6 Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Online Writing

by ChrisHugh

6 simple methods to drive traffic to your good-quality online articles. Not for spammers!

You are writing quality articles or fiction--work that adds value to the Internet. Now the question is, How do you help people find what you have created for them? The answer: Rank well with the search engines. This article offers a few tips to help you do that.

You are writing for both people and spiders

Google and other search engines use "spider" programs to categorize and rank pages on the Internet. 

You are writing for human beings, but you must also be aware of what spiders consider valuable.

Don't try to use spammy formulas to game the spiders. Spider algorithms are constantly being refined with the aim of giving good ranks to pages that are useful to real people. Always write for people. Try to think of the spiders as literal-minded but voracious readers. Perhaps like the Kardasians, they are shallow, but have great influence over others. 

Here are some tips to help the spiders help you.

Readers are in a hurry.
Readers are in a hurry.

1. Try to make your articles at least 150 words long

This lets Google's spiders know that your writing isn't just an ad or a come on with a link to someplace else.

150 is an absolute minimum. Many experts suggest 800 or even 1500 words. But if you only have 150 words worth of information, use 150 words and don't pad your article.

With that said, if you absolutely can't help yourself from padding your article, create a nice succinct article for the human beings. Then put the padding at the end for the spiders. Maybe call it the "details" section so people will know they don't need to read it.

2. Make sure the curtains match the carpet

"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" might have been a great title for a movie about race issues, but it wouldn't be a good title for an Internet article about them.

People and spiders alike want to read your title and tell from it what the article is about. You've got maybe three seconds to engage your reader's interest. Clever, engaging titles are great. But don't play around by making your title mysterious. 

The title of this section is an example of a bad title.

3. Submit pictures on Pinterest

If you have beautiful or arresting pictures, share them on Pinterest. It will drive some traffic to your articles. If you don't have pictures worth sharing on Pinterest, get some.

Where to get images

Pixabay offers a large selection of public domain images. They are free and there are no restrictions on how you can use them. Public Domain Images is another source of images. I don't recommend using images with Creative Commons licenses because the image owners can change the permissions at any time.

It is your responsibility to make sure you have the right to use an image. Just because someone claims to give you permission or claims an image is in the public domain does not mean that it is. That is another reason I do not use images with Creative Commons licenses; I don't know whether the person claiming the license really has a right to the image.

For photographs with people in them, I use Microsoft Images because I assume that Microsoft and their partners obtained the proper model releases. Microsoft places certain restrictions on how their images can be used. This link is a starting point for understanding your responsibilities when you use their images. Please see especially #17.

Whenever possible, I prefer to use images I have taken myself. I recently put together my own lightbox. It didn't cost me anything, and I'm able to take extraordinary pictures using it. Click here for a tutorial on how to make your own lightbox. It takes about ten minutes and uses items you probably already have around the house.

Create Links
Create Links
Picture of a pen in my home-made lightbox
Picture of a pen in my home-made ligh...
This lightbox took 10 minutes to make
This lightbox took 10 minutes to make

4. Blog

Start a blog to promote your writing. When you write an article, announce it on your blog and link to the article. Create a separate blog for each category of writing.

A blog helps you gain traffic in several ways.

SEO: You are creating links, and on-topic links look good to search engines. Important: the links need to be on-topic. This is why you need a blog for each category. A link from an automotive-related blog to an automotive article is an example of a good link. A link from your funny-cat-story blog to your right-to-keep-and-bear-arms article probably isn't.

Blogs can drive real traffic. People who come across your blog might click over to the article you link to.  

Blogs motivate you. Knowing that you're going to announce your latest masterpiece on your blog can help you get the lead out and actually write the thing.

Blogs are places to gain online friends. You'll probably want to create your blog on one of the big blogging sites. Those sites make it easy for you to connect with the other people blogging there. If you go to other people's blogs and comment on their posts, they are likely to return the favor. It's a nice way to connect with other people. I recommend Blogger.com because the interface is easy to use. Other blogging sites are Wordpress.org, Wordpress.com, Tumblr, and Technorati. 

Serpie the Spider is my blog on Blogger.com where I talk about the SEO things I'm learning.

5. Learn how to use Google Insights

Google Insights lets you see how people are using Google searches to get the information they want. Google Insights is designed to help you learn to improve your Google rankings. It's free, so take advantage of it.

Google Adwords Tool
Google Adwords Tool

6. Consider adding a privacy policy to your website

If you have a website, consider adding a privacy policy. Some people think that it helps with Google rankings. This might or might not be true. However, a privacy policy is one indicator of a quality website, and Google wants to reward quality. Thinking about and establishing a privacy policy will also make you a better webmaster.


SEO is a huge and ever-changing subject. Optimizing your web properties for search engines is a job that will expand to fill whatever time you allot for it. Don't let it drive you crazy! Concentrate on providing quality content, but know a little SEO to give yourself a chance. 

Updated: 07/09/2012, ChrisHugh
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Telesto on 03/18/2014

Thank you for this. I understood it, which is a huge bonus for me!

NateB11 on 12/30/2013

Good sound advice here. Getting traffic and knowing what it takes to get traffic is truly a learning process.

wrapitup4me on 08/22/2012

Let's see if I can use this well organized information to actually get some traffic to my articles. I know - I need to do a blog as well. Still waiting on that one. Can't do everything at once!

boutiqueshops on 07/10/2012

Well written with excellent information. Thank you for taking the time to write this article!

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