Friday, February 05, 2016

How to Grow Your Blog Readership

I've been blogging since 2006, which is a ridiculously long time. Especially when you consider blogs have really only been around since the late 90s. When I first started I had zero readers. Unless you count friends and family.



I wanted readers, though. To me it seemed to be common sense. The only way to get people to read my blog would be to read other people's. So I went out in search of blogs to read and commented.



Over time, I've learned a few things. They're things I can't always put into practice, mostly because life gets busy sometimes! But there are various reasons to blog. For some, a blog is merely a personal diary--a way to vent frustrations and express themselves.



Some merely want to have a small readership of friends. A social network, similar to the one they have on Facebook or Twitter.



For those people, they simply need to maintain their current readership. If they read the blogs of every person who reads theirs on a regular basis, they'll mostly maintain, minus the few people who drop off every year. But there are many, many more of us who want to meet new people. Maybe we just like the thrill of knowing that when we post something, it will be read by many.



Some are blogging for a reason (in addition to enjoying it). We may be trying to get the word out about our books or products. If we stagnate, we miss the point. By growing our community, we grow our brand (and all the other cliched things marketing experts say).



Growing a blog readership can be a tough one. I'll often go through the comments of all of you guys and look for interesting bloggers. That's often a great way to find people with similar interests.



You can also use big group challenges as a way to meet new people. If you're a writer and you want to meet new writers, go through the signup list at the IWSG and meet new people. Better yet--participate and on the first Wednesday of the month, when everyone's posting about their insecurities, read as many as possible.



Sadly, only a small percentage will comment back when you comment them...but a few new friends are better than no new friends, right?

What advice do you have to help others get new readers?

54 comments:

  1. I think you must have the best advice out there for this subject matter. Other than "comment karma," I don't have any advice about blogging. I'm not very committed to it, but it is fun to write something once in a while that I find cool or amusing. I like to keep up with my blog friends.

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    1. It is hard to just set up a blog somewhere out there and start writing with no readers. Unless you have a reason people would come over to your site, it's not going to happen. There's just so much out there on the web. Anyone who does happen upon your blog probably won't comment...so I quickly figured out, "Commenting is the key to this." Yet people still join blog hops and just assume that's going to get them a slew of new readers without them doing anything more than adding their link to the list. Doesn't work that way.

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  2. The main reason I comment is that I want the blogger to know who is out there reading. I have learned a great deal reading blogs. Little idiosyncrasies which would not help me on Jeopardy. I am slow to answer a question. However, enough to make life and blogs interesting.
    I wanted to create that infernal platform a writer needs. Now I know, I had plenty of time. I should write first. Blogging is a great pastime for me. You are right that visiting and joining challenges are a good way to meet people.

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    1. I agree--we have to comment because otherwise, they have no idea we read! And for some people, having the same few people read every day is all they want. It depends why you're blogging. If it's a marketing platform for something you're promoting, like a book, speaking to the same people every day is pretty useless. You're "preaching to the converted!"

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  3. You have been blogging a long time.
    Thanks for mentioning the IWSG! The A to Z Challenge is another way to meet new bloggers.
    I've just sort of maintained for the past two years. I can only visit so many blogs a day, even with clones. (And the two hundred I visit on IWSG post day wipes me out.)
    Sometimes it's adjusting what you're posting about. Although that will often just get you more visits rather than more friends. (The past three months, my posts have quadrupled their readership - I think it's the RiffTrax, but not sure.)
    Best way to make new friends is to be a friend! Those who are genuine and generous will attract others to them.

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    1. It was a fun outlet for me at first...but it was on MySpace. The blogging community over there was extremely strong and they ranked blogs every day by most read. So if you could get into the top ten there, you'd have thousands of clicks and hundreds of comments. Commenting helped build readership so you could get there... Outside of that community, there's no way for people to automatically find you so all you have are the comments you leave.

