Increasing Your Blog Traffic
Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz has graciously shared 21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic, and there are some gems in there. I’d like to piggyback on a few of Rand’s points:
- 1. Choose the Right Blog Software (or Custom Build) — I’d say that over 95% of the time, WordPress will do the job and will be scalable for future needs. I have yet to come across a client blog project that necessitated a custom-built blog software.
- 2. Host Your Blog Directly on Your Domain — Rand makes a bold statement: “Hosting your blog on a different domain from your primary site is one of the worst mistakes you can make.” I disagree. I can think of numerous examples where the blog is more trusted, more buzzworthy, and/or more linkworthy because it’s at an arms length from the company’s site. Consider the hypothetical example of an insurance conglomerate authoring a blog about getting a healthier lifestyle, in order to attract prospects to sell insurance to. Such a blog at Gettinghealthy.com sounds helpful and unbiased, whereas having it at metlife.com/gettinghealthyblog (remember, hypothetical example… metlife is just used here to illustrate the point) comes off as salesy and self-serving.
- 4. Participate at Related Forums & Blogs — I’d just like to make it clear that you’re not doing this for link juice (most links in blog comments and forum posts have “link condoms” (rel=nofollow tags) automatically added). Instead, you’re doing this to increase your visibility to, and credibility with, bloggers who read those blogs and forums.
- 9. Invite Guest Bloggers — I really like this idea, and I’d like to add my suggestion that you also do phone or Skype interviews of guests and podcast those on your blog.
- 15. Archive Effectively — Rand highlights a tough balancing act: “For search traffic (particularly long tail terms), it can be best to offer the full content of every post in a category on the archive pages, but from a usability standpoint, just linking to each post is far better (possibly with a very short snippet). ” I find the “Optional Excerpt” in WordPress to be invaluable for achieving this balance. The Optional Excerpt is one of the fields in the Write Post form that most bloggers ignore, but if you use it, you can code your non-permalink pages (like your category pages) to display the excerpt instead of the full post or instead of the paragraphs proceeding a “more” tag in your post copy. That’s exactly what we’ve done on my company’s corporate site, which runs on WordPress — for example, all the testimonials listed on our Testimonials tag page display excerpts. That gives you more flexibility to summarize and highlight particular sections or keywords from the full post.
- 16. Implement Smart URLs — Rand says that “just re-writing a ?ID=450 to /450 has improved search traffic considerably on several blogs we’ve worked with.” I would definitely agree with that. We too have evidence that a blog or site with rewritten URLs flows PageRank more efficiently throughout the site. So don’t rest on your laurels if you have a blog with dynamic URLs, even if your blog is fully indexed by the engines. Your pages will rank better if you rewrite the URLs.
- 19. Make Effective Use of High Traffic Days — What a great idea, to watch your traffic and increase your posting frequency and posting quality on days where your traffic is highest! It makes the best use of the traffic spikes. In fact, you might even want to hold back on publishing your very best posts and instead save them for high-traffic days.
Great post Stephen and Rand. Your number two point answered a question I have had for more than a while. Thanks.
Can you answer this for me? Is it better to have the blog on its own root say blog.site.com as opposed to site.com/blog/?
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