I know that this is two posts in one week about blogging, but I’ve received a few emails since my post on Monday about making your blog tastier to advertisers. Most of the questions have been requests for more in depth tips for drawing in more traffic. Honestly, if I had all of the answers, I would hopefully have more than 20,000 visitors a month like I do now (which is awesome, but not Smart Passive Income awesome, lol). But here is what the last 3 years have taught me about increasing blog traffic.
Top 3 Tips to Draw In Readers
1. Your site has to be visit-worthy.
I do not expect to be looking at thousand dollar sites when I read a regular personal blog, but don’t make it hard for me to want to stay! I need to be able to navigate around without feeling like I’m opening a combo lock. And I definitely don’t want to feel like my eyeballs are being assaulted.
I tried a black background blog with white lettering when I first started, and you know what? I got complaints from the super nice people that were bothering to read a brand new site anyway. When 3 of the 10 total readers you have take the time to email you personally to ask for more normal colors, LISTEN. It takes years (probably forever) to get a site to look just the way you want it to, but make sure that you also are making it at least welcoming for others if you ever hope to have some followers.
If you have no idea where to start with your site, you can find sites to help walk you through the process. I don’t like spending money before I make money on a hobby job, so I just picked a free theme with WordPress that I decided was flexible enough. Then I set up the basics, started writing daily, and spent a few hours for several weeks making it as welcoming as I could. I’m still not 100% satisfied with the look of BFS, but since my tastes change all of the time, I think it’s to be expected. 🙂
2. Your site has to be read-worthy.
If I am visiting your site for the first time, I generally first scope out the most recent post, then the ones that are easily scrolled through after that, and finally I click on your “About” section. If the posts I can see are all boring, I usually won’t be back. If I wanted info posts less than 400 words long about something that already has 600 articles about it, I would Google for it and see what reputable sites pop up.
I am reading your specific site to hear your voice. If you can make “Tips” posts fun, than more power to you! But if it’s just a blah, blah rundown of info I already know, well, sorry but I have better things to do. As Donna Freedman spoke about during the last Financial Blogger Conference, develop a voice of your own. Readers want to be entertained AND informed if possible. STOP BEING LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE. Really try to use your humor, or expertise, or writing style to make me want to read your stuff again.
3. To grab “real” followers, you have to guest post and comment elsewhere.
No one can find out your site exists unless they see you around the blogosphere. To be seen, you have to write. That means guest posting (or staff writing) and commenting all over the place. Why would other bloggers read you if they don’t know you exist? How will non-bloggers find you if your name isn’t all over the place? Why would bloggers add you to their blogroll if they don’t know you?
Remember that growing a site will mean putting time into the rest of the sites in your niche too. That’s just how you grow friendships and acknowledgement. If that isn’t something that you want to do, than please let me know what else has worked for you. To my knowledge, you can’t grow online without being talked about. I prefer to generate that talk with solid comments, great guest and staff posts, and by helping others. I love that part of blogging, but it is time consuming. Don’t blow it off.
What other big tips can you think of to draw in new readers?
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 a year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, a rental home, and professional pet sitting. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you). I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. This all gives me the time to be with my aging family members, the flexibility to stay close with my friends and family, and it should help if we finally get pregnant too! Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!