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Your Audience Doesn’t Know About You So Go and Find Them!

A quick quote from Chris Pirillo:

“Your audience is still trying to discover you, but you have to go to where THEY are and not expect them to come to you in any other way.”

Chris is talking here about video blogging and podcasting more than blogging but the same thing applies to blogging.

‘Build it and they will come’ doesn’t apply to blogging – you need to think about where your potential readers are already gathering and go interact with them there. Read more about this process of growing your blog’s readership by targeting readers.

Email a New Reader of Your Blog

Building-A-Better-Blog-2Your task for this first day of the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Challenge is to email a new reader of your blog.

Create a great impression upon a brand new readers to your blog by choosing a commenter that is new and emailing them to thank them for their comment.

It might not sound like the most profound tip but I’ll let you in on a secret – this is one of the main strategies I used to build up ProBlogger’s audience a couple of years ago.

What I found is that when you do it the chances of the readers that you email coming back to your blog again increases significantly. Get them to come back to your blog once and you increase the chances of them coming back again… and again….

So email a reader now, thank them for commenting and tell them that you’re looking forward to further interactions.

Make sure you include a link back to your blog so they know who you are and make the email relevant to their comment (ie answer a question they asked or add to their comment in some way). While there are some tools out there that do this automatically for you – the more personal you can make it the better.

This simple tip takes just a moment to do but can create a loyal long time reader. Do it at least once a day (or set yourself a higher target) and you’ll build your blog consistently over time.

Is this Tip Not SPECTACULAR Enough For You?

Last time I shared this tip with a fellow blogger they rolled their eyes at me and told me that they didn’t want to find just one more reader for their blog – they wanted hundreds or thousands.

This blogger failed to realize two things: [Read more…]

Guerrilla Marketing Tactics for Your Blog

Aaron Brazell has put together a post Guerrilla Marketing Techniques that Anyone Can Do which have some less common tactics to get word out about your blog.

I doubt any of them will bring in a deluge of traffic – however sometimes it’s the small ways of building traffic that add up to make a blog popular.

What small and less common techniques do you use to build traffic to your blog?

An Example of a Guerrilla Marketing Tactic

I met a blogger recently who had a blog with a very local focus. His Guerrilla Marketing Tactic was to do a deal with three internet cafes in his area to make his blog the home page on all of the computers. In return for this he gave them some free advertising on his blog. The same blogger made a similar deal with the local library who also made his blog the home page of their public internet computers. This worked particularly well for him as his blog was on his local area.

Using Local Newspapers to Promote Your Blog Offline

This mini guest post is from Harry Maugans the co-founder and lead developer for Desktop Nexus.

One of the biggest problems for local newspapers is finding things to write about.

Email or call 5-10 of your closest local newspapers and explain you have an explosive new website that will revolutionize the industry you’re in. Make sure you emphasize you’re local, and build it in or near their coverage area. In my case, I’m touting my wallpaper site as the next YouTube- the next huge community oriented around desktop backgrounds, and while that might be a bit extreme, it catches the newspapers attention.

Nine times out of ten, local papers will run this story: “Local Hometown Internet Entrepreneur Ignites Revolution in Wallpapers.” (of course different for your particular situation). Also, a surprising number of local papers are considered authority sites by Google, so a backlink from them would give your SEO rankings a nice boost.

Finding Readers for Your Blog – What We Wish We Knew

Finding-Readers

This post is part of the ‘What we wish we Knew’ Series. In this post I’ll share readers comments on the topic of finding readers for a blog as well as some of my own experiences and advice.

We’ve talked about setting your blog up right (hosting, domains and platforms), making money from blogs and writing great content – but while all of these things are important to think through, they are somewhat useless unless you have readers stopping by to engage with your content.

It’s no wonder then that the most common question I’m asked is ‘how do I find readers for my blog’.

As with all of the topics we’re looking at this week, how to find readers is something that will vary from blog to blog significantly. But if I had to identify a top 5 things that I’ve learned on the topic over the last 5 years I’d summarize it like this:

1. Know Who You Want to Attract

When I was a younger single guy a wise friend gave me a valuable piece of advice for finding a life partner. He said – ‘Darren, write a list of what you’re looking for in a partner’. He went on to explain that when you define what you want in life you’re more likely to spot it when it comes by your way. You’ll also be more likely to know where to go looking for it. Read more on defining what type of reader you want and going after them.

While I’m not sure my friend would have expected his advice to turn up in a post about how to attract readers to your blog – I think there’s some truth to it. I wish now that I’d spent more time in the early days of blogging thinking about my reader (or potential reader).

2. Build Community

While I will always argue that quality content is essential in drawing readers to your blog I am increasingly convinced that one way to build your readership is to create spaces that people will want to belong to.

Build an interactive space where people feel empowered to add their comments, give readers jobs, give them homework, make your readers famous and create spaces where you step back and let your readers take the lead in showing their expertise and you’ll build a blog that people will want to be a part of and a space that your readers will promote for you. [Read more…]

Place Your Blog on a ‘Busy Intersection’

Steve Remington wrote a good post today that uses the metaphore of roads and intersections to think about blogs. It’s an image that caught my imagination a little. He writes:

“Think of your blog as a virtual business on a road. Your best chance of success is not sitting out in the middle of cyberspace where nobody can find you. Landing your blog in the middle of downtown or on an intersection somewhere will give you many more readers and potential clients.”

