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You're there. You've identified what you want to do with your blog. You carefully stay focused. You've identified your target audience and you're blogging with purpose. You've found the right blogging voice. You're putting yourself in your readers' shoes and blogging for them and their needs.

But?

No one is reading your blog posts. Well, hardly anyone, it seems. Those posts you've toiled over for so long are lying there dormant. Unloved, even. You're getting discouraged. How can you solve people's problems when these same people aren't even reading your posts?

Yeah. That is a problem. After all, unless a person's blog is private, everyone somewhere who owns a public blog somewhere down deep inside wants someone to read what they have blogged about. It's not vanity or ego [although it very well could be]. It's the other half of writing publicly.

And it's especially important for you ~ Cousin Hunters, Genealogical Societies, and Professional Genealogists ~ who are blogging. You have an agenda. Not a bad one, mind you, but you're blogging with purpose.

And, oh yeah, you want it to happen, like, yesterday.

I got this.

Here are 3 ways to increase traffic to your genealogy blog:
  • Make sure your blog is listed on Geneabloggers.com, which was founded by Thomas MacEntee. It's been around for a while. It has great Search Engine Optimization [SEO ~ something we'll talk about later]. Just know that this means when someone searches for the term genealogy bloggers on Google, Geneabloggers.com is on the first page of the search results. And if you've listed your blog for FREE with Thomas' site, then it's categorized several ways where [And this? This is the important part.] people can find you.
  • Get into the blog readers or email inboxes [for those who subscribe by email] of bloggers who have weekly "Top Blog" lists. No, I'm not saying to craft your blog posts so that they end up on the list. That should happen organically. What I am saying, or asking rather, is, "Are they even reading your blog?" You can write the most fantastic post about whatever, but if you're not on their "To Read" list, then you're missing out on the chance of one of your blog posts being spotlighted by a genealogy blogger with more readers. You know, readers who might actually have a need for what you're blogging about. And, again, let me stress that this should happen organically. Don't hound bloggers to read your blog. That's so easy. Be different. [And more genuine.] Comment on their blog posts with sincerity. Meet up with them on an online social network. And just be you. Some bloggers who have spotlight lists to consider: Randy Seaver with Genea-Musings, Lynn Palermo with The Armchair Genealogist, and Lisa Frank with 1 Ancestry 2 Little Time. [There are more. I challenge you to find them.]
  • There is no better way to say this next suggestion. Create better blog post titles. When one writes with purpose, one usually knows where one is going in said writing. And this definitely applies to you. You are blogging with purpose. Write your title first. Be clear. Concise. Don't be vague. Tell them what you're going to give them, and then deliver it. Don't be too cutesy. [And I've been known to be too cutesy with my blog post titles.] People are busy. They need help with whatever genealogy problem they have ~ be it finding cousins, finding a genealogical society that can provide assistance with their research, or a professional genealogist who can help them solve a tough research problem on the other side of the world. There are times to break this rule, but we'll talk about that later. For now, stay focused and create better blog post titles. [And, yes, I followed my own advice on this blog post title.]
Now, please take notice. I'm not promising you'll get more readers. I am promising that if you do nothing else but the 3 suggestions I listed above, you will increase your traffic to your genealogy blog, and then a percentage will fall in love with your blog post title and feel compelled to stay for a while and read. And then a certain percentage will come back. It's like the state lottery's slogan, "You can't win if you don't play." Your blog won't grow in readership if you don't ever strategically expose new people to your blog.

Further, there are many more ways to increase traffic to your genealogy blog. What do you do or suggest others to do to increase traffic? Let me and everyone else know in comments below. Please. [I want comments. I love them, in fact.]

~Caroline

 


Comments

03/29/2012 23:03

I LOVE the graphic, Caroline. It's too fun.

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Caroline
03/31/2012 06:34

Thanks, Nancy! Picking out the image is sometimes my favorite part.

I appreciate you visiting and commenting!

~C

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06/21/2012 06:09

The graphic is wonderful--a connection with the past and present.

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03/30/2012 05:40

Informative and well done, Caroline.
Charles

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Caroline
03/31/2012 06:34

Thanks Charles! Glad you liked it.

