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19 (More) Strategies for Finding Readers


Yaro has already kicked us off on this topic of how to find readers for a new blog but I thought I’d pull together a few ideas on the topic also (with a little overlap with Yaro’s ideas). These points come from a variety of older posts I’ve written on the topic – sort of a ‘best of’ kind of thing. I’ve updated some, others are straight extracts from things I’d said before and a few are new:

1. It takes time – It may not be what you want to hear, but it unless you’re a genius, extremely lucky or have an amazing new idea, it takes time to build a readership. So settle in for the long haul and muscle up some patience.

2. Content Content Content – I’ve said this over and over again so will keep it brief but unless you have ‘good’ content you’re unlike to build a readership. What is good content – start by thinking about it in terms of usefulness and uniqueness and I think you’ll be on the right track. Other words that come to mind when it comes to good content might be ‘fresh’, ‘variety’, ‘up to date’ and ‘well written’.

3. Link to others – Perhaps one of the central features of blogging is that they are linked. The intricate web of links and relationships was one of the first things that attracted me to blogging and it’s part of the reason it’s got real viral properties that allow ideas to spread so quickly. Participate in the linking to other blogs and you’ll find that many benefits come. For a start you’ll be participating in the conversation, you’ll be getting the attention of others and your readers will appreciate that you’re interested in helping them find the best content out there.

Of course you don’t want to be linking randomly to everyone and anyone – be selective and link to quality content that is relevant to your niche topic. As you engage in linking you’ll find that others will link back (assuming you have something worthwhile to say yourself) and you’ll find the traffic begins to flow – both from their sites and as a result of your increased search engine ranking.

4. Get Links from other Bloggers – I can hear the comments already – ‘Easier said than done Darren!’ This is true – but if you’re smart, genuine, helpful and polite there are ways of increasing the chances of getting links from others.

5. Participate in other people’s conversations - I suspect that a number of my first regular blog readers first came to my blog because I left a comment on theirs. It was not a strategy I thought about – I just found myself quite addicted to reading others blogs and giving feedback. When you leave a comment leave your own blog address. Often people like to know who is reading their blog and will come visiting you. Don’t comment just for the sake of it. If someone leaves me a ‘hi’ comment or is obviously spamming my blog I won’t visit them and delete the comment. Make genuine comments on posts that connect with you. You might make a good friend in the process and in the long run will find the flow on effect of this is more interest in you and your own blog.

6. Interact with Readers – When a reader reaches out to you with a comment, email or link from their blog – interact with them. For starters it’s good manners and secondly it’s a good way to increase the chances that they’ll come back again. I get a lot of people telling me that they don’t have enough readers to their blog – while I can related to this frustration I generally encourage them to see what they’ve got as a good starting place. Interact with those who do come to your blog and make it the best experience you can for them and you’ll find that they spread the word for you.

7. Update frequently – With the advent of news aggregators people can be notified of your new post in real time. I noticed that when I publish a new post that my stats nearly always go up slightly just afterwards as those readers with aggregators log in to have a quick look at my latest musings. This works a lot better on some blogs than others (some topics seem to attract more RSS subscribers than others do). Another side benefit of frequent posting is that search engines like it and many believe that the more you post the more often SE’s will send their spiders out to index your blog. Similarly – the more you post the more you’ll get indexed by blog engines like technorati (and numerous others). Of course I’m not encouraging massive amounts of meaningless content – keep it of a high quality.

8. Add a signature to your outgoing email – This is an oldie but a goodie. Many bloggers do this. Simply add the domain name to your outgoing email. Most email programs will allow you to do this automatically via a signature option. However be careful with automatic signatures if you don’t want your blog to be read by everyone that you email.

9. Promote your RSS Feed – Most blog platforms come with a RSS feeds built in but there are ways of increasing your subscriber list. The most obvious of these is to put it in the sight of your readers by putting your RSS button in a more prominent position. There are a variety of different buttons available that you can make available to readers to help them to subscribe to your blog via their news aggregators with one click that might also be worth investigating. Also, if your topic is not one which many readers seem to use RSS in, you might need to do some education on the topic of RSS feeds. Write a post on how to follow your blog via RSS and you might find more do.

