How to quadruple your blog readership overnight

Goolge Analytics graph

Google Analytics showing a spike in traffic

This post is about how to dramatically increase the readership on your blog overnight and is based on my recent experience with Redcentaur Blog. It involves some Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), some good timing and, let’s be honest, a huge dollop of luck.

Writing successful posts…

To set the scene, I need to tell you a very short story. I recently upgraded my blog installation from WordPress 2.7.1 to WordPress 2.8 and the process did not go very well. Completely baffled, I decided to tweet for help on Twitter, meanwhile re-reading the codec and the upgrade instructions. Eventually, I got the upgrade to take hold. You can read about my experiences of upgrading WordPress by viewing the post I wrote at the time.

When I looked at my twitter replies the following day, I noticed a response from one of my followers suggesting I post an entry about how I resolved the issues I had with WordPress. This is how the post came about. I wrote it quickly to get it out and help others who were experiencing problems with their own installations.

Search Engine Optimisation

When I wrote the post, I didn’t put much thought into the meta tags or excerpt, both of which I always include in my posts. On this occasion, I tweaked the first paragraph of the post to form the excerpt and put together some keywords based on the core of the post. I called the post ‘Upgrading to WordPress 2.8 – Don’t Panic!

Subconsciously, by going against my usual instinct and not over-thinking the meta tags, I somehow managed to hit the core of the post.

Good timing

By listening to my follower on Twitter and understanding the needs of people to find answers to the problems they were having, I managed to get the post on my site very quickly and it must have had some value for many people. I offered sound advice and help at a crucial time.

Result

Later that evening, I checked my analytics for site activity and noticed an incredible spike in the hits my site had received. Further investigation showed that this was mainly a result of Google search results and Twitter referrals.

Looking at the search results that brought people to my site I noticed that all but a handful of the top 30 results were related to the WordPress installation post I had published a few hours previously.

Table of search results

Table of search results

I checked with Google search, using the keywords used by people visiting my site and found that I was ranked in second position, right below the WordPress codec itself.

Google rank number 2

Google ranking of the post

Conclusions

This has been a valuable lesson about the power of writing relevant and useful posts that people need. It has also taught me the true value of SEO when it is directly linked to the content of your page. For a post that was (let’s admit it) rushed, its value has been in helping others to overcome a problem. It was timely as I saw a need and answered that demand; and it involved a huge amount of luck thanks to the follower who suggested I write a post about my experiences.

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Glenn has been a web developer and graphic designer since the early 1990s. He has followed the development of HTML, JavaScript and CSS from the beginning and has caught on to newer technologies, such as PHP. Never resting, Glenn tries to keep abreast of new developments in his areas of expertise and is always keen to pass on his knowledge to help the web and graphic design community to improve user experience. Glenn set up Redcentaur to offer easy access to the internet for small businesses and individuals, without the cloud of mysticism that surrounds internet technology. The stated objective of Redcentaur is to demystify the web for the uninitiated by offering easy-to-use, end-to-end web solutions and hosting at accessible prices.