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19 (More) Strategies for Finding Readers

Posted By Darren Rowse 28th of February 2006 Blog Promotion 0 Comments


Yaro has already kicked us off on this topic of how to find readers for a new blog but I thought I’d pull together a few ideas on the topic also (with a little overlap with Yaro’s ideas). These points come from a variety of older posts I’ve written on the topic – sort of a ‘best of’ kind of thing. I’ve updated some, others are straight extracts from things I’d said before and a few are new:

1. It takes time – It may not be what you want to hear, but it unless you’re a genius, extremely lucky or have an amazing new idea, it takes time to build a readership. So settle in for the long haul and muscle up some patience.

2. Content Content Content – I’ve said this over and over again so will keep it brief but unless you have ‘good’ content you’re unlike to build a readership. What is good content – start by thinking about it in terms of usefulness and uniqueness and I think you’ll be on the right track. Other words that come to mind when it comes to good content might be ‘fresh’, ‘variety’, ‘up to date’ and ‘well written’.

3. Link to others – Perhaps one of the central features of blogging is that they are linked. The intricate web of links and relationships was one of the first things that attracted me to blogging and it’s part of the reason it’s got real viral properties that allow ideas to spread so quickly. Participate in the linking to other blogs and you’ll find that many benefits come. For a start you’ll be participating in the conversation, you’ll be getting the attention of others and your readers will appreciate that you’re interested in helping them find the best content out there.

Of course you don’t want to be linking randomly to everyone and anyone – be selective and link to quality content that is relevant to your niche topic. As you engage in linking you’ll find that others will link back (assuming you have something worthwhile to say yourself) and you’ll find the traffic begins to flow – both from their sites and as a result of your increased search engine ranking.

4. Get Links from other Bloggers – I can hear the comments already – ‘Easier said than done Darren!’ This is true – but if you’re smart, genuine, helpful and polite there are ways of increasing the chances of getting links from others.

5. Participate in other people’s conversations – I suspect that a number of my first regular blog readers first came to my blog because I left a comment on theirs. It was not a strategy I thought about – I just found myself quite addicted to reading others blogs and giving feedback. When you leave a comment leave your own blog address. Often people like to know who is reading their blog and will come visiting you. Don’t comment just for the sake of it. If someone leaves me a ‘hi’ comment or is obviously spamming my blog I won’t visit them and delete the comment. Make genuine comments on posts that connect with you. You might make a good friend in the process and in the long run will find the flow on effect of this is more interest in you and your own blog.

6. Interact with Readers – When a reader reaches out to you with a comment, email or link from their blog – interact with them. For starters it’s good manners and secondly it’s a good way to increase the chances that they’ll come back again. I get a lot of people telling me that they don’t have enough readers to their blog – while I can related to this frustration I generally encourage them to see what they’ve got as a good starting place. Interact with those who do come to your blog and make it the best experience you can for them and you’ll find that they spread the word for you.

7. Update frequently – With the advent of news aggregators people can be notified of your new post in real time. I noticed that when I publish a new post that my stats nearly always go up slightly just afterwards as those readers with aggregators log in to have a quick look at my latest musings. This works a lot better on some blogs than others (some topics seem to attract more RSS subscribers than others do). Another side benefit of frequent posting is that search engines like it and many believe that the more you post the more often SE’s will send their spiders out to index your blog. Similarly – the more you post the more you’ll get indexed by blog engines like technorati (and numerous others). Of course I’m not encouraging massive amounts of meaningless content – keep it of a high quality.

8. Add a signature to your outgoing email – This is an oldie but a goodie. Many bloggers do this. Simply add the domain name to your outgoing email. Most email programs will allow you to do this automatically via a signature option. However be careful with automatic signatures if you don’t want your blog to be read by everyone that you email.

9. Promote your RSS Feed – Most blog platforms come with a RSS feeds built in but there are ways of increasing your subscriber list. The most obvious of these is to put it in the sight of your readers by putting your RSS button in a more prominent position. There are a variety of different buttons available that you can make available to readers to help them to subscribe to your blog via their news aggregators with one click that might also be worth investigating. Also, if your topic is not one which many readers seem to use RSS in, you might need to do some education on the topic of RSS feeds. Write a post on how to follow your blog via RSS and you might find more do.

