All About Blogging: 5 Ways to Promote your Blog

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Traffic Sign, Ottawa, Summer 2011

Getting traffic is every blogger’s main goal. Some dream big while others are happy to just share their creative skills with similar-minded people. But where to start?

I can’t stress enough how many blogs and websites there are on the Web, and how important promoting your blog is. “In space, no one hears you scream”, and in the cyber world, no one will find you if you don’t adopt a proactive approach.

Are you interested in getting more traffic? Here is what I learned in my five years of blogging.

First, sign up with a traffic monitoring website or install a plugin on your blog to gain some insights. Google Analytics is a popular choice for detailed web stats. I also use Counterize, a WordPress plugin that brings to data to my dashboard. You can see a list of stats plugins for WordPress users here.

So, when I look at my own stats, I see my new traffic mostly comes from five different sources.

Forums — I used to be quite active on a number of forums, including Settlement.org, where I still answer some immigration-related questions. I usually include a signature in my profile linking to this blog. Most forums allow that and it’s a non-spammy way to get relevant traffic. If you want to get some traffic from forums, pick one that speaks to you, where you can both help and learn something. The key is to be consistent. Don’t just come, put your link everywhere and disappear.

Memes and links — We all get “tagged” once in a while. It happened recently with My Seven Links: Laurel invited me to complete the meme and I tagged five people in return. This is a good way to meet other bloggers and get more traffic—just don’t do memes too often, readers may get tired of it! I also try to link to other bloggers when they offer useful resources or when the post is particularly good. I also get traffic from other bloggers who link to my articles or quote me. For instance, I was recently interviewed by Life out of a Suitcase where I talked about my new life in Canada.

Blog carnivals — Carnivals are organized around a specific theme and aim at gathering a number of articles from bloggers around the world. You can either host a carnival or simply participate by sending a previously published article. I check out the website Blog Carnival once in a while and send submission to carnivals I’m interested in. For instance, I often participate in the Byteful Travel carnival or the Carnival of Cities. Each time I get some traffic, especially when the carnival host promotes it via Twitter or other social media.

Comments — Meaningful comments are a great way to discover new bloggers. Whenever a new reader leaves a comment on this blog, I always check out the associated website. Not all of them become my daily read but I got to know quite a lot of blogs this way. And it goes both ways: when you add something relevant to the conversation, chances are other commenters or the author of the blog will want to know more about you. Just don’t be that annoying person who write “great job” along with five different referral urls. Don’t.

Social media — I must admit I’ve been very slow to get into social media. I don’t have a Facebook account (I’m busy enough with that website!) and the profusion of social media sites means you could spend your time spreading news about news about news. Yet, I somehow got into Twitter and I find it’s a very useful tool to promote blog posts and bits of news. The traffic I got from it amazes me. I’m also on Reddit, especially on r/Iwantout (an expat subreddit) and r/Canada and I got great traffic for some submissions.

How do you promote your blog? Any tips to add?

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

15 Comments

  1. I use GoSquared for my blog statistics, it is free if you do not have a lot of traffic and it works awesome. Before starting the blog I decided to join Twitter and Facebook, it is way too early to tell how much traffic I will get but I think Twitter will be very helpful.
    I never heard about Blog Carnivals, I will check that out 🙂
    Something that turns me off when reading a blog is when the author does not reply to the comments, I believe that is a great part of blogging, the ability to engage in meaningful conversations with your readers.

    • I try my best to reply to all the comments and it’s easy since I can do it directly in WordPress dashboard. But I must admit some slip through, especially on older posts. I’m trying though!

      Twitter is a great way to get relevant traffic I find. Not sure about FB since I never signed up on it. The problem is, which social network, there are so many that you can’t be everywhere!

  2. I have Google analytics but I don’t know how to use it. So it is there just for the sake of it. 🙂

    Writing valuable comments is one thing that I always recommend & value.
    I’ve never knew blog carnivals & memes could be of help. I have a few tags to do but generally they don’t excite me & I decline the request.

    How much time do you think is sufficient for social media? Or how much time are you able to devote? For me it’s quite time consuming & most often I stay away from this. 🙂

    • I also stay away from social media because as you say, it can be very time-consuming, I spend maybe 30 minutes a day on Twitter. Most of the time, less than that. I’d rather read blogs I like!

  3. I’ve never heard of a blog carnival; you learn something new every day.

    Hey I wrote a highly perceptive post against the Evils of Drugs on Thursday do pop by and leave a flattering comment!

    And while I’m here what’s happened to you Zhu you never drop by anymore did you get bored of me? Since I last saw you I gave up heroin for 3 months straight, went bipolar, relapsed a bit and have given up again me and heroin are THROUGH ~ what a sad waste of time that period was I never ever intend to go back there. Never ever again.

    • The fact that I’m not commenting has more to do with that I don’t always have something smart to say. not that I don’t read 😉

  4. I use a bunch of stats programs because they’re all different, and they serve different purposes:

    Google Analytics
    Sitemeter
    Statscounter
    WordPress stats

    It’s interesting how stats programs miss some IP addresses entirely, and they report different data, too. If they were all accurate and comprehensive I’d use just one, but there isn’t one that shows everything I want to see.

    For example, Statscounter, which I can view within WordPress (before, I had to go to the website and login), shows every page that a user has visited and for how long, whereas other stats programs just lists how many pages and gives aggregate times.

    The one I view the least is Google Analytics, although I keep it running because I do like to view the aggregate data once in a while.

    Something I’ve seen proven on my own site is how much Google dislikes text link advertising, because once I removed it, my Google stats shot up. Then I put them back in again and the Google hits declined.

    • I should do the experiment with the text links, I have a few right now. But it’s one of the best ways to monetize a blog I think so I’ll stick with it.

      It’s easy to get lost in stats… I only check Google Analytics for aggregated data as well, it gives me too much info to digest otherwise. I like counterize, although the counter resets before midnight. Kind of weird actually, I’m not sure on which time zone it is!

  5. I think it is best to harness the power of social media such as Facebook to promote your blog. You get better quality traffic since its our friends/friends-of-friend that visit rather than just random traffic from search engines.

    • It’s just too bad I’m not on Facebook! 😆 Seriously, I also believe in social media, as long as you stay on topic and don’t spam people.

  6. Hi Zhu!

    First of all, thanks for the shoutout about the Byteful Travel blog carnival. I really appreciate you spreading the word 🙂 I see the quantity and quality of submissions continue to increase.

    Good suggestions all around. And I hadn’t heard of Counterize. Might have to try that one out!

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