Recently I’ve been getting emails and friends asking for advice on starting up their own design blog, how to get initial traffic and how keep it consistently coming. Below are a a few tips and techniques that has helped me in the early stages of my blog to bring in traffic, and hopefully continue in the future.
Get people involved and excited
One of the first thoughts that went through my mind when starting TDC was, “How do I get people to visit my site?” So what better way to get people to visit than to make them want to visit.
Posts such as, 26 Business Cards of Graphic & Web Designers and 40+ Creative Logos Submitted By The Designers Themselves not only helped other designers gain exposure, but helped TDC get off the ground. It’s a win/win situation, but how do you find people to submit and get involved…
Although I stated in the second paragraph that these were in no particular order, social networking and getting others involved was hands down the key to TDC’s initial exposure. After discovering other designer’s to follow on Twitter, I was not only able to find other talented designers to chat with, share information, and help out, but by making friends and the power of the retweet, TDC was able to gain exposure, readers and participants.
Notice I said to help others and not just promote your own blog. Lend a hand to the design community and more often than not they will return the favor.
Other valuable social sites:
Submitting your articles to various design-related submission sites is another great way to reach a wider audience. Check out 40 promotional design sites where you can submit your blog articles for a fantastic starting point.
Giveaways and Competitions
Who doesn’t enjoy winning FREE stuff? Host a competition or giveaway free stuff for commenting or subscribing.
Also, you can ask others to help you out by offering up free prizes or services in return for some exposure or link love.
Use your sources
Linking to other peoples blogs and articles is another great way to gain exposure. Ask other blog founders of similar interest and popularity if you could add then to your blog roll in exchange for a link back.
A few good examples of link love include:
- 127 RSS Feeds That All Designers Should Subscribe To
- 300+ Active Web Designers to Follow on Twitter
- 160+ RSS Feeds For Web-Designers and Developers
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Comment On Other Blogs
Not only will this leave a link back to your site (if you leave your website URL in the form field), but also gives you the opportunity to shed some insight on other posts, thus making you valuable and informative.
Try keeping your avatar/picture consistent throughout your social networking sites. A gravatar is an image that ties into your email address whenever you comment on the web… this helps to brand your blog and yourself.
Add A Link To All Your Marketing Material
Start by adding your blogs URL to your business cards and email signature. The more the better.
Write Guest Posts
Writing for other blogs of similar interest and readership is a great way to reach out to a wider, new audience. Try writing to your best ability when doing guest posts — you want to impress!
Host Guest Writers
Allowing other’s to write the occasional blog post is a great way to provide other insight and a new, fresh perspective on topics. Agan, you’re getting your readers and community involved.
Link To Other Articles
If you look to the above paragraphs, you will notice a lot of relevant linking going on. Not only is this valuable to your readers, but it’s a great way for other blogs to notice you — and we all appreciate a good trackback.
Put A Face To Your Blog
I’m not sure if it’s coincidental or not, but putting a face to your blog helps bridge the gap between a standard website and a community.
Many of my favorite blogs I enjoy reading, I feel I have a connection with the writer. It makes me feel more welcome and invited to interact.
Blogs are typically personal so why not make them more personal? Add a photo of yourself someone where on your blog.
Write Interesting & Valuable Content
While this one seems to be a no-brainer, when writing or coming up with an idea for a post ask yourself “Would I want to read this?”
Write short, concise articles. Readers LOVE lists! Don’t ramble and appeal to the masses (well unless that’s not what you are going for). Also, don’t just preach. Instead, help people. Share your knowledge, expertise and experiences.
Three things are extremely important when first starting your blog:
- Have a few quality articles posted on your blog prior to the launch.
- Have a few quality articles on the back burner so you can quickly post through the first few weeks.
- Post on a regular basis. Why would readers want to visit your blog or subscribe if you are only posting once a month? Give them something to look forward to.