10. List your site on Portals, Blog Indexes, Directories and Search Engines – There are MANY places that you can list your blog to help it get more attention. In fact there are too many and you could probably spend all your time submitting your blog to them all. I’d recommend that you don’t become obsessed by this and work on other factors in this list first and then in your spare time add your blog to some of these types of things as you go. Making sure you get listed on some of the bigger sites like Technorati should probably be a priority (here’s how for Technorati) – but don’t make this the first thing you do. In terms of getting into search engines – you can submit yourself (most have ways of doing this) but most people believe that the best and quickest way to get indexed these days is to get a link from another site that is already indexed.

11. Search Engine Optimization – While some bloggers don’t think much of SEO I think it is well worth knowing some basic SEO principles and keeping them in the back of your mind as you blog. After all SE’s are the place that most people go to when they are searching for information on a topic. Don’t become obsessed by SEO, but don’t ignore it either.

12. Participate in others Blogger’s Projects – From time to time other bloggers will invite your participation in a blog project of theirs. Put your hand up, volunteer some time and contribute in some way. Don’t just do it to get a link on their site, but take the opportunity to build a relationship with them and their readers. Not only will you make a friend, but over time you build some credibility as a blogger who is not just thinking about themselves. On the flip side start your own blogging project. Some of the more popular things to get involved with these days are Blog Carnivals.

13. Participate in other web forums – Blogging is not the only vibrant online activity at the moment. I visit a number of other discussion forums and e-zines that explore similar ideas/hobbies/interests to me and my blogs. I’ve found an increasing amount of traffic to my blog is coming as a result of my contributions to these forums as many of them allow you to add your link as a signature to your posts. Don’t spam these forums – but be a genuine contributer that adds useful comments and you’ll find people are drawn to your other projects.

14. Explore other formats of communication – Another of the more effective things that I’ve done over the past year in my blogging is worth hard on email newsletters for a few of my blogs. I don’t do it with all of them (mainly due to the time it takes) but here at ProBlogger I’ve grown a list of over 1600 email subscribers who I send weekly information to. These newsletters both are about keeping people in touch with what happened on the blog each week as well as giving extra tips and information to build a sense of community and ownership of the site. Other bloggers use forums similarly.

15. Offline Techniques – Blog Promotion need not only happen online. Consider how you might promote it offline and you could just bring in some new readers also. Such techniques can include putting your URL on business cards, letterhead, using press releases and other assorted methods. Read more on this here.

16. Make it viral – One of the things about infectious diseases that makes them so deadly is that they are very easy to pass on from one person to another. There are a number of things you might want to consider doing to help with this. For instance a lot of bloggers these days are adding links on their posts that allow readers to bookmark the post in social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us and digg. Other bloggers have features that allow bloggers to ’email a friend’ about a particular post. Others (like ProBlogger) allow readers to subscribe to comment threads via email. All of these types of plugins allow your readers to do the work for you in either spreading the word about your site or making it more sticky. Speaking of social bookmarking – there are also ways of writing content that tend to be picked up more in this scene that you might like to explore if that’s a source of traffic that you’re interested in.

17. Advertise – I’ve written a lot over the past year about running advertising on blogs as a form of income – but on the flip side of many advertising platforms that you can run as a publisher are the opportunities to actually advertise your blog in the attempt to find new readers. In the last few months I’ve dabbled a little in this side of things, mainly using AdWords (the advertiser side of AdSense) but also advertising on a few sites using BlogAds. I’ve actually been learning about AdWords using Perry Marshall’s e-book (aff) on the topic and am finding it quite helpful if you’re looking to a good introduction to using it (he has a free 5 day taster too). Of course you’ll need to weigh up the cost of advertising vs the benefits that you think it’ll bring – but I know of quite a few bloggers who run an AdWords campaign in the first month of a new blog to give it a kick start and swear by the method.

