31 Jul 2013

6 Ways to Increase Traffic To Your Blog

Which blogger doesn't want more traffic directed to his blog? A rookie blogger can get about 20-30 hits daily while a pro blogger can get anywhere between 600 – 6000. We promote our blog posts on Facebook and Twitter, submit our posts on Bloggers, Digg & more and comment on others’ blog posts –all in attempts to direct traffic to our sites. While these methods are 100% correct, there are other sites which we can leverage to increase traffic on ours. Some of those suggestions (tried and tested by me) are listed below:

  1. Pinterest: Most of Pinterest’s visitors are women. Most pins are about cats, fashion, jewelry, cars and recipes. But that doesn't mean Pinterest can’t drive traffic to your website. Create a board containing pictures of the ones in your posts, and provide links to the specific articles. If your blog has a theme, even better. Create a board according to the theme and post pictures from your articles with links. This will ensure it doesn't appear as blatant advertising of your blog while you reap the benefits of at least a 20 – 30% traffic spike.
  2. SlideShare: Yes! SlideShare. The site which lets you upload PowerPoint presentations. Make PPTs of your posts and upload them. Remember to add links (clickable) to your articles in the last slide. This offers two benefits –readers will be enticed to read your articles if your presentations are interesting, thus increasing traffic. And you will improve your presentation skills. But make sure you prepare presentations out of your post and not publish the whole article in slides. No one will read your blog then.
    Get the Traffic You Deserve
  3. StumbleUpon: Most of you must already be submitting your links on this site. But those don’t, please start immediately. StumbleUpon is a discovery engine that finds and recommends web content to its users. Your posts will show up in categories which you have classified the articles under. This means your content will be made available to a vast number of relevant and interested readers. This will not only increase traffic on your site but also reach out to relevant readers.
  4. Blogadda: There are numerous websites which allow you to submit your posts. But not many of them can lure readers to click on your links as Blogadda can. Through its Tangy Tuesday and Spicy Saturday picks, this site shares the choicest of submissions with its readers. And people read those posts – intently. So if your post is good enough to have been picked by them, rest assured, traffic and comments on your posts will shoot up. I've witnessed about 100% increase in visits on posts which featured in Tangy Tuesday on Blogadda.
  5. WriteUp Cafe (WUC): This site is relatively lesser known as compared to the internet giants. But it is a great platform to share your links and connect with equally enthusiastic bloggers. Present partial write ups of your posts and provide links to your blog for the remaining article. Thus, readers who find your write up interesting will visit your blog to read the rest (and comment on it). Also, WUC tweets the links which have been submitted on it to its 600 odd (and growing) followers, increasing your article’s visibility.
  6. Google+: A lot of us have forgotten about Google+. Or we’re disillusioned – we were told it’s going to be the best social networking site ever, right? Wrong! Google+ as a social network was a Trojan Horse to introduce the ‘+1’ button and that matters a lot! Every time your article is +1-ed, Google’s advertising search engine is fed, allowing them to match more targeted ads. Plus, it tremendously improves your rankings. Won’t Google want to promote its platform more? So every time you get a +1, or your circle expands, your search results on Google+ improve. After all, that’s what everyone is gunning for, right?
  7. Bonus tip: Use the e-mail feature on the Blogger and Wordpress platforms smartly to reach out to a wider audience. I’m not talking about those who have subscribed to your blog by e-mail. You definitely have a list of 300+ e-mail contacts, right? Using the e-mail feature, you can let these contacts know that you've posted a new article. A 10% conversion means a minimum of 30 hits to your site. And that’s a lot of traffic (unless you average 600+ hits per day).

Notice that nothing has been spoken about SEO per say here. That’s because Google has started rewarding quality content with Panda & Penguin – its latest algorithms. Remember, you can use tricks to increase traffic on your website, but the best traffic is the one that keeps returning. Steady traffic can only be achieved once you've got enough readers visiting your blog repeatedly, wanting to read what you have to share. So before you indulge in SEO tricks, meta tags and keyword research, focus on improving your content. Everything else will gradually fall into place.

