By Greg Nunan

The old saying “build it and they will come” definitely doesn’t apply to your blog, but increasing your blog traffic is crucial to your success as a blogger, especially if you’re trying to build a business around your blog or use your blog to market your existing business.

So how do you do that in a relatively short period of time without spending a fortune?

Well, nothing can guarantee you massive increases within a short period of time — even paid ads have varying results — but these 6 strategies can help you start boosting your blog traffic today.

1. Add Graphics, Photos and Illustrations

Graphics, photos and illustrations can dramatically increase the level of reader engagement on your posts and give you an edge in the search engines — after all, your graphics can be found via image search. Including these images in your social media posts, particularly on Twitter, can also dramatically increase your engagement on social media.

Making your own graphics is obviously ideal, but you can also find many Creative Commons images to use as long as you provide a link back to the site where you got the image.

2. Conduct Keyword Research While Writing Your Posts

Does a particular phrase in the post you’re working on sound like it might be an excellent key phrase to repeat? Are you writing about a very specific sub-topic related to your primary blog topic? If you are, you might want to use the Google Keyword Planner (it’s free) to figure out what words will make your current post more SEO friendly.

Use “exact match” to see only searches for the exact phrase you’re thinking about or “broad match” to see popular terms related to the one you’re considering using.

3. Think Outside of Just Plain Text

Behind Google, YouTube is the biggest search engine online. How about doing your next blog post as a video instead of written format? This allows you to position your content on the YouTube platform as opposed to your personal blog, so you have an opportunity (an almost guaranteed success) of getting your content in front of new potential followers.

Now, this article is about no-cost promotion, but I should mention that there are plenty of low cost video recorders that are perfect for vlogging for a couple hundred dollars. The Sony Cyber-Shot WX80 is well under $200 to purchase for example. But you know what? I’ve always gone by the saying that “perfection is the enemy of good.” You don’t need to produce perfect quality video to get good results and if you don’t have $200 to spend on a new camera, just use your smartphone to record.

4. Make a Habit of Referencing Other Blogs and Old Posts

Linking to other pertinent blog posts can help your readers learn more in-depth information about a particular topic and building legitimate links into your site is crucial. While inside links (links between different pages on your site) don’t matter to SEO as much as they used to, they help keep your reader on your blog for a longer period of time.

As for other blogs, well, there are a couple reasons to do this: you enrich the information already available on your site and you attract attention from the people whose posts you share often. Bloggers and site owners will typically look at sites that link to their work, particularly on small to medium size sites. These people will often  come over to your blog, chat with you on social media and sometimes become your biggest cheerleaders.

5. Offer Subscriptions via Both Feed and Email

While most people have moved away from RSS feeds and now prefer regular email subscriptions there are still plenty of people who subscribe via feed, so you want to have both options available and clearly visible on your site. To get people on the site itself make sure your feed and newsletter only share excerpts from specific articles.

Pay close attention to these feeds and see which posts subscribers are clicking on to figure out what your readers want from future posts.

6. Add Your Blog Link Everywhere

Do you participate in a lot of forums? Send a lot of emails? Have profiles on numerous sites like YouTube, DeviantArt, Flickr or more professional social networking sites like LinkedIn? Make sure all your profiles on the web have a link back to your website somewhere and include it in any signatures you use on social sites.

Linking to your blog on a couple of these accounts won’t make a big difference but when you add them all together it can be quite impressive, particularly if you’re active on several of these sites.

Wrapping Up

You may not go viral overnight but these simple and free steps can help you build a solid blog readership over time. It’s not a sprint anyway, is it?