5 Tips to Drive Traffic to Your Book Blog

drive traffic to your book blog

Introduction

Krysta and I started blogging at Pages Unbound in 2011, and I like to think that we’ve been pretty open about our stats and growth over the years. (In 2016, I shared actual screenshots of our stats, which were pretty low when we first started but started to kick off more that year.)  In my 2018 end-of-the-year wrap-up, I noted that we surpassed 100,000 page views for the first time, which I was excited about.  (I also recently read a post by a book blogger turned lifestyle blogger who had similar stats to us and actually gets paid sponsorships, though for lifestyle stuff.)  We’re not the *biggest* book blog (there are several with very, very high stats!), but I think we’re doing quite well (and I should hope so after eight years!).  But I want all of you to do fabulously, too, and increase your stats if that is something you are interested in, so here are some of my best tips to gain blog traffic.

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1. comment on Other Blogs

This is always my number one recommendation for gaining and keeping new followers.  I saw a noticeable increase in traffic a couple years ago when I started commenting more on other blogs instead of just lurking.  I’ve also read a number of posts about traffic from other bloggers, and even “big bloggers” generally attribute much of their success to commenting around.

Of course, you want your interactions with others to be genuine.  Follow blogs you like, comment on posts that interest you, actually read the post instead of skimming it and awkwardly leaving a comment that’s unrelated to what the post says.  But, at the end of the day, people can’t visit your blog if they don’t know it exists, and commenting around is one of the best ways to let people know you exist and that you have interesting things to say.

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2. Write Discussion Posts

It’s old news in the book blogging community that discussion posts generally get more views than reviews do.  (For a lot of reasons, the primary one being that they’re of more general interest than a review, which someone might read only if they’ve read the book or heard of the book before.)  However, to get the most out of discussion posts (in terms of traffic), you need to post a lot of them.  I noted in 2016 that we were posting two discussions a week, and our page views went up.  Some readers even said they associated our blog with discussions, which made them more likely to visit our blog or to recommend our blog to others. (Read our list of discussion post prompts.)

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3. Write Round-Up Posts or Feature Other Bloggers

People love round-ups, whether it’s a list of interesting posts you read in the blogosphere, a list of bloggers you recommend following, or a feature post about one blogger you recommend following.  They love being featured in them, and they like reading them to find other blogs to follow or posts to read.  I also think sharing things you love about other bloggers is a great way to build community and bring positivity to blogging.

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4. Write Posts that are Useful to Readers

Blog posts about blogging (like this one) are popular, of course.  However, you can also share information that is valuable to people as readers, not just bloggers.  Reviews are one example, since you’re providing information about whether someone else would like to read the book and why.  Lists are also useful.  For example, one of our most popular posts is a list of YA books with male protagonists because many people are interested in such books but don’t know where to find them.

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5. Have nice graphics.

This sounds ridiculous, especially as I think I’m fairly vocal about the fact that the number one thing I will personally follow a book blog for is well-written and interesting content, and I don’t really care about design.  However, the fact remains that people are attracted to graphics, and experts constantly mention how visual readers are and how visual (or even video) mediums are the future of the Internet.  There’s also the fact that having strong graphics makes readers think that you’re serious about blogging and can give the impression that you’re a blogger with a large audience, even if you’re not (currently).  People are more likely to notice your blog and will stick around longer if you have strong visual elements.  Personally, I notice that posts with more visual elements  do better for traffic, and that reviews where I have an original photo of the book often do better than reviews where I use a stock image of the cover. (Read more reasons to focus on graphics here.)

What are your suggestions for increasing blog traffic?

Briana

 

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69 thoughts on “5 Tips to Drive Traffic to Your Book Blog

  1. L.M. Durand says:

    This is a great post! I love your ideas. Participating in blog hop helps too. I king of abandon my blog for a year only only a few active months. I’m definitely back so this is super helpful! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Beware Of The Reader says:

    I think you listed the most important ones. I would add to find your own voice so people will know who you are and recognize you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Margaret @ Weird Zeal says:

    This is such a useful post! I definitely agree with your first point, as I’ve noticed that my page views significantly go down when I’m not commenting on other people’s posts. And I love the idea of doing round-up posts! That isn’t something I’ve really focused on in the past, but I think it’s a great way of highlighting the community and other bloggers who I appreciate! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. alilovesbooks says:

    Great post and so true. I’ve definitely found visiting and commenting on other blogs to be the best way to get traffic to my own blog. I know they aren’t always viewed positively but weekly memes proved very useful when I was starting out. Top Ten Tuesday and WWW Wednesday in particular probably because they are more discussion or list based and they encourage blog hopping and commenting. I certainly found a lot of blogs that way, and they found me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yeah, we did Top Ten Tuesday for awhile and got some decent visitors from it, but we no longer do memes ourselves (nor do I tend to read them on other people’s blogs), so I felt uncomfortable suggesting memes myself. I agree with you that TTT is pretty good because you can actually hold more of a conversation in the comments, and I like when people explain their choices in the post rather than just listing 10 books.

