How I Nearly Tripled My Blog Traffic

by Ken Mueller on June 22, 2011 · 93 comments

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views per month 300x161 How I Nearly Tripled My Blog TrafficOver the past year I have seen a dramatic increase in traffic on my blog. It more than doubled from November 2010 to February 2011, and has nearly tripled from this time last year. (This month I’m actually on track for a record month which would more than triple the traffic from the same time a year ago).

This isn’t something that just happens by chance. I pour a lot into my blog, and have worked hard at facilitating that growth through a variety of methods.

Growth on my blog was fairly slow and steady from October 2009 thru September 2010. Then started seeing a nice uptick from September 2010 thru January 2011, with a dip in November 2010 (due to one week of no posts!), followed by a dramatic leap in December 2010. Then my highest month ever in February 2011, despite it being a short month, and my numbers have somewhat leveled off since that point. I expect to see a bit more of an uptick in the coming months due to some of the newer things I am implementing.

Here are 13 specific things I have done that I know are contributing to the growth of my blog:

1.Time & consistency – I’ve been doing this every day for about 2 years now. Some of the growth that I’m seeing is due to just plugging away and forcing myself to blog every day, hopefully creating good, relevant content that people want to read. If I take a day off, I notice a drop in traffic. In fact, I always see a drop in my November traffic because I go away for Thanksgiving to an area with no Internet access. I could schedule some blogs to be posted, but I don’t have the ability to “work” them throughout the day to gain more traction. I may try something different this year, but we’ll have to see. Overall though, it is important to give it time and be consistent with whatever schedule you settle on.

2. Be Social – I’ve mostly done this since day one, but I figure that if I’m going to put the time and effort of writing every day, I want to maximize those efforts in simple ways. I’ve outlined much of this in Just One Click to the World, as I make sure that when my post publishes each morning, it automatically gets sent out to my Facebook profile, Facebook page, two Twitter accounts, my LinkedIn account, as well as an RSS feed and to email subscribers. By doing this I’m getting my blog in front of more people, and a number of those people have the opportunity to see it on multiple platforms, thereby giving them more “reminders” to read my post.

3. LinkedIn Groups – While I automatically publish my blog to LinkedIn, I’ve found one more step that really extends my reach, and maybe adds another one-minute of work to my day. I have joined quite a few LinkedIn groups that deal with my business area. No matter what business you are in, there are probably LinkedIn groups which you can join and in which you can participate in discussions. Each morning, after my post is published, I go to the page and click on the LinkedIn sharing button (you’ll see it at the bottom of this page). I then choose to share the post in anywhere from ten to fifteen different groups, depending on which ones are the best fit for the topic at hand. I see a lot of traffic coming from those groups, and get comments on my posts within those groups. I’ve even had the benefit of connecting with some of those people on other platforms.

4. Use Social Sharing Sites – One other thing I do after publishing my posts is I submit them to a few social sharing sites, such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, or Delicious. While this doesn’t generate a lot of traffic for me, I do get some additional visits, and every once in awhile one of my posts will catch on and gain some traction on those sites. It’s definitely worth the 30-seconds or less that it takes me to share them there.

5. Register on blog and ranking sites like Technorati or AdAge150 – Registering on these sites gives you greater exposure, as well as goals to shoot for. It makes it kind of like a game, as long as you don’t obsess over your rankings. It might not mean much but it gives you a “prize” to shoot for. For instance, on Technorati, I’m now in the Top 100 Small Business Blogs (and often rank in the top 50). I’ve also been climbing nicely among all business blogs. I’m not big on awards and rankings, but they do give you some benchmarks and goals.

6. Watch your analytics – I’ve never been a big numbers person, and partly because I don’t always understand them. Google Analytics are important, but boy they make my head spin. I also use WordPress Stats, Google Feedburner, Clicky, and PostRank. As long as you don’t obsess over the numbers, they can be very beneficial. It’s important to know which types of posts get the most traffic, and which get very little. It doesn’t mean I’ll avoid certain types of posts, but at least I have expectations on performance. I love knowing how people find my site, and how they are using and sharing it, and how they are engaging with it.

7. Comment on other blogs – This is something I’ve always been told to do, but haven’t really done until more recently, and it ties into a few of the later points I’ll make. But by commenting on other blogs you get your name out there, and people will often visit your blog to find out more about you. And some sites will even link to your blog automatically when you comment on their posts. The more you comment, the more you’ll become known by other bloggers.

