I began Nykola.com in January of 2004 with a paltry 12 visitors a day. Thirteen of those 12 visitors were me. Every now and then someone would stop in because they did a Google search for "black girl," or "Seattle buses," but for about 1 month, I was my number one fan. To be honest, I never really cared who stopped by. The act of blogging was cathartic. Eventually, things changed, and when I had 30 hits a day, I thought I was the stuff. Remember...success is relative. Stop comparing yourself to other people.
My site traffic has steadily grown over the year and continues to grow as I remain consistent in what I know I'm here to do. I can only appreciate the couple thousand people that visit my site every day because at one point, no one did. And yet, my blog is still comparitively small.
Increasing your traffic is important, but *how* you go about the increase is what separates the rockstars from the obsequious brownnosers. Your traffic might not skyrocket overnight. Hits earned quickly are hits lost quickly. Don't lose your dignity in the quest to gain more hits.
And now I will offer my simple advice on how to get more hits. Take notes. This will be worth something someday:
Do Not Check Your Web Statistics Every Day:
If "it's not about hits," then for love's sake, stop checking your referrals every hour on the hour. I repeat: get a life. It's great to see who's linked to your site, but when it becomes obsessive, your motives are in the wrong place. The more you check your statistics, the more likely you are to be guided by what you see in those statistics. If you're out to be more than just an ordinary blogger, you won't be guided by the masses.
You might notice for example, that your traffic spiked when you wrote about Michael Jackson. This isn't a license for you to do a 18-part series on the life and times of Michael Jackson. That's how network television operates--by formulas. That's not how you blog like a rockstar. Quality should be your obsession. Don't give the people what they want; give the people what they need.
I probably check my site statistics twice a month (if that) and guess what? Bloglife still goes on. This might not be for everyone but I highly suggest going on sabbaticals from checking web statistics. You'll be better because of it.
Avoid "Get Hits Quick" Schemes:
Avoid them like the plague. It seems every day people discover new gimmicks to drive site traffic. Some gimmicks are good, but most are bad. Last year, I watched as many bloggers provided links to graphic photos of some of the American beheadings in Iraq. As millions of people performed searches for "Paul Johnson beheading," hits on those particular websites skyrocked for a day or two. I don't care what anyone says, most bloggers that linked to such a crude act were overtly seeking web traffic. Do yourself a favor, don't stoop this low. It's tacky.
Write like everybody's reading:
Since day one, I've fooled myself into believing that my website is the best on the planet. I write like I have an audience of millions. When the hits don't line up with my delusion, I don't care. I just keep writing.
GENUINELY Comment on other blogs:
When I had more time on my hands, I visited a lot of weblogs. As I was led, I started commenting on other blogs. I didn't drop little phony comments like, "Hi, I like your website. Please check out mine!" I didn't email the owner and ask for a link exchange. I didn't leave off-topic comments linking to my own site. NO. I genuinely READ the post and responded thoughtfully and at length. You'd be amazed at how many people will come to your site because they read something intelligent you wrote elsewhere online.
Join an Alliance or Two:
Joining an alliance or placing your blog in an online directory is a great way to draw people to your site when it's new. Just make sure you pick groups to which you have something to offer.
About 3 months into blogging, I listed my site at "Blogs4God" and joined the "Blogs by Black Women" webring. That's the closest I'll ever come to advertising my own site. Later on, after I already had a steady flow of visitors, I was invited to join The Conservative Brotherhood. Nowadays, I stay away from site listings and webrings. They usually require a link back to them and I liken too many sidebar links to bumper stickers--extreme tacky factor.
Stop trying to be the Super-Walmart of weblogs. You can't be the one stop shop, so quit trying to cover every issue on the planet. I'll talk more about this later on in the series, but one of the key things that will drive traffic to your site is when you have something that other blogs don't have. The broader your efforts, the less the appeal. There is truth in the saying, "Jack of all Trades/Master of None."
Draw Readers, Not Tourists:
The most important and valuable tip I can give on increasing your traffic is to BUILD A READERSHIP. Lots of tourists will stop by your site, look around, and never come back. In the grand scheme of things, they won't grow your traffic. They might come because you linked to an interesting story or because your site popped up on a search engine. That's nice, but it shouldn't be the focus.
Don't make yourself a tourist attraction. Instead, build a relationship with your readers. It's a surefire way to keep people coming back, and telling their friends to check out your site.
Next up in getting over the need for cyber affirmation: Debunking the myths of link-hype.
For more see:
- Tips #1-3: Don't Emulate the Success of Others, Get Some Motivation, and Decide Your Genre
- Tip #4: Set Standards
- Tip #5: Be Yourself