18. Link baiting – This is one of the terms that has become quite common among bloggers over the last year. In essence ‘link bait’ is some sort of comment that will attract links to it and in many ways is no different than paragraph 2 above – write good content and people will link up. Of course there are many tactics that many bloggers use to link bait – I’ve explored a few of these here.

19. Take all advice with a grain of salt – Be yourself and have fun! – The web is full of advice like the above – what I’m saying isn’t rocket science. There are no rules of blogging and it seems everyone’s experience of growing a blog (or not growing one) is different.

I’m sure there are a lot of blogs out there that ignore all or most of the above advice that have a bunch of regular readers and healthy hits. So relax, be yourself and have fun with it. Experiment with new tools, styles of design and writing.

My suspicion is that bloggers who obviously enjoy the blogging process and who are themselves are the type of bloggers that people are drawn to. Bloggers that are uptight and who complain constantly about how their blog isn’t achieving what they want it to achieve probably do quite the opposite and turn people away. Traffic is a good thing for a blog but it’s not the ultimate measure of a good blog in my books. Write it for yourself and have some fun and a lot of the rest will end up looking after itself.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. 19 (More) Strategies for Finding Readers

    Just what the title, says, techniques for getting readers to your blog.

  2. Sounds like sound ideas.

  3. Good post, Darren.

  4. Excellent advice. At the moment I get most of my traffic from SEO, but I changed that for one of my most recent blogs and saw a huge increase in traffic.

    In regards to number 5, you might want to write an article on detecting blog spam. I get comments all the time on my blogs that don’t look like spam, but after investigating them they are spam. Blog spam is getting harder to detect.

    For instance, I sometimes get messages about how much my blog has helped xyz individual and to keep up the good work. The first time I got one of these messages, I thought “how cool”. Then I went to their site and it seemed kind of spammy. Then I used Yahoo’s linkdomain command and found out that they had been spamming lots of blogs with the same exact message. There have been other spam comments that have almost gotten past me as well. I think it would be very useful to write an article on detecting blog spam, if you haven’t already.

    BTW – I love your blog, it has been very helpful, and keep up the good work :)

  5. Excellent advice all round, Darren. This whole series of yours is invaluable to new and established bloggers alike.

  6. […] 19 (More) Strategies for Finding Readers: ProBlogger Blog Tips […]

  7. What about blog directories? Is it worth submitting to blogion.com, blogwise.com, bloghub.com, amongst others? Do people actually search through these directories?

  8. I’ve just finished putting a Blog Directory together, so if you’re interested you can submit your Blogs to Focus: Blogs – The Bloggers Directory

  9. This is really excellent advice Darren. And not just for beginners. Thanks for posts like these that help the community.

  10. I think podcasting can attract a whole new audience as well.

  11. “blogwise.com, bloghub.com”

    Yes, people do use these directories. Most of them are still pretty legit, and they send some sporatic traffic to my blogs. It’s not a lot, but some.

  12. I recently started a weblog after having published my own website for about a year. I feel like I’m right back where I started – trying to get links, trying to get listed in directories, trying to figure out where all the ‘cool’ people hang out (and why does this never seem to be me?). Anyway, I am encouraged by your prolific writing and plan on placing an (electronic) sticky on my laptop to remind myself – it takes time! It takes time! It takes time! Thanks for all the great advice and a chance to vent….

  13. Me too Sonya, I also need to remind myself it takes time! How much time I’m not sure, but I am happy writing to my small audience at the moment.

    Thanks for these great tips Darren.

  14. One of the most exhaustive article I have read on the subject of promoting websites or blogs and finding more readers.

    One observation is most people on the net are self centred and hardly participate in other peoples blogs. I believe if we are more outgoing and supportive to other peoples good efforts, we may build a community for ourselves too.

  15. You had a lot of good recommendations there. Thanks for always putting together the lists because they are fun to read and help me through issues I might have. You rock!

    I would have to say a large part of getting readers is to network with other sites. I receive equal amount of traffic from search engines and people I have networked with and have them link to my site.