8. Be a sharer – I always preach the concept of “others first”, and I feel it is one of the most important aspects of Social Media. When you see something you like, share it. Think about it: when we read a good book or hear a good album, we tell others. We go out of our way to tell others. We should do the same with blog posts we read that strike a chord in us. Retweet, Like, Share, +1, Digg, etc. If you like something, tell others about it. And when people learn that you are sharing their content, they like it. And they may reciprocate.

9. Link to Others – In addition to sharing, link to other blogs when you are writing your posts. I’m doing this much more, and believe me, the people you are linking to will find out. And many of them will check out your blog. And often, that’s how relationships start. Note: when I was working on this post Monday night, I accidentally hit the publish button. I had to scramble and unpublish it, but not before “pingback” notices went out to those blogs to which I linked here. Sure enough, Tuesday morning I get an email from Gini Dietrich asking “where’d this blog post go??”. Yep, other bloggers know when you are linking to their content!

10. Become a part of a community – One of the stories I love telling people these days is about the great community of bloggers that I have discovered. It started with my friend Marijean Jaggers down in Charlottesville, who I met on Twitter. From there I was introduced to Gini Dietrich in Chicago, Shonali Burke in D.C., Joey Strawn in Nashville, Justin Brackett in Asheville, and Samantha Collier in Vancouver. (There are a few others, and I’m not trying to slight anyone here, but I’ll tell you about all of them in a future post). And I didn’t even have to try. I can’t even tell you how it happened, but I was welcomed, with open arms, by these people who quite honestly didn’t even have to give me the time of day. They showed genuine interest in my work, and we hit it off. Someday I hope to actually meet all of them in person. But I generally talk to each of them almost every day, either via some form of chat, or Twitter. Becoming a part of this community helped me do a number of things: it encouraged me to “up my game”, it gave me a great support system of like minded individuals, and I’m in a community where we all read each other’s blogs. Which takes me to the next step…

11. Extend your reach with the help of your community – Gini introduced me to an online platform called Triberr, which I was a little hesitant about at first, but now love. You can read her review of Triberr, but the basic gist is you band together with other bloggers and form “tribes” where you automatically share and tweet out each others’ blog posts. Some people don’t like the idea of tweeting out posts you haven’t read, but I have two answers to that: First, only get in tribes with people whose work you trust and would tweet out even if you disagreed with them, and second, while I may not read them before I tweet them, I actually DO make a point of reading them at some point. I am a member of two tribes, one created by Gini, and the other created by Justin Brackett. On Twitter I have a reach of about 3,800 followers. Through Triberr and these two tribes, that multiplies to over 60,000! That many more people have the opportunity to read my blog, and possibly add to the numbers by retweeting. It’s not perfect, but so far I’ve been extremely happy with how it works.

12. Livefyre – I mentioned this, and point 13, in my recent post on how to breathe new life into your blog, but I thought I would mention them again because they have been an incredible source of traffic for me. Livefrye is a real time comment plug in that does a great job of bringing readers back to my blog, as well as increasing the amount of time they are spending there. And if you get into the practice of replying to the comments people leave on your blog, you’ll see even more traffic.

13. Recycle old content - Most of the traffic I get on a particular blog post happens the day I post it. The next day I see a decent amount of traffic, but not nearly as much, and then it tapers off to the occasional visit. There are a few occasions where an older post might see a bit of a resurgence, but that is rare. But while posts age, I still believe they are good content. For that reason I use the Tweet Old Posts plug-in that randomly tweets out some of my older content. The beauty of this is that I get new Twitter followers all the time, so while this may be old content for some, it is new content for others.

I’ve seen several growth areas in terms of traffic on my blog, each followed by a bit of a plateau. Right now I have indications that I’m heading toward yet another growth area. It gives me something to shoot for, and in my head I have personal goals that I want to reach. I know there may be the occasional setback, but that’s part of life. Onward and upward!

What sorts of things have you done to grow your blog traffic? Are there specific things that have worked and others that haven’t?

 

 

 How I Nearly Tripled My Blog Traffic
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75 comments
TT_Gi
TT_Gi

Thanks for this great post I'm just starting out with my Blog and really have no exeperience in Blogging and so far don't really have any traffic. I hope after following your information I shall be able to reach more people with my blog.

Thanks very much.

b.nijhoff
b.nijhoff

Thanks for this great post. It really helped me because I'm a starter blogger. I just started a blog like 2 weeks ago and I need to get more traffic. BTW I love this blog.

Latest blog post: Web Conferencing

kirktaylorcom
kirktaylorcom

Great post... Simple and reinforces the solid basics that build strong blogs. I've spent time with some of the top bloggers and they all say the same thing when I talk to them one on one. I'm linking this post to an article that I wrote the other day about traffic.

