Miami Mitch once again chimes in with some blogging advice, today starting a series of blog posts on traffic.
How to attract traffic to your blog is by far the most popular question all budding bloggers have, and in this case Mitch definitely has the experience to share some advice. His sports blog receives in excess of 400,000 visitors a month.
Today Mitch has two great traffic tips for you. Here he is…
While I get a lot of questions about my Blog, the most common one I get from bloggers is regarding traffic. First people always ask how much traffic I get and then after I tell them I get an average of over 400,000 visitors a month, they always want to know how I do it.
While I could write a book about this subject, and someday I might, I thought I would use at least one of my posts here at Yaro.Blog to directly address traffic, so we can call this part one of an on going series.
Firstly, and I can’t stress this enough, traffic that comes from bookmarks is the best and most important traffic.
While many people spend their lives trying to get discovered in the search engines (and I’ll help you out with that in this and later articles), it is most important that when people do get to your site, you make it somewhere they want to come back to, somewhere they want to bookmark and become part of their everyday life. You want to keep you blog fresh, dynamic, informative, entertaining, and everything else you possibly can.
While a lot of people know the importance of bookmarks, many fail to effectively capture this source of traffic. I can give you an example of just how important this aspect is. In my first few months of blogging, I was using a strategy Yaro taught me in Blog Mastermind to market an article and the article was picked up by Fox Sports who turned it into a 10 page slide show on their main website.
Naturally this resulted in thousands of hits an hour and a true river of visitors, but within a few days it was all gone. My blog was new so I have an excuse I guess, I just didn’t have anything too compelling to keep the majority of people coming back. I quickly learned from this that I needed to create a place where people not only could find my site, but where people wanted to come back.
While this concept is so basic and so simple, it is also the most easily forgotten as the traffic obsession takes over.
It is well worth to think about your site in these terms, to think of yourself as a first time visitor and ask if your site is a place you want to come back to regularly. Think about the sites you have bookmarked – what are the characteristics or type of information that caused you to bookmark the site? It may not be for everything that site offers, if could just be for one piece of information that is easily found at that particular site.
On average, over 4,000 people a day visit my site through bookmarks alone. Some days it’s even twice or three times that. I don’t know if it’s the same people or some people who visit on a particular day each week, my guess it’s both, but I know four to five thousand visitors a day guaranteed as a starting point is a good enough number to make a few dollars. Add search traffic and traffic from other sources and the numbers become even more significant.
Because bookmark traffic is from people who visit the site regularly, they are also “fans” and people who have grown to trust me and know I am not selling them just to make a few bucks. They know if I am selling something it’s something I believe in.
Blog Traffic Lesson One
Of course you might be thinking “that’s great Mitch, you lucked out and got on a big news site, but how do I get traffic in the first place?” I don’t have all of the answers as I don’t know them, I only know what works for me.
Let’s start with Lesson One: It all begins with a good title.
I can’t stress the importance of a good title for being found in the search engines. Most people when they start blogging their creative juices start flowing and they feel compelled to come up with a really cool title for their article or blog post, sort of like we see in a book or newspaper. I can tell you that is a huge mistake, epic really, as in essence you have wasted many opportunities.
The key to a good title is not making it cute or clever, it’s making it something that people would type into a search engine. As is often the case, this is better explained by using an example.
A current story in sports is baseball free agency and one of the game’s hottest free agents is Cliff Lee of the Texas Rangers. Now if you were writing for a newspaper, a cool title might be something along these lines:
Teams Line Up For The Texas Ace
While in a newspaper you could have a picture that people would see as they skim the pages with a subtitle basically explaining what the article is about. The search engines won’t give you the same luxury.
As a sports fan, even if I was looking for an article about Cliff Lee and free agency, I don’t think those would be the terms I would type into the search engine. In order for a title to be effective, it has to contain the search terms and as many of them as you can fit without making the title incomprehensible.
So what terms would I use to search for when looking for this story? Cliff Lee, baseball, free agent, maybe even Texas Rangers. If this were the case, clearly a better title would be something along the lines of:
Baseball Teams Line Up For Cliff Lee Of The Texas Rangers As Free Agency Begins.
Now this title is clearly not as fun and not as cool but it is thousands of times more effective in helping people find it. It doesn’t matter how cool it is if no one knows it exists. People can easily find out how cool your writing is once they are at your post, in fact you can even subtitle it in the body with whatever phrase you like, but as for the main title, simple and straight forward is best.
While having keywords in your article is effective when done right, having them in the title is what is going to get your article indexed better in search engines. I know this is not earth shattering news to some, I also know some people will read this, the light bulb will go on, and on their very next article they will remember my advice and adjust their title accordingly. Give it a try, my guess is you will see instant results.
I’ve got lots more to say about how to get traffic to your blog, so stay tuned for my next article.