When you write a new blog post, this is just the beginning of your work. If you don’t make a concerted effort to get traffic and links to the post, it will probably not get much attention. You are competing with thousands, in some case millions of other bloggers. That’s why it’s essential that you learn as many traffic generating and link building techniques as possible and apply them to all of your blog posts. In this article we’ll be looking at some of the most effective ways to attract a wider audience for your blog posts.
Optimize Your Blog Posts
When writing a blog post, you should always keep the search engines as well as your audience in mind. This means using keywords in the blog post title, in the post itself and with any accompanying images. With images, you can use keywords in the image title and description. This helps the post rank in the search engines for the terms for which you’re trying to rank.
When choosing keywords, you may have to do some research. In addition to primary keywords, think of secondary and long tail keywords that are often easier to rank for. For the post title, you may want to include a primary and secondary keyword. For example, a blog post title such as “Dog Training Tips For Housebreaking a Yorkshire Terrier Puppy” contains both a primary and secondary keyword phrase.
Make sure that you don’t over-optimize your posts. Using keywords too often, or keyword stuffing, is a practice that can get your site penalized by Google. You should only use keywords in a way that appears natural. You should also avoid using keywords that have no relevance to your main topic, as this is a red flag to the search engines.
Use Links and Trackbacks
Linking to other blogs can be a way to build traffic to your own blog. There are two ways of looking at this. Some people don’t like to use outbound links, worried that it will motivate readers to abandon their blog and go somewhere else. This, however, is a shortsighted view. If you have a business blog you may not want to link to a direct competitor. Beyond this, however, it can be very helpful to link to other sites. If this weren’t the case, you wouldn’t see high traffic authority sites doing it all the time.
One reason to link to other sites is simply to provide useful content for your readers. You may find a blog post that elaborates on a point you made in your own post. If possible, you can leave a trackback on the other blog to make sure they know you’ve linked to them. Not all blogs allow this, however. Even without a trackback, there’s a good chance that the owner of the other blog will know you’ve linked to his site. If you’re both using WordPress, for example, a trackback will automatically be generated. The other blogger may then reciprocate and link to some of your blog posts.
Linking to authority sites can also be useful. In this case, it’s unlikely that the other site will ever link back to. All the same, it builds credibility for your own blog to link to popular sites.
Comment and Guest Post on Other Blogs
Rather than thinking of other blogs in your niche as competition, think of ways to partner with them. One way to do this is by commenting on other blogs. You could start with any blogs that you are familiar with or search under Google Blogs. It’s best to choose blogs that are active and popular. Blogs that are only updated occasionally or that don’t have any lively ongoing discussions aren’t going to be much help for this strategy.
When leaving comments, make sure you are actually contributing to the conversation. Never leave one sentence replies, as these will only be deleted as spam. If you can find a popular discussion or debate, this is a good opportunity to get your comments read by many people. Some bloggers only leave comments on blogs that have the “do follow” tag so that you can get a backlink from your comment. Any blog, however, that allows you to leave an URL can be useful, especially if it’s high traffic.
Guest blogging is another strategy that can help you build traffic. This is simply writing a post for another blog in your niche. You first contact the blog owner and request permission to submit a guest post. At the end of your guest post be sure to include a link back to your own blog.
This tactic has come under some scrutiny lately, as some people believe that Google is cracking down on guest blogging in its latest updates. Google’s Matt Cutts has even made some public comments to this effect. The fact is, however, if you write quality posts for relevant blogs in your niche, this can still be an effective way to promote your own blog.
Google is actually penalizing low quality content, keyword stuffing and other SEO tactics it deems underhanded. There is no real way that Google or anyone else can penalize guest posting per se, as it’s an extremely common practice on the web. It’s no different than a print magazine publishing articles by different writers. The bottom line, then, is that you should follow the same rules when guest posting as you would when writing content for your own blog.
Promote Your Posts on Social Media, Social Bookmarking Sites and Forums
After publishing a post on your own blog, you should think of as many other places to share it as possible. This includes social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon and discussion forums in your niche. Make it a habit to share all of your posts on any social media sites on which you’re active. This can bring more traffic to your posts and also give them a chance to go viral if they are shared by your friends and followers.
When it comes to forums, you can add a link to your blog’s URL in your forum signature. The best way to get people interested in your blog is not to blatantly call attention to it, but to contribute to discussions on the forum so that people are inclined to find out more about you.
Make Use of Images
You can make your blog posts more compelling by adding compelling images to them. This is also a way to get links, as many people now search for images on Google, Yahoo and other search engines. Be sure to tag your images with relevant keywords. When using images, be sure that you’re using copyright free images or that you have permission to use them. On sites like Google Images and Flickr, there are search filters that allow you to find images that are copyright free.
Create a Blogroll
A blogroll is another tool that can help you reach a wider audience and get links from other sites. As with trackbacks, this practice helps you build relationships with other bloggers, who may add you to their blogrolls in return. This can help you get more traffic and gain valuable backlinks from other sites.
A blogroll is also a useful feature for your readers, as it provides them with helpful resources to get more information. On the other hand, it’s best to keep your blogroll from getting too big. A very long list of other blogs and outbound links can be counterproductive. Focus on a small selection of relevant blogs that you have vetted.