So how do I get jillions of page views on my blog?

I need some advice and guidance from those who know these things, because I’m a social-media Philistine.

First, some backstory. Cue musical interlude.

I had collected around 60 or so little essays I’d written in various places – primarily here at the Dope – and packaged them as a humor book. Sent query letters to umpty-um agents, and got umpty-um “thank you, but I’d rather eat four-day-old sputum than read your book” letters in return. So I gave up the idea of being a world-famous humorist with scads of hot and sexy babes flocking to me, which I would then gently but firmly refuse, because I’m happily married to a lovely and talented woman who knows how to use a knife.

Anyway, about four months later, one of the agents writes me back! Out of the blue! And says, “I may have been a little hasty before; I’d love to look at your work.” The skies cleared! Sunshine poured down! Choirs of angels were singing hosannas around me!

And, wonder of wonders, she loved it! I have “a great voice”! She thinks she can market my work! But! …

But. I’m told there’s absolutely no market for books of humor essays (ESPECIALLY by guys) unless the guy in question is already famous. The skies darken. The choir of angels packs up and goes on tour without me.

She suggests I create a book of Man-Rules, because one of the essays she absolutely loved was one I wrote here, Learn and use the Man-Rules when it comes to showers.

So, for the next six months, I work in my spare time on the book. And it’s pretty good, if I do say so myself. And just as I’m about to finish it, I get a call from my agent, who says she’s leaving the agenting business.

Well. This is something of a downer. Not as bad as the time I wrote a horror novel and finally … FINALLY … got an agent and then he died two weeks later, but still not good. Anyway, she gives me the names of several colleagues at various agencies and recommends that I send it to them.

So essentially I’m back at square one, except I have a semi-warm introduction to other agents. This means the rejection letters come back much faster than they normally would, which I suppose is an improvement.

Anyway (and I promise I’m getting to the point in a moment), one of the agents says he really likes my writing, but the whole Man-Rules thing is played out at this point. (Which is diametrically opposed to what the first agent told me, but who am I to quibble?) He says that I’d have a better shot with a publisher if I could point to a successful blog or other online presence. In other words, he can sell my work if I’ve demonstrated that I don’t need someone to sell it.

Anyway, based on his advice, last month I created a blog: The Man Rules. If you’ve been here a long time, you’ll probably recognize a couple of the things posted there, but most of it is new stuff. I try to update it three or four times a week.

It’s slowly gaining some traction; I’m getting around 100 page views a day, give or take. I haven’t done anything to publicize it other than mention it to a handful of friends.

Which brings us back to the original question: How can I increase traffic on the blog? And what’s a good number of views per day, anyway? My online presence has been limited to the Dope and LiveJournal; I don’t even have a Facebook page. I am not a social media butterfly. I’m not even a chrysalis.

So, any advice? If you can help, I promise to mention you in my international bestseller. If you’re a hot babe, I promise to be extra gentle when I rebuff your advances.

This from friends who are having the same quandry (they’re all writers – they all were told they needed a blog for professional credentials as well as something to which to point to):

= Read similar blogs, get to know the writer, and eventually ask to exchange links
= Guest blogging
= Frequently updating (it doesn’t have to be every day, but you “should” shoot for at least 3 days/week

  • Parlay expertise in a similar area. A friend of mine – an aspiring novelist – is slowly becoming the go-to person in her geographical area when it comes to jumpstarting creativity. She’s written a couple of ebooks about it that are doing quite well; the most popular section of her blog discusses it. The bonus that it gets her name out there.
  • You NEED social media. My husband gets guest blogging gigs because he’s very active on Linked In, FB, and Twitter, as well a regular poster on a few niche websites. He’s had people “follow” him because they recognize his username. He doesn’t oversaturate FB with random bits – it’s one of those things where if he has something to say, he’ll post it. Ditto Twitter. It’s taken him awhile to get the hang of it, but it must be working because his audience in both is steadily growing.

Yes, it’s a lot of work to get your name “out there”, but in this day and age you have to, especially when it comes to writing. With Create Space and similar self-publishing around, anyone can say they’re a writer. Being simply a “writer” vs. being a “writer with cred” are two totally different things. You’re aiming for the latter.

Hope this helps!

Well this thread is a start.

I’ll give you some advice that Wordpress gives to its bloggers (like me). First, publicize your posts in other areas, such as on Facebook and Twitter. WP has ways to automate this. (Also I would suggest switching to Wordpress wholesale; it has many many features which help bloggers and a very good spam-eliminating service).

Also, go around and comment on other people’s blogs. They’ll at least take a look at your blog in most cases. Also when you comment, a link to your blog appears, and if you’ve said something interesting, other commenters are likely to check you out as well. When I’ve taken the time to do this, I’ve gained actual followers, not just one-time lookers.

There’s also tagging, which in WP gets you featured on their internal tagging system, which other WP users can browse. So, if you tag a particular post “humor” then it winds up on the humor page. If they think it’s a real knee-slapper, it gets stickied at the top.

I know I sound like an advertisement for Wordpress, but that’s what I’m familiar with, and why I went with them in the first place: the features.

(On an aesthetic note, I think you could come up with a zippier layout. What you’re using now didn’t entice me to read.) Of course, you are free to snicker at my layout. If you snicker at my blog, I’d be gratified. :smiley:

I’ll read it. And if it’s good, I’ll tell other people to read it.

