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23 Ideas for Finding New Readers for Your Blog

Over the weekend I ran an ‘open mike’ discussion which asked the question of How do you find Readers for Your Blog?

There were quite a few responses to the question – some of which went a little unnoticed as they were moderated until I got home. So I thought I’d summarize some of the main themes that arose in the discussion with a few quotes from those who left comments.

For the full series of comments see the post – but here are the main themes listed in no particular order except that they are vaguely the order that people submitted them in (keep in mind that these ideas come from readers – not all of them will be for everyone):

1. Comment on Related Blogsraising4boys writes – “Commenting on related blogs is probably the most effective strategy early on in the process. And responding to comments when people leave them on your blog (this encourages them to keep coming back).” And from Brody – “I visit other blogs in my niche, add them to my feed and participate in the discussion on their blogs via the comments. Writing interesting comments often gets people to click through to see your site.”

2. Join Forumselprezidente writes – “I’ve found that one very quick way to infuse readers to a new blog is to be active in discussion forums related to your blog topic. Locate posts that ask for help with something you are familiar with and share your experience.”

3. Write Effective Post TitlesAziz writes – “Simple and to the point. The title should create an instant urge to read the entire post… But of course it should be related to the topic of your blog”

4. InterviewsOllie writes – “One example being to interview fellow bloggers who are in the same niche as me. This has gone down well, and has been great for both myself and the interviewee as traffic flows between us.”

5. PersistDan Norman writes – “Persistence is key. After starting up a new blog last month and letting go of another this month, I notice that traffic (quality traffic) doesn’t happen over night. On my last site, I think it took 6 months before ASK.com found me.”

6. Connect with Local BloggersRob O writes – “The other thing I’ve been doing just recently is connecting up with other bloggers in my city and the neighboring towns. We’ve got something of a link exchange going and a nice side-effect to this is that I/we have discovered that there are quite a few more bloggers and/or website authors in the area than ever expected.”

7. Give Away Free StuffPeterandrej writes – “I’ve had some success with giving away free stuff, like free templates for WordPress. It doesn’t give me lot of new readers, because my blog is written in Norwegian, but the templates give lots and lots of new links to the blog, giving it a much better pagerank in Google, which in turn should mean more readers from search-engines.”

8. Be OpinionatedTrent writes – “Be opinionated, but encourage opposing viewpoints in the comments. Opinionated makes you interesting – encouraging other perspectives makes you essential.”

9. Ask Questions of Other BloggersTrent also writes – “Ask questions of other moderately successful bloggers and try to network. If you shoot too high, you’ll often get blown off because these people have so much stuff to read and deal with.”

10. Use TrackbacksMaki writes – “Sending highly creative and penetrating trackbacks about a blogger’s original post.”

11. AdvertiseMike Panic writes – “Buy advertising space on related websites.”

12. Educate Readers about RSS - Mike Panic writes – “With the most recent blog I launched I created a page in WordPress called Feeds which not only has the RSS icon on it but a description of what a “feed” is and what are some of the most common ways to subscribe and use feeds, mostly pulled from a CC article.”

13. Offline Promotion - Mike Panic writes – “Talk to friends, family and coworkers about them… you’d be surprised how much the traditional way of “networking” really does work…. also Business cards, depending which blog I’ll post on a community board at a grocery store.

14. Search Engine OptimizationMichelle writes – “Properly optimizing my blog has been a big boost to my readership. Once I figured out how to play around with SEO I started getting a regular 25-35% of my hits from Google.”

15. Quality Content (mentioned by many) – ilker writes – “Posting only quality content.. obviously! Better posts are discussed more, increasing both the number of comments and references in other blogs.”

16. Blog CarnivalsSlade writes – “submitting posts to Blog Carnivals”

17. MemesLeanne writes – “I’ve picked up a handful of wonderful friends and readers through initiating the “Thursday Thirteen”. Yeah, a meme. Bloggers want to know about bloggers, not just the business aspect of it but the *person* writing the blog. Reading a quick list of “getting to know me” type tidbits gives me instant inside information on whether or not I will become a regular visitor. Some participants have used it solely to gain business, but frankly I think that turns people away. People are interested in people first, and what they do second. It works.”

18. Frequent Posting - baggage writes – “I also try to post frequently. I find that the more I post, the more readers I have. The less comments, but the more readers.”

