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://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    This is basically still year one for me as a blogger and I can ditto so much of what you’ve suggested here. I just signed up last week for my own domain name after test driving my WordPress account for seven months.

    I also changed my blog title which moved me from I-have-no-idea-which-page on Google to the #1 spot on page 1. The former name was too generic. The newer title more memorable.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Congrats on taking the jump to your own domain name. You won’t regret it!

    • Rachel Lance

      Thanks for sharing your successes!

  • http://twitter.com/HelpMeSelfPub Mary & Andrea

    Excellent post. This is great for anyone whether they are just starting out or been around awhile and are noticing stagnant stats. Thanks, Michael! ~ Andrea Bandle http://www.helpmeselfpublish.com

    • Jim Martin

      Andrea, you are right!  This post is great for anyone just starting out or someone who has been blogging for awhile.  I have been blogging for some years and find it very, very helpful to read posts like this one.  Great for re-evaluation.

  • Bryon Harvey

    Thanks for posting this again.  I saw it a couple of years ago.  It’s a good reminder.

  • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

    My traffic has slowly been growing. I have been following many of these “rules” and it has been paying off. I have done quite a bit of reading to find what other people say about growing traffic and it is all pretty much the same. That gives me hope that I am on the right track. I am still really new to blogging and all that goes with it though. I have found that plug-ins like Google Analytics and Disqus requires not only my own domain name but self-hosting as well. Is that true or is it just me not understanding?

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Write guest posts… This is something I’ve yet to do although I have two invitations I need to follow up on. Today’s post serves as a prompt to move forward on that.

    I do know that my biggest day on my website involved Chris Patton as my guest blogger.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com Barry Hill

      I think having Chris guest post is tip #11.

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        Hopefully we can all look back and say that we knew him when … :-)

  • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

    I have been surprised at the community that I have found here. I look for some people’s comments now and look forward to what they have to say back to me! I did not expect that when I started reading this blog.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2012/01/02/how-my-experiment-in-seo-will-change-the-game-on-small-business-blogging/ Ryan Hanley

      I feel the same way…

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      I quickly became addicted.  At first, it was because of the free books.  But more and more, I find that I’ve already got the book he offers, so I’m free to pass on the extra copy.  But the relationships I’ve developed here are becoming a key part of my life.

      • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

        I was very excited about the free books! But now I really am here to read the post and to engage in the conversation. It is still surprising to me.

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          The sense of community here is contagious!

  • http://sevensentences.com Geoff Talbot

    Thanks Michael,

    This is really helpful and a great reminder of the tried and true. We need to work on our consistency.

    I loved Guest Posting on your site last year. A wonderful experience.

    Geoff

  • http://twitter.com/TheWhirlingBlog The Whirling Blog

    Thank you so much! I’m in the process of upgrading The Whirling Blog and truly appreciate this information. All best.

  • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

    This post was what I needed today since increasing blog traffic is my current focus. I am glad to know that I have done 9 out of the 10 things that you suggest. This means I need to do #10 (literally, the 10th item on your list), and I also need to wait. I needed to be reminded to be patient. So, I’m trusting this process!

    • Rachel Lance

      One of my favorite parts of the blogging world is its community nature. There are tons of bloggers out there with platforms to share. Have you thought of partnering your efforts on 9 & 10 to build up a network of like-minded bloggers who might be open to exchanging guest posts with you? Blessings as you grow your blog!

      • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

        I have been commenting on other blogs quite a bit and attempting to interact with other bloggers, but I have not done anything with trying to guest blog. At this point, I don’t have much to offer someone if they give me a guest blog to post. I don’t have much of a following yet. I would like to guest blog for someone else, but I haven’t worked up the confidence to check into it much yet. Thank you for the encouragement. I am definitely going to do something in this area soon.

  • http://www.FaithfulChoices.com/ Paula

    Michael, I love it when you share your tools and help me be smarter.  You are consistently generous.  Thanks. I just signed up for Disqus and got the All-in-one-SEO plugin.  Now I’m curious to see the process.  

    • Jim Martin

      Paula, 
      I agree!  I have been helped so much by the tools Michael has shared about blogging and a number of other matters.  His generosity is very helpful!

  • http://mjharvell.com/ mjharvell

    Thanks!  Always love your advice!  You are a great teacher and mentor!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for all of the information in the past year or so I have been “lurking” your blog and tweets. I have gained a wealth of knowledge from your insights and suggestions. I have been blogging for almost two years http://lessonsfrommatthew.com and have built a small, but consistent platform blogging and commenting on other’s blogs about our journey of raising a special needs son/sibling with CHARGE Syndrome. I am on track to publish this spring through Westbow Press…any suggestions or comments as I begin to put my blog-to-book project together?

