Summer Says: How to Gain More Blog Traffic

I’ve been a total failure when it comes to this Summer Says discussion series, but here’s my attempt at reviving it once more anyway. Today let’s talk about some ways that can help one gain more blog traffic. And, yes, I am fully aware that this contradicts my entire “numbers aren’t important” spiel from the very first Summer Says post, but it would be a lie to say that it doesn’t cross my mind at all anymore, because it does-especially when a post does or, lately, doesn’t do particularly well.

But before I share anything, I should probably include why I’m qualified to give “advice” about this topic. Well, first, actually it’s debatable if I am, in the position to that is. (Which is why I put advice in quotations earlier.) Because I don’t really consider my blog to be that popular, but I can confidently say that I am happy with the amount of response I get towards my posts even if it is less compared to the more huge, interactive blogs out there. In addition, I have been blogging for about 2.5 years, which I guess can be deemed as a long time to some. But take this list with a grain of salt. View them as friendly suggestions that you can feel free to adopt or reject instead of reputable advice.

Also, with this post you’ll realize that I’ll be perhaps too truthful and kind of savage about some things (like how I actually don’t feel ashamed about unfollowing blogs). But I hope that this doesn’t make you view me differently as a person. Like with all my Summer Says posts, being honest with you guys is the utmost important thing to me.

Oh and one last thing, you guys already know that I struggle at keeping things pithy. So by no means do I expect you to read this entire monster of a post. You’ll be able to get the gist of things from the headers alone but I’ve even bolded the main parts of each section for emphasis to make it easier for you.


1. UTILIZE AN APPROPRIATE BLOG DESIGN AND THEME

Before one assesses what content you produce they’re going to need to be drawn in first. Therefore, how your blog looks is important.

A lot of people are mistaken that they need to pay to have a pretty site, but really one can create a nice, functional design for free as long as they know how to use the available features to their advantage. Therefore before resorting to going self hosted or buying theme packages, see if you’ve already reached the limit of what the free stuff can offer. Don’t be afraid to look things up if you don’t understand, such as some simple HTML coding. It’s also mighty important to choose a layout that presents your information appropriately. For example, if you’re a blogger that is text heavy with your posts, like if you often write book reviews, I would not recommend a photo gallery type of format (those are best for photography blogs). Also, restrain yourself from cluttering your site. Choose widgets that provide function or help your followers navigate better. But aside from those main tips personalize your blog as much as you want; no one’s stopping you.

2. THINK QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

It’s a given that people prefer quality content over getting their newsfeed or email bombarded with lower grade posts. Therefore you don’t have to force yourself to post everyday to get recognized by others. Instead strive to create when you feel inspired or motivated to, even if that means it’s only twice or once a week, or even less.

Also, be able to identify when you’re starting to feel burned out or getting slumpy. In those situations, it’s just best to remind yourself that it’s okay to take hiatuses to recharge.

[Side note: Also, I don’t know about you guys, but blogging is kind of similar experience to writing papers for school (but more fun) for me. I word it that way because I know the difference between when I’ve produced something that is worthy to proud of versus something I halfheartedly turned in for the sake of a grade. The take away point from this analogy is that you’ll have a more fulfilling blogging experience if you put effort into your posts. Plus, the readers of your blog can tell when you’ve worked hard on something and they’ll appreciate that sincerity.]

3. ATTEMPT TO BE CONSISTENT

It goes without saying that blogs that have schedules (like posting reviews certain days and bookish memes on others) will have more traffic for their consistency. Because then readers will know when to anticipate for the content they’re interested in. (For example, I normally don’t blog hop on Tuesdays because I’m no longer participating or interested in Top Ten Tuesday posts, which is the majority that is published on those days by book bloggers.)

And being consistent kind of moves into iffy territory because, in a way, this almost negates the entire “it’s okay to take blogging hiatuses” bit from the earlier point.

[Side note: Personally, when I find that a blogger becomes inactive for long period of time and I didn’t even notice that they were gone (as harsh as that sounds), it shows that my intersecting interests with that blogger or what I originally followed them for has changed, so in those circumstances I do default to unfollowing. But you’ll (maybe gasp and) still ask, “Why, Summer? It’s not like they’re cluttering your newsfeed with their inactivity.” That’s true, but my answer is that I follow blogs to keep up with them, and I can only keep up with them if they actually publish content. I digress,,.]