VincentLowe
VincentLowe

Excellent advice and very well presented (again). Your blog's growth is notably organic, because as you liberally share the value of your well-considered perspective, readers are naturally led to come here, come back, and comment repeatedly.

hicksmarketing
hicksmarketing

I really appreciate how specific your suggestions are. Most posts I've encountered on similar topics speak in much more vague terms and many of the tools you mention are complete news to me.

I'll certainly be bookmarking this to return to as I develop my blog more over time. Thanks.

torcon
torcon

Ken,

Great information! I came across your article that was posted on Shawn Smucker's site today at www.shawnsmucker.com. Thanks for sharing such useful information!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

Just an update, based on the traffic I've gotten to this particular post, and the traffic that has carried over into this current week, I haven't just tripled my traffic, I will have quadrupled my traffic by the end of June. By far a huge record month, and I hope it continues. Thank you to all of you who have visited, read, commented, and shared. you're the best!

PeterJThomas
PeterJThomas

Hi Ken,

Found you via LinkedIn.com on the SMT group - one of your tips in action :-).

I think that while there is value in everything you say, item 1, is the major issue. Having started a blog some time ago and seen some of the same trends you are experiencing (though perhaps with less overall numbers) a variety of factors led to me not blogging very much for an extended period.

It is hard to get back to where you were - a bit like returning to a sport after an injury when your fitness is way down.

I see some alignment between your ideas and some thoughts I put together about my experiences blogging in the middle of my more prolific phase. Interested in whether you too see parallels.

http://peterjamesthomas.com/2009/07/24/new-adventures-in-wi-fi-track-1-blogging/

All the best

Peter

WordsDoneWrite
WordsDoneWrite

Great advice, Ken! I've been reluctant to try Triberr, but perhaps I'll give it another look. :-)

KristaB.
KristaB.

Ken, you have hit on a number of excellent points. It is so important to be consistent, provide meaningful content, and interact with your followers. Right now I am working on registering my blog with different ranking sites. I have listed with Technorati, but was wondering if you have any other suggestions? Thanks again for the great post - I've learned a lot as usual!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

The commenting on other blogs one is SO IMPORTANT. Sure, it makes other bloggers feel good and you become friends and all that stuff, but it also provides the very important back links to your own blog, which enhance your Google juice. People don't realize how important this really is. Do it. Do it now.

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

Great tips. I have been blogging everyday for 18 months, but need to do a better job of driving traffic. #3 is going to be my first step.

FitOldDog
FitOldDog

Very much appreciated, and I've passed it along. -k (Old Dog)

donnatalarico
donnatalarico

Great tips. I practice many of these. Or shall I say practiceD. My hiatus is over and these are wonderful reminders of how to not just blog, but blog right. It's so much more than just blogging; it's about sharing and community. I haven't really used social bookmarking, but I can't stress enough about commenting on similar blogs and definitely linking to other blogs. Fantastic advice and it's no wonder why your are so successful--you are a great blogging role model!

MarthaGiffen
MarthaGiffen

I think you can't underestimate the importance of being in groups. A new place I'm exploring is Empire Avenue. I've found several groups over there I like and am continuing to increase my network.

TheJackB
TheJackB

Bloggers love to read and comment on posts about bloggers. I think that you have touched upon a number of key elements:

Community, consistency and interaction are really critical and you touched upon all of them. I hadn't thought about the LinkedIn groups but that is a great idea.

I am a big fan of recycling old content. We get new readers all the time who may not be familiar with everything you have written and you never know what is going to resonate with someone. Congratulations on your success. I wish you much more of it.

dinodogan
dinodogan

Congrats on the traffic dude :-) Glad Triberr helped :-)

thejokerbrokers
thejokerbrokers

These are excellent points you have made especially using social media and tracking the analysis of traffic. Thank you.

RichardGarrityPowers
RichardGarrityPowers

Great points on increasing traffic, thank you for the insights! I am excited to experiment with Tweet Old Posts and Livefyre. @KenMueller always keeps me coming back for more ways to improve my social media presence.

Shonali
Shonali

So... I thought I'd be your first commenter today - I actually read your post quite early from Irene the iPad (ahem), but I hadn't yet signed into Livefyre from there, so my comment got deleted.

I love this post, Ken, and thanks so much for sharing it. I've been thinking about doing a similar post, though it will probably mirror yours a lot, LOL.

