Saturday, May 19, 2007

Blog Traffic Sucking? Do these 7 things right now...

by Paula Neal Mooney

"For your eyes only," wrote a mysterious foreign man who I've been communicating with thru email.

I scrolled down to take in the vulnerably naked pic he'd attached in the email...of his sucky blog stats.

Raise your blog stats
We've all been there. Posting and posting our hearts out, only to check our number of visitors and discover maybe 10 or 15 people have read our blog that day.

But take heart.

Do any of these seven things right now that you haven't already done, and I can almost guarantee you'll see those traffic bars spike:

1 - Make sure your post title comes before your blog name in the search engines.
Which one looks better?

This search-engine result with my blog's name, PAULA NEAL MOONEY, listed first and the full post title "George and Callie on Grey's Anatomy Getting..." cut off...

...or this listing about the "DC Madam List of Names and Phone Numbers...Everybody Wants You" with the full post title displayed first in all its blogging glory, so much so that the PAULA NEAL MOONEY cut off?
Which one would you click on?

Turns out ever since I switched and put my post titles first in the search-engine results, more pageviews have come my way for the old posts that got reversed. This is especially true if you have a blog name like mine, one that doesn't say "BLOG ABOUT MONEY ONLINE" or something descriptive.

Follow these instructions for Blogger/Blogspot blogs to make sure your post title comes first. (Some folks have had a problem with those instructions, but they worked on two of my blogs.) Wordpress has plug-ins to do this too, but I can't vouch for them personally, since I've yet to fully delve into WP.

2 - Post your real pic
Sure, I've adopted the avatar of a hot blonde for reasons of subterfuge in the past, but the pic in my blog's profile is real -- save for a few retouches...

And just look at the controversy that erupted in my comments section when I posted what I thought was Kumiko's real image on my blog.

I know one well-known blogger who uses a pretty woman as his avatar, and it got him a lot of traffic, but I always wonder how duped (or angry?) his male readers felt when they discovered that the hot woman they left drooling comments for was really a man.

People who stick around for the long haul need to know who you really are if you're serious about turning blogging into a career. Yes, I understand people who are just blogging to express themselves or blow off steam -- they don't want to get Dooced, and they have jobs to consider.

But name one famous anonymous blogger who has hit the big time.

It's difficult -- because though some anonymous bloggers have a large following -- there are the issues of personal appearances and speeches that can't be overcome without rigamarole.

Just this week I received a big blessing: an invitation to speak at the BlogHer 2007 Conference in Chicago on the gorgeous Navy Pier in July. I don't think that would've happened without a whole lotta God and a little real pic of me for the conference heads to see.

Now I'll be able to get my blog's name and face (me) before nearly 1,000 more people, who'll hopefully go out and tell 10,000 more people...and so on and so on...

The truth is, I just feel a closer connection to people once I see their real pic. It gives me a jumping off point, a touchstone, a point of relation.

Those who choose -- for valid reasons -- to not put a face with a name (or neither) to keep the blogosphere at arm's length for protection must realize they will get just that -- distance.

3 - Use your real name
This goes hand-in-hand with posting your real picture. If your blog is named something like "Men Walking as Trees," it's essentially important to put your real pic and name somewhere at the top of each post so readers know whose blog it is.

Associating a face and a name with a particular blog brands you -- and that coupled with winning content keeps them coming back.

4 - Write cryptic headlines
My headlines can look a little crazy some days, but I do what I must to get the search-engine traffic.

For example, instead of wasting the first 3 or 4 keywords of this post title by writing, "Would You Like to Increase Your Blog Traffic?" I got straight to a couple of key keywords, "Blog Traffic."

I don't always do this, but the closer you can get your key search-terms that folks find you with in the 1st and 2nd positions of your post title, the better.

Check Overture Keyword Tool and Google Adwords Keywords Suggestions to come up with excellent keyword suggestions and title your posts with the most commonly typed in search terms that have the least search result pages already published, and you'll get some traffic.

(And after every blog post, make sure to Google Blog Ping, submit to Google and Yahoo, Ping Feedburner and Pingoat ping each of your posts that you want to get attention, and Digg or StumbleUpon them too.)

5 - Include the words "sex tape" anywhere on your page
Okay, I'm kinda kidding with this one, but not really. You'd be amazed if I published the search terms some people type in to find my blog. Why do you think I put the word "sucking" in this blog post title?