10. List your site on Portals, Blog Indexes, Directories and Search Engines – There are MANY places that you can list your blog to help it get more attention. In fact there are too many and you could probably spend all your time submitting your blog to them all. I’d recommend that you don’t become obsessed by this and work on other factors in this list first and then in your spare time add your blog to some of these types of things as you go. Making sure you get listed on some of the bigger sites like Technorati should probably be a priority (here’s how for Technorati) – but don’t make this the first thing you do. In terms of getting into search engines – you can submit yourself (most have ways of doing this) but most people believe that the best and quickest way to get indexed these days is to get a link from another site that is already indexed.

11. Search Engine Optimization – While some bloggers don’t think much of SEO I think it is well worth knowing some basic SEO principles and keeping them in the back of your mind as you blog. After all SE’s are the place that most people go to when they are searching for information on a topic. Don’t become obsessed by SEO, but don’t ignore it either.

12. Participate in others Blogger’s Projects – From time to time other bloggers will invite your participation in a blog project of theirs. Put your hand up, volunteer some time and contribute in some way. Don’t just do it to get a link on their site, but take the opportunity to build a relationship with them and their readers. Not only will you make a friend, but over time you build some credibility as a blogger who is not just thinking about themselves. On the flip side start your own blogging project. Some of the more popular things to get involved with these days are Blog Carnivals.

13. Participate in other web forums – Blogging is not the only vibrant online activity at the moment. I visit a number of other discussion forums and e-zines that explore similar ideas/hobbies/interests to me and my blogs. I’ve found an increasing amount of traffic to my blog is coming as a result of my contributions to these forums as many of them allow you to add your link as a signature to your posts. Don’t spam these forums – but be a genuine contributer that adds useful comments and you’ll find people are drawn to your other projects.

14. Explore other formats of communication – Another of the more effective things that I’ve done over the past year in my blogging is worth hard on email newsletters for a few of my blogs. I don’t do it with all of them (mainly due to the time it takes) but here at ProBlogger I’ve grown a list of over 1600 email subscribers who I send weekly information to. These newsletters both are about keeping people in touch with what happened on the blog each week as well as giving extra tips and information to build a sense of community and ownership of the site. Other bloggers use forums similarly.

15. Offline Techniques – Blog Promotion need not only happen online. Consider how you might promote it offline and you could just bring in some new readers also. Such techniques can include putting your URL on business cards, letterhead, using press releases and other assorted methods. Read more on this here.

16. Make it viral - One of the things about infectious diseases that makes them so deadly is that they are very easy to pass on from one person to another. There are a number of things you might want to consider doing to help with this. For instance a lot of bloggers these days are adding links on their posts that allow readers to bookmark the post in social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us and digg. Other bloggers have features that allow bloggers to ‘email a friend’ about a particular post. Others (like ProBlogger) allow readers to subscribe to comment threads via email. All of these types of plugins allow your readers to do the work for you in either spreading the word about your site or making it more sticky. Speaking of social bookmarking – there are also ways of writing content that tend to be picked up more in this scene that you might like to explore if that’s a source of traffic that you’re interested in.

17. Advertise – I’ve written a lot over the past year about running advertising on blogs as a form of income – but on the flip side of many advertising platforms that you can run as a publisher are the opportunities to actually advertise your blog in the attempt to find new readers. In the last few months I’ve dabbled a little in this side of things, mainly using AdWords (the advertiser side of AdSense) but also advertising on a few sites using BlogAds. I’ve actually been learning about AdWords using Perry Marshall’s e-book (aff) on the topic and am finding it quite helpful if you’re looking to a good introduction to using it (he has a free 5 day taster too). Of course you’ll need to weigh up the cost of advertising vs the benefits that you think it’ll bring – but I know of quite a few bloggers who run an AdWords campaign in the first month of a new blog to give it a kick start and swear by the method.

18. Link baiting – This is one of the terms that has become quite common among bloggers over the last year. In essence ‘link bait’ is some sort of comment that will attract links to it and in many ways is no different than paragraph 2 above – write good content and people will link up. Of course there are many tactics that many bloggers use to link bait – I’ve explored a few of these here.

