May 22, 2012

{Tips for Blogging: Part 2} Growing Your Readership

Gerber Daisies
Photo via Flickr CC by Jamiesrabbits
Before I delve in and give you the regular tried and true tips for growing your readership, I want to point out the one big huge mega tip that will work EVERY SINGLE TIME.

#1.  Wow the socks off the people who are already reading.  Even if you just started your blog yesterday, you probably told some friends on facebook, right? Emailed your mom?  Explained to your grandma what a blog is and then how to get to it?  Somebody is reading, right?   They are your single biggest asset.  If you can impress them, write content that they can't help but share on facebook and pinterest, then your blog will grow.   Because people love to share great stuff. 

Blog growth is exponential.  We live in an age where it is so simple and quick and free to share a great article with everybody you know.  So 3 readers will turn to 10, and 10 to 100, and 100 to a number that kinda makes you shiver when you think that that many people read the words you typed yesterday.  But it won't happen overnight.

Okay, so now for the other tips.  The tips that will help nudge your blog along while you rock that first tip.

#2.  Participate in blog parties.  In the early days of this blog I made a point to have a project ready each week to submit to some of my favourite blog parties.  I did a lot of them in the beginning and paid close attention to my blog stats to discern which ones were bringing in the most traffic.  And then I started focusing mostly on those ones that were at the top of the list.  I rarely participate in blog parties now, but many of my most loyal readers today came through those blog parties. 

Here are some of my favourite blog parties:
The Home Decor and Organizing Linky Party @ Organize and Decorate Everything
Hooking Up with HOH @ House of Hepworths
The CSI Project, a weekly themed blog party

#3. Do a series.  I feel a little bit as if I've just shown you all my poker hand.  Here I am, doing a series, telling you all that a series will grow your blog!

But seriously, one of the best things I've done for my blog is the 31 days to an Organized Home. Many of you first discovered my blog last October during that time.   The benefit of a series is that it gets readers clicking around.  They like a post, so they click over to see the rest of the series.  One pageview turns into many pageviews, and perhaps even a loyal follower! 

#4.  Encourage people to engage and commit.  People often ask me how I got so many facebook "like's".  The answer is simple.  I asked them.  At the bottom of almost any post that I expect will go reasonably viral, I say something like "Thanks so much for visiting The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking.  Please take a moment to "like" me on facebook or follow me on Twitter!"  And people do. It's that simple.  Ask them.  People who like you on facebook or follow you on twitter or sign up for your rss feed will come back again and again. 

#5. Link to your old posts. This is another way to get people clicking around.  If everyone who visits your blog views three pages instead of just one, you will triple your page views!  Don't be awkard or spammy about it, just share your own relevant links just as you would any other link you think would be helpful to your reader.

For example, last month I shared some simple Easter cupcakes and in that post I linked to an delicious chocolate cupcake recipe that I had shared over a year earlier, back when I had fewer readers.  In the last month, I've seen the total pageviews on that chocolate cupcake recipe quadruple.   The backlink gave new life to a mostly dead post that wasn't collecting page views anymore. 

#6. Link liberally to other blogs.  I don't believe in bloggy karma, but I do believe in treating others how you'd like to be treated.  If you want people to link to your articles, be generous with your own links.  It's not magic, it's just good blogging.


#7. Leave valuable, insightful, entertaining comments on other blogs.  Every couple days I get an email or a comment from people who found my blog by clicking through from my comment on another blog.  It's not huge hoards of traffic, but remember, blog growth is exponential. And somebody who would click over to a blog from a comment on another blog is a) somebody who reads blogs and b) somebody who engages with blogs they like (because they were in the comment section in the first place, probably leaving a comment of their own!)  Those are just the kind of folks you want poking around your blog!

Oh, and every once in a while the blogger herself, the one who owns the awesome blog you love and comment on, will click on over to see what you are all about and completely blow you away by leaving a comment on your blog. Like the night, back when I was just starting out and all my readers were people I knew, that Melissa Michaels of the Inspired Room, the very reason I started blogging in the first place, visited this post and left a comment.  It totally made my day week.

But Kelly, you forgot to say to blog regularly and consistently...

