To quote Van Halen, ‘everybody wants some.’
And what you want is traffic. Why write a blog if no-one visits, right? I have 17 technical writers’ blogs in my Google Reader & RSS feeds. Most are fine but… if they used some of the following tactics, they’d get more traffic, comments, money and Nobel prizes. Well, three out of four, anyway.
How To Get More Traffic To Your Technical Writing Blog
Apply five of these tactics and your traffic will double. No kidding, it will!
#1: Add Your Photos
Look at your favorite technical writing blogs. How many faces do you see? Why are they all hiding? I dunno. Stick your mugshot on the page so we can see what you look like! Go on! None of us are Brad Pitt or Paris Hilton (OMG! Paris Hilton rebuilds career as technical writer shock!), so add a pic. Don’t be shy. People like to read about people they know. If they can’t see you…
I’m no spring chicken, so if I can do it, you can. All of these video were taken on a Canon powershot.
Videos let people hear you, see your expression, feel what you’re trying to say in ways that words cannot. Making videos is easier that you think. I use Camtasia 6 for all its sins.
#3: Social Media Outposts
Use Social Media for maximum impact. With web content publishing tools like Posterous you can get the message out to all these channels with almost no effort. Posterous lets you post once, publish everywhere.
We all get tired of checking for split infinitives and looking for typos, so lighten things up. Add quizzes to get people involved… and try to be a little different.
- Did you ever download software illegally?
- What’s your manager’s most annoying habit?
- Would you let your boss friend you on Facebook?
- Do you know any technical writing who can reverse park? (I was going to say Women but then turned on my brain! That was so close!)
- Do you know any men who ask for directions when lost? One for the girls, no doubt.
May not work for all sites but comics are a nice break from technical documents and other heavy reading. Why do you think they are so popular? Every serious newspaper has them, why not you?
If they come to your site, it’s your opinion they are after. So, why don’t you give it?
#1 cardinal sin of most blogs is that they have no opinion!
Don’t be scared! I’m with you! Give your honest opinion (try not to rant or swear) and you’ll see people will respond very quickly.
#2 cardinal sin of most blogs… bland!
If your blog echoes the rest of the crowd, well, why should I come back? Stick your neck out, even a little. Some people were upset that I dissed Camtasia but y’know I’d be lying if I said it worked!
Keep your readers up to date. Use graphs, charts and diagrams. See Brain Solis and Information in Beautiful for inspiration.
It doesn’t have to stop at 10. Here are a few list of get started:
- 21 Left Handed Technical Writers
- 7 Reasons Why Adobe FrameMaker Sucks But You Still Need to Buy It
- 12 Honest Ways to Get a Pay Rise
- 5 Ways To Give An Honest Appraisal
- 28 Ways to Proofred a Technical Documant
- 1 Good Reason to Join the STC
- 18 Mistakes Technical Writers Make Before Breakfast
- 9 Ways to Evaluate a Help Authoring Tool
#9: How-to guides
Ok, the technical stuff comes last.
If you’re going to offer technical advice (and you should!) identify the problem, explain how to fix it, and then ask for questions or comments.
#3 cardinal sin of blogging is… blogger doesn’t interact with readers.
Ask for comments. If you have a Facebook page, give them the link and connect there.
Create lists for technical writers and add them. Like these lists I created for technical writers and creativity.