~C

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03/30/2012 20:50

Great tips, Caroline! Here's one for you: Something I try to always do is include some sort of graphic/photo on my blog post that will catch the reader's eye (or confuse the crap out of them so they have no choice but to read the entire post). I also make sure my posts are published publicly on Facebook AND Google+. I don't care if non-genealogists read my blog - in fact, that's how I intend to find cousins (I'm pretty sure none of them are researching our family history, or I would have found them already)

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Caroline
03/31/2012 06:37

LOL, Jenny. You have 2 great suggestions, and I will be covering them in length in the future. And? You're right in your thinking about non-genealogists.

Every person has a family. Every family has history. Thus, every person is fair game in our genealogy blogging purposes.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I really appreciate it!

~C

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03/31/2012 18:27

Caroline, your advice is extremely useful to a beginner like me. I've already contacted MacEntee, who was very welcoming! Now I'm going to set about finding the spotlight lists. I like to comment on other peoples' blogs, anyway, but I never focused on the whole reciprocity business. Everything you say makes sense. Good blog post titles. I'm fired up.

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Caroline M. Pointer
04/09/2012 07:00

Thanks, Mariann! Thomas is a great person. I'm glad you contacted him, and I can't wait to read your blog posts! =)

Thanks for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it.

~C

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04/01/2012 23:35

Caroline: clear, concise post, as always! And yes...doesn't everybody love comments!

To answer your question, I'd categorize my approach under the rubric of the Golden Rule: I'll do to others what I want them to do to me (in my blog). I love getting comments, so (as you pointed out--doing this organically) I leave appropriate comments on others' blogs, whether to encourage newbies or continue "the conversation" with seasoned professionals in the field.

You mentioned Search Engine Optimization. A few tips I've learned: One is to link to others' blogs and websites that are germane to the subject I'm covering; interconnectivity can boost ranking if done right.

Another is to use visuals in your blog, whether eye-catching or thought provoking graphics like the one you posted above, or even video. (The studio that prepared my husband's website said video does drive traffic if done well--I take it that that would include re-posted material, too, if done correctly and ethically). Many of the hits on my blog are the result of searches for images, but because I use LinkWithin, sometimes those visually oriented visitors are converted into readers. I've also read that it is a good policy to use hyperlinks to link back to your own, previous blog posts if they further explain your current post.

Sometimes, something as simple as posting more frequently can help someone find you in Google searches (which are looking for generation of new material).

Though I'm relatively new to the GeneaBloggers circle and though it seems that readership is built oh, so slowly, I see reciprocity and treating the blogosphere as a "continuing conversation" as my keys to building readership. Helping someone else out by mentioning (or featuring) their blog helps in that reciprocal approach. (I don't do Follow Friday, though I've benefited from it, but I have built a post or a section of a post around something in someone else's blog that got me thinking and that I want to pass along.) I see the blog world as still evolving--and evolving as a grand conversation between people interested in learning and talking about what they find fascinating. I think we all have yet to tap into the full potential of this medium!

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Caroline M. Pointer
04/09/2012 07:02

Jacqi,

Great suggestions! And I think you are definitely on the right track with blogging.

Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! =)

~C

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04/02/2012 15:09

I have been following Charles R. Hale's example and including songs with my small granny blog and that has made a big difference Caroline. But what you say about finding your voice really resonates with me. I feel that this has helped me to write more and to be more confident in my writing. Thanks to Lynn for directing me here.

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Caroline M. Pointer
04/09/2012 07:11

Martine, Charles R. Hale's blog is top notch. I love his writing, and I think he does a wonderful job with his blog. He's definitely someone to follow as an example of "how to blog your family history". He's a outstanding and captivating storyteller.

I'm glad you like what I had to say a about voice. I think too often genealogy bloggers think they must speak formally. However, quite a few readers prefer a conversational voice over a formal voice. [Think about the blogs that capture your attention. Are they formal or conversational?] Your blog is yours and it should reflect you. And I believe that is why Charles' storytelling is so captivating. When I read his stories, I'm right there with him in his local pub, and he's telling me his stories over a pint. That is how in tune and confident with his storytelling voice Charles is. And I love it.