19. Guest BloggersRandom Good Stuff writes – “I invite other bloggers to guest blog and allow always one link back to their site. I have 3 active guest authors … and in return they link to my site from time to time.”

20. Get Links from Other BlogsJamdo writes – “Getting mentioned on other sites and blogs in the same niche, I think, has been the best way to get a readership who keeps returning to a blog. Make contact with other bloggers in yoru niche via comments, email, AIM, skype, homing pigeons – whatever.”

21. NewslettersAdrian writes – “The Zookoda newsletter provides nice spikes and people tend to forward the newsletter to their friends.”

22. Social NetworksIlya writes – “Submit your story to Digg and reddit and, regardless of whether it makes the front page or not, you get 50-100 free hits. The easiest way to generate quick exposure. Failing that, comment frequently on blogs that you like. With any luck, the blog author will want to find out more about you, follow the link to your blog, and perhaps write a post referencing one of your posts.”

23. Pitch Your PostsMarty Weil writes – “I view other bloggers as a PR pros view journalists working in traditional media. I reach out to bloggers using tactics successfully employed in the world of professional media relations. For instance, I “pitch” specific posts that they might find adds value to topics they are writing about. I also send email introducing them to my blog, but only if there’s a good fit between my blog and theirs. The key is to be very selective in approaching the “media gatekeeper”–just as successful and smart media relations people do.”

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. brem says:

    Great summary. Just shy of 25! :)

  2. David says:

    Superb post, Darren. Very well put together.
    I’m going to come back to this one over time.

    David

  3. Leroy Brown says:

    #8 is huge – opinions matter. No one likes to read neutral, boring posts, they like passion. Whether or not they agree with it is something else, but it definitely encourages comments and interaction.

  4. Huy Sedu says:

    Darren, what’s the max number of posts you shouldn’t go over ?
    I feel that posting more than 1 or 2 is useless. If I do that everyday, won’t my earlier posts just get buried under the pile of the new ones ? Somehow I feel the content just get lost…

  5. Here’s another tip (this sounds totally self-serving, but it’s not!): have a great design, and submit your site to the various design galleries. This can lead to a pretty significant traffic stream depending on how many galleries pick up your site.

  6. Nicholas says:

    Social Networks are definitely one of the great ways to get the word out. It’s exactly what it says.. social network… you shouldn’t blog in your own world if you want readers…

  7. Mike says:

    Another thing that keep in mind when you read the comments on other blogs. The people that leave a lot of good comments are the people who’s sites you should go visit. They might notice your comments/links and become a good a regular good commenter on your site.

  8. Chris Lodge says:

    No.22 is likely to get you banned by the dirty Diggers for spamming..

    Whenever I add a site to my blogroll, I make a post about the site and how good it is etc. I mean it genuinely, but 9 times out of 10 you’ll get a link in return, and occasionally they’ll write a post about you as well.

  9. Michael says:

    Here’s a cool post with a graphic of what can happen when you post the right comment at the right time:

    http://amateurblogging.blogspot.com/2007/01/strategic-comments-go-long-way.html

  10. Scott Howard says:

    Forums are great to submit your blog too so you can draw newcomers to your blog. For instance, I have shared my blog to one forum in particular that is related to my blog niche and I have had about 250 newcomers from that one post.

  11. By far one your most helpful/informative posts recently, Darren. Thank you for putting this together.

  12. jhay says:

    A wonderful list of resources. Another must read for bloggers especially beginners.

  13. Nathan says:

    I agree with Chris, posting your blog to digg can be tricky. You have to have content that you feel comfortable submitting to social sites like digg, making sure the post is beneficial to the average digger.

    One of the questions you should ask before starting your blog I wrote a couple of days ago was:
    “Do you have time to write at least 4 posts per week? As a blogger, I find it hard to recommend (with few exceptions) a blogger who doesn’t post much.”

    I stand by that. It’s hard to convince a blogger to send traffic your way if they’re not sure that you are going to routinely post fresh compelling content.

    I also wrote an RSS tutorial for my site to encourage readers to subscribe to my feed, and I added a pretty big feed icon to my sidebar so that no one can miss is. I hate it when blogs make it hard to subscribe.

