How to get more blog traffic

15Apr16

After the blogging 101 post I did in January, the question I got most consistently was, “How do I get more people to visit/follow my blog?”

Blog follower advice

Here’s the best advice I can offer: Take a dip in the Community Pool.

It’s a great place to meet other bloggers and build a community of followers. It’s also a wonderful place to get feedback on your writing — and it offers a ton of articles on everything from beginner resources to blogging etiquette to blog-post ideas.

That’s my answer.

But the question I really want to ask you is:

Why do you want more blog traffic?

Do you hope it’ll bring riches … or respect? Do you think it’ll make you more creative? Do you believe it will make you happier?

Whether we paint or write or shoot photographs, one of the joys of being creative is sharing our work. We’re lucky to live in an age when blogs allow us to reach a global audience, and to get instant feedback.

But the rub is that it’s easy to confuse followers and “likes” with approval — or to let a lack of feedback erode our self-worth.

Focusing solely on your stats (and comparing yourself to other bloggers) is a superhighway to creative bankruptcy and self-doubt. Please believe me; I’ve been down that road.

So here’s what I suggest instead: Be curious. Follow your bliss. Write about things that intrigue you, and photograph or paint what moves you. Be generous. Be genuine.

And maybe the traffic will follow! Or maybe not. But even if it doesn’t, you’ve at least created something that speaks your truth and makes you happy.

And isn’t that the REAL reason you’re blogging?

Susan Issacs quote BLOG

Still not convinced? Here’s my case for cultivating friendships instead of simply seeking followers.


91 Responses to “How to get more blog traffic”

  1. 1 La revue de Claire

    Interesting

  2. Love this! This is so accurate. I have always said that first and foremost I am a writer. Everything else is just amazing bonuses. Tjank you for this!

    https://ankhoryou.com

  3. 10 hmunro

    Why don’t you start by introducing yourself, and I can tell you whether I know you? 🙂

  4. Thanks for the post, i am newbie here and sometimes little confused if people like my post or not. But this is our creativity, our happiness, we are happy if people like it, but the end just write and let it go. 😊

    • 12 hmunro

      Just write it and let it go! I’ll try to take your advice today. 🙂 Best wishes on your new blog, and thank you for stopping by!

  5. As a satirist whose risible output is regularly published in various magazines, I couldn’t care less if I have one ‘follower’ or one million to be brutally honest. As I never tire of remarking to a sub-editor of my acquaintance: “I just write my shit and get out”
    I enjoyed reading your piece for all that. 🙂

    • 14 hmunro

      If I were following my own advice to the letter, I’d say I couldn’t care less that my post resonated with an oft-published satirist. But I’m actually quite honored. 🙂 Thank you for the kind comment!

      • You’re very welcome. As somebody who’s entire raison d’etre is based around lampooning the pompous, the privileged, the self-important and the plain absurd, that’s about as “kind” as I get 😀

        • 16 hmunro

          So you lampoon the pompous, privileged, and self-important, do ya? I’m liking you more and more. 🙂 Where can I read your work?

  6. Wow you got me thinking, thank you

    • 19 hmunro

      So glad to hear it! Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it!

  7. The reason I sought more followers was so that I wasn’t sharing my work into a black hole. I always want more people to see/read my work — but the truth is that more doesn’t make my life any better now.

    • 21 hmunro

      You make a valid point about wanting more followers because they represent a broader audience for your work, Jim. But the work still has to come first, yes? First we must have something to share or say, and then we can seek an audience. What I noted about many of the kind folks who asked this question was that they’d written only one post and were discouraged that it wasn’t getting traffic. So this was my roundabout way of encouraging them to focus on the work, and to create for the joy of creating. All of that said, I’m reassured to read that you’ve had the same experience I have: After you make a handful of close blogger friends, adding more followers doesn’t really make life better or add more satisfaction. (If anything, I’ve found it a bit paralyzing! But that’s a different post. 🙂 ) Thank you as always for taking the time to read — and especially for your thoughtful comment.