Thank you so much for stopping by, reading my blog, and commenting. It means a lot to me that you did so. =)

~C

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04/09/2012 06:28

Caroline
I found this post to be extremely helpful to me as a new blogger as well as new to genealogy. I am still feeling my way around genealogy and my posts at the moment tend to focus on what I am learning about this new-found passion. Being a techie geek anyway, Twitter has provided the best outlet to gain some readers, make myself known to others and find a huge array of other genea bloggers i can learn from. Thanks for the link to Geneabloggers.com. That list is enormous! My blog is http:// genealogyclues.com.

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Caroline M. Pointer
04/09/2012 07:15

Michele,

I'm glad you found my blog post helpful in your genealogy blogging endeavors. I agree with you about Twitter. I believe that it is the single best way to market your genealogy blog. In fact, I'll be delving into social media for genealogy bloggers in the near future.

I look forward to reading your blog. [Going there now...] Thank you so much for stopping by and contributing to the conversation. I really appreciate it. =)

~C

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05/13/2012 09:26

Thanks for a great post! I'll second Michele -- both as another new genealogy blogger and for her Twitter recommendation. Posting links to my blog posts there, following interesting bloggers, and responding to their tweets there are all great ways to increase my visibility. Also whenever I see an interesting link, it's so easy to post it there with fewer than 140 characters of commentary just to keep myself part of the ongoing dialog.

I'd also like to add how important Facebook is! From my "day job," I know that when your links get posted on FB, people are *seven times* more likely to click through and read them, since it's friends recommending content to friends. So I've created a FB page for my site, invited friends there, reguarly post links about my blog entries on the wall, and hope my posts are interesting enough for people to read and even share them!

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Caroline M. Pointer
05/29/2012 15:32

Tammy, yes! LOL. Twitter and Facebook are very important distribution channels for blog posts. Couldn't agree with you more.

Thanks for commenting, Tammy. =)

~C

04/09/2012 07:44

Hey Caroline.
Whenever I ask people to guest post it helps me to expose them and my blog to new readers.
But when I moved my blog address from Blogger to Wordpress I got a mess! It'll work out over time. Change is hard!
I'm on Genabloggers, but I think it's time to learn how to use it better instead of just being listed. IDK. I'm heading over there because this has been on my mind a lot lately. I joined Twitter and immediately started following genealogists, but non-genealogists started following me, so I stopped reading genealogy blogs. A year later and I'm just now getting back to learning about those I followed in the first place!
Thanks Caroline!

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Caroline M. Pointer
05/29/2012 15:31

Yes, guest posting is an excellent way to expose your blog to new readers. Good luck straightening the Blogger to Wordpress conversion!

Thanks for reading Betsy! =)

~C

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04/09/2012 08:38

Great post, Caroline. I've definitely been having that "unloved" feeling, of late (lol), so I'll be taking these suggestions seriously! I think I start feeling that way when comments are far and few between, but then I always just remind myself that so many of use readers, and that it takes an extra click to comment, so I try not to be too hard on myself. As for those "best of" lists, I've often wondered what it would take to get there. I've written some pretty good posts (from time to time), but I never end up on any of those lists, even though I know some of the folks who put them out do read my blog. Hmmm.... I'll have to reflect on that one for awhile. I guess it's as they say, "Beauty (or perhaps, a blog post?) is in the eye of the of the beholder!"
Thanks, again, for sharing these ideas!

Renate

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Caroline M. Pointer
05/29/2012 15:34

It's hard Renate on both sides ~ both as the blogger and as the reader. and, remember, the lists aren't important. You're content and community are. Good luck!

Thanks for reading & commenting. I really appreciate it! =)

~C

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05/02/2012 05:20

Hi my blog is about South Texas and Northeastern Mexico Genealogy, I look at my visits and page views daily and have gotten a fair amount of traffic by just posting my content on facebook and twitter. Also I am already listed at geneabloggers.com. Thanks for your post it seems that I am in the right direction in order for others doing research in my area to find my blog.

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4YourFamilyStory
05/07/2012 18:08

Thanks Moises. It sounds like you're well on your way. And? I was born & raised in Weslaco, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley so I'm very familiar with South Texas.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

~C

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