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How to Get The Readers You Want

In this post JEMI from InMyHeels.com explores the age old challenge of bloggers – finding readers for your blog.

I’ve been trying to ‘hack’ the secret that the big bloggers clearly utilize to charm new readers in by the hundreds on a daily basis.

  • Great content? Got it.
  • Social Media, yup – I already know this.
  • User friendly blog, great About page, plugins that you plug in – check check check.

The tips are out there and I scarf them up and wash them down with Entrecard drops.

Taking a good look at my site, InMyHeels.com, there are certain differences between my site and the other self improvement sites out there. For instance, I partially keep my URL out of a grand stubbornness as I am tickled pink by it and therefore make no apologies. My writing style isn’t leaving either because it is greatly infused with my personality; just thinking about deserting it in favor of “The Big Blog Picture” sends me back into life offline.

:: shudders ::

Can you imagine? (I’m kidding.)

What I CAN imagine are the bloggers out there who are just like me. You love your blog as is.

But what do you do when you can’t help but worry that:

  • You haven’t a clue where to find your readers let alone get them to find a new home on your blog?
  • You’re different and maybe that’s why people aren’t reading your blog

Well I may be a newbie but here are a couple of tips based on what I’ve discovered so far;

Reader Hunting: Where to Find Them

It’s Ok to Steal Borrow:

You go and you hang out on other sites in your niche and you read comments. Some people are clear about what they are all about with their names, the length and depth of their comment, and the frequency of their visits. You know what THAT means? They just might like your blog – if they ever hear about it. Hey – if, for instance, he/she is hanging out on those bigger blogs to find Tips for Life, Love, You ( ), he/she just may like my site too!

So what do you do?

You head on over to their site. Maybe they’re in your niche. Maybe not. Leave real comments that elicit the urge to click and see who left it. Sometimes that’s all it takes. If you can’t leave a comment, perhaps shooting an email would work too. Don’t think “Oh but that’s for the Little Leagues”. Everyone counts. People talk. People share great sites with their friends. People rave about great finds. So BE that great find. Social media is excellent because the very basics – being social – work like a charm every single time. Who doesn’t like a little attention?

And of course, you do all this while you whip up the best proposal you can think of to ask Big Blogger if you may whip up a guest post. “No” isn’t the end of your blogging world. And besides. Some of their readers may have started to love you too anyway. Big Blogger just might change his/her mind later on!

Lay on the Link Love:

One thing I do on my blog is link to highly relevant blog posts and articles that other bloggers create. I do this for several reasons.

  • Since I’m in the business of helping and informing my readers, I generally won’t send them to something only mildly useful for the sake of linkage within the main body of a post.
  • When your readers can count on the quality of your links, they will be good for happily clicking away in the future.
  • Some of those trackbacks include a few words that precede or follow said link. The strategically written sentence that sent your readers over to the other blogger’s page may be the same one that attracts the commentators on the other blog to come over to your side. This is, of course, granted that the blogger’s trackbacks are set up that way.
  • What blogger wouldn’t notice the incoming traffic of great readers? Where are they coming from? Not only can it lead to the discovery of your site (Big Bloggers check the incoming linkage too!), they may reciprocate in the future. It’s a beautiful thing.

Non-Bloggers Count!

All that being said, I love other bloggers. I do. It really feels great when other bloggers come around and say “Hey – JEMi is it? Awesome blog!”. However, I am greedy and want Non-Bloggers to come too. Yes, the people who haven’t heard about RSS yet. I welcome them! So I head over to the forums and I mingle. People really click your link on those signatures – my stats told me so. I try to make my blog Non-Blogger friendly by keeping things simple because, believe it or not, many people don’t know what a blog is. The blogosphere is huge, yes, but then there is the rest of the world. Non-Blogger finds your site, loves the information, and emails it to someone and/or bookmarks it (before he/she learns about RSS). It’s a beautiful thing watching your readership grow with all types of readers.

