That title is probably better off as a question rather than a statement. Why? It's because there is no step-by-step procedure, no secret formula, no magic traffic booster... when it comes to increasing blog readership. At least, not in my experience.
But, I tell you what: A massive traffic boost happened to me last week. The biggest I've experienced in a long time. My average visitors increased to over 200% almost overnight. There were even a couple of days when my blog readership jumped to over 300%. I nearly fell off my chair.
So, what did I do? And, how can I help you to do the same?
Well, to be honest, I can't be completely certain. I don't usually check my statistics that often anymore. And, when I do, I usually just do a quick look of the summary. But, this time, I ended up analysing my stats. And, based on what happened, here are tips that I'm taking a note of when it comes to increasing blog readership:
1) Use StumbleUpon, as often as possible. I'm a latecomer to StumbleUpon. But, ever since I found out how fantastic it is, I knew that it will be a staple in my blogging life. So, to make Stumbling easier, I installed the StumbleUpon toolbar. I'm using Firefox so, I use this add-on. I believe there's also an Internet Explorer equivalent. I highly recommend it!
Once you have a StumbleUpon account (sign-up is free), and you've installed the toolbar, start Stumbling. One way to start is to give a 'thumbs up' to blogs and websites that you love to visit. And yes, you can Stumble both the 'main page' of the blog/site and/or individual pages/blog entries. And yes, you can Stumble your own blog and blog entries (make sure that you choose only your 'best' posts - the ones you're really proud of). But, make sure you don't do just that - Stumble everything that you would be happy to recommend to other people. If people like what you Stumble, you can gain more credibility.
And, one important tip: Other than rating/reviewing blogs, blog entries, websites, and web pages, it helps if you also use StumbleUpon to look at other people's recommendations. If you put in your interests, etc in your account, you will only get suggestions based on your preferences. It's a great way to surf the web and find lots of interesting stuff.
It's a good idea to use StumbleUpon as a tool regularly, if you wish to make sure that you get consistent traffic from it. Oh, and yeah, you can try to make it easy for your blog readers to give you a Stumble by adding a 'Stumble It' link in your blog entries.
For additional reading, check out DoshDosh's A Comprehensive Guide to StumbleUpon: How To Build Massive Traffic to Your Website
Oh, and if you're a StumbleUpon user, feel free to
- leave your username here via comment so I can add you as a 'friend' (feel free to add me too - mine's 'weblogrrl')
- share your tips, comments, feedback, and questions here too
2) Write at least one useful blog entry a week. Something that other folks might find interesting, link-worthy, etc. I know it's not easy to come up with these types of blog entries. One thing that might be worth remembering when coming up with ideas is to answer the question, "What can I blog about that will help my blog readers?" Offer an idea, review a product, share some cool links, give them a laugh...
3) Just blog more often, more regularly. If people know that there's something to see in your blog regularly, then they might be encouraged to visit more often. In fact, this was reiterated to me in last month's survey results.
4) Be an authentic blogger. Often, I find myself guarded with my public persona. But, I now realised that I can still be authentic, without getting too personal.
And yeah, authenticity is one thing that resonates with people. For example, when I wrote Notes to Self: On the Wisdom of Simply Being, it was my way to defy all these crazy things that I feel have been holding me back. It was for me. My reminder. And, it looks like it's something that other people are dealing with too. Now, it's my most popular blog entry.
"The authentic self is the soul made visible." - Sarah Ban Breathnach
5) Take part in blog projects. This is seriously a very good way to increase readership. Blogging in a vacuum is okay if you're just blogging for yourself or you're simply trying to reach just a small audience. But, if you want to reach out more, then blogging projects are the way to go. Look for things that you're interested in - blog carnivals, group writing projects, memes, challenges... There are plenty out there. An example for me is the Illustration Friday project that I occasionally take part in. I wish I can do more of these!
6) Link Out Often. If you thinking linking to other blogs and bloggers will take readers away from you, think again. If you show your readers that you're a great place to discover other blogs, and if they know that you take part in blogging conversations, then the more you'll attract people to your blog. No matter how personal your blog might be, it doesn't have to be just all about you.
7) Comment in Other Blogs. If you leave a comment in my blog, chances are, I'll visit your blog. If I like what I see, I visit again. If we end up friends, you'll be visited regularly and subscribed to and such. I also tend to visit the links of other commenters in other people's blogs, if they leave interesting comments. I think, I'm not the only person who does this. So, if you leave (good) comments in other people's blogs, you can attract visitors too.
8) Be part of the community. Other than blog projects, linking, and commenting, joining mailing lists and forums in your areas of interest can definitely be useful. Tools and sites like Flickr, Facebook, Yahoogroups, MyBlogLog, and such are definitely useful for increasing blog readership. And yes, engaging blog readers always helps.
Yes, I know that doing all of these things in one week is going to be a tough challenge. But, you don't really need to do it all in one go, if you're pressed for time (or you just don't have the energy). If you can do these things bit by bit, then you will still see an increase in your blog readership.