Five tips to get more traffic according to expert blogger Katie Lee

Katie Lee (@ShinyKatie) very kindly came into my technology specialism class to give a talk about blogging.

Katie Lee

She’s well qualified to do so too: founder of blogging network Shiny Shiny, currently director of Miramus Ltd, a publishing company specialising in web content, and blogger at Dork Adore and Good Hooking (about knitting, obviously).

She whizzed through the basics of how to blog but gave some very handy tips to getting your work seen by more than just your coursemates/friends/family. We will be employing all of the below because there’s a lot at Wannabe Hacks which we don’t do particularly well and which we could certainly improve on…

1. Set targets to extend your community

Even if you think your blog is just starting out and your stats aren’t great, it’s still important to set targets and goals. It may be to get 50 people signed up to your email alerts or a minimum of 4 comments on every post or 120 Twitter followers by Christmas – each is important to get yourself out there.

Photo courtest of Yodel Anecdotal

Photo courtesy of luisvilla

2. Write for Google

Not as in go and work for Brin and Page but produce topical content that people will be searching for. At the moment this might be Kate and Will’s royal wedding, the latest person to leave X Factor or the Daily (the newspaper exclusive to the iPad reportedly being set up by Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdoch).

Aside from the actual content, make sure you stick to the facts in the first few paragraphs as Google places more prominence on these (e.g. City University launched their Interactive MA yesterday’ rather than ‘I’ve always wondered when a university would launch a course that has modules in blah blah’. Get to what your talking about quickly.

3. SEO (Search Engine optimisation)

The Chancer touched on the importance of SEO, which is one of the major things we still don’t know enough about or do well enough on Wannabe Hacks. Our recent post ‘News. Now.’ – a practical example of multi-platform journalism – perhaps should have been called ‘Journalism with just a mobile phone’ or ‘How to get a news story with your mobile phone’. My post on the Guardian Student Media Awards was stupidly titled ‘Putting the old guard into Guardian Student Media’ which a) was a bad attempt at a clever pun and b) would have been much better as ‘Guardian Student Media Awards pick same old student papers’ or something similar.

Sometimes it’s better to keep it simple.

4. Develop good CTAs (Call To Arms)

Twitter is a very good way to distribute content but think of other ways that people may come across your blog. Plug your post on Facebook (or create your own group for your friends to join), ask people to Stumble your post or Digg it or to bookmark it on Delicious. Be cheeky and make your readers part-time distributors of your work.

Katie suggested there’s even a place to a) tell people how long a post has taken you as it may convince them to have a read and b) beg/ plead for them to read it (not always, it gets annoying, but may work occasionally).

Photo courtesy of luisvilla

5. Feedback to your community as you go

Aside from targeting new visitors, it’s important to feedback to those who currently follow you on Twitter/ visit the site regularly. Let them know you’re growing, thank them for continually coming back and ask them what they would like to see from the site in the future. You could even give them a poll to answer on your blog’s strengths and weaknesses. We try to do this occasionally on WH (tweets asking our followers questions) but much more could be done (ie. dedicated posts to feedback, questionnaires etc).

Any other blogging tips you can contribute to the discussion? Perhaps you’ve had a spike in comments or hits as a result of something you’ve done? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us (@wannabehacks)…


About benwhitelaw
Ben is Communities Editor at The Times

9 Responses to Five tips to get more traffic according to expert blogger Katie Lee

  1. I like your points, but perhaps SEO should be the first priority after content quality? Ensuring that your posts are visible in search engine results is key to attracting new readers. To aid your exposure furthermore, it might be worth joining Blogging communities such as BlogCatalog, MyBlogLog, Blogged and NetworkedBlogs. Good luck!

  2. Thanks for the great tips, I’ve found that responding to readers comments often leads to discussion. Promotion and link sharing is great for getting first time readers, but it’s important to have what they are looking for to keep them coming back.

  3. Ny says:

    Some great tips here. my blog is primarily about music I have followers on twitter that are fans of certain artists and I have found that tweeting a post directly to them about their favourite artists leads to more views as the tweet gets re-tweeted and passed around.

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  5. The Student says:

    Thanks for your comments guys – each provide some good tips. I hadn’t heard about the blogging communities so will be doing that when I get a spare minute.

    As for Tweeting, a personal approach, though time consuming, is effective – I’m not sure how easy this is as your followers get bigger and your less in tune with who likes what but it’s a great early on in your blogging career.

    And yes, commenting must be a staple of any good blog. You can’t put content out there, hope people read it and comment, but not engage in the discussion. Glad you guys realise how effective the little things are in ensuring that people return to you blog time after time!

  6. Mr Dyas says:

    Great post. I’ve been blogging for about four months now and I’ve had consistent but not great traffic.
    But I think I know where I’ve been going wrong though.
    I’ve been writing posts about anything and everything. But recently I decided to post more from my perspective as a journalist student, and traffic increased as did the comments.
    I still need to learn more about SEO though and I’ll have to look in to the blogging communities.

  7. My favourite way to get traffic is to read, read, read and more importantly, comment, comment, comment. I read a LOT of blogs and I comment every time I find one I like. Never just say ‘I love your post, follow me back please? xoxo’ (yes I follow fashion blogs) but challenge or present a new point, or even point them to a post you wrote on a similar subject. Sometimes the post’s writer will read it back, or more often, commentors on their post will read yours as well. Then the dialogue gets going. I’ve gained a lot of readers from international blogs, bigger name blogs and from bloggers who follow blogs that I follow just by constantly commenting.

  8. Oh, PS, a blogger I follow has recently set up a site to help you monetise and increase traffic on your blog.
    But you pay for the service…

  9. Pingback: NCTJ and Beyond: What you may have missed and the future « NCTJ and Beyond

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