Keeping Them Interested

Painfully Obvious Does the Trick:

As clever as we know you are, web surfers are quick to sail right past your page if it isn’t clear what your blog is about. So I say we club them with the obvious and enjoy their company as we drag pull them in with our brilliance. Make it clear what the mission of your blog is. Right up there in the header, your slogan, your artwork – anything that you can plug purpose into.

  • Your first impression with your design
  • Your bold print “THIS BLOG IS ABOUT LOVE” … (or ok…work on that)
  • Your consistent writing style
  • Your suggested reading, Amazon carousel, reviews, and the other ads on your site

The point here is make it plain and simple to see what you are all about:

These things let someone know he’s found something worth reading and bravo – a delighted new reader.

Different is Good…As Long as it’s Relevant:

Your Make Money Online Blog doesn’t need to look like everyone else’s. Most likely everyone else is trying to copy THE Make Money Online Blog anyway. If this doesn’t suit your taste, then why force it? Dare to be different. You style or perspective may be unique. The key here is drawn from Tip #1: Painfully Obvious Does the Trick. Do your headlines inform your readers what you’re trying to say at a glance? If not, what’s your way of drawing them in? How have you managed to tie your Red Dancing Monkey to the wicked world of finance? Or ok – you’re all about controversy. Can you hold your own and make some food for thought that irk people just the right way and get them to comment? The unique nature of your blog may be the very thing that brings its popularity. Don’t allow the Analysis Paralysis (Oh you know – when you get a crick in your virtual neck because you stare at the other great blogs for so long, you’ve lost sight of yours) to set in and take you off course. Focus on your point, stick with it – then being as different as you wanna be is A OK.

The Readers Tell You What They Want:

Of course you know you can’t please everyone BUT (!) you read those comments and you see what sends ‘em into a frenzy. Which topics get those Digg buttons going? If you pay attention, you can soon realize what type of posts are golden – or CAN be with just little tweaking. Lack of traffic isn’t a reflection of you. SOMETHING needs to tell these readers “Hey! I’m worth reading”. It’s the goods that you offer. You’ll soon notice them trickle (or surge!) in and do trust - there are plenty more where they came from.

So pay attention- the comments say more than a piece of their mind!

You Want Rich Connections:

When you’ve found your groove and are comfortable cranking out the content that lull those readers to your side of the blogosphere, remember to connect with your readers by staying on course, acknowledging them through comments and/or emails, and reflecting your dedication to them by sticking around for the long run. When a new reader comes to your blog, a strong sense of community may just be the breaking bough that sends them falling in love with your blog. People like to feel included. With such high quality content being provided AND a connection with the author – the word will spread that your site’s the place to be. Those words count whether they come in the form of link love or kudos.

You Want to Leave a Mark:

Since the internet is so condensed with information, something about you is going to have to shine in order to be desirable to the reader. With choosing your niche comes the responsibility of doing it justice. Since I am inquisitive by nature, I try to think “What would I ask if I knew NOTHING about this topic?” It’s a great starting point because the answers to those questions would automatically give you less fluff and a lot more of that QUALITY CONTENT you hear so much about. And you know – people like that.

The mark that you leave with that quality content would be your personal style – your writing voice so to speak. You want it to show in this post, the next, and the next. Readers start to expect more of that great stuff they sensed LAST time they read something from you.

<quote>Wait – what happened? Who is this boring person?! – Displeased New Reader</quote>

You don’t want that. So speak with confidence and speak in your own voice on a consistent basis. When they want more, guess who they come back to?

Exactly.

If you want the world to read your words and I daresay – long for more, put your best out there each and every time. You grow as a writer with such consistent conscious attention to detail and your readership will grow right along with you. I can attest to this truth – as a new blogger, I am experiencing this growth right now and boy does it feel good!

So go ahead you. Reel them in! :-)

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. zs says:

    Great post! I can especially relate to the “Analysis Paralysis” comment, although in my space there aren’t as many blogs as the “Make Money Online” blogs.