A combination of really kinky phrases sometimes leads them here. And while some of them surely click away when they discover mine is not a porn site, I'm sure some stick around.

Just think, you're helping lure people away from PornTube!

6 - Tag your pics like crazy
Click on any image I've attached to this post to see all the long and crazy things I name my images.

I don't know if they all get indexed, but I was surprised when checking my stats to see how many people come to my blog after finding one of my images listed in search engines like Google.

7 - Live your life and take your time
Go take your kids to see Shrek 3. Or walk a park trail.

Fill up on some experiences and quiet down to ask God what you should post about next before you hit that publish button.

I had to learn to step away from the computer and to stop using it to fill the holes in my life.

Stop rushing and posting so much. I used to think that if one post brought me 1,000 pageviews, then 10 posts would surely bring me 10,000, right?

Wrong. Writing is about more than simple logic or mathematics. I had to learn to slow down and take my time and create posts that actually mean something to people so they'll pass it around and visit it time and time again.

Funny that I write this whilst I'm rushing to make a conference call, and writing this in the Edit HTML tab of Blogger cause that new Hindi script is popping up all over the place where I don't want it to in the "Compose" mode, but I'm going to slow down and make sure this puppy is right.

And valuable.

So people will come back...

33 comments:

BloggingWriter said...

Great article, Paula. I agree with all of those tips. Thanks for pointing out that it's possible to change the order of post titles on Blogger. I've done it on my WP blogs, but have yet to do it here.

John said...

Thank you for the tips Paula. I have now used the post title order switching, hope this helps with search engine rankings and SEO.

Of course, the more posts you have, the more "entry points" you create via search engines, so quantity can be helpful too, right?

Martin Lindsey. said...

Right on Paula! Let's hear it for adding "public speaker" to the list of accolades. Congratulations. I'm proud of ya and proud to know ya.

Thanks for the pinging tips and the titling tips. I'm printing out the entire post and taping it to the other side of my monitor so I remember to these things daily.

Time to get unhinged and break into the top 100 thousand.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Great post!!!

On your Basic tab of the Settings page, do you have the transliteration tab (near the bottom) set to no? (To get rid of the Hindi!)

Villager said...

Paula - Hmmmm...'use your real picture and name instead of avatar & alias' ... I resemble that remark (smile). I haven't swung over fully to the blogging is a part-time career side of things yet. I started blogging in Jan 2007. However, you are not the first to tell me that I'll need to give my rhino avatar a rest sooner rather than later (sigh).

Great post. Thanx for sharing.

peace, Villager ... uhhh... Wayne!

zaki said...

Wow,,,,really brilliant stuff there....Must follow it...step by step...thanks for sharing

I'm sorry paula, I'm going to use my native language in my blog once in a while....It's faster for me to post in that way.....time is not on my side

maurizio said...

(blush)
:-)
Now I know there is a purpose even for me.. :-)

ps: I don't get why you don't remove immediately Kumiko's photo..

SweetGyrl & StreetBoyz2biznizmen said...

Hi Paula, I am still waiting to learn from you, its so wonderful, but I am going deeper and deeper into the dumb zone.

and CONGRATULATIONS PAULA ON SPEAKING PUBLICLY THAT IS WONDERFUL! I REMEMBER PUTTING YOU ON MY BLOG AND SAYING WATCH THE NAME PAULA NEAL MOONEY.

Paula Neal Mooney said...

BloggingWriter -
Yes, I just realized not too long ago that you can switch the order.

Which WP plugin did you use to switch the blog title/post title order? I want to point my WP readers to a good one...Thanks.

And I hope the person who asked me how to do it read this post, because I searched all over for the blogger and haven't found them yet.

At first I thought I'd used a different Blogger code to switch the post title/blog name order in the SERPs, but I realized I used the one above and it worked fine.

John
Yes, more good posts will give us more entry points, and quantity can be helpful.

I should've mentioned that I do have an extra blog that I post here and there stuff that's strictly for the search-engine audience that I don't want to SPAM my email readers with.

But on my main blog, I've found that the pieces that have given me ten of thousands of pageviews are the ones I spent a little time writing.

Hey Martin!
Good to speak with you yesterday. Was that your son in the background?

And speaking of speaking, wow! I'm pretty glad about the "public speaker" title.

