Increase blog traffic – 5 easy ways

This article is just one of many articles I publish each Tuesday called Traffic Tips Tuesday. Each post will provide you with a comprehensive tip to increase traffic to your blog or website. You can see all of the tips on the Traffic Tips Tuesday page.
New and experienced bloggers have at least two things in common, they want to increase traffic to their blog.  Traffic drives many things on your blog including earnings and growth.  There are many different ways to increase blog traffic, but here are 5 easy ways that new bloggers can easily start driving traffic to their blog:

Comment on other blogs in your niche

Commenting on other blogs in your niche should be a priority for all new bloggers from day one.  Commenting on other blogs does the following:
  1. Increases traffic to your blog – When you leave a comment on another blog, you are able to leave a link to your blog.  Viewers of the comment see these links and often click through to see your blog.
  2. Adds links to your blog -  This is especially true if the blog you’re leaving a comment on is a DoFollow* blog.  Remember, links from high quality websites help to establish credibility with search engines and are driving factor in how well your articles rank in the search engines.
  3. Getting noticed – If you add comments to high authority blogs within your niche you’ll get noticed by the owners of those blogs.  In return they may: visit and comment on your blog, promote your articles via social media, or maybe even link out to one or more of your articles.
A quick note on Do Follow – Many blogs don’t implement Do Follow anymore as spammers very quickly learned they could use Do Follow blogs to generate links to their sites. This unfortunately resulted in a large amount of spam comments for higher traffic blogs and those blogs having a decent page rank.  If you’re blog is a higher traffic blog, than this is something you should consider.  For new and smaller blogs though, I still strongly advocate Do Follow as it’s a great way to encourage and receive comments.  This blog is a Do Follow blog.
When commenting on other blogs, make sure you that you leave well thought out and valuable comments.  Avoid leaving invaluable comments like “Great Article”, “Good one” or “Hadn’t thought of that”.  Always spend time adding value and perspective to the article.  Look for ways of sharing your own unique thoughts or ideas related to the articles content, this will help you get noticed.  If you disagree with the article, that’s okay too, just do so in a respectful and thoughtful manner, never be rude.

Use Social Media

Social media is quickly becoming as critical to your blog’s success as ranking well on the various search engines.  Sites like FaceBook and Twitter can drive a large amount of high quality traffic to your blog, but there’s a catch: You must actively participate in social media.   As you would expect, social media is very social.  What I mean by that is that you have to be active in the community in order to have “followers” and friends.  The number of followers or friends you have is directly proportional to how much traffic you will see as a result.
Many new bloggers create a Facebook or Twitter account and just have their blog automatically publish their new articles to these accounts.  That’s perfectly fine too do, but doing just that isn’t enough.  Frankly only publishing your articles is boring.  To take it to the next level, you must participate.  This involves:
  1. Talk to your community – Interact with your community and add perspective on their opinions and thoughts.  Ask them questions and listen to their answers.  Engage yourself in their discussions and provide value.
  2. Help promote your community – If you help promote the members of your community, they, in return, will help promote you.  The blogging world is definitely a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” environment.
  3. Be personable. Don’t be shy about sharing a little of yourself.  Let your community know that you are indeed a real person.  I realize some people will be more comfortable than others here, but sharing a little of yourself with your community goes a long way in helping make you successful.  People like to get to know you, don’t be afraid to share a little of yourself with them.
Another popular social media site I like is StumbleUpon.  StumbleUpon allows you to “channel surf” websites that are in categories you like and are interested in.  As you channel surf you can like and dislike sites.  The more likes a site gets, the more that site is shown to people channel surfing.  StumbleUpon can drive a very large amounts of traffic to your blog.  In general the traffic isn’t real sticky, meaning most people will never come back, but some do.  I’ve often found new blogs and sites I now really like using StumbleUpon.
Important: Don’t stumble your own articles.  I learned this one of the hard way 2 years ago when my account was basically blacklisted for a while.  Also avoid stumbling friends sites or the same sites too often.  This will also get you black listed.

