How to draw more traffic to your Blog

Once upon a time, there was a huge bunch of people who started blogging because they each had a story to tell, found it an ideal creative outlet & on the nobler level, found it a great platform to serve society (h’mmm) by sharing their knowledge & experiences.

To that end it served its purpose.

Gradually as with all things human, those people started getting greedy. (And I was never one of those people)

They started asking themselves, “Heck, is it really true, that I’m the only one who’s reading, mentally liking, mentally commenting (read applauding) this brilliant piece of mine? Where’s everybody else????” (Greed hath no limits, how depraved could they be?)

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If we are honest we will admit that after submitting that fantastic piece on our trip to Europe or Antarctica or wherever , we thought that  anyone with a quart pound o sense would have bookmarked our blog, considered himself/herself lucky for this priceless pearl we shared at no cost & that they would have made it a priority to follow our blog.

We imagine the profuse thanks, likes, comments & subscribers flowing in. Yes hope never disappoints. It is profuse for sure, just in the world of our own imagination. We come back to reality with a thud when we get that  1 Like + that short comment, which almost did not make it through.

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So here are some tips to drive traffic to your Blog –

1.Titles

Write blog posts with titles such as this – okay poor joke.

Jokes apart, captivating titles bring people in, but remember it’s the value of the content that make people return. The equivalent of judging the book by its cover  is a blog post with a great title & not much value.

2. Content

I follow blogs which have valuable content. Some blogs have great names but it’s the content which makes me want to follow.

3.Variety

I personally find blogs which cover a variety of topics a whole lot more interesting than those confined to the straight & narrow path of a singular theme.

Variety is the spice of life & all that jazz. A modicum of truth in there.

4. Sample

Get a page upfront with your favourite posts or photo blogs for people to sample. This is the era of the discerning follower.

5. Social Presence

Create a digital or social presence. You represent your blog so you need to socialise your blog by making it visible.

If you want more hits on your blog you better be out there hitting other blogs – be it liking, commenting, following or re-blogging.

It’s interesting, but the traffic to your blog could be almost directly proportional to your presence & participation in other blogs!

Yes, getting traffic is hard work.

Interestingly there are two types of people –

1. those who will visit your blog anyway because they derive value

2. those who will visit your blog based on whether you visit theirs with the same frequency

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It was called social networking with a purpose.

The socially oblivious will get by. But it’s the well & truly socially networked that will have great success.

So where do you start?

1. Hit Like – on good posts you’ve read

2. Hit Comments – & write something meaningful

3. Hit Follow – the chances of people visiting your blog are increased with your own social presence by following theirs!

4. Hit Reply – when someone responds to your post

5. Hit Publish – once you have a photo submission ready for the Weekly Photo Challenge or any other contest aimed at helping you increase visibility

As you can see, it’s in the Hit, Hit, Hit that your blog will be a HIT.

Another priceless pearl with a profuse response…I’d imagine.

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What I learnt about tolerance

I hail from a Kerala – Hindu – Nair family – talk about keeping things simple. I was born & raised a Hindu. Not that I was ever deeply inclined towards religion in the major part of growing up, my own or any one else’s.

In college I did wonder that God was soooo far up there ‘in the sky’ & we were out here.  It was a huge chasm dividing us according to my teenage worldview. The concept of ‘knowing God personally’ was alien to me. I also recall seeing our college motto ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’ & thinking… I have absolutely no fear of God in me.

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As a part of the college grind & my musical inclination, I joined the choir. A Catholic all girls institution, we sang our monotonous parts in the choir during the college programs & inter-college choir fests. Students from all religions were a part of the choir – Hindus, Muslims, Christians. We practiced songs like What a difference You made in my life &  Still Small Voice – songs about Jesus…which were frankly dead beat & lackluster to me. It had no special meaning. It was just a part to be sung.

Maybe because I did not know Him whom we were singing about.

The choir was a ritual of sorts especially during the Christmas season – we had fun participating, the songs were just plain boring & to be put up with 🙂 Lots of practice went into it – the altos, bass, sopranos all trying in right earnest to create  holy harmonious sound. Now we are wearing costumes, now we are performing, holding candles, trying to look like a bunch of angels. It was an event to participate in. Nothing more. Nothing less.

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I went through my phases through high school & college where I added Infant Jesus & Sai Baba along the way.

And then came Jesus Christ.

The God of the Christians. Who doesn’t know the story that He was crucified?

But hang on a second.

He died for me. To pay for my sins. Offering me forgiveness. I could get to know Him personally if I accepted Him as my Saviour.

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Jesus had  first touched my two older brothers lives in a deep way & they had accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Then this erring sheep, me…which took much longer work – perhaps a year or so. I resisted going to Church if my brothers even attempted inviting me.

In the meanwhile, I had started reading a  365  day Bible, a portion to be read each day of the year. I guess that did it. No thunder or lightning or super spiritual experience. I just knew I had encountered Truth. There has been no looking back since. It was not me choosing to follow Jesus. It was as Jesus said  “You did not choose me, but I chose you…”

I am grateful that He chose me…far from perfect & still no way close. He is my Perfect Saviour.