  8. 22 Xandra

    Thanks. … I really miss the old style on blogging. If I see another diy blog I die! !! ^lol^

    • 23 hmunro

      I am one of the clumsiest people in the world, so it might be very dangerous if I had a DIY blog. 😀 Thank you so much for stopping by, Xandra!

  9. “Focusing solely on your stats (and comparing yourself to other bloggers) is a superhighway to creative bankruptcy and self-doubt. Please believe me; I’ve been down that road.”

    Seems that I never will be too old to feel inadequate again, every now and then.

    • 25 hmunro

      I think an occasional shot of inadequacy every now and then is healthy, don’t you? (Imagine if everyone were as sure of themselves as Donald Trump seems to be! Ha ha.)

      But seriously. Like you, I don’t expect I’ll ever outgrow my self-doubt. The key — for me, at least — has been to plow through the feelings of inadequacy and DO IT ANYWAY. This has led to some awful singing and *disastrous* cooking, but so far no one has died. 😉

      • “I think an occasional shot of inadequacy every now and then is healthy, don’t you?”

        I agree. It is like a Kneipp-cure for the ego.

  10. I enjoyed reading this. Definitely food for thought. As you know I’m very new to the blogging world so this information comes at a very good time in my journey thus far – so thank you 🙂

    • 29 hmunro

      I’m so happy to have helped in even some small way, Sóla! Though I strongly suspect you’ll have no problem building a loyal following. 😉

  11. I am very new to this and there are such a wide variety of things I would like to write about but I have to admit I do think to myself, what will people think? I need to do what I set out to do and just enjoy this new venture and challenge myself. Thank you for this post I found it very helpful for me.

    • 33 hmunro

      I think you’re wise to consider your words before you hit “publish”! It’s a wonderful thing to be true to yourself and to share whatever is on your mind — but there can also be consequences, sometimes in ways you can’t anticipate. That’s precisely why I keep a personal journal (the little paper book you saw photographed in my post) and share only a fraction of my writing online. Maybe a similar approach may work for you? Regardless, though, I do encourage you to enjoy your new venture, and challenge yourself, and above all HAVE FUN. Best wishes to you!

  12. Hi H – beautifully put. Arranging words on a page/screen should be a thing of pleasure and of purpose. Blog words should be bird food on a bird table, never birdlime in a bird trap.

    I clicked through to your ‘Please Keep Blogging’ post and found this treasure:

    “Even if you make all of your posts private, even if you don’t finish half of them, please write for yourself. Please write for yourself so that many years from now you can look back at the moments that today seem so ordinary, so you can realize in hindsight how extraordinary those little moments really were.”

    I hope people print out their blog pages and keep them somewhere safe, like a journal. Blogs have that extra element of preparation, like essays for a teacher, that keeps us on our toes, knowing that another human may read them. They’re a bit more polished than a diary entry, no matter how ‘confessional’ some seem. But, as you say, they capture moments of our lives and moments of our intention, like snapshots. And are worth cherishing, for that alone.

    Ironically, I think you’ll get a ton of clicks on this post. There’s a desperation to collect followers and likes in the WordPress world that’s fostered a little by WordPress itself. WordPress wouldn’t be able to offer its free hosting if it didn’t collect healthy advertising revenue from views of posts. No views of posts = no views of adverts. And the WordPress platform would sink beneath the waves. Which would be very sad.

    All best wishes
    Elaine

    • 36 hmunro

      I love your observations about this little WordPress world of ours, Elaine (fostering “Follower Desperation” to help drive traffic to support the adverts).

      The sad thing is that many new bloggers don’t see that mechanism and feel they’ve failed somehow if they’re not wildly followed after one post. The other part of it, of course, is the social media component, through which we package our lives like merchandise for other people’s consumption. I fear that so many young people especially are so busy looking outward for their friends’ approval that they’re not cultivating their inner life and making friends with *themselves.* But that’s another blog post entirely …

      As you can see, you’ve really got me thinking! Thank you as always for your thoughtful and insightful comment.

