Driving Traffic to Your Blog

Driving traffic to your blog isn’t an easy task. Ask any blogger and they’ll tell you that getting hits takes time, patience, and work. You won’t find yourself getting hundreds of hits overnight, or even over the course of a few months. It can take many months, if not years, to create a base of frequent visitors. Still, despite all the challenges, there are several ways you can give your blog a boost in traffic. Here are just a few of the tried and true methods used by bloggers all over the world.

Unique Content
Writing something that’s fresh, unique, and original will give you an advantage in that there’s nobody else writing what you are. You can pique the interest of readers by giving them something they’ve never seen or heard of anywhere else. This is possibly one of the most effective ways of driving traffic to your blog.

Frequent Updates
Now, keep in mind that making ten updates a day will not further your cause any, but it’s best to update once every day or two to keep your readers coming back for more. Fresh content makes for fresh visitors, too.

Google
Ahh, Google. Whether you love it or hate it, you need it to get a decent amount of traffic to your blog. Other search engines, too, will prove useful, but getting yourself on Google and getting a good rank are essential to getting the hits you’ll need to achieve blogger success.

Technorati, Digg, del.icio.us, etc.
Engines like Technorati and others are not only great resources on which you can list your blog, but they’re also excellent tools for networking with other bloggers. Trade favorites/diggs/etc., add people to your friends lists, start up conversations, whatever it takes to get their attention.

AutoPinger
Pinging your blog after you post is another essential tool for driving traffic your way. Personally, I use a tool called AutoPinger to get my pings across to various blog engines out there on the web. There are other tools of this sort available, too. Do a quick Google search if you’re looking for something different, but don’t neglect the power of tools like AutoPinger.

Word of Mouth
Just telling people about your blog, whether in person or through posts on forums or other blogs, is a great way to bring people. It’s personable and shows you have a passion for what you do. Do whatever it takes to get the word out that you’ve got a blog and you’re looking to have your message heard.

How to Start a Blog and Make Money

If you are not doing on the Internet what the whole world is doing, then you face the fear of being socially ridiculed in the cyber world. Guess what I am talking about? Yes, creating a blog of your own first and then using it to earn a few good bucks! I mean come on, at least 8 out of 10 people you meet will have blogs! They are a great way to earn money, directly as well as indirectly.

Starting a Blog for Money

A couple of registrations, some settings and you are almost done, to begin with blogging. Of course not to forget the blog posts! What you need to do is given in the following steps.

#1
All you need to do is to log on the blogging platforms and register yourself there. You will get all the necessary instructions. What you can also do is create a blog on your website using a top-level domain name. This is particularly advised if you plan to transform it into an Internet business totally.

#2
Once you have set up the blog, this is where the real work starts. Now here, you have to put your best foot forward. Have posts which will make it distinct and easily identifiable. If you want to promote your business, add relevant and interesting posts. They should be catchy and the lay out has to be really good. For that, the basic look of your blog has to be impressive. The themes, layouts, and templates in your blog platform will be helpful towards that objective.

#3
Another very crucial factor is to have pay per click advertising and Google AdSense working on your blog. PPC and Google AdSense will get the cash flowing in for you right from the word go. To induce an increase in traffic and more clicks, this is a must.

#4
Always remember to market your blog well, if you want it to be popular amongst the netizens. This way you will attract more visitors. Blog rolling, article marketing, and adding some credible links connected to your articles will always help you in making money.

#5
Sell your cyberspace to others like you, perhaps who are looking to expand and reach out to optimum number of people. A button like “Place Your Link Here for…”, will surely get you some easy money. This will be a good option to make some money.

Well, this was the primary outline of how you can make money with a blog. However, we are still not over with it! Here are a few quick tips to let your blog earn the maximum for you!

Tips for Starting a Blog

A few things which you need to remember are still left when you are talking about starting your own blog. These are minor things if you look at them casually. However, in context of starting a blog to make money, they are crucial.

RSS feed is a must.
If your blog is not business oriented, but it has articles and you are banking on that to get you some money, some search engine optimization and zeroing on your niche is important.
Consider registering your new blog with the top website and blog directories.
Promote and market it in all the possible ways – the best and easiest way is through social networking websites.

How Greed Nearly Caused the Downfall of Blogging

Blogs, blogs, blogs. Everyone has a blog. But why? Is everyone a terrific writer (no), a deep thinker (no), a fount of new ideas? No. So just what, then, motivates people to devote a sometimes substantial portion of their lives to a blog? Should you have one too? It’s an interesting question.

Motivation

Bloggers’ motivations are vast and varied, and the majority opinion has changed as the internet evolved. In the beginning, people blogged because it was new, and it felt like being sorta famous. There weren’t many blogs around yet, so anyone with something to say could find an audience larger than their previous audience of mother and cat.

Then, blogging platforms improved and became more accessible. With drag-and-drop site design, shared hosting and pre-made templates, creating a blog was an hour-long affair rather than a weeks-long html nightmare. And so, the rush began.

