Blogging Tips: Improving Your Traffic (Part 1)

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Blogging Tips

Blogging - TrafficI’ve only been really blogging for about 10 months, however my full time job is as a PHP programmer for a web hosting company. I may still be learning about blogging but I have good knowledge regarding the technical side of things. So, I thought I’d start a helpful little series to help bloggers get the most out of their blog. I’m not going to bog this down in technical jargon. My aim is to keep it simple and clear.

Getting traffic to your blog is the drive of any blogger out there, unless you enjoy talking to yourself. There’s some really simple thing you can do to start driving traffic your way. First, get yourself listed on other blogs and blogging networks. Sites like Bell of Lost Souls, House of Paincakes and From the Warp are all places you can get your blog listed in their blogroll for table top gaming. You’ll probably find that many of the blogs you follow will also gladly add you to their blogroll in exchange for you adding them to yours. The more places you can get yourself linked the more traffic you’re going to get. Not only are you getting exposure on sites that already get a lot of traffic, the links to your blog are also being picked up by search engines and this is a good thing.

Now, part of listing yourself on various places is also being active in the community you’re a part of. Get yourself out there and commenting on other blogs like yours. The more people see your name the more people are inclined to view your profile and in doing so see you have your own blog. You did put a link to your blog in your profile, right? Being a contributing member in the community will get you exposure and hopefully build some credibility so people want to check out your blog.

Time for some technical stuff. Search engines are going to pick up on your blog even if you do nothing to promote it. However, the more you promote it the quicker you’ll be found by search engines and the better your ranking is going to be. With that comes these little things we call meta tags. Meta tags are pieces of code placed on various posts and pages of your site to identify you and the content being provided. Search engines look at these to help determine your ranking, how relevant your content is to the search terms being used.

How meta tags are done is going to vary based on the platform you use, be it Blogger, WordPress, or something else. I use WordPress myself, a self-install. I use a plugin for WordPress called All in One SEO. What this does for me is create meta tags on everything I post using criteria I determine. This way each and everything I post has unique meta tags relevant to the content I’m posting. I can’t speak for other platforms, just make sure you’re able to set up meta tags on each thing you post and that those tags are unique to that post. If the meta tags are the same on everything you put up then you’re not going to rank as well as you should.

I’ll leave off at there for now. The next part I’ll discuss the importance of links in your own blog.

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Blogging Tips: Improving Your Traffic (Part 2) >>
  • I actually wrote a series of posts on this subject, but delayed their air date until next month. This is the sort of thing that I think can help out the community tremendously, and I’m sure it will be well received. If you don’t mind, can I take snippits from your series and incorporate them into my own? Naturally, I’ll give you credit.

    Also, if you’re a programmer and a fellow wordpress blogger… any chance you’re looking into images on blogrolls? That’s something that’s been a thorn in my side for a year now….

    • Honestly, I haven’t found a blogroll plugin that I’ve been impressed with yet. I’m currently using WP Social Blogroll and it’s better than most but still not exactly what I want. I’ve yet to encounter one that does images. It may end up being something that I write my own plugin for at some point.

      Oh, and feel free to quote me.

      • I use social blogroll as well, and it’s decent. Images in my own blogroll would be nifty, but I don’t feel they’re necessary. What I’m *really* interested in is a method for our pictures to roll into blogger blogrolls. It seems like it should be painfully simple. Blogger must just be looking for some common tag on the first image on the page and displaying it… why can’t wordpress spoof that somehow?

        I’m a network infrastructure guy by trade, so I know enough HTML to be dangerous, but clearly not as much as you. If you get a hankering to make such a plugin, there are a bunch of us out here that’d love to hear the solution…

        • It could be as simple as a tag that indicates to blogger to use that image. I know it’s not because the image is in the RSS since some of the blogger sites don’t show it in their feed.

          I’m going to test something out to see if it’s indeed a tag. It’s just as likely it’s not that at all either. They’re all using the blogger network and it’s just as likely that the database stores those lead-in images into a field in a database and all other blogger blogroll feeds pull it from there since access isn’t an issue.

          • You know, in researching another post about size, I created a blogger
            account to play around with and found that blogger uses the integrated
            picasa website to store images–I didn’t think anything of it, until you
            mentioned the database. I wonder if the solution isn’t really to find a
            picasa friendly image plugin, and somehow tie that in?

            Hopefully I’ll get some time to play with it, but feel free to root around
            yourself. :)

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