Back when I started my first blog in 2007, blogging on a consistent schedule was the holy grail of blog growth.  It was #1 on every article I read about growing my readership. Nobody wanted to follow a blog that didn't post 5 days a week. That was because most of us, back then, still visited our favourite blogs by pouring our morning coffee, sitting down at our computer and...get this...typing in the URL of the blog we wanted to visit.  Although some people still do that, today the vast majority of people following your blog will keep track of new posts through an RSS feed or a link from your facebook page, so they may not even notice if you fail to blog everyday.  Yes, consistency is very good, and more content (assuming it's good content!) will always equal more page views, but I thoroughly believe that consistent blogging is not as important as it once was. And for some of us, it just isn't doable.  And that's okay.

That said, I have set a bare minimum for myself of two blog posts a week.  I don't want my reader's wondering if I'm dead just because I have morning sickness and some laundry to catch up on.
 
{This is part 2 in a week long series about blogging. Click here to read part one. }

Oh, and....Thanks so much for visiting The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking.  Please take a moment to "like" me on facebook or follow me on Twitter!

34 comments:

  1. Great post! Right with you on the everyday posting not being the most important thing in the world. These days the meta blogs seem to be saying that less is more, because better content is better!

    Just this week, in fact, I decided to cut back my posting schedule. I think it will be for the better.

    Thanks!

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  2. This series couldn't have come at a better time, I am feeling so overwhelmed being new to Blogging and honestly need someone to tell me what to do. This will help me focus my limited time in the right areas, thanks so much!

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  3. Great series, I've been blogging since 2004, I knew all the tips already, I am yet to take the twitter and FB plunge though, I keep saying I should, but never find the time to do so...off to mark that on my to do list.
    By the way I totally love your Home Management Bidner and it inspired me to get more organised. The printable gorcery list is a time and money saver!

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    1. I'm so glad to hear that you've found the printable grocery list helpful. Thanks for letting me know...it's always so nice to hear :)

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  4. I will definitely be reading all the posts in this series. I'm also new to blogging and it's great to have tips from an expert! Thanks!

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  5. I'm fairly new to blogging and can't wait for the making money part of your series, because so far I haven't found any tips that have helped me get started on that. I may be too computer-illiterate to have a blog of my own.
    I have had a couple of my blogging heroes leave comments (and a few even started following! Swoon!) but it's just comments in general that make my day. I hope you have something on generating more comments. :)
    Great stuff so far!

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  6. Aw, well, what an honor to be mentioned!! Thanks!

    Things certainly have changed in blogging since 2007, but one thing that hasn't changed, genuinely nice people like yourself who offer great and engaging content still stand out!! Great series, thanks for sharing!! :-)

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    1. Melissa, you've totally made my day again. :) Thanks for stopping by to comment and leaving such kind words!

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  7. A great post!Thanks for taking the time to give your blogging tips,I was glad to find that I was doing most of the things listed.Would love to keep reading you!

    Lusine
    Enjoy Teaching English

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  8. This is a great series. I am very new to blogging, so this is really helping me. I am having trouble with keeping up with posting. I can't wait to read more!

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  9. Thank you SO much for taking the time to do this. God will surely reward you for taking the time to bless others and try and help them along. Trust me on that one.

    Patty

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  10. I really appreciate your suggestions - I never even thought of asking people to like us on FB or Twitter at the end of a post!
    Can't wait to read the next posts! Thanks!

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  11. I love this post! And I'm so relieved to hear that you don't think that someone needs to blog consistently. I'm still a fairly new blogger, although I've had a family blog for years. I am blown away by the people who blog daily. It's sometimes exhausting trying to keep up with all of the link parties, comment as much as possible, keep a clean house and fed children....and actually have time to come up with projects and blog them. But, it is all so fun and rewarding at the same time. I love reading blogging tips. I'm excited to read more. =)

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  12. Thanks for the ideas! I keep a personal blog, mostly family and friends read it but have been thinking of branching out and making it more of a part-time job. (p.s. love your blog - always getting great tips, as i am quite the imperfect homemaker, emphasis on imperfect.) :)

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  13. I absolutely love your blog. I stumbled upon it a couple of weeks back when searching for home schooling ideas for my eldest who will be turning 3 this Saturday. I recently started a blog and can’t wait for the rest of this series to get me out of my blogging rut!

