Some of the biggest blog traffic killers are free

This is a “been there – done that – bought the t-shirt” kind of post about the dangers of “free” when it comes to the world of WordPress.

Some of the biggest blog traffic killers are free

There are plenty of things you can do to kill traffic to your blog – but this post is about some of the “freebies” you can install which will undo all the “right” things you’ve done over the past few years!

WordPress is built on the power of “free”.  This blog is running on WordPress which is free software which you can install on your own hosting account to run your own self  hosted blog.

WordPress is by far the best option for your self hosted blog and is a great way to get killer blog traffic for your blog – so using WordPress is one exception to the “free may kill your blog traffic” rule.

Running WordPress may not require an investment of money – but it certainly requires an investment of time and energy.  See, WordPress is constantly updating their core code.  Some of those updates are to unveil great new features in the software – while others are released to “close” security holes in the code.  Those security “holes” can range from minor annoyances to allowing a spammer use your email account to send spam.  So it’s important to keep your WordPress installation up to date.

However, there are other ways for bandits and bad guys to gain access to your blog.  One path is through the various plugins.  Plugins are bits of code which allow WordPress to do more than the core code allows it to do.  This feature allows each installation of WordPress to be customized to provide the functions needed by the site owner.  Just as the core code is frequently updated, so are the bits of code contained in various plugins – which need to be updated as well.

Another path bandits and bad guys can use to access your blog is through the distribution of malicious code via free themes.  While the themes distributed via the WordPress.org site are carefully screened to malicious code – there are plenty of sites offering “free” themes – and those free themes can sometimes bring unwelcome code to the WordPress party.

I had that happen with another blog I run.  I had installed a free “Adsense” theme but decided not to use it after I activated it.  Like an idiot, I didn’t uninstall the damned thing when I decided not to use it.  BIG MISTAKE!  I was having major resource usage issues on my VPS – and saw that one blog – the one which had the free theme installed but not activated – was the source of my woe.  The site wasn’t getting impressive traffic- but the resource usage problem was eliminated when I deleted the free theme from my installation.

OUCH!

Today – traffic is improving on that particular blog so the removal of that free theme did help with building traffic to that blog.

This blog runs on Thesis which is not free.  As a matter of fact, Thesis is rather pricey – but well worth the investment.  Thesis provides flexibility and its clean code means you don’t have to run plugins to “optimize” your SEO.

Thesis is great – but the basic theme is rather plain and customizing the theme takes time and a level of creativity that personally I don’t possess.  So when I discovered Thesis skins – I was excited.  I purchased one – applied it here – and then worried about the effect that the skin would have on my site’s “SEO”.  That skin required the installation of a “theme installer” on the site – and I wondered how that would work with the SEO.

So – I foolishly tried another skin – one that simply required that you upload an already coded custom folder.  I decided to test this site’s offering by trying one that was FREE.

Another UGH moment!

For the next few weeks, every time I went into my analytics account – I was faced with the fact that something was terribly wrong on this blog.  But I was busy with other projects and didn’t want to deal with the issue so I ignored it.  I ignored it until my site traffic was down to a trickle.

Now I had to face the hard facts that something was amiss – and I suddenly realized that the plummet in traffic began shortly after installing the new thesis skin.

I’ve removed the skin – and now time will tell whether the “damage” done by that particular “freebie” was permanent.

Some of the biggest blog traffic killers are free – but in the long run those freebies can cost a fortune!

Tips to Increase Blog Traffic

Blogging is easy – but getting traffic to your blog is another story.

One of the best ways to increase your blog traffic is to reach out to other bloggers.  One way to increase traffic to your blog AND reach out to other bloggers is to create an award.

That’s what the MommaWannaBe.com blog did.  A simple graphic, a few rules and suddenly, bloggers are playing “link love tag” with each other.

Dolly’s Daily Diary was a recipient of the award and she was nominated by Ray and outlined the rules for the award in her “acceptance” post:

Uber (synonym to Super) Amazing Blog Award is a blog award given to sites who:~ inspires you~ makes you smile and laugh~ or maybe gives amazing information~ a great read~ has an amazing design~ and any other reasons you can think of that makes them uber amazing!

The rules of this award are:

  • Put the logo on your blog or post.
  • Nominate at least 5 blogs(can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing!
  • Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog.
  • Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.

If you don’t post awards on your site, that is ok. I just wanted to let you know I like your blogs all for different reasons. Keep up the good work!

This type of “tag, you’re it” is also known as a Blog Meme.

Some people may call blog memes “silly”, but it’s often a great way to connect with other bloggers and let them know that you’re paying attention to their blog.

I once had a client who was tagged for a Blog Meme – and he didn’t know what to do.  That’s why, if you decide to start your own “award” be sure to do as Jade did and make part of the “rules” posting exactly how to “play” the game!