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For those who move away from the faith they are born into, it usually has some adverse ramifications in the family & community.

I thank God for my Parents who released us to follow our heart. Bold acceptance on their part. The courage to be tolerant & accepting. To face any flak on our behalf  including comments like ‘how could you allow them…no control, no discipline etc etc” I’m pretty sure.

My Mother’s only request of us was that we don’t shove our religion down her throat 🙂

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I’ve known & read of people from similar backgrounds who chose to follow Jesus  & had to face trials in their lives. Being thrown out of home, being discarded or persecuted in various ways. This is pretty much true around the world when people opt to choose another faith from the one they are born into.

I am grateful to my Parents for their tolerance & complete acceptance when three of their four children chose to follow another faith. Becoming  Born Again Christians. Reading the Bible. Going to Church. Getting baptised.

My Parents have chosen to respect our faith & have never made it  uncomfortable when we don’t participate in pujas or Hindu rituals. They have never insisted that we do so. They have shown us grace & allowed us to opt out if we so wished.

My Parents still go about their pujas, one of my brothers is a devout Hindu. Yet…they have given us fullest freedom in our individual journeys with Christ. They respect our faith. No hide & seek religion out here. It’s plain & open for all to see.

To me this is the fabric of freedom of faith & tolerance. It is the true meaning of co-existing with diverse religious view points.  By giving one the freedom to choose & the  space to follow something… which is eventually only good.

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There’s no place for dogmatics. Arguments & debates are generally futile.

Give peace a chance. Give another the support they need to follow the leanings of their heart especially if it is something as good as positive faith. God Himself does not advocate force. Jesus said “Behold, I stand at the door, and  knock”…He is too much of a Gentleman to barge through the doors of our lives.

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My Father’s broadmindedness, respect & tolerance of our decision to become followers of Christ is truly so rare. One of the most outstanding memories of this tolerance is –

As an early Christian years ago, there was a small Bible I would read – my brother once put it in his pocket & went on my bike…the Bible fell out of his pocket. I was upset & must have had a long face. When my Father found out I was upset he went & got us this great big Bible, in which he wrote to us three on the front page of the Bible these words which I cherish –

Mine own ignorance is so vast,
My knowledge so miniscule,
I give thanks for the wisdom to be more tolerant and give all the chance to find God within themselves.
For surely the True God is within us.
With all good wishes to improve your Knowledge of the Bible and your quest for the ultimate truth.

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I have learnt that the world does not need more religion.

What the world needs is more tolerance. An abundance of it.

I have learnt that you have to show mutual tolerance & respect for people whose beliefs & faith may be different from yours.

I have learnt that we have to live & let live.

It is the only way to be happy.

What does your Family think about your Blog?

Samples of conversations with family members after I started blogging. I will not delve  into those instances when I had to get them  to view my Blog at my insistence or at least read a  post completely (as in c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e-l-y, as in ensuring I don’t get the i-get-the-drift-but-too-much-to-read reaction).

As early entrant

Me – Guess what, I got 200 views on my Blog so far, isn’t that cool?

Brother – You only must have clicked it so many times.

Me – Hahaha (albeit dryly as enthusiasm wanes)

As progressive blogger

I discover my Mother has become hooked onto visiting a Blog regularly. Just that it’s not mine.

Me – It’s unfair. You only read Amitabh Bachchan’s Blog all the time – not mine.

Mother – I also read yours (albeit guiltily)

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Which makes me conclude that everyone can write about how to drive traffic to your Blog … but I’ll have you know that driving your own family to visit your Blog is pretty damn hard.

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Jesus said “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.”

I agreed & said – Amen.

Are you a Souveniristic Tourist? Take the test to find out.

                                                                 

Take this quick test to assess just how much of a  souvenir freak you are & if there is any hope left to become normal.

1. Do you collect  magnets of every hill & dale you visit in each country? Yes/No  

 2. Do you collect souvenir spoons as a keepsake of countries you visit?  Yes/No

 3. Do you buy postcards to send friends & family but…like it way too much & keep it for yourself ?  Yes/No

 4. Do you collect foreign coins & postage stamps from every place &  have a neat pile up you know not where to  keep?  Yes/No

 5. Do you bring back a slice of sunshine via a photograph, or a bottle of  sand, or collect shells & pebbles that have that amazzzzing shade you won’t find elsewhere?  Yes/No

 6. Have other people seen your ailment & started bringing back magnets & spoons as gifts for you from their travels?  Yes/No

7. As you flip through books do you discover old tram, train, subway, concert tickets from Godknowswhere that serve as bookmarks? Yes/No

8. Do you preserve museum flyers, local maps as a token of sentiment? Yes/No  

9. Do you have a pile up of mementos of every shape, colour & imagination? Yes/No         

             

10. Do you write blog posts about souvenirs? Yes/No                                                       

 

 

 

Score
Upto 3 Yes  –  You are a happily balanced tourist
Upto 6 Yes  –  You are a tourist tugging away from the rope of normalcy that is trying to detain you
Upto 8 Yes  –  You are a tourist who has broken free from the rope. In  other words you are on the border of souveniritis
All 10 Yes    –  You are a tourist with a case of extreme souveniritis-outta-balancia. Get well soon!

