The question we’ve been asked most this week is, “How do we get people to read our blog?”
The basic answer is easy: if you write good stuff on subjects people find interesting, people will come and read them. You can hurry up the process by a) building links to draw the attention of the search engines, and b) using social media to draw the attention of people.
Let’s look at these three points more closely. First, you have to write good stuff and people have to be looking for things on that subject. Our new blog on Indramat motion control technology has been up for just about one week, and is now #1 for a blog search on its primary keywords — because it is the only good blog on the subject. If you have a blog about fashion or cars, it won’t be that easy. On the other hand, low competition is a sign of fewer people searching for your keyword, so either way you can expect that your early blog posts will not be read by very many people.
For some bloggers, this is discouraging. They notice they have just a handful of visitors and they give up. This is a mistake. It takes time to develop a popular blog, and the only way to do it is to write good posts on a frequent and regular basis. Look at the traffic when we first launched our lab site, FreshPlans:
The traffic began with just a few visitors a day, and there were days even after a month when there were no visits. Now look at the first six months:
If we had given up in the first couple of months when we had practically no traffic, we would never have seen the later increases. So just trust us on the importance of good, regular content, and keep blogging. Regular new content draws the attention of the search engines, and it encourages human visitors to come back to see what’s new.
The second point is to do some linkbuilding. Links from other sites are a vote of confidence, showing that your content is good enough to be worth linking to. Listing your website with quality directories and asking other webmasters for links is like putting a sign out when you open a new office. It lets people — and the search engines — know that you’re there. Done right, it benefits your website from the point of search and also sends you traffic.
The third point is to use social media. One of the people who asked us about getting people to come to his website told us that his business page had gotten 32 new Facebook Likes over the weekend. He wasn’t happy about this, because they were just friends of his. His friends, he felt, didn’t count. The thing is, we may know all our friends, but we don’t know all their friends. When one of your tweeps (and most of us don’t actually know all our Twitter followers) retweets your excellent blog post, it is shown to a whole bunch of strangers. This process continues — as long as you have a good blog that makes people want to share.
You can’t expect people to read your blog if it’s not useful or entertaining. If it is, and you post regularly, you can expect steadily increasing readership. Not overnight. But it will happen.