A few months ago I spoke at BlogHer about DIY Content Syndication and most of the questions asked were about how to get traffic to your blog. Bloggers should be after an AUDIENCE and not just TRAFFIC.
Traffic = Getting people to go to your site. Pageviews. Visits. Often 1-time visitors.
Audience = People who actively read your content and engage with your blog. Regularly.
The difference? An audience is relevant to your content, these are your regular readers and commenters who are really interested in your blog and what you have to say. Traffic often comes through one-time hits on sites like Digg or Stumbleupon and is often interested in
What is so bad about traffic?
- It can be a distraction to your regular readers. The traffic you get may be an entirely different crowd from your regular readers. Traffic comes from headlines often written by other people and may or may not be very closely related to your regular topics and audience.
- Traffic can crash your servers.
- You can spend TONS of time trying to get traffic and get none.
- Writing for traffic is hard. Very few people are good at predicting what will actually get to the front page of Digg and noone really understands how to get Stumbled. Write great content and it will come.
- Traffic is a one time hit. Thats right. Most people who have landed the elusive front page of Digg did not see a continuous increase in their traffic – just a one-time bump.
OK, so what can you do to build your readership and start making more ad revenue?
How to Build an Audience:
- Comment on other blogs – say something smart or interesting on another blog in your area. If people like what you say, they’ll click through to your blog.
- Link to other blogs – Link love matters. Link to other blogs so that 1) they’ll see you in their stats and know who you are, 2) you can gain readers and 3) you can show up in their trackbacks if they accept them.
- Submit your content to Niche sites – Don’t waste your time submitting to Digg – go for something more targeted. When I started a photography blog we used photographyvoter – a Digg-like site for photography – which got us lots of relevant and interested traffic. Look for relevant niche sites – you won’t get as much traffic, but the traffic that you get will be more meaningful.
- BlogRoll – Yes, these are less popular, but build a blog roll of other blogs in your area, and email the writers and tell them that you added them to your blogroll and let them know why. They might link to you or think of you in a future post – plus link love can help your seo ratings.
- Twitter – Twitter is a great way to gain publicity for your blogs. Your audience on twitter is probably already interested in what you are writing about, so tweeting your latest posts lets people know what you are writing about. Just remember – give and take… tweet other stuff too or you’ll lose followers.
- Social Networks – Use your other social networks too – Facebook, Stumbleupon, etc – let people know what you are writing about.
The Point? Spend your time and energy building a meaningful audience. There are no quick fixes or cheap tricks to build your online empire…. Sorry to dissappoint.
What do you think? Share your audience building tips in the comments.