Ways to Generate More Traffic to Our Blogs

Whether we admit it or not, most of us like having people stop by our blogs and read our posts. We get discouraged if we take the time to write up a thoughtful post and then have a dismal showing. When we consistently get very little response from others, we may even begin to question whether we should blog at all.

Lorena asked this question: "A group of writers and I have started a blog, but we’re new at this and don’t know how to generate traffic. Any suggestions?"

In other words, how do we get people to know about our blogs, stop by and read them, and then keep coming back?

In my experience with blogging, here’s the NUMBER ONE factor in generating traffic:

Socialize with other bloggers.

Remember, blogging is a SOCIAL media, just like twitter or facebook. And social media works best when we use it to socialize. With the millions of blogs out there, we can’t throw out a post, sit back, and wait for people to stumble upon it. Effective blogging just doesn’t work that way, unless we already have a well established brand.

Instead, most of us will need to go out and meet other bloggers, be generous with signing up to follow blogs, leave comments, and genuinely show interest in the lives of others. When we work at being a friend, we’re likely to make some.

The socialization aspect of blogging is the most important one. I’ll list a few other things that have worked for me. But, in reality, if we’re socializing and not doing anything else, we’ll still likely develop a good following over time.

However, for those wishing to generate even more traffic beyond the usual socializing mixture of bloggers, here are a few other suggestions:

Know our target audience.

Before publication writers will have a difficult time drawing true genre readers to their blogs. So most of the time, writers end up using their blogs to chronicle their writing journey, to share from their hearts, and to build community. And that’s okay. That’s what I’ve done. But if we have a more specific audience we can target, then we can begin to build up a base of future readers who will be interested in our specific books. We can ask ourselves, who is the audience for our books and how can we start to mingle with those people in blogging land now?

Keep our posts interesting and relevant.

Often the way a post is presented is more important than the actual topic. In other words, maybe we won’t have a specific audience at this point, but we can still write compelling blog posts that interest a wide readership. We can attract people through our story-telling and word-spinning abilities no matter what the subject.

Interact with commentors, if possible.

If we have the time to interact within the comments, this can help make our readers feel connected. But if we don’t have the time, we can still jump into the conversation at times, make sure we answer questions, send follow-up emails occasionally.

Use the title of the post as a hook.

In the hectic pace of life, we often can’t make the time to visit all the blogs we follow. So we pick those that sound interesting or helpful—often because of the title. Crafting careful, appealing titles might be the only chance we’ll have to draw busy readers to our blogs.

Tweet about relevant posts. (Or post to Facebook.)

If we’re taking the time to write interesting posts with titles that hook, then we can make use of twitter or facebook to share the link to our posts. On Twitter, hashtags are a great way to draw in new people. For example, when I’ve done posts about being a writer mama, I’ve used the hashtag #parenting which sends the link to people interested in parenting advice or encouragement.

Have a way for readers to easily share your posts with others.

We should all have "share buttons" at the tops or bottoms of our posts. Then when readers like what they read, we’ve made it easy for them to share it with their followers. (Blogger now has simple buttons available in "Edit Layout.")

Find ways to give and to involve readers.

Giving could be something as simple as inspiration and encouragement. It could be prizes, book giveaways, or resource links (like my Character Worksheet posted in the sidebar). We should also be on the lookout for creative ways to involve our readers. I’ve had fun posting first-sighting pictures in a slide show in my sidebar and also blog reviews on my debut book.

~Summary: Throughout it all, I still believe socializing is the key in drawing readers to our blogs. Eventually we may reach a place in our blogging where enough people know about us and our blogs that we won’t need to put as much effort into it. But for most of us, the relationships we develop are what make blogging such a rewarding experience.

What about you? What has been THE most helpful thing you've done to generate traffic to your blog? Are there any other ways bloggers can attract more readers? Please share your ideas! We'd all love to learn more!


  1. Good morning! For me socialization has worked and choosing topics that others relate too-- not all about me.

  2. Before I took a blogging break (when I went to Korea), I had several followers on my Confirm The Work of Our Hands blog. By taking said break (and lots of times just not having time to stop by other blogs and comment), I lost all my followers.

    That being said, I am now back at square one where I am trying to build up followers again. I go to several blogs, read and leave comments, and try to socialize.

    However, what I have noticed (on all my blogs) is that I will get people stopping by, but rarely any comments - even if I ask questions and do things suggested to get the comments.

    Basically, I know people stop by the blogs (photography, writing, general, and knitting), but I don't really know if they are reading them or not, because they don't leave comments.