I’m not at all suggesting that hiatuses are negative. They’re healthy and should be taken when a blogger feels like they need them. If you can predict you’re going to be gone because of work, academic, personal, or emergency situations let you readers/viewers know. (You have no obligations to explain why if you don’t feel comfortable, of course.) But it’s good to announce these things so that your followers don’t think you’re ignoring their comments or messages when they try to contact you. And it’s also an indicator to let followers know you are coming back and not disappearing for good.

4. FOLLOW OTHER BLOGS

This is another no brainer, but with this I wanted to say to keep in mind that you should follow blogs without the “follow for follow” or “follow back” mentality. I suggest only clicking the follow button if you genuinely like the content the blogger curates. The idea of following or subscribing is so that it’ll make one of the tips I’ll later talk about (reading and commenting on blogs) easier. Also, be selective with which blogs you choose to follow. Pick those that have similar interests to you. Besides, it’s easier to keep up with 15 blogs than, say, 100.

5. COMMENT ON OTHER BLOGS

You’ve probably have already heard that interaction is key, and it’s true. Commenting on other blogs is an easy way to selectively interact with bloggers without the same commitment as following them.

Quality over quantity also applies to the strategy of commenting. Leave thoughtful comments. Avoid only typing “Great post!”or generic comments where the blogger cannot tell if you read their post are not. Simply put, they’re not going to feel compelled to check out your blog when they see that you seemingly put little to no effort while visiting theirs. But, in contrast, you don’t have to leave what I call Summer bombs (aka long, essay-like comments), but do comment with sincerity.

As for what type of blogs to comment on… This has already been a common theme in today’s list, but, again, choose blogs that release similar content to your own. That way it gives them a reason to check out your site. Consider commenting on new blogs. Welcome them, give them an idea of how awesome and supportive this community is. Plus, chances are they’re eager to make new friends as you are. And don’t hesitate to comment on established, well-known blogs. Mainly because you can learn a lot from them since they must doing something right to gain that much attention. Also, if a lot of users frequent those sites it’s likely those same visitors might stumble upon your comment and check out your blog as well.

And I guess I should really amend this heading, because don’t limit yourself to just blog posts! Comment on relevant Bookstagram photos, booktube videos, and/or posts on other accounts (ex. Goodreads reviews).

6. ACKNOWLEDGE COMMENTS ON YOUR OWN BLOG

Everyone knows I’m not the best example of someone that replies to comments in a timely fashion, but I do eventually get around to answering all of them. Because I strongly believe in the importance of acknowledging comments that are made on your own blog. The people that comment took the time to, whether it be seconds or minutes, so in my opinion the least that you can do is acknowledge that you saw it. If you cannot get around to replying (which I’m super guilty of most of the time), a simple upvote, like, or even commenting back on that person’s blog will do. Anything that makes that person feel like their comment wasn’t purposely disregarded or ignored.

In addition, if you do have the chance to reply, I also suggest responding with equal sincerity to commenter’s comment. There’s no right or wrong way to answer, but writing on the internet can easily be misinterpreted. So a generic “thank you” answer to an essay long comment might appear like a halfhearted reply, and you don’t want that. But also, vice versa, I wouldn’t spend too much time on the generic “Great post!” comments.

7. MAKE SURE THE LINKS RELATED TO YOUR BLOG ACTUALLY WORK

With certainty that you have all of the other stuff down, the next step is to check if all the links that are associated with your blog are actually working and can refer back to your blog. There have been numerous of times where I’ve wanted to blog hop onto a user’s blog by clicking on his/her’s hyperlinked name/image, but then the link doesn’t work. And you can bet on eleven unicorns that I wasn’t curious enough to go search for that user’s blog on google. It’s your responsibility to make sure these things work. (I didn’t realize this was so important until I looked at my “referrer” section under my blog stats. Many people have found Xingsings through other blogs apparently.) Also, don’t be lazy. If you’re going to talk about something you previously published in a post, link it! Make things convenient and accessible for readers/visitors of your blog.

8. ADOPT SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS FOR FUTHER PUBLICITY

Personally, I don’t use my social media accounts to their full potentials but I know that becoming available on additional platforms have worked for a lot of bloggers. The more options or places people can find you or get notified of when you post something new, the better.