19. Take all advice with a grain of salt – Be yourself and have fun! – The web is full of advice like the above – what I’m saying isn’t rocket science. There are no rules of blogging and it seems everyone’s experience of growing a blog (or not growing one) is different.

I’m sure there are a lot of blogs out there that ignore all or most of the above advice that have a bunch of regular readers and healthy hits. So relax, be yourself and have fun with it. Experiment with new tools, styles of design and writing.

My suspicion is that bloggers who obviously enjoy the blogging process and who are themselves are the type of bloggers that people are drawn to. Bloggers that are uptight and who complain constantly about how their blog isn’t achieving what they want it to achieve probably do quite the opposite and turn people away. Traffic is a good thing for a blog but it’s not the ultimate measure of a good blog in my books. Write it for yourself and have some fun and a lot of the rest will end up looking after itself.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Freddy Macha says:

    Fanta-stic. Fast-astic. Futu-ristic.
    I am from a bi-lingual background and have just started running two blogs, for the two types of readers. Your “content is significant” tips is simply the ABC for good blogging. A good writer writing about what makes good writing. Creme de la creme…!

  2. discovery says:

    Darren,
    You can make a mini e-book for this advice.
    With the experience you have so far ,many bloggers out there starving for this information.

  3. Jeff Dowler says:

    This is terrific – wish I had seen this earlier, but a tremendous help. I’ve saved this for reading again and again to keep me focussed.

    Thanks for sharing such valuable that we can all benefit from.

    Jeff

  4. Here i am publishing the 68th comment and it just about says it all! your article’s the best i’ve read on blogging so far.

    I find Point 1 as apt, for nothing good comes easy – blogging needs time to build a readership. I currently have 4 blogs and no readers so i really appreciate this material!

  5. I realized after I read this that I’ve been mostly lazy with spreading my content, even though I think it’s good I just don’t want to take the time to do all the work. I think now I’m going to try it though. Thanks!

  6. Lola says:

    Great advice! I’m going to try it, for sure, on my site http://fashionpoirot.ebloggy.com.

  7. 17. Advertising is not a bad idea. Of course content is key, but like with any product, you need to let people know about it. Adwords on google (and the equivelents on Yahoo and MSN) are easy to set up and you can control the budget and how much you are willing to pay for key words.

  8. This post is good article which i ever readed. I’m new member in “Make Money” world. Plz help me.
    Thanks your every much:)

  9. Vicky says:

    I really like #6. That is one of my pet peeves. I have posted quality content on a certain blog for almost a year now and never once gotten a hi, thank you, go away, anything to acknowledge that I do.

  10. It’s like a second job. So much effort goes into it. A little recognition from readers goes a long way towards keeping a person motivated.

  11. Marya says:

    http://randomrealstuff.blogspot.com/

    My website needs tweaking here and there – well pretty much everywere but i just dont know how to get the traffic coming my way! Can someone help? Drop me an e-mail if you have any ideas!

    Regards,

    Marya

  12. WildTips says:

    Great post for beginners. This type of work seems so tedious, especially when you are starting out & making only peanuts for your website or blog. However, it is the name of the game & you must do these things to win.

  13. Sandra says:

    Wow! Darren such a great post for newbies. You are indeed what your blog name implies a PROBLOGGER.
    Thanks.
    Sandra

  14. Mark says:

    We love your articles and posts. They are the easiest to understand on the entire web :)

  15. Nate says:

    If I don’t get Dugg, does it mean my post stinks?

  16. batta says:

    i’m trying to follow all of your hints in my brand-new blog!

  17. I just wanted to reference your post in my last blog. Truly outstanding blog by the way. :)

    http://www.matthewerwin.com

  18. mr.eims says:

    SEO turn out to be at 11th place..hehe.. =P

  19. Time is the main thing there, but a lot of salient points. I am trying those points out over time. http://www.mrfeedback.net

    Just out of interest, how long did it take you Darren to become somewhat “popular”

  20. Muscle Post says:

    I have begun implementing some of these strategies on my blog, but I know I have a long way to go. I’m definitely in it for the long haul though. From all that I’ve read, you need to give it at least 6 months of solid effort, writing good content, link building, and networking in order to assess the potential of your site.

