how can I start and increase traffic to my blog?

Hello and Good Evening Everyone

             I have recently started a blog and wish to commence traffic with it..  With this goal in mind, what steps should I take to encourage interest in my topic so people will start visiting and reading my blog?

             Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

            Thank you

            George
GMartinAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Do you use Facebook?  And if so, do you post much?  Facebook may be a starting place because a few posts may reach a lot of people you know.
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Lucas BishopClick TrackerCommented:
To bring visitors to your blog, you will need to create ways for visitors to find you.

Are there other blogs out there with similar content/topics? If so, exchange links (ie. I'll post a link to you on my site, if you post a link to me on your site). By default, reciprocal links are usually referred to as a blogroll in Wordpress.

Give the link to family/friends.

Post the link on your social networks.

Write a guest blog post on a popular web site and link to your site in the footer.

Launch an Adwords campaign.

Pay for links via an ad network like buysellads.com

etc.
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GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hello and Good Evening Everyone,

             Very good suggestions here.  Thank you so much.  After reviewing everyone's suggestions, I do have a few follow up questions.  First of all, is it possible to get noticed without a personal or business web site?  For example, can links to self-created personal blogs have an equal chance of becoming noticed as compared to a web site with one's own domain name?  Secondly, are there tools available which can publish blogs to major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, etc. ?  Finally, what would be some good tips for using keywords to increase visibility and traffic on one's own blog?  Perhaps there is a keyword tool which can be used to help create popular strings of keywords which get high hits on the major search engines which can also be used within titles of blogs, articles, and body of articles.

             Any follow up to these questions of interest will be appreciated.  In the meantime, I look forward to reading further input to this post.  

            Thank you

           George
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
First of all, is it possible to get noticed without a personal or business web site?  <-- Pretty hard. I do not have a website (too small) and accordingly everything is by word of mouth.

can links to self-created personal blogs have an equal chance of becoming noticed as compared to a web site with one's own domain name?  <-- I would think not equal at all.
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GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hello and Good Morning

             It seems the more I think into this situation, the more questions I have regarding it.  First of all, I am a member of AOL.  As I understand it, I have a certain amount of server space which can be utilized for web space which brings me to this question.  Since the URL for any website created by an AOL member is likely to have a long domain address, I am wondering if that will have a negative impact upon its visibility within the major search engines which are probably more accustomed to having much shorter domain names.  And, secondly, how should the title of a website be addressed if the content surrounds a variety of different topics such as electronic media, animation, history, philosophy, etc?  If I am not mistaken, blogs can work a little differently because each topic of interest can have its own title with 10 or more articles written within it.  Each blog title would have its on unique domain name much like the ones used to gain revenue through Google AdSense.  

                 In closing, I apologize for so many followup questions.  Usually when I have this many questions, I am coming closer to gaining the understanding and comprehension needed to start and finish any project of interest.  At any rate, if someone could share their thoughts and insights to these followup questions, it will be greatly appreciated.

                Thank you

                George
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
A straight blog as I understand and see them is not an advertising site in itself. So you would need to use your website (from your domain on AOL) to advertise yourself (provide links to blog).
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Lucas BishopClick TrackerCommented:
First of all, is it possible to get noticed without a personal or business web site?  For example, can links to self-created personal blogs have an equal chance of becoming noticed as compared to a web site with one's own domain name?


First some basic clarification.

A blog is a website. You can use a blog to build a professional business web site. You can use a blog to build a portfolio of family pictures. In the end, blog = web site. The differentiation you are hung up on is the difference between using a domain name compared to using the sub-domain of a blog hosting site.

If you use a blog platform, where you are on the sub-domain of the blog provider (ex. yourblog.wordpress.com or yourblog.weebly.com), in most cases you can simply buy a domain name and use it for your blog (ie. yourblog.wordpress.com becomes yourpersonalwebsite.com). A domain name only costs around $10, so the difference between a blog using your providers domain and a blog using your own domain is roughly a $10 investment annually.

You're more likely to attract regular visitors to a domain name that you create, for a variety of factors. It's easier to remember, it looks more official, etc. Other sites are more likely to link to it, since it seems you care about the site.

IMO when a site uses a sub-domain from the blog provider, it looks like a throw-away site. Here today, gone tomorrow. If the person hasn't purchased a domain name, they aren't very invested in their site. Personal opinion. As a web-site owner, I'd be less likely to link to a site that doesn't have it's own domain name.

Secondly, are there tools available which can publish blogs to major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, etc. ?  
Getting your site indexed in a major search engine is very simple nowadays. Simply setup a webmaster tools account. Once Google knows about the site, the other SE's will fall in line.

Alternatively, you could post a link to it in your profile (ex. twitter, here on EE, etc.) and within a few days Google & Yahoo will notice it.

Finally, what would be some good tips for using keywords to increase visibility and traffic on one's own blog?

It really comes down to what you are trying to drive traffic for. Long tail keywords are generally the lowest hanging fruit.

For example, if you wanted to get visitors for a high competition/value product like "viagra", you'd have to have to climb Everest to rank for that keyword. Instead, what you would do is write articles that encompass long-tail keywords related to the product (ex. "The 5 best ed exercises guaranteed to work in men over 60").

Since the URL for any website created by an AOL member is likely to have a long domain address, I am wondering if that will have a negative impact upon its visibility within the major search engines which are probably more accustomed to having much shorter domain names.

Search engines won't penalize you for using a sub-domain from an established provider. However, as you saw with my opinion on these above, some people are averse to these names. This will effect click-through rates (from search result page to your page) and depending on how much effort has went in to your page/article, time-on-site will also be effected. These two factors weigh heavily in your search rankings.

And, secondly, how should the title of a website be addressed if the content surrounds a variety of different topics such as electronic media, animation, history, philosophy, etc?  If I am not mistaken, blogs can work a little differently because each topic of interest can have its own title with 10 or more articles written within it.

There are many approaches here. You can create an all-encompassing site that covers a variety of topics. This can be successful as it's the equivalent of a magazine (ie. mashable, smashing magazine, etc.) and you'd build a slew of long tail articles across a large group of categories. Alternatively, you can focus your site on one very focused niche topic and put all of your effort into targeting a small group of keywords.

If you are focused on the long haul, choosing a domain name that is 'brandable' (ie. google.com, twitter.com, etc) and not keyword driven (ie. animationnewsandtutorials.com, philosophyofeducationalleadership.com, etc.) can have a better chance of name recognition (and thus repeat visitors) which is more powerful than simply ranking for a keyword.

In the end you can structure your site however you want. You can create categories for unrelated topics and write articles under those topics.

Each blog title would have its on unique domain name much like the ones used to gain revenue through Google AdSense.  

A site can have only one domain name. A site can have many pages. A page can have one title. The title on the page should be extremely relevant to the topic of the content contained in that page.
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GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hello and Good Evening Everyone,

              Thanks so much for the thorough feedback given in reply to my follow up questions.  I will be using this evening to thoroughly go back over everything just in case there are additional uncertainties.  I will be back in touch.

               George
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GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hello and Good Afternoon Everyone

             I greatly appreciate the thorough and detailed feedback given in response to my question.  Each suggested step was easy to understand and will certainly prove handy when the time comes to launch my online project.  

             Thanks again.

             George
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You are welcome, George. Happy to help.
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