    • Rachel Lance

      I’ll leave the publishing suggestions to the experts but definitely want to congratulate you on the discipline required to maintain a blog worthy of transforming into book format. I can only imagine how many families you’ve blessed by sharing your story. Blessings on this next leg of your journey.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com Barry Hill

      Kevin,
      That’s amazing! Congratulations!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com Barry Hill

      Kevin,
      Just checked out your blog and it looks great! Congrats on #5!

  • http://www.andygill.org/ Andy Gill

    following through with point #9 right… now. ;)

    • http://theordainedbarista.com Barry Hill

      Well done, Andy.

  • http://searchandtrace.wordpress.com/ searchandtrace

    Thank you Michael, we are brand new at this but we were encouraged to see that we have applied 7 of the 10 suggestions you have listed. We’re off now to go and attend to the other 3 suggestions. Blessings in Jesus.

    • Jim Martin

      Searchandtrace,
      Wow!  I am impressed that you are new at this and yet have applied 7 of Michael’s 10 suggestions.  Unfortunately, I learned some of this the hard way.  Good for you in starting off so well!

  • http://fitnessexpose.com Michael Mahony

    Michael, yet another wonderful post from you! You lay out some simple steps here that need to be followed. I have found that one that is very important is the consistent schedule of posts. People tend to come back at regular intervals and posting on a schedule helps them out in that process.

    • Jim Martin

      Michael, you are so right about posting at regular intervals.  On one occasion, I overheard a guy talking about the days that he looks at my blog.  He knew the days of the week in which I posted.  As you say, he was coming back at regular intervals.

  • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

    I agree, Ryan.  Do you have any tips on scheduling time to comment on blogs? I find it very time consuming.  Thoughts? 

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com/2012/01/02/how-my-experiment-in-seo-will-change-the-game-on-small-business-blogging/ Ryan Hanley

      Tim, I have all my favorite blogs in Google Reader and while I’m eating my breakfast I pull out the articles that I want to comment on… I read them and comment.

      If I don’t have time to comment I mark them as unread in Google Reader and then I comment during dinner.  That way I’m not taking away from the work day.

      Unless like today we get a good conversation going and then I break my personal rules…

      • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

        Thanks Ryan. Good idea.

  • http://kyledowden.blogspot.com/ Kyle Dowden

    Thanks for the post, Michael. When I started my blog, I intended to post every day. That worked until my day job became much busier. That extra workload drained the creative juices, and I let my blog slip last year.

    I’ve cut back to three days a week, and use each day to focus on a different general subject (two that I’m passionate about and one that is work-related).

    Your postings have helped immensely.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com Barry Hill

      Kyle,
      I have a scheduled time to blog, and when things get busy with work or home it’s always very tempting for me to cut into that time. I am learning to hold that time as sacred. Not only because I feel like I am called, but also because it’s a centering and grounding process.

  • Jeff Miller

    I have sat in that “traffic jam” in that picture more times than I care to count. Oh, yeah about the blog, thanks. I am about to embark on my second try at a blog this time more focused thanks to your blogging about your experiences. 

    • Jim Martin

      Jeff, I wish you the best as you embark on you blog again.

  • http://www.cheriblogs.info Cheri Gregory

    Thank you for the specific book referral in #1! Just downloaded it to Kindle.  The hardback version includes a couple of CDs — do you recommend them?

    Saw #1 at work just today. Just so happened that the blog on grief I posted last night (http://tinyurl.com/7spjqte) struck a chord this morning w/an old friend. She forwarded it to many friends, as they just had the memorial service for a beloved teacher in their community.

    There’s something rather awesome about having this kind of impact without meaning to. I didn’t write my post with her/them in mind, and yet they found value in it.

    • Jim Martin

      Cheri, it is interesting how various people will find value in a particular post.  Like you, I have written posts with no one in particular in mind, but a few people find value in it who then forward it to many others.

  • http://www.turningthepage.info/ Barry Pearman

    Hi, thanks for the post. Can you or anyone recommend an SEO tool for Blogspot. thanks
    Barry

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’m sorry. I can’t. Hopefully, someone else will jump in here. Thanks.

  • http://www.brandonkraft.com/ Brandon Kraft

    Blogging on a regular basis is huge. I’ve had my site for years, but in the last two weeks made a decision to focus on consistent posting.

    Since then, my average daily views on days I post has doubled. My average daily views on days I don’t post has quadrupled.

