Friday, August 6, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: How to Increase Followers and Traffic to Your Business Blog

Having a blog isn't for everyone.  You can't just set it up and leave it and expect it to do much for you.  However, it can be a great tool for marketing if you can generate traffic and gain loyal readers.  Here are some of my suggestions for getting people on your blog and bringing them back time after time.

1. Content is key.  If your content is not interesting, it doesn't matter how much traffic you generate - they won't stay long.  Most, if not all, successful blogs are not one big shop advertisement.  It's not that exciting to read post after post peddling your wares.  Instead, try writing about your creative process.  Are you an expert on soap making?  Tell your readers how soap is made and show pictures of the process.  If you're trying out a new fragrance, explain how that works.  If you sell jewelry or accessories, consider giving fashion tips.  Let people know what's trendy and why you have certain things offered in your shop.  Other great content ideas are posting tutorials, tips on how and where to buy handmade/vintage, and (non-controversial) personal life stories.  Everyone is an expert on something - write about your expertise and your passion.  Keep this in mind:  If people will benefit from your content in some way, they will be more likely to read it.

2. Set a schedule so that you post regularly. People that read my blog know to expect at least one post per week featuring another artisan, at least one post per week reviewing a site for handmade sellers or giving business tips I've found that week on the web, and at least one post per week of a treasury, Kaboodle list, or some other collection of handmade and vintage/eco-friendly items. Since they know what to expect, they know whether or not they want to come back.  You never want to leave people guessing whether or not you're going to post again.  If you're going on vacation, let your readers know.  It's even better to have content scheduled to post once or twice a week while you're out and let people know you'll respond to comments when you return.  Blogger, the platform I use, allows you to schedule posts in advance.  If you come up with a good idea (or more) and write up a few non time-sensitive posts, you'll always have something to share.

3. Spice things up visually.  No one wants to read long blocks of text down an entire page. Use photos and video content to diversify your blog and make it appealing to the eyes.  Just make sure the images and video you use are royalty free, yours, or purchased by you.  Respect other people's intellectual property.

4. Make it super easy for someone to bookmark your blog. Make sure they can subscribe to your RSS feed, use Google Friend Connect to follow you, sign up through Feed Burner to get notifications of your posts via email, or something similar, or all of the above. Don't count on people bookmarking you in their browser and remembering to come back. Personally, I have 100s of bookmarks and I'm probably not sorting through them all just to find your site again.

5. Promote your blog.  Add yourself to directories like Blog Catalog.  Some sites like Creating the Hive and Handmade Spark allow you to import your blog RSS feed.  Do this.  Put the link to your blog on your existing social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter if you have them.  Turn your existing fans into loyal readers.  They might share your content with their friends and help your blog go viral.

6. Just like you optimize your shop, make sure your blog titles are optimized for Google searches.  I'm not about to try and teach you SEO like I know it, but there are plenty of bloggers out there who do.  Use Google to find articles on the subject.

7. Offer to guest post on other blogs.  They will provide a link back to your blog with a little info when the post is published.  A good tutorial on this can be found here.

8. My last tip is to follow other blogs and make relevant comments on them.  The blogger and their readers may just decide to check you out.  You can try this now by leaving a comment for me! ;)

Until next time,


Joan at LTD Beads said...

Great advice. And it's really true that the more you blog, the easier it gets.

Elle said...

Thanks! That's an excellent point too. I know it was really hard for me to figure out what to talk about when I started blogging and many of my previous blogs died for that reason. If you stay persistent though, it gets to a point where it's much easier. Thanks for sharing that!

LindaS said...

Just read your good advice and was wondering what your thoughts are for the Hand Made Market in renting a stall. Is there somewhere I can find what the traffic is on that site, etc? Thnx, Lindas

Elle said...

If you want to check the traffic before you rent, I suggest a site like Otherwise, you may wish to do a week at $2 and check your Google Analytics to see if you got any referrals from the site.

I've used Handmade Market and written about it on the blog, but I wasn't really well versed in Google Analytics at the time so I can't say how much, if any, traffic I got from it.