9. NETWORK AND BUILD FRIENDSHIPS

Obviously, this tactic is more of a long-term one compared to just commenting. Making friends isn’t only for the good company but they can become a group of your constant supporters. You can rely on them for advice if you’re uncertain about something. Plus, this gives you the opportunity to collaborate and get your voice out there on other blogs (via things like guest posting). So if you’re interested in making friends through the blogosphere, join events that involve other bloggers with the same interest as you. If you’re a book blogger, consider signing up for blog tours, readathons, challenges, buddy reads, bookish events and author signings.

10. MAKE YOURSELF AND YOUR BLOG STAND OUT

As you know, there are a gazillion of blogs out there. So it helps if you know your strengths and use them in a way that helps make your blog unique. Create unique features that can only be found on your blog; or publish posts that people can immediately attribute to only you. For example, people can recognize your content by the way you format your posts, use pictures to supplement your posts, or acquire a particular writing “voice.” To be honest, this entire concept is still a work in progress for me.

[BONUS] HAKUNA MATATA! JUST HAVE FUN

With all that having been shared though… Again, at the end of the day, what makes you a successful blogger doesn’t have to equate to something that is measurable. A successful blogger can simply be a fulfilled one. You should feel entitled to be proud of yourself, regardless of however many followers, visitors, or views you have. Ultimately, just enjoy yourself and have fun with blogging.


Lol, so I’m starting to second guess why I’m publishing this post now (it was saved as a draft for the longest time) since my traffic has been quite sparse as of late (thanks to my hiatus because of school). But, I guess I also thought it was now or never. 😀

Discussion time!

  • What suggestions do you guys have that I may have missed or didn’t cover enough?
  • Any other thoughts related to this topic?

Thank you for tuning in and/or reading today’s discussion post! Until next time. 🙂

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34 thoughts on “Summer Says: How to Gain More Blog Traffic

  1. Robert Doyle says:

    Great post Summer. Over time I have gradually learned to do all of the things you mention, so I don’t disagree with anything you suggest. For me, my advice is simply that slow and steady wins the race. I think some people might start off blogs thinking they will get a million followers and get re-posted in mainstream media right away. That is great if it actually does happen, but most of us are going to be occasional bloggers with followers in the hundreds, not millions. Which is okay. I think I actually prefer it that way so that I can answer every comment, so I can keep a schedule, so I can step away when necessary. I think the schedule part is important. I found I was going too long between posts, so I started a new weekly photo section called Monochrome Mondays. So every week I put a black and white photo up, write no more than a paragraph, and presto! I have at least one guaranteed post a week. And when I work in a music post in the same week, then I can really feel like I am keeping my followers attention span.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Hi Robert! Thank you!

      I love your advice. I 100% agree with you that there’s a lot of patience when it comes to reaching milestones and that blogging is typically the platform where the results (if you consider measuring it in stats and numbers) is much less than, say, Youtube.

      Like you though, I’m also content with having a smaller circle for now. I like being more interactive (well I try to be when I’m not swamped with schoolwork) and I don’t think I’d be able to be as involved if my blog was more popular.

      I really like that you’ve created features on your blog that cannot be found anywhere else. And having them vary in length is a good idea. I’ve tried making some of my posts more concise and shortening my reviews in the past… but word vomiting has become a persistent habit of mine, haha.

      Anyway, it’s always nice to hear from you. I hope that you’ve been well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Robert Doyle says:

        Hi Summer! Everything here is fine thanks, glad all is well with you too, There is no way I could maintain a heavy load of ‘viral’ followers. Well…I could if I were able to write and be creative all day long instead of having a ‘day’ job! As to length I think it comes to your audience. I used to meander and I find people pay more attention to them shorter, though I do have to chuckle a bit when people say have only 2 or 3 sentences per paragraph, and try to keep them under 800 words each post. To which I say NO! I guess I like being a bit of a rebel in that way. I do what I want until it doesn’t seem to work, then I make changes.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Briana says:

    I think commenting is one of the biggest things, and I’ve seen several bloggers with many followers say that commenting around was how they built their follower base. This sounds mercenary and I think some people might be wary of the idea of commenting “only” to get traffic, but I don’t think it’s a huge problem. First, you probably need to leave decently thoughtful comments for people to want to actually check out your blog, Second, the only real way to get traffic is for other people to find out your blog exists in the first place, and commenting is a great way to connect with people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Before Xingsings I tried book blogging about two other times and I abandoned both of those blogs because I was too discouraged with how little response I was getting towards the posts I shared. During that time (about 2011), I didn’t come across many book blogs and I didn’t think to look up advice. Anyway, it was only with starting this one did I begin to learn the value of commenting. I totally agree with your point, Briana! Leaving thoughtful comments on other blogs is the only sure way to get people to know that your corner of the blogosphere exists.

