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Monday, April 17, 2006

 

How to Get Those First 100 Visitors to Your Blog

I monitor a lot of blogs, forums and news sites with my trusty RSS reader. One of my favorite sites is SitePoint, which is a terrific discussion forum for webmasters, programmers and domain name investors.

I’ve had some great conversations on the forums and via IM that have been very enlightening.

In a recent post, one of the SitePoint forum guys was lamenting the fact that he was having trouble getting to 100 unique visitors per day.

There was some good, solid advice that I would like to share and build upon:

1. Make sure your posts are optimized with popular keywords. I would be careful with this one because you don’t want to lose your blogging voice or make your pages read awkwardly by jamming in as many keywords as you can. Do check for the most popular keywords in your universe, though, using a tool like WordTracker. As a poster on SitePoint said, using the competition values in WordTracker allows you to pick keywords that haven’t soaked the web yet.

2. Use a service like PinGoat to ping blogger indexing sites every time you change your site. Pinging is basically extending an invitation to indexing services like Technorati, IceRocket and Feedster to come to your site and index it. The more indexing you get, the more exposure you get. PinGoat is a terrific service that pings them all at the same time.

3. Update your Google Sitemap every few posts and resubmit it. A Google Sitemap is an interesting and amazing phenomenon. Here is how Google explains it:

The Google Sitemaps program is two-way communication between webmasters and Google. You can give us information about your site so we can index it more effectively, and we can show you how we see your site and tell you about any trouble we’ve had crawling it.

Basically you create a special xml file and tell Google to go look at it. It uses the file to better index the site. And it definitely works. There’s even a Plugin for WordPress that will build the perfect sitemap for Google. You can read more about sitemaps by visiting the Google Sitemaps page.

4. Post relevant comments on blogs related to your content area. Look around, find people blogging about the same stuff as you. Monitor their blog sites and participate in the discussion. Be sure to include a link to your site in all of your comments. It’s a great way to correspond with like-minded people and get your name and site name out there.

5. Search for link partners and link exchanges at least once a week. If you find a site you like, include it on your link page and drop the site owner an email. He or she will most likely list your site as well. Join a couple of free or cheap link exchange sites and stick to your subject area when exchanging links. Always visit the prospective link exchange site and ask yourself if you would be doing your readers a service by sending them to that site. If not, don’t link to the site.

6. Write great content, and don’t plug stuff unless you are familiar with it and approve of it. If you write interesting content about subjects that interest people they will always find you. Don’t hustle your readers — if you are going to plug something for money, make sure the product or service is something you would use and recommend. If people sense a hustle they will not convert and they will not come back.

7. Watch your keywords and make sure they are performing. DigitalPoint has a terrific tool that will help you track your keyword placement over time so you can see how your efforts are doing.

8. Perform some basic Search Engine Optimization. Learn how to not only optimize your posts, but optimize your entire site. You can get some great tips and tools at SeoChat.com

9. Shake loose a couple of bucks and buy some ad space. Once you’re certain your blog looks and operates perfectly, spend $100 on Adsense ads and see how that helps.

10. Be patient. It isn’t going to happen overnight. It will take weeks or months to get things rolling.

100 uniques a day is attainable. Get Blogging!

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