I was reviewing a bunch of the questions that were posted at TrafficAndConversion.com about blogs.
Wow, there are a lot!
Most of them are answered in MakingBlogMoney and others are on the MakingBlogMoney Blog. I felt compelled to answer this question for you today, though, because Dennis and his wife are doing a lot of things right.
And they’re so very close to doing much better…
Here’s what I mean…
“I set up a blog for my wife: http://www.themysterystartshere.com. It links to her ebooks (www.silveradopublishing.com) and I just put some AdSense links on it. I think it looks ok, but we are not getting any traffic. Each post pings numerous sites – but still no traffic. She has made comments on various mystery oriented web sites/bloggs.
How can you help us generate traffic?”
Like I said, Dennis, you’ve done a lot of things very well here.
First, you decided to self-host your blog. That gives you the most flexibility possible in deciding what to do with your blog, and how to monetize it.
Second, the blog you set up is a WordPress blog. WordPress is by far the most popular blog system, is the best supported, has the most plugins and themes, and is among the easiest to use. Good choice. (Did you get the most recent update? The admin interface is MUCH better!)
Third, you’ve got your keyword right in your URL: Mystery. Good job there, too.
Fourth, your wife is writing in her blog very consistently with good, original content. Applause for her. The biggest problem most people have is not writing consistently and continually. I can see your wife Carlene has a real passion for her topic.
So what’s wrong with your blog? Here are a three ideas.
Reason 1) Your Titles – They are pretty much devoid of keywords. Your most recent post is called “He said/she said” and the one before is called “Disappointing”.
The traffic you are missing is from search engines, and the search engines figure out what your page is about based on certain things, like the title of the page, the H1 tags on the page, and the links on the page. Even boldfacing and italics help.
What do you think Google learns from a page called “disappointed”?
Now, kudos to you for setting up your page names to match the post names (we explain how to do that — a little differently than you did it — in the MakingBlogMoney book), but the words you are using are meaningless to Google and Yahoo. (and maybe even to your readers).
Rather than calling the post “disappointing” (your May 11th post) how about you call it something like “Mystery Books — Sue Grafton’s T is for Trespass book Reviewed”. Consider what that title gets you…
* “Mystery book” is a keyword I know you want to be found with. Stacking it to the left of your title also helps.
* Google knows that Sue Grafton is a mystery writer, and related keywords like this help to tell Google what you’re about.
* Her book title is going to be searched as well. Whether you like it or not, you want the “T is for Trespass” traffic coming your way.
* Lots of people search for book reviews, so having that word in there is helpful.
Alternate title: “Four Mystery Books to Avoid – Including Sue Grafton’s T is for Tresspass”
Reason 2) Get Rid of your Adsense
Until you actually have traffic on your site, there’s no reason to try to monetize it. You’ll end up with zero dollars either way, and the presence of the ads is a distraction for the very few readers you have.
Studies by SEO experts (like Nathan Anderson) have actually shown that Google ranks pages lower when they have Adsense on them. Now, that never made sense to me, but the proof was there, right in the numbers that I saw.
I believe the adjustment to Google’s search rankings was made because of all of the “junk” sites filled with meaningless content and tons of ads.
In any case, your goal is not to make money with Adsense anyway, is it? I believe your goal is to sell your books, right?
Nix the Adsense — at least for now. If Adsense revenue is your eventual goal, add it when there’s actually traffic. It won’t earn you anything now anyway.
Reason 3) Participate in your community!
I bet there are lots and lots and LOTS of mystery websites. And I’m guessing that many of them get a tremendous amount of traffic.
According to Google, you’ve got TWO inbound links to your site. That’s it.
According to Yahoo, you’ve got 211.
But all 211 of those links are from just two websites — your own, and barriesummy.blogspot.com, another mystery blog.
Once Google knows what your site is about, they determine the importance of your site by the number, quality, and type of inbound links coming into your site.
Your job, as a blogger, is to pick a few other top mystery book websites (you can search blogsearch.google.com to find them) and comment to them regularly. Go pick 5 blogs, and read and comment on each one just one day of the week. (so make one of them your Monday read, and another your Tuesday read, and so on).
Always leave a helpful, authoritative comment. And always leave your URL in the comment form.
That becomes a link back to your site — it’s not one that all search engines will follow (these links are of a slighly different nature than most) but you will get people clicking those links to find out “who made that great comment” or “I’ve gotta give her a piece of my mind!”.
You mentioned in your question that you’d been doing this, but you need to do it more.
Now, another thing you need to do to participate in the community of mystery lovers is to also link out to other blogs from your blog. Google looks at both inbound links and outbound links when creating its rankings. If you’ve got only inbound links, you’re not participating, and they care.
Those are just three things, Dennis and Carlene, that you can do to improve the traffic on your blog. You can find lots more in the Making Blog Money course that Ross and I have built.
There’s a blog setup guide in there that tells you exactly what plugins to to install, and how to install them (including an SEO plugin that reallllly helps with rankings). The book also has some other fancy tweaks to improve your SEO.
The Blogging Basics guide will tell you more about how to title your posts and why you should definitely be using Categories on your blog. And then there’s Ross’s Traffic Guide. Wow, if you think that the Community advice (above) was going to be helpful in attracting traffic, wait till you see what else Ross shows you about how to get traffic from Yahoo, Web2.0 sites, and other blogs.
If you want to build a blog, and learn how to get traffic to it, and monetize that traffic, we hope you’ll take a look at Making Blog Money.
You’ll find some free advice at MakingBlogMoney.com
But if you want to skip the Opt-In and free info, you can go directly to this Blog Setup Guide (with all of the plugin and SEO info).
You’ll find the blog setup guide here.
To Your Success,
P.S. The setup guide will help you whether or not you already have a blog. It’s got lots of tweaks, plugins and optimizations that you can use on your WordPress blog, even if you’ve already got it set up. In fact, the actual setup instructions for the new blog are only a couple of pages (it’s pretty easy).
So if you’ve got a blog already, you should still get this blog setup guide.