As soon as a blogger publishes their first post, their first question is: Where’s all my traffic? Everyone assumes they’re the only one seeking attention, when in truth nearly everyone is. It takes time to build an audience and no one gets much traffic without putting in the effort.
Here at WordPress.com we want you to get more traffic, and we build features and services to help. It’s been awhile since we’ve told you about them, so here are our top recommendations:
- Update your About Page. One of the first things visitors to your site will want to know is something about who you are. If you don’t update your About page to include a short bio, and they find a generic page instead, they’ll be disappointed. But if you briefly explain (two paragraphs is plenty) what the blog is about, and who you are, they’ll be more likely to come back.
- Turn on Publicize. You can easily set up your WordPress.com blog to automatically share new posts out to your Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo or LinkedIn accounts. This increases your reach every time you publish a post.
- Turn on Sharing. With a few clicks, you can make it so any visitor can share a link to your post out to their social networks, their blog, or through email.
- Let readers subscribe by email. Email is often forgotten as a source of traffic. If you turn on the Subscriptions widget, people can choose to get notified of new posts on your blog, automatically, via email. It’s a great way to keep them connected to your blog without any extra work for you, or for them.
- Post regularly. Pick a schedule that works for you – once a day, once a week, once every two weeks, and stick to it. Mention that frequency in your About page, and put reminders on your personal calendar. It’s only when people can expect regular posts that they’ll be compelled to come back to see what you’ve written next. If you need ideas for posts, read and subscribe to DailyPost, where we give topic ideas and blogging advice every day. You can also use PressThis to quickly generate new posts while you are browsing the web.
- Write Well. It’s often unsaid, but better posts get more traffic. There’s no sense in posting every day, if every post is boring or poorly written. It takes time to develop interesting ideas, and to edit posts to be concise and typo free. If people find a careless writer at work, they won’t be back. What good is more traffic if the content they see isn’t good enough for them to choose to return?
- Pick good titles. Blog post titles are like newspaper headlines. They need to be short and interesting to get people to want to see what’s inside. It takes some thinking to get a title down to a short sentence, but it’s time well spent. On Facebook and Twitter, all people will often see is the title and your link.
- Link to bloggers like you. When you link to another blog, they’ll typically get notified (via a pingback) that someone has mentioned them. This will encourage them to visit your blog and, if they like what they find, link to you as well in their posts. But do it sparingly; too many links and we call it SPAM. If you find a post you like, excerpt a paragraph and link to the rest. Also check out Freshly Pressed and our Global Tags to find blogs with similar interests, and subscribe to their blog. You can use tags in your own posts so your work will surface there as well.
- Comment on other blogs like yours. Every comment is an opportunity to show how well you write and think. When people read a great comment, they’ll see your name, and the link to your blog, encouraging them to see what else you have to say. Identify good blogs on topics similar to your own, read and contribute sincerely.
- Respond to every comment you get. When people comment on your blog, they’ve invested a lot of their time. Reward them by answering questions and taking their feedback, and they’ll come back again. Also see how to get more comments.
- Take requests. Write a post requesting your readers (or your friends) to suggest topics to write about. Reach out to Facebook, twitter, or friends, for suggestions. Then let them know you’ve written about what they asked for. It’s a great way to make sure everything you write will have at least one reader.
- Pay for traffic. Web applications like StumbleUpon can bring visitors to your posts with rates starting at $.05 per visit. If you’ve just published a great post and you really want some feedback from visitors, this can be a good way to get started. Companies looking for broader distribution, including getting content seen by journalists, should try services like PR Newswire.
Often you’ll hear about get traffic fast schemes, but we don’t believe in those sorts of things. There’s not much magic or secrets necessary. The advice above, used thoughtfully, is more than sufficient to increase visitors to your blog.
Update: see what our latest research says about getting more pageviews.
Have other suggestions for what we can do to help you build traffic? Let us know.
13. Be patient. Keep writing.
I’ve been at this for 6 months now, and here are my real live average visits per day, freshly copied off my stats page.
Believe it or not, I’m thrilled with those numbers, for no other reason than they keep inching upward. I write to a niche market, and I know it. Many of us do. If you persevere, and, as Scott so aptly pointed out, keep putting out quality product, the readers will come. Eventually. (Learning a little SEO while you’re waiting won’t hurt you any, either!)
Writing well should be number one. Number two should be writing well. Number three should be – don’t kid yourself, the only thing that matter is writing well.
Number four should be write bad-ass headlines.
Number five could be write on a schedule, but it’s not imperative.
I get anywhere from 300 to 3000 views a day – and it’s not because I updated my About page. And not because I shared anything on social media. It’s because other people want to read what I write. Full stop, that’s it.
Writing well is 90% of the process. Publicity, sharing, etc. makes up the rest.
I absolutely agree with the contents of the article. Simple and plain. I started my blog in June this year and my statistics are quite comforting. In June I had a total of 70 visitors and in July it stands at a comforting number of 690 with two days to go!! My personal experience tells me that the more posts you write with unique tags the more traffic you generate. It is as simple as that. I think Pingoat and Pingomatic also help.
Thank you for this post it is really handy for me as I am a new blogger and I didnt know how to start. It is really important to get traffic to your blog. However, I think the quality of people more important than the quantity; you may get one comment worth more than tens.
I’ve also found that locating communities on social networking sites that encourage sharing is helpful. For example, I have a blog about cooking & writing. I post links to relevant posts like recipes I create using the veggies I gets from my CSA box onto their Facebook page. They love it because it showcases their produce. I love it because it showcases my site. Win-win! Writing more concisely is also my goal.
