Five Ways to Increase Your Blog's Page Views

Graph showing Blog Page Views

So you started a blog. What's the secret to increasing its page views? This blog is tiny compared to many, but happily, it's going in an upward direction. 

This blog bumped along until a year ago, when I made a concerted effort to post more consistently and increase my exposure. Here are five things I did that helped increase my page views and readership:

1.  Add Internal Links to Improve Site Stickiness

Sticky situation illustration
© 2012 Sylvia Liu

When people land on a post, I want them to stay on my site and read other content, so I: 

  • Add related links to each post. I add links to 2 or 3 similar posts at the end of every article. Plug ins are available for Wordpress and Blogger that do this automatically (for example, nrelate), but I prefer to add relevant links manually. 
  • Link to my own content whenever possible. If I refer to a previous post, I link to it.
  • Create permanent pages. Older posts get lost in the ether, even with the use of tags. To keep good content available, I create page tabs such as "Artist/Writer Info" and "Reviews" that are always visible under my banner. 
When I did this in September 2011, my page views doubled, as people stuck around to explore other parts of the blog.

2. Improve SEO to Improve Search Results

SEO illustration
© 2012 Sylvia Liu

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means organizing your site and writing your articles with search engines like Google in mind. Your goal is to have your site placed highly in search results (the top slots on the first page). I'm not an SEO expert, but I try to:
  • Make images SEO friendly by renaming them. Search engines will crawl image file names, so it's better to save files as relevantkeyword.jpg than IMG_001589.jpg. This is particularly helpful if you are an artist or illustrator and would like your images to show up in searches.
  • Tag photos with "title" and "alt" text. I take advantage of Blogger's "Properties" tags, which allow me to add additional text that is picked up by search engines. To get to the Properties box, click the Properties tag on the menu bar that shows up when you add an image:
 Clicking on it will open this form, which I fill with SEO-friendly text:

3.  Use Social Networks to Attract Readers

Illustration on social networks
© 2012 Sylvia Liu

If you build it, they won't necessarily come. Here are two things I do to bring readers to my blog:
  • Spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. When I publish a post that I think people would be interested in, I link to it on my other social media sites. I don't do it for every post, and I don't link to them ad nauseum, but Twitter and Facebook have turned into reliable sources of readers. Every once in awhile I repost older popular posts.

4. Actively Connect With Others in Niche

Holding hands illustration
© 2012 Sylvia Liu
This is probably the secret sauce. Once I started interacting with others and participating in my niche, my blog's viewership steadily grew. Here are some of the things I've done this past year:
  • Participate in a comment challenge. In January, I joined Mother Reader's comment challenge, which asked participants to leave 5 comments on blogs each day for 20 days. All participants were children's book bloggers, so I met interesting people in my field. It did take time to read and comment on blogs, but I discovered some great blogs, and leaving comments led people back to my blog.
  • Post to Illustration Friday. Illustration Friday is a weekly forum where illustrators create and post illustrations based on a prompt, and the illustrations link back to their blogs or websites.  
  • Be generous when networking. I like interviewing and featuring other illustrators or artists, because they have something valuable to share. The side effect of highlighting others is that they bring their followers to the site when they share the interview.

    For example, when I blogged about #Storyappchat, a weekly Twitter chat about children's story apps (#storyappchat), many of those I linked to retweeted or brought readers to the story.

5. Create Useful Content, Keep it Interesting, and Post Regularly

© 2012 Sylvia Liu

My most popular posts have been posts where I share Blogger tips. That makes sense, as they are of broadest interest, and they provide concrete tips that readers can immediately put to use (for example, how to add social icons to your blog).

The posts that I most enjoy creating, however, are the ones where I share my art or thoughts on life. The key for me is to keep myself interested and motivated to blog. It's great if I can find an audience that shares my interests, but even if I don't, at least I haven't wasted my time doing something I don't enjoy.

I also try to post at least once or twice a week, which brings back repeat visitors. Last month, I posted more frequently as part of 30-day art challenge (Sweet Squares), which resulted in an even greater increase in page views.

And a Parting Thought:  

It takes time. It's hard to expect a blog to take off immediately. This blog had a year and a half of sporadic and then somewhat steady posts before I started seeing more traffic. In the last few months, I've had a big jump in page views. It's either because the blog finally has reached the point where its popular posts are showing up in the prime spots of Google search results, or it's attracted the notice of Russian spambots.

   ... unless it doesn't. If you have a great idea and determination, you certainly can make an immediate splash. For example, fellow 12x12x12 writer Elizabeth Omlor started a blog called Banana Peelin' featuring picture book authors' initial stumbles into the world of publishing, that was immediately successful.