I’ve had a really hard time the past couple of weeks with my number of page views and blog traffic. I haven’t really changed anything from what I was doing before (when the traffic was at its highest). I was wondering if you had any advice for driving traffic to your blog?
I know some people may not want to hear this (because I used to always roll my eyes when I heard it myself), but the #1 way to get traffic to your blog is through interesting and original content.
Great book reviews just won’t cut it
I’ll be honest, in terms of a book blog, I don’t really believe that “great book reviews” are enough to drive a ton of traffic to your blog… at least not in most cases.
How many book blogs do you follow? How many of them mostly post book reviews? Probably all of them, because book reviews are the point of a book blog. But, as a blog reader, do you ever feel like you’re drowning in book reviews? Do you ever get just a little tired of reading them?
(But for all I know, maybe I’m completely alone in that feeling.)
There are hundreds or thousands of book blogs out there, and it’s really hard to make yourself stand out by doing what everyone else is doing (writing reviews). I’m not saying you shouldn’t write reviews, because obviously that’s the point of a book blog, but if you really want to drive more traffic to your blog then you need to think about how to incorporate something new and unique into your posts.
Original features win!
I bet my blog traffic would be half of what it is now if it weren’t for my Bitchin Book Blog posts. My BBB posts are like my gimmick. They give me a leg up in the book blogging world because I talk a lot about WordPress, coding, and web design… that’s not something a lot of bloggers know about or talk about. So, when bloggers want to learn about those topics, they come to Nose Graze.
If you can find a unique topic like that, it will do WONDERS for your blog. If you can’t think of a unique, regular feature, then I would recommend that you at least work on some interesting discussion posts. I find that discussion posts are hugely successful in terms of page views/comments. In fact, I personally often enjoy reading an interesting book-related discussion post more than I enjoy reading a book review.
Here are some examples of blogs with unique features. I don’t have access to their page views or statistics, but I’m willing to bet that these unique features give those blogs a big leg up in terms of traffic:
Not up for an original feature?
If you really can’t think of an original topic or feature, then at the very least, you can utilize social media to improve blog traffic:
- Advertise your latest posts on Twitter, but don’t ONLY advertise. Also chat with other bloggers and be social on Twitter. I suck at this, but I promise it does help! Twitter is the #1 social media referral to my site.
- Post all your book reviews on Goodreads, and link to your blog on every review. (Post the full review on Goodreads, but include a note saying it’s a review from your blog or something.)
- Create a Facebook page and set it up so that your posts get automatically posted. You can do this with NetworkedBlogs.
- Submit your discussion posts to StumbleUpon. I find that people on StumbleUpon don’t give a crap about book reviews, so I don’t bother submitting mine there, but StumbleUpon is GREAT for discussions, “interesting” posts, cool pictures/videos, etc. A great post can earn you A TON of traffic on StumbleUpon if it becomes a hit. My tutorial on how to make your own planet in Photoshop got like 15,000 views overnight once because of StumbleUpon.
- Utilize any other social media sites that interest you (like Pinterest or Instagram).
Don’t use cheap tricks
I kind of consider giveaways a “cheap trick”. I’m not saying don’t have giveaways, because I have giveaways on my own blog. I just mean that you shouldn’t host tons and tons of giveaways because you want more blog traffic. Yes, giveaways will boost your traffic while the giveaway is running, but in my experience, giveaways do not equate to subscribers, long-term traffic increases, or returning visitors. People will come only for the giveaway, then hightail it out of there. That person won’t come back to comment on your posts, they just want to win something. And that’s lame.