    ———-
    -Ryan
    CyberNet Technology News
    http://www.cybernetnews.com

  16. I cant help but still think of diseases every time I hear the phrase “viral” :-)

  17. Thanks for the post, I am certainly going to give commenting on other blogs a chance, starting now.

    I personally enjoy these type of posts that talk about how to write better content or how to get people to read your work. I am not that interested in making money from my blog as it is my hobby, my relaxation away from paid work.

    Glory however is priceless!!!

  18. Great post! It doesn’t matter how often I hear some of this, it’s always good to have a reminder. Thanks Darrren.

  19. […] 增加網站訪客流量是 每位網站主或博客最常關心的問題,相信你我都知道或已嘗試過其他各種不同的網站行銷方法,有成功的、有正在默默耕耘的,當然也有已經放棄的。每個人都嚐過 其中的酸甜苦辣,而我的部落格還屬於在默默耕耘的階段,因為目標還未達成。您當初建立網站或部落格的目的是什麼?請再仔細的思考。 增加網站訪客流量的行銷網站方法很多,找出屬於適合自己的方式,然後切實、力行、貫徹和調整才是根本之道。網站主題明確與內容紮實是基本的開始,然後訂定階段性的目標(我把目標切割的很細),例如;每日一篇、每月增加五位新訪客或將特定的搜尋關鍵字每月提升網站排名五名等等。您是否也訂定階段性的目標?請再仔細的思考。 以下是我在讀了Darren Rowse的19 (More) Strategies for Finding Readers的文章後,列舉出每種增加網站訪客流量方法的標題,詳細說明請自行參閱原稿。 […]

  20. Regarding directories, I personally am a bit careful if they use a redirect script. That might cause google-related problems; search for ‘302 hijack’ for more. That might have been resolved, or it might not have been.

    Regarding asking for links, I almost always don’t do that since I don’t want to feel obligated to return the favor.

    Adwords for one topic has worked out pretty good, but for another it’s been pretty futile. An alternative is the not-exactly-large number of quality adbrite sites.

    I left a ‘blogging card’ in the summit register at Guadalupe Peak in Texas, and I got a visitor who left a comment referencing that. However, leaving the URL of another blog in the summit registers at local peaks doesn’t seem to have increased the traffic of that blog.

  21. Point 9 – definitely works. I put feed subscription text links just beneath the graphic header on a couple of my sites and readership started to increase.

    Point 12 – can be an advantage of being part of a blog network. Definitely worthwhile on many levels.

  22. Hey Darren,

    I have tried just about everything you mentioned except advertising. Readership is growing slowly, but surely.

    My biggest problem is #1, I don’t have a lot of patience. Guess I’ll just have to work on it.

    Joe

  23. Sorry, I was going to mention that I was getting a 404 error for your page for about 3-4 hours today.

    It seems you resolved the problem.

    Joe

  24. Thanks for sharing with us those useful tips. I have myself started blogging some days ago so this info was excellent for me.

  25. I think the exposure you can get from directories can help, especially for beginners who may not know of other good ways to get traffic. I am interested in Darren’s view on this.

    Robin Good has an excellent list of directories to submit your blogs to:

    http://www.masternewmedia.org/rss/top55/

    Hope it helps.

  26. Thanks for this great article. I’m going to try some of these out.

  27. […] Darren’s 19 (More) Strategies for Finding Readers for your blog is right on the money. Must-read, must-read! Tags […]

  28. Very interesting topic!!!
    Thanks for sharing~~
    —————————————————-
    SimonEmoticon Plus
    http://english.simonemoticon.com/
    MSN Messenger stuff, emotiocns, smiley,skins, winks, and tips.

  29. Thanks for the tips Darren. I read your blogs almost religiously, thanks to Bloglines.

    I find that the hardest thing to do is to keep forging ahead. I am lucky to have gotten two of my brothers involved in posting content to my newest blog. This takes a lot of the pressure off of me and adds a little variety to the site.

    Again, keep posting! It inspires me to keep doing the same!