    I appreciate all comments and do try to respond back (usually on the blog post...but maybe I should set up the email thingy that sends them responses).

    BTW, my current post on Ink Scrawls starts off with a photo of YOUR book that I got this week. I've also linked here in the post as well.

  3. I'm always surprised that leaving one comment can establish a new follower. But it happens. Often.

    You are great with giving on this blog.

    I agree, knowing your audience is huge!
    ~ Wendy

  4. I haven't put the "Share" buttons on my blog yet, so I'll have to check that out. I've also noticed that I'm drawn to blogs that use interesting pictures in their posts.

  5. I think you've pretty much covered things!
    Now I need to go see if I have share buttons! LOL

  6. Like Shelley, life interrupted my regular blog posts and I started to lose followers. So yes, I'd reaffirm being consistent with posting.

    I am not so regular either with commenting on blogs I follow, because I just sprint through the Google Reader gadget on my homepage. But you said it exactly right: "When we work at being a friend, we’re likely to make some".

    Thanks for the tips!

  7. For me, community is the most important aspect of my blogging. I blog to build relationships with other writers or with readers who are interested in whatever I'm writing about. It's a way to socialize in a lonely world of writing.

    I visit blogs to socialize, but I also visit blogs for content. I'm a curious person, so if a blog catches my eye, I read strictly for content.

  8. Great advice! I find regularly leaving comments on blogs really helps. And I mean on a lot of blogs. People start seeing your name everywhere, and the next thing you know, they're checking you out and following you.

  9. Great post Jody. I've recently started a Writers' Platform-Building Crusade (, which is a way for writers and bloggers to connect, support each other, follow and comment along with the blogs of other Crusaders, and generally pay it forward. We've got close to 40 Crusaders now, and more joining every day - that's a lot of new followers for each of us. Even better, we're actively commenting and supporting each others' blogs, as well as having fun doing Crusader Challenges and blog fests.


  10. Good advice, Jody! Our posts would make a pair today. Mine is on 5 Ways Blogging Makes You Better at Everything. So at your place readers get mission and focus. At Moonboat they can read about the rewards of blogging.

    We're like a complete package. Or something like that.

    Okay. Yes, I need coffee.

  11. Hi Jody... I agree blogging is all about socializing. Loved the post, its very helpful. Now I have to check for that Share button. :)

  12. Great advice. Reminding me of a few things that I need to do. Begin considering my future audience. I need to think further about what this means. And I so agree, socialize, socialize, socialize. I find when I get too "busy" to visit other blogs my traffic slows down.

  13. You've done a great job of it. Good post.

  14. I think for me, not knowing exactly who I was targeting at first, just going out and meeting as many people as possible was good. It's actually nice to have a wide array of friends. :O)

  15. One thing I would add, blog on a regular basis. Nice post.

  16. Jodi, thanks for some sound advice. I'm amazed at the amount of traffic that can come back to your site when you comment elsewhere. There was an article about literary tattoos on the Huffington Post, and I left a link about mine (Mark Twain, on my bicep) there and more than 200 people visited my blog from there.

    Of course, that's one of those one-offs that doesn't mean that you'll get sustained interest, but I've seen from commenting on other writing-related sites that there's movement back to mine. Thanks for a well-rounded post!

  17. These are great ideas Jody. Thanks for the 411. I always learn so much from your blog.

  18. Definitely visiting and commenting on other blogs regularly. A regular posting schedule, even if it is once a week.

  19. I agree. Like with most things in life, you get out of it what you're willing to put into it.

  20. Every bit of this is true. The best way to find loyal readers is to make connections. Someone might stop by once, but to keep them around, it's important to interact.

  21. Nice list, Jody. Thanks for taking the time to post this.

    Also something we all should remember is that socializing and connecting are two-way streets. There's a reason it's called an online "community." I would encourage people to interact more than just leaving a one-time comment hoping to drive traffic to our own blogs. I know, most of us have been guilty at least once! (yes, me too) But, I've found the more I engage other bloggers, tweeters, and facebookers, the more we learn together, the more connections we make (personal and professional), and yes, the more visitors we'll have at our blogs. If we're sincere about not doing this just for ourselves, we all benefit.

    Thanks Jody!

  22. It often takes me a few visits before I comment on someone else's blog. There are several I go to where I definitely feel like I'm part of the community, and that's what keeps me coming back. (One of them even asked me to become a regular blogger!)

    I can see that visitors come to my blog as a result of my visiting elsewhere. They don't always leave a comment, but that's fine too. Maybe they're waiting, like I do, for the right time to jump in. :)

  23. "...the relationships we develop are what make blogging such a rewarding experience." This is *so* true! For me, although I realize traffic is important when we need to spread a message, blogging isn't just about numbers. I'm loving the connection with individuals and learning more about them.

