In two and a half years, David Cain of Raptitude.com has built a large and lively audience for his blog, which takes a “street-level look at the human experience.”
He says the most important fuel for this growth was writing quality content. You already know about that, yeah? So in this interview, I dug deeper to find out the specific tactics David uses to make his content interactive, clickable, and sharable.
Here are three tricks that help Raptitude get more visitors.
1. Join a small group of bloggers
This was probably the smartest thing I ever did with my blog… I found a little group of beginner bloggers, there were six or seven of us that had all started in the last couple of months.—David Cain
During our interview, David twice emphasized the importance of joining a peer group. He says that not only does it hold you accountable to continue and give you a forum to bounce ideas off, but also provides a “starter community” to comment on and share your work. This is especially useful early on when the small inner circles of your peers can magnify your efforts. Once your community has this lively base, new visitors can participate by commenting or sharing as well.
Here are three suggestions for finding your support group:
- Google Groups: try searching at www.groups.google.com for “blogging”, or “beginner blogging”
- Facebook Groups
- Ask around: new bloggers are lurking everywhere, so see if you can find allies within your existing network.
Action Step: Join a group of bloggers at a similar experience level. Have a loose rule that if you like each others’ work, you’ll share it with your circle of family and friends.
2. Make your post titles clickable
Every headline has to say “if I read this post, then what’s in it for me?”.—David Cain
David stressed the importance of a good title for your posts. He says that on the internet there is so much information, someone could read it their whole life and never get a fraction of it done. That means that your potential reader might encounter hundreds or thousands of links in a day, and it’s only your few select words that affect whether or not they click on yours. You can leverage that decisive moment by having a headline that you yourself would click on.
Check out how David names his posts:
- Literal: Raptitude’s most popular post of all time is a list of 40 quotes from Friedrich Nietzsche. They are pretty powerful, like #33: “A politician divides mankind into two classes: tools and enemies.” A literalist might have named this post something like, 40 Quotes by Nietzsche. Kind of boring, yeah?
- Clickable: What did David actually name this post? 40 Belief-Shaking Remarks From a Ruthless Nonconformist. Here, “belief-shaking” poses a challenge to readers, “remarks” sounds cooler than “quotes”, and with “nonconformist” being a little bit of a buzzword, many potential readers already identify with it. Another advantage is that when you search Google for “nonconformist quotes”, David’s post is on the first page of results.
Action Step: For your next post, brainstorm a few titles, and decide which one stands out as the most clickable.
3. Post link bait
It’s worth including posts geared towards people wanting to share them.—David Cain
David admits that sometimes he mixes list posts into his work because they are more sharable on social media. He says posts like 7 Ways to Do X or 88 Truths I’ve Learned About Life are easily digestible. This means that a wider variety of people can enjoy this writing, than say posts with a long discourse about human suffering.
Alright, the term “link bait” may have negative connotations, but it doesn’t mean you have to deprive your blog of dignity. On Raptitude, list posts are still very much in line with the pursuit of understanding the human experience. Do your best to ensure that your link bait maintains the quality of your blog—and yeah, people will share it!
Action Step: Try posting link bait. Maybe a list post, photography, or other work that expresses creativity.
What about you?
I’d love to hear from you: are you proud of a particular post title? Created some link bait you can share here?
Michael Alexis is the producer of WriterViews, where you can learn the specifics tactics and strategies that worked for successful writers. Follow him on Twitter at @writerviews.