Ask pretty much any blogger what the biggest challenge was when they first started blogging, and getting their blog noticed will probably be one of the most popular answers.
While we all want to be a Problogger or Copyblogger from the off, it’s probably not going to happen (unless you’re friends with either Darren Rowse or Brian Clark and they pimp the hell out of you!).
And with millions of bloggers giving up because they’re not getting the traffic to make it worthwhile for them, you can see why getting your blog noticed carries such importance.
While there’s no doubt a lot of luck and being in the right place at the right time can help, there are also some ways that are pretty much guaranteed to get your blog noticed.
Here are just five of them.
One of the most tried and tested forms of any website or blog being found is search engine optimization, or SEO. As the name suggests, this is making sure your blog is as optimized as possible when it comes to being found via searches on the likes of Google, Bing, Yahoo and more.
When you start blogging, usually you’re going to want to be known for a certain niche or topic, and be found by people searching for that topic. This is where knowing SEO and its benefits come in.
As an example, if you go to Google.com and search for “best blogging tips”, For Bloggers By Bloggers is currently at #3 on the first page for this term, and #2 on the first page of Bing (at the time of writing). Since most web surfers go by results from the first page of search, and the results that are higher up that page, it’s easy to see that we get a lot of traffic for this term, which we’re really happy about.
If you’re unsure how SEO works, or how to best use it for your blog, check out this great tip sheet from SEOmoz, the leading source for SEO best practices.
Write Great Headlines
While SEO is a great method for getting more visibility to your blog, many bloggers don’t like having to write with search engines in mind – they (often correctly) feel that it takes away the flow of their post, and turns it into a keyword-stuffed ramble instead.
So another great way to grab traffic to your blog is to write great headlines.
Great blog headlines
Take a look at some of the most popular blogs, and you’ll see that (generally), the headline has a great attraction factor built in.
Take Copyblogger, for example, with titles like 125 Tips for Building an Irresistible Brand and 8 Incredibly Simple Ways to Get More People to Read Your Content.
Though I’m biased, I also think we have some great headlines here, with 10 Reasons No One Notices Your Blog Comment and How to Blog Like an A-Lister being just a couple of examples.
Since one of the first things a visitor sees when visiting your blog is your post title, you need to make it grab their attention. So think of ways on how to do this:
Read your title aloud and see if you can say it in one breath. If you can’t, it’s too long.
Think of what people would search for in search engines, and build your title around that.
Think how it’ll look when being shared on social networks – will the title grab interest right away?
Use powerful wording. No-one’s going to get excited about “Another Blog Post About Blogging”; but if you change it to “Why Your Blog is a Secret Goldmine”, it’s going to pique interest more.
You have anywhere between three and fifteen seconds to grab a visitor to your blog. Make sure your headline invites them in.
Make It Easy to Share
You have a blog. You write kick-ass content day in, day out. You make people think when they read, and they want to tell the world about your blog and how great it is. So they go to share with their social networks, by using the social sharing buttons on your post.
Except you don’t have any, or you have very limited options (usually just limiting those to Facebook and Twitter).
Why? Why would you erect any barriers to letting people share your post you’ve worked so hard on? That’s like getting a date with Jessica Alba and then spending the evening talking about your Jessica Biel crush.
So make it easy for people to distribute your blog post. There are a ton of options available, regardless of what blogging platform you use (Blogger, WordPress, Typepad or others).
Some you may have to hard code into your blog (Google how to do this for your chosen platform), some you can add as plug-ins. On For Bloggers By Bloggers, we use the Digg Digg plug-in for the sharing options at the top of each post, and Sociable Pro at the end. There are many more – see what some of your favourite bloggers are using, and ask what it is if you like it.
But whatever you do, at least make sure you have a decent social sharing option!
Comment More Than You Blog
This might sound like the last thing you want to be doing when you’re trying to get your blog noticed. After all, isn’t the whole idea meant to be growing your blog, as opposed to growing the comments of someone else’s blog?
Well, yes it is – but there’s method to this madness. Because as you comment more on blogs, the more people will start to notice you. The more people notice you, the more they’ll become interested in what you have to say. The more they become interested in what you have to say… well, all they need to is click on your URL and come to your blog.
Better still, if that blogger is using the CommentLuv system, you can choose to leave a link to your most recent blog post. This is a great way for others to find out about you – and more reason to write great headlines!
If you’re not too sure about how often you should comment, or you just want some tips, check out this great post by Judy Dunn on how to make your blog comments great.
Tell People About It!
Seems like a no-brainer, huh? You have a blog, you’re publishing left, right and centre (or will be) and world domination is in your grasp. Except it won’t be if no-one knows about your blog in the first place.
So tell people about it!
Register your blog on blog communities (especially ones in your niche). Sites like Scribnia, BlogEngage, ComLuv and more are great starting points.
Update your email signature to have your blog URL on there. If your email service supports it, use something like WiseStamp to give you a cool email signature that allows you to share your latest post automatically (via the RSS feed).
Update your social networks to share your URL, and send a message to your friends to ask them to check it out.
Put it on your business cards if you use them.
Ask your friends and social network connections if they can spread the news about your blog.
These are just five ways to help you get your blog noticed, either as a new blogger or someone who’s been blogging a while. While (technically) nothing is ever guaranteed, by following these five tips you should start to see a difference in your traffic.
How about you – what approaches have you found useful? Do you use any of the ones here, and how have they worked for you?