    Good tips Darren! The “give away free stuff” is very effective for enticing new subscribers. I did it with my site too.

  14. Allen.H says:

    Fantastic. I should look into getting that Zodooka newsletter feature on my blog, anyone else using it?

    Allen.H

  15. Thilak says:

    I partially disagree with tip #7, Giving things away for free works, but its a different case for themes and plugins. They might give you a free link back and increase your Technorati ranking, but it hardly affect your pagerank because most searchbots hardly crawl 3/4th of the page.

  16. Karen says:

    Great as usual.

    I do wonder sometimes about how helpful/ important leaving comments on other like-minded sites can be though. You may not get reciprocal comments in return because they’re in fact in ‘competition’ with you. Those other bloggers might think you’re trying to cut their grass (ie take their readers). That’s just what I’ve been wondering lately.

    I also wonder sometimes about blog carnivals. Yes, you might generate an extra link or two, but I guess it’s the same reason as above.

    *shrug* maybe I’m just in a ‘glass half full’ kind of mood today. It’d be nice if someone could tell me I’m wrong about my musings….

    Cheers, Karen

  17. Karen says:

    of course, I meant to say ‘glass half empty’. freudian slip.

  18. Anton says:

    Superb summary! It really useful for beginner blogger like. Sometimes, I get confused how to raise my traffic, but after I read this, I’ve got an inspiration! Thumbs up for you, I really like this article. I’ve been added this site in my technorati favorites so I can read another useful article

    Anton

  19. George says:

    Huy said,

    >what’s the max number of posts you shouldn’t go over ?

    I am not Darren and would like to here his opinion, but my personal opinion is that there is no max. The more content the better. Take a website like ESPN. They put out tons of news stories all day long, if you want to find out the latest in sports you go there. I don’t really see a difference with blogs. If you look at many of the top blogs you will see 5 or more posts a day.

    Now, it may also depend on your blog’s niche. If you write about television shows, you could probably write 10-20 posts a day and not cover all the news. But on a blog where you write 3000 word how to posts, 1 post a day is good.

    Most importantly, you should enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy writing a lot of posts then don’t do it. If you do, then why not?

    At least that’s my thought on the topic.

  20. Michelle says:

    Another great list. And I think it demonstrates perfectly the bottom line that there isn’t a magic formula to getting readers, it’s a matter of many small yet significant things coordinating together–supported by time, patience and content.

  21. Darren Rowse says:

    with regard to how many posts should a blogger post – I’ve written on the topic previous here. Hope that gives a good idea of what I think.

  22. René Kriest says:

    Another thing is targeting on a niche.

    If you offer very specialized and specific information about a topic that isn´t covered by many bloggers.

    This is what I experienced with my blog http://www.depressionsblog.com My targeted audience are people who have to deal with clinical depression.

    What´s so special about it? Well this time mainly depressed people write about coping whit there illness 24 hours a day. Usually only psychiatrist etc. are talking about this illness and give tips. My point of view is, that depressed people have the better tips.

    I gained much traffic blogging this way.

    Finally you should response to every comment as soon as possible and engage people in conversations. This way people think that they are involved. Many people tell their friends about this “friendly” blog.

    Also a little compentition can help you getting readers. I tested it. I asked for help. I wanted my readers to increase my hit rate by telling other folks about this blog. It worked fine. This way I initiated a little viral marketing. This only works if readers trust you. So stay on track and comment a lot! :)

    Regards,

    René Kriest

  23. I do most of the above but to promote my site which has many sections that are extensions of my interests.

    Submit your stories to digg is a great one… try to keep the blog posts interesting and to the point if you are rushing them out.. dont try to fill them with pages of filler… horrible!

    Great read, Dugg for sure and also having an easy to click RSS feed bookmark right after a kick arse article helps big time!

    Thanks!

  24. Kane says:

    I think the quality of content is the most important one – it’s what people want to see.

  25. John says:

    very good summary! thanks

  26. Josiah Pugh says:

    Great ideas. I hadn’t thought of some of these but will keep them in mind from now on.

  27. Piyal says:

    Very good post. I am a new blogger. I think this will help me.

  28. haiyangkang says:

    but what the most important is that make your blog contain more information which deserved to be read.

  29. Richie says:

    So far I’ve held back from submitting my posts to reddit or digg in the belief that they would be considered spam.

