tweak. This is the formula to any success on the web (financial, or otherwise). You should be looking at your stats on a regular basis. Run tests to see what results you get, and then adjust accordingly. Once you know what works, simply repeat the process again and again.
Google Analytics, Awstats, Statcounter, are among the most popular programs to keep tabs on your website.
Building a steady stream of traffic to your blog (or any website, really) is a slow, arduous process – unfortunately, there are few shortcuts. Follow these proven techniques to get people to your site and over time you could build a nice steady, reliable stream of visitors and revenue.
Steady traffic is like money in the bank.
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