Top 10 Strategies to Boost your Blog Traffic By Miyara For a small business, a weblog or blog is a perfect low-cost expert positioning tool. Blogs are a practical way to build brand awareness and establish an individual's expertise in a particular area. There is absolutely no use at all if no one knows your blog. You need to get the traffic in to benefit a lot! In this article you will get effective strategies of the common ways bloggers and webmasters drive more traffic into their site and here it goes: 1. Selecting the Exact Blog Software Choosing the exact Content Management System or CMS should be easy for the bloggers to use, and brings together the features that allow the blog to grow and develop. Start off by asking yourself some questions and make a list of all of the features and tools you need as well as your budget. If you want to set yourself apart, a custom blog solution is a great deal. The one that can be completely customized to your users. However, WordPress (http://wordpress.com/), Blogger (http://www.blogger.com/start), MovableType (http://www.movabletype.com/), Typepad (http://www.typepad.com/), GeekLog (geeklog.org) or TextPattern (http://textpattern.com/) will do, but creating from the beginning needs you to be very creative with functionality and formatting. Think about the following in order to help down your choices: Comments. Make sure that whatever blog software you choose, it should provide a space for comments from visitors. Comments can guide you to become successful on your blogs because you can read other’s feedbacks to your work. Archiving. This allows you to keep and save all of your past blogs by the date they were published. Categorization. You want to keep your blogs organized, neat and user friendly. Trackback. If you are discussing your blog on another blog, or simply adding information to another blog, trackback will allow you to update this information. This is a little confusing, but trackback allows you to talk on your blog about information on another blog and ping the writer of the other blog to let them know what is going on. Pingback. Pingback is similar to trackback, but it just sends a URL to the other blog to let them know you are talking about their blog on your blog. Ping Updates. These allow you to update your blog, just make sure the blog software you want provides automatic ping updates. Web-based. The main reason of a blog is you can post information instantly on-line, so choose a blog software that is similar to a word processor and web based without a doubt. You can also check OpenSourceCMS (http://www.opensourcecms.com/), it is a very good tool to help you select a software if you go that route. 2. Hosting Your Blog on Your Main Website You probably already have a blog on your own company website like company.com. So let the blog be company.com/blog. The more people that reads your blog and starts linking to it, the better search engine placements you will get. The benefit lies not only for your blog, but also for your main website. A blog on your domain can attract links, attention, publicity, trust and search rankings. However, if you are still on a free blog or you are keeping the blog on a separate domain, get rid of it! Even if it is a paid TypePad account, you still have a shared domain name like yourname.typepad.com. It will soon be equivalent to an @aol.com email address or a Geocities website; the mark of a inexperienced beginner who should not be taken too seriously. It is time for you to become independent and get your own domain and hosting. 3. Having Effective Title Tags You should have title tags that catches the attention of the readers. It could be short but snappy, on-topic and inviting to people who visit your site or have a subscription to your feed. But you should also think about search engines when you title your posts, since the engines can help to drive traffic to your blog. A great tip to do this is to write the post and the title first, then run a few searches at Overture (http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/), WordTracker (http://www.wordtracker.com/) and KeywordDiscovery (http://www.keyworddiscovery.com/) to see if there are phrasing or ordering that can better help you to target "searched for" terms. 4. Using Keywords and Tagging Your Content Use keywords in your posts. Blogs can help customers find your business when they are searching on Google, Yahoo or other search engines. Therefore, it is important to know what words customers most often use to find you via search engines, and what words show up in competitor or industry blogs on a regular basis that help place them high in Google's index. Far fewer targeted readers will find your blog if you do not use keywords. Tagging your content can also be an important help to give you a break towards getting traffic from big sites like Reddit (http://reddit.com/), Digg (http://digg.com/) and StumbleUpon (http://www.stumbleupon.com/). Take note that the said sites require you to download the toolbar, but it’s worth it. Technorati (http://www.technorati.com/) is the first place that you should be tagging posts, having the tags right on your page and pointing to the Technorati searches that you are targeting. It is one of the best traffic providers for bloggers. It makes your blog much easier to find when people search by Technorati tags. Technorati is also a large blog ranking engine. Based on the number of links to your blog from various websites, your blog is given a rank. In addition, be sure to ping blog search services like Del.icio.us (http://del.icio.us/), Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/) and