After letting my blog ‘sit’ for quite some months, I decided to get back to working seriously on it and trying to grow it from there. As you can imagine, with little content and almost no activity, the traffic was shocking. Let’s say a day with 5 visitors was a good day. As you can imagine, I was clearly interested in how to increase my blog traffic and get it from the ‘dead’ stage into something better.
Since my web design business is still a priority for me, I had to be effective in my blog revival work and see how I can best get some decent results.
Before you start any promotion work make sure your blog is ready to receive its visitors
- have a clear and catchy domain name: you know my opinion about this, I do believe the best way to really market yourself is to have your own domain name and a hosting account.
- a nice design for your blog – make it responsive, it’s gonna look nice on any type of display/gadget.
- some nice content – you’d waste time promoting an empty blog, right? So do write some articles and make sure they are interesting and useful to your readers.
- a good SEO plugin already set up – let’s say ‘someone’ didn’t care about this at first. If you’re not making the right settings from the start, you’ll lose a lot in terms of SEO. We do need to rely on the search engine traffic (and we should maximize it as much as possible), so having the ‘on site’ work done will give you an advantage.
Once your blog is ready to receive some visitors, it’s time for us to see how to increase the traffic. Here is my ‘mean-machine’ effective way to increase the exposure via blog commenting (we should already get some SE traffic going, there’s social media and forum posting promotion, link building etc. to have in mind. But blog commenting does bring you some excellent targeted traffic and some of your best readers might come from this area).
1. Look for some relevant blogs in your niche.
There is a reason why it’s good to have a clear topic for your blog: you can easily find similar ones to comment on and interact with. In my case the niche is personal finance, so the detective work was to find similar sites to read/comment on.
You’ll soon find some same niche blogs and it’s time to see which are worth your time. In my own best personal finance blogs list I have detailed my criteria:
- the blog is on a domain name/hosting (I don’t really enjoy bothering with the blogspot.com or wordpress.com comments system)
- have constantly updated content (posting at least weekly if not more)
- use the standard comment system provided by wordpress (I have no time to bother with creating accounts, handling disqus settings etc.)
- the content is relevant and good. I always try to comment on relevant articles and share some of my personal experiences, making my comments count.
I am VERY picky with the blogs I read/comment on and these guidelines have helped me find around 200 blogs I love to visit. You can bookmark them, subscribe to them etc. I personally love bookmarking, since I have a big issue with getting emails notifications or reading from an RSS reader.
2. Look for good relevant articles and provide meaningful comments
We are not in the ‘business’ to spam their blogs. We are not here to place our links into the comment area (unless really relevant), we don’t want to take advantage of their hard work. Our comments should be relevant to the article, nicely written and insightful. Quality comments will get you noticed and help foster a nice relationship with the bloggers you visit. Don’t expect miracles, you will need to be present on a blog some days in a row to see traffic coming from it.
3. Look for more blogs
It’s always good to expand your list, so always be on the lookout for new blogs to read/comment on. I usually find new ones in the comment section and also the blogroll for each blog I visit. Again, I use my criteria to keep only those I’d be interested in commenting on and not bookmark the ones that don’t work well for me. It’s a very strict system I’m following, but, as mentioned before, I don’t have any time to waste, so I try to keep my ‘collection’ in great shape at all times.
4. Take care of your new commenters
If you’ve done a good job, after few days of commenting on other blogs you’ll see you referral traffic increase and also notice some of the bloggers came to visit you (together with their readers). Make sure you make them feel welcome and keep the new community active.
5. Constantly create content
You cannot expect to increase blog traffic just based on the comments you post and the content you had. Create a posting schedule on your blog and make sure your new visitors have something nice to read at least every few days. Unless you keep your content up to date, all the hard work with blog commenting will be useless.
6. Study your Analytics
.. or any stats system you use. After few days you’ll see that some of the blogs provide you more traffic than others. While it’s never a good idea to have only few streams of traffic, do focus on your best referrals. You can even ask to guest post there or ask for some advertising rates, if you have the budget. It’s clear that the blog is a good traffic ‘sender’, so maximizing your results would be a good idea.
7. Prune your blogs list
We’re getting again mean and effective. If a blog is not as active as you’d like it to be (or has too many paid reviews which don’t inspire you to provide nice insightful comments) or they don’t approve your comments, delete it from your list and move on. There’s no need to waste time daily on sites that are clearly not that suitable for your taste/needs.
8. Do this consistently
You should set some time daily (or every 2-3 days) to do blog commenting. Just get your list open (the reason I use the bookmarks is that I can open 20-30 at a time and then close down the ones I don’t use) and drop some nice comments. Always keep in mind that QUALITY trumps quantity. Never spam, don’t be a jerk and clearly don’t just post a comment just for the sake of commenting.
Together with all the other blog traffic increase solutions, blog commenting will get you a constant stream of ‘qualified’ visitors, who know what you’re about already (reading your comments can show them your qualities) and are interested in your writing. Be consistent and effective in this and you’ll turn your blog from a ‘cemetery’ into a buzzing community.