     

A New Age Menace Called Return ‘Great’ Gifts

Growing up, I don’t recall receiving very many return gifts after attending birthday parties of friends or kids in the neighbourhood. Even if there was the remote possibility of it having been there, it would have been something rather simple I’m sure…like pencils & erasers at the most. Sigh! Neither did we give those kids who attended our birthday parties any return gifts. Poor souls.

I remember one’s birthday was ‘the day’ waited for with great excitement – it was all about new clothes, the cake, balloons, friends & family who would drop in for the party & of course the rapturous vision of an awesome pile up of gifts. Looking back, it was also a lot less complicated then.

Today, I watch & hear about parents who go nuts as they try to organise ultra magical birthday parties for their kids, each trying to outbeat the parents of  other kids. I wonder who’s suffering from peer pressure…appears not just kids but parents too! With theme parties & event managers called in to make sure that 1 year old Meena’s birthday is grand & a riot (Meena incidentally would rather just go to sleep) – the parents are at their wit’s end trying to figure out how to make it different & what  the appropriate aka great return gifts should be. I would not be off the mark in saying that the motivation for many children to attend birthday parties is simply the excitement of collecting their  return gift! Kids will endure the party if they have to, knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel, knowing that it is well worth the wait. [Parents – it had better be well worth the wait…]

The next time you plan a birthday party for your kids you may want to consider some of these options instead of the Barbie, Ben 10, doll house or cricket set circuit.  These are some of   my best picks for return gifts, they are eco-friendly  too! So go ahead & give this a shot –

1. An earthen diya on which they paint their names

2. A handmade paper bookmark with the message “I love reading. No space for more toys”

3. After the birthday party, hand brats back to their Parents with  “Here’s our return gift to you – your child” added in smoothly.  

4. Or try giving kids a map of the locality so they return home safe.

5. A nice colourful poster for their room “This munchkin (or teenager) does not accept return gifts.”

Risk – kids who receive the above mentioned return gifts may return no more to your home forget your parties. In fact they may choose to ‘unfriend’ (another blasted new age word)  themselves with your kids! On second thoughts, maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all…

 

M-L-M be gone!

It’s called Multi Level Marketing. And quite rightly so.

What it means is that the sales person will attack you from multiple levels & get yer money off you. Use their relationship with you is the name of the game. And get the richer for it.

Ms.MLMs are all over the place. Some are Misters too. Though I have not yet encountered them. They will leave no soap unturned to get your attention, or air tight lunch box for that matter.

I try to avoid them as much as possible. I’m quite tired of having to part with money for things I don’t really need.

Why is it so difficult to just say no?

Organic shampoos which will make sure that hair which plans to resign from your scalp will reconsider the decision & stay. Not just stay…but grow into Rapunzel-like locks.

The pack of 12 herbal soaps…available for a grand discount of 5% only until tomorrow.

Herbal supplements which will make sure you lose weight or will send your  cholesterol to Mars.

The mineralized moisturizer which will make you glow from head to toe. The fact I may need it is another matter altogether.

Relationship selling. I like to call it the bane of obligatory buying.

Get thee behind me, MLM.

Yikes, it’s Jargon!

P L E A S E  save me from the Jargon monster!

O Jargon – how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways…

If I could leverage you out of my life per se, I would.
If I could optimise you to gain strategic realignment maybe I should.
If I could just throw you above the line –
Or have you grounded below the line,
And get you to remove your game plan which has no synergy with mine. 

 

Your perspective doesn’t quite add up,
Especially when you articulate a meaningless framework.
Your vertical has a slant to it, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
So stop thinking outside the box
Use it to collect low hanging fruit or catch a fox.

 

You are not superman so don’t bother trying to build the plane as you fly it.
Paradigm shifted a long time ago when you were not looking
&
The business model too.
Come on get intuitive about the bigger picture.
Ditch the elevator pitch.
Go on a deep dive to Maldives instead & let’s touch base when you are back.

 

Get off your high horse & start from ground reality.
You’ve been on the drawing board for way too long.
So ramp up, sync up & circle back,
So we can see the deliverable before the light.
It takes two to tango you see,
And at the end of the day…it’s night.

 

Global warming going on so please don’t boil the ocean single-handedly,
Try immersing yourself in it instead.
The bottom line is eroding & the scenario is changing, gotta gain traction.
Let’s put a hard stop to the dynamics & submit a plan of action.
The key takeaway is let the workstreams dry, but let the data points be.
It’s never too late to go to market & stay ahead of the curve you see. 

 

 

P.S. If you didn’t understand…that’s great!  🙂
And as you can see, writing poetry is not one of my core competencies!