Growing Your Blog Traffic

This morning I read a post about how to get more traffic. It’s a good post, and like any blog post it’s a good beginning. Because blogs are short… they’re so short that blog isn’t even the word, they were Web Logs but bloggers can’t even be bothered to have seven letters and a space involved.

I digress. Everyone wants to know how to get more traffic to their site.

I don’t know with great authority, no one does. I know that if you try to do what someone else is doing it won’t work.

I can’t be like Ciaran because only one person can be Momfluential. I can’t be like Debbie because if I said Throat Punch it would be weird. I don’t disagree with Helen Jane, but she’s a vague about how to create that train wreck.

I might have hyperlinked back to those women because they have significant audiences and my hope is that my link baiting them they’ll share this post with their audiences.

I can help you avoid pitfalls that I’ve personally experienced.

Giveaways are incredibly time consuming and will not bring you a community or readers. You’ll get passers by who are unlikely to read you again.

Images are a great way for people to find you and should be well named. I do not use images because I’m slow to learn.

Do not automate twitter to share every post. The only person who can break this rule is Guy Kawasaki. I don’t know why Guy can overshare and no one else can, I just know that’s how it works.

Don’t join a StumbleUpon group. Those kids at StumbleUpon are smarter than any blogger, their algorithm will start ignoring you and StumbleUpon traffic is so delightful you wouldn’t want to lose that.

Don’t reprint a press release. It doesn’t count as quality content and I’m not visiting your site to get the same content that 2,000 other bloggers are publishing.

The things that you can do to get readers:

Tell people you’re a blogger. Add a signature to your emails.

Generously share other people’s content on your social channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. Share different stuff on each channel.

Say something outrageous, memorable or poignant. Make your audience love your community.

Write every day, or as close as you can.

Respect your audience and don’t bullshit them about loving a product that no one in their right mind could love.

Above all else every blogger should know that they’re incredibly privileged that anyone wants to read anything they’ve written. Assume your audience is smarter than you are and never pander to them or to advertisers. People want, and deserve, honest writing that you can’t get from a glossy sell out space.

Don’t be an asshole. People will read.

Facebook Comments

  • Helen Jane Hearn

    Love it! Yours is a much more useful post. 

    Train wrecks come in all shapes and sizes. But one thing’s in common, it’s someone’s misfortune and you can’t look away. I don’t recommend it as a traffic-generating technique. For real.

    And linkbaiting works too. Grin. As does voracious and meaningful commenting. 

  • Chara

    Your final line sums up pretty much everything.  People will read, people will support your PTA fundraiser, people will give you pumpkin spiced lattes.  Though that last one is hearsay.

  • Ali

    Thanks, Jessica!  This is great information.  As a relatively new blogger, I am always interested in learning how to grow my traffic.  This is a new take on what I usually read (comment on other people’s blogs, guest post, etc.)…  Thanks for the info.

  • Dave Cole

    Thanks for the concise post here… Only question – on giveaways – is there some value in building a promotion / marketing list to connect with via email or social media channels? 

    • JessicaGottlieb

      There might be, but I’m not sure that a giveaway will create a list of people to connect with. People who enter giveaways aren’t interested in connections, they just want to win something.

  • Marianna Nichols

    Yes, love your list! Especially the asshole part – so true.

    • Marianna

      Crap I had more to say but hit post before I finished. Its easy to get suckered into hosting tons of giveaways but you are right, given the amount of work that goes into them you get very little in return as far as traffic goes. I am much  more selective about reviews/giveaways than I was 2 years ago. This year I have really been focusing on my content and writing more personal from the hart stuff and I have seen big growth. I of course also get decent traffic from StumbleUpon and what not, which is nice. My traffic isn’t stellar, but its growing and I am happy.

  • Dawn Calgaro

    I’m trying to grow my traffic so I am glad that I read this. Thanks for the great tips!

  • Sara

    Wouldn’t it be great if there were a magic way to suddenly get thousands of views a day!!

  • Robin @ Farewell, Stranger

    So interesting that people have such different points of view. I’m not sure I agree about the StumbleUpon groups – I’ve seen it work. And I don’t do many giveaways but I actually don’t find them time consuming. Am I doing it wrong? I just use Rafflecopter – easy peasy. In fact, I think I’ve only ever done 2 or 3, and the majority of those who entered were my regulars. 

    I do agree with Helen Jane that your content matters, but I don’t think you can manufacture a trainwreck. Honestly, I think the biggest secret is good writing, plain and simple. 

    I totally agree with your last few points, though. Respect your audience, write to them like human beings, and be yourself (which hopefully is not an asshole).

  • Michelle

    Don’t forget to add write how to posts on growing blog traffic.  Or was that supposed to remain implied?

    There are some blogs who will have phenomenal success and most who, let’s face it, won’t.  I think those who are chasing a magic formula are usually neglecting the content.

  • Ellen Christian

    Love your insight!

  • Kelly

    I love how direct you are with all of your posts.  You don’t mince words and I think people respect and enjoy reading your writing because of it.

  • Kathleen

    Great points and I definitely agree with not joining the stumble upon group. My stats went down when I was doing that. 

  • Dee

    I totally agree with not trying to imitate someone else.  When I started my first blog I had people reading and commenting.  Then I started reading other blogs and trying to imitate their writing.  My readers and commenters left.  It took a while to realize my readers liked my style and how I told a story. 

  • Debra Askanase

    Such great points. I think a big mistake people make is not putting a stake down in one or two very refined content areas. I tend to agree that content, and long-tail content is really important, but if one is blogging without direction, point of view, and a content category, it’s no better than tweeting into the air.

  • Amomsimpression

    You have some great points.  I had a lot of stumble traffic a few months ago and now I look at my stats and get depressed.  That traffic doesn’t last. 

  • The JackB

    The three most important things I know about blogging are:

    1) If you want to last you need to love blogging.
    2) Be generous. Give to others- support, information, time whatever- just give.
    3) Sustain your effort and good things will happen.

    • Rachel


  • 10TimesOne

    I’d like to hear more about your “don’t join a StumbleUpon group” comment. Seems I’ve lost the SU mojo and I’m not sure why. I haven’t joined any group. I do post 9 out of 10 posts to Twitter thru SU.PR though.

  • Jennifer PridemorenQuillen

    It’s funny, the things you say not to do are the things that gain me new readers, while when I was doing the things you say to do, I struggled for readers. I guess ‘different strokes for different folks.’

  • Jenny

    I agree with most of your points… especially about giveaways. The traffic is fleeting and not loyal.

  • Penelope

    Great post, and great new look…What made you want to change?

  • TruthfiulMommy

    I agree with you 1000%. Of course, I am notorious for my auto tweet when my blog posts.Which may earn myself a Throat Punch at least I NEVER auto DM or captcha. I’m still trying to figure out this stumble thing but with the guidance and wisdom of a few of you guru types, I am learning. I think the moral of the story is ,for me, be kind to bloggers , establish quality content on the regular, be authentic and they will come…hopefully:) Thanks for this post and for making me feel like a cool kid by linking to me.

  • Jane


  • Anne Parris

    Thank you for going beyond “write good stuff” and “have a clean, appealing design”. 

  • Arminda

    Thank you. 

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