Whether you’re gearing up to launch a brand new blog, or you’ve been posting religiously over the past few years and have amassed a sizable audience, it’s always a good idea to take stock of the various ways to drive traffic and increase engagement on your blog.
I’ve created a list of 28 blog traffic and engagement driving tips that you can use to ensure you’re doing everything possible to generate ROI against the time and energy you’re investing by blogging. While this list is by no means comprehensive, it’s hopefully a good starting point and may spark some new thinking about how to get more people reading and engaging with your content.
If you have other suggestions and tips, by all means feel free to leave a comment!
1. Promote the Blog on Existing Company Web Sites: Surprising as it may seem, this is often a missed opportunity to generate traffic and inbound links from long-standing and Google-juice rich sites.
2. Distribute a Social Media Press Release: For a new blog, using a service such as PitchEngine or MultiVu is a great way to get fast inbound links, which will get the blog indexed by search engines faster.
3. Follow the 2-to-1 Post Rule: Link to two other blog posts in every blog post you write. Others will notice.
4. Comment Regularly: Make a habit of leaving substantive comments on other people’s blog posts.
5. Optimize Your Posts for Search: Craft each blog post around a single topic and optimize the post for search (more on that in a minute).
6. Claim Your Blog on Technorati: Register and claim your blog on Technorati, a leading blog search engine.
7. Email Signatures: Another simple opportunity to drive traffic. Make sure your blog URL is included in your work and personal email signatures.
8. Host a Contest: Sponsoring a contest for even a medium- to low-value prize is a great way to drive traffic to your blog and engagement (through commenting).
9. Grow Your Social Footprint: Participate in other social media sites and networks (e.g., Del.icio.us, Twitter, Facebook, Bebo, etc.) and include a link to your blog in each of the profiles. Mark Hayward has 25 great tips.
10. Create a Good List: Creating a good list will get you places in social media. They’re a good opportunity to link to other people and research, too.
11. Post What’s Hot, Not What’s Not. Write about posts that are timely and in-the-news now. More people will be searching for your topic. Yahoo! Buzz and What’s Rising on Technorati are good places to find out what topics are buzzing.
12. Headlines are Vital & Go Viral: Spend the extra 10 minutes to write a catchy, pithy title for your blog post. Unlike books, most people judge a post by it’s title. A good headline is more likely to find it’s way to DIGG and delicious, too.
13. Multimedia Matters: Including an image or a video in your blog posts make the post more impactful visually, but also provide the reader with richer content they can interact with or pass along easily.
14. Offer a POV: Offer a point of view in your post. Simply sharing a news article, video or image every now and then is fine, but give your readers a bit of editorial. Even if it’s only a few words.
15. Never Say “No Comment”: Read and respond to every comment left. Blogging is all about conversation, and one main way dialogue happens is through commenting. It’s important to respond to people who take the time to leave a comment, even if it’s simply a “thank you”.
16. Internal Company Newsletters: A good internal communications tactic, write a quick story about the launch of your blog (or 1-year anniversary, etc.) for your internal company newsletter.
17. Email Interviews: Conduct email or video interviews with other bloggers or offline experts, many of whom have their own audiences and following. To respect their time, keep the number of questions to a minimum.
18. Write What You Know: Keep your posts on-topic and stick to your area of expertise.
19. Group Announcements: When launching a new blog or announcing a major milestone, post a link or send an announcement to your company’s groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
20. Get Points for Group Participation: Start a group meme – or discussion topic – and ask others in your group to participate by either posting or leaving a comment. See the Twitter Strategy Series.
21. Phone a Friend: Simply ask friends and colleagues who blog to include a link to yours in their blogroll.
22. Don’t Be Needy: It’s not appropriate to ask established blogges for a link, unless you’ve developed a relationship with them (by commenting on their posts over time, developing a relationship, etc.).
23. Avoid the Three Deadly C’s: OK, while not deadly, it’s best to refrain from talking about the three C’s – Clients, Company Information, and Competition.
24. Co-Create Something: What kind of content could you create with the help of your readers? Our Blogger Outreach Code of Ethics was co-created with the help of 60+ other bloggers.
25. Do Light Keyword Research: Before writing your post, check out SEO tools such as Google’s Keyword tool to see the words people are actually typing into Google. Then craft your entire post around a single popular keyword.
26. Six Keyword Sweet Spots: Use the keyword you found in #25 in five critical places – 1) title of the post, 2) first sentence, 3) link text, 4) the URL of the post, 5) within each paragraph (if possible), 6) and in alt text.
27. Link to Previous Posts: Link to previous posts on the same topic to get the content re-indexed by search engines.
28. Reverse-Engineer Links: Google the topic of your post plus the word “blog”. Linking to good posts that appear in the top 10 search results will give your post more juice with Google.
Those are my 28 tips – what are yours? Share your best practices with all by leaving a comment below!