Sunday, 23 September 2012

5 simple ways to increase your blog traffic


 As you might know, I've moved my blog over from it's old location. I needed a fresh new look. I've been working on ways to increase my readership here, and after a few months of making small changes and keeping a very close eye on my stats, I'm ready to share these 5 simple tips.

1. Properly name your photos. 

If you can honestly say you haven't got a folder on your computer somewhere called 'aaaaaaastufftoday' or something similar, then I think you should stop reading my blog. You just aren't my sort of person. (That was a joke, don't leave, please.)

When you save a photo, try and give it a name that you can imagine yourself searching for if YOU were looking for that particular photo. I always use this little trick. So, for example:



I originally took this photo on my phone, which if you have a phone with a camera, you'll be aware of it ending up with a name like '9091927htc'. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't search for strings of numbers when I'm looking for outfits involving a pink skirt. 

I mentally assign some keywords to the picture. 'skirt', 'fashion' 'going out outfit', 'pink', 'leather'. Then I name the photo with the words that are the strongest keywords - the most likely ones that *I* would search for. If you are taking things REALLY seriously, you can also check out how often the words are searched using Google Analytics. I'll go into more detail on that in a later post.

So I ended up calling it Pink Skirt Fashion Outfit.jpg.

Now, it should come up when people search on Google for different combinations of those words! How far up the listings depends on some other factors, such as back-links, popularity and the mysterious Google algorithm.

2. Keep An Eye On Your Stats.

I look at my blog stats every single day. The most interesting thing that I like to view is the Search Keywords feature in Blogger. Other blogging platforms have something very similar and you can also get an even more in-depth set of results by installing Google Analytics.

Here are my stats using the 'Now' option just this very second.

This tells me a lot of useful information. I actually use this information to keep a note of the type of readers that I have. I can see that the majority of my hits today seem to be coming through my blog by searching for an Ombre French Manicure tutorial. I had previously posted one pic of a mani that I did myself. Then when I saw that quite a few people where coming to my blog looking for that, I took the opportunity to post a full tutorial. I'm thinking these people will be much more satisfied when they happen upon a full picture tutorial than just one picture. Maybe they will stay and see my other tutorials. Maybe they will become a follower.

I can also use this information another way. I know that nail tutorials are super popular and lead to blog hits. Coupled with the fact that I actually like doing them, they seem to be a great content idea for my blog :-)

**I would never recommend posting things that don't interest you just to get hits. I like doing nail tutorials. I wouldn't do them otherwise. If I did, blogging would become a chore. And it's meant to be fun. So, the key is to rationalise what your *readers* want, and what *you* want and find where those things overlap.

I love a good Venn diagram.

3. Post Titles.

Post titles should be descriptive not cryptic. I've seen a very strong correlation between higher page views and keyword-filled titles. This also applies to labelling your posts.

4. Linking posts internally.

  
45 views today have come from my old blog. That's cool. I can handle that. And then you see that another 30 people have swung by from other posts. I like this.

There are a couple of ways you can link your own blog without sounding like you are rampantly self-promoting. 
  • A monthly or weekly round up of your favourite posts. This is great for reusing images, getting those keywords in, and also for reminding new readers about things they might have missed.
  • Use a widget such as linkwithin to add a bit at the bottom of each post suggesting other articles within your blog that the reader might like
  • Simply mention and link - "After we had a bonfire last week it got me thinking about Bonfire night..."
5. Pintrest & Twitter

I have over a 1,000 followers on twitter. You can read more about how I did that here (See what I did there?) I have twitterfeed set up so that every time I post a blog post, it automatically posts the link to twitter in the same format:


 Since I normally post quite late at night, somethings not all my followers will see the post. So I like to log in a few hours (usually the morning after) and post another link in a different way too.

Sign up to twitterfeed here. It's super simple and there are step-by-step instructions. Don't be afraid just because it involves RSS feeds, it really is very easy to set up.

In particular with my nail tutorials, I will post a few photos on Pintrest. I have a board called 'Social Media', so the hand photo at the top will be pinned to that, linking to this blog post. Hopefully, people will find the post interesting enough to want to 'pin' the image to come back to later. (I've learnt that with blogging, you need to have faith in your own ability to be interesting. This is probably the hardest thing to get your head around, well, it certainly was to me.)

***

So, there we have it. I really hope that one or two of these easy tips will be useful to someone, and if you have anything to add, or have a question, or just want some personal help with anything that I have written here, please feel free to comment below and I will do my very best to help you out, if I can!

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