Blog traffic
June 4, 2005 3:51 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of using Blogger to start up a little topical/news site, but I need suggestions on how to attract visitors. What's the best way to let people know your blog even exists?
posted by jenleigh to Technology (12 answers total)
Some techniques were discussed here.
posted by docgonzo at 3:54 PM on June 4, 2005

First, put a link to your blog in your MeFi user page. Then Ask MetaFilter a question about how best to let people know of its existence.
posted by grouse at 4:02 PM on June 4, 2005

1. I'd worry more about creating good, fresh content on a very regular basis. No point getting folks there if you're not posting.

2. Linking your site to your Mefi user page is a good idea, I think. I always check folks' pages to see what they do outside of Mefi. This would work for other sites too.

3. Concoct some controversy involving yourself and one or more of the following - DRM, sex toys, Disney World, cease-and-desist letters, some artist making sculptures from recycled medical aids, Burningman, etc. - post about it on your site, and get it re-posted as a news item to boingboing ...
posted by carter at 4:19 PM on June 4, 2005

There are certain high-traffic blogs who's owners seem to spend the bulk of their time searching out negative references to themselves. When they find someone talking about them they will put them on their front page along with a link and a few insulting comments. Attack one of those people. It doesn't matter if it's true, it's a blog so it's not like the facts really matter*. Nothing drives traffic like the hatred of countless strangers.

Alternatively, take your clothes off.

Then there is the other option, the one that takes work. Create compelling and original content. Then do it for a few more months. In the meantime, comment and participate on the weblogs that enjoy the readership you would like to share. Eventually they will link to you (and your linking to yourself each time you comment with your URI) and at the same time their readers will be clicking your link from the comment section.

If you keep this up long enough and have something worth saying the rest will fall into place. Make sure you have a decent newsfeed, pay attention to Technorati (use tags and ping them when you update) and hope for the best.

Also, avoid your server logs for the first few months. You'll get depressed and if your only doing this for the traffic you won't last a month. The odds are against you, there 13,567,067** weblogs all looking for the same traffic. Do it for yourself and write about something you feel passionately about, that way, even if nobody ever reads it you won't have wasted your time.

*Fact checking in the blogosphere consists of linking to someone else who called the guy you ripped your post from a liar. Don't worry about it. Nobody can keep track and they, collectively, have the memory of a gnat.

**I totally made this number up.
posted by cedar at 4:57 PM on June 4, 2005

Read and comment loyally on other weblogs with a similar worldview to yours. I always follow links to people's homepages from their comments on blogs I read.

Ask the proprietors of good, medium sized blogs that you read to give you a link. And link to them too, and send them some traffic.
posted by dublinemma at 4:58 PM on June 4, 2005

Carter's got a good point with #3. I even send BoingBoing suggestions just for the credit link: (Thanks, Nick!)

Find blogs similar to yours and make a short (5-20 items) link list. Comment on those blogs as much as you can -- assuming you have something interesting to say. You can thus form meaningful connections and earn, as it were, targeted clickthroughs. What I mean is, if you make a knitting blog and you get people interested in your comments on another knitting blog, those readers are more likely to appreciate your blog than a random sample of the public.
posted by NickDouglas at 5:01 PM on June 4, 2005

Disclaimer: I'm in the same boat; I recently bought a domain and am trying to take my blog's readership beyond my circle of friends. I haven't yet, so take my suggestions with a grain of salt :-)

Posting comments on popular blogs is a good idea. Usually you'll get a TrackBack to your site, which will link to your site from theirs. Make sure they're good comments, obviously, and not spam. If the blog is topical, seek out sites that deal with the same topic and involve yourself in discussions, forums, etc., linking to your site if and when it's appropriate. Also -- and this is the key part that I haven't quite gotten to yet -- come up with something that makes people actually want to come to your site. If you have some little hook (a particularly insightful post, a useful piece of software, or some miscellaneous meme), you can get your site in the public eye. There are probably a dozen sites that I read now because I was referred from Boing Boing posts.

Random aside: a few days after I bought my domain I got a story posted on Slashdot. That got me a few hundred visitors -- a sort of miniature corollary of the Slashdot effect. They clicked on the "Dan says..." link that came before my story synopsis, apparently. I don't think I attracted any permanent readers through that, but it was kind of neat all the same.

On preview: yup, what they said. I think too slow.
posted by danb at 5:05 PM on June 4, 2005

make sure you have something interesting to say. Why would I want to read your blog if I don't know you? I'm not going to read it because you're an insightful and understanding person, because that's why I get the New Yorker (and I trust the New Yorker more than an online blog anyway).

It better be one of the following:

a) funny
b) look hella nice (photos, art, etc)
c) provide immediate tips/information/insight to what I'm working on at the time (I've been reading a bike mechanic's blog recently since I've been fixing up an old road bike, for instance)

... and I still won't leave comments. FYI.
posted by devilsbrigade at 5:19 PM on June 4, 2005

All of the above suggestions are really good.

I'd like to especially second the technorati tags (use them well and they'll draw people who would never otherwise stumble across your site -- and may therefore create regular visitors). Also, employ smart and strategic commenting on other sites. I felt bad about this at first, but if you don't limit your interesting and insightful opinions to your own site, again, you'll attract new folk.

If you want to be taken seriously a news source, one thing to do is email reporters who cover stories you cover. Fluff 'em. Tell them you loved that latest article and that you linked to it. The brittle egos will check out your site. It's worked for me, anyway.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:26 PM on June 4, 2005

Wow, mudpuppie, it really does work. I just read your site for the first time :)
posted by cedar at 7:04 PM on June 4, 2005

Devilsbrigade is right - blogs are broken down into 2 categories as I see them:

1) Blog aggregators - topical focused blogs - makes the most money and also attracts the most viewers. If you want traffic (and potentially revenue) - do this. These are also the easiest (Fun blogs fall into this category as well - ala
2) Personal blogs - Lowest attractors. As someone noted, getting naked will get clicks, but for me the only interest personal blogs has is if someone has a consistent experience with something I am not familiar with, or has unique insight into it. Apple and Google employees are an example. There is a link making the rounds of a professor who blogged about how inane her students were (and was fired). That was interesting.

A few have mentioned technorati and community. Those are the top way to promote sites (as well as adding your blog to blog directory sites like blogherald and blogosphere? (a search on Google can find them).

Key thing though - consistent updating and consistent content. If you do nothing else do this.
posted by gnash at 9:15 PM on June 4, 2005

I think it's more for commercial sites (ie, it costs money), but Google Adwords is good. You tell them how much you're willing to pay per clickthrough for particular search terms. It can just be pennies a click. You tell them the budget you're willing to spend on a particular day, and they space out the appearances of your ad on the right side of the screen over the course of a day when someone searches for the terms you specified.
posted by leapingsheep at 4:18 AM on June 5, 2005

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