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  14. Kelly thank you so much for sharing your tips and tried and true advice. I too have been blogging since around 2007 but I let it die but have been considering resurrecting it or starting anew. I can't wait to read your next series post!

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  15. Thank you for your tips! I do have a question about linking.. I'm starting a blog and wonder the best etiquette. Say I want to link to a blog where say I have used/loved their recipe or just want to recommend a post to read, do I need to ask permission? or is it ok to just share the link?

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    1. Hi Kelly! It's funny that you ask because tomorrow's post is all about blogging etiquette! It is always okay to link to something you want to share. There will be some more information on linking to other blogs in tomorrow's post. :)

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  16. It's funny, I can't remember how or when I first came across your blog (months back) but I know I've been dropping in regularly since, so your plan of action works!

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  17. I got linked up to your blog a couple days ago via Pinterest (someone I know had pinned your post 99 Ways to Simplify Life with Kids), and I felt refreshed reading through your blog! Your words are kind, genuine, and easy to read. Almost a year ago I started a blog and recently someone asked me if I'd ever thought about doing "more" with my writing. Wasn't sure what "more" looked like until you started sharing this series on blogging. Thanks a bunch :)

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  18. love your blog! so glad I found you (I think it was from a friend who posted a link on Facebook). For sure your content is what keeps me coming back. such great stuff!

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  19. Well, I just started my blog in spanish, because of your series!!!!! Love the way you put it simply and easy!!!

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  20. I found a link last December to your Organized Home series and have been hooked ever since. Thank you for the constant inspiration!

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  21. I started my blog about 18 months ago, and for the first 8-9 months I blogged daily. Now, I tend to blog 3-4 times a week instead. But those early months, I think if I hadn't blogged daily, I'd never have gotten into the blogging habit properly. It was important for me personally to set myself a goal of that one blog post a day so that I would remember to make time for blogging. I think if I hadn't done that, my blog would have probably faded away after a few months, because I'd have ended up leaving longer and longer between posts.

    I think it all depends on the type of person you are. But I wouldn't write off the importance of blogging consistently and regularly at least in the beginning when you are establishing your blog. :)

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    1. Oh, Lisa, You're right. Blogging daily is great. My point was just that it isn't the only way to do it! Even if you can't blog daily,you can blog well! :)

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  22. Thanks for saying that we don't have to write daily! At first when I read that on so many "how to blog" articles, I freaked out! But then I realized that some of the blogs I follow, post so much, that their content suffers. And it just bogs down my list of posts to get through in my google reader, that I get annoyed. I've actually stopped following blogs because they post so often, with only one actual post with good content each week. I don't like to be stressed out by seeing 100 new posts in my google reader every morning! lol

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  23. I've enjoyed reading this series (I come back to it often). I've *just* started my own blog about hiking and being a girly girl, and I've been thinking through your tips and ways I can apply them to my blog.

    Your posts are always insightful and encouraging. And your cleaning tips are awesome! I can't tell you how much the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide tip for cleaning your stove helped me! I've always battled getting it clean, and your tip worked so well! Thanks!

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  24. Thank you for this Kelly. I have it bookmarked and come back and read it often just to make sure I'm staying focused on my blog. I post every 3 days at the moment which works well for me. It's just enough of a push to keep me motivated but not too much that I resent it.

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  25. Thank you so much for this tips for blogging series, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts and will be incorporating your tips into my blog immediately! Blogging is such a work of art, and really a learn as you go process, but I'm willing to learn, stumble and keep going, Thank you!

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  26. Love, love, love this! I've read other blog advise posts that scared me to death. This series feels so much more manageable. I am still relatively new to blogging and I want to say that you eased my mind about the wordpress thing, as well. I thought the exact same thing and - kid you not - had just signed up with wordpress and was trying to figure out how to import my blogger blog when i remembered a friend of mine had sent me your post. it was like God was saying "hang on...I want you to read this first...". Great blog, thanks!

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  27. This really helped. I just started a blog...I've had others (probably 6) but this is the first one I really want to work on. This is a great series! I'm super interested in publicizing, so this was a huge help. Thanks!

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