    Muscle Post does not have a huge following right now, but it is only a month old. I have been getting some great feedback and already have quite a few loyal readers.

  21. SEO Genius says:

    Fantastic post Darren some very decent information i will act on it right away.

  22. Wakas Mir says:

    As always Darren very nice tips you got here. I usually don’t think about leaving a comment just for the sake of it but have been bombarded with a few comments on my blog where people just put like

    “Nice blog, want to exchange links”

    Or saying “I agree” and then post a link :)

    So yes there is no point in anyone replying back to your blog if you don’t give them a good reason, right.

    Keep it up!

    ——————————–
    Positivity and Optimism
    http://www.WakasMir.com

  23. revenue says:

    wow thanks for this tips :)

  24. Afreshup says:

    Great article, I have a question … My blog topic is pretty ho-hum it’s credit cards. It’s very unlikely I will ever attract a large “sticky” audience to this blog.

    My question is, would I be better served trying to create other blogs with more interesting subjects i.e. politics, seo, self help and so on and using them as backlinks to my commercial blog?

    This way my commercial blog will hit valuable search phrases which would mean that I really wouldnt care if it is sticky or not?

  25. Martina says:

    “Traffic is a good thing for a blog but it’s not the ultimate measure of a good blog in my books. Write it for yourself and have some fun and a lot of the rest will end up looking after itself” – this would have to be one of the best tips I have read – so true, thanks Darren

  26. Melayu Johor says:

    Yes, this blog offers many tips on how to promote your blogs. One of the simplest way to promote your blogs is to create many blogs with varieties of topics such as economics, politics, money making, property, education, science and many. Then, you create links to each blog. Other suggestion is to create your family blogs where every members creates his/her blogs. Then ask of them to put your link to their blogs. Try it. I have done and is interesting.

  27. I am also trying to attract more readers to my blog.
    The blog covers recent eWaste industry news. Are there differences between promoting a personal blog vs. a business blog?
    Thanks.

  28. Frank J says:

    This is an absolute must article to read and apply to your strategy. Thanks for the share!

  29. Melayu Johor says:

    I have an idea on how to attract more readers to our blogs…Each on of us who read this topic which discuss visit other members blog and give some comments. Is it a good idea. If agree, say agree, and I will visit each of us!

  30. trisha says:

    thanks a lot for the help through all the articles which i have breezed past till now, god bless you.
    wish you luck, happiness and peace
    trisha

  31. lawrence says:

    Search Engine Optimization is a complex process and it is most suitable for professionals who know the tricks to attract Google bot effectively.But If you are a newbie,then the new generation micro blogging sites such as
    Twitter,tumblr,jaiku,Plurk ,ping.fm etc are more effective tools for promoting your blog sites .

    Lawrence

  32. Thanks for the great post darren. I was really getting frustrated at my blog traffic. Just 10-20 by organic means. true that my blog got a page rank of 3 within 21 days and all that bells and whistles. But that is not the ultimate aim. I know that patience is the ultimate keyword for blogging and seo, but somehow i get more and more addicted to checking out my google analytic account.

    I am right now trying to increase my blog traffic through gues posting on other famous blogs.

  33. Lately, I find active participation is blogging is the easiest and efficient way to increase traffic to your site. One of the website that can promote your site easily is by joining LeadsLeap. Leadsleap is based on the concept of viral blog where your website can be promoted by 10 levels of your downlines.

  34. One of the most exhaustive article I have read on the subject of promoting websites or blogs and finding more readers.

    One observation is most people on the net are self centred and hardly participate in other peoples blogs. I believe if we are more outgoing and supportive to other peoples good efforts, we may build a community for ourselves to.

  35. Chris says:

    I agree. It does take time to build up a following. Its a little faster now with sites like Twitter, etc.

    But, on the whole, hard work and a lot of GREAT content is needed. Sound advice, Cheers!

Trackbacks

  1. Anonymous says:

    19 (More) Strategies for Finding Readers

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