In every blog’s life, there comes a time when traffic is a little lower, and comments are harder to come by. Usually it’s all part of a cycle. Just keep going and eventually, things go back to the way they were. But what if they don’t? If the dark clouds have been hanging around too long, you may have to reassess your game plan. Shake things up a bit. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Social bookmarks
If you don’t use Digg or StumbleUpon yet, you’re missing out on huge potential traffic. Essentially, these sites enable your visitors to vote for your posts, giving them street cred. So put the little social bookmark icons at the end of all your posts to make it easier for people to vote for your blog. Ask friends and visitors to give you some love, and if they have their own blogs, support them as well.
2. Search Engine Optimization
Unfortunately, “build it and they will come” doesn’t apply to search engine traffic anymore. With all the web pages competing for a finite number of useful keywords, you’ve got to be very creative and keep yourself up-to-date with the latest in SEO. What was true before may be obsolete today. Study. Maybe you could even rewrite your old posts to capitalize on recently hot keywords.
How long has it been since your blog put on a shiny new template? It’s not just about the aesthetics of the design. You also need to look at your blog’s functionality, to keep it in-sync with the times (e.g. Web 2.0). Maybe it’s time for a makeover. An average of once every year (or two) is not a bad idea, but this really depends on your needs.
Ask your audience what they like most about your blog. Equally important, ask them about the things that don’t really tickle their fancy. You might be surprised. Use the results, among other things, to evaluate which direction your blog should be headed.
Maybe your posts have become too predictable over time. Try to spice it up a bit by experimenting with different styles, and different formats. Look at what’s out there (e.g. the top posts in Digg). What’s hot right now? You can also ask other people to do guest posts on your blog and gauge the visitors’ response. Whatever you do, stay positive. The best thing about being down is that there’s nowhere else to go but up.