Link Out to other blogs in your niche

As I mentioned above, blogging is a “scratch my back I’ll scratch yours” world.  A great way to get noticed and get traffic to your site is by linking out to other blogs within your niche.  For example: Write a list post of your favorite blogs.  Make sure you include a link to those blogs.  The owners of those sites in return for you linking to them will help promote your article.  One of my clients, Christopher over at The Happy Seeker learned the value in doing this recently with his list post.
Even when my blogs become fairly large with a good amount of traffic, I always continue to try and link out to other blogs I read and like.  Why?  Why help the competition?  There is plenty of space so competition isn’t really a problem until you become very big.  Remember, blogging is very social, good deeds get returned with good deeds.  Linking out to others increases your chance of getting linked to.  Lastly, it provides value to your readers.  Your readers will appreciate you linking out to other blogs.

Participate in online forums

Actively participating in online forums can result in a substantial traffic increase to your blog over time.  The trick is you have to be active.  There are online forums for almost any topic you can think of, and most likely their are numerous forums around the topic of your blog.  Use a forum directory site like Big Boards to find 1 or 2 large forums focused on your blog’s topic and join them.
At first, don’t discuss your blog.  Just become an active member of the forums.  Use the forums to ask questions and learn more about your blog’s topic.  These topics can be great sources for article ideas.  Even more important: provide well thought out and comprehensive responses to other member’s posts.  Engage in the discussions and make yourself be known as an active, knowledgeable and helpful member.
After a few weeks, go into the forums control panel and add a link to your blog in the signature.  Don’t announce that you’ve done this, just add it nonchalantly.  What will happen is that after people in the forums read your post, they’ll begin to click through to your blog.  All of the sudden you now have targeted traffic visiting your blog.  Forums members are the perfect audience and many times will become followers and readers of your blog.
Don’t over use this strategy, but every so often if you’ve written an article you are particularly proud of, post about it in the forums.  This will not only provide value to the forum community, but it will generate additional traffic to your blog and expose it more directly to new members of the forum.
One last tip on forums: pay attention to the forum rules! Many forums have particular rules about links in your signature and about post links to your websites.  Make sure you don’t violate the rules or you might get kicked out.
Forums are a win/win for bloggers.  By participating you add value for the forum and to it’s members, in return the forum can generate traffic to your blog and new readers.

Guest Post

Finally, they key strategy in getting traffic: Guest post.  Writing guest posts for other blogs in your niche, especially big ones, can generate a large amount of very sticky traffic for your site.  Writing guest posts also has the huge benefit of helping to get you noticed.  Look for blogs in your niche that are large, meaning one’s that have a large amount of readers and have authority in your niche.  Think of a few good article topics and send an email to the blog’s owner introducing yourself and asking if they accept guest articles.  In your email propose a few article ideas you’ve come up along with stating that you’re open to any ideas they may have as well.
One trick that will help your guest post idea be accepted: be a little “off topic”.  What I mean is the owner of the blog you’re interested in guest posting on probably has tons of articles on their niche and probably lots of ideas for future articles as well.  What can make you valuable as guest author is writing a guest article that is in the same theme as the target blog but is related to your particular niche.
Here are a few examples of what I mean:
  1. If I blog on personal finance, I might want to propose an article for Darren Rowse at about how to handle your accounting and taxes when you earn income blogging.  See what I mean?  The article is related to blogging (which Problogger is about) but is also related to personal finance.
  2. Perhaps I could write an article for Ryan at Cash Money Life who’s blog is about personal finance.  My article could focus on earning side income blogging or consulting on the side in order to pay off debt.
  3. If I write about Catholicism and the holy rosary, it might be good to write an article about Catholicism on a Protestant blog or maybe even Atheistic blog.  Sure it might stir up a little controversy, but controversial and engaging topics are sometimes the most popular, just make sure you have thick skin!  My point with this example is think outside the box.  Often you can write content relevant to your area of expertise but have it published on a blog that writes on a very different topic.  The question you need to ask is: Would the audience be interested?
These are just a few examples but hopefully you get the gist of what I mean and these examples stir your creative juices.

In Summary

You’ll note one common theme with all of these strategies: They aren’t free. Each and every one requires work and effort on your part.  Some require more than others, but regardless traffic isn’t free.  I did intentionally focus on strategies that are easy and require a minimal time investment.  As with most things in life, an increase in blog traffic requires time and effort.  The more time and effort you put in, the more blog traffic you’ll receive. Sign up for FREEUpdates.