    I find the trick is good design, good content, consistent style – in that order. Of course a foundation made up on backlinks, search rankings, etc. also helps tremendously. It’s getting the first-time visitor to walk through the door that’s the tough part – beyond that is really up to you.

  2. Jelger says:

    Interesting post! I’m still figuring out where I want to go with my blog, I’m covering different subjects right now. This certainly gives me a bit more knowledge about what path to choose.

  3. This is a helpful way of identifying the next steps to take. I’ve been thinking about getting a custom design and header for my blog. I am reasonably active on blogs in my niche, but there’s still work to do on forums. Thanks for giving me some food for thought.

  4. Kevin Thomas says:

    Great Post, I’m at the start of my blogging career and am in the situation where I’m looking for more readers.

    I run into the problem that I have a good start, what I think is a good niche, and plenty to write about, however I’ve got plenty to write about that has nothing to do with my niche also and feel like I have all those good posts trapped in there that I can’t write.

  5. Del Sauzo says:

    Really lovely post. Reading your post the simple truth seems to be that getting your blog to really take off is work and in most cases hard work. Building links , maintaining useful friendships within your niche as well s coming up with much needed value for your readers is an essential every day part of our lives.

    A lot of times it helps to see the big guys to know that the work will definitely pay off.
    Really lovely post.

  6. This is a nice break from reading the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses. ;-) What Del Sauzo said is right, listening to certain big bloggers is really helpful while others are just entertaining at best.

  7. Nice post; I too have found that many of the tips you mention work well. I’ve had a lot of success from guest-blogging on mid-sized blogs in my niche, and this is something I’d strongly recommend to newish bloggers … target the blogs which you love and enjoy; chances are, the other people who read them will enjoy your writing too!

    Ali

  8. Any readers that I can steal? Err… Borrow around here?

    I like the post and have it bookmarked for later reference. I’m still finding it is hard to make my blog ‘sticky’ with the niche I am in. I was brainstorming more ways to make it stickier only a couple minutes before reading this post. Thanks for the information, I have some ideas now :)

  9. suresh says:

    Nice to hear a well planned and detailed post and much useful.
    Keeping the interest on and getting the readers back to blog is the biggest challenge the blogger has and the good brains working for it always makes the blog successful.

  10. Noticed the survey (on the side there) had 246 votes for traffic/increase readership while the next topic (at 158 votes) was asking for info on advertising revenue.

    A blog is like a beach. On a hot Summers day there’s way too many people for a good surf and in the middle of winter there’s a loyal crowd of mad surfers and a few walkers and fishers who like it wild and windy. On a winters day the only way to attract a crowd is to stage an event.

    Sacrifice a purple cow. Whisper there’ll be weapons of mass destruction. Make a big promise such as Darren Rowse will argue with Simon Cowell regarding the merits of folk songs over rap – with Billy Connelly as the judge. Twitter about it and see what happens. Cause a stir and if anyone has some better great ideas – comment here so I can return and steal them!

  11. Thanks JEMi for sharing how to attract readers. I have a figure skating blog and am still learning what makes people come back, whether they’re first time skaters, long time skaters, or nonskaters. An friend/adviser told me when I started that I shouldn’t think that my audience is only skaters — good writing and content stands on its own, and people from all walks of life will read it even if they’re not skaters. I’m still seeing if that advice holds true.

  12. Thanks for the awesome post..A bit lengthy but nice one for bloggers..

  13. Catherine says:

    Interesting post for a monday morning. I’m still trying to work on social networking. Twitter and digg, ah well those make me feel like a guppy in a sea of sharks.

    I’m suprise that most of my traffic comes from the front page of blogger and wordpress itself.

  14. blogversary says:

    Great post. So much good info that a new blogger or old blogger looking to grow can use. Thank you!

  15. Interesting post.

    Networking with other bloggers is imperative if you are to attract new readers, and it’s probably one of the most time consuming tasks that you’ll have to undertake when promoting your blog.

  16. simplyRik says:

    I agree. blogging is an exercise in networking. Today I am sitting here going through the various “Friends” sites who have connected with me in some way via the various Blog Directories I am connected to.

