This article is part of a series of posts on How to Build Blog Traffic (see Intro).
If our goal is to increase our blog traffic, the primary question we need to ask ourselves is, how do people get to our blogs in the first place? Understanding how people learn about our blogs, and make their way over to visit them, will help us better understand how to use technology to increase our visibility.
So, how do people find out about us?
- Someone else's website - Someone - friend, colleague, or stranger - knows about your site and is linking to it from her website. If you are just starting out, and you have lots of friends, this is probably where much of your traffic is coming from.
- Google or other search engines - The search engines spider the world wide web looking for sites and indexing them. Somehow they found you and have your site in their index. Someone has made a search on one of the search engines and has found your site in the search results. The longer your site has been around, and the more other sites link to it, the higher your site will be placed in the search results and the more people will be able to find your site that way.
- You're bookmarked - Okay, maybe this isn't how someone found you in the first place, but it might be the way they find you the second time. If you change your URL structure, the directories or path names to your blog entry, you will invalidate all those bookmarked pages on the sites of readers who want to come back to visit again. The longer your blog is around, and the more popular, the bigger an issue this becomes.
- Newsfeeds - Newsfeed readers such as Bloglines, MyYahoo, and Personalized Google promote popular and/or interesting feeds. You can make it easier for your readers to add your site to their favorite newsfeed reader, increasing your chance of being one of the more popular feeds.
- Social bookmarking tools - Social bookmarking tools such as Del.icio.us, Digg, Stumbleupon keep track of what people link to, and then highlight the most highly linked posts.
- Someone emailed your URL to someone else - You can help this along by providing an "send to friend" form on your blog.
- Press - If you get picked up in a story in print media, that can bring lots of people to your site, especially if that print media also has an online presence. Want press? Find out what journalists are covering your space and send polite emails of introduction, offering to be a resource for any article they might want to write concerning blogs.
Those are the main categories that I can see. Am I missing something obvious? If I am, please let me know in the comments.
Next up, Google, Search Engines, and Page Rank.