10 Ways to Generate More Blog Traffic

Whenever I speak on the topic of platform-building, someone always asks, “How can I generate more traffic for my blog?” Most are hoping I have a silver bullet, something that will instantly get them the recognition they deserve.

A Big Traffic Jam - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/burwellphotography, Image #18043823

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/burwellphotography

The bad news is that it’s not quite that simple. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a platform. It takes doing several things right—and doing them over a long period of time.

The good news is that it’s not rocket science. I have used these basic techniques to increase my blog traffic every year since I started tracking it in 2008 using Google Analytics. Some years have been better than others, but all have shown an increase:

Year Pageviews Increase
2008 574,778 N/A
2009 1,496,241 160.3%
2010 1,972,497 31.8%
2011 5,060,331 156.5%

Based on my experience, I believe you can dramatically increase your blog traffic by following these ten suggestions. (Forgive me if I cover some of the basics.)

  1. Write content worth sharing. Nothing I suggest in 2–10 below will compensate for weak content. If you are not writing stuff people want to read, smarter marketing will not fix the problem. Begin by creating a killer headline that makes people want to read what you have to say. Read Advertising Headlines That Make You Rich. It’s my secret sauce.
  2. Adhere to a consistent schedule. You can’t expect to increase your traffic if you don’t blog regularly. By this, I mean at least once a week. Three times a week is even better. Five times a week is best—but not if the quality of your content suffers. Frequency equals visibility.
  3. Get your own domain name. Make it easy on your readers to pass along your blog name. What do you think is easier, “yourname.wordpress.com” or “yourname.com”? This is the foundation of branding and making your blog memorable. If you can get your name or a short phrase, it is worth paying (within reason) to do so.
  4. Include your blog address everywhere. In the beginning, you are adding readers, one at a time. You never know when someone with a bigger audience will quote you or link to you. Include your blog address in your email signature, on your business cards, and on your stationery. It should appear virtually everywhere your name appears.
  5. Make it easy to subscribe to your blog. You don’t want to depend on your readers to remember to come back to your blog. Instead, you want them to subscribe, so they get every new post you write. They should be able to do so by either RSS or email. (Use both.) Position these two buttons prominently so that those who want to subscribe don’t have to hunt for them.
  6. Optimize your posts for SEO. You want people to be able to find you when they Google one of your key words or your name. I use two WordPress plugins for this: All-in-One SEO Pack and ScribeSEO. The latter analyzes every blog post you write and suggests how you can optimize it for the search engines. It is not cheap but worth every penny.
  7. Utilize social media. If you want to build visibility for your blog, you must go where the people are. In days gone by, people gathered in the marketplace at the center of the city. Today, they gather online in places like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. Which service is best? The one you will use regularly. Use social media to network, build relationships, and announce new blog posts.
  8. Engage in the conversation. Start by making it easy for your readers to comment. People today want to participate. I recommend the Disqus commenting system. (It’s what I use.) Don’t make them register. This only adds friction. Engage in the conversation yourself, reading your comments and replying as appropriate.
  9. Comment on other blogs. As you read other people’s blog posts, leave comments. I’m not taking about spamming people with invitations to read your blog. Instead, engage in the conversations that interest you and build credibility. Make sure that you register with their commenting system if possible, so there is always a link back to your blog.
  10. Write guest posts for other bloggers. Frankly, this is not something I have done. But most successful bloggers swear by it. Jeff Goins wrote a guest post for me on this very subject. He claims that it grew his own blog traffic more in six months than in the last six years. (If you are interested in guest posting on my site, here are my guidelines.)

You will also want to use a good, SEO-optimized blog theme. There are hundreds on the market. I use StandardTheme for WordPress and love it.

Finally, be patient. Building traffic takes time. Like anything else, the ones who win are the ones who stay at it after everyone else has quit.

Question: What other suggestions do you have for generating more traffic? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Want to launch your own blog or upgrade to self-hosted WordPress? Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • http://paulwilkinson.wordpress.com/ Paul Wilkinson

    Number 11:  Give away cash.  Daily. Really works on my blog.

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  • http://www.spch.org.au/ Bren McLean

    Perfect timing Michael. I am in the process of setting up my blog and these are all really helpful tips. Bless you

  • http://twitter.com/lipstick_writer Arden McLaughlin

    I think it’s helpful when well established bloggers retweet my work or post it on their Facebook pages. It lends credibility to me and hopefully builds my readership. These are great tips. Thank you!

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  • Tony Jones

    I am a minister at a church and a seminary student.  God has blessed me with a call to the pastorate, and I want to start blogging.  I don’t have a lot of money to invest, poor seminary student, but I want to start blogging.  I read these suggestions.  I like them, but where in the world do I start?

  • http://www.TheNarrowPassage.com/ Timothy Lynn Burchfield

    Great insight.  

  • Bill

    I really appreciate the resources you bring to the table. This comment system is a great suggestion. Thanks for sharing what you use.

  • http://twitter.com/GodsReminders Tristine Fleming

    I wish this didn’t have to be so complicated. I don’t get the SEO thing at all. I thought I was using great keywords that are appropriate for my readers, so I’m not sure where I’m going wrong. I’ve been up and running for almost a year now and I’m only averaging 750 visits per month, and my facebook fan page only has 35 likes. However, I go to other sites that have little content worth reading and they have 1.5 million followers. I’m baffled. And I’ve been working on this for days now, and my family is starting suffer as I spend countless hours trying to figure it out. I just want an easier solution and there just doesn’t seem to be one out there, but I’m so determined to make my blog successful… Catch 22?