Feedburner does ping blogs automatically every 30 minutes, but Type-A person that I can be, sometimes I'll ping it right away a bunch of times and make sure it updates.

And, there is a way to ping these automatically with APIs and stuff, but I've yet to figure this out.

Help, Blogspot bloggers! How do you all automatically ping places like Technorati, Feedburner and other places for each post so you don't have to manually do it? Thanks again...

Hi Bonnie
I'm gonna check my settings now.

That Hindi just started popping up yesterday and it was getting on my nerves. Especially since I don't know Hindi yet!

Villager
Yeah, Wayne, seriously -- I know this is my pet peeve -- but remember how long it took me to remember your real name?

With so many things to remember, it's just one more thing for readers to remember over the web -- that Puttin' on the Ritz site (e.g.) is Talia's site. See what I mean?

But it's up to you. It all depends on your purposes. Some bloggers do not want to be found, let alone go speak in public nor make some kind of career out of it.

So I totally understand this...

Zaki
No prob, Zaki. Hope things are going better at the chemical plants and on the roads...

I was just being nosey. What did you call it? Malay? I just wanted to find a Malay to English translator tool.

Maurizio
Thank you thank you and you know why.

Yes, all the fake avatars will probably fall off my next bloggers salaries list.

Trouble is, I don't always know which ones are fake! Usually it's the ones that look too perfect.

Peace all,
Paula

Paula Neal Mooney said...

GOD BLESS YOU BONNIE CALHOUN!

THAT WAS IT. YESTERDAY I SWITCHED THAT TRANSLITERATION TAB SETTING TO YES FOR SOME INSANE REASON.

NOW IT'S OFF!

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

zawadi said...

Paula wants us to get all personal putting up my name ??? oh geez Paula lol... I did like this post and will have to get back to blogging...
Thanks for the tips :)

Connie said...

Paula, your blog is positively addicting! You give great information in an interseting way. You make me want to become a better blogger because you are doing it so well. Keep it up, girl.

Lisa said...

Great tips! Thanks. Just think how many blog post titles will have the word "suck" in them this week thanks to you. ;)

Dee said...

Great tips Paula.. I specially like tip #7. I don't have any kids to take to shrek but I know one big kid who'd love to see it (and that's me). But really, I've been spending so much time on my computer whether I'm blogging, reading blogs or doing homework I realized there's so much I'm missing out on so I'm working on creating a much needed balance.

Benjamin Jones- Entrepreneur Guide said...

Another great post Paula. That search engine title tip was golden. Keep 'em coming!

maurizio said...

About the title order:
I don't think you need a plugin.
on my sexy-sucking-top10-britneyspearks-blog
(sorry, I'm trying to follow your advices :-) )
I didn't change a word to have Title before the Blog Name. I think you should change a few line on the code.
...let me see...
yes. it's just a line inside the page called Header (Presentation/Edit Themes/Header). inside the <title> there are two pieces of php code. It's easy to understand the meaning and switch them.

maurizio said...

I'm so dumb that I wrote britey spearks.
lol

Nick Grimshaw said...

>But name one famous anonymous blogger who has hit the big time.

Belle De Jour. :O)

Jayce Ooi said...

Thanks for the tips. It helps a lot. :)

Paula Neal Mooney said...

Hey Kimberly Sweetgirl
You are by far not in the dumb zone -- you are a smart a sweet lady. I can tell from our communications.

Zawadi
Yep, go dig out that pic! And I thought Zawadi was your real name...hm...

Seriously, though, I know why peopl e do like to stay in the shadows. I understand this.

Connie
That's a great compliment. Addictive like chocolate, I hope.

Lisa
Uh oh, I hope I haven't created a monster...

Dee
I did see Shrek 3 this weekend. It was cute. I loved the songs.

"Cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon..." delivered by Eddie Murphy as Donkey.

You're right, balance is key. Zoning out in front of Desperate Housewives helps me. Did Nicolette Sheridan as Edie really kill herself last night? Anyone? Anyone?

This will be the biggest summer cliffhanger since, "Who shot J.R.?"

Hey Ben
Muchos gracias.

Maurizio
Thanks for your link (uh oh, looking at that link name -- what have I done with this advice?) about how to change the blog name/post title on WordPress.

I know you know a lot more about it all than me!

All your help about hiding a toolbar in Firefox and explanations about what the heck PHP even is are a blessing to me. Thank you!