      • For me personally, it’s a fair trade. I don’t mind contributing to WordPress salaries with a few words every so often, though I can’t imagine that my posts bring big advertising bucks. I’m glad the theme I use is free to me. And I wish I could get a plumber to come round and get paid in words!

        But, yes, I see a desperation in new bloggers and the idea that going viral with their first post is just a question of arranging the right words and images in the right order. And that utter disinterest on the part of the WordPress world is fair judgement on their general worthlessness, rather than an example of numerical probability in action.

        I see that there were 58,602,999 new blog posts on WordPress in March this year. Being found and read at all, in among all of that, is something of a miracle.

        I believe that people will learn to use the useful bits of social media and discard the harmful. It’ll be like cutting the poisonous green bits out of potatoes before you cook and eat them. We’ll live and learn.

        • 38 hmunro

          Ah, *if only* we could pay the plumber with words, Elaine! (The wonderful impossibility of that really made me chuckle.) But it’s good, as you point out, that at least our words do fuel a livelihood for someone.

          And that statistic you found about the 58,602,999 new blog posts on WordPress in March this year was astounding! You’re right: It’s indeed something of a miracle that we’ve found each other at all … and that we’ve made many other connections, as well. With your permission, I’ll share that observation of yours with some of our newer friends here who despairing at their continued anonymity.

          • WordPress have a twinkly live map that shows where blog ‘activity’ is happening. It reminds me of those maps where you can track Father Christmas travelling across the world. The statistics I quoted come from there: https://wordpress.com/activity/

            I’ve read that WordPress has only 400 employees http://read.bi/1TbKxI2 and it sounds as if they have quite a generous relationship with their employees. So I’m happy with that.

            We’re all needles doing our best to glint in an enormous haystack. I remember finding your blog because you were Freshly Pressed and I really enjoyed what you wrote about stamp collecting. But finding turns into connecting when comments blossom into conversation.

            A lot of the most interesting blogs I read have few followers and I’m glad they write because they have something to say rather than something to show off. I enjoy things like University College London’s ‘Underwhelming Fossil Fish of the Month’ http://bit.ly/1QeN5kc partly because I like the Grant Museum.

            I think your advice to actively connect – on Community Pool or other bloggy places is the most pro-active. People only continue to read other peoples’ blogs if they contain some useful information or if they feel part of a long-running conversation. If you wouldn’t choose to stop and talk to somebody in the street, it’s unlikely you’d read more than one of their posts. And it’s a hollow thing to have a ton of followers and no real connection.

            • 40 hmunro

              You make so many excellent points in these five short paragraphs, Elaine — beautifully said! Some of my favorite and most interesting blogs also don’t have a ton of followers, perhaps because they have such a distinctive voice or specific focus. But that’s what makes them priceless to me! And anyway, as you say so beautifully, it’s a hollow thing to have a ton of followers and no real connection. That’s why I’m so grateful for YOU. No matter the topic, you always have something insightful and interesting to add to the conversation. Even if I’m a bit frustrated with WordPress for continuing to randomly hold your comments for moderation. Don’t they realize we’re friends?! 🙂

    • 41 hmunro

      PS: You’re also right about getting tons of clicks for this post. I may be to amend my advice and say that “to boost your traffic, write a post titled “How to boost your traffic’ “. 🙂

  13. Wow thank you for this post. As a new blogger it can get disheartening sometimes but I need to remember why I started blogging in the first place.

    • 45 hmunro

      I’m so glad this was helpful, Pamela! Keep at it and the followers will follow. 🙂 Cheers to you, and all the best!

  14. Purely from my own experience, I find your post is bang on target. Paragraphs 3 and 4 of “Why do you want more blog traffic?” perfectly describe my experience with Flickr a few years back and go a long way to explaining why I became so disillusioned with it that I turned from photography to writing as a way of expressing myself. And the two quotes from Susan Isaacs pretty much sum up the mantra I have been trying to follow ever since.