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  4. I remember being so nervous when I began blogging. I thought, "I have nothing to say." But I kept going and it's gotten easier. I believe it's a good practice to try and visit peoples blog who've visited yours. Although, it can get time consuming, and I like to visit new bloggers too, and make new friends.
    Your Blog is always interesting, Stephanie!!!

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    1. It can definitely be time consuming. I try to do just a few at a time...and there comes a time when you have to look around and decide what you want out of your community. Because we definitely have too few hours in the day!

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  5. I like finding new blogging friends but I also want to keep up with the people who take time out of their day to drop by and comment on my blog regularly.

    I'm huge into social media, I've made many new friends and followers through Twitter and Google+ ...

    I treat people the way I want to be treated :-)

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    1. It definitely is hard to squeeze in visiting all the old blogs while still reaching out to people. Depends why you blog and what you hope to get out of it.

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  6. I've been hoping to grow my blogship here lately, but when I follow new blogs, no one follows me back. =/ My number has been the same for a long time, and I would love to get it over 200. Which I know it's just a number, and I love and appreciate my regular readership, but growing and expanding is always nice too. =)

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    1. I don't follow people--there are a few people on my follow list who won't read my blog if I read theirs and they have no way to remove them from the list. So I just go through the comments and read blogs from there. That may be why you see some people commenting without following. Plus, I read a lot of people who post on their own websites or WordPress, so the follower list was leaving all of them out, which was sad!

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  7. I often get way more comments on social media about my posts than on the blog itself. Not that I have a large readership by any means, but my gaming articles especially seem to draw a crowd. It's just that most people are more comfortable writing on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter these days for some reason.

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    1. I think you're right. But people share FAR too much on those sites, sadly. And you have to be able to condense your thoughts into just a sentence or two...that can be very hard!

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  8. I don't do any other social media except Facebook, so I have nothing to compare blogging to. I've built up a small readership since 2009 when I began my blog by doing what you've described above. I think the most important thing is to respond to comments by visiting the commenters blogs and saying something. I'm not sure how important it is to respond to comments on my blog because I don't think people come back a second time to see what you've replied. Do they?

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    1. So right. I have seen people complain about that, but no, most of us really would rather you comment our blog. Time is limited! I usually reply to the first few comments on the first day of a new blog I've posted but it's hard to make it all the way to the bottom!

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  9. Lol is it bad I don't overly care sometimes? I just figure people will come eventually. I know, I know. I'm so blasé some days.
    I used to blog on MySpace too btw. Hehe. People lovedddddd my blog.
    I think if I weren't anonymous I'd have more readers. But oh well.

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    1. Nah. I don't think so. I think you're doing great. Having a fun, funny blog is far more important than telling the world who you are. And as long as you have a steady readership and you have no need to grow it, there's no reason to work hard to get new readers.

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  10. This is such simple and good advice. I think that once you establish relationships with other bloggers and you comment more than you don't...you get a few new followers...i would rather have a few meaningful comments that show that people get me...but...I love the emails I get where people say...I love your blog...I just don't comment. Sigh! But I think that's the danger of my blog posting to FB and Twitter.

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    1. That is definitely true...a few quality followers are better than a large number of so-so followers. There are a lot of fashion bloggers who will post one-line comments that make it clear they didn't read a word of your blog so you'll come over and read theirs. I don't read any of those types of blogs for that very reason.

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    2. I know exactly what you mean! I love that Free People has ads on your blog!

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  11. Lol at the YourEcards, marvellously chosen :) I've noticed that really are some people who use blogs to vent off and speak about their mental problems as a form of therapy. Which might mean Blogger has healing powers as well :)

    The number of people who return comments and following is so small, that I don't even try as much as I did before. It is also difficult because Blogger mostly has commentators among other Blogger or Google users.
    I get most of the bigger hits when celebs tweet me or not just celebs but other people at Twitter and Facebook. Releasing movie posts in the right time (usually well ahead of others) also brings me visits when the movie or show is finally out.