    Given that number 22 is to do just this, I take it that etiquette doesn’t forbid submitting your own posts?

    What have other people’s experiences been with this issue?

  30. I am unable to post more than 3 posta a day. My traffic is stagnant in the January. I will apply some of the tips. I am optimistic about future traffic.

  31. Run around naked during a snow storm in Katrineholm, Sweden passing out business cards with your blog’s URL on it. Now that is a sure fire way to get people interested in your blog. Do the same outside a television station–before the police arrive–and you can really get some blog attention.

  32. Ali says:

    The digg and reddit crowd are at most times hypocritical marking blogs that appear for the first time as spam, a good example is johnchow.com, and blogs that they just happen to favor get dugg or tagged popular every single time a post is submitted.

    If you submit your own blog make sure you do at the most opportune time to submit to digg during daylight hours in the US, otherwise forget about it.

    The closer you get to the front page the more chances your blog will get marked as spam if some zealots are online at the same time.

    Tread at your own cost.

  33. Hayabusa Guy says:

    Someone mentioned just shy of 25, I’m glad you didn’t just make up 2 more. I think its amusing when people have lists that are always 7,25,10,50,100 etc lol.

  34. Kris says:

    Finally I know how to increase my puny traffic :)
    Thanks Darren for the summary.

  35. Ronald Lewis says:

    Great ideas, folks. I probably use 50% of them, however, attracting visitors is a daily pursuit as many of us know.

    With regard to interviews, I have a podcast dedicated to them where I’ve interviewed Craigslist’s Craig Newmark, Digg’s Kevin Rose, etc., but it’s still somewhat of a secret until more people discover it.

    It’s like having a gigantic “Open” sign on a major road, and you’re combing your fur anticipating the surge of interest. :)

  36. Leanne says:

    Wow – thank you, Darren. :)

  37. Jason B says:

    Some really great tips. I don’t have a blog, but the advice here really are informative.

    One thing about forums though, is to be careful to obey by their rules. Many communities pick on newbies.

  38. milo says:

    Pretty good list, thanks to your readers.

  39. Review cool and interesting sites, read comments on your BLOG! If someone took the time to post it – read it. If they leave a cool site in your comments, review it! Reply to the comments.

  40. Dot R. says:

    One may get new readers by being on digg or whatever, but will they come back????
    http://kaufmanartnews.blogspot.com/

  41. Alex says:

    Hi, I just started a blog today and I was amazed that I had already done a lot of the steps listed here. The only link I currently have is to my friends new flash game site though. I am trying the next step; NETWORKING of course! If anybody is interested in it, I have posted my paper debunking the bible and introducing to many people the Deist religion. Please feel free to comment and please visit! Just click my name. Thanks, Alex.

  42. Great list, Darren. I will definately make use of these suggestions, and also the ones in the comments!

  43. Nathan says:

    Darren,

    I took a look at your post on posting frequency and learned a lot. Thanks for referring me to it. I totally agree, especially with you last point. A regular posting schedule is important. Expectations are something you have to recognize.

    One other quick tip from my (very limited) experience. When you see your traffic boost or your feed subscriptions rise drastically in a matter of only a couple of days, I like to try to “hook” the new readers with especially quality content. The last thing I want to see as a new subscriber to a blog is really crappy posts (or none at all) in the first few days of my subscription.

    Thought I’d pass that along

    Nathan

  44. fak3r says:

    12. Educate Readers about RSS

    Under my subscription options I have a link to “Learn How To Subscribe” describing the methods used. It links to this page: http://fak3r.com/subscribe

  45. Kanwal says:

    How about releasing your customized theme for the masses? This will help others with blog search engine optimization. I have find that has helped my site alot.

  46. Joel A says:

    Re: 18.
    Is 13 posts daily too little or too much? My blog’s primarily a news site.

  47. Thanks for the nice list problogger, I added it to my favorites.

  48. Keith says:

    Those are really fantastic tips. I must admit I haven’t been doing most of them, but surely they are giving me some kind of hints.

  49. Dave C. says:

    Some great ideas I hadn’t really thought of yet. Thanks.

  50. Jun says:

    thanks for this very useful list. i blog purely for the pleasure of writing, but then as i get to interact with more people, i’m getting hooked.

Trackbacks

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