But then, you gotta read mine. :wink:

You may consider submitting an essay or two to Cracked. If they publish you, hey would link to you blog in the author bio.

I happened to have an extra membership to the V&A Museum available, so gave it away in a competition on my blog. Visits rocketed as random people linked to it all over the place because everyone likes a freebie. So having a competition giving away something slightly valuable (the membership was worth about 80 quid) and relevant to your blog is a cheeky way to increase traffic.

Link your twitter feed to your blog.

Make a QR code that links to your Twitter.

Make a GIANT iron on patch with your QR code on it. Put it on the back of a denim jacket.

Wander around places densely populated by people with smartphones.

My best idea and I just gave it away to a complete stranger. I demand credit! :smiley:

Get your own domain. Living on or is the kiss of death for any aspiring writer.

Lots of good advice here but I just want to elaborate a bit on the commenting on other blogs - please actually read and comment, don’t stick a boilerplate comment on as many blogs as you can click to.

It will hurt you more than it will help for lo, bloggers are quick to anger and vicious when they feel used.

There is some good advice here and here. Some of the details are specific to* but the general principles apply anywhere.

Getting your own domain is a good idea because it gives you a home independent of your blog host - if you decide to move, your domain goes with you and you won’t lose readers.

Three other things I’d add to the good advice above: One, you need to work to cultivate an audience. It’s not just a matter of posting something, promoting it on Twitter and waiting for people to come. Listen to your readers, give them a reason to keep coming back. Get in discussions with other bloggers, link to them, respond to their posts, argue.

Two, use some photos and work on your formatting. Take a look at one of your posts side by side with, say, an article on Cracked, io9, your favourite big blogs. I don’t mean their page design - look at the way they use headlines and subheadings and images to draw readers into the text, and then afterwards on to other articles.

And three, forget about traffic. If all you want is more page views, you can buy as many as you want. But they won’t mean anything - it’d be like diverting a freeway past your house. What you want is readers.

(Full disclosure: I work for the company that runs

Thanks all for the great advice!

Couple of follow-ups/comments:

Twitter: I am completely turned off by that medium. If it’s a must-do, I guess I can force myself to somehow use it, but for the time being I just can’t see myself doing it.

Moonlitherial: It would tick me off royally if somebody was just commenting on my blog to generate traffic for theirs, so I’ll be very careful not to commit that sin myself.
kiz **and Ellen Cherry: Thanks very much for the feedback! I began using blogspot just because it came up first in a Google search on “blog hosting.” How difficult would it be to switch to Wordpress?

Justin_Bailey: Why is either blogspot or Wordpress the kiss of death? And tellyworth: Thanks very much for the links!

Finally, how expensive is it to procure my own domain?

I’ll check on Cracked and see how they format their stuff. Again, I’m used to posting on message boards, where the vast majority of formatting is done for you – having complete control over the entire thing is a new experience for me.

Domain registration starts around $10-12 per year, depending on the domain. Bear in mind that you’ll also either have to pay for web hosting, or there’s generally an additional fee of some kind to use your own domain on a free blog host like Blogspot and

You can register a domain and host it at for $18/year. If you decide you want to host your blog there, it’s much easier to buy your domain there and do it all in one step, than to register it separately.

Thank you again, tellyworth! I’ll definitely check that out.

You mentioned earlier that I want readers, as opposed to just traffic or page views. How do I tell the difference? And what’s a good number of readers/followers?

And Antigen, I’ll visit your blog tomorrow, when I have a litte more time to devote to reading it.

Anybody can have a blog on blogspot or, having your own domain (or better yet, your own website host) makes you look more serious. It shows you care about this whole “building a following with your writing” thing. Blogspot or is more for amateurs or people who are just having fun.

And I definitely recommend getting your own web host (which costs $80-$100 a year) so you can customize the sidebar with either ads (so you can make a few bucks back) or social media links or other stuff.

I can point you towards some of this stuff if need be.

Does anyone think search engine optimization would help?

I suggest you reconsider. Twitter is great for witty pithy humour, and the potential audience is in the millions (over much time, as you’re not famous yourself yet) if you hit the right funny bone at the right moment.

You can have all the Twitterfiers, Facebookians, and other social media connections in the world, but what you need is decent content, content that people will find interesting enough to come back for.

The main problem with about 98% of the internet isn’t that it’s not well-advertised enough, or that it lacks decent Search Engine Optimization, or that it has insufficient link swaps; the biggest problem with 98% of the internet is that it’s shit.

Bite your tongue, mhendo!

I’ve managed to write on two, maybe three, topics that have generated steady traffic from internet searches. No one is more surprised than I am, since nearly everything I write about is trivial nonsense. So, my further advice is to write about something sometime that people actually want to know about. The trick is what. In my case, I get steady hits on, in order, 1) an obscure painting that was given away to lawyers in the 1950s, 2) the type of boots one of the main characters wears in The Walking Dead and 3) how to pronounce my last name. Seriously! I am one of the Internet’s foremost authorities. :smiley:

Well…to be honest, I think you need to come up with something a bit more original than a bunch of “man rules” consisting of “don’t pee in the stall next to me” jokes and beer drinking witticisms.