These were my suggestions. Why don’t you share your tips to increase traffic? They will help a lot of readers (including me).

image Courtesy: Google Images

19 Jul 2013

We Have Been Taught...

We have been taught to study hard to get a good job. We have been taught that the only way of life is to get a good job, work hard, earn money, settle down, have kids and keep earning money for them. You have all the time to smell the roses when you’re dead, right? We have been taught never to question our teachers and superiors. We have been taught to fall in line and diligently complete all tasks our bosses give us in the ways they want. We have been taught that the best way to get off work-related frustration is to spend on expensive gadgets and clothes. They make us feel good. We have been taught (though indirectly) that the Big Boss, Balika Vadhu, and Roadies are the best things on TV now. We have been taught that it’s a dog-eat-dog world; that we must trample on others to move forward. We have been taught that sycophancy can (and will) take us places. We have been taught that it’s a sin to think different, and those who do, will not fit in this world. We have been taught to lay low and not raise a voice against oppression, or we will be crushed (despite us being larger in number than oppressors).

Think Different... here's why...

What we haven’t been taught is the truth… the truth that there are other ways to lead life like wanting less. What we must learn through ourselves is that almost everything we have been taught is a lie. Companies employ toppers from universities not because toppers are smarter, but because they have toed in line with teachers. They never challenged the status quo and will continue following norms in the corporate also. Resistance eliminated. We think expensive gizmos, clothes and eat-outs are respites from mundane, unfulfilling jobs. Do we have time to enjoy what we own? Or can we eat a meal in peace without being harrowed by calls and e-mails from office? This spending is not a respite from crappy jobs; it’s a method to ensure we stay stuck in them. So that companies can make us work the way they want. They create this insecurity in us about being unable to sustain the existing lifestyle if we don’t fit in. And we work against our will. We end up like cars on a manufacturing line; each one is the same as the other. Back in the days, 8-10 pm was always NEWS time for our parents, something that made them aware of happenings around them. Today, we’re hooked onto reality shows and soap operas, which keep us from becoming aware of what politicians and crooks are really up to. We’re more interested about what happened in Pavitra Rishta than inflation rates.

Are you really passionate about something? Are you willing to take a risk for it? If you won’t question the way things function, how will you make a difference? People won’t approve if you try something different, but the only approval you need is your own. If you want to do something different, know that you’ll stand alone, but you’ll stand apart. You can’t keep doing what everyone does and expect different results. So make a conscious choice to control your own life, to call your own shots. Start doing something today so that you don’t have to put up with bullshit tomorrow. Live your life like your actions will be published on the left hand side of the front page of leading newspapers. For all you know, someday they will.

image courtesy: Google Images

6 Jul 2013

The Flipside of Blogging...

Why do we blog? To make our voices heard, to connect with people and of course, for the feeling of satisfaction when others read what we write. The final write up makes us feel proud of our work; we love publishing our articles and publicizing them on Facebook and Twitter. And someday, someday we will have 20-30 genuine comments on our articles (this is strictly for men. Many women bloggers end up with 50-60 comments on their blogs).

The flipside is the pressure – the pressure of writing articles which people enjoy reading... constantly coming up with new topics. See I’m no poet or story teller. I don’t often write on conventional topics. I relate incidents that catch our eye to daily life. Sometimes this leads to a problem that I’m currently facing – Writer’s Block! I’m sure most bloggers face it. It’s that phase when a writer can’t think of what to write; he feels like he’s staring at a brick wall. No inspiration, no ideas, nothing. Yet, the pressure to keep writing so that his blog doesn’t stagnate.

But that’s ok I guess. It’s all part of the package. You can’t always write good articles. Some will be average, others crappy. So I keep writing, like we keep moving in life even if we have bad days.

I keep reading articles and books. The brain isn’t pressurized to come up with inspiration. Ideas are allowed to crop up anytime – in sleep, while driving, cooking or reading. The important thing is that one keeps writing. Too often we’re guilty of wanting to do something so well that we skip deadlines. The same happens in blogging. It’s not necessary that each article be a masterpiece. So keep writing. Traffic, visits, comments and followers will follow. Cheers!

Your turn now. What do you do when you suffer from Writer’s Block?
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