Yeah, Nick
Belle De Jour, touche.

And I also thought about that Washingtonette and all those other scandalous anonymous peeps.

I guess some stuff must remain anonymous to protect people, but those accounts leave me feeling emptier when I don't know who really wrote it.

Jayce
You're very welcome! Come back anytime, ya hear?

maurizio said...

Thanks for the nofollow links dear :-)

(I'm joking..you know that I care more about people than search engines)

Francis Simisim said...

Thanks Paula, great to follow a blogger guru's footsteps

Theo J. said...

Great post and thanks for the tips. I've been doing some of those things since I've started blogging, so it's good to get confirmation that I'm on the right track.

Congrats on the speaking engagement. Let us know how it goes and if they do a webcast of it.

Chris said...

Very good advice Paula! I definitely need to work on my post titles more. I don't pay enough attention to them.
Have a great day!

Paula Neal Mooney said...

Anytime, Maurizio! "I will follow you..." remember that song?

Francis
Whoa, I'm a blogging guru! Well that makes me happy. It's amazing how far my Father has brought me in such a short time, when I didn't even know how to hotlink anything nor barely know how to insert an image in a post.

Hi Theo
That's good that you already practice this stuff.

I'll find out if the BlogHer conference has a webcast. I didn't even think of that.

Now I seriously better tighten up my microbraids!

Chris
Yeah, some days I let titles fly out the window and go with my creative Spirit.

Other days I'm all over Overture Keyword Tool, Google Suggests Labs and now Google Hot Trends Web Site to figure out the best headline to bring in the Googlers.

Villager said...

Paula, how do you 'tag' your pictures on blogspot?

peace, Villager

Paula Neal Mooney said...

Hey Wayne the Villager-

Yes, once you insert an image in your blog post that you're still composing, click over to the "EDIT HTML" tag.

There's a space that around the jumble of Blogger photo code after "img style" and "src" code that says ALT ""

Type words appropriate to your blog post in between the double quotation marks, and make them look like real sentences.

For example, on this Google search of "Watch Grey's Anatomy Online Free", my other "Find the Answers" blog post is listed in 3rd place right now.

That "Watch Grey's Anatomy Online Free" bolded part is actually the ALT tags on the photo in that post, so people will see those tags so make sure they look readable and nice complete sentences -- not like string of words I used to type in there.

Those ALT tags are the only thing that got that post to indexed that high probably, 'cause I haven't yet figured out why the blog post title isn't showing up!

More on this ALT tag stuff tomorrow, when I write about getting more blog hits.

Let me know if you have more questions.

Also, one way that really helps me learn HTML and CSS and stuff is to right click anywhere on any website page and choose "View Source" and monkey around and learn how their code is set up.

It won't hurt anything if you do that, too.

But still, ask me all the question you all have -- this helps me too figure out when I'm speaking techno-geek speak!

Peace and blessings,
Paula

Donbizblogger said...

Paula, I'm going to follow your advice. My blog traffic does indeed "suck" but I'm not worried about that as I know I'm still in the first month, and getting a voice for my blog, etc.

Donbizblogger said...

Paula,
you can also add one more easy way to get readers - participate in popular forums by making relevant and helpful comments.

MorganLighter said...

Paula - You are, by far, one of the best authors of the many sites I have come upon. No lie. No agenda.
Several of the '7 things' smacked me right upside the head - and after the aspirin have taken affect, I'll be most conscious to implement those into my daily routine. Thanks and God bless you!
"I don't know where I'll be tomorrow"
Album; Infinity, released in 1978.

Paula Neal Mooney said...

Hey Don
How you doing?

Thanks, MorganLighter
You're a blessing!

Hope your head's okay.

"I don't know where I'll be tomorrow..."

Ah...ain't that the truth?

Maybe that's why Steve Perry's song (Journey, I know, but I love that lead man's voice!) stuck with me around the time in 2005 that I was thinking of a tag line.

At least the Wheel in the sky knows where I'll be tomorrow!

TML said...

Hi Paula, I am new to blogging and I found so much useful tips from your blog that that I can use for my new blog.. great work and thanks for all the useful information!

Mike W. said...

Thanks for all the great tips, Paula.

I guess I never really thought about tagging my pictures for some reason, but it makes a lot of sense.

Thanks for your help!

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