    The blogs that hold my attention offer various kinds of posts, sometimes personal sharing, sometimes professional tidbits, in a visually pleasing layout. The posts are regular and often enough that I don't forget about them. Their authors appear to appreciate input and they respond to it. It's all about building relationships.

    One tip to add for new bloggers might be remembering to use appropriate tags and categories on posts so readers interested in those topics can find their way to the blog.

    Your blog is one I recommend to others as the ideal. It's attractively presented and easy to read. It reflects your personality as someone I feel I can relate to, and it strives to offer meaningful content that is always worth my time. You balance the personal and professional aspects beautifully. :)

  24. Awesome post as always, and I will be tweeting and FBing this in a sec :D.

    The number one way to get people to read your blog?

    Focus on the READER. Content serves the reader, not our egos. That is easy to forget when we are trying to scrape our brain for a topic, but we need to make sure our content serves the reader above all else.

    I recently taught a Blogging to Build a Brand class on-line and long story short was guiding writers to think up topics to blog on. One of the first is always something akin to "What I Did on Vacation" (notice the "I"). I had to tweak the participants to begin thinking OUTWARD--to be always mindful of the reader. Would I care what some random blogger did on their vacation? Sorry. I have very little time. But with a small modification, that same blog can connect to me. Vacation Disasters. Hey, we have all had them. I might laugh and commiserate with a stranger over something like this.

    In real life, do we like people who do nothing but talk about themselves? No. We won't like them on-line either. The greatest part of what I have witnessed as your success is your ability to blog in ways that speak to us, so we feel valued and invited in to you "community." Keep up the great work!

    Kristen Lamb

  25. Another great, educational post, Jody. When we first met through blogging, I was so impressed with your interaction with other bloggers.

    Now that you have a slew of new (and exciting!) responsibilites with your debut book release and contracts, you impress me even more! You do a tremendous job with social marketing.

  26. I find that the only people who visit my blog and comment are from blogs where I make comments--and only a few of those, at that. Usually, I'll have a 20% return from blogs where I regularly comment. I have a feeling that this kind of socialization in which I'm always the initiator would reverse at some point if I were to keep up the effort. But my life has not allowed for me to do a lot of blogging lately due to other stressors like building a house. And inconsistency is death to a blog. It really is.

  27. Brock Henning said: Also something we all should remember is that socializing and connecting are two-way streets. There's a reason it's called an online "community." I would encourage people to interact more than just leaving a one-time comment hoping to drive traffic to our own blogs.

    My response: Hi Brock. Great point! We obviously don't want to visit other blogs and leave comments just to drive traffic to our blogs. We need to go into the experience with a reciprocal approach.

    However, I think as we begin to make our way around cyberland, we'll find that perhaps we connect with certain bloggers more than others and we'll perhaps linger longer on certain blogs than others. Especially as our blog followings grow, we won't have the time anymore to visit with everyone and perhaps we'll need to prioritize. (Or when you're under deadline, like I am, you may not be able to visit much at all!)

  28. Sometimes it is hard to visit every blog I'd like to visit in a given day or week and at the same time keep up with my writing goals and the rest of my life but feel really fortunate to be in contact with so many amazing people:-)

  29. These were some excellent points! Socializing with other bloggers is definitely key in generating traffic. They more blogger love you spread, they more you get back!

  30. Excellent ideas, Jody.

    I try to post entertaining topics that will interest my readers, and visit their blogs as often as I can. Relationship building is the key, I believe.


  31. Excellent post, Jody. I'm new to writing a blog but I've been reading them for a long time. Your tip about using the title of your post as a hook is vital. I use a Reader for most of my blogs, so the only thing I see about them at first are their titles. If a title doesn't interest me, I skip it. Your tip about Tweeting your blog posts is also good. I've found lots of great blogs through Twitter.

  32. What a great post, Jody. And so helpful.
    I'm trying to find my 'brand' for blogging with my personal blog, but I'm not sure. I kind of have different writing series with mom-devotions intermingled.

    I probably need to pick a category and stick with it :-)But if I'm consistent with my inconsistency does that work too? ;-)

  33. I'm no expert, but for me, socializing has worked wonders. Plus I've learned so much from all the other bloggers.

  34. Great post. I agree with everything you've said. When I talk with other bloggers who complain about traffic I always ask: How many blogs do you read? Do you ever comment?

    The same rule that applies in "real life" holds on the Internet too: if you're genuinely interested in people, odds are you'll be interesting too!

