I have been reworking my blogs over the last couple of weeks (and still have a few more weeks of effort to get them all where they should be). While I was doing this work, a few things have come up here and there about my methods for doing things certain ways and even at certain times. A few of these suggestions have to do with just generally increasing the potential exposure of the blog, because lets face it, regardless of what reason you are writing your blog in almost all instances you want the public to find and read it. A few other suggestions have to do with promoting the site through more traditional methods like the search engines and things like SEO (Search Engine Optimization). As I have been working through some of the redesign of the pages, I have occasionally wondered why I did something the way I did it originally and several things have changed and I had to work back through them. I thought I would make some notes of these kind of things for myself and decided it would probably be a beneficial thing to share with several people.
- URL for SEO – I have said this before, but a good URL that contains the major key words of what the site is about is just plain hard to beat. I think I have pointed to that before and it was interesting that during this reworking of my sites, a work colleague got the same kind of message in some major SEO optimization work shop where the work CMS is being major reworked and probably getting a new URL. I know some of you are thinking what the heck? How does Mephistos work for that? And I can only answer you are right – it is horrid. But then again, my post here are not focused and really a mixed bag of everything. On the other hand, Equine Games is have a mini explosion of traffic with minimum content that is just starting to grow.
- Post Cycle: Frequency – I have noticed a few things about when and how often I should post. My traffic kind of builds up a lot more if I post everyday first of all. There is the traffic that just finds the recent post of the last couple of days but then reads some of the other very fresh content. Now, given that I write several blogs besides Mephistos, I rarely hit more than a few days in a row, but honestly, it would be best if I would hit some general consistency. I have been trying to work this out somewhat in my head, as I generally post to Mephistos about three or four times to every other blog – maybe at least every other day here and one or two times a week on the other blogs?
- Posting Cycle: Days – The best way to work at days is to eliminate some. First, Saturday is the absolute worst day to post and my traffic on all sites points that out. It is kind of no thought required. Most people are away from work and those that compute at home rarely do not have other things they are doing on Saturdays that get them away from the computer. Sundays are generally out as well, though sometimes you can make up for Sunday posting with promotion on Mondays. And the right post on Sunday can strike the right audience and boom with traffic – my problem is I have yet to put my finger on just what that specific post is. Holidays should also be avoided, unless you just have to get it out there. Pretty much the rest of days are fine, though Monday mornings get limited following as do Friday afternoons. Again, I should be more away of my writing and posting. Even though I get the most time to write on the days I have just mentioned, for that initial traffic (which will often impact later traffic) I should use the schedule feature.
- Posting Cycle: Time – I state to begin the best times to post are specifically during the lunch hour followed by an 8:00-9:00am time frame. I am sure that would need adjustment with a more global blog, but most of my readers either share my time zone or hit in the next one or so.? Late night posts come in better than other times, as they still show fresh in the AM, though the time of posting can be offset by the follow-up promotion on social networks (see below). Clearly the times you target are afternoon and early to mid morning, regardless of what is being done. Granted, I do not all always follow that, but I should do better – as it is easy to change the time of publishing in WordPress and most other blogging software.
- Posting Cycle: Summary – Putting it all together, despite often writing several posts during a day, I should post one or max of two per days. I should schedule at appropriate times and generally should schedule all but breaking news or time sensitive data to avoid holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays. My other blogs should have consistent days that I try to schedule my post for given they are not going to be daily in nature, but instead more every few days or so.
- Placement of Content – Okay, I thought this kind of thing was all worked out by using things like CSS and such to do locations and search engine spiders being a bit smarter these days. However, I got bit the other day when I was checking some stuff for a newer blog I am helping someone work up. It had an RSS feed from some relevent terms in the top of the left menu bar. Guess what showed up in the search engine index a day later? Yeah, some feed information that was only barely relevent to the actual text. Lesson learned, put menus, feeds, sponsorships, advertising and such to the right to be sure – leaving only the actual body of your work – the post (or the meat of your message if you will) on the top left. That way, even if something gets picked up wrong, the wrong thing will still be your actual information – which is much more likely to lead to a click from the engines.
- Spiders and Crawlers are DUMB – It kind of goes without saying, but sometimes a good reminder of search engine spiders being dumb is important. Your title and the first few lines should really be on point about what the post is all about. A reminder I got from my friend who did the SEO seminar the other day and that sometimes I forget about. More importantly, while you and I understand the humor or sarcasm of something the spiders just index it under the misleading terms and not what we really want our stuff to be found under. This is probably the second most important thing to keep in mind when trying to build traffic to a specific site – right after having that perfect URL.
- Social Media Push – Being as most of us are individuals trying to build the traffic, we do not have the multiple thousands of friends or followers on various social sites. What we do have is a few friends that will loyally read our sites and share it to their friends, directly or indirectly – via commenting and such. However, that only works when they see the notation of new posts. I have things set to push it to some aspects of social media automatically when posted. As very little of what I write is time sensitive I follow-up, trying to hit the opposite time window (see above) on the following day. I try to hit the social networks on which I am typically active and engage in conversations myself. I also try to automate the process as much as possible however., as you do not want to get to bogged down or it can become a full-time job. Using a tool like Share This can go a log way with this process.
I think that is enough for notes about blogging steps to help generate traffic to your site. I will continue this with blogging notes for traffic II in the next few days, look for it.
** – Image from WikiMedia Commons.