Blogs and website live and thrive off traffic. If you get none or very little traffic to your blog or website then your site just becomes another “Cyber Squatter”. The whole purpose of setting up a blog or website is for people to read it, be affected by it and take action through it.

There are no real ’secrets’ you need to learn in order to increase your blog traffic. Most of these points are common sense.

This is a relatively long post. I do recommend reading the entire post if you are to benefit from my advice. But you are also welcome just to cover the topics that interest you.

Identify your niche

The internet is a vast universe with millions and millions of users. You have to realise that you cannot, and won’t reach them all. You have to start by identifying your target market in order to develop your message.  You’re trying to reach a niche market and must plan accordingly.

The first steps to take are:

  • Identify -Identify your target market; start with geo targeting and work with the demographics from there.
  • Perception – Decide how you want to be perceived by this target market and decide how you’ll foster this perception.
  • Value – Identify and refine your value to this market and how you will meet that.

You have to start by positioning yourself to be perceived in a specific way. Decide who you are and what value you can offer. From here, you’ll need to maintain, develop, grow or alter this market position as you and your blog grows.

Before you pick your final niche, make sure:

  • You love the topic you are going to be writing about.
  • There’s a big enough audience for you to reach.
  • Set a goal to become the niche leader
  • There are other blogs in the space that you can interact with.

Brand yourself

You need to build up a name for yourself in your niche. Big corporations spend millions on branding every year, that’s how important it is to them. Coca-Cola does not need adverts to make sales. Their adverts are about brand awareness.

Get an Avatar

I strongly recommend that you pick an avatar (a small image) that is going to be used to represent you and your site on the various platforms you use. If you sign-up on social sites and don’t fill in your details or upload an image then you are going to look like every other lazy member of that community. It can be something that represents your niche but it certainly doesn’t have to.

Register on Social bookmarking sites

Whether you are a fan of these or not, they do have huge traffic potential. Only signing up on the ones that interest you and you will use. Here is a list of some of the popular ones:

  • Digg
  • Mixx
  • StumbleUpon (Toolbar)
  • Reddit
  • Muti (South Africa)

Join a micro blogging network

Sites like Twitter, Friendfeed, Gatorpeeps, are all micro blogging networks. These micro blogging network services allow you to share 140 character updates with the world. But the best use of the micro blogging networks is their social engagement. Use them to build a community around your brand and blog or website.

Following is not something that you can just do on its own and expect to get traffic from the site, instead you want more people to follow you. Some quick tips to get more followers include:

  • Link to your twitter profile from your website
  • Establish relationships with friends who are already connections on the likes of StumbleUpon & Mixx
  • Ask interesting questions that people will reply to, then their followers will find your profile
  • Offer great tips and advice in your industry so that people would be missing out if they didn’t follow you.

You can use TwitterFeed to automatically update your followers of all new posts to your blog.

Aggregate your blog

Find one of the hundreds of blog aggregators around and join and submit your blog and feed. As content on the web continues to grow exponentially, consumers have turned to content aggregators to filter their information.

Some aggregators are manual while others are fully automatic. While some of them might seem more effort than reward, they do trickle traffic to your blog. The important thing is to join ones that can promote your niche and ones that you will be actively involved in. Here are some of the ones I use.