Three weeks since you first opened your blog and there's little to no traffic. Don't worry, you're not the only one, and you just found this guide so you're on the path to success. Several key factors all play together when trying to build traffic, and hopefully this guide will outline the general concepts for novice bloggers, and maybe reinforce a couple things for the veteran bloggers.
Traffic Depends on Unique Content
Unique, well written content is the number one factor. Each day, write as much relevant content as possible, and by relevant, I mean content geared toward the theme of your blog. The more; the better. If your blog is about dog grooming, interview a local dog grooming business owner to get their tips and tricks of the trade, or write a post reviewing the recent Eukanuba dog show, the sky's the limit! As you probably noticed, this blog is considered a technology blog, so a lot of the topics deal with technical issues.
So why's unique content so important? For starters, Google's bot loves fresh, unique content. If the Google Bot visits your site and notices a change in content, this pleases the bot. As time goes on, your blog will start showing up in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) for more and more search terms (keywords).
There's also a not so well known area to beginners known as the sandbox. Google defines the sandbox as:
allegedly used by one large search engine as a probation period for new sites. Gaining a high PR is inhibited during this period.
Notice the word, allegedly. Most search engine experts will agree, there is in fact a sandbox that new sites are placed in until good rapport is established. This ultimately means your site will not show up in search engine result pages until that rapport exists. What's the best way to get out of the sandbox and establish good rapport? Keep posting new content, daily. Sign up with Google's Webmaster Tools, submit a sitemap, and keep working on that fresh, unique, relevant content!
Use Trackback and/or Pingback Capabilities
Wordpress and other blogging software come with a unique tool used to send linkbacks known as trackbacks or pingbacks. Whenever you're composing a post with unique content, reference other blogs within your post to send out a trackback. Most blogging systems provide an area to list trackbacks you're wanting to send, and unless I'm mistaken, Wordpress is even smart enough to auto detect and auto send trackbacks if configured to do so.
An excellent example is available in one of my previous posts entitled, Halloween Masks Prevent Customer and Employee Safety. You'll notice fellow blogger virgotex posted a comment, but not just any comment, a pingback, which means she referenced my Halloween post in one of her blog posts. As a result of virgotex's generosity, a linkback to her site is automatically listed in the Halloween post she referenced. This is a very effective way to build back links, build rapport as previously mentioned, and generate traffic! Use the trackback feature as often as possible because building traffic isn't the only positive result. The potential to meet and share with people that have similar interests, all over the globe, is truly a wonderful feeling.
Linkswap! The Old Fashion Way
As a result of the trackback sent by virgotex, we added each other to our blogrolls. This is another highly effective way to establish rapport with large search engines (more links back to your blog), and generate traffic. If you find a blog that's similar in topic, just contact the webmaster through email, IM, or a contact form if available. Chances are, they'll want the back link to their blog, too.
Participate In Discussion Forums
Discussion forums are an excellent source for targeted traffic. Back on the dog grooming example, if you're a member of a dog grooming forum, include your site in your signature. In addition, responding to people's questions by referring them to a specific post in your blog is a long term traffic source. New comers to the forum may have the same question, and if they stumble on the forum post you replied to, there's an excellent chance they'll visit your blog. This doesn't mean sign up for every forum on the Internet and start spamming your site - build a rapport with the forum's community so they come to see you as an authority in the field.
Write a Guest Post For a Fellow Blogger
This is self explanatory. Write up a post and submit your uniquely generated, relevant content to a fellow blogger. There's an excellent chance they'll post the article on their blog, and provide a link back to your blog. Participation in the blogosphere is necessary.
Sign Up For Blogrush Now
Blogrush is a cooperative syndication network that's a no hassle, easy way to bring targeted visitors to your blog. Once signed up, they'll provide a small snippet of code to place in your blog. This code displays five headlines from other blogs in the Blogrush network, and each time a unique visitor visits your blog, Blogrush will display one of your blog posts on another site within the Blogrush network. There's an excellent guide to help get your started, reports to show detailed statistics, rewarding referral program, and best of all, free, targeted traffic! Sign up for a free Blogrush account now.
Utilize The Many Available Ping Services
If you're using Wordpress to publish your content, take advantage of Update Services under the Options --> Writing portion of your administration panel. The sites listed in that text area are notified whenever your blog is updated, resulting in more... traffic! Here's a list of the services I use for this blog.
http://rpc.pingomatic.com/ http://api.feedster.com/ping http://api.moreover.com/ping http://api.my.yahoo.com/rss/ping http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2 http://ping.amagle.com/ http://ping.bitacoras.com http://ping.blo.gs/ http://ping.feedburner.com http://ping.rootblog.com/rpc.php http://ping.syndic8.com/xmlrpc.php http://ping.weblogalot.com/rpc.php http://rcs.datashed.net/RPC2/ http://rpc.blogbuzzmachine.com/RPC2 http://rpc.blogrolling.com/pinger/ http://rpc.icerocket.com:10080/ http://rpc.newsgator.com/ http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2 http://topicexchange.com/RPC2 http://www.blogdigger.com/RPC2 http://www.blogoole.com/ping/ http://www.blogoon.net/ping/ http://www.blogsnow.com/ping http://www.blogstreet.com/xrbin/xmlrpc.cgi http://www.lasermemory.com/lsrpc/ http://www.newsisfree.com/RPCCloud http://www.popdex.com/addsite.php http://www.snipsnap.org/RPC2 http://www.wasalive.com/ping/ http://www.weblogues.com/RPC/ http://www.blogsdominicanos.com/ping/ http://www.xianguo.com/xmlrpc/ping.php http://www.feedsky.com/api/RPC2
Unique content, trackbacks, discussion forums, back links, guest posts, update services, and blog rush. This may sound like a lot, but with a little time, effort, and patience, you'll notice an increase in traffic, guaranteed. The methods mentioned here currently bring in an average of 150 unique visitors a day, and according to Google Analytics, that's continuously growing. The main suggestion, and probably most important of all, is to continue developing unique, fresh content for your visitors. Do that, and the traffic will pour.
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