Recently, I was the moderator for a panel discussion on blogging for leisure versus blogging for profit.
The session featured four prominent bloggers from Singapore and was attended by more than 70 bloggers and media professionals. It was held as a prelude to the sixth-annual Singapore Blog Awards, a successful social media campaign we have been running at omy.sg, billed as the biggest social media event in Singapore.
What struck me after the forum discussion and chatting with the bloggers in attendance was the fact that many bloggers were seeking the elixir to instant online traffic.
Bloggers, just like newspaper publishers, are hungry for traffic. Whether the primary motivation for blogging is profit-driven or for leisure, what everyone wants are readers and eyeballs.
I am a relatively successful blogger myself who enjoys reasonably good traffic and fame outside of my work. The current president of Singapore thinks I am influential enough to invite me for a luncheon during his presidential campaign as a candidate. I get dozens of media invites daily, addressed to my personal blog.
How did I build up my blog traffic?
I used my personal blog, alvinology.com, as a platform to test content and find out what attracts Singaporean readers online.
I am going to share five simple, quick and dirty tricks to get Web traffic fast, based on my observation of Singaporean readers (and I believe universally online readers should replicate the same reading pattern with globalisation):
1. Sex sells.
I am not just referring to porn, but sexy news on celebrities or ordinary folks’ leaked sex crimes or sordid stories. The Internet is where readers thrive on traditional tabloid news, but in an uninhibited frontier.
2. Lists sell.
Top 10 lists give high Web traffic. People are lazy and tend to search for terms like “Best Restaurants in London” when they are looking for a place to eat.
Building a large log of such evergreen listing content bumps up your traffic with a fixed base.
3. Images sell.
Online attention is really short. I find that peppering blog posts with photos and videos, making your content more visually arresting, helps vastly to garner readers.
4. Real “breaking news” sells.
I am not referring to “breaking news” that every single news publisher is writing about at the same time. What I am referring to is genuinely breaking news, whereby you are the first and only content provider of a piece of news for at least an hour after your story has gone viral.
Media publishers tend to use the term “breaking news” too liberally.
5. Niche content sells.
One of the most-read blog posts I have written is a simple article on how to unsubscribe from an unpopular army magazine that all conscripted Singaporean males have been “opted in” for. This is very niche content and my blog post might be one of the only sources of information about this topic.
There you go, now you know my secrets (which are not really rocket science).
I practice what I preach. In fact, I have just used item No. 2 to market this article.