Five simple steps to building blog traffic

What do you think the number one question I get asked is? No, it’s not “Hey, are you Zach what’s his name?”, it’s “How can I build website traffic?”

If there are two things that I know for sure, it’s this.

I don’t really look anything like Zach Galifianakis. If anything, he looks like me.
I know how to build traffic to websites.
One of those this apparently has little or no commercial value, but the second is huge (just to be clear, we’re talking about website traffic building).

Five Simple Steps to Building Blog Traffic

Write Something People Want to Read

I know this goes against everything that you’ve ever been taught about marketing but I want you to think about the Internet like a bar and in that bar, there are a lot of guys but very few women. Now, picture that you’re one of those guys and you’re trying to get the women to notice you.

It’s OK to be dressed in outlandish clothing.
It’s OK to approach her.
It’s OK to be charming and funny.
It’s not OK to spend the entire conversation talking about your car.
What does this have to do with the Internet? It’s the same thing. There are a lot of websites out there competing for viewers, so stop telling people about yourself and instead start telling them what they want to hear.

Optimize Your Posts

There is a point where blogger becomes geek and that’s on this item. Your blog is only as popular as you make it and all the great content in the world won’t help you if you’re too hard to find. Keep that in mind when you write, you need to learn just enough about search engine optimization to be dangerous.

What do you need to know?

Things you can’t see matter. Title tags, meta tags, deep linking are all key to building traffic
Things you can see matter, just not the way you think. Headers, bold text, lists all mean something to search engines
Speed Up Your Blog

There are two things modern web surfers will wait for, their online bank statement and their online credit card statement. If you’re not a bank, stop making people wait for things. Anecdotally I can prove this to you. When I worked as the head geek for a university we had a device that could throttle (limit) the speed of the Internet by website. That means that I could choose to retard the speed of a website and that’s exactly what we did to a major social media site. Instead of blocking from our users, we simply made it unbearably slow. Instead of reading status updates, staff returned to work.

If your website is slow, people will not read it. Worse, Google will not read it.

Read Why Do My WordPress Images Take So Long to Load? and Why Is WordPress So Slow? to help speed up your blog.

Tell People About Your Website

OK, I know what you’re saying. You’re saying that telling people about your website is so obvious that it shouldn’t even be listed here but let me ask you this, is your website listed on your business card? Your email signature? What about your letterhead, menus, promotional cards, invoices and ads?

I recently finished work for a high end mens wear website that printed their website URL on the inside pocket of every suit they sold and stitched it on the back of ties that left their store. It was subtle but served to be high impact. If you’re not telling people about your website, you’re not building traffic.

Tell People About Your Website

What? Am I getting lazy? Wasn’t that the title of my last point? Yes, it was but no. I’m not getting lazy, telling people about your website is really this important.

Successful websites all have one thing in common, they’re marketed. It stands to reason then that if you want your website to be successful you need to market it everywhere you can. There are two ways to market a website:

With a lot of money (in which case, I invite you to contact me)
With a lot of time
You can take your pick but your website will die in obscurity if you don’t do one of these two things and that’s where telling people about your website is so easy. Make sure your Facebook, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Twitter pages all brag about your website. Buy ads on Google AdWords, create links by commenting on news articles and other blogs, socialize your website through forums, bug your distributors for links on their website and write articles for local papers or industry magazines.

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