How NOT to attract traffic to your blog
Log in to your blog. Wait for the statistical figure to show. Fingers crossed—wish Total Views number surprisingly skyrocketed. “What the hell is wrong with people? Why don’t they read what I write?” You wonder.
Almost all rookie bloggers fit into the profile I just described. Don’t feel ashamed if you are one of them, even if you are already a veteran blogger.
It is human nature to be noticed, cared, praised or criticized, and liked or hated. Your blog is part of you. It wants spotlight as well.
Basically, every blog is important to at least 5 people: your father, your mother, your husband/wife, your kid, and of course, yourself.
But you want more people to read what you write up there, make their comments, or just leave a smiling face like :-).
How to generate traffic
So you learn to write online, fighting some old habits of so-called “good writing” in the traditional sense.
- Write for Google search engine (SEO).
Over 40% of all traffic to a site comes from Google search. This doesn’t include those who first know your site through Google but later visit your site by typing the URL or clicking your URL address in their bookmark.
- Key words for headlines
and less than 60 characters. Jacob Nielson acclaimed BBC News for having the best headlines
- Keep sentences short and simple.
- One idea per paragraph and keep paragraph short.
Why? Because it’s easier for online readers to scan. (I know there are two ideas in the above line. No need to remind me.)
- Use sub-headings after 5-6 paragraphs.
- Use list or bulletin points.
- Cut, cut, cut and cut again.
or, shall I say cut just once and cut the other three cuts?
How NOT to generate traffic
It’s always easier said than done. And persistence requires even stronger mind.
I could have finished piling up what I want to say in a lump within 15-20 minutes, but one hour later, I’m still here writing because I’m trying to follow those golden rules.
Back to the headline of this blog, how not to generate traffic, or how to lose traffic, the answer is very simple: Do not follow any online writing rules.
You can tell I’m kidding, right?
Well, I noticed some habits, or “mistakes” over the past few months that might cause bloggers to lose readers.
- Write about things of not much “value”
You can write about your own life, but unless you are a celebrity like Opera Winfrey or Brad Pitt, you should not expect people to be interested in your blog.
Jonathan Morrow from Coypblogger wrote a touching story On Dying, Mothers, and Fighting for Your Ideas that best makes clear this point.
- “Force” readers to visit your site
Many people now read in RSS readers such as Google Reader or Blogline. Some set their feed export to “abstract” or “headline” instead of “full text”.
What makes you so confident that you write better headlines than BBC News or irresistible first paragraph (with a few more lines, usually considered “abstract”) so that people would click on the feed and go to your site?
Most probably, they will just never bother checking your feed or simply cancel their subscription of your feed.
- Bolden sub-headings
Sub-headings not only function as road signs all the way down your post, but also gives tags to Google search.
If you just bolden the sub-headings, they are actually still body texts put in that <p> tag.
You have to set them into Heading 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 according to your blog layout. Headline 1 is usually reserved for THE headline. This gives a <h> tag that Google spider catches.The Headline block usually is located in the style tool bar, next to other layout buttons such B (bold), I (italic), U(underline), etc.
- Update blogs irregularly
“Sorry, I’ve been busy these days so I didn’t update.”People don’t care about your schedule.
If they come to your site on day 1, and see no new blog, then on day 2, still nothing, then there is a slight chance they might still come on day 3, but if then they still see no updated blog, they might never come back.
And on day 4, you feel like writing, and you publish 3 blog posts, or 4, or even 5, but sorry, the gone readers are gone. They are not coming back.
All in all, blogging is about quantity, but more about quality;
it’s about talking to yourself, but more about interacting with others;
it’s about following hot topics, but more about offering original idea; and
it’s about finishing assignment for the Online Journalism module, but more about polishing your writing and getting prepared for a journalism career.