  30. […] 19 More Strategies for Finding Readers […]

  31. […] This isn’t the post for talking about traffic building strategies (try here and here for some strategies on that) – but a holistic approach to building an online income will definitely factor traffic building as a primary objective. […]

  32. Great post! I came across this blog 10 minutes ago. Now why didn’t I find this before? Thanks for all that advice.
    I think I will blogroll you now.

  33. Great post.

    I just added the feature to allow readers to subscribe to comment threads via email to my weblog.

    I am excited to see the result in the days to come. I have heard that this strategy alone can boost you readership by 20-40%

    Rgds,
    Nikolaj

  34. Your tips are all helpful but I am getting frustrated because I have been blogging since last year, and I have used all these advertising programs, but nothing seems to work. I am thinking of starting my own website, and I would appreciate if anyone could help guide me.

  35. Hi Jack,

    I can only recommend hosting your own weblog.

    You have total control over it this way, but however you need to have a little bit of knowledge of how to do it.

    Refer to http://www.sixapart.com/movabletype/

    They have a very powerful solution you could consider.

    Rgds,
    Nikolaj

  36. […] Darren Rowse at ProBlogger.net has written a nice article 19 (More) Strategies for Finding Readers. Tags: […]

  37. […] 19 More Strategies for Finding Readers […]

  38. I get it on the ‘it takes time’ front. The first 3 months of blogging, I felt like I was wasting my time, I was the only person who read it, then someone else did, then a few more, then readership doubled, then doubled again quite quickly…. And it goes on. Blog readership is expodential, if our blog is anything to go by. And the patience does pay off :)

  39. Darren,
    Excellent Advice! I appreciate that you are so open and fetching with information that everybody can use. I stumbled onto this site about a month ago, and now I come often. You always have things written so that everybody can understand it! Thank you again for your time.

  40. Points 5 and 6 are very good. I shall start following them from now onwards. And also Thanks to these 19 suggestions which are worthful reading. Keep up the posting.

  41. Rock On, Darren!

    I love your Blogging advice!

    I have been researching the “Blogging Life” to launch my own Blog and I have been stuck in research mode.
    I think I will just have to “put my buckets down” and start.

    Thank you for your commitment!

    Have a Great Herbal Day!

    Herbsista

  42. Many of these suggestions make sense. Thankfully, my brother is tech savy and knows how to handle the administration and tech issues of our site.

    For those who are new at blogging and are on their own, is there any way to walk through key points step by step, using a recorded video program to help visualize your points? This would be something similar to having an instructor there with you every step of the way! Of course this is only to get people started as I realize that some secrets are better kept to yourself. Thanks for all your tips ;)

    ====================
    Scooter
    http://www.jutiagroup.com
    your information stop

  43. extremely useful article!
    thanks!

  44. Great! Thanks for the tip!

  45. I totally agree with you Tip #5. Nowadays, people just put a simple word on the comment section and hoping to get a link back. The thing that worries me is there is a software that can do all this. We just put a simple comment, press one button, and presto, you get thousands of link back to your website. I believe this is not ethical thing to do.

    I think the best tip you’ve given is Tip #19. Really cool man. :-)

  46. […] 19 (More) Strategies for Finding Readers These points come from a variety of older posts I’ve written on the topic – sort of a ‘best of’ kind of thing. I’ve updated some, others are straight extracts from things I’d said before and a few are new: 1. It takes time – It may not be what you want to hear, but it unless you’re a genius, extremely lucky or have an amazing new idea, it takes time to build a readership. So settle in for the long haul and muscle up some patience. […]

  47. This advise sounds great, I am only just starting out, a simple little blog for mums, and so far don’t have any significant traffic. I guess it’s only been a week, so I’ll keep adding content, and might check out the adwords ‘thing’. Not really very technical though, so alot of the SEO goes way over my head !

    Thanks
    TwinkleD
    http://www.momameleon.com/blog
    http://www.momameleon.com/forum

  48. Great post. My first blog has been an interesting process and articles like this one really help with the learning curve!

  49. Great advises and tips. I’ve done most of it. Willing to put more effort and see how my blog will goes.

    Thanks Darren.

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