      Like

  3. Marie says:

    I really loved this post, Summer! It’s true that, if we want to appreciate everything and forget a bit about the numbers, in the end, when they rise or get down, it makes us change our mind and moods about blogging for sure. I wish numbers didn’t have such an impact on us at times, but well…Can’t help it, I guess? ahah 🙂
    I love how you mentioned the importance of comments and commenting – I always do my best to leave thoughtful comments and take time to write out my feelings about the post and everything else, because I enjoyed the posts I read and I want to be genuine and I know how comments can make someone’s day brighter 🙂 I always try to answer to my own comments as well with as much thought as I can. It’s what takes me the most time (as I write this, I have been commenting back and forth for the past TWO hours, erm), but I love sharing the love. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Thank you so much, Marie!

      I completely agree with you. Perhaps it’s the society we live in where technology and social media is so popular. Perhaps numbers and stats wouldn’t bother us so much 20 years ago. (But then again, I’m not sure if blogging was even a thing then.)

      I love your initiative when it comes to commenting, Marie! I can always feel how genuine and heartfelt you are through your comments, and I really appreciate them and you! I think a lot of us forget that comments aren’t something we should take for granted. Just because someone puts their time into a comment doesn’t mean that they have the time per se. Most likely, they’re a busy person as well. I’ve also learned that sometimes when a post doesn’t receive as many comments it may not reflect on the performance of the post, but maybe the post was just posted during a time period when readers of that blog were busy (like students with exams)? Anyway, thoughts like these have been circulating my mind as of late. And I’m trying to not be too hard on myself anymore, ahaha. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marie says:

        I agree – I don’t think that numbers would have mattered this much a little while ago. Now it’s all about numbers, followers, likes and everything else. I guess it’s society, now.
        Oh thank you, Summer, that means so much to me ❤ I agree – comments shouldn’t be taken for granted. It always takes a lot of time – at least it does, for me – to read a post and type out a comment and everything else. I appreciate people doing this so much. ❤ And YES, most likely, sometimes, people are just busy as well. It’s hard, though, to try and see how you did with a blog post without measuring the numbers. I guess we have to learn not to be hard on ourselves and love what we do 🙂

        Like

  4. Lois says:

    Great post. 😉

    In all seriousness I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said. I am admittedly guilty of following a book blog back out of that sense of duty but recently I’ve taken that ruthless stance and did some reorganising of my feed.

    I try to be as consistent as I can be but my moods always fluxuating and if I’ve had a busy day the blog takes a back seat. I also feel like commenting has been the best tool for bringing in traffic and is the most time consuming aspect of blogging but I do dedicate a day of the week to reply to all the comments and blog hop. That way I don’t feel too bogged down by the pressure to always be “on the ball.”

    I definitely don’t utilize social media as much as I should but again my mood dictates when I use them haha. I like browsing the bookstagram pages but it’s rare for me to actually contribute because I obsess way too much over book placement when I even attempt to do one haha.

    Also, great use of the Hakuna Matata gif. Lion King will always draw me in. 😛

    Like

  5. judiththereader says:

    Good tips! Here’s me following Tip Number 5 😉
    As you mention commenting on / reading blogs with similar interests, I completely agree with this – I use the “tag search” system to look up blog posts related to what I want to read about – books, authors, reading, and the like. 🙂

    Like

  6. Zezee says:

    Lol at Summer Bombs. I drop some of those sometimes. Can’t help myself sometimes.
    You gave some great advice there. I used to think I had to comment on every post I read, but then I started forcing myself to comment when I didn’t have much to say so I stopped. Now I Like a post if I read it and don’t have much to say and comment when I actually do.
    And yea, it is easier to follow 15 rather than 100, though I currently follow a lot of blogs, which is overwhelming when I return from a break. I like to keep up with everyone’s posts, but that’s a lot of work I don’t have time for so I just pick up where I can.
    Well then, I do hope you reach that 1000 hit.

    Like

  7. MyBookJacket says:

    I don’t think you’ve missed anything at all and this is so helpful. I do have problems with unfollowing and I end up not reading anything on my reader at all. Haha. I really should be a little less worried about what people will think when I find I’ve unfollowed their blog.

    Like

  8. Ayunda says:

    Awesome tips, and can’t wait for you to get 1000 followers, you totally deserve that much (and more). I totally agree about posting regularly and more often, it’s definitely how I recognize blogs that stand out.