The Rush

Suddenly, everyone was reading blogs, and soon after that, everyone had a blog. What started as an online diary of sorts became a platform for whatever, and everyone was just yammering away at each other. Some blogs got to be so popular that companies wanted to advertise with them – and that was the beginning of the end.

Once people discovered that you could make money with a blog, interest skyrocketed. Those (mostly pointless) blogs that wallpapered the internet were soon littered with pop-ups, flashing, singing, dancing ads on every square inch of real estate that wasn’t covered with words.

Cheating

This capitalism-meets-internet approach led people to do what they do, and find ways to game the system and increase ad revenue – thus began the rise of Black Hat SEO. Shady individuals began making dozens of blogs with identical content, just to increase ad space and increase the likelihood of traffic. Meta tags were flooded with top search terms whether they related to the site or not. Keyword stuffing made content unreadable, and the quest for more and more content for less and less money led to pages and pages of writing with little actual information, inaccurate information, and inaccurately-translated English (which can actually be pretty funny).

Then came the content mills, paying “writers” at rates considered slave wages by the writing industry, just to churn out more and more content to place them at the top of the search results, so they could get more and more page views and more and more ad revenue. But there’s one thing they didn’t count on – Google.

Eviction

As the number one search engine, Google is basically the landlord of the internet. If your landlord doesn’t like your business, he may not be able to just kick you out – but he certainly can triple the rent when your lease comes up for renewal. It’s not that Google had anything against the people behind these ad-riddled messes, they were only looking out for their own product.

You see, all this jockeying for high-ranking search results made Google almost impossible to use if you were looking for good information. The first few pages (or the first few dozen, depending upon the search term) were nothing but crap sites just trolling for clicks without offering anything useful – which undermined the usefulness of Google’s product, so they went on the warpath.

A number of algorithm tweaks later, and a Google search will once again lead you to information you can use in most cases. The blogs and other websites that junked up the internet are gone for the most part, because they were no longer profitable.

The Sun Always Rises

The good blogs, the ones actually worth reading, are still around – because they provided value to the reader, Google’s changes affected them positively instead of negatively. They’re rising to the top of search results like cream, just waiting for your eyes – but regardless of whether you become a regular reader or not, they’ll keep doing what they’re doing.

The point is that money should not be your sole reason for starting a blog. Use it as a sounding board, a portfolio, a way to get writing experience, or even just a way to get your name out there. But don’t expect to make a decent living off of it. Running a good blog is a time-sucking endeavor, and the money you make from it will probably not match what you could make at most jobs. Very, very few people subsist solely upon blog money.

Tips for Starting Your Own Travel Blog

travel

There are two things that you need to keep in mind before starting your travel blog. Firstly, start a travel blog only and only if you travel. Don’t take information from the Internet and write articles based on that. Only travel blogs with firsthand information are trusted. See the place yourself and then write about it. It makes a huge difference. Secondly, you need to have some concrete experience in traveling to start a blog. You’ll end up making too many mistakes otherwise. Having said that, we’ll now start with 12 great tips for starting your own travel blog.

1. Write down your reasons for starting the blog.
Why is it that you want to start a travel blog? The reasons can be several. Maybe you want to keep your friends updated about your travels (in case you’re traveling frequently), you want to help fellow travelers to travel smarter, or you want to jubilantly discuss the beauties of this world that you’ve had the opportunity to explore. Maybe you want to do all the above. Writing down the reasons will give you clarity of thought, a direction, and a purpose. This way you’ll know what your aim is. You see, starting a blog is not a big deal. But maintaining it with regular post uploads can get a little tiresome after a point. The zest with which you start a blog begins to ebb and the enthusiasm dwindles. However, if you have clear reasons etched in your mind for starting the blog, this gradual creeping in of disinterest can be combated to a good extent. Having a direction always helps with the motivation factor.

2. Decide what you want to write and for whom.
Now that you know why you’re starting the blog, make a list of things you want to cover in your writing. Every blog MUST have a focus. Do you want to give your readers stories? These would cover your experiences during your travels. Do you want to tell your readers about places? This would cover information about a specific place (what to do, eat, and expect) and will have less focus on personal experiences. This way you’ll be telling your readers what to expect from your blog in the “About Me” section right at the start. If people are interested in knowing more about different places, and find you narrating more about your personal experiences in spite of having promised otherwise, they might feel cheated somehow. They should know what you are offering and then take a call on whether your blog can help their cause or not. Be very clear about what you want to concentrate on and pursue it with a great amount of attention to detail. Know which section of Internet readers you wish to convert into steady followers. Once you’ve decided on these two factors, tapping trends and optimally utilizing them to your benefit will become a cakewalk.

3. Name your blog intelligently.
Now that you have a clear picture about why and what you want to write, think of a name for your blog. The name has to stand out and also convey the objective or at least the very essence of your blog. It’s very important for the reader to at least get a hint of what he can expect from your blog. The name should be conspicuous and catchy; it should be easy for people to remember. It should induce intrigue so that people are compelled to at least read a few lines, just to see what’s it all about. A long, confusing name will not only be difficult to remember but also lead to you losing out on potential repeat visitors.