Thanks! I started blogging in Oct. 2007, which is a long time in blog years. I’ve had three blogs (one currently active). I know there are no silver bullets, with the possible exception of sex and sensationalism, which I don’t recommend. I write mostly on the general subjects of politics and the economy (I can’t help myself), and the blogosphere is saturated with those subjects. The blogosphere is also saturated with personal-life posts. I believe the best advice is to find a highly specific niche that you love and know about, and stick to that one subject. Most of us simply haven’t found our niche yet.
Thanks for the hint about StumbleUpon; somehow I wasn’t aware of that. You didn’t mention one surefire way to get more traffic, which is to get featured on Freshly Pressed. Obviously, the statistical chances of being on Freshly Pressed even once a year are low, given the number of competing bloggers and posts every day. I’ve noticed that Freshly Pressed seems to over-represent Photo Blogs, Food blogs, and Travel Blogs, and that is probably a good indication of the subjects with the most reader interest.
Yes, helpful stuff, so thanks. But I am not really convinced that it works. I have been at it for a year–posting faithfully each week, linking to my Facebook account, spending a TON of time crafting my stories, tagging, StumbleUponing, etc., but my hits rarely really go over 300. I wish I had time to read people’s blogs more, comment, pingback, link etc., but that time just doesn’t exist. I’m not complaining–I love my core group of readers and they are faithful, kind and encouraging. But when I see some of the stuff that gets a wide audience, I am left wondering what the secret is. And some of the stuff that WordPress chooses for Freshly Pressed simply mystifies me. Other than that, I think the site is great and am happy to have chosen it from all the options. Best, Suzanne
I’m new to WordPress so I’ve got to ask as I can’t seem to figure it out. Where/how do I turn on publicize, sharing, etc. My site is a privately hosted site, not at WP.
This is a really helpful post, I know so many people are wanting to increase traffic and why not- it’s always nice to know people are reading. I’d add a few points also;
1. Turn on search engine terms. I find a lot of my traffic comes from people googling Malta and things about Malta. Without this function turned on my traffic would probably halve!
2. Use Categories/Tags. This increases specific and targeted search engine traffic as well as organising your blog. People can look through subjects they are interested in and find the info they are searching for.
3. Similar to ‘write well’ but I’d say also ‘write for yourself’. Talk about what you know about and are interested in and this will really shine through, the posts will automatically be better because it’s something you care about and your passion will shine through. My traffic definitely increased the more I enjoyed writing it!
Happy blogging everyone!
I agree. After I finished my first and second blogs I became hyper-sensitive to the notion that someone might read them. It was exciting, but the buzz was not devoid of anxiety. Those who blog may just be doing it for fun, but that doesn’t give them the right to thoughtlessly scribble their emotions on the web–at least I don’t think so. And for those of you who want any sort of recognition, I find that the message here is that it takes not necessarily a writer to blog well, but rather someone who cares about why and for whom they are writing. Thanks for this post.
My first blog was a blog dedicated to doing daily bible verses and daily sermons from my pastor. I had on average 15 views a day and that went on for about 2-3 months. I have over 700 views, or at least I had that when I stopped using it. I was searching for God in vain and once I found out that it was in vain, I didn’t feel like posting any more to the blog. I will start back up again once I actually do find Him. But I did start 3 other blogs and the traffic to them do not compare to the traffic for the scripture. I can probably say I had twice as much traffic in the first two to three weeks on the scripture blog than I have for the other three. I’m not posting as often for them as I was for that and that might be part of the reason. Also the titles are not “John 1:3” so people searching for a scripture will not go to my blogs. It really does make a difference as for as morale is concerned. Having a lot of people vs not having a lot. At least with the bible verse blog I felt like I was helping lost souls. I can’t say that now.
Thanks so much for sharing this advice. Being new to the process-everything feels like a challenge, what buttons to push, what they do, what to write. The best I can figure, the idea is to get started, be patient and learn as I go. it sure is comforting though to know there is help avsailable. Thanks again…Larry
Simple but brilliant advice.
I would add that choosing your topics strategically can help. I went for stories that intrigued me and those who share my interests but weren’t already covered too heavily by the ‘big’ websites. Parroting something that is already widely written about gets you nowhere. It also helps you get to the top of the search rankings if you pick a subject that isn’t already all over the ‘net. Since shifting to this approach my views are up around 1,600% this month! I’m chuffed to bits.
Let interested parties know of your articles. If there isn’t much about them out there in the press then they’ll push people to your site. I’ve twice got the attention of the subjects of my writing and they’ve promoted the blog for me without even needing to ask, it is a win-win for them and for your blog. Just say hello, give them the link to your piece and say that you’ve written about them. Don’t bother saying “please push this for me” as a decent blog post should be enough on its own; if they want to share it they’ll do it anyway.
I did everything you said because I was one of those crazy people who asked about that on the forum and got many relies saying just what you have so nicely written about. I have a “stat addiction” (looking at stats every 2 minutes) and this blogging thing and looking for readers is driving me nuts!
I want to save the world, feed the poor, see world peace all with my little blog! I’ve come to realize….it’s just not going to happen 😦
I’m gonna keep writing though….You know why?…..I really like doing it…..so…….traffic to my blog…..honk honk beep beep…ain’t happening……but I’m just gonna keep on puttering at it anyway…….I’m in the slow lane…but at least I’m drivin” !!