  35. I love socialising with my writerly blogging buddies, its alot fun and you do set up a good network for writing and support. I've participated in 3 blogfests thus far but each time has created an opportunity to meet new friends. It's a great way to hone your writing skills too. Twitter is also a way to find great like minded people. ;)

  36. As a new blogger, this information is golden. Thank you Jody.

  37. Hi, everyone! Jody, I blogged about this recently, too. I also recently discovered the RSS readers, namely the Google Reader. Loving it!

    I tend to not leave a comment when a bunch of others already have; like 20 or more. But I do try to read blogs for about an hour every day, and leave at least 5 comments on others' blogs. I'll comment on the blogs in which I feel I have something to add.

    I've joined Rachael Harrie's Blogger's Crusade. I've also been sucked into the twitterverse. The more we socialize in the different avenues, the more others will socialize with us.

    I started my blog in February. I now have about 60 followers. (Started Twitter in June/July. Already have over 100 there.) My comments on my blog really picked up when I simultaneously (within a week) hosted my first contest, joined Rachael's Crusade, started tweeting a lot, and shared 100 things about me on my 100th blog post. Now I generally have lots of friends stopping by to say hi.

    Hope some of these ideas help others too. Oh, and I find that it makes a blog much more manageable to navigate when you have a HOME PAGE TAB. And the share buttons work best at the bottom of the post so the reader doesn't have to scroll back to the top to find it.

  38. Hi Jody -

    Answering individual commenters and commenting on other blogs has drawn traffic. I enjoy people and building connections.

    Author interviews and giveaways are also popular.

    Susan :)

  39. As a writer of fiction (no particular genre), I'm not sure how to blog to attract my target audience. Do I post short short stories? Do I talk about story ideas that have occurred to me throughout the week? Any suggestions?

  40. I think another good tip is to keep the blog posts short or "scannable" -- similar to what you do with the bolded headings for each point.

  41. Hi Elaine,

    I think it is particularly hard for fiction writers to narrow down a focus for their blogs--especially before publication, with the intent of trying to draw specific readers. Non-fiction writers probably have a bit easier time defining their readership (i.e. target their posts to young moms, professional working women, etc.).

    I've heard others suggest that fiction writers can focus on an aspect of their genre. For example since I write historical romance, I could write about romantic tips from historical couples. Or I could share interesting tidbits of marriage makers. That kind of thing!

    But, I've used my blog instead, to chronicle my journey to publication and beyond, to give those around cyberland a real glimpse into what the process is like for an author moving through all the various stages. That's been fun for me.

    Ultimately, I think you should find what works for you and what you enjoy! Hope that helps, Elaine!

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  43. Jody,

    Thank you so much for answering my question! You have given me some great ideas.

    The truth is I've been shy about participating in public forums. I am one of those people who visits blogs but never post comments, but I'm trying my best to break from that comfortable place!

    Rachel, I love your Crusade for Writer Bloggers idea. I will definitely stop by.

  44. Again you've offered some great tips, Jody. Thank you!

    I agree with you (and the commenters) that socializing is key. I like how you pointed out, though, that we should be working at being a good online friend and show genuine interest. Being honest and real is so important in building true friendships, as well as bringing traffic back to your words!

    I'm relatively new to blogging, but a couple of things have helped boost traffic to my blog. As an aspect of socializing, I've found that entering into online devotional carnivals (like (in)courage - - and Rachel Olsen's - - monthly blog carnivals) really boost traffic to my blog. I am working on building return traffic, though.

  45. This totally inspired me to change up my blog a little bit. I'm taking each step at a time but hoping to start fitting in all the things I need to in order for my blog to be a success. Thanks for the advice!

  46. I make sure I visit The Important Ones who follow my blog. Sharing their blogs with others. Good manners and a smile always gets me visiting, so I try and do the same for my blogs.

    Nissi Peters

    Author Glynis Smy

    I love your character list. It is so useful. I am using it for my NaNoWriMo novel. Thanks for sharing.

  47. I recently started my blog. While I do see some traffic, it is not what I was hoping for. My audience is MG and YA and I strongly write my blogs for them...not sure if this is the problem. I am trying to update regularly (once a week)but I know that I do enjoy it. So, I will keep at it.

  48. Just like in real-life scenarios, a blog or website should always stand out, giving the impression that it's doing its thing in style. It should make some lasting impressions and have unique content. And, I do agree that we should set out and socialize in order to make our site known. It's more than just being online acquaintances; it's about making genuine connections which can have a positive effect on the website and even on us as online publishers.


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