    If the old nursery rhyme were brought up to date, the King would no longer be in his counting house, counting all his money – he would be on his social media platform of choice, counting all his clicks or likes or views or comments, unaware that he wasn’t wearing any clothes. 😉

    • 47 hmunro

      I simply ADORE your reimagined nursery rhyme about the naked king counting all his likes and clicks, Keith! In this social media age of ours it’s easy to get so wrapped up in presenting our lives and our work for other people’s approval that we actually forget to HAVE a life and ENJOY it! I’m so glad you’ve found a way out of this trap.

  15. oooo is very beautiful this you are a artist

  16. In the end, that is what it comes down to. You’re doing this because you like it yourself, not because you want to please others! 🙂 And if other people find it worthwhile or interesting, all the better!

    • 52 hmunro

      Exactly! I think your own blog is a wonderful testament to this. You’re true to your own values and interests, and that’s precisely what makes your blog so special and unique. 🙂

  17. I was first drawn to blogging by the fast cars, supermodels and billion dollar income. Now, I settle for some funny comments on my website.

    • 54 hmunro

      You’re hilarious! I wish I’d been as ambitious as you. I never aimed higher than models of fast cars. On the plus side? The glue you use to assemble those things smells AWESOME.

  18. I am so new to this blogging world. It really helped my lowering morale. …thanks

    • 56 hmunro

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve been discouraged! My friend Elaine at Sing Better English commented that there were 58,602,999 new blog posts on WordPress in March this year. It may take a while for readers to find YOURS. But the longer you keep at it, the better the chances! And in the meantime you’re at least expressing yourself and sharing a bit of yourself with the world. Don’t give up!

      • Thank you so much. It actually gets depressing if you put 4-5hours of research into a single blog leaving all your stuffs behind and there’s no one to read it

      • How long you mean? And what else should I do

        • 59 hmunro

          How long do I mean? I’m sure it varies wildly from blog to blog. I’ve been blogging for almost eight years here, but had practically no visits for the first year. I mean no likes, no comments, no followers, no nothing. What kept me going is that I started making friends with other bloggers by following and commenting on their posts. And that’s what I recommend you do too! I listed a bunch of resources in my post to help you get started. Hope this helps.

  19. Beautiful. I love the idea “be generous”. Ultimately that’s what this blogging journey is all about, giving the pieces of you that you hope can help others. Thanks for the insight.

    • 61 hmunro

      What a lovely comment, Abby — and I couldn’t agree with you more. Thank you for stopping by, and especially for taking the time to write.

  20. In my blog I don´t have a lots of visites and lots of followers in my blog but I think I put interesting things. GREETINGS FROM SPAIN.

    • 63 hmunro

      That’s the cool thing about blogging: You can write about whatever interests you! And if you give it a bit of time you’ll make friends who care about the same things. My very best to you!

  21. I love the idea of writing for myself. I see my blog more as a journal than anything else. I try to give advice to whoever may be interested and I would be so happy if at least one person could learn from my failures, successes and experiences.

  22. 66 Bassey Etim

    Nice….really encouraging!!!.
    Am having a swell time writing about the most important relationship of my life!

  23. Thanks so much for this! I’m just started out on my blog and i couldn’t have read this at a better time!

    • 69 hmunro

      So glad to have helped, even in some tiny way! Best wishes with your blog, Amy!

  24. Totally love it😊😊 I’m new here…I really want to start this because I love sharing my opinions with friends…so why not here haha…thanks for the help😊

  25. As someone who just dove into the world of blogging, this was very nice to find! I always tell myself that the reason I started blogging was for myself, and to not get carried away with how many views I have or worrying about if it is just my friends and family reading it. Blogging is my creative outlet and that needs to be number one.

    • 73 hmunro

      That’s the spirit! Good for you, and congratulations on your new blog.

  26. Absolutely true, H. In one of my early posts I wrote that one of the joys of blogging was not having an editor or any other person telling me what to write or how many words to write. And it’s the same with photography – the moment we start trying to shoot images that are not true to our own creativity is when we downgrade our work. When we are young we can be very competitive, seeking approval, but over time hopefully we learn to relax and just be true to ourselves.