    I’ve had a couple days in the last couple of weeks that has had more views that day than some months a few years ago.

    • Jim Martin

      Brandon, I’ve learned the same lesson.  Consistent posting really makes a difference.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for you. Blogging regularly does really help.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com Barry Hill

      Brandon,
      Yeah, I am with you—content and consistency are the biggest factors for me!

  • http://twitter.com/tripeakprod Charles Miske

    awesome – going to do a couple of  these right now – thanks

  • Lisa Colon DeLay

    That’s a heck of a lot of blog traffic you have. Stunning.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com Barry Hill

      Lisa,
      I know, right?

  • http://twitter.com/ConnorMeaks Connor Meakin

    Awesome post MH. Only came across your blog few days ago. Been reading the whole thing. Excited to pull the trigger on my blog!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Glad you’re here, Connor!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for you! All the best on your launch.

  • http://talesofwork.com kimanzi constable

    I really wanted to focus on growing my blog this year (talesofwork.com) so I started posting 3 times a week, it really has increased the traffic. I use 8 out of 10 suggestions you have in this post, you’re right on. I would say if you wanted to grow your blog faster, you got to guest post on a larger blog or blogs, that also helps build backlinks.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com Barry Hill

      Kimanzi,
      What two aren’t you using?

      • http://talesofwork.com kimanzi constable

        Now that I think about it, the only one is that I don’t have a SEO pack installed on my site. It was two but I’m going to be having a couple of guest post!

  • http://tijuanabecky.wordpress.com/ Becky

    Thank you for sharing these Michael. I need to work on some of them, especially the SEO part. 

    • http://theordainedbarista.com Barry Hill

      Becky, The SEO part can seem a little daunting. I need to work on that too.

  • http://www.15minutewriter.com Sharon Gibson

    Great ideas and practical suggestions! Amazing the way you’ve increased your traffic. Thanks for sharing your experience and this information!

  • http://twitter.com/lovely40plus Phuong Bui

    Michael, Thank you for your pearls!  I am a newbie blogger so taking lots of notes ;)  Also, thanks for sharing your stats.  Curious, you had a HUGE jump in 2011, what did you do differently that year vs. 2010? 

  • http://www.caminomyway.com/ Randall St. Germain

    Thanks again, Michael. Congratulations, on your success. My blog is only two months old now and I understand the difficulty with getting people. Then again, my book came out in November and it’s also difficult to get it noticed. I’m learning though, and I appreciate your info. By the way, I use the Standard theme on my site, installed after I saw your  recommendation back in November.

  • http://www.brookeespinoza.blogspot.com/ Brooke Espinoza

    Great post! Your first point about writing content worth sharing reminded me of Seth Godin’s challenge to “Be remarkable. Remarkable is anything worth remarking
    about.” That’s my goal: be remarkable by writing content worth sharing.

  • elizabeth byler younts

    As always, your advice is stellar. I am working on my blog but just can’t find my “blog-voice.” I read blogs like yours for great information…maybe a few for the occasional inspiration…and one of my favorites for a quick witty post for the week (she only blogs on Mondays & it’s a huge must read for me). But I can’t find my blog-voice. I have an Amish memoir that is selling like hotcakes and one of the reasons I keep hearing is b/c of the “voice”…so why can’t I find it in the blogosphere!!!!??? Any thoughts on that?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I get asked this a lot. I think you will find this with practice. I don’t know any shortcut for it. Just write and write some more. Your voice will emerge. Thanks.

  • Graham

    As a new blogger for 2012 as part of my efforts to write a novel, this advice is very valuable. Thanks so much.

    • Jim Martin

      Graham, I wish you the best as you continue your new blog and as you write the novele.

  • http://www.unshakeablebelief.com/ Mike

    Genius.  Thanks Michael for the terrific support.  Using every point and already bought the book you recommended above.  I make plenty of mistakes in the learning process and appreciate being able to learn from your experience.  

  • http://www.leightonhart.com/ Leighton Hart

    Your first point – write content worth sharing – is spot-on. I think it’s also okay to jump in and train readers to share content every now and then. For instance, I’m scheduling a dedicated post thanking my readers for reading and asking for their support by sharing the stuff they like.

    My blog is tiny and most of my readers are friends, many of whom don’t share a lot of stuff, so I’m just going to ask for the occasional Facebook, Twitter or email share.