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    1. I have to say, blogging is a great form of therapy for some people. Unfortunately, after a while, you'll find many people don't want to read constant negativity. It's one thing to blog to heal but I've read blogs where it was weak after weak of whining over something that happened seven years ago. I just couldn't even find anything to say anymore. There are only so many times you can post, "It will get better..." Because for some people, obviously healing isn't coming.

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  12. Right now my blog suffers the most. Between a full time job to support my bills, and writing/editing two novels and short stories, and finding time to sleep, read, and exercise, keeping a blog alive and active is adding too much stress. I know it's supposed to be part of my platform and all that, but it is what it is. It's the same with reading and commenting in various blogs. I follow so many blogs, all of which I like and want to interact with the writers/bloggers. But that could eat hours without even me realising (and yes it has happened before). Priorities are necessary otherwise nothing will be done correctly and I may end up stressed and unable to write. It's a hard decision but having cut, social time and removed TV entirely from my life, it's the next to be reduced.

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  13. Wow- you have been blogging for a long time. This month it will be 5 years for Jessica and me, and I thought that was a long time. I looked through our beginning blog posts and it is fascinating to see what we wrote when we started.

    Like you, we love connecting with new people. I stop by the blogs of my blogging buddies on a regular basis to catch up with them, but also stop by new blogs. Some people come back and visit and some people don't. When new people stop by I make sure to visit them back (even if my visit is a few days later due to my schedule). :)

    Great post!

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  14. I think that you make a great point - figure out what kind of blogger you are. I know that for me, I wanted to get to know more writers and have regular practice writing, so this was a way to get to know more people.

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  15. Great advice about growing blog readership. Another thing you can do is sharin the blog posts you've really enjoyed and thought was informative with your followers on social media

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  16. I love blogging but my main problem is time. I have made so many great friendship but my main reason that I keep blogging is to stay connected with family and friends and to keep a record of my life. Time is going so fast that it makes my head spin.

    I've been busy printing my blog posts starting from 2010 and since I have found a way to print the comment with the posts it's been a real blast from the past as I have difficulty remembering what happens when...

    I haven't tried to grow my readership lately but I get so many visiting my blog everyday and the majority never leave comment but when I say that I might stop blogging many tells me they don't blog themselves but follow me and please don't quit.

    I love following your blog because I learn so much from your posts and they are never boring. I love to read but seldom have spare time to keep up with everything. I'm hoping some day soon I'll have more time.

    One good way to loose readers and followers is to not comment on their posts.
    Have a great weekend Stephanie.
    Hugs,
    JB

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  17. I've met so many blogging friends from around the United States along with Norway and Australia. I love that part of it. Once you meet someone (you already like them before you meet) you seem to be even closer. I know many in that group only do Facebook now, but we are still in touch.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  18. That's a long time blogging. I started in 2010, although back then it was more or less a diary of severe anorexia. I;ve made some really great friends in this community.

    I always hoped one day I'd be famous for my stupid little cartoons, but Hyperbole and Half beat me to it. And is much funnier.

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  19. I try to post on social media and such to meet people. Sometimes I get comments from it. Sometimes not. I try to reach out to others though!

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  20. You have been blogging for a very long time. I am amazed at the warmth and wonder of the blogosphere and treasure the friends I have made here. No hints for how to increase the readers and comments though. Reciprocity?

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  21. The biggest thing I can say to people is write stuff that's interesting. I've tried following many over the years and I can't even comment because their blog makes either no sense or I can't relate to it in any shape or form.

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  22. Thanks for this thoughtful post, I don't give much thought to growing my blog but I should, it's great to get new followers. I did find at least one good blog friend by reading the comments of another blog.

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  23. Your method of growing readers is definitely the way to go. I only have time to do it gradually by visiting blogs and groups, but I make great effort to visit back and many times I discover a great blog to follow as a result.

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  24. Great post. I think leaving comments on blogs is a good way to meet others. Most times when I comment, the person visits my blog, which is nice.