Read his full post at Blogs Are Roads; Intersections

I like the imagery of the metaphor and think that there’s some real truth in it. A blogger who simply works on their own blog and doesn’t work to put themselves ‘out there’ on a busy intersection will limit the potential of their blog even if they write great content.

Positioning yourself on a busy intersection or ‘downtown’ means getting involved in your niche, building relationships with other bloggers and becoming part of the places in your niche where the most action is happening.

Why StumbleUpon Sends More Traffic Than Digg

I was digging around in the Google Analytics stats for Digital Photography School this afternoon and did some analysis of some of the most popular pages on the blog over the last month.

One page that has done exceptionally well and continues to bring in reasonable traffic even six weeks after it was written is 11 Surefire Tips for Improving Your Landscape Photography.

The post has had just over 93,000 page views from around 70,000 visitors since I posted i on 18 May. Here’s how the traffic was spread out over this time (you’ll want to click it to enlarge the graph in a new window):

Traffic-1

The Spike – Days 1-7

You can see very clearly that there was a real spike of traffic in the first couple of days. The day after I posted this tutorial hit the popular page on Digg. Here’s how the traffic came in over the first week (i’ve rounded these numbers to the nearest 50):

18 May (the day I posted) – 6,400 page views – largely from direct traffic (via RSS). StumbleUpon generated 405 page views.
19 May – 30,000 page views – 21,000 from Digg, another 2500 from RSS and regular readers, plus another 6000 or so from other sites like Delicious, Popurls and other blogs/sites linking up. StumbleUpon generated 575 page views.
20 May – 6200 page views – Digg sent 1550 of them, another digg like site (Wykop) sent 1200, direct traffic was around 900, other sites still sent a bit and StumbleUpon hit 1050 page views. (note, Google started sending a little traffic on this day).
21 May – 6600 page views – Wykop sent 2500, Digg sent 1100, direct traffic was 700, Google sent 200 and StumbleUpon continued to rise to 1300.
22 May – 3350 page views – Digg was down to 600 page views while StumbleUpon was at 953. Other sites and Google made up the rest.
23 May - 2250 page views – Digg sent 300 page views and Stumbleupon 800. Other sites the rest.
24 May – 2000 page views – Digg sent 150 page views and Stumbleupon generated 550.

OK – so that was the ‘spike’ and while StumbleUpon has generated more traffic than Digg in the last few days – Digg is still the clear winner after the first week:

  1. Digg – 24,410 page views (43% of all traffic to the post for this period)
  2. Direct Traffic – 8634 page views
  3. StumbleUpon – 5599 page views (9.5% of traffic to the post)
  4. Wykop – 4661 page views
  5. Delicious – 2523 page views

The Tail – Days 8-43

It’s usually at this point that a blogger would stop tracking how successful an individual post is going (in fact I tend to lose a little interest after the first 3-4 days) but out of interest today I decided to see what happened to traffic to this post since 24 May. It’s been 5 or so weeks – so how much traffic has the post generated and where did it come from?

Here’s how the traffic graph for this five week period looks (click to enlarge): [Read more…]

More Tips on Getting Unverified Email Subscribers to Confirm their Subscription

Yesterday I wrote a tip on increasing subscriber numbers to your blog that focussed upon those doing it via Feedburner’s RSS to Email feature emailing unverified subscribers to remind them to confirm their subscription.

The post generated quite a few questions via comments and email – to the point that I thought I’d write the answers as a new post. At the end of this post I’ll include a copy of what I emailed to unverified subscribers.

Does feedburner allow it – doesn’t this break their terms of service?

No – I checked this before doing it with feedburner. Actually, to be more accurate, when I emailed Feedburner’s support team with the problem of over 800 unverified subscribers they actually suggested that one solution would be to email them after exporting the subscriber list. I guess that’s an indication that they don’t mind.

Will Feedburner develop a feature that reminds subscribers instead of having to do it manually?

I’ve asked Feedburner this a couple of times now and on both occasions they said that it’s something they are interested in developing. I’m not sure if this is just a standard reply to keep us users happy, or whether it’s something they’re serious about developing but I do think that it would be something that bloggers would appreciate.

Is there a risk of being labeled a spammer?

Sending out so many emails to subscribers might carry some risks with it. My hope is that I wrote the email in such a way as to be perceived as doing my readers a favor. I won’t be emailing unverified subscribers every week and hope that the occasional reminder won’t be looked upon as an unfavorable practice.

[Read more…]

Blogging Tips: First Impressions Count

The following is a guest post by and an excerpt from her popular book, Blogging Tips, Tips Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging.

There are several “first impressions” your blog makes as it struggles to attract and hold on to readers. Few of those first impressions come directly from your blog’s design and layout.

Search Engine Results: The first impression most people get of your blog is found within search engine results. They see a post title, blog title, and content excerpts around the keywords of their search terms.

Blog Feed Aggregator: An aggregator is a blog or website which displays titles or post excerpts from various blogs. Aggregators usually list your blog title, post title, and first 100-300 words of your post.

Feed Reader: A feed delivered to a feed reader displays the content as text, with few images, and none of your blog’s design. Depending upon how the feed reader is set, it showcases the blog title, post title, first 100-400 words of your post or the full post content, if the blog owner has set the feeds to full. Typically, the post title and first 100-400 words are the first impression.
[Read more…]