    I am doing my due diligence by actually reading some of the interesting posts on their blogs and leaving comments here and there. The blogging experience is not all about “me” and my blog. It is about building a community of people who find my content to be entertaining, informative or just plain interesting.

    I started out in 2003 blogging for my own sanity. Not really caring if someone was out there reading. Over the years I have come to realize that part of the motivation of bloggers is the recognition that someone else finds what you have to say valuable.

    That is why I continue to blog to this day. Your post reminded me of that. Thanks!

  17. caTcode says:

    You right, i just realize that i made so many mistakes when create my blog.. thanks.

  18. Jemi, great advice and I will follow this to your blog. Which is the proof of your point: content could potentially bring loyal readers.
    My dilemma seems even more challenging. My blog is focused on local real estate. 1. My potential reader universe is very small -I am not writing about love or happiness, or other universal topics. 2. The topics could be of passing/casual interest to people who are not in the market now -these come from organic search and I am not sure how their interest could be sustained to turn into loyal readers 3. People looking to buy/sell local real estate in the near term are the remaining very small part of the potential readers. They disappear as readers when they are no longer in the market. This is the nature of the small niche and the subject matter of the blog. How could this be improved upon?

  19. Catherine says:

    On the topic of Real Estate Blogs, How about writing on topics of how to increase market value. I’m sure as someone who is in real estate you know what additions to a home will boost profit.

  20. Theresa says:

    Great post! I’ll take the info and chew on it for quite awhile. Kudos for saying out loud that it’s a good thing to be different than the Big Blogs.

    Heading over to your blog now, see if I can ‘borrow’ any readers….

    ;-)

  21. Tim Brownson says:

    I think it’s fair to say that most seasoned bloggers could have gathered up the information above and assembled a post that offered value to newbies.

    I’m not sure though how many would actually be practicing what they preach.

    Not only does JEMi do all the stuff she talks about above, but she does it with a big smile on her face and whilst always offering high quality content. It doesn’t matter how great you are at marketing if your writing sucks and fortunately for JEMi her writing is a million miles away from being sucky ;-)

  22. Thank you for the kind comments everyone!

    @ Faina: I agree with Catherine’s wise input. In addition, I headed to your (attractive) blog and though I am not familiar with your niche, I would say take a tip from Darren’s front page by providing some basic information – how to’s and insider tips readily available to newbie.

    If I were doing the search, the first thing I would look for is for a kind soul to break down certain things for me.

    Also – Maybe other brokers around you may become regular readers when they see you focus on both high quality general info as well as the tips you provide. You may cycle alot of readers but people look for this info everyday. It would be awesome to rise in the Google Search for your niche :) You’d be a valuable resource always readily available.

    Hopefully more of the commentators have more advice to add to my two cents

  23. Hey! You caught me out on the motive for posting a comment. Hehe. :)

    I agree on the point about having to attract non-bloggers to our websites, and about how they have yet to hear about RSS or subscriptions.

    For example, I only have 19 main subscriptions, while I get an average of 200 unique views each day.

    Most of them won’t comment in the articles itself, but do talk about it when we meet face to face (most of my readers are my friends).

    The stuffs I write now are the ones that I’d definitely share with my friends while the things that are featured applies also to people who reads niche categories from Christianity, to Self-Improvement / Productivity, or those who likes reading on the tiny details in life that can be amplified to make them cooler!

    Yeps! These are the readers who I would love getting.

    I’d certainly like to borrow (ahem) more subscribers and readers from here. Cos’ you guys are cool! :D

  24. Good post Darren! Yeas be an Individual not a Carbon copy!

  25. Something about the way you write, man. It seems genuine.

  26. Ann says:

    I’m having a hard time finding other blogs in my niche (I’m not sure I have a niche), so right now being a bit different feels more like a curse than a blessing.

    I don’t know if or when my blog will show significant growth, but I’m not interested in changing the basic nature of what I’m doing, so I’ll keep plugging (happily) along for a while.