      Like

  5. Yesha - Books Teacup and Reviews says:

    Excellent suggestions! I agree interacting and commenting not only form the bond but also gives attention to your blog as well as blog you are commenting on. I could see what my blog is lacking- discussion. I’m not really good at it but I like your idea of writing a list post- books with male protagonist and stuff like that. I can do that. Reviews helped me get followers but it slower process. Thank for sharing it.

    Like

  6. Eustacia | Eustea Reads says:

    I am actually really curious as to who that book blogger turned lifestyle blogger is! (Especially since I don’t talk solely about books on my blog)

    Commenting is so fun, especially since I’ve switched to wordpress and can read and comment in app instead of going to each blog. I don’t do it to get followers though, just only when I feel like I have something to say :p

    Like

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Jenny in Neverland. I admit I stopped following her once she switched to lifestyle because I feel as if she’s focusing on writing stuff that gets clicks and not necessarily things she has any personal connection to, which is why I follow bloggers. (But maybe I’m wrong and that’s an unfair interpretation.) But I’ve followed a couple bloggers who suddenly started posting a weird variety of content like “5 Ways to Give Your Bathroom a Modern Update” and “Quick Meals for Your Kids on the Go” and “Must-See Sights in Antartica” and it reads more like stuff than researched and put lists together for than stuff they actually know about or did themselves.

      Yes! Commenting is so much easier in WordPress, and I think that’s one thing that gets overlooked when people discuss which platform is better to blog on. So much of my traffic comes from the WordPress reader. I have followers on other platforms that use Bloglovin’ and stuff, but way more on WordPress.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. MetalPhantasmReads says:

    Thank you thank you! I’ve been trying to figure this out for mine and I definitely am taking your advice to do your own pictures now 🙂 I think that’s been a good move for me. While I feel like I’m not great about writing discussion posts, I do have a couple things in mind that I do want to discuss. You two are the best 🙂

    Like

  8. nsfordwriter says:

    Great post, thank you! I want to start doing ‘blog posts I’ve enjoyed this month’ kind of thing, the best way is if I bookmark the ones I’ve really liked or I’ll forget about them. In fact I’m going to do this from now on – starting with your post here!

    Like

  9. Gerry@TheBookNookUK says:

    Great tips. I’ve (hopefully) managed to do a few of these but it would be interesting to see the impact that discussion posts would have as I plan to start doing those! I’ve also found your post on discussion ideas very useful too, so thank you 🙂

    Like

  10. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan says:

    I can’t emphasis on commenting and making friends on the blogosphere. My page views have started rising only after regular and systematic blog hopping. Great post.

    Like

  11. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious says:

    This is a great post, and I definitely agree with commenting on other people’s posts. I am about 98% positive that my traffic and growth has been because of my blog hopping habit. I enjoy it though, so it works for me.

    Like

  12. elsiewinnElsie @ Tea and Ink Society says:

    Thank you for this helpful and timely post. I’ve had my literary blog for a couple of years now, but am just beginning to “meet” other book bloggers. This year a big goal is to grow my blog and connect with others! On that note, do you know of any conferences geared towards book bloggers??

    Like

  13. anhdara13 says:

    All of these are such good tips! I’m working on the first, mostly, and I’m trying to redesign my blog to do better with graphics, but I’m thinking now I may add in a quarterly round up! Doing one monthly doesn’t work for me, but every three months? That I could do! Thank you for this.

    Like

  14. Michael Rochelle says:

    It always good to have these types of reminders. I sometimes forget to comment on other blogs, which I’m doing right now. LOL. But the good thing about making this a part of your routine is that it exposes you to other people’s content and gives you another touch point to see what things are working for others.

    I also forget to review and updated the links to other people’s blogs that I have enjoyed or found useful in the past. My “blog roll” have been up for like 5 years, so who knows whether those “favorites” are even still active or if I still support that person’s message.

    Apparently I have some work to do!

    Like

  15. jordynroesler says:

    Thank you for this post! Just starting out and it’s helpful getting a few simple tips. Didn’t even think about incorporating discussion posts. You’ve got a new follower in me!

    Like

  16. malanielovesfiction says:

    this post was so helpful and amazing!!!!!!!!! i agree w everything you’ve listed here, i think i was blogging for about 5 months??? before i realized how important it is to do all these things ❤ ❤ ❤ AMAZING POST c: c:

    Like

  17. Rachel Claire says:

    These are great tips! I’ve just started my own blog focused on books, book discussions, and teaching literature. I’m working on boosting my stats and I will definitely be implementing all of these suggestions. Thank you so much!

    Like

  18. Sunshine and Savory says:

    Thank you so much for writing this informative post. I started my book blog almost a year ago, and then had issues with it not being fully set up. I was focusing mostly on my cooking blog, and am excited to start posting regularly in my book blog, especially after reading your blog post.

    Like

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