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  25. I'd say A to Z in April is a good way to make some new blogging friends. Actually going and commenting on five new blogs a day. Only a fraction will turn into blogging buddies, but that's still an excellent start.

    Looking at the commenters on blogs you find you like is another.

    I'm pretty much in maintenance mode, but if someone new comments on my blog, I make sure to visit back. And comment at least once.

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  26. I'd say just enjoy what you do. Have Dunn rioting. Really, I wouldn't focus too much on the rest of it. I've been away from blogging for nearly four years and I knew that if I posted during those stressful years I'd only be doing it to keep up appearances. When I came back I did so because I once again had words. I think you just gotta do it cause you love it. :)

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  27. Find your niche and be yourself. Then go for it. Things will develop as you go along and make mistakes while having successes.

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  28. Hi Stephanie,
    Even though IWSG was on Wednesday, I'm still visiting blogs. I love your suggestions. Unfortunately, as you say, not all bloggers where you comment will come back and look at or comment on your blog. When that happens you have to forgive, forget and keep moving on with your strategy to visit others. And then after you have selected to follow a blog, it is good to comment every now and then and not just hit the like button.
    Shalom,
    Patricia

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  29. I've had my insecurities in the past, but now I find that I've left them all behind. I feel at my best when I'm writing because I use it mainly to vent. I should get back to my creative writing habits, and I keep telling myself that I will just as soon as school is done and I finish my latest project at work. The next thing you know, I have another class and another project!!

    I guess I do have one insecurity left...I will never finish that novel. lol

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  30. I've been such a slacker when it comes to growing my readership lately. I used to comment on at least 5 other blogs a day...now, I'm good with commenting back, but that's about it. I just need a few extra hours in the day! :)

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  31. I'm like you, usually through the comments. Take Jo Wake for instance- I'd read her comments on blogs and they'd always make me grin, so I had to go follow her and bug her until she was my friend.

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  32. Interesting subject and reminds me how we got started.
    I did a funny post on it way back:

    http://eddybluelights.blogspot.co.uk/2009/04/blogging-he-would-go.html

    Agree it is a great way to meet new people and friends . . :)

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  33. Yes, yes, and yes! It definitely takes time to grow a readership. You have to reciprocate the "love" and comment on others blogs, because how else would they know that you're willing to spend time learning more about them and actually building a friendship.

    Great post. And wow. Blogging since 2006? That is quite a streak. :)

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  34. Yes, quality is more important than quantity, Stephanie.

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  35. I always comment back and visit that person's blog in return. I find that builds relationships and increases followers.

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  36. I always comment back also when someone comments on my blog. I figure NOT commenting back is a sure way to lose a potential reader. Oddly enough, I find that I get the most hits and comments when I join linky parties, no matter what they seem to be.

    I'm one of those who blog for my own enjoyment, but it is also rewarding to get comments and see a lot of visits to a post. And I've been lucky enough to connect with a few kindred spirits along the way too.

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  37. Growing readership is really hard. I've tried a number of methods and added many blogs to my reading list only to see the blogs founder ... or discover they don't really write blogs that interest me. And yes, some never comment back.

    Blog hops and blog fests ~ I've had mixed results. Blog fests, which seem to be about reading and meeting new people, tend to be better for me. (I met one of my very best CPs that way.) Blog hops, which seem to be all about prizes, have never gained me any readers.

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  38. I have no idea how to get more readers. >_< Though I met quite a few people through Follow Fest 2013, and found others just through commenting on others' blogs, so I must be doing something right. I also get a lot more hits on my blog posts than I do comments, so I seem to have more readers than I know, which is sort of reassuring.

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  39. I wrote to my blog for years without getting much attention. I wasn't until I stumbled into a great blogging sphere of influence I started to get attention. And yes, visiting other blogs and replying to comments is a sure way to get return visits.

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  40. Because AmaraLand is really more of a personal journal I don't have lots of readers but I sure have met some great friends in the last 6 years.

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