Artist Resource: Increase Traffic to Your Blog

I get asked this one question a lot, especially by email, and so I'm here to tell all. Joan writes, "How do I increase traffic to my blog?"  Well, here you go:

Target Your Audience.
First and foremost you should decide what you want your blog to be about. If it's just your own personal musings, so be it but get a game plan. If you want to someday have high traffic you should consider writing a specialized blog. Such "niche" blogs will be easier to target to your "supposed" audience.

Example: If you have a blog for recipes, people who love to cook may read it.  If you have an art blog, artists may read it, or people who enjoy the type of art you make. If your blog is about needlework, then needle workers will read it. If just have a personal blog, that talks about everything from your kids to your husband it may be a bit harder to gain blog traffic and take more work.

Relevant Content
By placing appropriate keywords in your title, within your post, and in your "keywords" or "tags", this will help the right people find your posts. Relevant topics and content will keep your blog fresh and focused.

Blog Directory Submissions
Make sure to submit your blogs to search engines like Google, and other free submissions services aka directories.  The more places your blog is listed and linked from the better. This can take some time but with a bit of work (a few hours each night for a week) you can really get some results.   

Use other forms of social networking to get your blog noticed. Applications like Networked Blogs can help post your blog posts to your Twitter or Facebook account.  Save time and get the word spread. The more posts appearing on your Facebook or Twitter the more chances someone will click and read your blog post and / or share the post. 

Interaction with Readers
So, you've done all the above but can't get people to read, now what It's time to do some interaction with readers. Here are a few ideas . 

1) Host a giveaway of a product or service. You'd be surprised once you tweet a blog post about a giveaway how word travels fast and people will be checking our your blog. Maybe you'll gain a few new readers.  Contests are okay too, but I find that giveaways without requiring much work on behalf of the reader work best. You can also submit your giveaway to blog sites that advertise giveaways. Tip: If you do all that and have no luck, try hosting a giveaway through a paid service, for instance a site like Everything Etsy.  You may find not only does it pay for itself, but it will generate more views to your blog, shop, or service!
Places where you can feature readers, then tell them about it.
2) Write about other shops, products, or blogs. In other words, if you sell vintage, write about a vintage seller or shop you love and explain why. Sure, it may be your competition, but it's still in the theme of your vintage blog and relevant content. On top of that, the person you are writing about should be very happy to have been featured. Ask them to show their thanks by sending your post to Facebook or Twitter, or mention your blog on theirs.

The person in the spotlight will then hopefully share the post, for example:  "Hey, look at this, I've been featured on the Retro Chalet blog today!By their sharing links, they are also social networking for you. Perhaps their readers or fans on Facebook and Twitter will then go check out your blog to see the article you have wrote.  Some may stay, and enjoy your blog.

3) Keep focused and ask your readers for opinions. You can do this free with many services on the Internet.  Many people like to answer questions or provide help.  Tweet out "Hey, I need help or your vote go here  insert blog address...." and see how many people respond!

4) Offer cross linking. Offer free cross linking to your reader's or friend's blogs. You link theirs and they link yours.  Anything helps.

Remember Rome
Some blogs will take time to grow in readership, just like Rome wasn't built in a day.  If you continue to produce relevant content and stay focused, your readership will come.  Continue to blog about others, and keep looking for new ways to submit your blog. Don't get discouraged.