This is part of a series of posts on improving the search engine optimization and traffic counts of individual blogs. Previous articles focused on SEO, the importance of keywords, using images to generate site traffic, and producing quality content.
No matter why you blog, chances are that you hope to reach some sort of audience; after all, you might as well keep a written diary if you don't want people to read your work. With this in mind, today we'll take a look at some basic strategies to help you increase traffic and hit your target audience.
1. Write about what no one else is writing about. This is easier said than done. If I write a post about, say, Barack Obama and John McCain, the post with the hyperlinked key words will have about five minutes of shelf life before it gets buried miles deep in the search results (unless, of course, the post gets linked by a major news site, and then I'll get about a day's shelf life). But if I write a post that includes some of Obama's staffers - like campaign research director Devorah Adler or the campaign's budgeting and planning director - or if I appeal to a Spanish audience by hyperlinking campaña de John McCain, the post will be finding its way into a lot of unique searches that will actually drive more traffic my way.
2. Use foreign words in image and post tags. Just because a reader speaks Russian first does not mean my site has nothing to offer. While my personal Russian skills are weak, I write a fair amount on Russian history and politics, and I am sure to tag images that might appeal to a Russian audience seeking images, or for whom English is a strong second language. This blog fares quite well with Russian readers searching for information on Екатерина II Великая, better known to the West as Catherine the Great.
3. Develop regular features that improve reader loyalty. Just like a variety show, a mix of topical features helps keep your site from becoming stale. In addition, develop a unique name for your features, and stay away from run-of-the-mill names like "Word of the Day" or "Quote of the Day," which a million other bloggers are doing. It took me two minutes to find that no one else on the Internet was using the phrase "History Slivers", and now I have a feature that is unlike any other on the Web.
4. Deliberately misspell words. Now, as a language geek, it kills me to find a typographical error in my work, yet I occasionally find that an unintentionally misspelled word actually drives some decent traffic. Remember - many people struggle with spelling, and others are so hyper-caffeinated that they type words incorrectly without knowing it. Just for grins, I'm going to hyperlink Barack Obaa and Barack Obana and see how much traffic comes my way. I'll bet that I get at least 50 hits a day from the placement of these misspelled words in this post.