The one thing that I don't do as regularly as you - heck, I barely do it at all, who'm I kidding? - is post to Digg, StumbleUpon, etc. I just haven't gotten "into" that. The few times I have tried to be a more active Stumbler, I've definitely seen traffic increase.

Love love love Livefyre, Triberr and Tweet Old Posts (thank you again for pointing me to that!). On Analytics, check out StatCounter, I'm experimenting with that as well as Clicky and Google Analytics. Not sure which I will finally go with - I don't see why I should pay for StatCounter AND Clicky! - but that's very interesting as well.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@b.nijhoff thanks for the comment, and I'm glad it was helpful to you. I'd love to hear from you over time as you start blogging, and get regular progress reports from you as to how it's going!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@hicksmarketing Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your comment. I really appreciate that you feel I've been specific. That drives me nuts as well when I see a blog title, go read it, and I don't find anything very actionable. And feel free to subscribe to our blog because this is the kind of stuff we try to write about on a regular basis.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@PeterJThomas Hey Peter, thanks for coming back. I'm glad you found this post useful, and I loved your post. Always glad to find someone citing my work and linking to me. That's just another way that you build blog traffic!

Perhaps what you might want to try is splitting some of your longer posts up into a series of 2 or 3 shorter posts. This might not work for all of them, and a lot of that depends on your audience. I find that most people tend not to want to read longer posts (even though I'm guilty of writing plenty of them). Again, a lot of that might also be dependent on how well you know your audience. Take a look at your analytics and especially the amount of time each user spends on your site. You might get an idea if the time they are spending is really enough to indicate that they are reading your entire post. If not, experiment a little with the shorter posts on a more regular basis. See what this does to your traffic. I'll be anxious to hear how this works out for you!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@torcon Thanks for stopping by! Shawn is a great guy and I'm honored to be listed as one of his top blogs for the past month. I'm glad you find this info useful and I'll be eager to hear if you use any of these particular ideas and how it works out for you.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@WordsDoneWrite Thanks. I think the key to Triberr is to find the right group of people to partner with. The Tribes I'm in are all like-minded people and I have no problem tweeting out their posts before I've read them. I know that even if I disagree with them, they are still friends and their work and thoughts are worthy of being read by my followers.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@KristaB. Thanks, Krista. I don't have any other recommendations, unless there are some that are specific to your topic. There are some you can PAY to register in, but I'm cheap. I refuse to pay for something like that.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@ginidietrich Gotta love the Google juice! This is one of the lessons that you've helped me learn. I owe a lot you!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@ExtremelyAvg Sounds like a good start. I did that on a whim and it has really paid off. Find the right groups, and make sure you know their "rules" for posting in them. Some groups don't like you posting your blog there all the time. I post to some every day, and others based on the exact topic of my post.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@FitOldDog Thanks for stopping by, Old Dog. Hope you learned some new tricks.....

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@donnatalarico Thanks, Donna, and I'm glad you're a part of my community, both locally and blogging. Can't wait until you start blogging a bit more. Get back on board!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@MarthaGiffen definitely. My community of friends has been incredible. I tried Empire Avenue out for a bit, but it lost me. I did well at it, but it just seemed like too much work and time that I could invest elsewhere.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@TheJackB I always preach about the concept of community, and this is certainly becoming more and more important to me. And it's a great community that I'm a part of!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@dinodogan Thanks, Dino. I really am loving Triberr, and I think I'm really only scratching the surface at this point. Gonna dig deeper and find out more!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@Shonali I love clicky...so I'd love to hear more about statcounter. The real time nature of Clicky, and the way it is organized is really incredible.

PeterJThomas
PeterJThomas

@KenMueller Hi Ken,

Thanks for the advice - I'm naturally prolix unfortunately :-).

I did take the approach that you suggest recently, turning an article on justifying investments in Business Intelligence projects into a series of three articles - sadly each was about 2,000 words! I did think about doing the same with the article I linked to, but then it would have rather messed up the Four X and a Y title.

As you say it depends on audience, I don't think that I get too many casual readers, mostly fellow professionals (or people looking for labelled diagrams of Moutain Bikes).

Nevertheless, trying to be more punchy is a good idea - thanks.

Peter

MarthaGiffen
MarthaGiffen

@KenMueller @MarthaGiffen I thought that at first too but now that I've gotten involved in some of the groups, I feel like I am contributing value. Maybe you should check it out again? Like any other social media platform, if you are focused while there and don't get caught up in the "trappings," it will serve you well.

Shonali
Shonali

@KenMueller Statcounter.com - it's easy to install, just like GA. Very interesting stuff.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@Shonali Checking it out now...but it will have to be really good to trump Clicky!

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