  • Barby

    Hi Michael,  I have found your content very helpful in keeping up the faith.  One of the things I do that generates some additional new traffic for my site is writing and submitting articles.  My personal rules for what goes on my blog does not leave a lot of room for creativity, writing articles allows me to be a little more opinionated without getting far off of my subject and has led people to find my blog and become regular users.  I don’t have a strong following like you, but it is one thing you can do to increase traffic and if your content is good increase followers.

  • http://twitter.com/captivemedical Michael Allen

    One technique I’ve used it to have content replicate itself. For instance if I post to LinkedIn or my blog, it automatically posts to Twitter. Thanks for posting the necessity of posting quality content above all. Its a great feeling to know that the content you provide delivers value to the reader.
    Keeping Doctors from Going Broke
    http://captivemedicalsolutions.wordpress.com/

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this great post! I am working on generating more traffic, and your suggestions are helpful. It’s certainly a slow process. I realize I need more consistency!

    • Jim Martin

      Astonger, I think a lot of us are working on consistency.  I wish you the best as you work to generate more traffic.

  • Malika Bourne

    Thanks for the best advice. I will use it for my new blog.
    Will you be adding a google+ button?
    Malika Bourne the No Non-cents Nanna
    http://nonon-centsnanna.blogspot.com 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, probably at some point. Thanks.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    I’ve been blogging for over 2 years now.  The things I’ve found to be helpful are content and consistency, both of which you mentioned.  My blog is growing slowly, mainly due to my time constraints, but I add new things on a regular basis.  For example, I set up an automatic email of all new posts for email subscribers just a couple of weeks ago.  My email subscriptions tripled in less than a week.  Pretty exciting!  For me, it’s one step at a time.

    • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

      Jeff, I am not sure I understand. What did the email subscribers receive before you made the change?

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        Ummm…..  Not much.  I thought about using it as a weekly newsletter, listing out a summary of the week’s posts and goings on.  But wasn’t sure how to do it.  I eventually settled on allowing Mail Chimp to generate a campaign after every post, much like Michael does here.  I may still use it to occasionally write specific content just to those subscribers, but I don’t know exactly about that yet.

  • http://twitter.com/DuttaDeb Deb Dutta

    Hey Michael, this a great post and has really helped me in my efforts to make my blog better.  I have started asking around for a guest blogger to write for me.   I’m also looking to make my blog into a revenue producing website, do you have any suggestions?  

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for the advice! I recently started blogging and I really need the help. My dad reads your blog and showed me this post. Now I am going to start reading your blog too!

    • Jim Martin

      JoshuaOneNine, I wish you the best with your new blog.  I have learned much about blogging on this blog.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Awesome. Welcome!

  • http://tophatrank.com/ SEO Help

    It often occurs to me that we spend too much time analyzing things and take too much time to implement whatever we have found. Take for example this whole concept of keyword analysis. Bloggers spend hours, if not to say days, in getting the right keywords but then do nothing when it comes to making their content attractive and informative.

  • http://www.dwaynes--world.blogspot.com Dwayne Morris

    This is all great content! I’ve learned that by following a consistent schedule, thus creating more content, you give readers more things to read. This drives your Pageviews.

    Here’s a question: Is there any drawback to using a blogging platform (Blogger or WordPress) as a website?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The only drawback is that you won’t be able to do much customization. Still, I think it is a good place to start—especially WordPress.com.

  • http://www.dataentryjobs.us/66018.html Jameshect

    This is very informative site Two thumbs up! I have also something to share with you guys! Build more topics to Generate Traffics
    http://www.dataentryjobs.us/66018.html

  • Tim Blankenship

    Not a suggestion but an observation of this blog. Variety….I love the different topics and yet it obviously has the underlying theme of leadership.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Tim!

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    I am currently  learning to blog. Thanks for these ideas Mike. It kindles my interest to be more consistent and intentional in blogging. I have never thought about bloging seriously. I think its time to change now.

  • Anonymous

    These are some great points. I just started to have and do guest posting and have started to see the benefits from it. I just wrote about getting results and one of the example I used was in blogging. If anyone wants to read it here it is http://danblackonleadership.info/

  • privatdetektiv

    Well i am running two personal blogs of mine but day by day the traffic is being decrease on it, new visits are becoming less, After reading this blog I would surely follow all this steps, Thanks. 

  • Anonymous

    Great post. A lot it is common sense, but it’s surprising how little of that is around nowadays. ;-)

  • http://www.studentlinc.net timage

    I’m here, posting a comment on this site because Michael does such a great job with his email subscription (#5). I get a weekly email with the posts from the week. It is laid out beautifully and is something I look forward to every Saturday morning. You may choose to receive notifications in a more timely manner. But this works well for me.