February 16, 2008

Better Blogging, More Traffic

Recently I had a question from another blogger on how to increase traffic and blog better. Not that I'm any sort of weblog expert, or anything... but I did answer their request and thought I would post it here for those of you who are new to blogging and need some tips. Here's my informal response that will help you have more fun blogging - because enjoying what you do tends to make you much BETTER at it... and when you are better at what you do - that will make people stand up and take notice!

How do I improve my blog and get more traffic?

1. Pay a blog designer if you don't know how to design yourself.

Designing your site is worth it. People like to see pretty blog designs up front. It is relatively inexpensive and there are plenty of designers who are just starting out that would give you a great rate.

Some good designers are (not in any order):

Susie of Bluebird Blogs (who did my Valentine theme)
Randa Clay (I love her name, by the way)
Amy of Split Decisions
Dawn of Barefoot Blog Designs
Everyday Design
Natalie Jost (who designed my site)
Swank Webstyle

... I could go on and on. Ask around! Everyone has a favorite! If I forgot you (and you are a blog designer), let me know and I'll add you to that list!

2. Check out your favorite blogs for design tips.

Most bloggers who enjoy blogging won't hesitate to offer some tips on design if you ask. I wrote an article way back when about blog design (back when I first paid to get my blog designed). Of course, I was only a 1-year blogger back then! Take it with a grain of salt! Another great place for advice is Blogging Basics 101.

3. INCLUDE PHOTOS on your posts.

Here's the image alteration program I use (for free) to create perfect sized, colored, etc. shots for my blog (everyone loves photos): FastStone Image Viewer. Most of the photos I use in my blog are 400 pixels by 300 pixels. You can easily enter the pixel size and shrink your photos to the perfect size (helping your blog load faster) with FastStone. There are other programs out there, too. Ask your favorite bloggers what they use! I load the images for my blog on to Photobucket (not into Blogger) because they are the program with the least amount of hassle and no limits. They also don't resize your images.

4. Every now and then, enjoy a good meme, quiz or blog-addict link.

Thursday Challenge
Wordless Wednesday
Super Cool Meme
Classes You Would Take
MY HOMESCHOOL LUNCH (my very own meme)
8 Random Things
Homeschool Mom Meme

Doctrine Quiz
Right or Left Brained?
What Sesame Street Character are you?
Your Perfect Major

Blog Funsies:
Blogstorm Snapshot
My Blog is a Masterpiece
Addicted to Blogging
My Blog is Cooler than Yours

5. Join the carnival. Submit your posts there.

Click over to read one of my carnivals to get an idea about what a blog carnival is... Carnival of Homeschool Yearbook Edition. Each week they are done by a different blogger on a different theme. Stick to a theme you know a lot about and love (my favorites that I have done are Wild West and Bees). They are fun to participate in and get you mingling with other like-minded bloggers.

6. Join blogrolls.

My rolls are listed on my sidebar if you need ideas. I'm on a cat blogroll, a Texas blogroll, family friendly blogroll, homespun bloggers, etc. Blogrolls help like-minded folks find each other in the big blogosphere.

7. Read Elise Bauer's articles about better blogging.

Elise is a blogworld diva. She really rocks. Her site "Simply Recipes" has been featured on TV... well, at least in Japan! Check her out at Elise.com and see how the pro-bloggers do it.

8. COMMENT on other people's blogs and get to know them.
Building relationships builds your own traffic.

9. Check out the Homeschool Blog Awards daily (or at least on Saturdays):

We do a "Better Blogging" post 2 Saturdays a month that is written for helping bloggers to learn tricks of the trade. Many of them are written by our very own Dawn of Barefoot Blog Designs. Scroll through our archives on the sidebar at HSBA for Saturday Better Blogging. I'm sure some of the tips will help you. This is my third year blogging almost, and I am learning new things all the time.

It couldn't hurt to hang out there and get nominated next October for the HSBA awards! Maybe you can win a category and get a button for your sidebar if you don't already have one!

10. Best of all, keep your content quality.

People get snagged because of the titles of posts and the pretty design and photos... but they keep reading if the content is good. You'll get repeat visitors if you fill a need, encourage, make someone laugh, inform someone, or are easy to relate to. People are looking for answers and connections online. Good quality will ensure your blog's future.


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Heart of Wisdom said...

Thanks for the tips Heather. I gave you a track back at http://heartofwisdom.com/Blogginghelp

I listed several carnivals (and the year book edition) on my Sunday meme at http://heartofwisdom.com/blog


Christy said...

Great tips. I wish I wasn't going to a Boy Scout movie this afternoon. Am I obsessed?

Randa Clay said...

Thanks so much for mentioning me in your list of designers. :) I appreciate it, and enjoyed your post as well.

Graham said...
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