Traffic, just like any other measure of success, is the fruition of the hard work and dedication you have put into your blog. If you don’t already have a steady flow of traffic, whether it’s five visitors a day or five-thousand, then you probably aren’t taking the proper combination of steps (or enough of the proper steps) to help people find your blog and take interest in what you have to say.
Basically, the successful traffic equation is simple:
Quality Content + Community Participation = Traffic
This is probably the most important factor when considering your traffic flow. As far as new visitors are concerned, if you don’t offer valuable information within the first 30-seconds of their visit – you’ve lost them. Furthermore, if your layout is confusing, or if your information is outdated, they might leave without reading the great information you offer. The combination of quality content and a good site layout is the proper foundation for a successful blog, and a growing readership.
As debates between the journalism community and the blogging community heat up, there is a more intense expectation of bloggers to produce quality content. Even if you are blogging about Aunt Martha’s favorite recipes, your information could either be jam-packed with useful information – or you could rattle on for paragraphs about nothing but her cat. But if readers are expecting to get a few great recipes from that aunt they never had and are instead pummeled with countless anecdotes about Fluffy – they’ll leave. They probably won’t even stick around long enough to find those delicious recipes – and certainly won’t be book-marking your blog!
Once you have a decent amount of information put together in an organized fashion, you’re ready to get out and socialize! That’s right – in order to build blog traffic in the quickly-evolving web 2.0 world of today, you’ve got to get out and join the blog party. This means joining social networks, forums, community memberships, and commenting within your niche. Find others that have blogs in complimentary subjects, and leave comments that offer value to the conversation. You’ll find that leaving useful and informative comments on highly-visible blogs can turn out to be a wonderful source of traffic.
On that same note, if you participate in community forums, you will find that by sharing valuable information within that community can help seat you in a position of “authority” within your particular niche. Basically, it’s a game of social survival – just like high-school, but in this game the goal is not only to become popular, but to become viewed as an authority in your niche. You want to get people talking about you, and what you have to say. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people open their posts with, “I was just reading an article by Darren on ProBlogger”. I’m starting to wonder if the guy could just write 10 words about chocolate – and people would actually believe that there was a blogging lesson in those 10 words that they learned by visiting ProBlogger that day.
That’s the power of becoming an authority within your niche.