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5 Easy Ways to Use Twitter to Increase Blog Traffic

September 12, 2011

For nearly a year after deciding I needed to blog, I put off getting started. I was intimidated. What if I attracted no readers? In the past, I’d made two brief attempts at blogging; both had failed miserably. I’d written a few posts, they’d died, and I’d abandoned the effort. We don’t write in a vacuum. I see writing as a dialogue between writer and reader. With no readers, I might as well have been writing in my diary.

In Leah's Wake - cover artThis time was different. I’d published a book. I didn’t want another failed blog to show up on Google

I did want to build a social media platform; this required a blog. Mustering my confidence, I wrote and posted an entry. Coincidentally – I had no idea that it would help – I activated my Twitter account

Soon, Twitter friends began to visit. And they left comments! People were actually reading my blog! I was ecstatic. I still am. I enjoy reading comments, even when we don’t agree – especially when we don’t agree. One day, a passionate conversation jumped from my blog onto Facebook. In just six months, I’ve managed to connect with many lovely readers and writers. Together we’ve built a vibrant community.

None of this would have happened without Twitter. You can do the same. Here are 5 easy ways to use Twitter to increase your blog traffic. If you’re an experienced blogger, you probably do these already.

Tweet your posts. This is so obvious that I almost feel silly saying it. Yet I’ve met bloggers – honest – who refuse to venture into the Twitter-verse. Usually they tell me it’s because they find Twitter confusing.

If you’re in this camp, don’t waste precious time trying to figure it out. Instead, take Rachel Thompson’s phenomenal workshop Social Media for Writers. It’s the first Tuesday of every month – and it’s free! You’ll be glad you did! By the time I took the workshop, I’d been tweeting for months. With thousands of followers, I thought of myself as an expert. Wrong. I learned a lot. You will too. You won’t be sorry.

For information or to sign up, email: IndieBookClasses@gmail.com

Be sure your Twitter button is easy to find. Another point that seems too obvious to state, yet, for some reason, bloggers often overlook this. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve discovered content I’ve wanted to share, and couldn’t locate the Tweet button. If I happen to know the blogger or the content is particularly intriguing, I’ll usually hunt. Otherwise, if I can’t locate the button quickly, I’ll simply move on

If we want peeps to tweet our posts – who doesn’t? – we have to make it easy. I prefer for social media buttons to appear at the end of the post, because I don’t have to think. I finish reading and there it is, practically calling out, tweet me. A Twitter button at the top of the screen helps too, because it invites visitors to tweet a link to the blog as opposed to a particular post. To maximize exposure, mine has both.

Retweet old posts. My blog retweets old posts on a regular cycle. Posts generate automatically and start with a question – Worth the RT? This is my secret weapon. I tweet each entry four or five times on the day I post, then for several days after. Still, I miss countless readers. Recycling keeps every post active. A 6-month-old post may receive 5 or more RTs, generating more comments than it did the week I posted. This increases the value of my blog content, and it benefits my guests by providing long-term promotion.

Word has spread and I now receive regular #WW and #FF mentions, advising others to follow the blog.
Of course, tweeting too many links violates Twitter’s terms of service. A plugin called Tweet Old Posts allows me to select by category, apply hashtags, and choose min/max time intervals between tweets.

Tweet related content. This is simple and easy – and it’s fun. When you read or hear a story that’s relevant to one of your posts, take the opportunity to tweet about it, adding a link to your blog. Last year, I wrote a piece, called “Natural Born Killers,” about four young men who, for sport, murdered a mother and savagely injured her daughter. If a similar incident turned up in the news, I might tweet:

The horrific murder in Texas reminds me of one two years ago in NH. http://bit.ly/q86laZ This has to stop, but how?

This tweet is meant to generate dialogue. By promoting our blog on Twitter, we can build our following, connect with a large, engaged audience, and hold real conversations. Isn’t that what writing is all about?

Terri Giuliano Long - Author of the award-winning novel In Leah's WakeTerri Giuliano Long teaches writing at Boston College and blogs about writing and the writing life at www.tglong.com/blog In August, while featured in the IBC’s premier promotion Bestseller For a Day, her debut novel, In Leah’s Wake, hit bestseller status. She credits Rachel Thompson (aka @RachelintheOC) for turning her into a blogging Twitter addict.

Website: http://tglong.com/site
Blog: http://www.tglong.com/blog
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/tglong
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tglongwrites

Her award-winning novel In Leah’s Wake – available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 13, 2011 10:44 am

    The Indie Book Collective is my life-saver on the sea of novice writing. Or should I say, “On the sea of novice writing the Indie Book Collective is my life-saver?”

  2. September 13, 2011 10:56 am

    Such great tips! Thanks, Terry, for sharing — all the generous authors are making my indie path so much easier. I have hopes that someday soon I’ll actually make my way out of the publishing wilderness.

  3. September 15, 2011 4:21 pm

    Good tips here, Terri!

    I think I’m pretty good at doing these, except I only tweet a new post for a couple of days for about three times a day and I don’t tweet old ones. I actually wrote about that issue on my blog awhile back, asking if it was okay to, and my readers said “Heck yes,” but somehow I still hold back. (I think because I get annoyed when some people seem to tweet old ones all the friggin’ time.)

  4. September 19, 2011 9:18 am

    Hi Terri,
    Thank you so much for the Twitter tips. I put them into play and had instant results. I had not even considered retweeting old posts, but will do so at once. Thanks again for sharing your expertise.

  5. September 22, 2011 9:31 pm

    Really useful article. Half my problem is being too lazy to even attempt to schedule my tweet. I can see the value in retweeting good content.

  6. September 30, 2011 10:45 am

    great tips! Twitter and of course other social media like Facebook are very useful even to professionals like us. Not only will we get to meet a lot of people but we stay connected and well, our target market remains updated. Retweeting old posts is somewhat new to me but I think you have a good point.

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