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    • http://www.monessonphotography.com/ maternity photographer

      agreed to u r thought some more write ups are needed

  • Josh Evans

    This is most definitely one of the best blog posts on generating more blog traffic. It is practical, but also very truthful and accurate. I appreciate your thoughts. 

    Josh Evansjoshhevans.wordpress.com

  • http://www.electroserv.com.au/ power factor electricity

    Interesting Article. Hoping that you will continue posting an article having a useful information. Thanks a lot!

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    great points all together

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    is blog commenting alone is worthy to get the site index

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    simple but affective method. rhapsody-of-realities.blogspot.com

  • http://profiles.google.com/pvariel P V Ariel

    Great Tips Here.
    Great Tuto.
    Thanks for Sharing 
    These valuable tips
    Keep Inform
    Best Regards
    Philip
    PS: I am here via Eveyln Parham’s
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  • Renacentanugwom

    seriously, I have never read any post that sincerely helped with traffic issue. though, I have done almost all of this but I’m yet to see much progress. please, can you help visit my blog and suggest for me what I can do to increase traffic? it is a relationship blog: http://www.trueloverelationship-advice.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.miller.92754 Matthew Miller

    Hi Michael.  

    Great Post.  I have one question. 

    I recently wrote a post on John 3:5 entitled What does Water mean? or Why Context is the Key to Interpretation.  The title has generated and continues to generate a lot of traffic though I’m pretty confident almost all these hits aren’t interested in John 3:5.  Should I change the title of my post to more accurately reflect the content or leave it the way it is and hope that the a few will stick around? 

    Thanks for your time
    Matthew Miller

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      As long as the title isn’t misleading, it is probably fine. Thanks.

  • http://encouragingangels.blogspot.in/ Angel Reading Jessi

    You nailed it, this is exactly the way to attract blog followers. I have done it for years and plan to with my current blog as well. Cheers to your success. Thank you for inspiring and bringing content and value to the lives of your followers, fans and FRIENDS!

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  • http://twitter.com/BrianKIves Brian K Ives

    Question for Mike, or for anyone with answer, does  All-in-One SEO Pack only work for the Self Hosted version of wordpress, or will it work on the non hosted version as well. I was having problems trying to get it installed on my blog.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      As far as I know, it only works for self-hosted. I don’t think you can use any plugins for hosted WordPress other than the ones WordPress makes available.

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  • Dwindlestar

    Thanks so much for all your time and effort.  I have desiring to do this for a couple years now, and now, this is my time!  Thanks again, God Bless.

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  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    I use Ad Words for specific products. It has worked well for me. I am not sure what you mean by backtracking. Do you mean back-linking?

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  • Amingleonhart

    wow.amazing advise .i’ll try it on my blog.
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  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.a.kellermann Alexander Kellermann

    Michael, I subscribed to your platform a couple of weeks ago, and just wanted to thank you for all your guidance and support that you’ve given me through your posts. I started creating my own platform and it helped me sharing my passion with others.
    Thanks,
    Alexander

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Awesome, Alexander.

  • http://www.JasonPantana.com/Blog Jason Pantana

    Michael,

    Awesome post and very informative. I wondered if you provide a bit more context as to how you approach item #5. I subscribe to your email digest and enjoy reviewing your work every Saturday morning. If you’d be willing to share, I’m interested in hearing what tools you’re using to deliver the emails and manage subscriptions. Thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I am currently using MailChimp. I had my developer write a custom template in MailChimp and a custom RSS feed in WordPress. I don’t really know the details beyond that; it just works.
      However, we are in the process of converting everything over to Infusionsoft. It will give us even more control. Thanks.

      • http://www.JasonPantana.com/Blog Jason Pantana

        Awesome, thanks for sharing Michael! As always, I appreciate your openness to share your strategies!

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  • http://ryanruudtherapy.com/ Ryan Ruud

    Great info. Very useful and very appreciative of your willingness to give out free info like this. Thank you.

  • AskQNA

    I appreciate the tips listed above. I have particularly struggled with catchy headlines, and although my blog is new, I can see what a difference the proper headline makes. Wish me luck!

  • Mediarail.be

    Interessant suggestions, Michaël. Just remark : traffic depends of the core business of the blog. In my case, i’m not american and… my blog concerns railways fans, a very little “closed world” :-). But I retain all of your suggestions…

  • http://ink-um-mymindconnectedtoyours.blogspot.com/?m=0 Ink-um Lotuspath

    As a novice blogger, these are some helpful tips. My blogs are targeted towards a specific audience, but to generate more traffic, do recommending blogging about things that “trending” in social media.

  • http://brentjonesonline.com/ Brent Jones

    It’s always amazing to me how often people overlook #9. ;-)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Indeed!

      Settings

      A new comment was posted on Michael Hyatt

      Brent Jones

      It’s always amazing to me how often people overlook #9. ;-)
      6:58 p.m., Sunday April 13

      Reply to Brent Jones

      Moderate this comment by email

      Email address: brentjonesonline@gmail.com | IP address: 70.48.236.210

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    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Indeed!

      Settings

      A new comment was posted on Michael Hyatt

      Brent Jones

      It’s always amazing to me how often people overlook #9. ;-)
      6:58 p.m., Sunday April 13

      Reply to Brent Jones

      Moderate this comment by email

      Email address: brentjonesonline@gmail.com | IP address: 70.48.236.210

      Reply to this email with “Delete”, “Approve”, or “Spam”, or moderate from the Disqus moderation panel.

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      • http://brentjonesonline.com/ Brent Jones

        Did you mean to include the rest of that? :-)

  • Sanjay Singh

    i have used car classified site carsangrah.com for buying and selling used car in india. I want to improve traffic by SEO. Please advice.