4. Talk to frequent travelers, visit other travel blogs, and understand the value of your work.
Before you start writing or implementing things on your blog, talk to travelers and see what they expect from travel blogs. This will give you a rough idea about general expectations. Simultaneously, check out other travel blogs. Make a list of things they do to engage their readers. Also make a list of interesting and intriguing elements on their blogs. Amidst all that is available on the net, try to visualize how your work will add value. How will you be different? It’s very important to do something unique. If your blog is not unique and ends up being very similar to those already out there, it will be nearly impossible for you to make a mark. See, being inspired and incorporating an element in your blog will not be considered as a copy only when you add your personal interpretation of the element. That you have the power to analyze things in your own way is what people should be able to figure out from your blog.

5. Be sure of certain choices you make; they’re long-term.
Some of the changes you make or some things that you implement on your blog are long-term. For example, the website that’ll host your blog. Shifting websites later will not only add to your work, but also play a role in your rankings on search engines. Similarly, your logo, which will play a great role in establishing your identity, will also be long-term. The URL you choose for your blog will also last forever as this is what your readers are going to remember. Every element that you add to your blog, do it after a lot of thought. Don’t do anything in a hurry, especially things that you aren’t sure of.

6. Don’t let the numbers get you down.
Initially, not many people will visit your blog. Maybe your friends, family, and a few colleagues. It will take sometime for search engines to crawl the content for your blog to show up on search engine results. This will take a while. In the meantime, do not let the number of visitors affect your efforts. You might feel a little depressed seeing shallow figures, but it is only your efforts that will pay off in the long run. Keep at it and stick to the plan you’ve designed for yourself. Slowly and steadily your readers will grow in number, stuff on your blog will be shared, and you will see an upward trend in popularity.

7. Don’t let your posting frequency fluctuate; post consistently and regularly.
Your posts are your marketing tools. With every post that you publish, you give yourself another opportunity to market your blog. However, don’t overdo it. Don’t have 14 posts in a week. Your readers should get ample time to catch up on what you’ve written. They should not feel as though they’ve missed a lot and have to spend too much time in reading all the older posts. Post consistently; have 2 posts every week or even one will suffice. Always try to post on the same days in a week.

8. Develop an understanding of social media.
Social media is the best tool you can put to use if you want to reach out to people. Websites like Facebook and Twitter don’t charge anything when you create a page with them. Of course, for further marketing and promotion, you’re expected to pay some money. Hunt for such viable avenues and tap them. Before using them, understand how they work, list down how they can help you in the long run, make a plan of how you’re going to use them, and only then create your social profiles on them. Just like your blog, your social profiles also need to be active and engaging. Go social yourself before using this medium for your blog. Try to add pictures and/or videos with every post that you write. These enhance the visual look of your blog and increase the probability of it being shared on social channels. Have social buttons which will enable your readers to share your content.

9. Don’t just decide on a sum; calculate how much you are willing to spend.
Most of the time, we just calculate a basic figure we’re going to spend on a project. As time passes, more expenses come up and sometimes very obvious ones that we tend to miss at first. Once you have written down all that you want for your blog, calculate how much they’re going to cost you for a year. Have this capital ready before you start. This way, you can concentrate on your work without much disturbance and stress when it comes to the financials.

10. Spend a good amount of time finalizing the look of your blog.
Readers develop a visual memory with certain brands. The basic theme colors you use will help readers to associate them with your brand. The look of your blog will be remembered more than your writing more often than not. Apart from this, the width of your posts should be finalized keeping in mind the attention span of readers; extremely short posts are not taken seriously and long ones come across as chunky and boring. You have to get the look just right. Certain fonts play a major role in attention span retention. Blogging is not only about writing well and writing profusely, but also about visually engaging your readers. You could consider it to be textual dramatics, if you will. So, employ all the resources you can dig up in trying out as many permutations and combinations as you can think of before zeroing in on one that seems made for you. Also, read up on the concepts of blogging in order to build your own brand of writing. For instance, if certain posts need to be of a length that is slightly on the longer side, employ techniques like inserting colorful images between paragraphs in order to break the visual monotony of words. You can also use HTML to insert colorful boxes with interesting trivia in them after every second paragraph. Knowing these things can actually help you to develop a style of your own.

11. Develop your understanding of technical know-how.
Technical know-how of platforms you are using is of utmost importance. This will determine the ease with which you’ll work and the number of mistakes you make once you have launched your blog. If you don’t know certain elements, functions, or software, read about them. Experiment with them after you’ve done your study and get better at working with them. Do this before you start posting on your blog to lessen the number of catastrophes.

12. Do your homework about SEO and keywords.
The best way to initially get readers to your blog is through SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which basically deals with the use of keywords. It’s a vast function and you need to start reading up on it immediately. The basic advice is to not use too many keywords, not use them unnaturally, and to not use them unethically. Spamming might even result in penalization of your blog. Read up as much as you can about SEO on websites, forums, and discussion panels.

These tips for starting your own travel blog will not only help you to work smarter, but also ensure that your readers get the very best from you. Travel writers have started surfacing in considerable numbers in the last decade. It is a good idea to start now and make a name for yourself and your blog. Best of luck.