Twitter, the popular micromessaging/ microblogging web service, isn’t just for announcing what your most recent meal was, despite opinions to the contrary. It’s really many tools in one, one of which is a way to brand yourself online. You can then leverage that to build up traffic to your blog.
Key Steps for Building Blog Traffic With Twitter
The first step, of course, is to sign up with Twitter, upload a picture or avatar, and fill out your profile. The profile allows you to link back to your website. [Note: plugins specifically mentioned and/or linked to below are for the WordPress blogging platform.]
- Build your Twitter following. Add people who add you. Add movers and shakers. Add people who have a tendency to add back, if you follow them. (Compare the number of people they’re following with the number that are following them. These should be “close” in number.) To auto-follow, use a web service such as Tweetlater.
- Post frequently on your blog. Not just indepth posts but also short bits for variety. Regular posting alone can increase your traffic, especially to a new blog. If you combine it with regular use of Twitter, this can generate even more traffic.
- Display your latest tweets on your blog, either using a plugin or some custom code.
- Display a “follow me on Twitter” button on your blog. This draws in your current readership. (Some bloggers are reporting higher Twitter followers compared to blog subscribers.)
- Tweet your blog posts. In addition to sharing other web pages on Twitter, share your blog posts. This can be done manually, or you can install a plugin to auto-tweet a new headline (and link) to your Twitter stream.
- Install a “tweet this” button on your blog, to be displayed on each of your posts. This lets your blog readers share the posts they enjoy, in their Twitter stream.
- Retweet your post. Retweet the same post a couple of times in the same day, to ensure that more people see it. Make sure that you aren’t only tweeting your links, or links in general. If your entire Twitter stream is only links, people might start unfollowing you. Use Twitter the same way you might use your Facebook Wall’s status message: to say what you’re up to right now, or will be up to, announce events, share information, ask questions.
Keep tweeting and building your following. The more people in your network(s), the more likely a link will get retweeted.
Side note: Are you worried about having too many browser tabs open? If you’re using WordPress for your blog, you can use the Twitter Tools WP plugin to tweet from your blog’s sidebar. (Twitter Tools requires you have at least WP 2.3.) If you just want the ability to let your readers share your blog posts on Twitter, you can use Richard Thripp’s Tweet This WP plugin, which runs in older versions of WP as well new ones.