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Exactly two months ago today I started this blog, my first English language blog ever and I have seen an almost 300% increase in traffic between the first and second month running.  This may not be due to my own brilliance but most likely has to do with the buzz happening around the Murphy-Goode Winery employee search for a social media whiz, which I chose to follow here with this blog.

stats two month 400

It was my vision when I jumped in, to create a hub of activity, a place to connect and a place to meet some truely amazing people.  This short journey has been more than rewarding, blowing my socks off with all the community ready and waiting to be enjoyed.  Wine is truely a social commodity.  Wine blogging as well.

There are some standard rules to getting more traffic to your blog, rules which I did not follow religiously, and some I ignored completely.  Here is a list of what you can do to up your views:

  1. Hit your real life contacts. Your family, your friends, your collegues, your neighbours… you know, those people who may very well be in a great position to catapult your blog from day one to a wonderful, personable, likeable hub of connectedness which attract readers and keeps them.  I did not go this way since most of my contacts are German and my parents are pre-digital life… so even though they do read English…
  2. Find others who blog on similar topics. For me that has been the Murphy-Goode gang on the one hand, and the “how-to” bloggers on the other hand.  Once you find them you need to:
  3. Read other blogs and comment on them. Use search engines like Spezify or Sphere to find those who are connected to the things you care about and subscribe to those blogs using a feed reader like friendfeed or bloglines so you can get to know that blog a bit.  And everytime you see something that rings with you, click through and join the conversation.
  4. Link to other blogs. This was a prime goal of mine from the word “go”.  Link to blogs, link to twitter, link to whatever:  I wanted to let all my readers know who I am following around, so I give you all that information.  It  may be true that you don’t have the same goal as I do with this gig, but yeah, if you like other people’s stuff, then tell your readers about it.  When you link to another blogger or blog entry they’ll often find your blog through their stats, Technorati, or a pingback and come to see what you had to say. If you’re interesting, they may even subscribe to you and leave comments just like we suggested you do above.
  5. Write an entry dedicated to someone specific. I choose this a few times by wrapping a specific need or learning element to a specific applicant to the MG gig.  These were teaching texts meant to show all my readers how we can be pulling together to strengthen the community being built around the Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent job.  You may choose to highlight someone within the community and commend them for something you enjoyed discovering at their blog.  And if you do this, drop them an email or a tweet to let them know!  (Just don’t go overboard — once a month per person is probably a good rule of thumb.)
  6. Tag and categories are a great way to help people find your content: Attach appropriate categories and tags to your entries but be careful not to use too many tags though — between 5 and 10 tags (or categories or both) is a good number. (I struggle with this limit… but I notice many of you do not use tags at all or extremely sparingly.)
  7. Blog often and find your own frequency. I have done blitz blogging for the past two months.  The reality is, I had this short time to make an impact, so I went full throttle.  This will naturally slow down a bit now, but I have a plan for continuous content posted on a regular basis.  Frequent and regular posting schedules may help you to develop an audience quicker.
  8. Show your passion and don’t be afraid to be controversial. Blogging has traditionally been about strong voices, people enjoying reading folks who have strong opinions and back them up. A little controversy never hurt either.
  9. Relax, it takes time. Following all the above tips probably wont give you overnight success, but over time, if your content is engaging, it will happen.  Like anything worth doing, building a good audience takes time. Many of the bloggers you probably admire have been at it for at least a year. Stick with it, and don’t get discouraged by a slow start, everyone starts slow.
  10. Finally– purposely connect with like-minded bloggers. Once your own style and direction is set, you can dedicate a bit of your time to specific networking goals to increase your readership.

Above all else, I strongly suggest you orient your blog on your passions.  Wine is not my passion, connecting people gets me going, but what actually really gets my energy up is the tech side, learning new stuff, pushing my stats in a meaningful way by helping others.  I could run out on twitter and get followers after followers by just following thousands.   But that is of no value to anyone.    Volumes of traffic mean nothing if you are not developing a blog of quality.   Remember that it’s not the size of your audience, it’s how much you care about them and they care about you.

Did I miss any tips?