    Like

  9. leathehatless says:

    Those are great tips for a blogger that achieves to be big and very well known.

    As for me, I’m actually very comfortable with the size of my blog and where I stand. The blog is a personal project of mine to be creative. I write for myself so in come to terms with just letting me set the pace and don’t worry about what other think about my little project. It was the best thing I’ve done. I feel that now the blog became the best it could without rules.

    Like

  10. bookishandawesome says:

    Yes Hakuna Matata! Wow, Summer, close to a thousand, huh? I think all of us care about the numbers, some less than others. We, as bloggers, tend to look at external factors to find assurance that we’re not just blindly shouting into the void, you know? But you do bring up a good point on how success shouldn’t be measured by followers, et al. And yes, you are very qualified to hand out advice. This is your platform. 😉 Good discussion, Summer!

    Like

  11. Amanda @Cover2CoverMom says:

    Such solid blogging advice wrapped up into one neat little post! I’ve been blogging a little over a year now, so I have learned all these things for myself over the past year. I would say the top things on this list (in my opinion) would be blog design, active in the blogging community, and unique content. I just went through a blog redesign this past month, and have had lots of great feedback from it! I’ve also been working hard to come up with fresh and creative content this year as opposed to just doing the same book reviews, weekly memes, and wrap-up posts. I’ve definitely seen more views since the redesign and posting more unique content.
    Great post!

    Like

  12. workwithithere says:

    These are some great tips. While I have not been on my current blog for more than 4 months, I would have to say that one thing that I have learned is that ” Attitude, not circumstance determines where one’s blog will go”. If we have the attitude that we can not, that we do not or could not then we can not be surprised IF that is the direction our blog goes in. On the other hand, if we have the attitude that we can, that we could and that we will, then we will most likely be able to see our blog as an outcome/result of that mentality/changed attitude.

    ~ Bre

    Like

  13. Thuong Le says:

    Boy, it has been such a long time since I’ve visited your blog! Anyway, great post Summer! Really enjoyed reading your tips on how to increase traffic and you’ve made some really valid key points 🙂 I agree with being consistent with posting reviews and attempt to do more regularly. As well as interacting with other bloggers! I think a minimal theme is best as its not cluttered and you can read/see the posts clearly. Personally I enjoy including photos in reviews, just to separate the text heavy writing (depends how much I ramble). I have been terrible with both reading and blogging together this year XD

    Like

  14. AvalinahsBooks says:

    Summer bombs 😀 that’s what I do! Gosh, I love leaving those kinds of comments! But of course, it takes a certain kind of post. You’ve got to have enough in common to be able to respond like that.

    And I also don’t feel guilty about unfollowing. Reading blogs is about loving the content after all, isn’t it.

    The replying to the comments part is a big problem for me, sadly 😦 started with several plugins not working correctly, then my blog server crashing, after which my comments were unable to be notified for months… some mailing problem. Which seems to be solved now! Only that the comments go to spam D: plain devastating is what it is, grah. I keep hoping that at least some people tend to check their WordPress panel notifications, cause at least they appear there.

    Anyway, fun post 🙂 I have only been blogging for some 7 or 8 months now (since October), but I can agree with pretty much everything you’ve said 🙂 especially hakuna matata 😀

    Like

  15. y9en says:

    Thank you so much for your helpful post. I am quite new to this blogging world and I have longs ways to go in learning. I had no idea where to even start let alone figure out how to get my content out there. I greatly appreciate your post because it gave me some useful tips on how to make my blog better and to increase traffic on the blog. Thank you!!

    Like

  16. Science time says:

    Hi
    Nice post! I’ve made a posts about ocean and some other topics so if you have time and will please go and check it out! If you like it pls follow me, I follow you.
    Thank you! 😀

    Like

  17. Nicolas says:

    Hi, I have launched my blog.
    I have launched a place where I am sharing contents and free templates for professionals and entrepreneurs.
    My roadmap contains the following milestones:
    1) Post valuable contents, including free resources
    2) Reach 1000 views
    3) Get 100 people subscribing to the newsletter
    4) Build products (Powerpoint templates and on demand consulting)
    5) Get a monthly revenue of 500€
    Does this roadmap make sense ? What would be your best advice? (it can be a general advice or one which will help me reach a specific to a step listed above).
    Thank you for your help guys! Any comment will mean a lot to me.

    Like

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