Blogmarks (http://www.blogmarks.net/). You can do this for free and it makes a big difference in how often search engine spiders visit your blog. 5. Blog Usability Your blog has to have some good style. Remember that most web users are instantly turned off by tacky site designs like having extreme neon colors. Who do you think will stay at a website too long if the layout or navigation annoys them? The purpose is to have a unique blog, different than all the other weblogs on the net and making it easy for your readers to contact you. An about page is also a great feature to have on a personal site or blog. The more a reader knows about you, the more they trust your content. The beauty of blogs is that they are only designed for skimming and quick tidbits. Visitors do not want to spend hours on your blog reading the entries. You should also break up the text with “appropriate” pictures and links. Blogs that contain nothing but line after line of text are more difficult to read and less consistently interesting than those that offer images, interactive elements, the occasional multimedia content and some clever charts & graphs. Even if you are having a tough time with non-text content, think about how you can format the text using blockquotes, indentation, bullet points, etc. to create a more visually appealing and digestible block of content. 6. Good Content There are different kinds of good topics to go with your blog. You can have an interesting topic that others will want to read about. Add your own twist with your opinion or comparing/contrasting from other people. You can also post articles containing useful information which will help visitors keep coming back and attract new ones. You can also specialize in a niche subject as long as you have an idea of how many people might be interested in that subject. If you do well with your niche subject matter, well you could get some crazy traffic for being the only decent blog online with that type of content. Your blog’s usability goes hand in hand with its content. The one thing to kill your traffic is having identical content to another several hundred blogs. Create a unique content. Copying content cheapens you and your blog, and reduces SEO effectiveness. Do not do it! 7. Include Viral Marketing on Your Blog Be creative. Brainstorm with your team. Providing free downloadable reports and ebooks via your blog will keep visitors coming back and attract new ones. You can also have ecalendars which users can make it as their desktop wallpapers with your URL. Having freebies, contests with prizes can greatly boost traffic. Even if your freebies and prizes are for a small thing, you will be amazed at how many people find out about it. You can establish a relationship with some of your readers, and they might link to your blog on theirs. Getting a lively conversation going on your blog and commenting on other blogs can also earn you a few hits if you put down your URL. 8. Submitting Your Blog Submitting to blog directories, network or blog ring will help your blog rank higher in search engines, improve link popularity, and boost your traffic. It is an excellent way to get more readers. You may use BlogTopSites.com (http://www.blogtopsites.com/) and MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/) (you need to register first). You can also post a link on del.icio.us or Digg, if you think your blog can benefit the readers. If your page gets on the frontpage of Digg or on del.icio.us popular, you are set for such huge traffic. Many tech websites have an email address for tips. If you think your content is worthy, I would try sending them an email with your article. You never know, they might post it. Even if they do not have a tips line, a polite email to the editor-in-chief or webmaster could do the trick. As a blogger, you really should not have any trouble talking to strangers because you practically preach to them everyday. 9. Go RSS Feed If you want your readers to keep on coming back, provide an RSS feed. Many blog users will immediately scan the page for an RSS feed if they like your content. Most blogs, such as WordPress, already have RSS feeds integrated for entries and comments. Using the default feeds may suffice, but you won’t have any idea about how many people you will be catering to. The FeedBurner (http://www.feedburner.com/fb/a/home) service will take your feed and reproduce it on their fast servers while tracking reader statistics. 10. Know Why You Are Blogging – Build a Brand! One goal is to know why you are blogging. You need to determine how the weblog will serve your organization, its primary purpose to build brand awareness, to establish yourself as an expert in a field to better highlight your company's expertise, and everything else. Knowing what you are setting out to do with your blog, will help define what you will write and post about and keep you focused on your primary effort. Be careful to stick to your brand - once you have a definition that people like and are comfortable with, it is very hard to break that mold without severe repercussions. It is highly recommend writing down the goals of your brand and the attributes of its identity to help remind you as you write. Blogging can easily be accomplished if you know how to create, manage, and market your blog. However do not expect your blog to be an instant hit. Traffic to it and building the above mention strategies will take a while to develop. Whether its three months or a year, you need to be committed for the long haul. It will take at least several months before the major search engines and other bloggers and websites find you. Goodluck!