A WordServe client wrote me:
I’m always trying to figure out what magic widget I need to put on my blog and my website to encourage people to be followers. It would be a HUGE BENEFIT to clients if you could get some techie to give a clear easy answer to this: best practices for increasing blog followers.
I think this writer perfectly captured something we all think about blogging: Shouldn’t this be easier???
Hard truth: There is no magic widget! Building blog traffic is a lot of work.
But since you asked, here are my four “easy answers” for increasing blog followers:
1. Educate yourself continually.
2. Give your blog a recognizable identity.
People need a reason to come back to your blog repeatedly. They have to know what they’re going to get—you’ve got to create an expectation in readers’ minds, make them subscribe and want to come back because they know they’re going to get something specific from you. There needs to be a unifying theme to your posts. You don’t really need a tagline or even a “topic,” you need an identity.
You should create a blog identity that allows you the most possible freedom in your post topics while still being within your identity; you should also choose a focus that you are VERY prolific in. What kinds of topics can you write about the easiest? What topics just flow out of you, no problem? That’s where you want to focus your blog.
3. Write interesting content.
You’ve created a blog identity, but now you have to write great posts. Coming up with fresh, unique material on a regular basis can be challenging—that’s why I recommend you choose a blog identity that will be easiest for you to write. Remember that every day offers numerous ideas for blog posts—things that happen in your family, at work, in the news—everything is an opportunity for you to respond, reflect, share wisdom or simply connect with readers. I find it helpful to keep a Word doc in which I write down every single post idea that comes to me. I also keep a running list in my mobile phone to capture those ideas I have on the fly. That way when I sit down to write the blog, I’m never caught with a completely blank page—I have dozens of ideas just waiting to be written.
4. Make it easy for readers to come back.
On my blog sidebar, I have a category that says “Subscribe to this Blog” and gives one-click choices for subscribe via email, RSS, Yahoo, or AOL. Below that is the widget for Google Reader. This is how the majority of readers access my blog.
You’ll also want to learn to use Twitter and Facebook effectively to drive people to your blog—yet avoid being perceived as a marketer. (I like this post: 10 Reasons I Stopped Following You on Twitter.)
Bottom line: If you dedicate several hours to reading online about building blog traffic, you’ll be able to create a workable strategy for yourself. Don’t try to do everything. Just pick what seems feasible for you, then set out to do it for 6-12 months and measure the results. For example:
1. Clarify your blogging identity.
2. Create a blogging schedule and stick to it.
3. Add subscription widgets to your sidebar.
4. Tweet/FB each post in addition to your other Twitter/FB updates.
5. Visit other blogs and leave comments.
6. Stop worrying and just do it. Your main focus each week should be on writing your books.
Have you created an identity for your blog?
© 2011 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent[ Next Post → ] [ ← Previous Post ]