    • 75 hmunro

      Well said — especially that last sentence. One of the unexpected gifts of getting older has been feeling more comfortable in my own skin, and worrying less about what others think. I must admit it’s been quite freeing for my creative side, even if I sometimes still suffer from “imposter syndrome” because I don’t really have any formal training in photography.

  27. Oh my God¡ I remember the first comentary I do and I was writing and writing… And when I realized, I putted 13 or 14 lines. That comentary was incredible. Now, I’m getting better the comentarys. As LensScaper said, if yuor word are not yours and they go against, is when we do it worst.
    GREETINGS FROM SPAIN.

    • 77 hmunro

      I sometimes say “Oh my God” when I see how long my comments get, too! 🙂

  28. 78 ALifeOfShannonigans

    I love this post! I’ve just recently started blogging myself and have got so caught up with followers and look that I completely forgot why I started it in the first place – as a hobby and for me to record my views. Thanks so much for reminding me what it’s all about! 🙂

    • 79 hmunro

      You’re very welcome. 🙂 So glad to have helped in some small way. And thank you for taking the time to comment!

  29. You’re so awesome! I get so caught up in my research and writing that I just slap up my posts and just move on my merry way. I always forget how much fun it is to actually interact with other human beings!!! (You’re my favorite here, ya know?!?!) My creative mind just happens to be a one-track mind, so I always have to wait for a good stopping point to take a breath!!!

    But now I need to stalk YOU!!!
    —Julie

    • 81 hmunro

      One of the reasons I adore you is precisely because you *do* get so caught up in your research and writing that everything else falls away! You’re one of the most wonderfully transparent historians I’ve read in ages — and I mean that as the sincerest compliment. You have a gift for making it seem like the story is telling itself (and as a writer, I know that is damned hard work).

      All of that said … my favorite part of the whole thing has been “meeting” you. I think you’re amazing and awesome, too! 🙂

      • Thank you!!! You make my day!!! I think meeting YOU had been one of the best parts of this blogging experience! You push me without knowing your power. Trying to tell these stories without emotion but with a little life is tricky. Emotionally exhausting at times. But worth it. I wish everyone could get so excited about history because I think the truth is way more fascinating than fiction sometimes. 🙂

        • 83 hmunro

          “You push me without knowing your power.” I think that’s the kindest thing anyone has said to me in ages! What an honor to think that I can help or encourage you in even some small way, Julie.

          As for that last sentence of yours … well, I think whether you realize it or not, you’re making that wish a very important part of your life’s work. You passion for history is contagious!

  30. Thank you for this post! It is so easy to forget the main purpose of writing and documenting moments and experiences! There should be no room for personal judgment based on likes or visits. Sometimes I find myself noticing these things, but every time that I read an old blog post with a huge smile on my face, sometimes chuckling out loud, I feel completely fulfilled that my memories have been frozen for myself most importantly! 🙂 Your blog is great, and I was interested to learn you are a native Spanish speaker! How convenient for someone who loves to travel!

    -Athina

    • 85 hmunro

      I’m so glad you get a huge smile when you revisit your old posts, Athina. Isn’t kind of neat to be reminded of little stories and details you’d forgotten? Blogging can be like making your very own, very personal time capsule in a way.

      And thank you for your kind words. You’re right that speaking Spanish comes in handy for someone who loves to travel. One of these days I’ll write a post about the funny things I’ve heard because those around me didn’t realize I could understand. 🙂

      Thank you for stopping by, and especially for taking the time to comment.

  31. Thanks for this post, great read.

  32. I just started a blog 2 days ago and I have found your post to be entertaining and thoughtful. I will be looking forward to your next instalment!

    • 88 hmunro

      What a kind compliment. Thank you! And congratulations too on your new blog. 🙂

  33. 89 hmunro

    I’m glad you’re making new friends and enjoying your conversations with them! It seems like you’re off to a great start.

  34. Love this! Thank you so much! 🙂

  35. well, i don’t consider myself a writer (yet), but I enjoyed your tips and candidness. totally relate. posted my first entry tonight! feeling pretty cavalier, actually. i’ll continue to follow.



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