Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Rob and I work at Blogiversity. After some talk around the office we thought it might be beneficial to give our fellow Blogiversity members some tips on Build Your Blog -- or, as I like to call it "How I Learned to Send Server Exploding Traffic to My Blog" (Build Your Blog was chosen due to character limits).
Hi, my name is Will and I also work at Blogiversity, and we chose "Build your Blog" because I wouldn't let him call it "How I Learned to Send Server Exploding Traffic to My Blog." It sounds too dirty. Anyways in the up and coming posts we are going to discuss how to promote and drive traffic to your blog. The skills that you learn can help you win the upcoming contest held here at Blogiversity.
There you go, spilling the beans again. We're supposed to wait until the end of the post to entice people with a contest. Well, too late now. Yes, we're having another Blogiversity contest. You may remember the last contest where those nice people on the front page received two Toshiba laptops and an iPod Touch. Well this time we're giving away a brand new Flip Mino HD (applause!). If you haven't seen one of these things let's just say they are the bee's knees (or whatever the kids are saying now-a-days) of small, HD camcorders. That is to say, they rock.
Clap clap clap. Oh, sorry I was still excited about the Mino HD because they are awesome. I don't know when I was in high school people said "Off the Chain" a lot so I guess this next contest is going to be off the chain. In all seriousness it's going to be super easy and I think you can learn a lot about building traffic as well.
And that's where our new blog comes into play. Will and I have been able to get great blog posts (written by me) and even poor to mediocre posts (written mostly by him) tens of thousands of hits using the methods we're going to lay out in this series. Why, might you ask? Because the Blogiversity server sits in the room behind us and the thing is loud. L-O-U-D loud. It's like trying to work in front of a jet engine and we want to improve our employee environment. We can't active destroy the server by, say, throwing a sealed Diet Coke bottle full of Mentos in there. No, we have to be subtle. So we're going to show you how to blow up the server for us by driving mass amounts of traffic to your blog.
Woah, woah wait a minute, I write the mediocre content -- I don't think so. Just because I spell words differently and don't really use punctuation doesn't mean that I don't write good content. Huh? I see your point, moving on to more important things: I think that first subject we talk about should be about how to setup your blog to be attractive and make people want to read your content. What do you think?
Always best to start at the beginning. After creating your blog on Blogiversity, you can choose to change your blog's theme through the control panel. Try to pick a theme that supports your blog's subject. Example: If your blog is about the weather in Fargo, North Dakota, it's probably not a good idea to get the Islander theme that has palm trees in the header. Don't just stop once you've completed the theme selection though. Each theme can further be customized through the ‘Theme Options' window. Pick your page size, font, text color, link color and background images. You can also design custom headers or even attach your own CSS sheet. Just make sure it's easy to read and won't cause migraines or sudden epileptic seizures.
Please do us all a favor and don't have music that plays automatically when you load a page. This drives me crazy and it will drive your readers crazy as well. Something else that you might want to consider is adding links to your best and most popular articles. This is a great way to show people who are visiting for the first time what kind of content they can expect from you. If you have links to some of your best stuff they are more likely to see it and more likely to return to your blog.
Heed Will's advice on the audio part. Nothing makes me close a window faster than being assaulted by a Papa Roach song. That said; don't be afraid to dress up your blog with pertinent pictures and video. You can easily add flavor and quality to your blog with a few multimedia objects. In fact, some of the most popular blogs are little else than one page full of embedded video or images in a certain subject. If you provide all the content you're talking about in one place, then your reader won't suddenly forget about you when they start watching the recommended YouTube videos after clicking the link you provided them. If you can embed it, embed it.
Rob brings up a good point. It can be a good idea to stick to one subject with your blogs. If you like coffee then you could make a coffee blog. The reason for this is so that people who like what you are posting can always find content on the same subject. If you post all random content it's hard to get repeat views. This doesn't mean that you can't start a blog about random things, I'm just saying if you attack some kind of niche you will get better traffic and have a better blog.
Exactly. There are ∞+1 bloggers out there that write in "stream of consciousness." They write about their day, the new type of lip gloss they discovered (in Will's case), and a billion other things that NO ONE READS. Unless you are Felicia Day or Wil Wheaton you won't have a successful blog by doing this. Pick a subject matter or topic and stick to it. Develop an audience and expand from there. Otherwise you're better off typing up your memoirs, sticking them in a bottle and finding a nice piece of coast with an out tide. Anything else to add Will?
Nope. That about sums it all up and very well put I might add. I liked the part about sticking your memoirs in a bottle and floating them out to see -- great imagery there, man.
Thanks. Tune in next time when we discuss how to properly title and tag your blog posts for maximum search engine results (and maybe Will will even reveal his mystery lip gloss flavor - I'm betting Paprika Gloss). As always, we encourage any questions. Just post them in the comments section of the blog and we'll get right on them.
Yeah and no question is a dumb question. We are not here to make fun of people who ask questions. We are here to help so bring on the conversation!