    I enjoy your blog, JEMi, and I appreciate your loyalty to what you’re doing there.

  27. Pam says:

    Very informative. Just the information I really need – I think I have a pretty good blog on WordPress but I don’t have the traffic. I will need to use this information. Thanks

  28. Great post Jemi. Thanks for sharing what has worked so well for you. Some good tips here!

  29. Ryan McLean says:

    Great guest post Darren
    I have a question for you and anyone reading this. How can I get guest posts on my small time blog (only been up and running for about 2 months and about 30 visitors/day)

  30. Hello JEMi,

    Enjoyed your article. I like the fact that you let your shining personality show. You add an element of fun while sharing your ideas.

    Also great tips about networking on the blogosphere.

    Thanks!

    Evelyn

  31. Bibokz says:

    Another great

  32. Bibokz says:

    Another great post… hacking somebody’s blog is bad lol I like the way you deliver your write-ups.

  33. JEMi great post! I know you’re reading the comments haha! I loved your post and yes what sold me is your About page. You write with the fervor of the elite and are in touch with your audience. You have many great articles and ideas yet to share with the blogging world. Thanks.

  34. Shaan says:

    It was a long post but really worth of reading.

  35. Hadassah says:

    I’m still struggling with how to create a unique voice when I represent an organization and therefore cannot say any old thing.

  36. The best way, maybe the only real way to get lots of readers, is to have whatever readers you have spread the word.

    It’s the old game that if one person tell two people, then those two people tell two other people…etc…pretty soon you have a crowd.

    It just takes time…no secret…just time

    The Masked Millionaire

  37. Hi JEMi,

    What a pleasant surprise to see you writing a guest post here at Problogger. As a follower of your InMyHeels blog, I’m seeing it doesn’t matter whether you’re writing about life, love and living or blogging, you’re a great writer.

    As with all of your posts, this one too, is filled with tons of value.

  38. This list is very precise, I know much of it but there is a big gap between knowing and applying. Blogs like your give a motivational pill to actually be serious about all what you have stated. I write article and have a site of my own, I am practicing most of your suggestions on regular basis and would appreciate the way it has been put. This goes on my stumble.
    Best wishes,
    See you around
    Cipher

  39. I really enjoyed this post and alerted my Twitter buddies about it. Very good points – liked your energy and sense of humor.

    Amazing what good writing will do – the power of the written words is indeed strong. The article made me hum happily, learning along the way. :)

  40. This was a very good article, written in an “everyman” (or woman) kind of way. It made it very easy to read and comprehend.

    Thanks!

  41. lol you guys are awesome – thank you for the feedback! It really matters because I really hope these tips help you out the way this blog helped me. Hoorah for Darren for giving me a shot :-D

  42. Muscle Post says:

    This is a truly great post. I particularly like the part about leaving comments on the sites of people who visit the same sites as you. Clearly they have similar interests, so they may be interested in checking out your site, as well as drawing other visitors for you. Some great points!

  43. Joseph Z. says:

    These are great tips. I especially like “Be Painfully Obvious.”

    I’m going to take another look at my site design after this.

  44. Hi JEMi,

    I must say that I really enjoyed your post. You’ve covered all the bases and all in your own voice.

    I also checked out your site and liked what I saw. The layout is really clean and your positive attitude shines through.

    I must say that you reminded me of one point I need to cover that’s too bloody obvious and embarassing to repeat here. I’ll just say thanks instead, and run off and do it!

    Best wishes to you.

  45. Mark says:

    Great post Darren!

  46. Mark says:

    oops, maybe it should have been Great post JEMI!

  47. Mer says:

    Jemi, I love your site.

    And thanks Darren for introducing her!

  48. Sue Walsh says:

    Great post! It really does take a lot more than just keeping your blog updated with high quality content. You’ve got to get out there and mingle too!

    Sue
    Tieroneads.com

  49. Melysah says:

    Wow. Great advice for a first time blogger. I look forward to reading through the rest of your content.

  50. farouk says:

    i agree that being different is essential for success, thanks :)