So you’ve started your brand new blog huh?
The excitement may not last long. After a few weeks or months, perhaps you’ve begun to experience burnout. Perhaps you like the feeling to be able to post your opinion on the Web, but writing becomes a chore rather than something fun to do on a regular basis.
Readership may not grow at the rate that you think the blog is worth the effort. Sounds familiar? I guess it is to many of us. It happens to some of my blogs too, in many times.
As with any other venture, it takes effort to succeed. While a blog turns web publishing into a very easy and convenient task, actually writing great content and building readerships — and later relationships — are the real challenges.
Below are my own 7 strategies to find, build and grow our blog readership:
1. CONTENT IS KING
Content will always be king. People get turned off by a site or blog with excessive ads without solid substance. If you have been blogging for some time, chances are you have several “best” or “popular” articles that you are proud of.
Make the articles stand out, perhaps feature them in a sticky post at the top of the blog. This is easily done by modifying blog template or as part of a feature for other blogware. At the very least, place them as links on the sidebar or navigation bar.
These articles are what people will mostly read no matter where they come from. They help build your credibility and make them happy. This will result in returning visitors or increase in RSS subscriptions — i.e. more readers.
Having great content doesn’t guarantee traffic though. Many blogs with great content have troubles with attracting traffic.
2. START COMMENTING ON OTHER BLOGS (AND OTHER NETWORKING TASKS)
Blog commenting is one of the best networking tool for bloggers. I have built relationships with many great bloggers just by writing a few good quality comments on their posts.
There are many other ways to establish relationships with other bloggers, including, but not limited to trackbacking, guest blogging, social networking sites like LinkedIn, or through placing widgets on your blog to connect with not only bloggers but also readers (MyBlogLog is a good example.)
3. PARTICIPATE IN YOUR BLOG COMMENT
Readers will feel appreciated if bloggers respond to what they have posted. The commenting feature on a blog is there for exactly this reason. Why give your readers the freedom to put comment if you don’t take that advantage and build a strong community out of the blog?
>Bloggers should encourage readers to leave comment on their blog for the same reason.
4. LINK TO OTHERS
One of the core features of blogging is the ability to link to other related post easily. Blogosphere are linked to each other. Not only do you do some favor for your readers, it also shows that you are not being selfish.
If you link to others, even if they are your competitors, you have just established your credibility. This will reward you many times. If you are afraid to directly link to your competitors, find a complementary resource that you can link to. Adding value outside of your post is critical to demonstrate expertise and being resourceful.
5. GET LINKS FROM OTHER BLOGGERS
Getting links is not easy. Otherwise, every blog out there should have certain level of readership.
The essence of getting links from other bloggers is by being resourceful, genuine and sincere. If you have great content and practice some of the networking strategies above, you are on the right track because people will notice what you have to offer.
6. UPDATE FREQUENTLY
I notice that once I stop posting, my traffic goes down slightly. This is due to the fact that regular readers that subscribe to my RSS feed don’t visit if there is nothing new on my blog.
Blogs that are less updated or on hiatus may lose readership as people may start to unsubscribe from your RSS feed. This is one of the biggest mistakes I have made with some of my blogs, including this one.
7. PARTICIPATE IN COMMUNITY PROJECTS
Popular blogs often hold blogging contests so that fellow bloggers and readers can participate. This allows you to get links from the blog but from other readers that happen to read your post.
Other projects including blog carnivals and guest blogging.
8. BLOG PROMOTION
Of course, you can get a lot of readers by promoting your blog. Some of the ways including by advertising, search engine optimization, writing and syndicating articles on article directories or publications, participate in web forums and mailing lists, encourage RSS subscription, podcasting, and so on.
Some strategies are slow in showing results, but they are long term strategies that will bring you constant stream of traffic, ready for you to turn into regular readers.
Bloggers who are enjoy blogging and passionate about the topic they blog about should find it easy to keep working on their blog albeit the slow result. Perhaps it is a good thing that only bloggers who like what they do will grow their blog to the point of satisfaction. Once the blog gains some momentum, the growth is almost unstoppable.